Working Healthy

Healthy Tech: Elle Birchfield

Atlanta nail tech Elle Birchfield teaches pole dancing to stay in shape.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your career. 
I work at Petite Sparrow Nails in Atlanta and I’ve been a nail tech for five years. I’ve also been pole dancing for the same amount of time. I wanted to do nails because it allows me to be creative, artistic, and speak with different people on different journeys. I absolutely love what I do, and I feel like I’m working in the best salon in the metro Atlanta area.

What are your health challenges and goals?
My biggest health challenge is maintaining a healthy diet. I tend to crave sugar — cake, ice cream, and everything else that I should not be consuming as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My goal is to eat better naturally, and to not feel like I’m always on a diet. As I get older I notice that my body is changing, and I want to start fighting for my health before I get to a place where things become more difficult. 

Tell me about the classes you take and why you like them. 
I used to be a gym rat, but I became bored with the regular weights workout. I was taking some adult ballet classes as another way to stay active, and I stumbled upon pole dancing classes at a local studio in Atlanta. Now, I teach classes at my own studio, Flight School Aerial Fitness. I teach aerial hammocks and pole fitness classes that tend to focus more on strength training versus anything sensual.

How long have you been working your plan, and what has been your result so far?
I did my first competition over a year ago, and as I prepared, I changed my meal plan completely: I cut out all processed sugars and carbs and ate large amounts of fruits and vegetables. I was training so hard and craving those healthy foods, and that habit has stuck with me to this very day. I felt amazing when I hit that stage and actually came in second place in my category. I lost about 16 pounds for that competition and I cannot say I felt like I was on a diet.

What further goals do you have? 
I want to continue working on my flexibility, strength, and endurance. I just want to become better as I approach 40. Right now I’m 38 years old and I just feel great. It feels really good when you tell people you’re 38 and their jaw drops to the floor.

How does your job as a nail tech affect your plan? 
I work in a natural nail salon that is inside of a holistic hair care studio, so we all are on the same page health-wise. We try to avoid harsh chemicals at all costs. We even use aloe as cuticle softener and lemon as callus remover. It also helps that my bosses are 100% supportive of my efforts. Every now and again a donut finds its way in, but hey. 

What has been the most difficult aspect of your healthy lifestyle?
I struggle with working on every aspect of my physical fitness. There is endurance where I must do cardio, but then I also need to work on my flexibility, and then I also need to work on my strength. Plus, my schedule can become a little overwhelming at times.

What’s your advice for other nail techs who want to embark on a healthy lifestyle?
My advice would be to always think outside of the box. Traditional weightlifting is not for everyone, and I feel like that’s why a lot of people don’t work out. Some people say they need to do cardio, but they don’t want to run. Then don’t! Dance, move your body, go dancing with your friends, take a hip-hop class. There are so many things that you can do. Also, always try to pack your lunch and snacks because our schedules can be unpredictable sometimes. Lastly, eating healthy doesn’t mean eating boring. And eating healthy definitely doesn’t mean starving yourself. Feed that precious body!

Are you a healthy nail tech? We want to hear your success stories. Email: [email protected] to find out how you can be featured in our Healthy Tech column.

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