TESSA: I'm a local DC gal and grew up in Alexandria, VA. I graduated from Virginia Tech with a business degree, and I worked in media for several years before deciding I just didn't have it in me to sit at a desk for 8+ hours a day anymore. I'd make coworkers get down on the floor with me to stretch and do pushups. So while it was definitely a little scary to walk away from the comfort of being employed by a big company, I think everyone was in agreement that it was the right move! I grew up dancing competitively, so being active was always a big part of my life. I stopped dancing when I went to college and began practicing yoga which felt like a very natural extension. I completed a 200-hour Vinyasa yoga teacher training at Down Dog Yoga in Georgetown, and everything basically took off from there. Shortly thereafter I trained to teach Pilates and barre. I taught yoga for a few years, and now teach FlyBarre at Flywheel Sports in Dupont (which is how we met!).
ELLEBEING: Your class seriously left me sore for days! Tell us about your company Monarq.
TESSA: Nutrition and fitness are absolutely my passions, and so I launched Monarq at the beginning of 2015 after completing health coaching and personal training certifications. I actually feel like I was made to do this, which while cheesy, is actually pretty damn cool. Monarq offers programs and services rooted in nutrition, fitness and stress management that ultimately influence a healthy, more balanced lifestyle. Health is so individualized, so it's important to me that everyone I work with is receiving a customized program with goals that are specific yet attainable and relevant. That being said, I've held seminars at companies and schools and taught barre on Good Morning Washington--so I also love being able to share general principles of wellness with large groups of people.
TESSA: Day to day it varies depending on my schedule. I'm usually up around 5 a.m., so without fail, my morning always starts with a cup or two of black coffee. Breakfast is usually a piece of fruit and eggs with spinach and avocado. For lunch, I make soup a lot this time of year. I basically just throw what I have on hand in a pot and call it a day. Some sort of whole grain like quinoa or barley, beans, lean protein, chicken broth and wilted greens is usually a standby combination and packed with nutrients. The best part is you can prepare a big batch and eat it throughout the week. Dinner is almost always vegetables and some sort of lean protein like fish or baked chicken. I try to eat produce that is in season, so I'm making a lot of squash right now and really enjoying fall spices like nutmeg, sage and cloves. I love to cook, so I do typically prepare most meals at home. But, if I'm out and about I'll grab a salad from Sweetgreen or Glen's Garden Market. Really no food is "off limits" to me, but I do try more often than not to make good decisions about eating foods that are nutrient-dense.
ELLEBEING: I love soups this time of year too! I just posted recipes for a black bean pumpkin chili and cauliflower soup. Try them out and let me know what you think :) How many days a week do you work out?