Lisa Farrar is a fitness nutrition and holistic health coach located in Phoenix, Arizona. I first met Lisa last summer and was incredibly enlightened with her aura and sense of purpose. I felt like she had a lot of really great things that everyone needed to hear and last month we finally took the time to sit down and chat about health and all of the controversies and confusions that go along with the idea of "healthy living".
I explained to Lisa how I am so sick of diet trends and fads, as a normal, average human it seems there is nothing you can do "right" before it's no longer right. "Don't eat fruit, it's all sugar. Don't eat carbs, eat lots of fats. Don't eat meat, you'll die faster." WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO TO BE #Healthy?! Drink water and eat air? HELP PLEASE.
Q: LISA, HOW DO WE WIN AT HEALTH??
"Point blank. any eating plan that isn't sustainable is a waste of time. If you look at all of the different phases that have occurred in the last 50 years, there isn't anything that somebody didn't tout as the end all - and then 99% of them phase out. It makes you really wonder if there is any science to nutrition."
Q: So after studying all of this, what conclusions have you come to?
"The best solution is whole foods. The perimeter of the grocery store is the only place you should technically be shopping."
Q: But how can we be sustainable in this world? Why do we all feel the need to always be smaller?
"Shame on the world for telling us we need to be smaller. Self love is the most important thing we should focus on for our health. If you are not experiencing self love, you are taking steps towards a less than healthy lifestyle. I was so skinny five years ago and yes I loved it, but guess what? Cortisol levels happened. Healthy should be the new body type."
Q: How can we combat this whole skinny = healthy ideal? I'm not "skinny" but I just had a physical which stated I was in the very top percentile of being healthy according to all of my stats and blood work. It's such a frustrating epidemic/mindset!
"If you think about it, a lot of women who are super thin are just skinny fat. They don't have muscle tone. They don't have strong bones. They're thin because they aren't nourishing their bodies. I also think it is impossible to say what the norm needs to be because every single body type is different. What works for me, may not work for you."
Q: So how do you help guide your clients to an optimal level of health?
"For starters, you can't tell anyone what to do. It's not about telling them what to eat or how to exercise, it's about asking questions and listening. This is the first step to helping people become healthy on their own. Everyone has it within them but they have to come to those conclusions themselves."
Q: What if someone asks you exactly what to eat and how to exercise?
"Even if they ask and I give them a framework, it's not their commitment, it's not their decision. They have to be committed for anything to really change. I am simply the support system that helps guide my clients once they have decided what it is that they want."
Q: How do you personally define health??
"Health to me is tiered: primary and secondary.
Primary is your life - spirituality, career, leisure time, friendships, relationships, all of the the things that impact your life that have nothing to do with food/nutrition. If something is out of balance in that primary part of your life, chances are your health isn't going to be optimized. If you have a bad marriage or hate your job, if those things are out of sync, then health will be out of sync. If you think about someone who wants help with feeling better, looking better, sleeping better, it's important to ask questions about everything in their life – to really identify what could be impacting their health.
If someone said I hate my job, etc. my answer cant be you just need a new job – I need them to tell me more about what areas they are struggling with.
I work with the 3 deep questioning model. The first answer never actually gives you an answer but by the third question, you're making progress to towards the root cause."
Q: What is the secondary tier of health?
"Secondary is food. If you are out of sync, good nutrition isn't necessarily going to result in what you are trying to accomplish. Even though you eat great food, you didn't get good results.
My biggest thing is mindset. Mindset is where everything begins. Mindset and focus can have such an amazing result."
Q: What are a few daily habit changes that are sustainable?
Karen Nowicki, the founder of Phoenix Business Radio X and I met in December of 2017 when I was fortunate enough to be a guest on her and JoAnn Holland's show, Ladies Leadership Circle.
After that first meeting, I knew Karen was a Phoenix business leader that I wanted to know more about.
Karen began her career as a teacher for the Kyrene School district. When it came time to do her masters, she decided against an educational leadership program and instead went with a masters in organization management. Her studies led her deeper into business, thus propelling her into an integrative coaching certificate which resulted in a new career as a consultant and coach.
She spent eight years building a coaching practice that was both personal and professional. She was also the co-owner of a social media marketing company, 99 Dollar Social. 1.5 years ago she sold the company which helped her husband fulfill his dreams in opening his own auto shop, Chandler Auto Repair and Service.
Karen then decided to hire her own business coach to determine what her next move was going to be. She had been so successful with the sale of her company, she desired guidance on what was next in fulfilling her journey. Through this coach she was challenged to do a podcast.
"I wanted to find a way to meet new people that I wanted to work with. My coach said, you've got 48 hours and I want you to research podcasting and do your first podcast, even if you don't do another one - at least you'll know if this is a good fit. So I found Business Radio X and I knew right away this was who I wanted to work with. They are all about three things - accelerating relationships, increasing visibility, and creating quality content. For me, it was more than just a podcast, it was opening another opportunity for revenue."
Karen's radio empire began June 5th 2017. (Happy Anniversary!!!) She was licensed to be Business Radio X in the Southwest with the first studio being the Phoenix location.
"The idea is not only for me to be in front of business leaders, but to give that opportunity to other business owners through hosting their own shows at the studio. In less than a year we now have nine sponsors, business owners who host and sponsor their own shows, and as of June 4th we are moving into a new home with MAC6. At 53, this is the most exciting thing that I have done so far. It is a legacy business that I can either sell or give to my children. This is the opportunity to have an exit plan."
Karen is certainly building an empire. Her shows are listened to by thousands every week and her expansion plans throughout Arizona are in the works. She also knows nearly every business leader in Phoenix, proving she is a woman to know and watch.
Karen, thank you for your leadership in Arizona's business community. You are a beautiful human being inside and out and we love collaborating with you.
Follow Karen and Phoenix Business Radio:
"The intention behind everything I do is to bring light to everyone who steps foot in here. When you come in for this ride, it's challenging, but our intent is to have you become something bigger than yourself. Never coast. Who is a never coaster? Someone who refuses to give up. Refuses to settle for the easy route. Accepts any challenge. Is REAL. We gear our life towards the never coaster."
Meet Kristina Girod.
Head Instructor of Flywheel Scottsdale, and Lululemon Brand Ambassador. Have you seen those abs? Clear to see why! However, Kristina's allure is far deeper than just physique. She is also the most inspiring instructor I've ever met. After my first class, I told her I'd be writing a letter to HQ because she belongs at the master instructor level, she is just THAT good at her job.
As you know, I recently moved to Arizona and when I arrived I made it my mission to try out all of the top rated gyms and of course, visit one of my favorite East Coast studios - Flywheel Sports.
Flywheel is a competitive spin class. They are HQ'd in NYC and I became addicted to them while living in DC. Fortunately for me, a new studio popped up in Scottsdale a few months prior to my arrival and thus led me to Kristina.
There are so many fitness professionals in the world, it can be hard to stand out - so when you find someone who does, you just want to learn more.
How old are you and where are you from?
"33, Flagstaff Arizona."
How'd you wind up in Scottsdale?
"I am one of six siblings, I moved after college, and now my entire family is also here."
Tell us about your path into fitness.
"I was an athlete growing up, I tore my ACL at age 19 playing volleyball and got out of sports. Gained weight and after college, got into working out. I lost 20lbs and got shredded. I started working out at 24hour Fitness lifting and doing turbo kickboxing classes. I then became a turbo kickbox instructor and taught for two years. That was too intense on the knees which is what led me to spin.
I started teaching cycling in 2014 at Lifetime Fitness, then moved to Fit Republic, and then the Madison Improvement Club. Spin was just my side gig. I was working full-time for Yelp in their franchising division."
So how'd you land Flywheel?
It's finally official!
March 15th we celebrated the launch of Personalized Solutions Scottsdale and it was perfection!
The event was held at the stunning Museum of the West in Old Town Scottsdale - the only Smithsonian affiliate on the West Coast. We were joined by the President of the Museum, Mike Fox as well as multiple members of the board. We had over 100 local residents in attendance, media coverage from So Scottsdale! magazine, and a fantastic life in luxury raffle with over $1800 of luxurious goodies - including a stay at our favorite Scottsdale resort, The Andaz!
In addition to celebrating our launch, we honored the Women of the Year for Women of Scottsdale and East Valley Women. Two phenomenal ladies that inspire in everything they do, Margaret and Nancy, congratulations!
Truth be told, I had never stepped foot in Arizona until September 28th 2017. A DC client had asked me to attend a meeting on her behalf and off I went.
My first evening at the Andaz I attended a charity event that was being hosted by the hotel and that is when I met JoAnn Holland and Debbie Gaby. We chatted throughout the event and went to dinner together afterwards. They invited me to attend another charity event two nights later, Horses and Hot Rods. This event was the pre-event for The Arizona Heart Association's Heart Ball in November. That evening I met more wonderful people and decided I'd return for the Heart Ball.
In November I had such a great time that I began seriously considering Arizona as the next city for a Personalized Solutions office...it mixed fantastic weather, kind people, and a desert, cosmopolitan vibe. The Phoenix economy is also one of the fastest growing in our nation, another perk!
During this trip I attended a Women of Scottsdale luncheon as well as an East Valley Women meeting. I met more lovely women and decided that I needed to return again in December to really decide if this was the next step for my business.
In December I returned, signed a lease, and began the transition planning from DC to AZ.
End of January, we landed in Phoenix and haven't looked back!
I am so thrilled to be a Phoenician and a contributing member of this vibrant business community. Thank you again to everyone who helped welcome us this month, we sincerely appreciate your time and support.
For more photos, click here!
The first thing you'll notice when Audrey Alfano walks in a room is her keen fashion sense, fantastic accessories, and striking features.
As one of the nation's first plus size models, it's clear to see that Audrey has the "it" factor we all hear so much about. Piercing blue eyes, 5'11, perfect blonde hair, and sparkling white teeth. As she says, "I'm not for everyone" and as I'd say, "you're only for those with great taste."
Speaking of someone with great taste...
Charlie is the lucky fella who is married to this stunner. Crazy part is, he has had the pleasure of knowing her since...
THE FOURTH GRADE.
Yes, you read that right. Audrey met Charlie in the fourth grade when he most definitely was not the fashion killer he is today. (Stay tuned for a future post on Charlie's wardrobe...it's INCREDIBLE, to put it mildly)
So wait... Audrey is a model, a badass in business, a mother, AND she married her fourth grade suitor?
All true statements.
Audrey received a psychology degree from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan and knew from an early age, she wanted to work with people.
Instead of pursuing a graduate degree in her field, she pursued another passion: becoming one of the nations first plus size models and her husband. It might not be academic but it sure is admirable.
When Audrey and Charlie were seniors in high school their mothers pushed them together. Audrey hadn't seen Charlie since his charming days in the fourth grade but as fate would have it, this was a match made in the stars. They dated from senior year of high school through college, and wed the May after graduation.
This May marks 32 very successful years of marriage...
100% couple goals - please, teach me your ways! (Except I don't remember anyone from fourth grade so I think I'm out of luck on this one...)
After getting married, Charlie's career took them around the United States... St. Louis, Sacramento, Orange County, Austin, Chicago, Cincinnati, Ventura, and Manhattan Beach. In 2012, Charlie was offered a game changing opportunity to buy the Mercedes Benz dealership in San Luis Obispo, California. The dealership was failing and Mercedes felt that if anyone could resuscitate it, it would be Charlie.
After accepting this opportunity, Charlie asked Audrey to get involved in a business capacity. There was no one he believed would be a better team mate than her.
"There is no way I am working for you!" was Audrey's first response. Luckily, Charlie proved that she wasn't working FOR him, she was working WITH him and the things she was in charge of, were the thing he didn't want anything to do with. It would be a really great balance of power and responsibility. He was right.
Fast forward to 2018 and Audrey is now an owner of two Mercedes Benz dealerships (San Luis Obispo and MB of Gilbert) AND She is the head of Human Resources/Public Relations for MB Gilbert.
As one of the VERY few women in her industry, she had some key advice...
1. 60% of household decisions are made by a woman (remember that)
2. Men need to be retrained to think differently about the role women play (and they can be)
3. Know your worth. Don't be afraid to speak your mind (but remember, you don't have to be a bitch to do so)
4. Do the right thing by people and if you make a mistake, own it, apologize, and move on (you can't be perfect all of the time)
5. Don't take yourself too seriously. Appreciate and respect others (life is not a tit for tat situation)
Coming from a woman brave enough to spear head the American plus size model movement, marry her fourth grade sweetheart, raise three wonderful children, and take on a full-time role in a male dominated industry...I suggest we all listen.
Audrey Alfano is a woman to notice for all the right reasons.
(PS we just bought a car from MB Gilbert and this post is NOT sponsored - however, we strongly suggest you visit them for your new vehicle needs and mention this post when you go)
We are excited to announce a new series of interviews with women business leaders in Arizona, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Miami!
Each month we will feature 1-2 women who are leaders in their respected fields and how they achieved their success.
Our first featured woman will be Audrey Alfano, the fabulous owner of Mercedes Benz Gilbert located in the Phoenix metro. (Fun fact - she started her career as a model!)
We will learn about how she got her start working in a male dominated industry and what her tips are for climbing to the top.