The Joyful Approach proudly welcomes the inspiring Lidia Garcia to the team. I am so grateful to our running coach and mutual friend, Spencer Casey for bringing us together. Lidia is an exotic beauty, an impressive runner making great strides with her running goals and is doing great things to impact our world. I sat down with Lidia not too long ago and I felt an instant connection sharing in our like minded interests in the area’s of holistic lifestyle, running as a holistic lifestyle both competitive and as a way of life and with our purpose to impact positive shift universally. Lidia is embarking on her life coaching career also certified in hypnotherapy and is passionate about empowering children through coaching with running. Get to know the beautiful gem Lidia in my Q&A with her:
Lidia can you tell us about your background?
I am a California girl, born in Hollywood and raised in Pasadena! I have a BA in Psychology from the University of California, Riverside and am a Master in Hypnotherapist from study at the Hypnosis and Motivation Institute. Five years ago, I moved to New York City to attend graduate school at Columbia University, School of Social Work. I earned my MSW in 2014 and I’ve been growing in NYC ever since. Since graduation, I’ve worked in non-profit fundraising and development, and youth coaching.
Can you tell me about your path with running? What are some goals you are setting for yourself? What does a training week look like?
When I was little, my family lived near Occidental College. Campus was our backyard. My dad is very active and athletic so he would take me and my brothers to campus with him and teach us workouts. He would take us running around the baseball fields, run stairs, do step-ups, pushups, hops…. When it came to endurance running, my dad told me that it didn’t matter if I was jogging so slowly that a person walking could pass me, as long as I was moving with good running form and training my body to run, the speed and endurance would catch up. That experience stuck with me and was the foundation for my participation in the sport.
I always played team sports and would do some running around my neighborhood. I didn’t start real running until my junior year of high school. My brother joined the cross-country team at his school and that made me want to run too. I was playing volleyball at the time and our coach would take us to the Rose Bowl to run the 3mile bowl loop. That’s where I learned I was pretty good at running, much better than I was at volleyball. I joined the track team and never looked back!
I have really great coach, Spencer Casey, who has contributed tremendously to my athletic development. My running goal is to continue improving my personal best times in all distances from the mile to the half marathon. On a much grander level, my goal with running and fitness is to build the habits of a healthy lifestyle now that will last a lifetime. I want to live a healthy, joyful life and running is a big part of that for me.
A typical training week includes a combination of running and strength training. I run 6-7days per week for an average of 50 miles per week.
A typical week looks something like this:
Monday: Easy run, plus strides
Evening: XTEND Barre Class
Tuesday: Speed development workout
Post Run/Evening: Strength + Core
Wednesday: Easy recovery run, plus strides
Evening: XTEND Barre Class
Thursday: Regular run, plus strides
Post Run/Evening: Core
Friday: Aerobic development workout
Post Run/ Evening: Strength + Core
Saturday: Easy Recovery run, plus strides
Post Run/ Evening: Core
Sunday: Long Run
Post Run: Brunch + Lots of naps J
I include stretching as often as I can and I attend Barre classes at Xtend Barre Tribeca twice a week. I have a tendency toward tight hips and hamstrings and the addition of a barre class has really helped me to ward off injuries and keep me running strong.
Your Path as a social worker and Hypnotherpist?
I’m a certified Hypnotherapist and social worker. My therapeutic approach is focused on the mind-body connection.
My dad is a social worker with Los Angeles County DCFS. I grew up visiting his offices and watching his work. For some families, the damage can be so deep that coping strategies are non-existent. This leads to a variety of abuses and cycles of dysfunction. I really admired my dad’s role as a social worker and recognize that he usually reaches families when they are at the lowest point in their lives. It is one of the toughest jobs out there.
For my own career path, I wanted to work on the development of the individual in order for her/him to better handle her role in the family structure and break cycles of dysfunction. I believe exercise and sports like running are particularly effective in helping people cope with the stresses of life helping to teach patience, mindfulness, and relaxation both physically and mentally. I want to help people better themselves in all life stages, youth through senior, before they reach a critical point of crisis. To reach this goal, I’ve focused my skills on holistic approaches such as exercise, meditation, and hypnosis as tools to build the individual up and motivate her toward living a fulfilled life.
The workplace… what do you do now and what were you doing previously?
One of my roles is as a running coach for students 2nd to 5th grade. My approach to running is holistic in that running can instill life skills and values to create a more well-rounded individual. The goal of my class is to help teach kids that running can be a challenging but it is also a very fun and adventurous sport. Running is also an incredible lesson in patience. It shows how hard work pays off and is an incredible metaphor of the life path. Running is also incredibly accessible. It doesn’t require a gym membership, a team, or special equipment. A pair of running shoes and some exercise clothes is all one needs to get started. I hope to teach my runners in every life stage, that no matter their background, every runner is on the same course experiencing the same things. Running doesn’t care about the money is spent on it, it cares about the heart of the individual doing the sport.
Before taking my current role, I worked for the ASPCA as the Team ASPCA Fundraising/Development Manager. I was I charge of grassroots fundraisers such as memorial gifts, wedding registries, and birthday campaigns. I also worked on fundraising and event support for ASPCA charity athletes.
What projects are you currently working on?
On the first day of Social Work school at Columbia, we were asked to write down the reasons we decided to become social workers and what we dreamed of doing with our education. My dream is to build a running program for girls and their mothers to teach confidence, team-building, and self-esteem. My dream is to be effective for at-risk families before the point of crisis and one of the tools I want to use is running.
I am currently working on piloting a version of my dream program in January 2018. This pilot will focus on team-building and self-esteem for girls entering the awkward Tween years of middle school.
Can you give us a look into your holistic lifestyle:
In my life, I try to give the most attention to the things that I can directly influence in my life and not stress about the things that are beyond my control. For example, I can decide to make time for exercise, sleep, and fueling myself with nutritious meals. I can’t control the behavior of others in the workplace or how someone else chooses to live their life.
It can be tough to have a holistic lifestyle in New York City. There is just so much going on! Part of balancing a holistic lifestyle for me is waking with gratitude and placing visual triggers in my bedroom to balance the gratitude. For me, this is grounding myself by seeing plants first thing in the morning. I keep succulents and cacti next to my window to remind me to be resilient. I am lucky to be the mom of two Italian Greyhound rescue dogs and they always wake up happy to greet the day and eager to go outside and walk in the park. Taking a walk with the dogs and doing a run are both meditative times for me to reflect and be grateful for the life I have.
A very big part of my holistic life is exercise and nutrition. I really love to create new healthy dishes with fresh ingredients. I feel that creating nutritionally balanced meals for myself are the basis for a balanced and complete lifestyle.
What is Joyful in your life now?
The most Joyful gift I have in my life is my family. Living across the country from my family can be very difficult, lonely, and sometimes isolating. Things as simple as the three-hour time difference makes it very hard. Even so, I am joyful every day that I have a loving family and they have given me the gift of their support and freedom to pursue my dreams wherever those dreams may take me.
I am a mom to two Italian Greyhound rescue dogs, Luigi (11 y/o) and Giovanni (2 y/o). They are amazing and a joy to my everyday life. No matter what stresses life hands me, my two sweet boys are always ready to give love and cuddles or encourage a nice long walk for a breath of fresh air.
Lastly, I am joyful for my ability to run and move my body. I am lucky enough to have a body that I can use healthfully on a daily basis.