In February 2018, I self-published my first book, Run My World: How I Empowered Myself Through Fitness. It would not have been possible without the support of incredible friends, mentors, and role models, and now I’m highlighting some of the amazing people in my life that run their worlds.
Empowered (wo)men empower (wo)men, so now I’m raising a glass to some of the best people I know. I’m so grateful to share their stories — I promise you’ll be even more inspired to run your world!
Mary’s note: I met Rae through the Chicago fitness community, and I loved the way she ignored cultural standards and encouraged women to lift heavy. When I realized she was also a dancer, I officially joined the Rae Fan Club. She’s tough as shit, a little sassy, but oh, so sweet. She’s not afraid to test your boundaries because she sees potential in everyone, even when they don’t see it. With Ladies Who Lift, she’s changing the way women view weightlifting and empowering people to be stronger than ever. Yeah, she runs her world.
Name: Rae Reichlin
Current City: Chicago, IL
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Occupation/Business: Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, Ladies Who Lift Founder and Coach
In one sentence, what does it mean for you to run your world?
Running my world to me means waking up every day with a purpose and a passion. To be producing forward motion in my life that feels fueled by genuine excitement and enthusiasm.
Acknowledge Your Past: What’s one lesson from your past that has really influenced your life?
Before working in fitness I worked in the film industry. The hours were long and the lifestyle was far from healthy. Call times were early, we were on set till late, and we were being fed the worst types of greasy, slimy foods. In my very few hours offset I was trying to get to the gym and meal prep to get around this unhealthy lifestyle as much as possible. I was incredibly unhappy and would often return home from work and just cry in my bed. Even though I was young, I felt it was too late to change my career. After all, film was what I went to college for! And it sounded so cool when I described my job! How could I start over?
It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that this was something I had to do. I knew in my heart that going to the gym was my favorite part of the day and I need to follow that pull I felt towards it. So I pulled the plug, and followed my gut. And everything worked out.
Listening to my gut and my heart was a hugely important lesson for me. It taught me that I can trust my instincts and my feelings and that if I follow them positive repercussions will come. It was an incredibly freeing experience.
Find Your Fit: What are your favorite ways to move and exercise? How did you find your fit?
I love weightlifting and strength training! I was a dancer growing up and loved going to a dance class with nothing and then leaving with a tangible product, that being a piece of choreography. I am a big fan of measurable results. When I stopped dancing and started going to the gym I tried all the usual “female” based fitness protocols: cardio, barre, Pilates, boot camp, etc., it wasn’t until I started lifting weights that I truly fell in love. It never failed to bring me that same kind of satisfaction that going to a dance class always had. It meant me going into the gym with a plan and a mission and being able to leave with the tangible result of what I had done. I knew the weight I had lifted, the reps, the sets, and a better idea of how I performed and how I could improve upon that.
Fuel Your Body: What is your favorite meal to fuel your body? What is your favorite meal to fuel your soul? Have you had any struggles with your relationship with food? How do you try to fight/challenge the cultural standards around dieting and disordered eating?
I will admit that I am not the best cook! I like when things are easy, fast, filling, and healthy. My favorite meal has become something typically called a “Buddha bowl.” You start with a base of carbs — my favorite is quinoa or jasmine rice, add two portions of greens-I usually pick broccoli and kale, add a starch-I like purple potatoes roasted with some onions, and then add some protein. My choice is usually chickpeas or black beans. It’s easy, it keeps me full and you can always change it up to get something new and exciting!
My favorite meal to fuel my soul is always going to be some sort of dessert. I have a friend who makes amazing homemade pies and the combination of fruit and warm pastry never fails to satisfy.
I have absolutely had my struggles with food, my consumption, and my everyday relationship with eating. About a year into my fitness journey I discovered macro counting, calorie tracking, and IIFYM (if it fits your macros — the idea being you can eat whatever you want, as long as it fits into your given macronutrient profile). All the Instagram girls were doing it and getting amazing results.
I was counting, weighing, and tracking every single thing that went into my mouth, adjusting my numbers around so I could fit in ice cream, cookies, and candy every day. I was obsessive, constantly distracted, and on top of that, eating a lot of low quality food without any nutrients. I’ll never forget the time I nearly had a panic attack when my friend suggested a different restaurant than we had already planned on. It would have thrown my entire plan off! Needless to say- I was not the most fun or present person to hang out within these times.
It took me a very long time to come back from this type of behavior, and what finally brought me back was switching to a vegetarian, and then plant-based diet. I was able to reconnect with my body and my stomach by focusing on what fueled my body in the most healthy way possible as opposed to what measurements and combinations of food would get me the most abs.
I really just try to focus on and preach a message of genuine health and longevity. From lifting heavy weights to eating a ton of greens, it is my hope that people can change their perspective of working out and eating from something that is purely aesthetic based to something deeper and more meaningful.
Practice Mindfulness: Do you meditate? If so, how? How do you try to be mindful on a daily/weekly/monthly basis?
Sitting down and relaxing is something I am terribly bad at. Meditation is something I know I need to do more of-yet hardly ever make time for. These days I have been listening to a lot of self-help books on audible when I walk, drive, clean my house, cook, etc. I don’t believe this replaces the need for mediation in my life-but having those blocks of 10 minutes-2 hours to get out of my own head and into some positive self-talk and life-improving tips really improves upon my day, my overall mood, and my ability to be giving and present with those around me.
HIIT vs. LISS: Tell us about your work-life “balance.” How do you manage planning/productivity while being a straight up hustler?
I try to do my best to eliminate any decision fatigue I might get during the week with a few things:
I make a plan. I am happier with a plan. For this reason, I usually outsource my workouts to another trainer I know and trust. This gives me an opportunity not only to learn from someone who has been in the business longer than me but a chance for my brain to turn off leader mode for an hour or two.
I research and write out my “menu” for the week ahead of time. This allows me to try new recipes, and know that I have no excuse to throw together a quick healthy meal throughout the week. The time it takes is ALWAYS worth the time and energy it saves.
I write to-do lists. I’ve learned not to give myself an overwhelming amount of things to do in a day, but rather just a couple things-ensuring that I will get them done, and if I have time for more I can be super impressed with myself!
I am still learning to give myself “time off” and not feel like I have to be running on 100 all the time. I am learning that I am allowed to be young and have Fun. I am learning to be patient and that things take time. Not everything will happen all at once and you need to give yourself and your goals room to marinate and breath. It is a tough lesson to learn and I haven’t perfected it yet but the times when I do I am both more productive and happier.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone: What have you done in 2018 that is most out of your comfort zone?
Because of the goals I have for myself and my business, I am very careful with my time and who I give it to. In 2018 I allowed myself to get into a romantic relationship, which for me is very outside of my comfort zone! I like to be in control of what is happening around me and how it gets into my bubble and my feelings. When you choose to be in a romantic relationship you are forced to let this guard down, giving over to the present and the future. It required me to make time for someone else in my life and to open myself up to be vulnerable in an entirely different way than I am used to or really comfortable with. But connecting with someone on a level beyond business or friendship is something beautiful and excited and I am happy I did not pass up the opportunity simply to stay inside my comfort zone.
What is something you really want in 2018 that you’re a little scared to do?
I don’t know if it will happen in the 2018 calendar year…but I would love to open my own space for my LWL classes. The idea of growing my little baby makes my heart beat fast and my skin itch and I want to follow that feeling till the end. This class has done so much for women in terms of teaching them the importance of lifting heavy weights, as well as the experience of finding a place and community that makes them feel welcomed and comfortable.
Shine On: What accomplishment makes you most proud? What’s a big, hairy audacious goal (BHAG) that you’ve been contemplating and want to speak into existence?
Growing my Ladies who Lift class from nothing to something has been the single most amazing experience in my life. I never thought that I could create something that stuck with people so much and elevated their lives to a higher place. I believe so truly in this class and community that I was to do everything I can to continue to build and grow it. I have goals of having my own space for LWL here in Chicago, and then hopefully outside of this state as well. Eventually I would love to have LWL do female-focused retreats where we provide a week filled with female entrepreneurs, chefs, speakers, etc., I want to continue providing a platform for women to showcase their skills and abilities, as well as a place where women can come to feel educated, inspired, and supported by one another.
Ladies Who Lift Website: ladies-who-lift.com