Jan. 12, 2021
Erin Oprea and Kelsea Ballerini hosted a live virtual smile-powered workout for 25 sweepstakes winners and their workout buddies on January 26. Catch a replay of the workout below and read on for Erin’s fitness tips!
Most people know my work as a celebrity personal trainer to stars like Kelsea Ballerini, Kacey Musgraves, Maren Morris, and Carrie Underwood. I train these and many other amazing clients in Nashville and even took my party filled workouts on a nationwide tour, hauling my husband along for the ride, all while Still training my celebrity friends back home in virtual sessions.
I never sought fame for myself, only focusing on perfecting my craft and making people happy. My hope has always been living the best life, for me and for my clients — which means a healthy body, healthy attitude, and of course, getting that confident smile beaming.
Many clients embrace a new-found excitement for fitness and wellness to set them on the right track in the new year. And starting off right in the new year is super important but I always stress, no matter the time of year, that your attitude will make all the difference in whether you succeed or not! You truly have to want it. You truly have to know that You’re Worth It!
That smile you put on as your attitude and resolve does wonders for your own confidence and success. Even your daily fitness routine can become the powerful change that nearly everyone is desiring by respecting yourself, allowing yourself to be happy, and smiling at your perseverance. A simple smile has power, remember that! Use that smiling attitude to empower your 2021 fitness goals! Without scaring people with a Cheshire grin of course, don’t get too carried away ;).
I’ve worked in fitness since I earned my first trainer certification at 18. I joined the Marine Corps at age 20 and served for nine years, including two tours in Iraq. Providing convoy security as a turret gunner during my first tour and then leading the first female platoon attached to the infantry in a war zone during my second.
During this time, I saw firsthand how vital fitness, nutrition, and a positive mental attitude were to thriving in difficult situations.
That’s no misprint, war requires a positive mental attitude, it’s just that what a marine considers a “positive mental attitude” tends to revolve around which way you point your weapon. It was very easy for me to see the advantages that correspond to civilian life and I have been able to extend that into my career, and even into my life.
Sometimes I think I’m a bit of an oddball. It would be easy to wake up every day and let myself see the bad in this world. But I focus on the fact that we’re all blessed to be alive and able to move. I honestly thank God about this and purposely intend to make the most of every day!
I love to laugh. I love to have fun. We’re kind of wild in our house. My husband and I playfully tease each other. We dance, we sing to our dogs. Our kids, now 18 and 20, are (mostly) mortified. We don’t take life seriously for too long. When you smile, it brings you positive energy. A good laugh burns calories, makes problems melt away for a moment, and most importantly, can help make pretty abs.
That attitude extends to my work. I’m 43 now, and I’ve been training people since I was 18. It’s been my whole world, and I try to bring that same level of joy to each training session. I want my clients to say, “Wow, I feel amazing.” Even when the also say, “I’m glad we’re done with that workout!”
I look at every day like it’s a new challenge — what can I do that will make them feel better? What can I do to finally make this strong woman sore!? What can I say that will make my amazing client SMILE and forget for one moment that this just may be the 50th lunge I had them do today. Some days it’s even more about their mental health. My goal in every session is for them to leave feeling better than they started, regardless if that’s physical or emotional and I’ve learned to listen to my clients. It’s business as usual, even with the current COVID guidelines. Because even though I’m not able to always meet in person with clients, I’m flexible with virtual workouts and we kick butt! At-home workouts have soared in popularity, and I’m excited to help people get the most out of them.
I take a lot of inspiration from my Pretty Muscles app — not from the business it brings, but rather the community around it, and the people who celebrate so much success. You’ll see them all over my Instagram account, their before and after photographs. Their excited post workout selfies. Their inspiration to others who may be teetering on the verge of a comeback. Those inspire me so much.
Every one of them is so different, but what I hear the most is the emotional change, what they experience through finding themselves. It’s not just fitness, but through eating healthier and feeling better. Most of them are moms but people from all ages, races, and genders find my community! Those with kids have focused mostly on maintain or returning to a more active relationship with their children and spouses, and, maybe even more importantly, how they’re starting to focus on themselves.
They aren’t alone — they have a community that lifts them up on days they can’t do it alone. I’m proud to have been a part of that for so many amazing stories.
My goal every day is this: Can I make one person move their beautiful body? I don’t mean that I want you to wear size 2, and that surprises people sometimes. Of course you should have goals in your life, but they should also be realistic. You’ll never feel satisfied if the goal always revolves around what someone else has. Your legs and someone else’s legs are always going to look different.
Maybe you set a goal of working out for 20 minutes a day, and you invest in some cute workout clothes so when you lace up those shoes you feel powerful.
Maybe you set an intention of drinking more water, one simple habit to develop every day.
For some people, setting a weight loss goal backfires, especially a big one. You could set a goal of losing 50 pounds in a year, but then lose motivation when you notice the scale not changing as quickly as you expected.
But if you workout a little more, and maybe see a donut as a treat and not a daily breakfast, or swap out that can of soda for a glass of water, you’ll start to feel better. You’ll start to have more energy. You’ll flash that beautiful smile more. You may even start to smile at the mirror when you put on that cute outfit that makes you feel like a rock star. You can’t put a label on that type of honest confidence. It doesn’t have to be a monumental goal, it has to be a goal you STICK to.
I know that sometimes, it’s not easy sticking to plans, and sometimes we fail. I try not to make resolutions, for example. I don’t say, “I want to be shredded and lean.” I like a good tequila and my donuts. If anything, every year I try to recommit to finding more of a work and family balance because usually I work so much. Each of the past 5 years I’ve set that resolution, and got a big fat zero. And now 2020 fixed that resolution for me, since we’re all at home, and I’m not on the road, and I found I enjoy my 30 minute afternoon coffee! Then right back to work sure, but I NEVER GOT THAT! WooHoo!! So you never know where your victories might come from.
I have one piece of advice I give to anyone asking how they can start on the path to a healthier lifestyle — just start moving. People ask, “Should I start with exercise or nutrition?” If you want the best answer, start with both. But one can also lead to the other.
Say you have a junk food craving. If you get up and go for a walk, often that craving subsides. Without any extra effort, beyond just going for a walk, you’ve already made a more nutritious decision for your body as you let go of that junk food dream. The more you move, the less you’re going to crave.
Another thing to do is break the cycle of sitting. How often do you sit and say, now I have energy? Never. The more you sit, the more your body wants to sit.
One of my clients and close friends, Kelsea Ballerini, adds “Fresh air gives you energy, too. I know it’s cold. That’s why we have those amazing layers in the winter.”
So, pull on your coat, grab your gloves, and just start walking. Maybe even grab your dog, they’ll love it I swear!
And I always tell my clients to smile during a workout, or whenever they move their bodies. Smiling can trick your brain into releasing endorphins which in turn helps you reach your fitness goals more efficiently and helps empower yourself to stick to your goals.
Movement is a gift. Don’t look at it as a chore — take advantage of the gift.
And never stop smiling.