Happy March Mermaids!
It seems like just yesterday I was spending my sleepless nights creating the perfection of The Running Mermaid and now I’m coming up on my three month blogiversary.
(I’ll accept your love in the form of sunflowers, chocolate or Instagram followers.)
I kid, I kid now let’s get to the point.
When I first launched The Running Mermaid I felt that feeling of excitement intertwined with self-doubt. Until I recieved an e-mail from a fellow classmate and friend, Nela Pasic.
“I love your Blog AND your show! You are Awesome, truly happy to see how well things are going for you. Reading through your blog and watching the show is a painful reminder that I’m no longer in Hawaii. However, I love that I can experience the beauty of it through your blog + I get to see more of your sexy self.
Rock it Rodriguez, I’m cheering for you all the way from Denmark”
Yeah, I started balling (…tears of joy, obvi).
Nela is the type of girl that can light up a room with her positive spirit and confidence. We took a speech class together my first semester at HPU and I instantly fell in love.
Her speeches encouraged the class to listen to our intuition, she challenged our teacher to legitimate debates without ever doubting her own opinion, and she decided to show up to class whenever she wanted.
She was my kind of girl.
After the semester ended she retuned home to Denmark but we continued motivating each other from across the world.
One random day I began questioning my blogging “career” until I recieved Nela’s infamous e-mail. Reminding me that there are other strong, driven, happy, healthy, encouraging badass women out there chasing their dreams too.
Needless to say this hot piece of abs inspired me to begin a new feature on The Running Mermaid.
Allow me to introduce you to our first Mermaid of the Month, Nela Pasic.
+ Tell us about yourself.
I’m Nela. My life began in the southern part of Bosnia. I lived in a very happy household with the stereotypical image of a happy family. However, this image cracked when the war broke out. It forced my family out of the country. Life as I knew it was over.
We escaped to Denmark where my parents had to build a life from scratch. I always felt like I had to prove myself in order for everybody to accept me. Like many teenagers, I fought to belong somewhere. This somewhere – I found in the running trails – the gym – the weights.
This is where I belong.
+ How did your fitness journey begin?
I was always active while growing up. I loved running but I never wanted to lift weights because I feared that it would make me look bulky. I remember the first time I starting lifting weights, it was love at first rep, from that point I was hooked. I found my passion in life.
Bulky or not – I didn’t give a damn. It felt good and I never stopped since.
+ What made you want to go to school in Hawaii?
It’s Hawaii…need I explain my choice?! Through college, I had the opportunity to go abroad for one semester.
When opportunity presents itself – you better grab it.
+ What was your favorite memory living in Hawaii?
This question is a tough one. I have so MANY precious memories from my time in Hawaii. Just the thought of them provokes a lump in the throat. The favorite one must be the first time I ran Diamond Head.
I decided to go for a run at sunrise. While running I found a spot with the most amazing view. With nothing but the beach and the ocean beneath the hill, the sunrise in the horizon and the warm breeze in the air – I felt total presence and a strong chill down my spine. The memory is priceless. Still at this day, from time to time, I close my eyes, go back and tune myself into that memory to feel a moment complete calmness.
The Hawaiian spirit is truly amazing…
+ In what ways is Hawaii’s healthy lifestyle different than Denmark’s?
People in Hawaii are much calmer and at rest in their everyday living, there is not this fast pace of living life like in Denmark.
Also, I noticed that more people work out in Hawaii than in Denmark. I believe that this comes from the fact that people in Hawaii are generally more open-minded and more positive because of the weather condition; the sun is shining a million times more than in Denmark, where it is gloomy 300 days a year which effects people’s overall mood and health.
+ Seriously, those abs…how do you maintain them?
The abdominals are our strongest muscle. Therefore, we have to work on it daily in order to maintain that toned shredded look. However, it doesn’t mean spending hours doing situps every day. I do compound exercises, which uses multiple muscle groups at the same time with one exercise.
+ What is your favorite way to refuel post workout?
Eat oven baked chicken, followed by peanut butter jelly 🙂
+ What is your secret to finding balance in life?
I thought long and hard about coming up with a smart line for this one. Then I thought; screw it. I don’t have balance in life – like many people I’m struggling to get it.
I manage to use the tools that help me achieve some sort of stability. Before every workout, I do about 10 minutes of yoga, followed by another 10 minutes after working out. This helps me centered and focus.
+ What is the one thing you can’t live without?
The buzz I get in the gym.
+ Your favorite healthy recipe?
Protein banana cake:
- 3 banana
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 scoop bana protein (can be made without protein)
- 70 g. chopped almonds.
- 3 dl. Wholegrain oatmeal.
Mix everything. 200C (400F for Americans haha!) for 20 mins.
So simple and so easy to make – the taste is amazing. YUM!
+ How do you maintain your glow of happiness?
Life should revolve around doing things that make us happy. Spending time with my loved ones, working out and being healthy makes me happy. I try to block out negativity as much as possible. The few friends I do have are individuals that carry certain glow and energy that I’m drawn to. I feed of their glow of happiness and they feed off mine.
+ Favorite songs on your workout playlist?
I have one song I love to work out to: “Sail” by Awolnation, but I prefer to listen to motivational speeches by Eric Thomson, Bruce Lee, Steve Jobs, etc.
+ How do you stay motivated?
I love the way I feel while working out. The gym is where I build the courage and confidence required for life. After I started being truly consistent with this lifestyle I achieved so many great things outside of the gym, like getting an internship in a global company.
It’s not that I look better, I FEEL better. The mental battles I win in the gym are what help me win outside the gym.
+ What has been your biggest accomplishment on this journey?
I gained 17 pounds of muscle while still losing fat.
+ What other goals do you hope to reach and where do you see it all taking you?
I honestly don’t know where all of this will take me. I don’t have a plan going forward, I just know that I love what I’m doing.
A couple of days ago I received an email form Denmark’s largest fitness retail brand offering a sponsorship. Yesterday a girl from Australia wrote to me that I inspire her to workout and be healthy. That to me are goals achieved, goals that I didn’t even know I had.
Do whatever makes you happy, you might not know where it will take you and sometimes you don’t have to know just let your gut lead you.
+ What advice on life do you have for other Mermaids?
Never ever, give up on your dreams and on what you love to do. Fight to silence the “can’t” in your head, life begins at “can”.
See, how can you not love this girl?! She is the definition of a badass and I am incredibly honored to call her a friend!
You can follow Nela’s inspiring journey on instagram @Fit_By_Nela for motivation, recipes and bomb ass pictures of her abs.
xx Fins & Kisses,