It’s Tuesday, so you know what that means!!! Time for another interview!! And this one is extra special!! I fell in love with what Shalini is doing the minute I first saw her page!! It is just so beautiful:) So, I had to ask her to do an interview!! On top of being a blogger, fitness guru, and coach, she is also a mama to be!!! How amazing, right!!
So, as always, make sure to give her some love on her blog, www.herfitlife7.com, and on Instagram, @herfitlife7!!
+ For those who aren’t familiar with you, please introduce yourself.
My name is Shalini [Shawl-in-knee :)] Blubaugh, and I am originally from the great state of Minnesota although I now live in Denver, CO with my sweet husband, Matt, and our German Shepherd pup, Sully. I am a wife, first time mama-to-be, health + fitness coach, and seeker of all things adventure + chocolate. I love a good book, slow weekends, and the heart of Jesus.
+ When did your relationship with Christ first take root in your life? What encouraged you in striving for a deeper relationship with God?
I was born and raised Catholic and always knew that God existed, but I didn’t truly own my faith and relationship with Christ until the summer leading into my Junior year of college. Up until that point in college, I’d put my faith on the back burner. I spent the weekends [and sometimes weekdays] out with ‘friends’ – drinking too much, staying up too late, and doing things that I knew within my heart and soul weren’t leading me anywhere positive. I’d spend tons of time out and about with others, only to return home again with a void in my heart.
It was a Sunday morning after another long and crazy night out that I woke up, rolled over, looked at my clock and the exact time read 10:30 am. My first thought was that I should be at Mass, but I wouldn’t. My second thought was how disappointed my parents would be if they truly knew the type of life I was living at college. They’d raised me to know and love Jesus, to walk with Him always + to return to Him always, too. And there I was in bed that Sunday morning, too hungover to actually move. Grace upon grace + I felt that tug at my heart once more. Jesus softly and patiently reminding me that He was still there for me, that He’d been there with me all along – in those bars, in those moments in which my heart felt so void upon returning home, in the morning when I rose – He was there. And all I had to do was choose to return to Him. It was the first time in a long while that I chose Him and meant it. As I laid in bed staring at my clock that morning, I told Him I wanted to come Home and that I was going to make the effort to do so.
That night I made my way to the church on campus just in time for Confession. It’d been…years. Years of sin. Years of saying no to Him + yes to myself. Years of choosing against all that I knew to be true. Years of time spent thinking about how Jesus waited for me, and that He could wait just a bit longer. Years of desiring change and growth and goodness, but now knowing where to begin. Grace upon grace and Father absolved me of my sins upon sins for the first time in years. I walked out of that confessional and felt such relief. Relief and peace and joy and awe. Awe at the Father’s love for me. Awe because He’d been waiting for…years…
I attended Mass for the first time in a long while after confession and my heart felt like a different one. Newness. God’s love. I don’t think I stopped crying during that Mass, and I knew that that was it for me. I wanted to know and love and pursue Jesus just as He did for me even while I turned away, time after time. I wanted to walk with Him and beside Him and go His way instead of my own. That void I previously felt night after night suddenly made sense to me. I am not made for the ways of this world, but for Him and His ways.
+ What brought you to dive into your health in a more intentional way?
I grew up as an athlete – basketball being my main sport. Within my time as a basketball player, I ended up tearing my ACL 6 times and having a total of 5 surgeries. Throughout that time, I truly began to see the gift of health as just that – a gift. It was challenging to be in and out of surgery and rehabilitation, but it is because of those experiences that I am able to do what I do now with a heart of service. I know what it’s like to have to learn how to walk again. I know what it’s like to miss class for doctor’s appointments and physical therapy. I know what it’s like to be affected not only by what is physically happening to your body, but what is emotionally, mentally, and spiritually happening, too. I know what it’s like to have to rely on literally everyone but yourself. I know what it’s like to lean away from the lessons and the challenge that injury can bring, and what it’s like to lean into it all. I began to dive into my health in an intentional way when I recognized that we are both body and soul and that health is a gift – that when our hands and feet are well, we are best able to love and serve those around us. That when we lean into the challenge and struggle of seasons in which we lack health, we can learn and grow and be more like Christ in how we embrace suffering. That when we begin to see ourselves as vessels of His love and life – we become the best versions of ourselves and inspire others to do the same.
+ As you have gone about this health journey, how have you learned to feel confident in your own skin, no matter what?
I love this question because it is so totally rooted in Jesus. I still stumble and fall when I think about confidence and being so on my own. It is so easy for me to focus on things that I could be doing better, or am not doing so hot at, period. But when I truly embrace the Truth that my worth, dignity, + confidence are founded and rooted in Him – I am at peace and as confident as ever. God doesn’t create trash. He creates goodness and beauty and calls us each Beloved. My confidence is so deeply founded and rooted in Him, and some days are easier than others of course because #human, but when I am weak, He is strong. And on those hard ‘confidence’ days, lean into Him a bit more. Press into His words: “I call you beautiful, beloved, and worthy my precious daughter!” Trust that His words are True! One day at a time, one moment at a time + confidence grows!
+ You are also a health and fitness coach. How has this work been a blessing to you and your personal health? What are some lessons you have learned through this process?
I am! It is such a gift and continues to unfold beautifully – in ways I never could have imagined. I graduated from Law School in May of 2017 and was honestly begging God to show me another field of work to jump into. Health-wise, Law School took it all out of me. I was tired all the time, lethargic, not excited about heading into a profession I wasn’t at all passionate about…
I’ve always loved health + fitness, due in part because of my experience with injury, and knew that I’d enjoy working within the scope of health + fitness. I just didn’t necessarily know what that meant or where to begin. It was really providential that a friend reached out and simply invited me to lead a health and fitness accountability group for women working on their own health and fitness goals. I jumped at the opportunity because it was something to focus on that was outside of the legal field. I found myself looking forward to checking in with the women I was leading. I found that my spirits were high. I found joy again for what felt like the first time since I’d began law school, and I just knew that there was something here for me. It was crazy at the time to scrap all of the work I’d put into Law School, but through prayer and more prayer, I knew it was right.
I’ve learned so much and for this I am grateful. I think the biggest lesson learned, though, is that God is so much bigger than we give Him credit for. I thought I was going to be ‘stuck’ in this profession that I really disliked. But we are never stuck when we are following Him with all that we are and all that we have. He makes a way. He provides what we need. He whispers to each of us, “Come follow Me,” and even for as crazy as the new or different path He calls us to – He means it. And He’s beside us every step of the way.
+ How does your faith, and belief in the real purpose of life, shape the way that you look at your personal health and the health of others?
I truly believe that we are His hands and feet. We have these bodies to love in and love those around us. We have health so that we are best able to care for those He places in our lives. We encounter suffering and pain so that He may teach us more about His cross and the grace that covers it all. My faith allows me to tie together the fact that our bodies are vessels that allow us to truly live out the mission He calls each one of us – whatever that may be.
“In these bodies we will live, In these bodies we will die,
where you invest your love, you invest your life.”
+ How would you encourage someone who wants to get real with their health but is lacking the motivation to start?
Just jump. You’re either moving forward on your health journey, or you’re moving backwards. There’s no in between and there’s no such thing as being stagnant on your health journey. I tell the women I lead each day that just as we make appointments with others and show up and follow through – we’ve got to start doing that with and for ourselves. It is incredible how just 30 mins a day of exercise + fueling up on healthy, nutritious food can and will not only improve our physical health, but also our mental, emotional, and spiritual health as well. We are not meant to live our lives waiting for the ‘right time’ to begin – we have today, right now. So jump! We are not meant for mediocrity, we are meant for greatness.
+ How do you make time for your faith while also living a busy life, being married, and staying healthy? What are some tips you have for keeping life well-rounded/intentional?
I’d be lying if I said it’s always easy. But, once the habit of working out and fueling up become habits – they are nonnegotiable. I know I am a better wife, teammate, leader, daughter, and friend when I am sticking to my routine. Wake up, workout, pray, and carry on for the day. Sometimes I think that we as women too easily forget that time is not determining how we spend our days, but that we each determine how we spend our time. If I decide I’m going to stick to a workout routine, then I’m going to do it. We have to remember that we have what it takes to let our ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’! And when we begin to believe that and act on that belief, big things start happening. Routine is such a good, good thing in my life and allows me to grow more into the best version of me.
A few tips I have for maintaining a well-rounded life are: write things down, plan the week ahead every Sunday, drink lots of water, quit with the negative self-talk, set time aside everyday to pray + workout, and start believing that He created you with a purpose, mission, and value – and then act like it!
+ You have recently begun sharing your faith and wellness experiences on a blog (www.herfitlife7.com). What message do you hope to reach people with through this blog?
I hope to inspire other women to simply be real and authentic. I think social media can often be the best of the best most filtered versions of ourselves. We decide what others see. I want my blog to remind other women that we can talk about the hard things, the raw things, the easy things, and the joyful and sad things without filtering where we’re really at, how we’re really feeling, or what we’re really thinking. I am so sure that when we share openly and freely, others are able to see God’s hand most clearly – be it in the seasons of goodness or suffering. We give each other permission to do the same, and when we do, community organically grows.We begin to see that we are never truly alone – whether we know each other personally or not.
+ What are some resources you would recommend to anyone looking to strengthen their faith or health?
A few of my favorite resources on faith: Blessed is She, reading on the lives of the Saints, and the Sacraments!
Have a beautiful day!!!