emily coffman imperfectly empowerd podcast with ahna fulmer

The Best Way To Overcome Burnout

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Whether you are experiencing burnout with work, sports, or life in general, learn how to recognize burnout signs with health coach, Emily Coffman, and use her 9 step formula to get off the sidelines and THRIVE.  

A former NCAA Division I athlete, Emily Coffman shares her story, how she conquered burnout, the steps she took to successfully transition between careers and how YOU can apply them to different aspects of your life.

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  • Emily’s journey as an athlete
  • The difficulties of changing careers
  • Nutrition and college athletics
  • The rigors of an elite athlete’s schedule
  • How to recognize the signs of burnout
  • 3 phases of major life changes
  • 9 practical steps to thriving through transition



Emily Coffman is the fastest-growing advocate for athlete wellness in life after sport. She is a former NCAA Division I Athlete from the University of Oklahoma in rowing. Now, she’s the creator of the top 1% health and fitness podcast, Live Your Personal Best, and author of Elite to Everyday Athlete. She helps all competitive athletes transition out of the competition to experience a healthier lifestyle.

Whether you are experiencing burnout with work, sports, or life in general, learn how to recognize burnout signs with health coach, Emily Coffman, and use her 9 step formula to get off the sidelines and THRIVE.  


Ahna Fulmer Signature

They think that the biggest thing is to not react while you’re in the burnout and try to bring yourself back level to see clearer, because also when you’re burnout, you’re probably not feeling that motivation passion that you have behind it. Welcome to the M perfectly empowered podcast with leading DIY lifestyle blogger on.
Where women are inspired with authentic stories and practical strategies to reclaim their hearts and homes by empowering transformation, one imperfect perfect day at a time. Welcome to another episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast. I am your host on a former today. We have Emily Kaufman on the show.
Emily is the fastest growing advocate for athlete wellness in life. After sports. She is an expert at helping people thrive. Transitions as a former D one athlete herself, host of the leading health and wellness podcasts to live your personal best and author of elite to everyday athlete. Welcome Emily Kaufman.
Hello? Hi. Can you hear me okay? Yes, it is so nice to meet you. I know. How’s it going? It’s good. Where are you at? Where do you live? In Boston. Okay. So it’s cold where you are too. I mean, this is warmer for us where you have a good, where are you located? We’re in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. So we are similar.
It’s 62 out currently, and tomorrow it’s supposed to be 30 and disgusting. It’s like one of those. Is it raining or is it snowing? Kind of, yeah. I don’t know how to prepare. So it was kinda depressing, but do you need anything? No, I think. Yeah. All right, Emily, welcome to the podcast. Yeah. Thanks for having me.
Yeah. It’s a good to have you here. We were just chatting about the weather. She’s you said you’re in Boston, right? Yeah. And we’re here in Lancaster. I was just saying today at 62, this is Pennsylvania at its finest. And then tomorrow it’s supposed to be 34 and that unknown mix of rain and snow, which is really the worst.
Like it’s not pretty snow. It’s also not like a warmer. And it’s when you’re like ready for spring and it keeps teasing you. Oh, my word. So much teasing. And the crazy thing is in our state, the record snowfall has always been in March. Oh wow. Our biggest, no storms are in March, so it hasn’t even come yet.
I mean, it comes and goes rather quickly, but then it just floods your basement because it all melts. Yeah. I’m like negative Nancy over here today. What in the world I’m ready for spring. I’m ready for spring. I know you are passionate about helping elite athletes transition to life after sports. I love what you do and what you talk about, because I think there are so many correlations.
You have a very specific niche that you speak to, but I think what you are addressing is so applicable. To many, many phases of life. I think when I read about your expertise and what you do, what I see is that you’re really helping people thrive through major life transitions. And when they leave something that has taken up such a massive part of their life, how do you then still find purpose and fulfillment and motivation in that next space?
So as everyone’s listening to this and watching. I just want to kind of help you think through the things that Emily is going to talk about. And one of the first examples that comes to mind is for women, every single woman who has children goes through this, because at some point you become an empty-nester and suddenly you have that moment where you think, okay, What is my new focus.
What’s my new purpose. I’m making this major life transition. I think of men that have worked for years in whatever industry you’ve worked in and now you retire and it’s like this major life transition out of something that you’re so passionate about successful at defined you in so many ways. And now you’re moving onto this new phase of life.
So I love what you talk about. I am kind of pulling it out to a more general standpoint, so people can really think through. What you are saying, and perhaps apply it to their own lives, because I think what you talk about is so relevant, but yeah, I think with the transition to, yeah, you can apply it to anything because I think kind of the whole message that boils down to that we’ll talk about today too, is a lot of times to talk about the, before you’ve talked about the after, but in the middle when you’re going through it, and you want to still be that old version of yourself as what we’ll get into a lot.
So I guess that’s kind of just the sneak preview, sneak peek guys, right there. Right there. Tell me a little bit, let’s go back to some of your earlier years and share your story and how it contributed to this concept that you are. So well-known for now, tell me a little bit how you got to where you are.
Yeah. So as you mentioned, you know, the whole, like niche that I’m kind of in is talking with former athletes, former competitive athletes. And I was an elite athlete too. So that was my whole childhood growing up. I started rowing in high school after doing so many different sports. And then I got recruited to college for it.
And so I always had this plan in my head. Okay. Now the next four years of college, I’m going to be rowing and that’s my identity. So I did that. I’ll get into rowing. I have to rewind we’re huge sports fans in our house, but I can not say that rowing has ever once entered the conversation. So tell me how you got into rowing.
True. Some people here might not even know what rowing is, so that’s fair. I didn’t even think about that. Okay. Tell us about Rowan. Yeah. So rowing are the long rowing boat, so it’s not kayaking, it’s not canoeing, but if the long is 70 foot shells that fit eight people in it who are rowing. And then I actually wasn’t even a rower.
I was a Coxen. So I’m the small person that sits in the back of the boat. And I have a microphone and as I’m more coaching them, instructing the crew and I’m also steering the boat. So it’s a very, very unique position. And I got into it because I’m a very small person. I’m five feet in high school. I was like 80 pounds.
So I was tiny. And so most sports, I just couldn’t do. I tried out for our school volleyball team. I was gonna say, you sound like the perfect libero. Oh, I tried, but I like physically could not get it over the net, like a serving. So they’re like, okay, you can’t play this sport if you can’t do 50% of it.
That’s hilarious. Okay. So if we’re watching, growing you’re in the back of the boat, Okay. I’m in the back and you’re telling people and you get to boss everyone around and tell them what they need to do better. Yeah. It’s basically like the quarterback. Interesting. Okay. I could not have even said that was, did you have to work out and be in really good shape for that position?
Just because as much as obviously I was usually leading the work. Interesting. So the kind of the only thing that they care about for the Coxen it’s 110 pounds is like the cutoff, because if you’re over 110 pounds dead weight. Yeah. And you’re just like weighing down the boat, but he weighed under 110 pounds.
You get weighed in before each competent. But they’ll actually give you weight because they don’t want everyone to just like, be as small as possible, give you sandbags to like put in the boat, but it has not like as aerodynamic and it doesn’t move as well. So they want you like right at that perfect number of 110 pounds and they don’t care how you get.
That’s so fascinating. I feel like there’s a lot we can unpack right there. That has to mess with you a little bit psychologically. Talk about weigh-ins you don’t hear about that as much for women in sports. Okay. Well, for those of you that didn’t know, like myself, they’ve just been educated on rowing, so fascinating.
Okay. I apologize. I interrupted you. So you got into RO. Yeah. So I got into it into high school. And then in Boston, it’s a little bit more popular cause you have the big Charles river there and you have a lot of schools at that. But then when I went to college, I went to university of Oklahoma. So I went to a landlocked state for my water sport.
That everyone’s really interesting. Where’d you grow up? There is one man-made river there. And so the sides of every part of it is cement and it doesn’t even flow through like, it’s just like off, it’s almost like a square cement. How do they I’m like so fascinated by all of this how’d they keep that clean if there’s no flowing water.
Oh, it wasn’t very clean. It turns into like a mud in the spring, but I really don’t want to tip off of your rowing. Did that ever happen? Not in that water. Luckily like come out with diseases. I know waver. Yeah. A lot of people thought I was crazy for going there for it, but what brings people there to row?
It was strictly the rowing. It was a really good program and it was a big 12 school. So, you know, there’s like a lot of resources and stuff. And I was like, I’m never going to move to Oklahoma if it wasn’t for this. So it’s kind of like a different thing to do. Interesting. Okay. I’m sorry. I keep interrupting you because this is so fascinating.
This is a different world. So you went to. Yeah. So then after that, I still had a plan of what came after that. I was still striving for the Olympics and my senior year, I went to the training center in Chula Vista, California, which is the Olympic training center. And I spent my spring break there. So all of my friends were like they had jobs lined up.
They already had their interviews, they were going for their last spring break. And I was over here, like not even thinking about that. I was still sights, lonely Olympic, and I was at the training center. And while I was there, I realized it was not the life I wanted to live. I was there only for 10 days, but I didn’t have a car and I didn’t have any friends in the area.
So all day, the only people I talked to were the people at practice and I’d wake up and walk to practice. And then I’d walk to eat with all of my teammates and then take a nap. And like, everything I do is just eat, breathe, sleep, and row. And so I decided after that, I was like, you know what, maybe this isn’t the dream I wanted.
And so I decided not to do that. But then I didn’t know what else is next. And I didn’t think of this as an issue. I was just like, okay, I’ll move home. I got an entry-level job. I was just going through what I saw. What did you major in, in college? I majored in. Okay. Okay. And everyone told me, I know that’s like a pretty stable thing and you can get engineering jobs and all of that.
So I feel like people are just, almost just feeding into my ego of like, you’ll have it, figure it out afterwards, but I had nothing figured out afterwards. And so I came out and I felt so behind from everyone, like I felt like everyone already kind of in their head had plans of a transition and. Almost blindsided by it, which I did to myself, but I hadn’t even thought about, okay, what comes next?
What comes after? And so for that next year, I wasn’t even relating it back to, it was related to my sport, but I wasn’t going to the gym. I hadn’t joined a gym again and over a year. Eating, whatever I wanted to. Cause I have it all this freedom for the first time I was used to being told what time I had to be here and there.
And all my weekends accounted for now, I had this freedom routes or up planned out. You’re told when to work on this is when you work and I didn’t know what to do with it. And so I remember it was about a year out of college and I was meeting these new people at work. And one of them was just kind of asking about my background.
And I was like, oh yeah, you know, like I was a division one athlete. I was just the elite athlete. And then they asked me this question. Oh, so where do you work out now? And that like struck me as like, oh, I don’t. And like, all these other coworkers of mine were like chipping in and like talking about the intermurals they do and like how they stay active and go for runs.
And I was like, I’m just not even that person anymore. Like, I couldn’t even recognize myself as the athlete. I used to be. And so, as I decided to dig more into it, I actually started my own podcast. It was like two years ago now. And I just started talking about the things I was going through. I was just like, I don’t know if this is just me.
I’m just going to be talking about health and fitness. I thought that maybe I could shed light to beginners who didn’t even know what to do at the gym. But what I found with that, it was all my old teammates were the ones reaching out to me being like, I’m going through that too. It wasn’t these beginners that were like, I don’t know what to do with the gym, but it was my old teammates that were used to working out 40 hours a week also saying, yes, Emily, I haven’t been to the gym in years.
Yes. I’m really like, I don’t know how to eat. And I was like, how is this possible? And we spent so many years caring about our bodies. And now, like we can’t even recognize our former selves. And so because of that, I was like, okay, this clearly isn’t talked about enough, the own people that I went through this transition with, I didn’t know, were having this issue.
And then that kind of sparked the idea of building it into this bigger podcast and book and what I talk about now. Yeah. I love that. I’m interested to hear your perspective. I have talked to many people about this, but in your years of sports, especially in RO. And maybe your teammates would say this too.
How much nutrition advice did you get or education in those years? So I thought at the time I got a lot of nutrition, like we’d have weekly nutrition meeting. And especially as we kind of touched on before I had a weight sport, like I had to be waiting and constantly. So I thought that I knew a lot about nutrition, but looking back at it, it was all a lot of rules that we were taught and not actually the nutrition behind it, because I’m curious, share some of those rules, like what were you being taught?
So desert where they were okay to consume, but it had to be in a 30 minute period, right after a workout, because that was when it like burns through your body the best. So I remember like right after our workouts on Fridays, we would like all go straight to the ice cream store together. Oh, it all like shout out on brownies and cookies and ice cream.
And like, they didn’t know any of the facts of why we were doing that, but we were just told, okay, this is the only period you can eat desserts and things like caffeine. We were allowed to have coffee and tea, but we weren’t allowed to have any of like the Starbucks frilly drinks, because those were what we called, like liquid calories and not actually good for you, but.
We weren’t taught like what that actually meant. We were just taught good or bad. And so then I spent years just avoiding Starbucks and being like, oh, I can’t put a little bit of creamer in my coffee. Like, can’t tell you why, but like, those are just the things that we had. And so if I remember, and I talked about this in my book too, but one of the biggest nutrition messages that they taught us is we were like sitting in this big auditorium.
And they had donuts and sodas and they had the plastic bags that like measured out how much sugar was in each. And then they’d hold up and be like, this is how much sugar you’re consuming with each one. You don’t want this, do you? And you be like, no, I don’t. And then you’d like cut out soda, but that was it.
I didn’t know what to actually consume. I didn’t know what to eat. That was healthy. I just knew all of these things not to do. And then that’s how they discuss nutrition with us. Yeah. I thank you for sharing that. I think what. Mind boggling that so many people don’t realize is that truly even in elite sports, unless you are proactively educating yourself, very few programs are really teaching the why behind the what and.
Are ultimately establishing really poor mindsets in terms of what nutrition looks like. And it’s interesting to hear you say that because I think it’s true more than people realize and across, across all sports, there’s just not an understanding. My husband has said that before he was a college football player and.
You just want a bulk, but the fact is there’s no education around it. Meaning what is sustainable? Is this realistic term? Is this like a short-term goal? How do you do it? Healthily? How do you sustain it? Healthily? Should you not be doing this? Long-term anyway, the point being, I think it is really helpful to understand if you have a child currently in sports and you don’t feel like they’re getting the education, I highly recommend that you are finding education for your child.
That’s appropriate. At a young age, because the fact is they probably won’t get it and could be setting up really bad habits. Long-term yeah. Cause all this stuff, it was never the education, even behind the workouts we’re doing and all that. A lot of that is never education. It’s all. This is what you do, or this is the plan.
I almost don’t question it. Right. And I’m not. Yep. And so I’m not saying that that’s like right or wrong, but just if that’s what you’re taught, then there’s unlearning to do after two. Well, and I guess this is also a side note for coaches like coaches, yet this is within your power to change. And I think what’s mind boggling to me is that we know full well that by implementing appropriate nutritional strategies, you would only see improved.
In your athletes. So it’s also kind of like a side note for, I think for coaches as well to consider implementing more of this into their programs, even in high school, ironically. So I ran track in college for the first two years, and then I wised up and realized I enjoyed it a lot more if I wasn’t being told to do it, but actually had more nutritional guidance.
In my high school track team than I even did in college. Anyway, coaches just consider that we’re both suggesting it. It’s consistent. I hear this a lot. Talk to me a little bit about, you also mentioned burnout, being a big thing, and that concept of you go, go, go for so many years and. Before I ask you about the burnout share for a lot of people who are not familiar with college sports, or are not familiar with what a schedule even looks like over the years to get to the place that you can get a scholarship for a college sport.
You always hear parents be like, oh yeah, my kid’s going to go to college and play whatever, fill in the blank. And the percentage of kids that actually do is so small. Just give the listeners a sense of what does. A schedule look like to be an elite college athlete. We’re just talking college athlete.
Yeah. Well, even to give you a good example, the day after I graduated high school was the day I moved onto college campus because practice started the next. Yeah. Like there wasn’t even a summer before we started it was you jumped right in. But yeah. So for my sport rowing, we are both a fall and a spring sport.
So we started to know that. Interesting. Yeah. So we started training, you know, end of summer, all throughout fall and then. Beginning of December it’s finals week, and then you get one week off and the day after Christmas, then you fly in and you’re like, okay. Back to spring training. So in terms of like big chunks off, you get about one week, twice a year, and then the day-to-day it’s practice twice a day, every day.
And you’re traveling every single weekend for races and your off day, because you like required to have an off day. Well, your off day is spent driving eight hours in a bus, exact back to catching film. Yep. And then, you know, you have to also throw in the nutrition meetings that I was talking about in the recovery sessions and everything else.
So you’re talking about like at least five hours a day that you’re dedicating to and thinking about and training for your school. With no real break for four years straight. Yeah. Well, and I appreciate that you pointed out that it’s a regimen. I mean, you’re being. Very strictly scheduled, especially, you know, if you’re in college too, you’re also taking classes, math, or whatever it is that you choose to do.
But again, I think what you’re saying is so applicable to so many other people in different phases. It’s this idea again, mom is what instantly comes to mind, even though it’s hard for people to correlate, like, how is this the same thing? But you think about it when you have kids at home, your entire life, you wake up and you go to bed and everything in between.
Is really your kids. You’re shuttling them to here. You’re shuttling them to there you are very much. Your regimen is really your children’s schedule. I think the same is true for a lot of men and whatever it is that they are doing for a living, a lot of it is dictated by whatever it is that they are currently employed in.
So it’s this concept where you go, go, go for so long, like you mentioned in college. And then what kinds of things were you hearing from. The teammates that were kind of giving you a resounding I’m in the same boat. What kinds of emotions were you hearing from them? What words were they saying? Yeah, so, you know, there’s like the positive and negative, like we’re in the same boat, right?
Like sometimes you’re like, okay. Yeah. Like it’s not just me, but at other points, it’s like, you look around you and you’re like, I have 60 people here with me doing this and they’re not really complaining. So like, how come I’m feeling this way? How come I’m feeling. All of this burnout and no one else is, and you see public competitors doing it and your coaches telling you as normal.
And like the parents they see from the outside, like, oh yeah, you are doing a lot, but it’s always a place from, they’re proud of you. Right. And so you don’t want to be like, oh, I’m actually really tired. Guys are like, oh, I wish I didn’t have to keep doing this. Right. Like, it’s almost like. My burnout is like a weakness part of it.
And so it’s hard to talk about sometimes, but also the fact that a lot of times you don’t have a choice, right? Like you can’t ever choose to slow down. So you can’t even think of it as a possibility. You can’t really put your kids in the backyard for a week and be like, listen, I’m taking a break. Just take care of yourselves.
I liked that. You said that sometimes it’s that you simply don’t even have. Uh, choice. So talk about burnout a little bit and what are ways to again and whatever it is that you’re doing, whatever it is you’re currently feeling burnt out in. Talk to me a little bit about burnout, how you avoid it, how you conquer it once you do feel it.
Yeah. I mean, burnout is tough because as you mentioned, right, the best case scenario is before it starts, you can like realize you’re getting tired, take a break and come back, run rejuvenated, right? Like that’s the ideal world. That no one’s living in a lot of times, you have to be like, okay, I have to find other ways to go around this.
And so the best advice that I kind of ever heard and that I followed by is what is the least amount of effort that you could do at a given moment when you do feel these effects of burnout coming on? In your job that you’re feeling really burnt out. The option can always be okay, take a week off of vacation or quit, but okay.
Could you maybe not schedule as many meetings? Could you maybe not stay late as many days? Could you ask for one of the projects fee off your workload? Don’t always have. Exactly. You don’t always have to be going a hundred percent all of the time. And we’re sometimes conditioned that right where you say, oh, but we want to be the best.
We want to get that raise. You want to lose weight the fastest. We want to do whatever it is to get there. You can get there faster, but you might run into burnout on the way, and then that’s going to hold all your progress. So instead, ask yourself, how can I make this a little bit easier? How could I do a little bit less and actually slowing down?
So that way you can be more intention. And it was when you’re in this state of burnout, you’re probably frustrated. You’re exhausted. You’re already kind of like at that tipping point, you know, we’re near like the next person that yells at me, I’m going exactly. We all know what that feels like. Yeah. Yeah.
And you’re not feeling good and you’re not clear in your head. So the minute you slow down, you can start to think a little bit more intentional of, okay, what can I plan be moving forward? I remember my. Point of burnout was my junior year as looking at it. And I was like, I still have another year of this.
Like I still have three semesters. I still have so much time on this team, but I could also look at it in smaller, like, okay, when is my next break? What can I do between now? And the next break? Oh, that’s only two months. Okay, here is how I’m going to adjust my schedule to just get through those next two weeks.
And then you can rejuvenate. Then you can kind of go at it with a clearer mind. But I think that the biggest thing is to not react while you’re in the burnout and try to kind of bring yourself back level. To see clearer, because also when you’re burnout, you’re probably not feeling that motivation, passion that you have behind it.
And so I loved my sport. I really did, and I wanted to continue doing it. But if you ask me in that minute, okay, your choice is to travel three more weeks in a row or quit. I probably would have chosen the quitting option and that’s always, you know, what we don’t want to do, like, especially. If it’s something you’ve been working out for so, so long, and you have put yourself to the point of burnout is probably because you are passionate about it somewhere in there to kind of just getting back to that.
I love that. And again, I think there’s so, so much of a correlation here to a lot of my listeners, whether you’re a mom or a young grandma, but I think even just practically, if we’re not talking about a professional career, which you gave so many good tips, I think even just in our personal lives and the burnout that we feel, we maintain such busy schedules in this country.
Our country is not one that prioritizes rest at all, just even by like societal work hours and standard. Compared to many other countries. The moms feel this just as heavily, even if you’re not working. And I think I’m hearing you and even thinking through what are ways that I can be doing that when there’s days that I’m just burnt out, being a mom, let’s be completely honest.
I love my children dearly, but you do, you get. There is a little as exhausting because again, there’s no break. And so then thinking through like, how can you press that pause button? And instead of seeing your massive, massive to-do list over the next month, it’s like, maybe it’s even over the next day, but thinking of ways, how can you take a break and be still for a minute to kind of put things back in perspective?
Here’s where I think we mess it up though. We get that one hour of silence. And what happens is we’re on Instagram or we are flipping on the TV, which frankly there’s rarely ever anything good on anymore. So I guess the other thing I’m going to throw in there is when you do get that moment to refocus, make sure that you are spending quality time refocusing, and don’t just fill it with a bunch more empty noise, because I think subconsciously it just contributes to that sentence.
Stress and actually take a look on what Emily said, look at your schedule. What are ways that you can back off? What are ways that you can help these stress, practicing, breathing techniques kind of refocus. So I love your examples and I’m even thinking through ways that I can be doing that. Yeah, well actually, personally, Like our society doesn’t prioritize rest.
And then when we think of rest, though, you mentioned, oh, it’s scrolling on Instagram. And it’s like, well, we don’t even know how to rest. Like you actually have that find that thing that is restful. And I think that thing that I know I’m at least guilty of recently, and I’m sure other people are too is as the world slowed down and everything was closed, we kind of got our moment of rest.
And a lot of people kind of adjusted how the. Living. And now that things are opening up again and things are on the calendar and there’s more travel and more dates putting in. Yeah. They look back to how they did it, like pre COVID life. And I remember, I was like, I can’t believe I used to fit so much in, and now I’m struggling with that again.
It’s like, well, we’re living differently now and you can’t compare. Okay. Or that past version or what you accomplished during the pandemic or what you accomplished now. Right. Like that’s not going to help. And so yeah, definitely finding that ability to give yourself rest, even. Everything seems to be going a million miles per hour again.
Exactly. And then all the added challenges. I mean, life is crazy. Like you mentioned before. COVID and now the expectations are the same, in a sense, like work is still demanding. Similar outcomes, but now you have all the added stress of the COVID workarounds. You know, whether it be masking or testing or, I mean, we all know, we all know what those workarounds look like, and it is it’s really tiring.
We are going to take a quick break, but when we come back, we are going to dive in more with Emily on her expertise. We’re going to talk about her expert advice, her. Step process on getting off the sidelines, kicking yourself into gear. Right? When we come back from this break, you have tried it all worried.
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And start your own transformation story. We are back with Emily Kaufman before we get into all of Emily’s incredible advice on how to get off the sidelines kicks. Your butt into gear. We’re going to play a quick round of this or that. Emily. This is very simple. You get two options. You don’t have to think about it real hard.
Whichever one comes to mind, would you rather be a ninja or a pirate pirate? Interesting. Not many people say that I want to be on the water. That’s fair. That is fair. That’s an interesting point. I’ve always said ninja, but maybe a ninja on a boat, apple or Android, apple, Ellen, or. Ellen Starbucks is actually really funny.
I had this written down before you even said that Starbucks hot or cold. I like cold. Do you have a favorite Starbucks? Oh, I love the refreshers. Now that’s your refreshers. What other tea refreshers. See, I’m a coffee fanatic. So the fact that you just said tea is probably why I’ve never heard of it. Yeah.
It’s like a tea mixed with fruit and lemonade. So it was just like a really sweet tea. Interesting. What kind of tea is it? I don’t know. They have like a strawberry or dragon fruit one. Okay. It’s T it’s delicious. Don’t ask me that question. That’s so fascinating. We’re just look at that next time I do like tea.
I just never even realized. Okay. What was your favorite one? I got sidetracked. Did they have a strawberry dragon, fruit refresher, strawberry dragon, fruit, nice and pink and pretty. It sounds delicious. It does sound refreshing. I’m such a coffee addict though. I don’t know if I could discipline myself to try something else to get off the sideline on a trisomy off a Starbucks flats or heels fields, run in the woods or lifting the.
Probably lifting in the gym. Yeah. Did you have to do a lot of lifting for your role in rowing my role, but I’d be in the weight. Yeah. The weight room with them. Yeah. Kind of working with them. You said you would actually lead the workouts. Yeah. And be more of the motivator and coach then actually an athlete, which is always what makes it weird.
That’s I love that though, but there’s probably a lot of life lessons that you can pull up. Oh, yeah. I use it on every resume as well. Yeah, for sure. So you wrote a book it’s called elite to everyday athlete. And one of the things that you talk about is three phases that all former athletes have to go through as they transition out of sports so that they can Excel in whatever the new phases in life.
Tell me a little bit about those phases and how they might apply to anyone transitioning out of one big life stage into another. Yeah. So I kind of break down the different steps into the three phases. Number one is the new unknown. So that is when everything is still so exciting, right? Like you’ve been waiting for this transition to happen.
You’re like, yes, I’m finally started there. I’m finally here and everything is new. It’s fun and you’re still like full of energy about it. So you’re still kind of at this unknown part of like, what’s next, but I like it when you’ve kind of settled into it a little bit, and this gets at a different time for everyone.
I know when I kind of made this big transition out, it was fun for like a year. And then when I got into that routine and I realized it was a routine. That’s when I got into the messy middle. And that’s when you start to get all these beliefs in your head of what this time was going to look like, and it doesn’t, maybe you’re falling short on your own expectations.
Other people are falling short on what you expected it to be like. This is when. I started to question like, oh, maybe my past was better than I wanted it to be. You’re kind of like pulling towards your past self. Instead of trying to grow, growing is uncomfortable. This is all what comes with that messy middle.
And then when you kind of break through that and you spend some time going through it, learning more about yourself, you get to this phase three, which I call better days ahead. That’s when you realize that. Yes, this part of your life can be uncomfortable. You’re still growing. You’re not necessarily like there at the end.
You’re still in this transition, but you know that you’re working towards the right direction. Now you have a new plan. You’re not just going through it being like, I don’t know what’s going on, but you’ve started to make new goals for yourself, new passion, new purpose, and you can focus on the future instead of continuing to be dragged into.
Yeah, I think it’s interesting. I like how you titled those different phases and again, so applicable to many, many people and their different roles in life. And that third phase better days ahead, I think. And you kind of said this, I think there’s a real proactivity that has to happen in the messy middle to get to that mindset that the better days are actually.
Yeah to come. And in my experience hearing you describe those phases, I think that’s where it breaks down for so many people. So many people get stuck in that messy middle, and they cannot get themselves out and they almost start to drown in like what you’re saying. I had this expectation that I was going to be happy once I made this change, I’ve made the change.
And now I’m finding I’m just as miserable and feel even less direction than I did. And this is where I feel like your nine step algorithm. Is really beneficial. And I’m putting this, this is not to be clear. This is not what Emily is saying. I’m saying, as I’m hearing you, what I like about your nine step algorithm, this idea of getting off the sidelines to me, this is where that needs to happen, where implementing this nine step algorithm that she’s going to talk about.
If you are currently in that messy, middle, and you’re feeling. Everything that I just said, then you need to listen to these nine steps, because I think these help clarify where you are, where you want to go in a healthy way so that you can get to that point where actually the better days are still to come.
So now that I’ve set that up, Emily, tell us the nine step algorithm. To kicking your butt into year and knowing that there’s better days ahead. That’s not what it’s called. That’s what I called it. Yeah. Well, first of all, let me set the scene a little bit more too, because I think that a lot of people too, they might not think that they need this.
Right. They think that when they go through the transformation, they’re like, this is supposed to be the easy part. That’s the big fun, right? Then when you graduate. Easy you retire easy, become an empty nester. That’s supposed to be easy, right? Like we think of these things like this is the easy part and it’s really not because the thing that we all missed is the psychology that’s going on is you’re experiencing a loss of some sort.
This is a grieving process too. And some of it could be smaller or bigger than others. For sports, for example, you’re losing your teammates, your mentorship, your coaches, your structure, your identity, a lot of BS. You’re losing an identity, which is a huge part of you and is a necessity. And so I think to kind of set the scene is this isn’t supposed to be something that you can magically figure out in a week.
Like it’s okay. That this takes time. And that’s why I broke it down into steps is because it does take time, but we can get you there. So I want to get you there, guys. Emily, I’ll get you there. Keep listening though. Nine steps to getting off the sidelines of life and sidelines of the acronym. So step one S is slow down and that’s the one that we’ve kind of already touched on already of the first step is you need to rest because that’s, when you become more intentional, you can start thinking it’s not good to jump from one thing to the next, which is what a lot of us are used to.
And that was kind of what I did too. I jumped from sports to jobs to okay. My job is going to be just as fulfilling. And it’s not like you can’t just jump from expectation, expectation, but take some time to slow down. Kind of reflect on the actions behind what you’re doing. Then step two, I intuitively. So, as I mentioned, being an athlete, a lot of what I was taught or a lot of rules.
And I also wasn’t that thoughtful maybe about what I was eating. And so when you go from the spot of being a competitive athlete and working out all the time and eating whatever, and now you taken a complete break and you’re going through this grieving process and you continue to eat whatever you want.
You’re probably not going to get the best results. You’re probably going to start to feel really flat. You’re not going to feel as energetic as you’re used to. And so I think that a big thing about it too, is how you eat. And I know that you’re also, you know, health and fitness coach, and I’m sure you know, all the correlations too.
So just kind of being more mindful of how you eat and kind of trying to break those rules that you might’ve been living by before. And then step number three is D develop body acceptance as an athlete. I was so used to being always judged on my body, not just by other people, but that’s what made you good at your sport is how your body can perform.
And so I was used to constantly weighing myself for my sport. I was used to constantly being picked by competitors coaches. That’s how I was ranked. And so. I think that a lot of athletes come out of things with body dysmorphia and not being comfortable with themselves, then as they start to see their bodies changing, as they’re going through this period, it’s like, they completely who they were.
They’re like, I’m no longer even looking like who I was. And they try to just keep up with other, like, if I can prevent my body from changing, then that prevents me from going through this transformation. I think that’s true in a lot of people’s lives too. Again, not just as athletes, but you mentioned slowing down.
I also think a lot of people get to the point where suddenly they don’t have 5 million things on their plate and they’ve for the first time, have the chance to slow down and really think about like, Hey, how did I get to this point? You know? And they’re starting. Recognize the need for physical change as well.
So I think that. Yeah. Yeah. Especially if so many things are outside of your control, you start, over-analyzing the things that feel in your control. You’re like, oh, I can’t change the fact that I went through this big life change, but like, oh my gosh, my body let’s overanalyze and like weight myself all the time and like how things are different.
And so if I think that we put a lot of pressure on ourselves there, it’s kind of a control mechanism. Really? Yeah. So trying to develop that body acceptance, that was all part of the step. One of the new unknown. Have a strong base where you can feel the best with yourself. As you’re trying to process all of this, then moving into the next phase of the messy middle E explore your identity.
So chances are when you start this transformation, you’re only thinking of yourself as your one past most recent identity. And in order to start letting go of that, you have to think, okay, well, what else is out there? And you probably haven’t had the chance to explore. You mentioned parents, right? If you’re used to living with three kids in the house and now they’re gone, well, I’m sure you have a lot more free time now.
I’m sure that a lot of your life revolves around their events and their social outings. And now you have all this other things to do and you have to start exploring what’s out there. Again, this isn’t going to be okay. The first thing you try, you’re like, oh, let me join a running group. And then you love running.
And you’re like, oh, that wasn’t easy to fix. Like, you’re going to have to try some things you don’t like along the way, but this is all part of just exploring, you know, what’s next? What does this look like? And trying to find enjoyment from the process. I also want to add a quick note there, practically as you’re talking I’m I’m also thinking one of the ways from a research-based standpoint is a lot of people in this messy middle are also maybe struggling with a little bit of depression, feeling that sense of like, who am I?
What’s my identity. And there is so much research correlating this concept of generosity with happiness and kind of that natural combatant of depression obviously is trying to increase serotonin levels and literally. Combat it with the things that you can do in your own day to day life. One of the things that you can do is living generously, and I’m throwing that out there because again, I’m picturing the man and the woman who are now maybe in like pre retirement, or maybe they’re retired, they’re empty nesters and you don’t know what to do with yourselves.
I am seriously telling you, find a ministry, find a mission organization, find something that you are passionate about and serve. Find ways to volunteer, find ways to raise money for them. It sounds silly, but there is literally research-based evidence to suggest it will make you happier. Give you more clarity, give you more purpose.
So if you’re wondering what to do as she’s talking, like, what is it that you need to explore? That is a practical way that you can start filling in that time with. Meaningful and ability to transform your life as well as somebody else’s so sorry. I wanted to interject that as well. Cause that’s a practical way to start.
Yeah, no, that’s a great suggestion. As I kind of mentioned, it is part of a grieving cycle and a lot of depression comes with that. And so any way that you can kind of try to break yourself out of that funk and especially with generosity, I think that’s a great idea. And then step number five is love your workout.
So same thing. Bruising the serotonin level, trying to get your body moving specifically for athletes. You know, I bring this up because you might not have an enjoyment for your workout anymore, which is why I don’t say just work out, but love your workout. Like this should be something that you enjoy doing, so it doesn’t have to be going to the gym.
It can be any sort of just active hobby, just active outing. You could be walking the dogs going around the block. Like it doesn’t have to be anything crazy, but just making sure to move your body through this process. Because once again, is this something that’s small, that’s in your control that will make a huge difference.
And then that kind of leads us into six. Two is I improve your nutrition knowledge because as we mentioned at the very beginning, we do not get a lot of nutrition education. So a lot of writer wrongs are followed this and that. I know that you lead faster way to fat loss. So you have lots of education.
And so I think that improving your nutrition knowledge, you can see help in all areas of your life and can kind of get you through this messy middle of like, okay, figuring stuff out, kind of rebuilding inside out. And then this leads us into our last phase of better days ahead is nurture your new role.
So. When I was no longer an athlete competing for a college, I thought that was it for being an athlete. I was like, okay, I’m not competing. So then I’m not an athlete. Like that’s my only possibility. But there were so many ways for me to still be an athlete or connected with the community. I could become a coach.
I could become a mentor to people that used to be on my team, to my high school team. I could volunteer. BFA. And there were so much ways for me to have an athletic identity that wasn’t just me competing. And a lot of times you kind of break that out. We’ve been mentioning parents and empty nesters a lot.
You’re still their parent. It just, now it looks different and it’s a different role. If your retirement is just like a different role, you can still like nurture your new role and think of, okay, how does it look for this next phase of my life? Because it’s going to change, but it’s still. And then E expand your comfort zone.
So we are talking about kind of exploring your identity, but also this should include things that maybe you thought you’d never do things that kind of seem a little bit out there because the thing is. When you found this first thing that you enjoyed doing, it was outside of your comfort zone. When you first joined sports.
I was outside of my comfort zone. I didn’t go day one at TRIA. I was like, oh yeah, I love this. And I’m great at this. Just like being a parent that was outside of your comfort zone, maybe moving, you started home renovations. That first one was probably outside of your comfort zone. And that’s where you find your interest in your passion.
So the danger zone really let’s be honest. It wasn’t even about comfort with straight up dangerous. Yeah. And so you only know him as skilled in the process of our home renovations were maimed. Seriously. Sorry. Yeah. And so then our last one is step nine S spark a new interest. So I think we’re all kind of familiar, but finding a new passion and purpose is what really will feel you and make you feel fulfilled.
And so these things that, you know, we’ve kind of been working on since step one, It’s how to make your body, your mind and your identity just in a happy, healthy place. And so by able to, at the end, going outside the comfort zone, exploring your identity, now you’re able to find an interest and actually pour yourself into that is how you end up now at this other side of the transition.
Yeah, I love it. And I just think it’s so relevant. And I look at, I mean, you think about pro athletes. I mean, this is extending everything that you’re saying by another decade, potentially for some of these pro athletes. And I’ve said it before, when somebody retires and I said to my husband already, like, what do you think they’re going to do?
Like, what do they do then with their days, if they go on to be whatever it would be, whether they’re on an ESPN channel or they are announcing or whatever, it may be like the. There are very few opportunities. Like the majority of athletes coming out of these pro roles are not actually going back into the sports world.
So, I mean, it really is, I think, applicable to so many different phases of our life. Really quick run through the. Nine steps again, sidelines is the acronym for those of you listening. And then really quick. One is slow down, intuitively eat, develop body acceptance, explore your identity. Love your workout.
Improve nutrition, all using fingers. Like what am I? A kindergarten teacher nurture new athletic girl. Expand your comfort zone and spark a new in chest. I love that. I love that. And how can people find you? So you definitely want to read elite to everyday athlete because again, it’s so inspiring, so relevant to so many people, but the.
If somebody wants to find you learn more from you, get more of your expertise and your insight, including these nine steps, where can they find you? Yeah. So the book is right on Amazon elite to everyday athlete, or you can check me out on my podcast, live your personal best. I do some audio readings of the book and also just a lot more of nutrition and health advice to, or fitness and health.
Not nutritious. She’s staying away from the nutrition. Yeah. Out there telling them the little nutrition. Yeah. After sharing the little amount. I know. I think no one would trust my opinion on that. She’s just going to hold up. That’s all we got. Oh, we got. And then what is your website? Emily kaufman.org. And then it’s C O F F M a N for coughing.
That’s F M a N. Emily kaufman.org. Check out her podcast as well. And the name of that again. Live your personal best, who doesn’t want to live their personal best. We all want to live at Emily. I am so grateful that you came on. I pray God’s blessing over your life. And all of the many people that you are inspiring, do you row anymore?
Do you go out and row? I haven’t touched a boat sent and that was like four years ago, four years ago. So you really do need to become a pirate and get out on the boat. I know I missed that is sad. Okay. That’s Emily’s next goal. Explore something that was old new again. Yeah. Well, thank you so much for being.
Yeah, thanks for having me. Yeah. Thank you so much for joining us for this episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast. It is my honor to be here with you. I am so grateful for each and every one of you. If you were watching on YouTube, be sure to click the subscribe button below. So you don’t miss a show and leave a comment with your thoughts from today’s episode.
If you are listening via your preferred podcasting platform, would you help keep us on the air by rating our show and leaving an honest review of your thoughts from today in case you haven’t heard it lately, your story matters and you are loved. This is your host on a former, and I will see you here next time on the, in perfectly empowered podcast.

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