Interview w/ Emily Schromm – Episode 67: PaleOMG Uncensored Podcast

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Today on the podcast, I’m talking to the incredibly sweet and intelligent Emily Schromm! We are talking all the things including her experience on the Real World, The Challenge, creating her own business, sitting on Mark Cuban’s lap, her love and obsession with supplements, and some very large words she had to break down for me. She’s the best. Check out all her greatness here!

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Big thank you to this week’s sponsors!

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Episode 67 Transcription!

This is Juli Bauer from PaleOMG and you are listening to PaleOMG Uncensored.

Before we get started with this amazing episode with Emily Schromm, who is seriously so fun to talk to and so intelligent, I gotta tell you about this week’s sponsors. We’re coming into mid-January, and it’s time to make sure you are actually sticking with those resolutions you just made. And Sun Basket is ready to make sure those resolutions are easier than ever.

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And a big thank you to Aaptiv for their support on this podcast this week. Aaptiv shares audio-based workouts, created by certified personal trainers, available through a mobile app. So all you have to do to get your workout is simply listen on your phone, and you can do these workouts anywhere. And new members get 50% off an annual membership. All you have to do is go visit Aaptiv.com/PaleOMG.

Juli Bauer: Hey guys! Welcome to another episode of PaleOMG Uncensored. I think we are at episode 67. I never remember to look beforehand. But today is so exciting, because I have the wonderful Emily Schromm on today. Who, it’s hilarious, because she lives in Denver, and we’re doing this over Skype still. We live probably 10 miles apart. Not even that far. And we’re still online recording this.

Emily Schromm: We’re so ridiculous. I love it. {laughs}

Juli Bauer: I know. We’re stupid. But, it’s so much easier to schedule whenever. So thank you so much for being on, and coming on to chat with me. Emily and I ran into each other just a few; like a month ago, probably, at the Whole Foods grand opening. And we see each other kind of randomly at CrossFit events and everything like that. But the last time I had talked to you was in 2012 at the CrossFit regional. I was competing. And I think you were just kind of getting into CrossFit at that point. And you were watching at that CrossFit Regional. And Emily came up to me and introduced herself. And was so friendly. And then we just never really chatted after that until this Whole Foods grand opening. Which, that Whole Foods is beautiful.

Emily Schromm: I’ve been like 5 times a week. It’s ridiculous.

Juli Bauer: I know! And now they have Nom Nom Paleo stuff.

Emily Schromm: And it’s so good!

Juli Bauer: Did you try it? I haven’t been at one that had it yet.

Emily Schromm: I tried it three different days, all amazing. I’ve never had carrots this good. These carrots are sesame roasted, honey glazed, paleo; no canola oil on the whole hot bar. It’s incredible.

Juli Bauer: That’s so badass. And that’s crazy, because they went from using canola oil in everything to straight up Nom Nom Paleo. And I had no idea it was nationwide until I saw your Instagram story.

Emily Schromm: I didn’t either. I saw her post in the blog post on WholeFoods.com and I was just kind of like; oh, that’s really cool. I love her stuff. And then I walked in, and it was so funny. I was in the hot bar line, and this guy was right next to me. And I was like; this is Michelle! This is Michelle! He’s like, you know her? I was like, kind of. I mean, because I feel like I know everybody that’s in the paleo world. And he’s like; this is really good. I was like, do you eat paleo? We had this whole conversation. He’s like; I don’t really eat that much paleo, but I like this. I’m like; yes! This is good.

Juli Bauer: That’s so cool. I went to a different Whole Foods in Wash Park today, and they didn’t have; like, it was breakfast time still, and they had the Nom Nom Paleo sign, but it was regular breakfast burritos out. So I can’t wait to finally hit it when her food is there and actually try some of her stuff. Other than the stuff I’ve made out of her cookbook.

Emily Schromm: Yeah. It’s great.

Juli Bauer: She’s so great.

Emily Schromm: She really is. I hope it lasts. I really hope Whole Foods; they also had a vegan section {laughs}. Which made me a little bit like; {gasp}. Because they’re equally; they’re competing. It’s great that they’re doing these.

Juli Bauer: Yeah.

Emily Schromm: I just want them to keep hers so badly. I hope they do.

Juli Bauer: I know. I hope so. She is so badass.

Emily Schromm: She is.

Juli Bauer: But anyway. We saw each other at this Whole Foods grand opening, and decided we needed to be on each other’s podcasts, and actually start talking. And then I just came on your skin stuff recently. So I’m so glad you’re here today. And so excited to hear your story. Because I feel like I’ve known you through the years, but I really don’t know you. And even when I was at Regional, and you introduced yourself, and my friend was like; do you know who that is? I was like, she looks super familiar but I can’t nail it down. She was like; she was on Real World. I’m like; oh! But I never watched it on a regular basis, and then I never watched any of the challenges. So I don’t know a ton about it.

So will you kind of just recap. I know, Real World is so far past that. But I’d love to hear your story, and how you got on the Real World, and what that experience was like, and what happened after that.

Emily Schromm: Yeah, absolutely. Because it kind of ties in with CrossFit. Because for me, for a while, I did CrossFit. I found CrossFit when I was doing the challenges. So I really loved this same aspect of; it sounds so silly. But the challenges in MTV, it’s very similar to Survivor. So they take people that have done Real World, but now that take kind of anybody that’s game. And they just throw them in a foreign country for 4 to 6 weeks, and you compete to win money.

For me, competing has always been something I’ve loved. And I’ve always been somewhat of an athlete. I played soccer. I say somewhat because I never really understood what that meant until maybe, probably after CrossFit. Like, wow I actually am athletic. I actually can do weird things. And CrossFit really opened that door for me.

But I loved CrossFit, because when it would the timer; 3, 2, 1, go! All I could think about was TJ, who was our host, blowing the horn for any sort of match, or wrestling, or competing that we did in the challenge. So a CrossFit for me became the way I got in shape for the challenges. And then it reversed, where I got good enough at CrossFit that I was like; I think I want to compete in CrossFit, and not do the challenges. {laughs}

So it was kind of an accident that I found CrossFit. Actually my whole life is an accident. I think that’s the theme. It’s all this giant exciting accident. An accident in a way that I would never change it, but it’s all giant oopses.

Juli Bauer: Yeah.

Emily Schromm: So I’m from Missouri. And I went to Mizzou, if you’re familiar with Mizzou. I worked at Starbucks on campus, and I was working at Starbucks when the casting director came in. I didn’t know it at the time, but auditions were happening across the street. Basically across the hallway. For Real World. So I was serving all these people with resumes in their hand, and the most beautiful faces, and outfits. I’m like, why is this happening on Saturday morning on campus? Everyone should be hungover. So I knew there was something going on.

The casting director and I just really hit it off. I remember kind of making fun of the Real World, because I honestly had never watched it. I grew up really religious, and my dad actually blocked MTV. So when the casting director told me he was the casting director, I actually had to apologize. Because I think I had made fun of it so much.

Juli Bauer: {laughs}

Emily Schromm: He was fine with it, but to me I was like; I can’t believe I just dissed your whole job. So it was just a really fun accident of getting to know this guy. Then it turned into an audition. Which turned into me being picked for a DC cast member. Which is crazy, because I never thought that would happen. But I was so willing to do anything to experience life at that point. I was on the right path to be a veterinarian. I thought that’s what I wanted to be since I was 2 or 3 years old. I love animals. I think they’re just; I’ve always connected with them. And it was just so hard for me to be in college and start to accept to the fact that I didn’t like what I was doing. And I was going to be stuck with it for the rest of my life.

So I was in some really low spots throughout college, with this giant question mark of, what do I do? I’m supposed to be doing this, but everything in me hates it. I’m just going through the motions. So at that point, I was just so willing to say yes to everything. I was saying yes to random trips, and road trips, and camping. And then this guy; he was just another yes. It was like; I need to experience life. I’m 19. When am I ever going to get another chance to get a free trip somewhere. So I just took advantage of it.

It turned into just; in my opinion, when I was there, I remember being there, filming, the whole time thinking; “I am just here for entertainment.” And that bothered me. It was hard for me to accept. I was very guarded, because I felt like it’s MTV. There’s only so open I can be. Because it’s hard for me to; I don’t know. I didn’t know how to explain it. I’m just kind of a tool in this weird chess game.

And then afterwards, I was always really surprised by how much it helped me grow. It was this beautiful experience of learning about myself, learning about how I interacted with people that I never would be around. It made me grow. It made me also learn to never settle. So as soon as I moved back to Missouri, I tried to finish my semester, and then I moved to Colorado to the Starbucks in Keystone, Colorado.

And that’s kind of how my journey to Colorado began. To fitness began. I hated the way I looked on TV, which is why I got into the gym, and got into a structure. And then also found, with my skin issues that we talked about in the body awareness project, that I’m so glad you’re a part of. I really, really wanted to fix my skin. That was my biggest issue. I had a lot of dark moments watching my skin be pretty terrible on TV, and then have to hear about it on Twitter with people that did not like me. So skin issues have always been something a part of my life, which is how I turned into a nutritionist, ultimately, with paleo. With cutting dairy, with cutting sugar, and gluten, and finding out what worked for my body so I could really heal it from the inside out. So that’s kind of the long version.

Juli Bauer: Yeah. Well, it’s not the long version, because obviously you’ve had a million different places in between. But what was that experience like, being on Real World, and then watching it back? You experiencing yourself, and then watching it back of however producers cut it. And how people envisioned you, when you’re like; that’s not who I am. Maybe. I’m just saying whatever your experience was like. What was that like, going through that, as a young person. Still coming into your own, straight out of college. You’re still so mushy. You’re still trying to find your own confidence and your own true personality. What was that like?

Emily Schromm: Ugh. It was hard. I honestly didn’t do it. I watched one episode, and the self-hate that I felt; it was too much.

Juli Bauer: That was about your skin and your body, or how you were portrayed?

Emily Schromm: Never about how I was portrayed. That’s what I was always; everyone asks me that. Do they create drama, did they edit you to be different than you are? And they never did. I was always so impressed with the editing, how realistic it was.

Juli Bauer: That’s cool.

Emily Schromm: They might have shown the worst moments of somebody, and that balanced it out with some of their positivity. But if those moments; they were still you. They were still and expression of yourself. Whether you were really frustrated or angry. Everything about the edit was accurate. And I know that some people will argue with that. But it’s probably because they did things. They didn’t feel like they were represented well because the other side wasn’t represented. So from my opinion, nothing was edited in a way that made me uncomfortable or frustrated.

The only thing that bothered me was that in my head, myself and who I was didn’t match with what I saw. In my head, whether I have to put on this coat of confidence because I’m doing this, and I’m scared sh*tless. It was not an easy thing for me to do. But I’m going to go into this big city, DC, and learn things and meet people and just do it. So I almost have this shield of I have to be brave and make this happen. So in my head, that’s who I was.

But then when I saw it on TV, and I just; we’re all our own worst critics. It was just feeling like what I felt, this proud person, wasn’t the person that I watched. And that was hard. And I know now, looking back, I suffer. If I do not eat the way I eat, I have chronic IBS. I have horrible stomach issues. Even in DC, I remember being in such pain with my stomach; whether that was stress or food induced. And then my skin, because gut and skin are so connected. My skin was always bed, even since I was 6 or 7. I started getting breakouts; and then on birth control when I was 13. So the acne was always a big one, and I didn’t know what to do with it. Because I didn’t know the root cause.

So that was a huge issue. And then I also just physically; being an athlete, and then seeing how I was, and not looking what I looked like in my head really bothered me. I never was obese or overweight. And I never want to say that I looked horrible. Because I didn’t. Everyone would be like; Em, you looked great. My mom would be like; you look beautiful. But to me, I knew that it wasn’t the best I could be. So really changing that perspective had to happen; not from changing physically how I looked, but changing the chemistry and the internal piece. The gut health, the adrenals, and ultimately my brain health, to feel like I matched what I saw on TV. If that makes sense.

Juli Bauer: Totally. I’ve been through that. And I’m sure a ton of people have connected with that at some point. Even a person who is pregnant. You know, they’re like, not connected what you’re maybe seeing in the mirror with how you’re feeling inside. It’s like having that kind of out of body experience where you’re looking and it’s just not matching up to how you’re feeling. I think so many people have been through that.

So what brought you to Keystone? How did you end up there?

Emily Schromm: {laughs} This is so random. So, I’m on this yes pathway. Like, yes, yes, yes, I’ll go skydiving. I’m going to go see the ocean for the first time. I mean, Juli, I had never even been on a plane before I was 20. So seeing the ocean. Going to another country. All of it was like this whole new world. So I went to DC. One of the roommates, Mikey, he was from Colorado. And he was like; you’ve never been to Colorado? I’m like, well I did on this road trip with my mom when I was little. He was like, no, have you snowboarded? I was like, no, I want to so bad. So I came to visit as soon as the episodes were done filming.

I remember being on the mountain with a little too much tequila, just like; this is amazing! I knew at that moment. I told him; I said, I’m going to find a job here next year. I have to get better at this. Because I was terrible. I broke a wrist. I was really bad. {laughs}

Juli Bauer: Oh my god! {laughs}

Emily Schromm: And so from that moment, I went and did the semester, the spring semester at Mizzou, and it just kind of solidified that this is not for you, Em. It was hard, going back to college. Missouri; I love Missouri. I love the people there. But people would come to Starbucks and just kind of watch me, like expect me to do tricks or something, you know? I had just been on the show. And I am processing the show, but people are expecting some amazingness out of me. And I’m just like; I’m just myself. I don’t have tricks. I make coffee. I really just, I couldn’t handle it. So it was really good for me.

I googled jobs on the mountain, and Starbucks was hiring at Keystone. And they hired me the next day. So I was like; ok, mom. I’m doing this. I’m packing my car and I’m moving to Keystone. So I lived there for a year. And it was just the best decision of my life. I’m really grateful. It’s not the lifestyle for me to live as a ski bum. I love it, but it’s the same thing as small towns. It’s hard to find things to do. It’s hard to get in a groove of a healthy lifestyle. Because people drink, people smoke. It’s just more of a party thing.

So it wasn’t much different than my college town. But that’s where I ultimately; I was so desperate to search for this happy place. I thought I could find it by moving to Colorado and being on the mountain. Which seemed so glamourous, and it was incredible. But the happiness really didn’t happen until I connected to myself, when I got into the gym. And that’s when I really was like; wow. This is what I love to do. I love who I am. I love what I’m capable of. And I need to share this with other people.

After that winter in Keystone, I moved to Denver to become a personal trainer. And that’s kind of when I knew that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Juli Bauer: And so, when did you start CrossFit again?

Emily Schromm: So, I had been in Denver as a personal trainer. Well, it took a while for me to be a personal trainer. Some people who might know this; I don’t tell this to a lot of people, but in Stapleton, there’s a place called U-Shampooch. {laughs}

Juli Bauer: Yeah.

Emily Schromm: To wash your dogs. So in order to be a trainer, I had to work at the front desk at U-Shampooch for a long time.

Juli Bauer: {laughs}

Emily Schromm: In order to get my certification. And then I became a trainer for about 6 months of fully training clients when I found CrossFit. So there was some dabbling. I remember washing dogs, and hearing about CrossFit. And being like; I have to do this, but I had to be a personal trainer at the Global Gym, and they don’t want me to coach at a CrossFit gym. So I would sneak in in-between hours, and come to work all bloody with my callouses bleeding. They’re like; where have you been? I’m like, nowhere! {laughs}

So I found CrossFit probably about a year and a half after being in Denver. And it’s right when I met you. So that’s when I first saw that; I think that’s when; you said 2013 right?

Juli Bauer: That was 2012.

Emily Schromm: 2012. So yeah, that makes sense. So around then, your competition was the first one I ever watched.

Juli Bauer: Wow.

Emily Schromm: I remember just being like; I have to make regionals. This is what I’m supposed to do. This is what I’m going to train for. So watching you guys was just such a huge piece of me getting into CrossFit a little bit more seriously. And also, it was just good because I didn’t have really a life plan. And it just kept me; it was structure. It was a class. It was people that supported me being strong and ridiculously jacked. Where as in the Global Gym, everyone just cared about being in a bikini. And I couldn’t match that up with my beliefs. So it was so cool to compete at this; just a daily level with friends that supported you. It was so good for me to find when I found it.

Juli Bauer: That’s 100% my story. I was the exact same way. I went to a sectionals competition, so before it had turned into regionals, they had sectionals. Then regionals, or something like that. And I saw all these women. And all these women just competing for the same goal. And they’re all shapes and sizes. And it wasn’t this bikini contest. And I’m like; this is where I want to be. This is where I should be. And that was my changing moment, too. And it’s amazing, this community of people you find that support you and your goals and pushing harder. And trying more. And doing more. It’s the best community to be in. So hearing that exact same story, I totally get it.

So how many years did you compete for?

Emily Schromm: You know, I just stopped last year. So the last competition I did was August 2017. And I did the Wyoming open. And that was kind of my last pro competition. And I did well. I enjoyed it. There’s this girl, April, who owns CrossFit 720 who is like my best friend. She’s so strong; she’s so ridiculous. And I remember being like; if I can beat her, I’m happy. And I did; and she was like, what are you doing? And I was like, ok I think I’m good. I don’t want to compete anymore. {laughs}

So I think, for me, it’s just; and this is the question that I really did want to address. I saw it on your Instagram. There is such a big thing for me, where I have to be successful in everything I do. In my mind, I am so crazy wired. I can’t be content with average. And I think a lot of us who have crossfitted, or have businesses, we all feel that way. We strive for perfection.

But what I was doing is trying to compete, trying to be; never at an elite level, but at least be able to kind of hang with the girls in our region and do well in some pro competitions. I was trying to hang onto that, but also launch my businesses, and be a good girlfriend, and be a good human. And I could not balance it all.

All of that juggling, I tried for many, many years. I just crashed and burned. And there was one very specific crash and burn, but then it would be like; ok, I feel better. I feel good. I’m conquering my emails. I’m crushing my workouts. I might be sucking at one piece of my job, but at least I’ve got this. I just felt like I was constantly exhausted. I was always juggling. And I just couldn’t do it anymore. And it was just, to the point of; why am I competing in CrossFit? I couldn’t answer that question.

So I was like; you know, I wonder what it would feel like for my body to not have that much of a stress. Because CrossFit is amazing, but it is such a stress. There is no in between. Unless you have really great coaches, which definitely do exist.

Juli Bauer: But they’re hard to come by.

Emily Schromm: They really are. And I get frustrated, because it’s this paradigm of a trainer. Where you want to push your client to be the best version of themselves possible. So you want to show them that they can do more. They can push it. They can pass that barrier that they think they have. And reach their full potential. But then there’s the opposite side of it; if you’re doing that, but this person is maybe struggling in this workout because of their job, financial stress.

Maybe they have some internal; I get really nerdy with this nutritional therapy stuff. But maybe they have some blood sugar issues. Or maybe they have some macro imbalances. They’re not eating appropriately for the workout today. It’s going to drive them through the wall in a way that’s really hard to come out of unless you have that conversation with your coach. You have to know that there’s times where you have to push, and the times you have to pull back.

I guess my big takeaway, because I know this is important for people. It’s like, when you are high stress and you have a ton on your plate. You know, the whole listening to your body thing; it’s not a fad. It’s legit what you have to do. And the way that I listen to my body; I know I can’t do a CrossFit workout if I have SI pain really terribly, or some hip issues that start to flare up only when my adrenals are in stress.

Also, I talked about it a little bit in my Instagram, but my glutes don’t fire. So you know how you can do all the glute bridges in the world but when you squat, all you feel is your quads? Sometimes that’s an adrenal issue. And those are a little bit more of abstract ways to tell. But some other ways to tell are if you have a headache after you workout, or if you take a long time to recover. Whether it’s 4 hours or 2 days. Some people just take two days to feel like they’re recovering. And that’s not normal.

So really looking at your energy when you wake up. Do you have to have caffeine? Do you fall asleep easily, or do you have your mind racing at night? All of those are signs of where our cortisol is. And I know that where my stress is with my job and what I’m doing, I cannot right now combine CrossFit. Or at least high intense CrossFit, with what’s on my plate.

So I do Olympic lifting. I do strength training. And I do Metcons that I try really hard to never get in that dark place in your head. You know, the competing place. Which is so hard.

Juli Bauer: Where we strive to be all the time in CrossFit.

Emily Schromm: Right! {laughs}

Juli Bauer: You feel like; I think when you’re competing at that level, you get to that point where you felt like you didn’t have a good workout if you didn’t get to that place on a daily basis or multiple times per week. And changing that viewpoint of; I don’t have to feel like I’m physically going to melt into the floor after a workout. I can feel heavy breathing, take a couple of minutes, breathe it out, drink some water, and I can go on my way. That’s a totally ok place to be. And it’s hard for crossfitters, especially competitive crossfitters, or people who want to be at the CrossFit competitive level, to get to that point of understanding that your body is not supposed to go through that all the time.

Emily Schromm: It’s like, literally sprinting all the time. You know? And I think that’s so; caffeine and kilos, as much as I think they’re a fun brand, there’s a reason that there’s so much caffeine in the CrossFit world. We’re so depleted and exhausted. And if we don’t have coffee, how do we get through our day? So I do think the first step is, if you don’t have any coffee or any preworkout, how does your energy feel? Not the caffeine piece. But literally, do you feel like you can be who you are? That was the eye opener for me. When I did some cortisol testing, and DHEA testing. I was like; oh my god, I want to die. I thought I was fine, and now you take out caffeine. And I feel like I’m just; you know. I literally wanted to sleep all day. It was a pretty dark place.

Juli Bauer: Whoa. Yeah.

Emily Schromm: So that’s a good test, I think. Just an initial test of where somebody. Their adrenals might be. Where they feel they can be without coffee.

Juli Bauer: Yeah. I feel like a lot of times I want to take out coffee. I’m not even a person who drinks a full cup of coffee. I just like the routine in the morning, because I’m a big routine person and I like having my coffee as I sit and type up the rest of my blog post for the day. But I’ve been noticing more and more. And seriously, I don’t even finish a full cup of coffee. But I get extremely sweaty, and I get high anxiety, and my heart rate starts to flutter. And I’m like; ok, I don’t like feeling like this. Because I just don’t eat first thing in the morning. I get my work done, and then I eat a little bit later.

So I’ve been thinking lately; I’m like, ok. I think I need to change it up a little bit. Because I’ve never had that before. And it’s time to listen to my body, and what it’s telling me. It’s just not fun to listen to always. Because we love our morning routine.

Emily Schromm: I agree. Because coffee is good. It’s interesting; Alex Swanson, he created nutrition genome. So I did a podcast with him. Basically it’s like 23andMe. Genetic testing. But the way they change their genetic testing; they don’t test for the cool stuff anymore. So this guy started doing it on his own. And different people, genetically, metabolize caffeine differently. Which is so cool. Because it’s like; of course coffee makes you anxious. And you can see it with your actual genes.

Juli Bauer: Interesting.

Emily Schromm: There’s just some really fun stuff you can get into. And also; I don’t know. I just have to; my biggest thing is if I cut coffee completely, I was going to be just; I mean, I worked at Starbucks for four years. {laughs} So I have to have espresso, I have to have some sort of coffee. So I do love for people, I always think; if you are cutting back, cordyceps, whether it’s Four Sigmatic or some sort of cordyceps blends, mushroom coffees are great. I created this herbal coffee; which if you want to try it, I would love to send it to you. Because I think it’s very rooty. Do you take your coffee black?

Juli Bauer: No. I’m a heavy cream and sugar person. I like to enjoy my coffee. {laughs}

Emily Schromm: Good. Well I’m going to give this to you. Let me know what you think. I would like to know how you prepare it. But there are alternatives. Because if I didn’t have these alternatives; it’s how I got so into teas. Which I thought teas were a joke; I was an espresso girl. Black 6-shot expresso Americanos.

Juli Bauer: Oh my god. {laughs}

Emily Schromm: I’m crazy.

Juli Bauer: I would sh*t my brains out. {laughing} There’s no way. There’s no way I could handle that. That is insane.

Emily Schromm: That was just the morning routine.

Juli Bauer: I’m sweating thinking about that. That’s insane. Oh my god.

Emily Schromm: Yeah. For me to not have coffee, it just wasn’t. It was miserable. It was death, I swear. I cried for the first week of no coffee. So I said, f*ck this. My life is about; you can put yourself through all of these protocols and be miserable. How is that going to make you any better. Ultimately, it’s what helps you bring down stress. And it was stressing me out cutting coffee. So, that’s how I got into teas and herbal coffees and mushrooms.

And I do want to say for anybody that’s like “F-this. I love coffee.” If I can do it, at least try to be open minded about it. {laughs}

Juli Bauer: Yeah. Damn. That is a sh*t ton of coffee.

Emily Schromm: I’m not kidding. Not good.

Juli Bauer: {laughs} Well, let’s talk a little bit about your businesses. Because you’re working all the time. So what do you do for a living now? Because you did, how many challenges did you do? I know that’s not your career. But how many challenges did you do, other than just being on the Real World?

Emily Schromm: So I did the Real World in 2009. And then I did three challenges pretty back to back. My last one was in 2013. So, it was after I had kind of gotten into CrossFit. Which is super fun because the last one I did, I won. So it was so fun to be like; I could feel the difference. The confidence, the ability level. I knew I was like; I’m going to go and win, and then I’ll be done.

So, I finished the last one in 2013. But then I did a charity spin off with MTV recently, so that just ended airing. Which was amazing, because I got to pick a charity. So I picked Girls Incorporated, and I ended up winning $50,000 for their charity here in Denver.

Juli Bauer: That’s awesome.

Emily Schromm: It was just so incredible to be able to do something that was bigger than I. I needed to do it.

Juli Bauer: When you’re on the Real World, or on these challenges. I know challenges, you win money if you win, correct?

Emily Schromm: Mm-hmm.

Juli Bauer: Do you get paid for being on the Real World? Or was it like, you’re in college, you don’t’ give a sh*t. You get to live somewhere for free.

Emily Schromm: Yeah. They basically give you; for Real World, it’s like $100 a week for groceries.

Juli Bauer: Damn!

Emily Schromm: I know! We lived in DC. Which is not a cheap city.

Juli Bauer: No.

Emily Schromm: And it was just; all of us were like, seriously? This is all we get? So for me, the challenges are a little bit more; if you make the final, or if you get first, second, or third place you usually win some sort of compensation. So that was amazing for me, because I had gotten. It was small amounts, but I got third place twice, and then got a win on the final one.

Juli Bauer: That’s awesome.

Emily Schromm: So I was able to pay off all my school debt. I was able to just kind of start from scratch. Move to Colorado. I mean, it was just really incredible to be able to have that clean slate, which I know I got really lucky with. And then when I won, I just really put everything I could into the business. Because I created my main business has always been, and that’s changing a little bit. But this 21-day EmFit Challenge. Which was originally the Superhero challenge. And it’s just this program that I actually created when I was filming for the final challenge that I did. Because I had just built my business.

When you’re a trainer, all you want is to make your calendar full because that means you’re getting paid. I had built this whole clientele base, and had gym space, and finally was on my own, building my business. And it was just such a good feeling. And I knew that I had to do this challenge. I didn’t have to, but my gut was like, you need to do this.

So I disappeared for 6 weeks, and I didn’t’ have any connection with them. You know, you go to Thailand, and you can’t have email or phone.

Juli Bauer: Oh wow.

Emily Schromm: No contact with anybody. I mean, you get one phone call a week, but you’re calling your mom, just like, what am I doing? {laughs} You know. So for me, I created this online $500 website where I had my clients log points, so that when I came back they had some sort of accountability system. And then that’s what turned into the 21-day challenge. Because it was really successful. They liked the idea of checking points, and just getting a daily piece of information added to it. Because I think that’s so important for people to learn about their body.

So I put basically most of what I earned back into the business and just started growing Unleash Fitness, which was my first company at that time through that channel. Which was incredible. The timing was perfect, and I feel really blessed to have that platform to be able to launch that initial training program that I do.

Juli Bauer: Yeah. So you have your training program. And then you have your EmPack? Can you talk a little bit about that?

Emily Schromm: I would love to. I started it kind of accidentally. Again, I was watching the CrossFit games. I want to say 2015. Yeah, I think it was 2015, which is crazy how long ago it was. When I realized that there’s nothing for travel and working out that works well. Because sandbags, I love sandbags, but they aren’t portable. And I was at a hotel with no dumbbells. So I just took a suitcase, and I stuffed it with everything I could, and I started doing a bear complex. I remember ripping my hands. It was uncomfortable, but it was the lightbulb moment where I was like; what could I do that would be portable but also comfortable. Sandbag, but with water.

So I created the EmPack. And I had no idea what I was doing. But it was really wonderful to be able to launch. Kickstarter is such a great platform for people that have this idea but have no funds and don’t want to get investors. That was wonderful to be able to launch on Kickstarter in January of 2016. And then it’s just fun. It’s so cool to be able to have a product. I’m so used to selling myself, and my strength programs, and my training. It’s too much. Sometimes it’s exhausting to have to; it feels like you’re selling your soul sometimes, you know?

Juli Bauer: Yeah. Yeah.

Emily Schromm: You’re constantly comparing. Especially as this industry gets more saturated. It’s like; oh that person posted this. Maybe I should post this. And I hate it. I try to get out of that cycle as much as I can. And just, I know I have a great product and a great program. But to have an actual physical tangible product is a really great way for me to just express the things I love. Strength training and travel and adventure. But without having to talk about it. You know what I mean? It’s been really cool. So I’ve really loved that piece of the companies that I’ve run. To be able to see it from this different side. And hopefully be on Shark Tank soon. And all that fun jazz.

Juli Bauer: Are you serious? Oh my god, I love Shark Tank. I feel like I watch Shark Tank every single day. It’s always on.

Emily Schromm: It’s always on. And do you have a favorite shark?

Juli Bauer: Probably Barbara. Did you ever listen to her on How I Built This?

Emily Schromm: No.

Juli Bauer: Have you ever listened to that podcast?

Emily Schromm: Yes, I have! She was on that?

Juli Bauer: Yes. And she’s just like; she’s just such a f*cking badass. And she’s hilarious, and so easy to listen to. And doesn’t give a sh*t. She is doing her. She is so cool.

Emily Schromm: {laughs} I love; I’m going to listen to that today.

Juli Bauer: Listen to that one. I think it’s pretty early on in that podcast. But who is your favorite? I mean, Mark Cuban is always great too. Because he just doesn’t give a sh*t either. He was on How I Built This, too.

Emily Schromm: Yes. And I love Mark Cuban. I mean, I had this quick claim to fame. I can’t believe I’m going to say this.

Juli Bauer: {laughs}

Emily Schromm: But we were at this New York bar, and I ran into him. It was 2013. And I think Shark Tank had just came out. And I was like; I just want to let you know that I’m going to be on Shark Tank. And he’s like; ok. Cool. Don’t tell me the idea. I’ll see you there. And then I ended up getting in a cab with him, and sitting on his lap because there was no room.

Juli Bauer: What?! {laughs}

Emily Schromm: It was such a; and he was such a gentleman. Just really respectful. I literally was like, this is not happening. This is my life right now. So Mark Cuban is awesome.

Juli Bauer: What?

Emily Schromm: I know! Isn’t that the craziest, weird thing? I couldn’t even believe it happened. I love Mark Cuban. He came to Denver recently, did you see that?

Juli Bauer: No.

Emily Schromm: For Denver Startup Week. Hopefully he comes again this year. He did this huge talk at the Bellco Theater. He’s just the best. So he’s definitely my favorite.

Juli Bauer: Oh. Well I hope I get to see you on Shark Tank. That would be so freaking rad!

Emily Schromm: I know.

Juli Bauer: Did you see what’s his face; the Paleo Nick guy on it?

Emily Schromm: No. I’ve seen a couple of great paleo brands. But I don’t know Paleo Nick. Which one is he?

Juli Bauer: Oh, I forget. He has like a meal delivery service. He’s like, out of California.

Emily Schromm: Yep. I did see that that, then. But he didn’t get a deal.

Juli Bauer: No. They didn’t seem to vibe with him.

Emily Schromm: No, I think he came in a little too hot, you know.

Juli Bauer: Too hot. Too CrossFit-y.

Emily Schromm: Yes!

Juli Bauer: Too CrossFit-y there. Just like going full speed, blowing his full wad at the beginning. Come on man.

Emily Schromm: {laughs} There was another; there’s a bar company. Wasn’t there a bar company that made it there?

Juli Bauer: I don’t know.

Emily Schromm: Some sort of paleo bar. But I don’t think that went very well. And then there was the hands. Do you remember those hand grips that people have?

Juli Bauer: Oh yes. Yeah.

Emily Schromm: Natural grips or something. I saw them on there, as well.

Juli Bauer: Well sweet. I hope I get to watch you!

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Juli Bauer: So what does your day to day schedule look like? I know it’s obviously totally different and then you get to create your own schedule when you work for yourself, which is always fabulous. But what does an average day look like? What are you working on? What are you; are you making sure you fit your workout in at a certain time? What’s it look like?

Emily Schromm: I’m glad you; so my day to day is very random. So workouts are always best if I try to actually schedule them in as a client, or as a meeting. I do best working out around 11 to 2. I am kind of getting a little bit into Ayurvedic medicine and doshas, and I’m a total Pitta.

Juli Bauer: {laughs} You just said; you literally said three words in a row that I have no idea what they are. {laughs}

Emily Schromm: {laughing} Ok.

Juli Bauer: A dosha, a Pitta. Can we rewind?

Emily Schromm: Yes. Eastern Ayurvedic medication, which is similar; Chinese medicine actually branched from Ayurvedic. So it’s just ancient medicinal practice.

Juli Bauer: Ok.

Emily Schromm: It’s kind of fascinating. And this is fun, because I actually talk about it in the Body Awareness Project.

Juli Bauer: Oh, cool.

Emily Schromm: With the person before you. So the Doshas are three different characters of people. It’s kind of like your zodiac, but not quite as concrete. Because some days might be different, and some people have a mix of two. But there’s Vada, Pitta, and Kafa. And Pitta is just; I think you’re also Pitta. We’re just kind of fiery. We’re just more athletic build. Because it’s actually your shape, too, that ties into it. Athletic builds, and we tend to be a little bit hot, but clammy. {laughs} Just …

Juli Bauer: Oh yeah. So clammy, all the time.

Emily Schromm: So clammy. So we’re kind of moist, but also…

Juli Bauer: {laughs} Kind of moist.

Emily Schromm: It’s a gross word. {laughs}

Juli Bauer: Always moist. That’s me over here.

Emily Schromm: You can find out your dosha. You can Google free dosha test and take these little quick tests that say what your mix is. Anyway, Pitta is just a way that says; this is somewhat of your tendency and this is what you should avoid and this is what you should do.

And I don’t follow it to a T. Because I would be so miserable. Because they’re really peaceful practices, and I would never get anything done. So it’s like; take two hours to wake up. Oil pull in the morning. Which I know we talked about {laughs}.

Juli Bauer: Yes.

Emily Schromm: And it’s not realistic. So what I do is kind of take some of it, and what they say is my biggest meal should be around 11 to 2. Because if I eat too soon, or too much after. And I really do feel this. I feel so full. And it’s not a stomach acid thing. I just do better when I work out and when I eat from 11 to 2. That’s kind of my prime time. So I always make sure that happens.

A lot of times; like tonight, that’s not going to happen. I’ll get a late night workout. Which I actually love. I really love really late, 8-9, 9-10 p.m. workouts at the gym. Which isn’t always best for sleep. But it’s quieter and it’s total meathead sessions. Those are my favorites.

But anyway. The other things that I have going on. I do have a tea company that I just launched. So the herbal coffee that I’ll send you. That, plus the podcast. And this Body Awareness Project that I’m launching on skin makes my schedule a little bit all over. So what I try to do is I have a ton of lists. I list out everything that I need to be done and cross of what I need. And there’s times where I’m like; yep, that’s not priority. We’re going to do that tomorrow. And then it becomes two days and three days. But for the most part, it’s really just interviews with people. It’s organizing my life and promotion for EmPack. Newsletters for Emily Schromm. Sometimes videos for filming if I need more workouts for the challenges.

I work with 9 news, which has been really fun. Like, this morning I got to do my first interview with Girl Inc., and be the interviewer. Which was really cool. So just trying; I say yes to probably too much. And I make sure I get a workout in. Then I just make sure I eat. That’s my biggest issue. I forget to eat sometimes.

Juli Bauer: Yeah. It’s hard. It’s hard fitting it in. I recorded a podcast right before yours for someone else’s, and then I’m like; what the f*ck am I going to eat? I didn’t plan ahead and I’m trying to make something in the pan super fast, and chowing down on it as quick as I can. Which I know is not good for my body, either. But it’s hard fitting meals in. And you have to plan ahead. Do you do much meal prep? I’ve seen you meal prep before on your Instagram stories.

Emily Schromm: Yeah, I go through phases. Because honestly, I just get sick of the meals that I’m prepping. {laughs} So I always do have some sort of ground turkey or ground beef that’s always the backup plan. Because it’s so easy to just throw in a skillet and make a ton of salad and veggies and roast them. Or do whatever I want with them.

The meal prep, it really depends. I’m leaving town, so I’m not meal prepping this week, but when I come back, I’ll try to make at least; boiled eggs are kind of my go-to always. I think the hardest thing is veggies. I really just; I like those. They’re not good for the environment. But those tubs. I have to have those tubs. I don’t eat veggies unless they’re precut or premade. It’s like; I just don’t do it. I wish I could, but if I’m busy, it’s either green powders or juice or just those precut prewashed veggies that I’ve got in my fridge. Which is not great. But I need your help with some veggie prep.

Juli Bauer: I’m always a; I have almost every meal arugula because it’s just a green I like. And it’s so easy to eat. It tastes good by itself. It tastes good with dressing. It tastes good with other things. So I eat arugula with everything just to get an extra green in. Like today I just had some chicken with bacon and peppers. And then I threw in arugula just to call it a meal and have a green vegetable in there. That’s my go-to.

Emily Schromm: Arugula also stays fresh longer than any of the other vegetables, I feel like.

Juli Bauer: Yes!

Emily Schromm: So that’s so great. I’m with you. Arugula is my go-to. I tried to grow it in Denver, but it’s way too sunny. It’s so spicy; I couldn’t even believe how spicy arugula can get. It’s almost like a hot pepper.

Juli Bauer: Yes! It’s crazy! I had actually fresh arugula. I was in Scottsdale, and I went to one of those farms where they grow all the food in those tubes. I forget what kind of farms they are. But they grow the most fresh, amazing vegetables in these crazy tube things. I should know what it’s called because I wrote about this amazing company. {laughs} But I tasted the arugula, and my mouth was burning.

Emily Schromm: Yes!

Juli Bauer: I was like, what is this? It doesn’t taste anything like the arugula you get in the store. It’s insane.

Emily Schromm: Isn’t it crazy? And it’s just a little too much sun. So shaded spots are awesome. But for me, I was so excited about arugula, because I really love arugula, and it was just inedible.

Juli Bauer: Too much. Damn.

Emily Schromm: Way too much Denver sun. Yeah.

Juli Bauer: Weird. So crazy. It’s so weird how it can taste different depending on the area. Every bag tastes different. So before we get into some reader questions, the last question I wanted to ask you about. Because I talk about this a lot on my podcast. And really, just accepting who you are and improving yourself. And I feel like social media makes that incredibly challenging.

So you being in the public eye, and posting photos. You in workout clothes, and your tight clothing. Do you find yourself looking on social media, or dissecting yourself ever on social media? And how have you dealt with that body image since you’ve been in the public eye since you were 19 and dealing with people’s feedback and talking about you in different ways and trolling in other ways? How have you really come to your own to become a confident woman who doesn’t compare yourself? Which I’m sure you do, at times, because we all do. It’s human nature. But how have you done that to kind of tell that to other women who maybe dealing with that more right now?

Emily Schromm: That’s a good question. I’m burning some Palo Santo, by the way. It’s not a joint. I just wanted to let you know {laughs} just in case you saw some smoke come up.

Juli Bauer: You can get high on this podcast. You can do whatever you want.

Emily Schromm: {laughs}

Juli Bauer: Just smoking cigarettes over there.

Emily Schromm: It’s so; that’s a heavy question. I’m going to go on just a rant that just popped in my head. Because I think this is helpful for me. Because obviously we all are a work in progress. We’re all finding our body. Getting comfortable with our body. There’s going to be days we love our body. And then the next day you’re going to hate your body.

It’s just like workouts. I feel like with CrossFit, especially. You crush a workout, and you feel so good. And then the next day it’s like; I couldn’t be worse at this sport. What am I doing. So it’s so true, it’s just accepting that that’s going to happen. You’re going to have days where you feel on fire. And social media is on point, and it’s just coming out of you, and people are responding to you. And then there’s days where it’s just not quite there.

So I think the biggest takeaway that I’ve learned is not to look at social media as a way to pull me out of the darkness. And it’s kind of tough to say, or it’s tough to explain except the work that needs to be done in our own journey has to be done inside. So a lot of times when we’re looking for external validation, or maybe we don’t love the way we look but we need that little upper. We tend to just post something that might give us that upper. We need somebody to tell us that we’re actually on track and we’re doing well. When we shouldn’t need somebody else. We can do that ourselves. And then I think posting outside of that place, anything goes.

Because what tends to happen is we’ll post when we’re just not in a happy spot ourselves. So I try to tell people; as much as I do think it’s important to post, and engage, when you start to see social media become a stress for you or you just become exhausted. Maybe you turn off your phone. I catch myself doing this a lot. My thumb has its own little brain.

Juli Bauer: Yes.

Emily Schromm: It’s like; how did I do that.

Juli Bauer: It just automatically goes to something.

Emily Schromm: How did I do this? I was just talking to somebody and now I’m looking on Instagram. It’s like, not even natural. But it has become natural. So I think when I find myself feeling down about myself, and I tend to look for posts for inspiration or I tend to post something to get me out of that place, it never works. So I just encourage people; go through what you need to go through. And when you feel amazing, post your nude selfie or whatever you want.

Juli Bauer: {laughs}

Emily Schromm: Do your thing, girl. If it’s coming from a place of; I feel amazing and I feel rock solid and I know I’m worth anything, then post it. More power to you. But if we’re starting to post out of a place of needing something, then it turns into this bad, vicious cycle. And you’re going to always battle that. You’re going to always look for something to make you happier. Whether that’s a new workout program ,or a different macro plan to try to get you the body you want.

Everyone knows the quote, comparison is the thief of joy. Right? So when we compare our journey versus somebody else’s, you’re automatically setting yourself up for failure. And it’s so easy to do with social media. So I think the best thing to do is, if you’re in a darker place and you’re not feeling so great about yourself, don’t go for social media. Maybe take a day off of it. Don’t try to fill that hole and dig into those questions of why do I feel this way?

I always call it the ick. I feel the ick a lot. What is this ick that I feel? This uncomfortableness. I just feel unsettled. And it’s usually an issue with my business. Or an issue with something; maybe I don’t know how to launch this project or this product correctly. Maybe I’m just not quite comfortable with the new challenge videos and I feel like I should redo them because they’re not good enough. It’s always something of me feeling; this is just deeper issues. It’s never just, I look a certain way or I don’t look a certain way. It’s always something else going on.

And I don’t know if that answers your question, but that’s really what I try to do with social media and with comparison. I just try to find the root cause of why I might be feeling icky. And if I’m feeling icky and then get on social media and start comparing, and just picking apart everything on my body that’s imperfect, it’s just a really bad cycle. And I try really hard to not let people get into that. And when I do get into that, I acknowledge it. I don’t beat myself up about it. And I just try to move or do something that makes me feel like me again.

Usually that’s not social media. It’s usually snowboarding. It’s usually going and getting coffee with people. It’s disconnecting and realizing why I’m even doing this in the first place.

Juli Bauer: And I think that’s the biggest thing that I tell people. If I find myself feeling jealous, or angry, or thinking negative thoughts about someone else, it’s my own issue. So I have to remove myself from that situation and go entertain myself some other way. Whether it’s cooking or going to the gym or going out to coffee with a friend. A real person, not just an internet person. You have to take yourself out of that. And I think that’s just a lot of women struggle with that in general. And especially with social media. It’s hard to really distinguish why you’re feeling those feelings and break it down. So I love that. I think that’s wonderful.

Em

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