Ready, set, gofitjo: A young mother’s journey to finding health and happiness

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You may not know the name Joanne Encarnacion, but that’s because her friends, family, and Instagram following prefer to just call her “Jo.” Jo is the modern-day mother and female hustler behind GoFitJo, a platform that demonstrates that a solid fitness journey isn’t just about body goals; it’s about finding health and happiness too!

GoFitJo has been named as one of the Top 20 New Health and Wellness Role Models by Ariana Huffington and Thrive Global, but it was an uphill hike to settle into her current status as leading fitness expert, integrative nutrition health coach and inspiration to the Instagram community. Becoming a mom at 21 (and now being a mother of two!), Jo’s life changed instantaneously: her body was dramatically different after becoming pregnant and she began to hate her self image. At first, she thought she was just being modest, but it soon became clear that this low opinion of herself was turning into self-destruction and crippling fear.

“My biggest and greatest fear is probably not being enough,” Jo opened up to us about her struggles. “I think failure is a common fear for a lot of us. We embark on some sort of personal mountain, whether it's to lose weight, change careers, or to simply wake up for the day and try our hardest to not allow anxiety or depression to overcome our thoughts of strength. I had to make a real commitment to myself to overcome these thoughts. And it became a pride thing: I don’t want my daughters seeing me fail, so I try and I try hard.”

Once Jo found exercise as an outlet, she realized it could would help her to find a way out, not only physically, but more importantly, mentally. It was a way to rebound and recommit to her own self-worth and well-being. She eventually left her full-time job and made the decision not to go back to a traditional corporate role and find a way to make this fitness journey her thing, because as she wisely puts it: “there is no other road but forward.”

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With a super support system and a newfound fighting spirit, Jo began to overcome her own self-limiting beliefs while also helping others with their internal struggles along the way. She now reaches 100,000 people daily with her “advice column for the modern-day soulseeker,” which covers everything from personal inspiration to leading by example. GOFITJO, go!

Be sure to follow @gofitjo on Instagram. And check out two of our fave posts on her site here and here.