Syncing Wellness With Words | A Conversation With Nicole Boddington
When we think of well-rounded wellness, we think of Nicole Boddington, our resident copywriter here at Aisle 9. Not just in her healthy habits + active lifestyle, but in her relationships with other women, her spirit of encouragement, and her infectious positivity. With the beginning of the year underway, we knew wellness would be a worthy topic. But seeing the way Nicole embodies this word made us want to get her take on what wellness looks like in all areas of life — from stepping out of her comfort zone to attend a workout class with a friend to starting Bodd Camp, a women’s wellness retreat. When it comes to learning the rhythms of wellness, we’re all ears.
Aisle 9: Nicole, we just love you. Will you please share with us how your health + wellness journey first began? Was there a distinct moment when you knew this was something you were passionate about?
Nicole Boddington: I started my fitness journey in 2010. A friend of mine invited me to join her for a free “bring a buddy to bootcamp” class at a place called FastFit. I thought I was in shape, so I agreed. I tried to keep up with everyone in the class, but I literally could not hang. I had to sit down. I was seeing stars. I realized how out of shape I was. I joined FastFit and stayed with it 3x a week for five years. In 2015, Jeff McDaniel, owner of FastFit, saw how dedicated I was and how I kept inviting my friends to join me, and he asked me to become a trainer. I led my own class at FastFit [I called them the Bodd Squad] for two years. So, I always say yes when anyone invites me to workout with them, and I always invite anyone to workout with me, because it could be the catalyst for their own fitness and wellness journey like it was for me.
A9: You naturally lead a lifestyle of wellness, whether that’s hitting up a local workout class or empowering others to move. Tell us, what’s something simple you do every day to love your body well?
NB: I move my body every day. I like to think of it as an appointment with myself. If I had a client meeting, I wouldn’t cancel on a client, so why would I cancel on myself? It’s easy to get busy and overbook myself, so if I am invited to dinner or book club or a friend’s birthday, I will keep my workout, and I will arrive late to the party or event. It sounds simple, but when you make a commitment to yourself, and you follow through, it builds self-worth, self-love, and self-confidence.
A9: You started Bodd Camp a few years back — a women’s-only fitness + wellness retreat. What inspired you to start your own wellness movement?
NB: In 2015, when I started training my own bootcamp class at FastFit, aka the Bodd Squad, I realized it was mostly women who were showing up to my class. After class, we would hang out + talk about real issues, not just fitness or nutrition. We would get personal, opening up about divorce, break-ups, aging parents, kids going off to college. I realized that this was the only time these women were dedicating to themselves, and there needed to be a space for us to workout, hang out, and connect in this way.
So, I thought, what if I created the space for it? I started daydreaming of what that might look like… what if we could spend a whole weekend together? What if it could be the summer camp of my dreams, complete with workouts, workshops, healthy meals, merit badges, friendship bracelets, s’mores. I asked a yogi friend of mine, Jo Ann Camp, if she would lead yoga. My last name is Boddington, and hers is Camp, and “Bodd Camp” came to be. It became a way to include other women who are experts in health + wellness to show up and share their talents with us as well. The first camp was held in October 2017 in Ponca, Arkansas, on the Buffalo National River. I realized it was something women needed — to be together, to be in nature, to connect with one another and ourselves. Now, it’s an annual retreat held in the fall, my favorite time of year in Arkansas.
A9: [Anna here] Since I’ve known you, you’ve been encouraging women. As a contributor for Aisle 9, we’ve gotten to see that firsthand. How have you seen encouragement shape women’s view of themselves + their own wellness journey?
NB: Thank you for saying that! I grew up competing against other girls in sports + academics. It was only in my mid-20s, through fitness, that I felt included + encouraged by other women, through great instructors and through working out alongside other women, pushing each other, high-fiving, saying “good job,” or “you got this.” I have felt that encouragement, and I strive to be an encourager to others. We all have the power to lift each other up. When you see someone struggling through something — especially if it’s something you have struggled with in the past — it’s in that moment that you can connect and offer support. I have seen encouragement transform women’s views of themselves. It’s one of the joys of being a trainer, when you literally see the light come back on in someone’s eyes. The light was out, and now it’s on. It’s a sense of coming back into oneself. This is what empowerment is — when someone comes back into their own power and seeks to take that power, to take what they learned, and use it to help someone else.
A9: For those that are just starting out, what are some first steps you’d recommend in their wellness journey?
NB: Start small. Set small, achievable goals. Find something you actually like doing. Have fun with it. Tell your friends about it. Invite them to come with you. At a fitness conference I attended years ago, I heard someone say, to be successful in any fitness or wellness journey you need to have the three Cs: coaching, community, and consistency. Find a coach who motivates you, checks in with you, notices when you are there + when you are not. Find a community who supports you + holds you accountable. Be consistent. Find a routine that works for you. Make that appointment with yourself and show up to it. Don’t cancel on yourself. Life happens, so if you get off schedule, that’s okay. Just get right back on it.
A9: What sparked your passion for connecting with + encouraging others?
NB: I would say I’ve always been a gal’s gal. I acknowledge + appreciate other women, and I let them know when + how they inspire me. In terms of sparking my passion, I would say one moment that stands out is participating in the Women’s March in 2017. It was the first time I have ever marched on the State Capitol. It was a powerful statement. Profound in its solidarity. And it truly affirmed to me that we are better together. I had a lot of fear that year about Bodd Camp. What if nobody cares? What if nobody shows up? But the march encouraged me to do it anyway, and it’s been the most important thing I have done personally + professionally.
A9: How can we encourage ourselves + those around us to fight the insecurity + body image issues we can often face as women?
NB: We all have insecurities + body image issues at times. I don’t fight it. I acknowledge that it exists and that it’s temporary. I try to be easy on myself during times of self-doubt or self-criticism. I use it as an opportunity to check in with myself: Why am I feeling like this? How do I want to feel? Then I align my actions with how I want to feel. It gives me a sense of power back — power over my thoughts x actions.
A9: We hear it all the time — “this is my year.” What kind of advice do you tell women with aspirational new year’s resolutions? How can we make this year different, or do we simply need a mindset shift?
NB: I definitely think it’s a mindset. Health + wellness is a lifestyle — one that you create. Find out what that looks like for you. When do you feel your absolute best, healthiest, happiest, most alive, most radiant, lit up and on fire? What are you doing, and who are you with? Do more of that.