By Dan Johnson
ITA Director of Communications & Marketing
TEMPE, Ariz. – Lauren Embree had this feeling in the pit of her stomach that she wanted to help others understand and see the benefits to exercise and healthy eating.
Embree, who starred on the tennis courts at the University of Florida, where she led the Gators to two NCAA National Championships, earned five ITA All-America accolades and went on to enjoy several years of playing tennis professionally, credits her dedication to fitness and proper eating to her on-court success.
When her professional playing days wound to a close, Embree sought a way to not only keep her work in the gym and kitchen going but wanted to see if she could pass along her knowledge and help others in their own health and fitness journey.
She started with family and friends, sharing workout routines and meal plan ideas. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and that led Embree to dream about expanding outside of her inner circle to reaching a larger audience.
The decision to share her passion with others wasn’t easy, however.
“I was hesitant to start it because I think I cared too much what other people thought,” said Embree, who’s now in her second year as Assistant Coach of the Pepperdine Women’s Tennis team. “This past year I have tried to figure things out, trust myself more, and look at situations with a better perspective. This is my life, and if I am passionate about helping others, that should be more than enough to pursue something I love doing.”
Embree took the leap and started an Instagram account, @lo_fitt, where she’s already racked up over 1,000 followers. Embree posts videos and stories of her performing various workout routines and shares examples of meal preparation and planning.
“It has always been in my gut that this is something I wanted to share with others and continue to learn about,” she said.
Embree encourages those that are interested in talking with her about setting up a workout routine and/or nutrition plan, to reach out through Instagram direct message.
“I want (@lo_fitt) to be very personalized,” she said. “I send out a questionnaire and that helps me write their program. If there’s a few individuals that have the same thing going on or a similar goal, I’ll maybe group them together. I start everyone off with a month-long program and that’s a long enough time for them to see results and stay accountable.”
Now that she’s started the Instagram accounts, any trepidations she had about posting in a public form have quickly dissipated.
“I don’t even think twice about posting now,” said Embree.
While her fitness endeavor has gotten off to a great start, Embree is quick to point out that this is a side project. She’s fully invested in her coaching career and eager to do her part to continue the Waves’ success in 2019 when the dual match portion of the college tennis season begins.
“I’m still learning a bunch,” said Embree of coaching. “I may be biased but being able to work under Per (Nilsson, head coach at Pepperdine) has been unreal. It’s so fun. I love my job. I see from Per how to do things the right way, and while the on-court was easier to learn, I’ve really enjoyed learning all of the other things that assistant coaches do like office work and recruiting. I like being challenged and pushed and Per’s been unreal to help and guide me.”