You’re just a stretch away from changing your life!
Elaine Tran is a user experience designer by day and a fitness and stretching influencer by night; creating videos on Youtube and writing blog posts after hours.
Elaine’s fitness journey started in the Summer of 2013. She wanted to improve her health, having been underweight her whole life and often falling ill. During this time, Elaine stumbled across a pilates video on YouTube that geared her towards strength training. This notion of building muscle in tandem with gaining weight sparked her initial excitement for fitness.
For the next 5 years, Elaine focused on pilates, HIIT and weight training. Building strength through consistency allowed her to explore various physical activities such as dragon boat racing, Muay Thai, bouldering and dance — activities that Elaine never imagined doing growing up. However, Elaine came to a point where she felt like she was going to the gym without a plan. She had built this entire identity around strength training, yet felt like it became dull and mindless. Elaine decided to continue her fitness journey by experimenting more in search of something that would make her excited again.
It wasn’t until Elaine participated in a 30 day trial of pole dancing classes that she finally felt reengaged in her exercises. She was excited to see her peers’ process in their own journeys – seeing them struggle when learning a new move to mastering it a few classes later. Elaine wanted to be able to do the same. She soon discovered that the strength she had gained from years of weight lifting helped her with pole, but she lacked the flexibility that was required. When Elaine looked at her peers, she saw that they had the opposite problem- they had the flexibility, but not the strength. This realization marked the beginning of Elaine’s journey towards improving flexibility and mobility.
When Elaine first started training for flexibility, she struggled to touch her toes. Growing up, Elaine did not participate in dance, martial arts, or gymnastics. Since she had never trained her flexibility at a young age, she was led to believe that she wouldn’t be able to now as an adult. Despite this, she decided to work on her flexibility by changing her mindset rather than avoiding it. She then made it her goal to stretch every day for an hour to see if her flexibility would increase. Elaine’s flexibility goals included being able to touch her toes, sit comfortably cross-legged on the floor, and achieve the front splits in less than a year. After five months and hundreds of hours of stretching, Elaine met each of her goals. She was able to achieve these flexible feats by researching stretching routines and developing her own personalized routine based on her knowledge of what was effective.
Elaine felt so inspired by her own progress that she started a blog called Journey to Mobility in September 2019. Elaine’s blog served as a creative outlet and a movement to help people improve their range of motion. Elaine’s overarching goal is to reframe the idea of flexibility and provide resources for others to train for flexibility by sharing her own wealth of knowledge.
“Flexibility is something that you can train for, at any age. I feel inspired to help people push beyond their own mental and physical barriers,” says Elaine, her personal journey being a testament to this statement.
Stretching has changed Elaine’s life in that she has realized how interconnected both the mind and body are — if you want to train your body beyond its physical barriers, you have to train your mind first.
“When you start to push beyond your limits, you will amaze yourself.”
Elaine’s advice for those interested in becoming more flexible is to, first and foremost, adopt the mindset of believing that you can achieve your mobility goals, rather than accepting that you are inflexible. Elaine also recommends outlining a stretching goal and mapping out daily steps to achieving your goal. Like every other goal, you need to know what you are working towards to move in that direction.
Another step that you can take in order to increase your flexibility is to watch some of Elaine’s awesome and accessible stretching videos on her YouTube channel! Over the course of the COVID pandemic, Elaine felt compelled to compliment her more static blog materials with follow-along videos, where she guides you through various stretching routines to target specific areas.
Since launching the channel back in August 2020, Elaine has amassed a following of over 3,700 subscribers and over 100,000 views on her YouTube stretching videos. The feedback that Elaine has gotten since creating her videos has been overwhelmingly positive. She has received feedback from viewers across the globe who have gained flexibility from viewing her videos. Elaine even received messages from her supporters who have cried from joy at the pain relief they have experienced through her flexibility training.
The positive feedback that Elaine has received is a direct reflection of the time and energy she has put into developing helpful and insightful instruction. Elaine even tests all of her stretching routines with her family and boyfriend alike, to ensure that her routines are for those who are beginners to the practice.
I have had the pleasure of receiving a stretching class from Elaine on relieving neck and back pain and can say with much certainty that Elaine and her expert stretching content are Ursula approved!