We had the good fortune of connecting with Terry Hagio and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Terry, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop!! In my 20s my friends and I loved shouting “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” as we entered the nth hour of drinking for the night. Can’t Stop Won’t Stop represented the amazing nights of partying with friends til the after hours bars in Chicago closed (bars there can stay open until 4AM or 5AM and I saw those lights turn on way too many times). I loved my life and my friends and had so much fun drinking and dancing the nights away. Until I didn’t. In my late 20s I started to feel like something was missing… there was more to life than the hamster wheel of working and partying. While I loved (and still love!) my day job and loved (and still love!) my friends and family I still felt like something was missing. Was this all there was to life? Work all week to make money to spend all weekend? Around that time a perfect storm happened: I had tons of credit card debt and the government raised the minimum payments to a level I could no longer afford. At the same time a bunch of friends started doing online workout programs and my sister went vegan. Since I had no money I couldn’t go out any more so I would go to bed early and wake up early. What else is there to do at 5AM besides work out? A half-pack a day smoker that never ran more than a couple miles in my life it was really challenging at first but like all things time and persistence helped and slowly the pounds started melting away. I also started eating more vegan and eventually went fully vegan and found purpose in helping spread the vegan message. I also fell in love with how the workouts were making me feel and decided to pay it forward by becoming an online fitness and nutrition coach to help other people like me. From feeling lost and without purpose I suddenly felt excited about waking up every day. I started volunteering with animal rights groups and got into running all sorts of races. My life was still full of fun with friends but also with things that made me feel fulfilled. My Can’t Stop Won’t Stop turned into waking up early for a run and rushing from one volunteer event to another before heading home to work on my coaching business. I still rock a Can’t Stop Won’t Stop life but these days when the lights are coming on at those late night Chicago bars I am heading out for my first workout of the day. I’m so grateful every day for the amazing people in my life that were there partying next to me at those Chicago bars that are still there with me at my runs either running alongside me or waiting for me at the finish line. To me Can’t Stop Won’t Stop represents the crazy journey I’ve been on and my transition to a life filled with meaning and purpose.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
In my day job I work as a technical implementation manager for the best credit union in the world. And while being a part of a credit union is something I take a great amount of pride in, it doesn’t fulfill me in the same way being an online fitness and nutrition coach does. I love what fitness has brought into my life and I love sharing that passion with others! Being able to help and inspire others on their own journey has been such an incredible thing! And helping share the delicious world of vegan food with people is something that I believe is my responsibility as a vegan. Starting my journey to coaching was intimidating at first- I had no idea what I was doing or if I was “doing it right”- but learning to just be myself and meet people where they’re at has been huge. I love working with people and helping them find things that work for them with their lifestyle by making it fun and never forcing anything.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
San Diego is the most incredible city for all the things! Tons of vegan food would have to be involved- plus some hikes! Torrey Pines is one of my favorites to take people to when they visit because you get in some great hiking with beautiful ocean views and a beachfront walk. Perhaps stop in La Jolla for some Trilogy Sanctuary or Green Door Cafe. Pop into Plant Power Fast Food and head to the beach in OB is a must-do as well. Dinner and drinks at Kindred and brunch (with mac & cheese) at Donna Jean. Any of the mission trails hikes followed by sushi at The Yasai. Sunset views from mission beach followed by dinner at Now Sushi. And always a stop at San Diego’s vegan grocery store, Mission Square Market. And if there’s time of course we’d have to pop into Eco Chic salon for some mani/pedi time!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There’s no way I would be who I am today without the incredible people I have in my life. In an effort to not list every person I’ve ever met I’ll try to keep it simple…. Sam: I’m so grateful to my sister for opening my eyes to veganism and the hypocrisy of the vegetarian life I had been leading. CARA & Black Flag: I’m also incredibly grateful for CARA in Chicago and Black Flag in San Diego for introducing me to running communities by making running in groups fun and introducing me to some of my best friends in the world. Heyo Robyn and Yumi! Tri Club of San Diego: TCSD showed me there’s more to endurance sports than just running and helping make that scary jump from running to swimming and biking much more manageable. And I got to meet my tri besties Maureen and Ric via Tri club! Vegang: I’d also love to shout out my vegan family in San Diego that makes everything so much fun and keeps me smiling and sane and supports me in every crazy adventure I go on. Best friends: Brooke, Nina, Camille, Toby, and Julie also need some love because they have loved and supported me through every crazy twist and turn I’ve been on and inspire me to do more and be better. Brian: For always believing in me and being my rock of confidence and voice of reason and always being there no matter what. And of course I have to shout out my mom who taught me to always use my voice to stand up for what I believe in and raised me to believe in myself and know I’m capable of doing anything I work hard for.