The site is in beta mode & no orders are being fulfilled. Updates & improvements coming soon — thank you for your patience!

Catch it on

Episodes

Podcast Forum

Contact Us

Have feedback? Want to be a guest on the podcast? Questions, comments or concerns? Contact us by clicking here!

We talk with health & wellness influencer Jo Encarnacion (@gofitjo) about childhood, friendship, emotional support, the power of owning your feelings, the importance of authenticity, and how she doesn’t apologize for showing human expression. We hear about her experience coming into her own sexuality, struggles through marriage, and how she gave her daughters “the talk” that we all wish we had gotten.

Sasza Lohrey

Today we will be having GoFitJo, Joanne Encarnacion join us to do the first of a fun new series, we’re going to be launching using the 36 questions popularized by the New York Times, if you’re familiar with the 36 questions that the New York Times made famous, it’s 36 questions to basically fall in love with somebody. And it came from a scientific research study in which they took strangers and they have these strangers answer these three sets of 12 questions each, it starts off kind of on the lighter side, and they get deeper and deeper. And basically the point of it as there was this great quote that they said, “One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained efforts escalating, reciprocal, personal self disclosure.” And so according to the research studies, that was kind of the recipe for intimacy, we’ll call it for developing kind of feelings of love, not necessarily romantically, but that closeness and intimacy. And so we’re going to be taking those questions and doing a series with some of the people who’ve been on the podcast, some will be new guests, and some will even be friends. And if any users any of you guys, any followers are interested in being a part of it, you’re welcome to contact us, and we’d love to chat with you as well. All right, well, we will start with a few of the questions from set one, and we’ll kind of just wing it. I’m going to start with, it’s from the lighter set, which is surprising to me. But it is take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

GoFitJo

All right, so four minutes here, my life story. I was born in New York, historically queens, actually, my parents moved here when my mom was eight months pregnant. And she wanted to go through New York because she was trying to cross the Ellis Island like that was her whole dream as an immigrant woman that she wanted to pass through Ellis Island when she came to the US. And so I am the youngest child out of my family. My brother and sister are eight and 10 years older than me, they were born in the Philippines. So I’m first generation Filipino American, my parents moved out to California, roughly when I was about four or five, because I just couldn’t deal with the winters were Island folks. So I mean, being in the cold winter was just not something that we’re born to do growing up. I mean, like, as an immigrant child, I think, you know, most immigrant kids, we learned how to survive, you know, my parents came here with nothing. And I grew up with very busy parents that were doing their best to provide us with what they could and the means that they had, my brother and sister didn’t move to the US until I was about 10 or 12 years old. So my first like real memories with them that were significant weren’t until my like adolescent years. And that was a real big challenge for me, because they felt like they were another set of parents, especially in that generational gap. And that cultural gap then being raised in the Philippines, me being raised here, we just butt heads a lot. So there was definitely a lot of fighting and arguing growing up a lot of misunderstandings just from cultural and generational perspectives. And so my upbringing was in a lot of eyes really, really rough, I would say to like a more Americanized or westernized mindset or mentality or perspective. But, you know, my life was very much the common life of most immigrant kids that are growing up here, or are children of immigrant parents who are growing up here, my brother and sister discipline me a lot physically, unfortunately. But that also meant that we had to really learn how to work through our issues as a family in a much more, I guess, unique or unconventional way. And so you know, my brother, my sister, when I was 15, call the cops on me for starting a fight with my family. And it really was like not even a fight. It was like me just asserting and taking up my space as a teenage kid. 

But since their generational and cultural gaps are so different, they saw that as just me being disrespectful in their eyes, and not the way that a traditional Filipino kid should be raised. And so that was a blessing in disguise, because that whole situation sets our family on a road to getting mental and emotional health through therapy, which was really amazing. At least it was amazing for me, my parents were still very much so the traditional Catholic Filipino parents who didn’t believe in mental health or emotional therapy, they were very much so in the mindset of like, let’s pray away any kind of emotion. And I think that pretty much set the tone of me being the rebel or the fighter in my own life of just trying to really navigate my life in the best way possible for me because I knew that what they were trying to raise me with didn’t feel authentic to me because it wasn’t in alignment with who I am and who I was, and also in My culture of America or my Western culture, that pretty much like set the foot of who I became as I got older, then I met my now partner 18 years ago, we moved in had our first daughters at well, she was going to be 16.

 In may actually, since then we pretty much were single handedly trying to raise kids in our 20s, while still trying to create a career in life for us, which was really, really difficult and really challenging. And one of the things that I knew right off the bat when he and I decided to have a family was that I wanted to raise my kids with the emotional support that I didn’t get when I was growing up, because I knew how important was to connect on that emotional level. Because as a child, that’s pretty much all I was screaming for was emotional connection and emotional support. And it’s not that my parents didn’t want to give it to me, it’s just that they didn’t know how to they weren’t raised in a kind of cultural generation that was taught the value and importance of someone’s emotional well being. We’ve been raising our two daughters in that sense. And then career wise, I’ve been everything from being a hairdresser for 10 years to working in tech for six. And now I’m woman’s life coach, as well as a social media influencers. So I’ve really kind of gone through all these different stages of my life career wise, to lead me to where I am today. That was a little bit longer than four minutes. But hopefully that’s my life story.

Sasza Lohrey

Okay, that’s okay, you want to stop? No, I think I love the idea of being the rebel in your own life, which you you briefly mentioned, and I think all of us whether we realize it or not, and if people don’t realize this, I think it’s important to are trying to create the things we didn’t have growing up, you know, be it emotional support, be it connection, be it, you know, a safe space physically, emotionally. And so I think that it’s important for us to recognize what we didn’t have and empower ourselves to seek that out. Rather than repeating those patterns or going the opposite way and being bitter about it. But making the conscious effort to create those things we we didn’t have and have an empty space or need for and to create it, whether it’s for our family or for other people. It’s for BBXX. So okay, perfect. The next question, would you like to be famous? In what way? So I thought this one was interesting coming from somebody who has built such a large following, I’ve never sought to think about what my definition of famous so I’m not sure what your definition of fame would be. But I thought it might be kind of interesting to hear your opinion. 

GoFitJo

The question I’d like to replace that with is what is the legacy you want to leave behind? What is the legacy? Or what do I want to be known for? What What do I want my kids to be telling other people about when it comes to telling the story of their mom, like how their mom walked this earth, the thing that comes to mind for me is that I want to be known for somebody that has created space for people to explore their own authenticity in a safe way that kind of explores the dark sides and the messy sides and the bright sides, I just want to be known as somebody that has given opportunity for people to be able to explore their fullest expression of themselves in whatever capacity that means.

Sasza Lohrey

How would you define one’s authentic self?

GoFitJo

I mean, I think like, you know, I think this like pandemic is beautiful in so many different ways. And one of the ways I think that it is kind of beautiful is that we are seeing a level of human expression from different people that we would have never really seen before. What I mean by that is you have somebody who appears have always been like this go getter this, like really type A, it looks like they have all their shit together. And all of a sudden, they’re like, you guys, like the shit is crazy. It’s like falling apart, and you kind of see them in their own humanity. So that’s what I think I mean, in terms of authenticity, like to me being authentic means living in your fullest expression of your own humanity or your own human expression, which is a wide range of human expression, right? Like, where we can come to full acceptance of who we are in terms of the way we express ourselves. That to me is authenticity.

Sasza Lohrey

This concept just popped into my head of the default self, and that this whole stopping the world, and especially for some people who aren’t able to work anymore, or with everything being different other sides of them come out these different versions, some of them are kind of more fun, creative or other people more stress or other people just a bit lost and desperately trying to fill their time with whatever they can come up with. But when you take away all the noise, all the hustle and bustle and busy work and busy talk and FOMO activities, you know, what’s the default? What do you do when all the rest of that stuff that takes up a huge amount of your bandwidth time and energy wise normally, what’s your default self that comes out in that new environment? I think that’s an interesting concept. Next question. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a third two year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

Sasza Lohrey

I think the body and the reason being is because I would love to be able to capture all my life experiences in memory all the way through to 90, I want to have the mind of somebody who’s gone through those experiences. And then but 90, I’m hoping that I could be able to like, share those experiences still. But I would want that I’d want to retain the 30 year old body just so that I can keep my mind evolving all the way through those years, because there’s just so much more wisdom to gain.

Sasza Lohrey

If you could change anything about the way you were raised. What would it be?

GoFitJo

I think the one thing that I would honestly change was the fact that my brother and sister lived in the Philippines in my younger years, because I would have wanted to create some of the memories that I see our daughters have at that age right now. I don’t have a bond with them. We respect each other, we love each other. But they’re not in my intimate circle, that saddens me to a certain degree. But it also is one of those things where as you mentioned, the sustainability part, we came into our lives, they came into my life when they were 20 something and I’m still like 10 years old, they’re already out the door in terms of family and wanting to develop a relationship with their sister, regardless of the fact that we’re family. It’s like they’re ready to like be an adult in this new country. So just that I think I would have loved to like just experience what my brother and sister would have been like, as kids would have been fun.

Sasza Lohrey

What do you value most in a friendship? And what does friendship mean?

GoFitJo

Friendship has so many different levels. To me, I think because of my line of work, I have the ability to get really deep with people on an intimate level because of just as what I do as a coach, and so that i think i always cherish but in terms of my friendships, I value pure transparency and no bullshit, I want them to come to me in their ugly and darkest and brightest moments to like, I want to see all of them. I don’t want this whole, like, “Hi, you doing today?” and they’re like, “I’m doing great.” But the reality is that the inside they’re like all jacked up, you know, like, I want to know them for what their current state is at. So to me, that’s that. And then in terms of friendship, what I define with that, well, I think because I didn’t have the closeness of family that you see so much on like media that’s being like representative media of just like this close knit family. My friendships to me are like chosen family, they are my sisters, they are my brothers, they are people that I lean on in a way that you know, if I couldn’t lean on family, which I mean, in some ways I can for certain things, but in other ways I can’t. I’m gonna lean on my chosen family.

Sasza Lohrey

I love the comment you said about wanting your friends to come to you, you know, in their most difficult or ugliest times and their brightest or best times equally. And it’s so interesting, because immediately I thought, well, you know, when you are at your darkest, whether it’s, you know, passively, completely depressed or bawling, crying and screaming, kind of in this lost crisis mode. I don’t think I ever really call people at this darkest times, or there be two people or partners, or a certain friend, best friend, which might evolve throughout life, but there are no more than ever, I’d say probably three people that you could actually call it that time, but that’s when people do want to hear from you. They want to know how terrible yours are. They can help and you know, tell them they won’t know. But then there’s also those best times and something really great happens. We often then underplay how bad we’re doing. And then we also sometimes underplay accomplishments we have citing things either because we didn’t want to build up too much to it without knowing if it was gonna work out or not. And then after the fact, you don’t want to sound too excited about it or bragging but really needing to own our own wins. How can we make more of an effort to really own those low points and own those points more and expose ourselves in those times to our friends who want us to do so. Well, this isn’t one of the New York Times questions, but I love that somebody submitted it. 

GoFitJo

Yeah, so the question that it’s that lean mean, mommy machine asks, Do you ever feel guilty unloading on those people, even if you would expect a friend to feel comfortable doing that with you? I’ll speak on my cuz because I have been working really, really hard in the last maybe year. I mean, it’s been a practice of asking and receiving help. I’m the kind of person that just is not asking and receiving help. What I have had to do is lead by example, by a unloading on my friends and know that we have created a friendship that has enough safety and a container that I can unload in that capacity. And then in terms of the guilt. One of the things that have been useful for me is instead of saying I’m sorry for like dumping on you, I actually say thank you so much for listening to me. You have no idea how much that means to me. So rather than like placing this notion that something that you should feel bad for, I’m grateful that you have the ability and capacity to listen to me. I try really hard to not apologize for my human expression. I tell people never apologize for crying. never apologize for expressing how you feel. I say that to our kids all the time, too. And and that’s really important because people who come into my circle, I don’t want them to feel guilty about the feelings that they’re currently feeling in that moment, because I want them to own it. And if I’m the one who’s saying, I need to own my feelings, I also need to own my feelings too. And so rather than feeling guilt, I express gratitude because the reality is, you don’t feel guilty for sharing all your shit to them or unloading. You want to do it. That’s what friends are for.

GoFitJo

The the quote you said, never apologize for human expression. I think that’s incredible. And like we said, if it’s the highs or the lows, maybe it’s crying. Maybe it’s uncontrolled, ecstatic, static, excitement. Youthful enthusiasm is one of my favorite qualities in any human ever. And I think we lose that a lot as adults. Which I’d love for somebody to call me up a friend bursting with uncontrollable excitement about something that happened a small way and a big one anything I yeah, I think we kind of need to tap back into that humaneness and unfiltered youthful  emotions. Going off of what layman mommy machines. Question is one of my sisters calls me a lot to unload. And I think as partners as friends, one of our biggest mistakes is that we want to try and offer solutions. And every time I think I’m getting a lot better at it, she goes, you just need to be here to listen, I don’t want you to give me advice. She gets really upset with me. But that’s our instinct is to fix it. But I think making that clear in the beginning to the other person, it still is an emotional weight to let somebody unload on to but when they know, their job isn’t to fix it. Actually you would prefer if they do nothing to try and fix it. If you do sit there and listen, and then you know, we can move on. We can talk about something else. But you have zero responsibility of figuring this out. That I think can also help the the dynamic and and kind of simplify it. And maybe take some of the pressure that might otherwise come with that.

GoFitJo

Right. The guilt sometimes is created when we feel like someone else has to take responsibility for a shit.

Sasza Lohrey

Right, right. Right when we feel like we can’t fix somebody else’s. 

GoFitJo

Right, right. And the reality is, we’re not designed to fix other person’s crap. We’re designed to fix our own shit. Other people can support that, but it’s not their job to fix our shit.

Sasza Lohrey

help them explore it. 

GoFitJo

Yeah, for sure. For sure.

Sasza Lohrey

Neither is there generally one solution? Yes. Yeah, there was another question which we can throw in there. 

GoFitJo

Yeah.

Sasza Lohrey

It was. Do you believe in saving sex for marriage? Why or why not?

GoFitJo

So here’s what I tell my daughters and I had sex with my husband prior to marriage, and I had sex with a couple other partners prior to my husband, our daughter was born. I got pregnant before I got married. So I don’t have an opinion on that. Whether one is right or the other. Like, to me, it’s a personal choice of whether somebody wants to choose to save sex for after marriage. I also think it’s also really important to kind of think about what is your definition of sex? Because or some people sex might mean intercourse. For other people’s sex might mean fingerplay it might mean anal.

Sasza Lohrey

I love that idea of what is your definition of sex? And then we go back to like Peggy Orenstein’s proposal that what if losing your virginity was actually the first time you had an orgasm, for example, there are all these really different ways to define it. And so here we have from the Leaning mommy machine, she said, I got pregnant while planning my wedding, lol, whatever you feel you are ready for mentally just make sure you’re mentally ready. And I think that’s that’s a huge thing.

GoFitJo

I was having a conversation actually with my 16 year old daughter, she called me one day and she was like, so mom, my friends and I have been talking about sex sounds like great load on me. Like I am really excited to hear this from you. And I’m also like, really honored as a mom that my near six year old daughter-

Sasza Lohrey

Totally, that was my first thought.

GoFitJo

Is, like, open to sharing this conversation with me, which means that I’ve done my job of creating a really emotional safe space for that, which I’m like, Fuck yeah, you know, but anyways, I was telling her my thoughts on sex before marriage and all that stuff from a parental point of view. And I said, Look, babe, to me, sex isn’t required for love and love is not required for sex. Some people are going to want to have sex before love exists in that combination, because they want to just try it and they want to see how it feels like we can’t pass any judgments just because our perspective or our view on things is different. However, people want to go about their sexual choices or their sexuality or their sexual freedom or their sexual exploration should be based on what a person’s personal choices are because it’s it’s tied into their identity. As a person, and if we place any kind of shame into that, or any kind of opinions that might sway them one way or the other, we might actually destroy or just dent someone’s identity a little bit, which is going to cause them to kind of rethink who they are based on somebody else’s culture or belief systems. So you know, I think to answer that question, it is a little bit more complex, because I don’t believe there’s a right answer for that. I don’t believe that sex is required to be saved for after marriage, or vice versa. It’s all a personal choice.

Sasza Lohrey

What is the greatest accomplishment? So now we left off with that friendship question. We’re in set to have these three sets. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

GoFitJo

I mean, I honestly think right now, the greatest accomplishment of my life was probably having that conversation with my daughter. Oh, also, so that that’s one of them. But the other little accomplishment that I thought was really hilarious was I mean, obviously, we’re all in this like state home situation. So we’re not only work from home or school from home, everybody is home in our house. And our 15 year olds, nearly six year old daughter, her name was Iris, she wanted to go play video games in the living room. And that living room wall is the same wall of our bedroom. We told our kids like, Hey, you know, Mom and Dad need an evening to just be without any of your voices. Like we’re gonna be in a room starting 8pm don’t come in here. Unless it’s an emergency. You guys are already fed, everything is done. So our daughter comes in. And she’s like, Can I play video games? And we’re like, sure, but till what time, right? And she was like, What do you mean? And they go, Well, what time because I mean, your dad here, we’re trying to hang out and connect. Right? As she goes, trying to get into it. She goes, Okay, you guys can have sex after 10”30. All right, like, I want to play video games until 10:30.

Sasza Lohrey

Video games are probably pretty loud.

GoFitJo

I mean, yes, but maybe a barrier. But it’s also one of those things where as a child, you just don’t want to be part of that. Right? Like, you don’t want to have it. Yeah, I think the fact that in our household, there is this beautiful and beautiful understanding of relationships. And that there’s, there’s a dynamic of my relationship with their dad that has all different parts of it. Like they don’t just see us as parents, they also see us as a couple and as a unit as partners, as sexual partners as romantic partners. And they know the importance for us to be able to nourish all those parts of our dynamic so that we can be the best parents of them as possible. So I think to me, that has been some of my greatest accomplishments is just being able to raise a family where everyone is able to talk about their needs and their emotions so openly, so that we know how to support each other. That is, like solid to me. It’s been really great.

Sasza Lohrey

And I think a lot of people can relate in, for example, here in the comments, I don’t know if it’s Joey, or I’m gonna go with [inaudible].

GoFitJo

Her name is [inaudible]actually she was one of my clients.

Sasza Lohrey

Perfect. We have a comment here that says one of this person’s greatest accomplishments was coming out on the other side of our son’s mental health Odyssey both as parents and husband and wife, probably a lot of parents can relate to feeling some of the deepest sense of fulfillment in parts of their lives moments experiences Odysseys tied to their children and their children’s growth, understanding, safety, and all of that. And so shout out to that.

GoFitJo

Lean mean, mommy machine says what is a good age as a parent, talk to your child about sex? Is the age different for boys and girls? You think actually, I was asked this the other day through dm, and we’ve talked about this before Sazsa, I think sex education should be given to kids as early as possible, but age appropriate. What I mean by that is your child is, let’s say, under the age of give or take eight or nine, and depending on their own maturity, and their own exposure to relationships, and people and what they’ve seen, I think one of the easiest forms of sex education that can be provided at a time is just teaching body autonomy, and body anatomy, and what all these different body parts and what do they actually mean. And the difference is between body parts from boys and girls and labeling them in the proper scientific name. And the reason why I think it’s important to label them in the proper scientific name is should an unfortunate event happen where your child gets in a situation where there’s sexual assaults, but they can actually express what happened to them in a very clear way to any adult.

Sasza Lohrey

We did a great podcast interview called the birds and the bees all about when to talk with kids and in what way and how soon you can start and the reality is it can start as early as possible because the base of all good relationships of safe sex have good sex, this trust, respect, vulnerability, you know, these are huge themes that have nothing to do with sex and have everything to do with sex. What is your most treasured memory?

GoFitJo

That’s a hard one, I think that’s a hard one for me because I treasure so many. There’s

one. 

Sasza Lohrey

Yeah, there’s so many of them.

Sasza Lohrey

There’s another one. It’s what’s your most terrible memory? But I wouldn’t want to go into that. I feel like that one’s a bit of a weird.

GoFitJo

And that’s also hard for me, because I always have a way of looking at terrible things with such light.

 

Sasza Lohrey

But I was gonna ask what’s maybe a hard or difficult memory or experience that has become important that you think has has shaped you that you’ve kind of gone back to?

GoFitJo

Yeah, so the one that actually comes to mind even in the question that you’d asked, like, what’s the most cherished memory was the one where me and john, my partner of 18 years, finally had a sit down conversation. And it was brutally honest, this is almost like two years ago, where he asked me are you so in love with me, and I said, I am falling in and out of love with you. And that was like, the hardest truth, I had to acknowledge to my partner to just say, you want the truth, I’m falling in and out of love with you. It’s like, and that happens, I think, all the time in relationships. But when I said this to him, I was like, I am like halfway out the door of this feeling of like, out of love, I view love so differently, like, I don’t view love as just a romantic aspect. So when I think of love, and when I express it, and he knows this, so when I expressed like, I’m falling in and out of love with you, he knew that it was like, holy shit, she’s scraping the bottom of the barrel if she’s falling out of love with me. And that, to me was one of the most cherished memories and also eye opening memories for both of us, because we had to really then sit down and go, what is it that we both are putting into this relationship that is causing this much disconnection. And that’s when the work really happened. And I think oftentimes, couples think that they have to do the work together. And that’s it. And that’s the that’s part of the equation. But what they don’t realize is that they have to do the work on themselves individually, and together simultaneously. And that’s when things for us really started to progress in this way that I think and I want to say that people have witnessed us over the last like year and a half, two years, and they’re just like, Oh, my God, your guys’s relationship is so amazing. I’m like, you have no idea the amount of work that we had to do on ourselves individually and together simultaneously in the same lanes as we’re working towards something.

Sasza Lohrey

Yeah, because that’s what builds the foundation. One of our other IG lives we did was with my friend Tyla, she was talking about how before deciding to get married, even though she’d been with the same person, happily for, you know, 10 plus years was she didn’t want to commit to this title of we and risk losing a part of her identity before she felt like she had it a bit more solid. And so it’s about really having a stronger concept of I, before combining those identities, but then continuing to develop that I threw out.

GoFitJo

Super.

Sasza Lohrey

Thank you so much for joining us, Jo. And thank you to everybody who tuned in. And we look forward to continuing this conversation in the coming 

 

GoFitJo

Yeah. Thanks Saza. Thank you so much for having me. 

Sasza Lohrey

Thank you guys so much for asking those questions. 

GoFitJo

Bye.

Sasza Lohrey

Thank you keep them coming. Talk to you soon. 

GoFitJo

Bye babe. 

No shownotes found for this episode.

No additional resources found for this episode.

About the Expert

Joanne Encarnacion

Joanne Encarnacion

A modern day mother hustler sharing her fitness journey towards a happier and healthier life, one rep at a time

Join the BBXX Community and take part in the conversation!

Related Episodes

Previous
Next

Related Products

Previous
Next

Related Companies

A self-care line for humans with vaginas and humans without vaginas who love vaginas
This content is only available
Previous
Next

Related Kits

By Natasha Ivanovic   However it all came to fruition––whether they asked you out, you asked them out, or you were set up––you’re about
Previous
Next

Related Content

Previous
Next