Coming to you live from Mammoth Mountain, California, Graham's logged in for another Instagram chat. This week I was fortunate enough to share a bit about my sports background and what it was like to be a dual collegiate athlete. If you're looking for advice or just wanting to know more about running or lacrosse, read below.

G: Morning SportRx Fans! Super stoked if you're tuning in. I'm coming to you live from the mountains in Mammoth, California. I'm excited to have Tess on, for those of you that don't know, Tess is a writer at SportRx which is awesome because she's super talented but she's also talented with fitness instruction. She does our HIIT courses on Wednesday which has been a huge hit. So if you've seen her there now you get to know more about Tess.

T: Thanks Graham, you're so sweet. It's funny to be on this side of the screen. These have been amazing collaborations.

G: Yeah! So today we get to talk about you as a HIIT instructor but also your sports background and how you got into fitness and how you're so cool and fit. So let's jump into that. Lets start with how you got into sports in the first place.

T: Yeah of course. Hey everybody! I'm originally from Connecticut and then I went to school in Savannah, Georgia where I played lacrosse and ran cross country but we'll get to that bit later. Growing up I was always into sports, I played tennis at our local country club and I rode horses for about 7 years so those were two of my big sports as a young kid before high school. Then in high school I swam varsity, ran track and I played lacrosse. So I was a triple athlete in high school which is something that I always loved, having a sport to go to after school was really awesome for me to look forward to. I also have 3 brothers so we'd always play kick the can or manhunt, all those silly games gave me the chance to be outside and running.

Mostly though, I'd really say I'm a runner, I love lacrosse but running is where my heart lies. There wasn't really one big moment aside from this, one that I'll never forget, was when my track coach in high school pulled me over one day and he said "I see a lot of people running this track every single day, some are good, some are okay, and some should just go home, but Tess you are a born runner. You are somebody who was born to run". That is something that has always stuck with me and that moment made me realize that running was something special to me. I really honed into that and soar with his words. So that was a really cool moment for my running career.

Lacrosse, I was named captain my junior year of high school which was really cool and awesome, a huge honor but it also came with a lot of intensity and stress. The goods and the bads. But then I was recruited, after visiting SCAD - The Savannah College of Art & Design, where I went to college. I had my unofficial visit, my tryouts but going back a bit, I originally reached out to the cross-country coach at SCAD to run for his team but he never got back to me. So then I got recruited for lacrosse which was super awesome and once I got there it was just made for me. My team, they were my family, I miss them every day. So that's a little of my up-to-college experience.

G: That's awesome. I like it when you mentioned your high school coach pulled you over and told you that. You were probably 16 or 17, its amazing that statement like that, whether you realize it or not at the time, can affect your sports career or the way you think about sports and the way you thought about running. That's a life style thing for you to hold onto and it shaped a lot of the person you are today. That's really cool. I've done a fair amount of coaching and I think as a coach my biggest goal is to inspire them (kids) to be their best and appreciate what they're doing and love it, really fall in love with it.

T: Yeah running is something natural that your body can do, you don't even think about it being anything other than just that, natural. So when my coach back in high school said that to me I was like "Wow this is for me".

G: When he said that to you then did you know you wanted to run in college?

T: No because when he told me I was a freshman so I wasn't even thinking about college at the time. But it's kind of funny actually because I didn't want to play a sport in college. I just wanted to do the damn thing and get out. So that was a big move for me to play lacrosse, not even run, and then to also do cross-country on top of that at the end of my college years. So yeah, it was a lot.

G: You're giving a little bit away about the college experience. That you didn't start off competing in both. So you got recruited for lacrosse, did you realize that it could pay for school?

T: Yeah that was a major part of it. I went to an art school, which initially wasn't in the books for me, I wasn't an artistic person in high school. So I actually went to SCAD for Equestrian Studies but after the first semester I realized did not want to be a horse girl for the rest of my life but I didn't want to leave SCAD. I had a family with my lacrosse and they were so special. So just having the scholarship, family, and community I knew SCAD was the place for me, my new home. Definitely the money helped but that wasn't the main reason why I did it.

G: What was it like to see the transition with talent levels of athletes from high school to college?

T: It was definitely a shift, especially because lacrosse isn't a huge sport in the south. Its mostly just a New England sport so it was cool to go down to a southern school and play with a bunch of girls I didn't know. I'd say though that most of the girls on my team were from northern states but they all had such incredible talent. Each of them had their own special mark which made playing with each of them more intense. Every girl on our team was ready to kick some booty. They all had their own adrenaline and fire within them that was so special to see these girls come from across the country and show up on this field with that killer connection. I was definitely more intense. I got a lot more bruises. it was fast pace. 2 hours practice every day. 5 am every Thursday for lifting. It was intense but I could not have done it without the girls on my team. They made the hardest days the best days and the best days even better.

G: It's definitely great to have a team like that. I've heard conditioning at the college level is debatable the hardest conditioning some have ever done.

T: Every pre and fall season we had trials for mile time and cone drills and all the tough things our coach made us train for. We all absolutely hated it but we got through it together.

G: As a bit of a segway to working at SportRx, you and I are always talking about nutrition and food. Why don't you tell us a bit about what has changed for you from your younger years to now in your nutrition? Is it similar or have you tailored your diet and eating habits?

T: Yeah my nutrition has been quite a journey. In high school, it was Doritos and Oreos every day after school. But I never really gained weight even after eating all that. Then I went off to college not thinking I could possibly gain weight but freshman 15 was very much a thing for me. But training a lot for lacrosse I became really conscious about what I was eating and putting in my body because it tied into sustaining myself for 2-hour practices and on top of that I was crazy so I would always go for a run before or after practice too. I started to learn more about the macronutrients; the proteins, fats, and carbs, all that. But I would be lying if I didn't say I was a little bit scared of carbs in my earlier years as an athlete causes they were shunned upon during that time. That lead me to give paleo and keto a try, I did a lot of research on them which was cool I think they're very interesting and great diets they just weren't right for me and my running.

Then the end of my freshman year in college I moved into my own apartment which allowed me to cook all my own meals. And my mom is a chef so I was graced with her divine cooking my entire life. So I knew my way around the kitchen. Though I had a tough time in my junior year of college. I ran my first half marathon which was a big thing for me. That day just put my running at a high, I was on cloud 9, it just felt so good to run that far. From there I started running a lot, close to 10 miles day, on top of practice. It got really intense but it didn't occur to me to add calories on top of the additional miles. So I actually lost a lot of weight which became very alarming, for obvious reasons. It then grew into some unhealthy eating habits because I started tracking what I was eating and paying too much attention to what I was eating rather than taking care of it in a proper way.

Overall though I definitely have had my ups and downs with my nutrition as an athlete but my research continued to grow and helped me recover from those bad thoughts. Now I really live enjoying a balanced diet and eating whole foods. Balance is key. Now I think I'm the healthiest I've ever been.

G: There's a lot there that you mentioned that can be helpful for people who are concerned with their nutrition. 2 things. The macronutrients fats and carbs get such a bad rep, people don't know how to utilize them properly. They're concerned with weight gain but if you don't prioritize them as an athlete you can really hurt yourself.

T:I love carbs! I honestly don't know how I went without them. I preach to them.

G: CTFU which stands for Carb the Fudge Up

So how did you end up running cross-country then?

T: Silly story. My lacrosse coach started dating the XC coach. She knew I would run a lot and running around Savannah, everyone will see you because it's a smaller city. I think he either saw me running or she mentioned it to him so when I went home for Christmas break my junior year he gave me a call and asked if I wanted to run for him the following season. I was over the moon, I remember jumping up and down mouthing to my mom my excitement. Super awesome! I got to run my senior year which worked out perfectly because XC season is in the fall and lax is in the spring so I got to go to both practices and be a part of two awesome teams.

G: Well you seemed to have had cool college experience. But what about now, you still do a fair amount of running. Tell us a little bit about it. What do you love most about running now versus in college?

T: I love now that its completely on my own terms. I still love playing sports but now I can go out whenever and do my won thing. It's only me telling me what I need to do, no one yelling at me to pushing me other than myself. Now running is truly my escape, it's my sanctuary. My time to go and be at peace with myself. To go and be free.

After all those years of team playing its been nice to relax a bit but also still have that fire within me. Its also been fun to challenge myself too though. I recently started working on my mile time. the first one I clocked a 6:14 which I was proud of given it was a year after not training at the collegiate level. Then I tried again about a week ago and clocked in a 5:55 which got me so hyped. I almost PR'd, my fastest was 5:52 but that experience made me so happy I shot my arms up and shouted "heck yeah" and almost hit a biker.

G: Personal PR's are great. That's awesome you can still get stoked about it. Well, you're super strong in the gym, for those that haven't tuned in be sure to check out Tess' Wednesday Workouts that we do live on Instagram too. She'll kick your butt. So why don't you talk about why you set out to get certified for that.

T: Health and fitness have always been a major passion for me. It seemed totally normal for me to go out and get certified to become a personal trainer. I'm so passionate and its bring immense happiness to my life. I just want everyone to feel as good as I do when I'm running in the gym or when I'm eating good food. I did the self-study so that was nice to learn on my own too, it was a fun journey to learn about the body and how it moves and reacts to things. I also want to become a certified nutritionist so that's in the pipeline too. My passions are just something I want to share with the world. It helped me through so many hard times. Even with the Wednesday workouts I know they're quick and fast but they make me feel a lot better so I hope it does the same for everyone who joins in. That they're doing something good for themselves.

"Just moving your body just a little bit every day can make you feel so much better"

G: That's great advice. I think everyone can benefit from hitting a quick workout every day. 20-30 minutes can help you stay motivated and increase happiness.

T: Just the other day, my dear friend Emma who does the workout with me said this to me. It made all the sense in the world about my passions for health and fitness. It goes like this A lot of us may start to work out for our image, what we look like in the mirror. Which will eventually come, the results will show but not after one workout. But what does have an immediate effect is internal. Even just 20 minutes you're helping your organs and your insides. So fitness and health start internally but when you keep doing good things for yourself the external will show too.

G: Okay that's a beautiful way to end this! This was awesome, it was so great to catch up and thanks so much for chatting and telling us your story.

Thanks for tuning into for another live chat with Graham on Instagram. Check-in every week and get to know some super cool athletes along the way.