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break free from the physical pain and mental misery of achieving the “perfect” body

It Doesn’t Have to Hurt to Work™

It Doesn’t Have to Hurt to Work™ is a transformational memoir about breaking free from the physical pain and mental misery of achieving the “perfect” body and a guide to helping you find strength and whole-body health through the practice of functional fitness.

As a former cardio junkie and champion calorie counter, author Erin Paruszewski grew up believing that “more is more” when it came to exercise and “less is more” when it came to food. On the outside, she was in great shape. But on the inside, her body was falling apart thanks to the wear and tear of overexercising and fueling herself with a chemically processed, low-fat, high-sugar diet.

After hitting rock bottom, this reality set her on a new trajectory in both body and mindset. Erin’s lived experience and functional lifestyle pivot are the inspiration behind this how-to message as she blends narrative stories and research-based explanations of how our bodies and minds work.


This FREE 2-week self-guided program is available to any and all who want to start on the journey of getting off the hamster wheel. This program 1) works and 2) Is something you will have fun with! 

No more beating yourself up and spiraling the shame drain thinking you have to do more and be more. We embrace a philosophy that it doesn’t have to hurt to work.

The extremes aren’t sustainable. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to your body. Slow, steady and sane wins the race of life. And we are here to help you along the way. I created this program and am offering it for free because it’s my mission to help people see that movement doesn’t have to hurt for it to be beneficial. No pain, no gain is an outdated and dangerous philosophy…and you deserve better!

Hi! I’m Erin and my passion in life is helping others feel better by helping them get out of their own head. So much of our relationship to food and fitness is a reflection of deeply rooted beliefs that were imprinted on us at a very early age. These beliefs drive all sorts of behaviors, many of which are not good for our physical or mental health. I know this first-hand. As a former calorie-counting cardio queen, I played right into all the toxic messages about what it meant to be “healthy”. That all changed when I hit rock bottom. Since leaving my corporate career in 2009 I have been fully committed to shifting the narrative and helping people experience better physical health by unpacking unhealthy beliefs. My biggest inspiration are my two young daughters, who I hope to raise in a household that openly illuminates and addresses the misinformation instead of adopting it.

I am available for speaking engagements.


“Erin’s writing refects who she is as a person: it’s real, heartfelt and entertaining. She tells her story with informative concepts about functional fitness and touching (sometimes hilarious) personal anecdotes. The message is powerful and one that people need to hear. There’s a lot of misinformation and midguidance about what it means to be “healthy” that is negatively impacting our physical bodies and mental health. Her story has inspired e to think differently about my own investemetn in self-care, just as her functional fitness program at Alkalign helped me shift my mindset about lower back pain. 

– David Axelrod MD, Clinical Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine

“Erin has written a candid and practical book about how to be healthier through functional movement. Through fascinating, personal stories she showcases what’s wrong with our approach to both exercise and diet: we go to extremes, trying to be perfect, and fail as a result. I could identify with so many of Erin’s stories because they were true of me growing up. The book is a powerful message for people of all ages because the emphasis is on movement, not simply exercise or fitness. Movement is vital for helping all of us age well. This is a good read!” – Sally Duplantier, Founder, Zing

“What a great read! Erin does an amazing job of sharing her incredible knowledge of functional fitness in a real and relatable and humorous way. Erin’s personality and wit shine through as she shares her life experience and wisdom.” – Cathy