Tag Archives: fitness

WSSC13 Thoughts

7 Jun

I had the privilege of attending and volunteering for the World Spin and Sport Conditioning Conference in Miami.  Although I have been certified with Mad Dogg Athletics for a few years, I never had another Spin enthusiast to go with me until this year.  I could have went by myself but it’s nice to have someone with whom you can discuss lectures, workouts, workshops and rides….someone who “gets” your love and enthusiasm and craziness! 

For anyone who may not be aware of what Spinning is (no….it’s not twirling in circles and getting dizzy!!! I really have had people ask me that.) here is a brief explanation.  Johhny G is the man who was a cyclist enthusiast and wanted to be able to train indoors when it wasn’t feasible to be outside on a road bike.  He is one of the creators of the Spin bike and the concept of Spinning.  For detailed info, go to this page http://www.maddogg.com/history.html

Spinning is a trademarked name; and an instructor has to be trained through Mad Dogg in order to call himself/herself a “Spin Instructor”.  I am totally a Spin snob…..there are other indoor cycling programs out there but …. I’ll just leave it at that. 

The conference is one of the best that I have attended and I’ve been to several different conferences.  There were 17 different lectures/workshops/workouts/rides to choose from every block of time – barefoot, mind/body, boot camp/circuit, dance/barre, nutrition lectures, Spin lectures, Peak Pilates sessions, Spinning, stretch & restore, yoga, and mind/body business of fitness lectures. The presenters were some of the best in the fitness industry and were there to help us become better at what we do and were always willing to spend time answering questions.  Over 80 countries were represented at the conference and that diversity sparked great conversations and connections were made and friendships were formed. 

The conference began on Thursday night with over 256 energized and enthused people in the Grand Ballroom on Spin Bikes as master instructor Josh Taylor led them on the Fighter Pilot Ride.  He worked over 18 month creating the ride, putting it with music, and with a multi-media presentation that started you on a aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean, had you up in the air flying, switching over to scenes of our men and women in the military and their families, back into the air and finally landing back on the carrier.  The crowd was energized to begin with; but when he started the ride with Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” from Top Gun, it escalated to another level.  I was not able to actually ride but volunteered to fill water bottles just so I could be in and be part of the epic ride.  I could never adequately describe the energy, the camaraderie, and the fun that happened during those two hours.  I loved watching the hotel workers observe people “working out” and having a blast.  No one should ever suffer through a boring run on the treadmill with just one’s iPod for company!!!

I hit the ground running and ran hard.  If there was something going on, I was there.  I am not one who can attend a conference and go to my room and rest when there’s a lecture, workshop, or workout going on.  I’ll rest and recover when I get home – I’m there to learn, grow and become a better person….can’t do that when I’m going to my room to rest! I started two mornings with a ride….Friday morning, Master Instructor Elsa Storm from South Africa, created a ride called, “E = mc2”.  We challenged our body and our brain as we explored Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.  Saturday morning’s ride was SoulSistas….led by four fabulous female master instructors – Wow!  Once again, words fail so I’ll quote part of the description from the program guide:  “A strong woman works out to keep her body in shape.  A woman of strength builds relationships to keep her soul in shape.”  It was the first ever and I was lucky to be part of it. 

I gleaned from business lectures that I attended and from the valuable connections made with female studio owners.  It was during Vito LaFata’s session that I realized I had not changed my mindset to “I am an entrepreneur…I am a business owner” and that was quite the revelation.  I walked away from his lecture knowing what I need to do and how I need to think. 

The last session of the conference I chose to ride with Scott Schlesinger in Rare, Remixed and Mashed up.  During part of that ride, he had us envision another rider in the distance and he took us on a mental imagery journey.  He talked us through getting closer and closer to the rider….then coming up to the back of their bike….then starting to pass the rider….being side by side and looking over….seeing our old self – the person we were before the conference…and then pulling away from that rider and leaving that person behind and going forward with all we had learned and discovered to be the person we want and aspire to be.  I know I left the old me in the dust….I appreciate her but I’m ready for this next part of journey….in this ride of life. 

I’m still going through my notes…making contacts and connections via social media…processing everything I heard…and deciding what two things I am going to focus on in the rest of this year. 

I’ll finish this blog with some of the thoughts that stayed with me from Elsa’s Ride and SoulSista’s ride: 

As long as you’re moving, you are going somewhere.  ~Natasha

We’ve all come through struggles but we keep climbing. ~Elsa

Being strong is the ability to endure tough times but stay soft.

Life’s greatest mistakes bring blessings and we should capitalize on them.

It’s in the journey that women of strength become strong.

When it all falls into place, you wonder why you ever doubted that it would happen.

~Angela

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This is Why…..

15 Feb

I am very passionate about motivating, inspiring and encouraging people that life and health is directly related to choices that we make….it’s not just something that happens to us.  However, I do not “preach” something that I do no practice.  Our bodies are amazing creations and daily choices can help those creations or hurt those creations.  I cannot put harmful foods, drinks, and substances into my body and expect my body to keep running at optimal performance.  I cannot sit all day and all evening and expect my body to continue being strong, flexible, and healthy.  I cannot think negative thoughts and expect my emotions, my outlook on life, and my interactions with people to be positive.

Yesterday, while sitting in the lobby at the UT Cancer Institute, I was reminding of why it’s so important for me to do what I can to help my body run at its best.  Last year, my doctor was concerned about some tests and wanted a second opinion and biopsy done by one of the best doctors for women’s health in our area – thankfully, there was no cancer; but I am on a follow-up program for a while.  Needless to say, the importance of making healthy choices became even more of a passion for me.

This small journey began in November of 2011; and at one of my very first appointments, the doctor went over with me the choices I needed to be making to help out my immune system.  Exercise, Rest, food choices, Positive thinking, no smoking, being careful of alcohol consumption, stress, and toxic relationships were all topics that entered that conversation.  I already was ahead of most people when it came to exercise, food choices, no smoking, and alcohol consumption; however, I needed to work on stress, rest and toxic relationships. I realized more than ever that I had to make good choices for me and my wellbeing. I could not continue to allow undue stress or relationships that were not healthy for me to be part of my daily life in any way, shape, or form. I also chose not to tell the whole world what was going on…just my family and a few trusted friends. I’m of the belief that the more you talk about something the bigger it can become and did not want to add more worry, fear, or stress.

I moved forward from that day – left certain things, situations, and people behind me – the past was the past and I just wanted to focus on the present moment and things I could do “today” to help make a better future for my mind, my emotions and my health. Was it always easy? No. Did I have moments where fear and worry would try to overwhelm me? Yes, I did. What I chose to do in those moments was very critical….I could allow the emotion to overwhelm me or I could acknowledge it and then remind myself that everything was going to work out and all would be well. I would quote Bible Scriptures or positive quotes….would spend time in prayer and meditation…or would lace up the running shoes and hit the road. I knew my choices would matter and make a difference. Now I’m not saying that my choices caused me NOT to have cancer – I am saying that I did what I needed to do to help my body out. Putting the wrong things into my body and my mind was not going to help my immune system get stronger – it would only weaken it. I did what I needed to do and that’s all that mattered. I controlled what I could and then let go of what I could not control. Choices…we are faced with them every moment and we have been given the power and the freedom to choose. I don’t take that lightly or for granted. This is why I do what I do, say what I say, live what I live – it’s my choice

I want to be like you when I grow up….

6 Nov

 

This past weekend I was privileged to meet an extraordinary couple who attend The Rock Church in Sunnyvale, California.  They are proof that age is just a number and that wellbeing can be achieved no matter your date of birth.  I did not get their first names so I’ll refer to them as the people there refer to them…..Momma and Papa Leaman.  He is a spry 90-year old gentleman and she is an energetic 85-year old lady.

There are several choices they make that enable them to live such full lives.

1.   They recognize the importance of moving their bodies.  They attend their local health club three mornings a week and walk for 45 minutes and participate in an aqua fitness class.  Because of the ladies conference this past weekend, they were not able participate in their typical Friday morning fitness routine, and Papa Leaman was disappointed that they had to miss.

2.  They are active members in their church.  They attend services and special events that their local church sponsors.  They help when they can and where they can – they know that they are a part of a community and you can see how the other members of the congregation interact with them and let them know that they are loved, honored, and appreciated.  I was there this past February for a dinner at the church and they were both in the kitchen helping out….and Momma Leaman is quite the chef.  She helps with the food when she is able.

3.  They are madly in love with each other.  They have been married 66 years and she refers to him as her “latin lover” 🙂 (He is Italian and Spanish.)  Upon meeting him, he will proudly pull out a picture from his wallet to show you–it’s a little worn and faded but the beauty of the young lady is breathtaking.  It is one of the first pictures she gave to her sweetheart.  As I watched them talking to other members of the congregation, I saw that they still like to hold hands.

4.  Travel and adventure is still vital in their lives – they don’t leave that for the young people.  The last few years they’ve went with family members to Hawaii for one month to vacation.  Then last year, they decided to take a cruise all by themselves without any family members.  They refuse to let fear of the unknown keep them in their comfort zones.

5.  They realize they have talents and abilities to share with others and realize that hanging out with children can put some energy, fun, and laughter into your day. She has a workshop behind their garage and once a week she has girls of all ages come to her workshop and she teaches them to knit, embroider, sew, and crochet.  Many of these young girls will make Christmas gifts for their family members during these weekly lessons – the week before Christmas, she has wrapping paper for them and they prepare their gifts.  Then they go into the kitchen and she all the ingredients ready for homemade gingerbread men.  They decorate their cookies and then clean up the mess before she takes them out for lunch. I told her I wished I live there so I could go over her house once a week 🙂

6.  They refuse to allow health issues to run their lives and they make whatever changes they need to in order to keep disease from diminishing their quality of life.  When he was diagnosed with diabetes, they went to informative sessions for two weeks to learn everything they could do to help the symptoms from escalating.  They made lifestyle changes and it’s working….he is only has to take one pill a day.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer and she did her research and made her choices and is cancer free.  At age 85, she is only on two prescription meds per day.

This couple radiates warmth, love, and well-being.  I wish all of you could meet them because I know they would inspire you as much as they inspired me! Momma and Papa Leaman, I want to be like you when I grow up!

Alignment

28 Sep

This morning I made my way to Dr. Eddie, my chiropractor, so he could make some adjustments and continue helping my spinal column to be in good alignment.  The vertebrae in our spinal column can get out of alignment due to lifestyle, poor posture, stress, weight, etc.  The spinal column has a very important job of protecting the central nervous system; our central nervous system is VITAL to our well being….it’s how we live, move and breathe! I’m very aware of the importance of good alignment in the spinal column.

Another important alignment that has to be made every so often is on the tires of my car.  This has to be done so that the tires are set to the car maker’s specifications.  It reduces tire wear and ensures that my trusty, little Toyota Corolla will travel straight and true and not pull to one side.

I have to make alignments in my spiritual life, as well.  I have to align my thoughts, my hopes, and my purpose with God’s.  I have to put my trust and hope in Him and know that He is my provider and works all things out and brings about good things in my life.  When I neglect to keep myself in proper alignment vertically (between God and I), the relationships in my life get out of alignment horizontally.  I begin to put people into a position that is not fair to them.This puts unrealistic expectations on them as I begin to expect them to meet my needs or make me happy.   My peace of mind is not dependent on what others do and don’t do; my happiness is not based on people.  However, if I’m out of alignment spiritually, my emotions, thoughts and feelings will be based on others and their actions.  This makes for a very rocky/bumpy roller coaster ride….it’s not fun for anyone – me or the people in my life!  When I’m out of alignment, doubt, fear and worry will fill my mind and these things will make me want to react in negative ways.

As I align my thoughts with the Word, peace, contentment, joy, purpose, hope, trust, faith, and rest enter into my life, my heart, and my mind…..no matter what is going on around me, in me, or in my life.  The following scriptures come alive and bring peace:

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. 1 John 4:18

God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in time of trouble. Psalms 46:1

I sought the Lord and He answered me.  He delivered me from all my fears. Psalms 34:4

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him.  Psalms 37:4-5

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

And there’s many more words that bring value, rest, peace, contentment and hope.  That is why it is imperative that I keep my vertical alignment at my top priority…when that is in perfect alignment, all is well.

How’s your alignment?

Lessons learned in the classroom

14 Aug

As a group exercise instructor, it is my mission to give each class participant motivation, encouragement, a challenge, and a fun time during class so when he/she walks out of my class, he/she feels better, stronger, more energetic, and glad that he/she made the effort to attend my class.

Last Wednesday morning in Zumba at Northside YMCA, I had a new class participant and she had never tried a Zumba class before.  I made sure to chat with her after class and encourage her to come back.  She proceeded to tell me that it’s the first class she has been back to after losing her mother unexpectedly at the end of June.  I could tell she wanted to talk, so for 20 minutes I listened….shared a little bit of my story of losing my grandmother a few weeks ago…and shared how being physically active can help us through dark, emotional moments. We both shed a few tears and then she gave me a hug and a little kiss on the cheek and thanked me for listening and said she would be back.

In this same class I have a senior lady who attends….I figured she was in her late 60s…she has been attending for a few weeks now…always smiles…has a great time….and makes sure to thank me after class.  I was moved to tears when another participant shared me the story of this lady, Phyllis.  Phyllis is 79 and is the caregiver for her husband who has Alzheimer’s.  She hires a sitter once a week so she can attend my class. I was overwhelmed with emotions after hearing the stories of these two ladies.

That is why it is vital for me as an instructor to give 110% in every class…no matter how I feel or no matter the day that I am having.  It is not about me….it is about my class participants.  Health and wellness is more than just physical fitness….it is emotional wellness…..it is mental wellbeing….it is experiencing moments of joy, happiness, and fulfillment.

I want my class participants to leave my class feeling like a better person…a stronger person…a healthier person….and feeling empowered, encouraged, and motivated to face the rest of their day no matter what may come their way.

More lessons I’m learning from the classroom….

Lessons I’ve Learned While Watching The Olympics

5 Aug

I am one of the millions who has been staying up way too late to watch the world’s top athletes compete in the London 2012 Summer Olympics.  As I’ve watched, I have learned some valuable lessons that I hope to apply in my own life.

As I watched 16-year-old Gabby Douglas go through her gymnastics routines, I could not help but be drawn in by her engaging smile and her fun attitude.  She had me smiling as I watched her have fun while performing her floor work.  Yes, she knew she was at the Olympics; and, yes, she knew she was performing for the chance to win a medal.  However, for Gabby, it appears as if it was just another performance doing something she loves and enjoys doing.  Her smile lit up her face the entire time…she was having the time of her life.   I learned from her that if you do what you love and do it with passion while having fun, you will win the gold.

While watching the interview with Carmelita Jeter, it was mind-boggling to hear how people have slammed her, made negative remarks about her, posted things on the internet about her and questioned her authenticity in her performances.  What intrigued me and taught me a valuable lesson was the statement she made towards the end of her interview: You can let what people say consume you or fuel you.  Wow! If it consumes you, it drains you and is negative.  If it consumes you, it energizes you and fuels you to personal best records on the track.

And how can I fail to mention Oscar Pistorius, the first double amputee sprinter to compete in the 400 meter run in the Olympics????? Can we say “NO EXCUSES” to go for your dreams??? He has had to fight adversity and naysayers – people who said, “he has an unfair advantage because of his blades….they give him an edge…”  What???? Someone with legs and feet is at a disadvantage over someone who has had both legs amputated below the knees? I’m sure he is another person who doesn’t let what people say consume him.  I’ve learned from him that no matter how difficult it may seem to achieve your dream, you still have to believe in your dream, hope in it, and go for it.

The human body is an amazing design.  We all have an athlete that lives inside us that wants to be challenged.  It’s never too late to go for the gold in our lives….it’s never too late to train to live our dream.  No matter what anyone says…no matter what anyone thinks….. Do what you love and love what you do.  Live every moment with passion and no regrets.  Just do it!

Into the Deep

20 Jun

This morning I ventured into a part of the Y that I have evaded for years.  THE POOL!!!

What has kept me out of this area for so long?  Ummmmm…..fear of the water would pretty much sum it up.  However, I heard that in aqua fitness classes you get to wear these cool belts that keep you from sinking to the bottom when you go into the deep end. So equipped with that knowledge I decided it was time.

(Additionally, I want to have more of an understanding of how the resistance of the water can create a great workout yet be easier on the joints.)

I made sure to get to the class early so I could tell the instructor that I was a first timer and NOT a lover of water. I have to admit I was somewhat nervous about walking into a new environment all by myself and was a little worried that I might do something that would make me stand out as the newbie.  This was way out of my comfort zone.

Well, right away I stood out because I was the youngest person in the pool….and the smallest – but I sensed this smirk of satisfaction on their faces and I realized they were going to enjoy watching my first time in an aqua fitness class.

I was very relieved to find out that we started in the shallow end…I could handle that – or so I thought until we started running through the water forwards and backwards.  I felt I was pushing against concrete!!! After 20 minutes in the shallow end, the instructor had us put on the belts and grab our weights and jog to the deep end.

Now I don’t know if you have ever jogged from one end of the pool to the other but it is NOT the same as jogging on a treadmill!!! I felt as if I were stuck in the sand and just spinning my tires….feet & legs were moving but I was not moving forward. It was a very disconcerting moment as I realized that my feet were no longer able to touch bottom. I was grateful for my belt and the weights that were holding me up.

We began to incorporate movements that were targeting our core muscles….holding our arms straight out and swinging the legs forwards and backwards, then side to side….and we did it over and over.  I realized that my triceps were beginning to feel the burn and I figured out it was because I had a death grip on those weights and was resisting going any lower in that water than I had to!!! Needless to say, I was not relaxed and my muscles were in permanent isometric contraction!!!

When we finished the work in the deep end, we were to alternate pushing the weights down while jogging back to the shallow end.  All the people older than me had made it back and was waiting for me and I was still stuck by the wall…..the lifeguard and instructor were having a great time watching me work so hard to stay in one place!!! I’m sure my abs are sore because of all the laughing I was doing.

Back at the shallow end, we began to use the weights and work our upper body. Have you ever done a lateral raise followed by a front raise in the pool while using weights? It took every ounce of strength to keep those weights from popping out of the water while I was lifting them straight out in front of me.  I had this mental image of me being catapulted through the air as the weights shot me up out of the pool.

I made it through the hour (while wondering how in the world the other participants could talk so much….It took my total concentration to do the moves correctly!), got out of the pool, and tried to get my “noodle” legs to get me into the locker room.  I was completely exhausted; and as I write this some 15 hours later, I’m already feeling the muscle soreness. (I can only imagine what it would feel like tomorrow!!!)

To sum it up, I had a great time….loved the challenge of doing something new while getting out of my comfort zone….and I will continue to go back until I’m no longer the last one out of the deep end!!!