Tag Archives: women

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

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

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….

Reflections

22 Jul

ImageMy journey with Grandma has come to an end……On July 12th around 7:30 in the evening, Grandma took her final breath here in this world.  I’m not sad for her…..but I am sad for me.  This last two years my life has revolved around her….visiting her on a daily basis…feeding her lunch or supper (depending on the day)…spending Friday and Saturday evenings with her….going to church with her at the nursing home on Sunday mornings and then feeding her lunch….decorating her room for holidays and new seasons…..taking her to activities…..watching her sleep…..seeing her sparkly blue eyes light up when I would walk into the room…..laughing as Grandma would crack me up with some random remark…..holding her hands….rubbing her feet….putting lotion on her…..giving her manicures…..bringing her treats…….praying with her…..  Sooooooo many memories and I’m grateful for each one.

I’m so glad I made the decision two years ago to move from Michigan to Knoxville, TN.  I was the assistant to our wellness director at the YMCA in Muskegon, Michigan, and was going to be hired as the director in the next few months….I took a leave of absence for one month and while I was checking things out in Knoxville, I interviewed with a Y and was given the chance to teach Zumba once a week.  That was enough to know that I was supposed to move….my career as a director was put on hold and I quit working 40+ hours per week and started over with just one class per week.  Scary?  Yes! But knew that everything would work out and that Grandma was my mission and my purpose in life at the time.

For two precious years I was able to be with her on a daily basis…I find it interesting that she was my caregiver the first two years of my life (my Mom worked full time when I was born so Grandma was my babysitter) and I was her caregiver the last two years of her life.  And, I wasn’t ready for her to leave just yet….thought I had more time….I spent time with her on Wednesday, July 4th and then I left on Thursday for a few days…went to Delaware to celebrate a wedding.  I got back to the nursing home on Tuesday, July 10th and walked in Grandma’s room to see her on oxygen and not looking well.  I just thought her O2 levels were low and the oxygen would make her all better.  I spent time with her and then had classes to teach.  Wednesday morning, the nursing home called to let us know that Grandma was not doing well and probably would not be with us longer than a few days.  I finished teaching my morning classes and hurriedly showered to get there.  I walked in and knew that she would not rally back for us this time….I called my Mom and told her she needed to get on a plane or get in the car and start driving.

Grandma was not left alone until 6 p.m. on Thursday…..people came to hug on her and love on her.  I stayed by her side until 6:00 Thursday morning….had precious alone time with her and sang her favorite songs and then reminded her of all the things we did together – assured her that she was the best grandmother and that she had done a great job.  She would hear my voice and focus in on me for a moment – or if I got up and did something, she would become alert again before fading out.  I gave her many kisses and just loved, loved, loved on her.  My boyfriend, Jeff, arrived around 1 in the morning and stayed with me until my parents arrived at 5 a.m.  Mom stayed with her while we all left to get a little sleep. We all came back and spent most of Thursday with her – I decided to go ahead and teach one class – my parents and uncle went to get a bite to eat….and while we were all gone, Grandma took her final breath.  I really believe she wanted to protect us from seeing her leave us.

Grandma was 85 and would have turned 86 on the 25th of this month.  She lived a full life and made many memories with all of us.  She showered us with love – prayed for us – bragged on us – gave of her time, energy, and money – she never missed a birthday or special occasion – she was a classy lady who dressed like a queen.  She loved  wearing White Diamonds and her clothes still smell like it.  She carried beautiful embroidered handkerchiefs and loved her angel brooches.

Her life was celebrated and remembered by the many people who came to the visitation and funeral.  She was surrounded by pink, her favorite color.  The flowers that arrived were simply breathtaking and would have made her so happy.  One thing she would have been upset with is her thumbnail was snagged and not filed….she would not have liked that!!! 🙂  Her nails were always manicured. I didn’t wear black….i wore ivory and rose because that is what Grandma would have wanted.  And my sister and I sang at her service…something else Grandma would have wanted.

Now we begin the process of continuing life without her being in our daily lives and routines – that is a little unsettling because there will be no more Grandma’s house to go to….and as we all know, there’s no one like Grandma 🙂 My daily routine will seem empty and void for a while….my family has been here so it’s not settled in, yet…and I know I have more tears to cry.  However, the last two years of my life have been filled with so much love and joy and all the moments are priceless.  I’m honored that I was able to have that time with her. Life is short and we never know when we will have to say goodbye to a loved one….that’s why it’s important to focus on what matters and what will last.

Goodbye, my sweet grandmother…..until we meet in Heaven…..

Chapters in life

6 Jun

Last evening, one chapter ended in the life of a very important young lady in my life.  She was part of the class of 2012 and received her diploma for completing high school and will move into the next phase of her life as she enters college in the fall.

Eleighna Chanel is the reason number one that I am an auntie.  She was born on July 12, 1994 and from the moment I saw her being born I was totally in love with this oldest niece of mine.

Because of circumstances, she and her mommy lived with my parents and I; and we were totally taken in with this precious gift sent from Heaven.  Yes, we doted on her and spoiled her and held her all the time and I’m sooooo glad we did because the moments just pass too quickly.

Memory after memory was made with this baby, toddler, little girl, young lady…..

I would wake up in the morning and could look through my door into her room and see her wake up and get a big smile on her face and we would point at each other and she would start giggling.  “I love you more”…. “No, i love YOU more!!!” These statements would be exchanged as she started talking.

Bath time, play time, reading time, trips to the park, trips to great grandma’s house in TN, Disney World, campground, family vacations to Prince Edward Island, etc.

Her first day of Kindergarten, the entire family went with her and escorted her to her room.  Lots of pictures were taken.  It was hard to believe she was already five years old.

During her time in elementary school, I volunteered in her class a few times – went on a field trip or two – was able to take her to school many, many times.  When I would drop her off, I would tell her that she was a princess and that I loved her but Jesus loved her more.  We would say a prayer and prepare her for the day.

She moved to New York for her middle school years; and the day she, her mom & her sister left town, I thought my heart would break it hurt so bad. Lots of trips both ways were made during those few years….

They moved back the summer before Eleighna entered high school…..and as glad I was to have them close again, I was concerned because I knew she would have to adapt to a new school, making new friends, and all the craziness of being a 9th grader.

And….then…..graduation.

I know she will handle the challenges of life just fine because she’s already had to face challenges and difficulties.  Challenges and difficulties I wish I could have sheltered her from.  She faced and dealt with some hurts, sorrows, and disappointments that she should have never had to deal with but because of other people’s choices it left her with consequences.

Not once did she complain or express anger. She would just say, “I’m used to it.”

This oldest niece of mine is kind, compassionate, tender-hearted, strong in her convictions/beliefs, musically talented, loyal, dedicated, sensitive, quiet, introspective, non-demanding, loving and sweet.  I’m so proud of her and being her aunt is a privilege and a blessing.

I hope that the memories she has of the chapters in her life so far will be great ones to reflect on.  I pray that she will remember the good more than the bad.  I hope that the love from her family will be a strong foundation that keeps her grounded the rest of her life….that she will remember the object lesson from her school superintendent at her commencement last night about having a foundation and then adding passion to that foundation and a lifelong love of learning.

It has been my privilege to watch and be part of this chapter in her life.  I’m so grateful for the day she was born into our family….our lives have been much better because of her.  It truly is an honor to be her aunt!

Congratulations, Eleighna, on completing this chapter!  I love you!

When Mom is Here….

16 May

When Mom is here

you put off blogging

you put the reading aside

you aren’t as concerned with social media

When Mom is here

you spend time sitting on the porch

you spend the afternoons going in and out of shops

you spend extra money to make her feel spoiled

When Mom is here

you drink lattes at Starbucks at Old City Java

you eat vegan scones from Earth Fare

you eat at new restaurants on Market Square

When Mom is here

You enjoy every moment

You know that just being together is what you treasure most

You are grateful for her wisdom and advice

When Mom is here

It makes everything better

Life is good

Care for grandma is relinquished to her

When Mom is here

She reminds you why the guy who hurt you is not good for you

She reminds you that true friends stick by your side & don’t continue to be friends and hang out with the guy who brought sorrow and hurt and emotional/verbal abuse into your life

She reminds you that the best is yet to come

She reminds you that your prince will come

When Mom is here

Gratitude and thankfulness feels your heart cuz you know you’ve been blessed with the Mom God gave you

When Mom is here

You don’t look forward to the day when she has to say a temporary goodbye and leave you behind

When Mom is here

You feel like a little girl again and feel safe

When Mom is here

You realize the big shoes you have to fill in order to be like her

When Mom is here

All is right with the world

 

Man, I feel like a woman :)

14 May

I’m glad I feel like a woman and I’m glad that I AM a woman!!!  🙂 Here In the United States, the focus is on women for a few days.  We celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday, and today we begin National Women’s Health Week.

Women are usually so busy giving care and nurturing others that we can neglect our health and even ignore symptoms.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services want women to make their health a priority so they initiated this weeklong campaign to empower and educate women to do this.

One way to be a healthy woman is to make good eating choices and put physical activity into your day. What you put into your mouth can determine your health.  Fruits, Vegetables, Whole grains, lean protein, and water are all great choices to make for your health.  Becoming active can help prolong your live, increase your wellbeing, and help prevent diseases.  We should move more than we sit.  Including activity in our daily lives is one of the best things we can do…even for our mental health.  Working out can help you feel better, look better, BE better!!  You can join the 2012 Woman Challenge by going to this link:

http://www.womenshealth.gov/whw/woman-challenge/

To find an event in you area: http://www.womenshealth.gov/whw/events/

Today is National Women’s Checkup Day….when is the last time you were at your family doctor? What about your ObGyn? This is soooo important!! mammograms and Pap Smears can save lives – it can find diseases and cancer early.  Don’t put it off! If you have not been, call right now and make an appointment.  If you don’t have health care, check with your local health department, sometimes there are health care providers in your community that will offer them at a lower rate.  These screenings are vital to your wellbeing. Go to this link for a wealth of information: http://www.womenshealth.gov/whw/check-up-day/

Cervical cancer is the third most common type of cancer in women and, most of the time, in its early stages has no symptoms; however, it can be detected in a Pap Smear.  For more information on cervical cancer, its treatment, its prevention, etc.:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001895/

If you are a woman, celebrate being a woman by taking part in this women’s health week – involve mothers, daughters, friends!!!

If you are a man, make sure the women in your life are taking care of themselves and make them aware of the emphasis on women’s health this week.

Let’s make good choices to be WELL!!