Athletics

Success!

Aloha! The rain is coming down on Maui on my last night here.  It is appropriate since I will be heading into the rain of the Pacific North West.  The cruel truth is that rain here is warm and tropical, in Seattle it is cold and brutal.  My trip has been a fantastic journey, travel and food and working out and meeting awesome people.  However, I am very excited to come home.  I miss my bed, my things, a closet, a room without spiders and geckos.  Though the gecko is a spiritual creature according to Hawaiian lore, I am ok with not sharing space as much as I do right now.  Tonight, I picked up the sheets (to check for creatures) then lifted my pillow only to find a baby gecko that wasn't in a very safe place.  I put him outside only to see another baby on the other side of the room.  It is like they are gremlins; multiplying with water after midnight.

I also miss my work.  I was in college when I decided that I wanted to become a rowing coach.  It was my sophomore year and I was participating in National Team Testing.  I was new to sports and barely called myself an athlete, but I was good and I knew that much.  I was also good at describing the rowing stroke to my teammates and I loved helping.  I, after all, was a peer counselor in High School and an RA in college.  At the time I decided to become a coach I had a rather socially challenged Head Coach that needed a lot of assisting.  I filled the role of translator when I could.  It was then that I realized coaching was an option.  I thought the thought and then put it away.  I still had to finish school.  After graduating and picking up a coaching job almost immediately I was enthralled by the Olympics.  It was 1996 and cycling was being shown quite a bit.  I knew that I needed to find another sport to do alongside rowing and cycling seemed to fit.  It looked like it was mentally and physically grueling (a requirement for me) and I liked the way it shaped the body (another requirement).  I also sent into the universe ad dream of being able to work out for a living at the same time I was helping others.  I thought I would have to become an Olympic athlete (and I worked on that) or be a professional athlete in order to do so.  Turns out I was wrong with the means by which but dead on with bringing my dream to fruition.  Working out for a living is doable and exciting and literally a dream come true.

Because I love what I do it is hard to pull myself away from it.  So taking vacation becomes a challenge.  I do need space away from the daily grind in order to gain some perspective, stay fresh and study up.  However, it is a joy to come back to what I absolutely love to do day in and day out.  The music, the people, the love.  I am lucky because I worked my ass off for years.  When I began this journey I made $5300 annually for my first collegiate coaching gig.  I got a raise the next year to $5700.  Loving what you do and doing what you love means you may have to wait for the financial reward, but it is worth it.  No amount of money would stop me from teaching/coaching and training.  I always ask myself this question:  If I were to win the lotto would I stop working.  The answer has never been 'no' when it comes to my work with motivation and health & well-being.  When you would do what you do for free you know you have struck it rich!  That is what I would call success.

What are your passions?  Are you living them?  Are you going after your dreams???  Why or why not?

xo

a

P2P

Howdy!! I have been a coach for a long time.  During this time I have always benefitted from working near and with other coaches.  Once I left the collegiate coaching world I lost the coaching community that was built-in.  Since that time I have worked in clubs and on my own, but never with coaches that were about connecting, communicating and growing themselves and others, in the same way.  When you are able to work with other people who are doing what you do, sometimes better than you do, differently and in some ways the same, you are able to get what you give to your clients/students/athletes:  Coaching.

This holds true for any profession you are in.  If you are a yoga instructor it is important for you to be with other yoga instructors, be instructed and talk about yoga with people who know it.  If you are a photographer, writer, singer, dancer, designer, executive assistant, manager, or you are doing anything that is done by someone else… you would probably benefit from knowing others in your field.  We are so much stronger when we work as a team, when we share what we know.  There is something about hearing how someone else approaches a situation that you too will be, have been, or are presently faced with.  You learn that perspective is everything.  You learn that there are other ways to do what you do as well or better.  You learn about yourself.

In order to improve, in order to elevate yourself you need to be pushed forward, or pulled ahead as it sometimes turns out.  Being around others that are 'on your level' aid in this process.  You can always tell when you have met your equals because the feeling is mutual.  There is an openness that occurs without force.  You just know that you are peers.  It feels great, you relate, you share and, well, growth begins.

Get out there, get going, meet your people and start growing!!!

xo

a

Your Responsibility

Sweat.  Daily.  Seriously. I know that my fitness routine (my life) is sometimes daunting and to many seemingly impossible.  I am never trying to get someone to move their body as much as I do, unless they would like to.  But, movement is what life is about.  There are all kinds of ways to get a good sweat and all you need to do is try various activities to find the one that works for you.  Self-care also includes what you use to fuel your body and your mind.  These are your tasks in this life along with whatever you decide is your work (spiritual or otherwise), however, many of us refuse to accept the responsibility of taking care of ourselves and instead make excuses as to why it doesn't or isn't happening.

One of my favorite excuses to staying stuck in stillness are not having enough time.  Enough time for what?  20 minutes?  You don't have 20 minutes?  Really?  Are you being honest?  Maybe your excuse is you don't know what to do.  Ok: Jumping Jacks, Push Ups & Sit Ups - Do 20 each, 19 each, 18 each, 17 each all the way down to 1.  Now you have something to do.  Next.  You don't like exercise?  Do you like looking and feeling good?  Sometimes you have to do things that aren't fun for your own good.  Next.  Maybe you don't think that how you think about something matters.  Ask others, pay attention, see how thoughts become reality.  If this is something you already know and you feel like having to pay attention is too much work, ok.  I think that living a life that you don't like is a lot of work.  Mastering your thoughts is hard but has a much better outlook.  It is your choice of course.

Let's face it, most excuses are not valid.  At some point you will matter.  What you use for your fuel will matter.  How you think about yourself will matter.  Whether your body moves regularly or not will matter.  Imagine waking up feeling ready to go without needing an outside stimulant.  Imagine not needing 10 hours of sleep.  Imagine having energy that allows you to dance, play, sing, enjoy your entire day.  Imagine that for yourself and really see it, visualize what that person would look like, feel like, speak like.  How would that person behave.  That person is you.  It is possible, but you first have to care about how you treat you.  How you feed you.  How you move you.

One day you will begin to stop making excuses and begin living a life you never thought was possible.  One day you will expect, from yourself, the very best and, one day, you will actually be able to give it.  It feels great to hold yourself accountable, to take charge of your life and to feel great in the process.  It really does.  We have been given this wonderful life to take care of.  We have been entrusted with our selves and most of us are abusive parents.

Get started, get going, get it done.

xo

a

Go Team!!

Happy Happy Day! We walk around behaving as if we don't matter.  It is not true.  We are all significant.  Each of us are integral to all things, including the animals, the trees, etc.

I love sports for many reasons.  One of which is the fact that it is very obvious that each person on a team is key to the overall wellbeing of the team.  It matters to the unit that one piece isn't ready, trained, mentally prepared or passionate.  I believe that most of us have been a part of a team in school where you had to do a project with someone (or maybe you knew someone) that just didn't hold up their end.  You knew at that moment how important we each were, maybe you just cursed them instead of giving them credit for being important, regardless, it is the same thing.  They mattered and they still matter.  How you prepare yourself for whatever it is you are set to do matters, to all of us, actually.

Imagine a world where everyone knew that they were a part of something bigger.  That they were on a team.  They felt like they could make things better (or worse) depending on how they lived.  That what they ate, what they said, the thoughts they had, mattered.  That how they treated themselves and others impacted the world in the same way that an athlete preparing in every way they possibly could would affect their team.

We are a part of something bigger.  There is a collective consciousness that exists.   You can observe how we make agreements in the world as a world by how various things play out globally.  We have decided that various things are possible, so they exist.  We have decided that other things are not acceptable, so they get wiped out.  What if we all chose to send out love most of the time?  What if we worked so much on how we viewed things that we changed the things themselves.  We can.  We do.  I am sure that there is something that you believed was good may now be not so good, in your mind… think about it in terms of jobs, relationships, clothing, things that you may have gotten rid of or left.  When you view changes the thing changes too.

Would you do the work of changing what you sent out into the world energetically if there was a chance that it was possible?  How hard would you work to do it?  What is stopping you from doing this all important work?

I believe change is inevitable and it is coming.

xo

a

Ready All, Row!

"On the water, nobody can hear you scream."  ~Unknown Hiya,

When I was in college I began my rowing career.  I went to an introductory meeting after seeing a flyer.  I had been told by a sophomore that I could row without any prior experience.  She has done it and thought that it would be perfect for me after I told her that I was looking for a sport to do.  I knew that there would be something that would work for me though I was not a basketball, volley, or any other ball player.  I was tall and athletic but with no real direction to my athletic endeavors.  So, I joined the rowing team… the crew, and my career began.

By my sophomore year I had shown enough promise that I was really in a league of my own.  In the United States, at the time, in order to get noticed by the US Rowing National Team you needed to pull certain numbers on the erg (Concept II Indoor Rower).  Each month you were required to do an erg test (2000 meters during the sprint season and 5000 meters during the fall season).  Your coach would send in the scores and, fingers crossed, you might get the attention of a National Team coach.  I began sending scores in during my sophomore year.  I remember wanting coaching and not getting any (my head coach was pretty unfortunate in lots of ways).  I did my testing on my own that year.  I felt pretty alone in  it and after the summer I stopped sending my scores in and let the dream of making the team dwindle.

After I graduated I became a rowing coach.  It was fantastic.  I was so excited and ready to start molding champions.  I did just that.  I was wildly successful, especially in my early years.  I also kept rowing for myself.  One day I was approached by a coach who'd been training National Team Athlete Cindy Brooks.  She offered to coach me for free.  She said she saw potential and, if I was game, would train me.  YES!  Of course I would train and be coached!  Yippeeee!!!  I was pumped.  I didn't have a boat that was mine (I worked at Wesleyan and was paid $5300/year to coach the novices) but could use the Head Coach's boat to train in.  I had been rowing in it regularly anyway.  I would also be rowing in a double with Cindy and Cindy owned a few boats, so I was covered, for the most part.

I trained for some time and ultimately had to stop due to lack of support financially.  My numbers were great and always getting better, my dedication was unwavering, but I had to choose.  Make $ or lose $.  I was offered a coaching job at Rutgers University out of the blue.  I would be making more money than I had ever made at that time and, due to feeling overwhelmed with bills and barely evading eviction, I jumped at the offer and gave up the dream of competing on the National Level for my country.

Every time I watch the Olympics I think a little about my journey to train 4-6 hours every day.  Waking up and rowing for 3 hours, lifting for 2 or so and eating more calories daily than most people need to eat over several days.  I remember being told that I could have two out of three of these things: job-rowing-relationship, but not all three.  I had to pick.  I think about how important the ego is to get you to a point where you can compete on such a high level.  I think about love; loving something so much that you give yourself over to it completely.  I think about how lucky I am to know how that feels.

I hope you enjoy the Olympics for what it is, in my opinion:  a display of love-pure, true and unrelenting.

xo

a

"Real athletes row.  Everyone else just plays games."  ~Unknown

A New Way to Partaaay!

Howdy yall! Today was a busy day.  Sundays are my Mondays, so to speak.  I have 3 classes all in the morning, one after the other.  Today was a little different.  I agreed to teach a charity ride at noon, directly after my last class.  One of my riders at FlyWheel SLU had an idea.  She wanted to have a birthday celebration at her new favorite place.

She recently decided to get her health back.  In the past she'd been fit and focused on taking care of herself.  Years later, with children and work taking the priority, she found herself in not such great shape.  Enter FlyWheel and my class.  We connected right away.  Her energy is strong and direct.  She is a powerful person and is (as a friend described) a change agent.  She brings people with her wherever she goes… part of her journey is to be a catalyst for others.  I love seeing the people she brings to class to share in the experience that, for her, has been life altering.  She let me know that my brainwashing, er, um, coaching is working.  She no longer hates it and knows that she is doing good for herself.

Instead of having a party where she gets gifts and people eat and drink, she decided to have a ride at FlyWheel.  All of the monies collected would go to two charities of her choice and her guests would get to SWEAT!  It was a complete success, a full class and a great party.  I love that she was determined to bring people together for fun and health as a way to celebrate.

Her charity birthday cycle class  got me thinking.  What if we celebrated events in our lives by living our lives in a healthier way?  What if we went to a fitness class, took a walk or hiked when something amazing was happening in our lives?  Instead of destroying brain cells why not detox a bit to show appreciation for yummy things in our life?  For most of my adult life I have celebrated my birthday by working out.  I enjoy seeing where I am on this new year.  How am I doing?  Where is my mind at.  Am I connected to myself?  It is a time for me to reflect and reconnect with me.  I also don't buy into the idea that getting old means deteriorating.  So far each year I have gotten better.

I challenge you to take your celebrations to another level.  Are you willing to celebrate by loving yourself instead of numbing, destroying, and harming yourself?

xo

a

Working Out!

Howdy! "I have to exercise in the morning before my brain figures out what I'm doing."  ~Marsha Doble

I work out several times a day.  This daily practice is a part of a dream realized.  Movement keeps me going and I appreciate it every day.  There have been times in my life where I had a hard time motivating to go to the gym.  The most recent time was after about a year of living in Seattle.  My nephew had passed away the year before and I was feeling unmotivated.  I was coaching rowing at Lake Union Crew and my wake up time was 4:30am.  I normally get up with very little effort, but during this time I was actually tempted to hit snooze again and again.  Finally, I went to a doctor who discovered that I was so low in Vitamin D that I needed a prescription to get it to a safe range.  I remember feeling soooo much better in a short time and haven't really been stuck in a rut since.

There were times, in the past, where I would walk into the gym, lift some weights, talk to some folks, lift more and leave.  I could spend 45 minutes in the gym and get 20 minutes of work in.  Seriously.  I saw this woman in a gym today doing just that.  I was working with a client in a small fitness center when a woman came in and got on the treadmill.  After about 7 minutes she got off, grabbed some water and slowly returned to the treadmill.  She started it, then stopped to play with her iPod.  She spent another 3 minutes on the treadmill then left.  All of this was done with the guise that serious effort to work out had been made.  It was a beautiful dance.

It dawned on me that she was not unusual.  She was me, in the past, and lots of folks right now.  She would say she had worked out today.  She would say that she went to the gym.  You know what, going isn't enough.  10 low impact, interrupted minutes isn't actually a workout.  I know that many fitness mags and 'experts' say that any movement is good and that is fine.  I am a proponent of actually working out, of getting your heart rate up, of sweating, of showing up instead of just being there.  We all could use a little kick in the ass when it comes to getting our workout done.  Stop making excuses and bringing distractions.  You get out of your workouts what you put into them.

If you are finding that you are lacking motivation it would be helpful to ask to get your Vitamin D checked.  It makes a huge difference if you have been living with a Vitamin D Deficiency.

"Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness."  ~Edward Stanley

xo

a

On Your Mark

"I am too positive to be doubtful.  Too optimistic to be fearful.  And too determined to be defeated."  ~vandon Yeehaw!

I LOVE winning.  It's true.  The other truth is that everybody does!  Ok, not everyone but most.  As an instructor and coach I am not competing in the same way I do as a rower, runner, Words With Friends player.  Instead I compete to get my athletes as fit as I can get them.  To bring them to health and wellbeing in the best way for them.  I become their biggest fan, their resolve when they have none, and their answers when they are questioning.  I find fulfillment in the work that I do and for that I am grateful.

I haven't competed in a race or event that wasn't connected to supporting a client in quite some time.  So I haven't actually tapped into my own personal desire to compete for Aina in a while.  Basically I haven't had to be in that place that I put my riders, clients, athletes in and then coach them through.  I hadn't had the opportunity to compete with me for me.  Until recently when I joined The LAB - A Crossfit Gym on Eastlake.  I am not doing anything that is amazing, just small workouts of the day (WODs) when I show up… but compete I am.  Because my schedule is packed with teaching and training I don't get to the gym as much as I would like.  The two times that I have had the opportunity to compete I have had the fastest time overall completing the workout that was assigned.  Can I tell you how fantastic that feels??  It is GREAT!  Seriously.  I love competing and I love seeing the hard work that I do pay off in a way that I enjoy.  One of the many benefits of being fit is being able to swing a kettlebell until the cows come home. :)  Yep.

Now, just because I compete doesn't mean I have to win or that I get upset when I don't.  I am a coach, and a very good one, and I understand perspective.  Prior to that I was an athlete that was new to competing.   In my freshman year of college I lost a huge race as a part of a team that had, up to that point,  won everything.  I was devastated.  I sobbed for hours on the floor in my dorm room while my then boyfriend grew ever exhausted with me not getting ready for a date we had.  I felt overcome with sorrow for the work I put in only to lose by less than a second in the Championship.  It was so hard because I had never experienced that kind of loss before.  The loss of a race.  The loss as an athlete.  It was a very important experience, one that I grew tired of quickly and realized shortly after the final tears fell that I was taking things way too seriously.  It was a game.  It was FUN, right?  I needed to see how seriously I took it, how important it was/is for me.  I figured out that I didn't need to be devastated by a supposed loss.  I learned that it was during those time when most of my information was gathered to lead me to amazing future successes.  I learned that the how in dealing with anything matters more than what the anything is.  I also learned that the toughest competition is within… moving to a stronger place within yourself.  Doing more than the day before.  Pushing through no matter what.

I know people who get afraid of competing, who think it is negative because they feel that it puts others down, or leaves others out.  There is nothing wrong with loving being first in something.  It feels good.

I believe that we often don't compete because we don't want to lose not because we don't want to win.  Are you not competing because you are afraid of the work it takes to be great or because you don't think you ever could be?

xo

a

 

"I'm not in competition with anybody but myself.  My goal is to beat my last performance." ~Celine Dion

First Spartan Race Down!

Howdy!

I am home after over 12 hours of being away racing in my first obstacle course race.  I am tired, scratched up, and sore.  I am also very happy.  It was fun and ridiculous and easy and hard.  There were parts that were absolutely doable and others that were, well, let's say that I had a 30 second moment where I told myself that I was going to have to really dig deep and just deal with the temporary pain I was in.  I am glad the pep talk worked.  It usually does at this point in my life.  My client and I finished and spent the remaining hours we were together discussing the parts we loved, hated and loved to hate.

As this was my first obstacle course crazy ass race, and because they don't tell you the course ahead of time, I went into it with an open mind and no fear.  What is the point of worrying about something you cannot control?  It couldn't be that bad after all.  Everyone was welcome to enter the race so it would have to be doable for everyone on some level.  I expected there to be challenges.  I expected there to be parts that were brutal and other parts that were simply fun.  I am happy to say that all of my expectations were met.  What I was most appreciative of was the teamwork among the participants.  Literally everyone was on everyone's side.  It wasn't a competition, it was play time for adults!  It was about pushing yourself and giving a hand to anyone who needed the help.

One of the "treats" on the course was a barbed wire hill of mud.  This wasn't a slight incline.  On this hill were ropes places strategically down to the beginning because you wouldn't be able to get up it without the rope.  By that I mean, your ass was grass if you didn't use the rope to pull yourself up.  People actually began to slide down, which was scary and dangerous due to the people and the barbed wire behind them.  The wire was around 16 inches above the mud which meant that there were a lot of people with a lot of holes and scratches in their clothing (and skin). I saw lots of hair hanging from the wire.  Pretty funny if you ask me.  It took me 10-15 minutes to climb this big ass hill, I would say (and that was actually pretty fast).  It was absolutely ridiculous!  It was during this hill that I questioned the meaning of life and my point on the hill.  Once I was at the top and went around to help my client I saw the amazing amount of support that was being given.  There were hundreds of people and everyone cheered, pushed people up in front of them, pulled people up from behind and simply encouraged with words.  It was a coaching heaven.  I felt elated to be a part of such a love fest.

By the time we finished we had completed 23 obstacles, my client accomplished a goal that was set over a brunch 5 months prior, and we went through more mud than we had ever seen in one place.  Besides the mud there was fire, cargo netting to climb, spears to throw,  walls of varying heights, barbed wire that just wouldn't end, ropes to climb, posts to balance on, nets to go under, slides to slide down and much more stupidity.

I cannot wait to do it again.

xo

a

A Challenge

Howdy! Two years ago I rode my bike in the Solstice Parade here in Seattle.  It is a super groovy time where tons of folks get naked and paint themselves awesome costumes and bike, skate, walk, march, and dance.  I had never thought of myself as someone who would bike naked, ever.  Yet I did it.  It was freeing and now I am someone who bikes naked!!!  Kind of cool I think.  This year I will be missing it, sadly.  However, I will be racing in the Spartan Sprint Race.  It is around 4 miles with 15 obstacles that include barbed wire, fire, and people holding huge ass Q-Tip type monstrosities attempting to knock participants down.  Yep, I chose to do this… with one of my clients.  Basically I will be battered and bruised tomorrow afternoon.  Though the course is only 4 miles it is expected to take 1-2 hours to finish.  Woohoo!

Personally, I really enjoy doing something that is hard, that pushes me to a place I don't get to visit often.  I like not knowing what to expect and I completely enjoy the fact that I will have to take it as it comes.  We can learn a lot from entering random races like this, from having to go with the flow.  So often we, as adults, refuse to try things that we aren't good at.  We tell ourselves and others a story about how we "just aren't good at this"  or we "aren't like that."  The truth is we can do what we want to.  There are no limits, yet limits are all we see.

What can you do to challenge your sense of "self" in the next two days?  How can you find a challenge that will get you out of telling the story that you have "never been good at (insert something here) to telling a new story of, I am learning how to do (insert previously denied skill)?  How can you change the story you have been telling yourself and those around you about your abilities, talents, and skills so that your story actually matches where you want to be?  Mine will be running the Spartan Race and then finding time to organize my office and making fantastic mixes for teaching on Sunday!

Have fun writing a new story around the one that has held you back.

xo

a

Walk The Walk

As a life coach and as a fitness coach I spend a lot of time helping people own where they are in order to move beyond it, if they so choose.  I help people lose weight, gain muscle, let go or hold on, find their voice and own their choices.  I help people find and embody confidence.  I spend a lot of time helping others to change their lives.  It is an amazing 'job' I have and I appreciate it almost every moment. Because I spend a lot of time speaking to others about their ideal selves it only makes sense for me to do the same thing.  After all, how effective would I be if I wasn't living what I was giving?  If I wasn't walking the walk?  I feel that for anyone to be a truly effective leader they have to know how to follow.  I feel that for anyone to be an effective coach they must have been coached.  This brings me to my first cross fit experience, which was on Thursday.  I shouldn't say first… because it isn't.  It just has been a long time.  It was fantastic and I am excited to continue on the journey of being new to something and then mastering it.  It keeps me in the place of learning and growth and challenge.  As a coach, counselor and friend experiencing myself in various ways helps me connect to others where they are.  It is too easy for any one of us to find a niche and just do whatever that thing we do is.  It is unbelievably important to push our comfort zones regularly.  When we go to that place that scares us and come out of it we are better able to reach others that are in the same place.  Your work is you… through that work others will benefit greatly.

We are all teachers.  We are all students.  We are all learning and teaching one another.

What area of your life have you been ignoring that may need some attention?  Where do you find you may not be walking the walk?  Is there someone in your life that you "know" needs something but won't listen???  How do you see that trait in you with you?  Are you ignoring your own advice regularly?

Stay present.  Be love.  Shine Bright.

xo

a

Get Up, Stand Up

I am asked all of the time how I have so much energy.  Well, I spend many hours a day moving my body vigorously and that stokes my fire for the rest of my day.  It is like breathing into the flames to bring more heat. Regardless of the weather, of your sleep habits, or your energy level, MOVE your body.  You will feel so much better for it.  Whether it is a jog, tennis, basketball, volleyball, cross fit, indoor cycling, rowing, doing BodyRock TV, or 8 minutes of jumping jacks.  Give your body the opportunity to flush out energy that is sitting and needs to flow.  Give your body the opportunity to sweat out toxins that it cannot without a little push.  Give your body the opportunity to stretch and reach and show some of the potential for movement it has.

We are not supposed to sit all day.  In Australia there was a study of more than 200,000 people that concluded that those who sit most die soonest.  Exercise does not take away this effect, though it does reduce it greatly.  People who sat more than 11 hours a day had a 40% higher risk of dying in the next 3 years than people who sat less than four hours a day.  (This was concluded after adjusting for age, weight, physical activity and general health status).

Yes, I mean to scare you.  If that will get you up out of your chair and into a gym, or outside, or in your living room to begin a daily exercise routine, then so be it.  So many of us worry about working out too much.  Worrying that our bodies need to 'rest' and that we need to let the soreness retreat before we move our bodies intensely again.  Hogwash!!  Worry about the effects of being physically still.  Say you workout for 45 minutes or 3x/week and sleep 8 hours a day. You still have almost 15.5 hours left in your day.  Do you spend most of it sitting?

"We're finding that people who sit more have less desirable levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides and even waist size, which increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease and a number of health problems." ~Steven Blair, Epidemiologist

So, how can you tweak your daily routine to take the sitting out of it, just a little bit?  Give your body a break by moving it most of the day.  You will not be sorry.

xo

a

"To Teach is To Learn Twice Over" ~Joseph Joubert

"By learning you will teach; by teaching you will understand."  ~Latin Proverb Happy Weekend!!!  It is Friday and I wanted to wish you well for the weekend.  I also wanted to tell you a brief story about someone I adore.  He is a man who I met at the YMCA over 2 years ago.  He was sitting on a bench outside of a group x room waiting for someone.  I sat down next to him and asked him how he was.  We struck up a conversation right away.  He told me how he spent the summers in Idaho studying Wolves.  I called him a renaissance man.  His wife was an instructor there and they would both soon become two of my dearest friends.

In the fall of 2011 he found out that he was going to be moving for grad school and then leaving the country for a few months to research Snow Leopards (there is a lot more to this story than I am giving you… I will save it for another time).  He decided that it was time to really get in shape and wanted to work with me.

I have been working people out, training their minds and bodies since 1996.  Some people are open to doing what I need them to in order to reach their goals and others, well, let's just say that I earn my living.  Now my friend was a completely different story.  He was ready to make some big changes.  He was open to digging into himself.  He was so articulate around his journey to fitness.  He communicated every nuance of his change to me during our stair workouts or HIIT sessions.  He did everything I asked without hesitation.  Watching his mind and body grow and change was like watching magic before my eyes.

I am blessed with doing what I love every single day and I never take it for granted.  I have been successful over the years and am steadily moving forward in my own personal growth and career.  Along the way I have had help with my forward progress.  Mr. WolfSnowLeopard propelled me forward in ways that I can barely express.  The teacher/student relationship is fluid, with each person playing both roles.  Through him being an amazingly open and ready pupil I became the best teacher that I believe I ever had up to that point.  I have always learned from those who have allowed me to teach but he was an exception; we were both ready to rise to another level of self understanding, dedication, growth and awesomeness.

So I want to thank Mr. WolfSnowLeopard for brightening my light.  I also want to thank all of my other students, clients, riders, and athletes for allowing me to be a part of their journey.  Let's keep shining!

"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own."  ~Ben Sweetland

"The true aim of every one who aspires to be a teacher should be, not to impart his own opinions, but to kindle minds."  ~F.W. Robertson

(Good Luck Mr. WSLMan!  Rock on in Tajikistan!!!)

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Coaching

"I have learned that people will forget what you said; people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." ~Maya Angelou We all have people who motivate us, encourage us, inspire us to change for the better. One of those people for me was/is Heather Smith.

I was a rower in college. I LOVED my time as a collegiate athlete and have to credit Heather, my novice rowing coach, with instilling in me a love of rowing, coaching, and athletics in general. I remember when I joined the rowing team and was told that we would be running 3 miles on one of the first actual training days. I immediately became nervous because I hadn't run 3 miles before. I didn't do a sport in high school due to the fact that I had gone to 3 different high schools in 3 different states. There wasn't much consistency and, though I did very well in school, I didn't enjoy it. I was excited to go to college for several reasons, one of which was athletics. I began training for my sport (I didn't know what sport it would be, but I knew that I would find it) the year before I went to college… actually it was more like the summer before. That summer prior to college I joined the local YMCA and began running 2 miles a day. I thought I was doing great at around 12 minute miles… and I was, for the beginning. So when I heard, during that first rowing practice, that I had 3 miles to run I thought, "Dammit! one more stinking mile than I had ever done!" I finished the 3 miles by bringing up the rear and by walking here and there… but I finished. My coach was encouraging the whole way. She would run ahead to talk to the lead pack and then slow down to talk to the ones having a hard time, like myself. I remember being amazed at how she never seemed out of breath.

I remember when we did hills a month or so later and Heather ran past me saying, "your butt is looking good!" It made me feel GREAT! My body was changing and I hadn't even thought about it really. I was rowing because I was enjoying every detail, every moment, everything. My body getting toned was just a by-product. Heather was always there, cheering us on, keeping us focused, and pushing our limits. We did what she told us because we knew she had a clear vision and, well, we won… everything. Besides, how can you complain about working hard when your coach barks orders at you while she is doing pull ups using only her fingers? At that point you will do whatever she says because she is badass! Seriously. I mean, what an example! She was (and still is) a Goddess!

A couple more months passed. We did stairs and I was in the lead. She looked at me. She congratulated me and I felt great. I was feeling good about being a competitor and getting better. I didn't know what it all meant but I loved it and kept going.

In February of my freshman year the rowing team had an indoor rowing event. We raced on the rowing machines (we call them 'ergs' for 2000 meters. Basically for a rower 2000 meters is death. It sucks. You lose sleep over having to do a 2000 meter piece, an erg test, as they are commonly called. Well, during this event we had to do TWO erg tests!!! One for the "heats" and then you get placed into the "finals." All the women, varsity and novice compete as a group and the same with the men. Somehow I ended up in the Grand Final… the only novice that did. Being a novice and new to sports in general I took a nap after my heat and basically didn't think about it. I was relaxed because I didn't know I was supposed to be nervous. Heather knew that I would probably need a little encouragement because I didn't really grasp how awesome it was that I was in the grand final. She came over to me after I woke and said, "All of the varsity girls are saying that you won't do well… that experience always wins." Well, I have never had a shortage of ego and was shocked at their complete disregard of me as a true competitor. I got on the erg, in the middle of 7 other varsity women and sat ready. Just as the coxswain said, "ready all, row!" LL Cool J's 'Mama Said Knock You Out' played through my head, "Don't call it a comeback, unh, I been here for years, rocking my peers, puttin' suckers in fear…" I pushed all the way to the lead, all of the women not in the grand final and all of the guys were standing around us, screaming my name! It was awesome and I won! I won.

Heather pushed me to be more than I knew I could be in rowing. She also showed me how to be a completely present and solid coach. She saw something great and made it better. After that year I knew that rowing, sports, and coaching would be in my future somehow. Each day I get clearer and clearer on my future in sport, athletics, and motivation. It is a beautiful journey.

Who has motivated you? Pushed you? Seen more in you at some point than you have? How have you risen to their fantastic expectations? Who are you encouraging and shining light on?

"You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him discover it within himself." ~Galileo Galilei

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