Posts Tagged ‘determination’

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Fitness isn’t about a crunch or a pushup. It’s about taking your power back!

The person that I am today would not recognize the person that I used to be if you placed him in a line up with 4 other “ME” look-a-likes.  That is an absolute blessing.  From what I can gather, there are more than a handful of people around my age that hit the proverbial mid-life crisis mode seemingly all at the same time. To say that I joined them in that journey would probably only be half the story.

My crisis was pretty much my entire adolescent life right into my 30’s.  Here is the funny thing about that.  Not many people would have noticed because I hid it really well until the split came between my wife and I.  I hit rock bottom with a thud.  I know many of the readers also hide their pain, anguish and disappoint. More on that later.  The man I am today loves the reflection that peers at him in the mirror every morning.  The man I am today welcomes the sunrise by opening my blinds the night before so it is one of the first magnificent things I see in the morning.  The man I am today cares about his health and his body but more importantly his mind and his emotions.  The recent changes I have made in my life has also brought on many new interests and hobbies.  I love photography, and carry my camera every where I go.  I’m still a huge sports fan and will probably still get neurotic around football season.  However there are so many wonderful things manifesting in my life right now from starting a new business in the next few months, mentoring others through the darkness of their lives (Me! A life coach, who would have thought), to taking my mother in and making my home her home.  The only thing that I feel is an obligation in my life now is to live it full of happiness, joy, health and unconditional love for any and everyone that crosses my path.  To find the BLISS in life and get swept away in it every opportunity that I have.

It was not always this way.  I have a pretty huge extended family.  I am also a product of a fractured home and re-mended family.  I was the baby of four brothers and one sister for a long time, then my little brother came along ten years later.  Too confusing to draw all the lines in. My parents divorced early in my life and then my father remarried a family friend and her family became our family as well.  Needless to say that relationship ended in a pretty nasty divorce that forced me and one of my siblings to go live at my Grandmothers in Miami until the dust settled over.  My wonderful grandmother on my mother’s side (Grandma Stella) was and is an angel or as near as a saint that I have ever seen walk the face of this earth.  But she was a saint with rules, a belt and a bible.  Lets just say as a kid I never listened to the first (rules) all the time and received the second (belt) and third (the bible) on a regular basis.  I grew up as an alter boy in the catholic church and I remember many times when the Priest would say those all too familiar words “Do this In Memory Of Me” then he’d wait for me to ring the bell and I would be over on the side with the other alter boys goofing around and not paying attention.  I would spend a good majority of my childhood grounded or in some type of trouble. Still are very pleasant memories. We were brought up on Soul Food.  Meat and potatoes, Ham hocks, Chit’lins, Collard Greens, Mac and Cheese, Corn Bread, Sweet Potato Pies.  Not exactly the cleanest way of eating but my Grandmother always made sure all of the kids (my cousins stayed over all the time) were in activities or forced to play outside until the street lights came on.  I started playing football then to stay out of trouble and didn’t stop until my senior year in high school.  We always had family cookouts and worrying about food, calories, processed verses unprocessed foods was never even heard of.  We ate hearty, played a lot and most of the kids never suffered childhood obesity in my family.  Then again, video games were just making their way into mainstream America and didn’t have its hooks into us yet! Those were the good times.  It got inevitably darker after that.

I later chose to live with my mother and the Judge would not split me and my older brother up so he had to go live with my mother as well.  She had a really hard time getting past the divorce.  Actually, she still hasn’t gotten past it truth be told.  That led to us bouncing around from place to place. Finally settling down in San Antonio, Texas in what I would not exactly call “Section 8” housing but it had all of the familiar symptoms of  “Section 8” housing with the crack-heads and broke down cars. Life was rough, free lunch kid, working at 14 and barely getting by all the way through my senior year.  I stayed busy though, with football, track and baseball when I wasn’t running the streets.  So I was always fit in high school.  The coaches tried to put me on multiple weight gaining programs but I did not have the heart to tell them that I couldn’t even afford to eat the amount of calories they wanted me to intake.  So I just got by.  College….well it was a blur filled with fun, crazy times and lots of debauchery and lets just say I’m surprised and fortunate I made it out alive!  Next Subject!

I was never really passionate about fitness when I was young.  I guess you could say I was blessed with good genes because I could eat any and everything and then drink a six pack and not gain an ounce.  I was always active and I guess it somehow balanced out. My awareness and passion came after my metabolism decided to pack it’s bags and head off to Italy or some where far far away. When I hit 27, I packed on 25lbs before I even noticed.  I went from the really skinny kid to filling out the way I always wanted to; but it didn’t stop there.  For some reason it never clicked in my head that, “Yo Stat, you know this weight isn’t going to stop piling on if you keep doing what you’re doing – right?”  In a matter of 3 years I went from 145-150lbs to 200lbs. Holy Crap! My passion for fitness was sparked when the reality set in that I had hit 200lbs. Like everyone else in the mainstream I grabbed all the fitness magazines, celebrity health books (the LL Cool J book was pretty good in hindsight) and jumped on every fad diet I could get my hands on.  I lost pounds and when I stopped the weight would come right back.  I yo-yo dieted for the next 6 years never losing more than 10-15lbs at a time.   When it was all said and done I weighed 226lbs. More than I started with. The heaviest I had ever been in my life. At 5’8 and a half, what the hell was I thinking?!?

Today, fitness and healthy living is such a pivotal part of my life that I am amazed I survived this long without it being the staple of my well being.  I walk daily now at least 2 to 3 miles weather permitting.  I hit the gym or do something in house to get my heart rate up as much as I can during the week.  I choose the best option of foods to eat that I have available but I don’t make myself crazy over watching each and every calorie.  Just generally track my calories. I also introduced meditation which I believe was the single solitary thing that has made my transformation possible.

“The body does not go where the mind does not lead it”

Not having a clear mind, a relaxed mind, a peaceful mind I feel would have made it easy for me to stop doing the things that were important for my overall health.  It’s as simple as loving myself completely unconditionally for who I am right now, to who I will be in my mind’s future.  It’s so important for all of us to lock into that mindset before ever making any goals and pushing like crazy to achieve them.  You have to be aligned with your goals mentally and physically before you will ever see the results that you strive towards.  My everyday goal is so simple:  “Every Day, In Every Way, I Am Getting Better and Better.”  My goals ascend as I ascend to just be a better overall person in every category. It does however turn out to work both ways because feeling healthy and being full of energy allows your mind to think more clear and sometimes twice as fast.

It’s always good to have a support system around you.  Family, close friends, workout group of your peers.  I have always been fortunate to have the greatest family and friends around me who always have supported me in my decisions whether they were idiotic or not.  I think however in today’s culture the emphasis on this support system has caused a false premise to be made into a belief.  It is that belief that often trips up many people.  For me, while a support system is good to have, maybe even important depending on where you are mentally and emotionally, it’s not a necessity.  When we couple ourselves so tightly to our support system we tend to allow their beliefs, likes, dislikes and philosophy to imprint on and cloud our own judgment.  We often find ourselves acting out of obligation to another instead of being internally driven.  This creates conflict within ourselves which just forms another road block you must maneuver around while you still work towards achieving your goal.  You should always be your most important Support System.  You should always check with yourself first to see if something is right for you.  Your emotions are the only guidance system you ever need.  it will always steer you towards what will ultimately make you happy in life.  At the end of the day, the decisions made are only for you to live not others.  However, when you are completely happy, free spirited and filled with love, everyone around you benefits including your support group. You may even realize that you have the power to influence them to find themselves and make a change FOR THEMSELVES. What has been most rewarding for me is now people gravitate to me from all different walks of life and I am having such and amazing time interacting, learning and sharing with these wonderful people like Shay and the team at Socially Fit.

However to get to the place that I now am, I had so many obstacles to get over.  The funny thing is that every single obstacle was placed in front of me by myself.  I think that was the hardest thing to get over.  To come to the realization that I was my own worst enemy.  Sure I had a disjointed childhood, and yes I live in a time was we were completely flat broke and had to come home to eviction notices on the door.  However, I used all of the short comings in my life as excuses not to get to where I knew I deserved to be.  I also brought a lot of the baggage into my relationships and thus effecting other peoples lives as well as my own.  So when I look back over my entire journey, my hardest obstacle was loving myself, trusting myself and believing in myself.  I was always very sarcastic even if I put a humorous twist on it.  I had low self esteem, self defeating thoughts and depression.  I felt unworthy and sometimes even a failure, especially after my marriage broke down. I resorted to drinking heavily all of the time.  8am in the morning was a great time for a beer on the weekend and I would drink until the sun tucked itself into bed and the moon came out to party.  Non Stop.  It even started to blend into my work week which left me dragging and uninspired at work.  I swear, If you can lock down these three virtues in your life (love yourself, trust yourself, believe in yourself), your life will be become infinitely better in just a short amount of time.  There is a saying, I’m not sure first coined it, that it goes:  “If you can not change the situation that you are in, then change your perspective on the situation.”  It might sound a bit cliche, but there is a positive in every situation, and I think it is your absolute benefit to spend all of your energy searching only for that positive silver lining and not laboring over negativity that often blinds us.

Once you can do that, then your goals and aspirations become so much more obtainable.  I use to hate running with a passion.  I mean really really hate it.  Kicking, screaming, slobbering you get the picture.  One day, I decided that I was going to change my perspective on running.  I was going to play a game or movie in my head as I ran that had a purpose and a meaning so that I was not senselessly running for no reason once so ever.  I realized that running actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it was.  It didn’t get any easier but my feeling towards it was much more favorable now. Once I got the taste of enjoyment from running, especially when you finish and all the energy is just coursing through your body, and your covered in sweat and you know that you accomplished something good today, its such a shot of confidence that you want to get out and do it again as soon as you can.  This lead me to the goal I that I never saw myself ever even attempting let alone doing. That goal was to run a 5K marathon.  I am happy to announce that early this year, I accomplished that goal and ran the whole thing non-stop and even beat a few of my friends that run marathons on a regular basis!  I got my first 5K medallion and it hangs from my rear view mirror and I look at it every day.  Never again will I tell myself that I can not do something.  What a tremendous feeling that was!  It only fuels you to want to do more.  I also had a goal to get from 226 lbs back down to 180 lbs in 6 months.  Two weeks ago, I also eclipsed that goal and I am not sitting at 179 lbs.  The lightest I have been in over 10 years.  So along with what seems to be life long dream to get my six pack abs back, my new fitness goal is to run the Tough Mudder in November 2014 and get down to a solid 170 lbs even.  I could have run the Spartan or the other 5K races but why do those, when I can challenge myself to tackle the behemoth!

So I really start training next week.  I will continue to walk 2 to 3 miles a day.  I will restart my Insanity Program from the start and I will hit the gym about 3 days a week to start off with.  I’ll listen to my body and then adjust day by day and week by week.  I love to juice (vegetable and fruit juicing people, not the needles) and if any of you haven’t tried juicing I heavily recommend it.  It was an important factor in my dramatic weight loss.  I will substitute a juice for one of my meals 3 times a week, eat as clean as I can and just enjoy the journey.  I mix in plenty of salads and I eat chicken a lot!  I have actually cut out almost all supplements, I found out by juicing on a regular basis my body responded so well, I did not require anything else.  I will continue with what is working moving forward.  I can’t wait.  I’m pretty damn excited. I do use a recovery drink and add in some whey protein but that is it for supplements.

As for my meal plan once I start working out, I haven’t quite figured out what I am going to do yet. I have never done an intense training regiment along with weight training at the same time.  Before I boosted my caloric intake up to around 2100 cals a day.  I’m not sure how much fuel that will give me for this next chapter in my journey so I will blog it about it as I go along and see where I end up. However, I do have some staples that I stick to pretty religiously which will not change much with whatever plan I decide to go with.  Eat Breakfast.  It is so important that everyone do this for so many different reasons but the one that means the most for me, is the energy burst in the morning. I normally have oatmeal with flax seeds and some type of chopped up fruit.  If its not oatmeal, I love eggs and I’ll have three to four eggs as a wrap or on whole wheat toast.  I tend to pile my carbs on in the morning and afternoon.  Evening most of the time is protein and vegetables unless I sub in a juice.  Make your meal plan something that you like to do, something that is easy for you to maintain and can be switched up to add variety.  I often sub in fish for my protein for my dinners.  Salmon is my favorite especially on the grill.  You also do not have to be chef to cook and eat clean healthy meals.  I have a YouTube Channel I’ll mention at the bottom of this article that teaches you have to cook some quick delicious meals if you’re interested.

What an amazing journey this has been.  I have met so many people who were in a rut just like me. Basically getting up each day just to get the day over with.  No ambition, No vision for a better future. The endgame was just to stay afloat long enough to survive to the next day.  I am here to tell you that your life does not have to be that way.  You do not have to settle for what your current reality is giving you right now.  You can demand to have a better life and the go out an seek it with the passion and zest that you never knew you even possessed.  It all starts when these few things that I feel got me on the right track.

1)  Tell yourself this Every Single MORNING: You are an amazing person. You are strong, you are smart, you are WORTHY and you deserve more.

2)  You have the power within yourself to change your current situation. You do not need help from others.  You do not need a hand out.  You do not need follow anyone else’s path.  Follow your gut feelings, they are there for you and you alone.

3)  Every day in every way, KNOW That you are getting better and better.  You have to stop being so hard on yourself.  Stop self criticizing and instead start focusing on the things that you appreciate about yourself and the life as you are currently living it.  Look around at the things that you are proud of.  Take time to appreciate those things.  Friends and individuals that inspire.  Appreciate them.  Spend the majority of your time looking for the blessings, not the slights.

4)  Make your most dominant focus every single day, about something positive in your life, or something that you find inspiring.  When ever something unfavorable comes into your existence, become an active thinker and change the subject in your mind, focus on something good and hold that thought for as long as you can, and your mood will change and so will the things and people around you.

5)  Break the cycle. This is so important because we all have become such creatures of habit.  Take time to dissect all of your habits.  Highlight the good ones, the ones that make you feel good and add value to your life and make a list of the bad habits, the ones that lead to depressing feelings and anger or despair and eliminate them.  Whenever you feel you are about to move into that bad habit, you will know because you will feel uneasy.  Check yourself in the moment and change.

You have all of the tools you need to be as successful as you want to be.  The inner you has been waiting on you to realize how special you are and that this person is who you always should have been.  Find that person, embrace that person and in time you will be standing where you always wanted to be, feeling proud, accomplished and full of Bliss.

I want to take a moment to personally thank Shay and the Socially Fit team for allowing me to come here and tell my story.  I am not really good at this type of thing so if I rambled too much and jumped from topic to topic; I’m extremely happy that you are still here reading! I really enjoyed this time and it gave me an opportunity to stop and reflect and really appreciate how far I have come. Shay and the team are doing a wonderful thing here at Socially Fit and I am a fully supporting them from this day forward.  I love the stories that I have already read and I look forward to more inspiring stories in the future.  Hopefully I will be able to sway Shay into coming over to my blog for a guest writer piece from time to time as well.

So with that said, there are a number of vehicles where you can get in touch with me and follow my journey. I have just launched a YouTube Channel titled:  A Healthy New Stat which covers the three major pillars that help me get my life back in order. The Mind (meditation, inspiration and exploration of thought), The Body (healthy eating, cooking tips, quick healthy recipes), and The Spirit (all things that brings joy, laughter and smiles).  Please come by, watch some videos, interact and Subscribe if you like what you see.

Or My Blog which I’ll be launching in the next couple weeks – tons of inspiration and motivation along with links to my videos and guest blog writers.

I have a Fitness and Motivational Instagram and Twitter account you can follow me for daily inspiration, motivation and laughs.

Please feel free to come find me at any of these outlets.  I respond to everyone personally and I love making connections.  If I can help you along your journey, I would consider it an honor to be by your side!

Love often; love always and love unconditionally. May you become the healthiest fittest version of yourself that you could ever dream of.

Dee
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Never Lose Sight of Your Goals

Gina Marie Policastro

In March of 2012, I walked through the doors of “The East Coast Mecca, Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym,” in Syosset NY and my journey commenced.

Growing up in Queens NY, I was that kid that was always out on the block and could never sit still. My parents enrolled me into dance classes by the age of 5 and by age 7 I was taking on gymnastics too. I fell in love with the sport; practiced 3 times a week and at home I would practice some more (although my parents weren’t so happy to have me flipping off of the couch and other furniture in the house). Most of all, I love conditioning! Weird, I know but I welcomed the challenge. I would come home from school, have a snack, do homework, but as I watched TV at night I would do sets of sit-ups, V-ups, supersets of push-ups, all during commercial breaks. Then I saw “Ms. Fitness America” on ESPN that I thought, “I’m gonna do that too!”

Throughout my high school and college career I continued doing gymnastics, took on cheerleading, and was a regular in the gym. By living this active lifestyle I never felt the need to diet, in fact I’m a foodie at heart and have a severe sweet tooth! While in college I began to train at a personal training center with hopes of competing someday. I made great gains, but managing my studies, working full time as a middle school science teacher, and getting married by the age of 24, I subconsciously suppressed my goal to compete.

“Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation” Maya Angelou

Things don’t always work out the way you plan. In fact, I feel the more you plan, the more likely you are to stray off that path. By 26 I divorced from a very unhealthy relationship, I was mentally torn down, defeated. I was angry that I had “stopped living” and lost sight of my own dreams and goals for somebody else. I realized change must come from within. I thought, “I need to figure out who I am, complete the things I’ve wanted to do, it’s not too late, there is no right time, there is only now.”

I began my research and came across “Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym.” I picked a day of the week (I believe it was a Wednesday) and decided to walk in. I remember feeling anxious, nervous, and intimidated walking to the front doors of a well-known establishment. However, I was greeted by Lou Tangredi (one of my favorite people at Bev’s!) whom referred me to Angelica Nebbia. I will never forget the day that Angelica called me. I was ecstatic to hear that someone was going to help me begin my journey!

Angelica scheduled a night to meet me, where I learned that she was an IFBB Figure Pro and we discussed what training for a competition would actually entail. We talked about hours of training, meals, food prep, costs, different divisions (bikini, figure, physique), posing, and expectations. To me, I didn’t care how much time or how much money was going to be spent, all I knew was I wanted to get started, I wanted to achieve my goal! I wanted to become an IFBB Figure Pro.

“And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.” Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing

I began training every day at Bev’s and twice a week with Angelica. She created my contest prep diet, my training schedule, and set a goal. I was 3 months out. We were headed for the “NPC Atlantic States” to compete in Figure, June 2012.

Over the next 3 months, Angelica became more than just a trainer and coach, but also my best friend. I’m so thankful for having met her (and her husband Roy). She has supported me from day 1, motivated me, and helped re-invent myself into becoming a stronger, more confident person. Soon it was time to step out on stage. I was proud of how far I had come and regardless of my placement; I knew she would be too. When I stepped into the stage lights, I tried to keep my cool, but my quads were trembling as I tried to hit the mandatory figure poses. My nerves had kicked in! The judges began calling numbers, the end result; I received first callouts. I placed 3rd! I was elated I had done so well. Finally, I felt alive, I felt I had changed, I knew this was only the beginning of my journey.

I continued to train after the “Atlantic States” with another goal in mind. “NPC Team Universe,” in Teaneck, NJ. I was 4 weeks out from my first national competition. I was determined to bring my best and knew Angelica was by my side to help me get there. Training was intense, lifting for at least an hour a day, cardio had increased to 2-3 hours/day, following the strict meal plans was mentally draining, but I wanted to do well. I placed 12th in a class of 28 competitors and couldn’t wait to compete again.

Comparison – Atlantic States, Team U, USA’s

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” Greg Anderson

I refuse to give up on myself! Having been “on-season” since March, maybe I should have taken a break. However, I went on to compete at two other national level competitions, “NPC USA’s” in Las Vegas, NV and “NPC Atlanta Nationals” in Atlanta, GA, where I placed 13th in a class of 38. I will be competing once more in a regional contest, November 18th at the NPC Easterns in NYC.

Pursuing this goal meant a lifestyle change, not only for me, but for my family as well. I was constantly prepping meals, packing gym bags, and if I wasn’t at work, I was training. No more Sunday dinners (coming from an Italian family this was a huge disappointment) and I was bringing my own food to celebrations (including Easter) at relative’s houses. I was so engrossed in my training that I failed to notice that my family was not quite on board with this way of life, but I loved it. It was new, it was demanding, both physically, and mentally, but I didn’t care. Slowly my family has adapted to the new and improved me. This is my goal and I’m sticking to it, you’re either in or you’re out, you can support me or not, but I’m doing it! I made a promise to myself to never let anyone step in the way of achieving my own personal goals in becoming an IFBB Figure Pro.

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Paul Coelho

One of the most rewarding aspects of this journey has been the friendships and relationships that I have built along the way. Although my family does not understand my reasoning for wanting to train and compete, I am blessed to have such phenomenal friends and support at Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym. I am proud to belong to the “East Coast Mecca” and look forward to it every day. Being surrounded by others that have goals, determination, and drive creates a positive atmosphere to help me push through tough days. Whether in training or in traveling, we stick together!

The “NPC Easterns,” will be my last competition of the season. However, that doesn’t mean that my training will cease. My plans for the off season are to grow physically as a figure competitor, put on more muscle mass, and make big hanges to bring to the stage in 2013. The offseason is bitter sweet because although I love competing, it can be mentally exhausting. I have definitely grown as an individual as I have become more focused, regimented, organized, and optimistic. I find solace in reading inspirational books and listening to motivational speeches. I have carried these new traits into my career as a middle school science teacher and hope to influence my students and encourage them to reach, and achieve their goals and dreams.

Gina with her supporters, Angelica and Roy

The closer one gets to realizing his Personal Legend, the more that Personal Legend becomes his true reason for being.” Paul Coelho, The Alchemist

I hope this finds you well. As you embark on your own fitness journey, remember why you started in the first place. What motivates you? What drives you? The beginnings are the hardest part; but once progress appears use it as your stepping stone to continue on. Surround yourself with positivity; people, books, daily affirmations. Strength is more than just the physical. It is the internal and mental toughness that makes a champion.

Thank you to SociallyFit for inviting me to share my story, to the NPC, to IFBB Figure Pro Angelica “Tiny Phenom” Nebbia, Steve and Bev at Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym, IFBB Physique Pros Sadik Hadzovic and Vince Fiore, and NPC competitor Dickens Fenelon for their continuous support on my journey to becoming an IFBB Figure Pro.

In strength,

Gina Marie Policastro

I would love to receive feedback, questions, or comments. I may be reached at the following:

gmpolicastro@gmail.com

http://www.facebook.com/gina.m.policastro

Twitter@GMPolicastro

Youtube@GinaMPolicastro

Instagram@GMPolicastro

Your Attitude Determines Everything

An athletes mental toughness determines their character. Preparing mentally is just as important as preparing physically. Your attitude determines everything. Fitness or sport visualization is the key to success because if you can visualize how to be successful eventually you will be. Success comes to those who are most prepared. To have mental toughness in fitness an athlete must be able to conquer the fear of losing. Losing is only losing if you fail to get up and try again. Fitness or sport visualization can help you conquer that fear. Try it and you will be amazed.

Mental toughness is critical for success in fitness, and how you develop your mind will directly impact how you progress.

1. Every night, half an hour before retiring, go to your room, where you can be entirely alone and as remote as possible from noise and distraction.

2. Seat yourself in a wide and comfortable chair, or, better still, lie down on your back at full length. See that your clothing is loosened, so that you will suffer no distressing annoyance on this account. Compose yourself as if for sleep, assuming a position of restfulness, abandon and utter relaxation. Close your eyes, letting the lids rest lightly on your cheeks.

3. Shut your mind resolutely against every form of bodily sensation. Forget for the time that you are encumbered with a body.

4. Bar out of your consciousness every memory, every thought of the past.

5. Build a mental picture of the thing you want to have, to do or to be – the one thing that you immediately desire first and most of all. By this we mean nothing indefinite. We do not refer to ultimate aims that can come only as the result of long periods of effort. We mean something specific, something that can be yours tomorrow, something that in itself constitutes the next step in your chosen career.

6. See yourself finding the ways and means of realizing your desire, overcoming obstacles one after another, all the obstacles that can possibly arise. See yourself called upon to display, and displaying, alertness, promptness, courage, confidence, resourcefulness, patience, push, enterprise, expert knowledge, insight, shrewdness, tact, self-control, decision. See yourself face to face with the situation that confronts you in real life and manifesting the qualities and doing the things necessary to your purpose. Put yourself body and soul into this picture. Multiply details. Rivet your mind upon it.

7. Advance step by step, logically, wisely, consistently, to the climax of the drama. See yourself winning out. See yourself solving the problem, getting the thing you want, acting the part you desire to play. Detach your spirit from the flesh of this world and incorporate it in the mental image of yourself. Live the victory mentally until a sense of its reality permeates your soul.

8. Make your dream picture as delightful as possible. Dwell upon it with joyful satisfaction. Warm your heart with a feeling of thankfulness that which you have so long desired is really yours. This feeling of gratitude, this emotional element, will bring forth associations that will give life to the picture and will animate your faith. Keep yourself tight shut in this dream world for at least fifteen minutes.

9. Arise and make your preparations for the night. Then upon retiring once more close your eyes and let your mind dwell upon your vision for five or ten minutes or until you fall asleep. Let it be the last thing in your thoughts as you become unconscious.

10. Every time you are awake during the night call the mental picture before you and keep it in consciousness as long as you remain awake.

11. In the morning, immediately upon awaking, repeat the procedure set out in the third, fourth and fifth instructions.

12. The more of your spare time you spend in this way, the more promptly will you actualize your ideals. By repeated concentration, every detail of the image of your desire will be so deeply engraved upon your mind as to exert an influence throughout the day. It will inhibit wasteful emotions and impulses. It will give you poise and self-possession. It will so inspire you with its promise as to awaken an energizing response in the profoundest depths of your sub consciousness.

Find your focus.

Your friends at “Socially Fit”

http://www.motivation4athletes.com

I’m Fit Not Skinny

Alison

Growing up I struggled a lot in school with my academics.  I hated school and my teachers always accused me of giving up and not working hard enough.  My parents both owned their own businesses so I would be dropped off at school and left alone to get home, watch TV and eat.  By the time I was in the 4th grade I would go home and make a full box of Hamburger Helper or other boxed item.  I always loved sports and was even on a traveling basketball team. I never got to play because I was “too fat and slow”.  I began to hate practice because I knew I would never play. After a while I quit basketball and didn’t pick up another sport until volleyball came around in Junior High.  I could care less about the food I ate.  I just knew that I felt better when I ate.  During my 5th grade year I started having severe side pains and I struggled with the pain for 6 months till my doctor took out my gallbladder.  Two months later, I fell and dislocated my right hip and had to have emergency surgery.  I was on crutches for 2 months and I continued to eat and eat because I was behind scholastically and was missing out on what other kids my age were up to.  Going into the 6th grade I was right around 175lb.  I always joked about my weight and figured that it gave kids at school less of a chance to make fun of me.  At the end of my 6th grade year I switched eye Doctors and found out that one of the reasons for my poor academics were “somewhat” related to the muscles in my right and left eye.  One was weaker than the other.  I spent the following summer in eye therapy while everyone else was swimming and playing summer ball.

Alison with her brother

When I got into High School I got started on the Atkins diet and followed it on point very well.  I lost 40lbs, but then didn’t lose anymore.  I wanted to just maintain, but it seemed that no matter what I did, I continued to gain weight.  Going into College I refused to gain my weight back, but I gained that and more.  I reached my heaviest of 226lbs.  I was working out 3-4 hours a day; sometimes I’d skip class to work out, and actually would go a few days at a time without eating.  I was working for the football coach in the Athletic Department when one of the coaches recommended that I take a personal training class.  All my friends were athletic trainers or in some form of the Sciences so I took the class. With my exercise and diet being monitored for 6 weeks and me continuing to gain weight and inches, my professor/basketball coach informed me I should visit my Doctor for further help.  After visiting 3 different Doctors, the 3rd one finally diagnosed me with hypothyroidism.  This is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones.  It can be brought on by several factors, but one main cause is simply being obese.  I had a huge risk of becoming diabetic and I didn’t want that.  Family members on both sides have it and I didn’t want that for my future.  I came home after getting my medicine and googled, “Diabetic Diets”.  This site brought up a simple to follow plan and I dedicated my whole summer to the workouts from www.EAS.com combined with Oxygen Magazine’s workouts and meal plans and in 3 months I had lost 35 pounds.  I continued to buy books on thyroid disorders and met with nutritionists, and started working out with a woman trainer who had a back ground with hormonal issues.  The weight continued to come off and since I chose to make being fit my LIFESTYLE, like Oxygen Magazine references, I’ve lived by those principles ever since.

Alison with her brother

I know that ultimately, my strength comes from God.  I know that the desire he placed in my heart is for HIS will and I’m only following along for the ride.  I see it as the struggle that I had to overcome helps me to guide and encourage others; just to hear me say “You Got This”.  I ultimately believed in myself and I KNOW that everyone has it within them, it’s just my job to figure out what motivates them so I can tap into that and bring out their fullest potential.  Working-out is only part of being overweight. It’s so much more mental.  We all need someone to hold us accountable! The desire to never be the old me drives me on a daily basis.  I see so many individuals who overcome serious physical challenges and my challenge is “my self’.  I know what I need to eat to stay fit.  If my eating slacks, so does my attitude towards myself and others.  I want to lead by example. Those closest to me have loved me at my worst and now we look back and laugh about how I would eat a whole bag of Oreos.  I’m disgusted with my old self, but we look back at it because it was something only I could do for myself.  So many times when I was overweight I would pray to God to look like my friend.  I compared myself to others and would stand in the mirror and tell myself I was ugly and that I shouldn’t even be living.  I HONESTLY, am my worst critic.  I am harder on myself than anyone could ever be.  I have had to learn to accept myself and love myself for who I am.  I realized I couldn’t even love my family until I really loved myself. 

Alison (centre) with brother, and cousin on right – 2009

My lowest point, which I rarely tell, is that one day I was driving home from my cousin’s house and I thought that if I actually hit the bridge I would die and wouldn’t have to live in my ugly body anymore.  I remember hating myself so badly I would go to sleep wishing to die.  There is nothing worse than the feeling of not even believing in yourself.  NEVER will I be there again.  I LOVE ME! 

I’ve completed 2 1/2 marathons and several 5-10K runs and walks.  I was featured on Nike Women’s “Making Yourself” spotlight, recognized by Complete Nutrition’s Success Story of 2011, featured in Oxygen Magazine August 2011 and will be in an upcoming issue about Thyroid disorders. I am a Life Guard, Water Safety Instructor, CPR & AED Instructor, Spin Instructor, and as for May 28th… PERSONAL TRAINER!  I will be getting my Zumba certificate at the end of July and deeply desire to do the Nike Women’s full marathon in California one day.

I currently take BCAA’s and glutamine after each workout and currently my workouts are two times a day, however I also have classes that I teach.  My week starts with upper body and cardio, day two lower body and cardio, day 3 cardio 2X , then rest and repeat. I’m working on my abs right now so I’m really cutting out all sugars and salts. I have not had a nice stomach since birth. I’d love to see it!

My Current Meal Plan:
Meal 1 1 1/2 cups green veg and 1 piece fruit 
Meal 2 2 cups veg

Meal 3 1 1/2 cup green veg 1 piece fruit

Meal 4 1 scoop whey protein 1 piece fruit
Meal 5 2 cups green veg
I drink unsweetened almond milk with 2 cups spinach in between if I need an extra boost of flavor or energy.

Alison (today) Fit not Skinny

I originally started my fit journey because I was afraid I would never get married, but after finding out there was so much more to being “fit not skinny” I’ve dedicated my life to it.  I never would have imagined I would have done the things I have done so far.  I gained a whole new self-respect for myself and that is why I started training others.  I want them to view their lives as valuable and worthy.  I want others to know that they matter and that they are loved.  I want to help others gain their life back. I want them to be in control of their next move and share that encouragement with one other person.  If I can change ONE person’s life, I will die a happy woman.  It’s all for HIS glory. Let’s keep motivating others and sharing our stories and hopefully we can help that one person that I once viewed as myself.

Live to inspire, and be inspired to live.

 Alison.

Twitter: @Fit_not_skinny Facebook: Alison Hager Instagram: Fit_not_skinny

My blog: http://successinvariousforms.blogspot.com/