Posts Tagged ‘runner’

“I couldn’t roll just living in the shadows” not anymore.

Be the best that you can be then be better ~ Morne Gabriels

I couldn’t roll just living in the shadows, not anymore. ~ Morne Gabriels

I am the proud father of four boys. Their age ranges from five through to thirteen.  I currently work from home as a software developer and have been doing that for thirteen years. I enjoy reading when I have the time, but my absolute focus at the moment is on singing, song writing and performing. I have also developed a passion for working out and running, running, running.

The only fitness activity I remember being involved in as a child was playing with friends and riding our bicycles everywhere.  However, exercise and fitness were not emphasized that much as I recall. I indulged in comfort eating; mainly because my parents were going through a messy divorce.  I remember eating 6 or 7 chocolate bars at a time, loads of bread, cheese, etc, etc.  In my mind, I’ve always been overweight.

Hitting puberty somehow helped and I grew into a more proportionate version of myself.  I remember my friend’s sister (who I had a little crush on) telling me that I looked so different (which was a boost) and then her immediately saying and laughing, “you used to be so fat” (which just somehow destroyed my confidence).

I remember as a twelve or thirteen year old, starting to run and running long distances.  I’d say eventually I was running 5kms, two or three times a week.   I had two bricks in my room, which I used as dumbbells.  So mainly did curls until I couldn’t hold the bricks any longer.  I did lots of calf raises, which I did until I couldn’t walk. Yet, that all fell by the wayside when there was any stressful situation in my life, I would return to comfort eating.

I had a certain amount of passion of fitness but never realized my fitness potential, growing up.   Through high school I never took part in any sporting events because I was never fast enough,  strong enough or confident enough.   My main form of exercise in high school was walking to school and back, which was about 10k each way.   I actually loved walking, thinking about it.  It was a great stress reliever during my teens.   However again whenever stressful situations or events occurred in my life, I needed to eat food that made me feel good.So this was my pattern for life until about the age of 32.  Exercise, stressful event, comfort eat, depression, exercise, stressful event, comfort eat and repeat.  The word “Yo-Yo” springs to mind.

The main catalyst for change was the day I stepped onto the scale and it displayed a nice, round number of 120kgs (about 265 pounds).  That, for some reason, did not make me depressed but determined to change.   I initially went about it in the wrong way; starving myself which again led to Yo-yoing but eventually learning that there is a balance to it all.  Exercise, eating right and rest.  When I finally got it right I noticed that the more physically fit I became the more confidence, joy and peace came to my life. I started thinking more positively about my kids and giving them a positive example.  Music; I started writing more songs and performing; it’s a really big passion of mine right now.  Being positive in my thinking and actions makes a world of difference. I am more adventurous now and willing to trying new things, meet new people.  I’m no longer in the background.  A line from a Foo Fighters song always gets me, “I couldn’t roll just living in the shadows” not anymore.

Apart from the obvious health benefits, it is truly a lifestyle for me now.  “Sweat everyday” is a poster I’ve seen on the Socially Fit Facebook page and it’s something I am living by. But the feeling of lightness, strength, confidence and peace is so intoxicating.  I want to feel that every day.  My support system is amazing. Though my immediate family resides overseas, my “in-laws” as well as my kids are always encouraging me.  Family and friends have all given me very positive remarks and comments, which spurs me on to keep going. My hope is that I am an inspiration to people.  If I can do it anyone can!! Furreal!!

The hardest thing for me to date has been maintaining the proper diet. Being consistent. I’ve learned to deal with stress in a more positive way and that has had a positive effect on my relationship with food; not being a slave to it. I’ve said goodbye to comfort eating.  I’m really proud to say that 5 years ago I was 120kgs (265 pounds) and today I am currently 86.5kgs (191 pounds).  No more Yo-yoing.  At my heaviest I wore 44inch waist trousers,  I now comfortably fit into 34inch waist trousers. I can honestly say that on average I run 80 to 100km per week! These are my accomplishments and I am humbled by them.

My workout routine is simple. I run an average of 7kms a day.  On alternative days I work individual body parts with weights i.e. biceps, shoulders, chest and triceps using 16.5kg dumbbell. I’m not taking any supplements at the moment.  My meal plan for the last four months has been eating one hearty meal in the evening including anything I wanted but would gravitate around green vegetables, chicken, fish or beef, rice or potatoes.  Also having the occasional junk foods like pizza, fries, fried chicken, etc.  But for the most part stayed away from white bread and hard cheeses. 4 to 5 cups of green tea, 1 to 2 cups of coffee and about 7 pints of water a day. In the last few weeks however  I’ve had 3 to 4 small meals a day; Morning oats, with cranberries and cashews.  Lunch: Tuna or chicken with green leafy salads.  Evenings: Chicken or beef, vegetables, rice. Snacking on fruit and nuts during the day. This appears to be working for me right now.

I plan to enter a few races to keep me focused and pushing forward.  I’ll start with 5k runs and work my way up. I’d like to increase my lean muscle and most importantly get that flat stomach.   I’d like to add swimming to my exercise regime, meaning getting swimming lessons.  Then possibly giving triathlons a go. Baby steps. If you would like to get started I find reading positive messages on pages like Socially Fit’s Facebook page or motivational groups really does help keep me in a positive frame of mind and thus positive about my reaching my goals. Make daily affirmations:

Hard work pays

Sweat everyday

I can do it – I will do it

It’s not how good you are – it’s about how good you want to be

Be your own hero

Find your focus, find that determination deep within yourself that’s been lying dormant all this time.

Pain is temporary.

Get it done.  Get it done.  GET IT DONE!!

I remember when I started my recent journey to a successful me it was the middle of winter, here in the UK.  I was up at 5 o’clock in the morning, enduring the cold and sometimes snow to go running.  And I started with 5km most days. In the back of my mind I was thinking though, 5km will become your maintenance run.  And it did.  Then it became 7km a day.  Don’t be afraid to speak to yourself, positively.  I wake up in the morning saying “Today’s going to be a good day” even when I feel the opposite.   I remember things that I am grateful for and it changes my mindset.  Be positive to and about others as well ‘cause it will come back to you. I tell/ask my kids the following before they leave for school, “Be the best you can be and then?”  And they answer “BE BETTER”.  That can be used in any part of your life but in this case fitness.

When I first start running, I could only run for 10 minutes before I started feeling my ankles and knees.  120kgs will do that.   But I didn’t stop.  I would run for a minute and then walk for 30 seconds.  Repeating that.  Slowly I became better, stronger, faster.   IF I CAN DO IT – YOU CAN. It all starts up here (points to head). Start thinking right and positive. Visualize your goals; the body you want, the health you want.  Think about it, see it and feel it; then BE IT.

The only limits in life are the ones that you imagine!

https://www.facebook.com/morne.gabriels
https://www.facebook.com/groups/38546773592 – my music related page.
https://twitter.com/DukeSeven7

I want to make myself better tomorrow than I am today.

ImageSean has served almost 20 years in the United States Marine Corps as a fighter pilot and a test pilotflying 28 different types of aircraft. He’s a father and husband and has been blessed beyond all he deserves. He’s passionate about fitness and health-taking a holistic approach to fitness and exercise with focus on endurance athletics. You can find him on Twitter at Sean Garick@push_ur_limits and on the web at pushurlimits.com. 

 

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Now how do I tell you everything about me in a few short lines? No, I can’t, no way. But I can provide a few highlights and tell you about some of the things which matter most. Let’s start with the amazing…  

 

One of greatest joys in life is watching someone accomplish something they once thought impossible. It’s amazing and life altering- to realize that there really are no limits to what you can do. I love to be a part of that. We live in a world of amazing people. People overcoming every type of obstacle imaginable; some are physical, some emotional, some mental. The people who are doing this have one thing in common- they believe! They may not have always believed, often it was someone else who believed in them first, but they believe now.  

 

“Every great achievement begins with the decision to try.” 

I’m constantly in awe of what people are capable of when they believe and apply. Of course, I’m also amazed by what others can’t accomplish because they just don’t believe it’s possible.I CAN’T are the words I absolutely hate more than any others! I’ve faced these ‘limitations’ myself. When I first joined the Marine Corps I had a group of buddies who invited me to go for a run with them. Then they told me they were going 10 miles. I quickly declined but inside I was astonished. How can someone run that far? I was firmly convinced that there were two kinds of people in this world: those that could run far and those that couldn’t- and I was squarely in the group that couldn’t. I lived with that until I was in my mid-thirties. 

 

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“If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves” 

Then I began to wonder…hmmmm…what if...I wonder if I could add a little distance. I began incrementally with a little, then a little more. I remember the first time I ran 7 miles, then the first time I ran 10. I began to believe. Then eventually the Marine Corps Marathon. Now, remember my mindset at that time 26.2 miles was paramount to walking on the Moon. I mean, it was that far out there. It was an impossibility and yet, I did it. I had achieved the impossible. Here I was a pretty smart guy, a Marine and a fighter pilot and yet I had lived with a SELF-MADE limit for over 35 years. I had limited myself for absolutely no reason. I had held myself back. I had diminished how full my life could be. I had done this to myself. I vowed never to do it again. 

 

“Do not fear death. Fear an unlived life.” 

There are much better examples of this than mine. Just last weekend I met a Marine who told me about the number of screws and metal parts in his right leg- he’d been injured in combat. He and I met while both doing some open water swim training in the bay- training for his Half Ironman that he was doing the very next weekend. Awesome! I am fully convinced now that all limits can be overcome. And more importantly they can be overcome by anyone….anyone who is willing. We have the power in ourselves- the power to limit ourselves or the power to live an unlimited life!  

 

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t. You are probably right.” 

I love optimism. I have no room in my life for negative thoughts or negative people. I believe that attitude is contagious. The old saying, “You are either affecting or infecting others” rings very true. Motivation, positive thinking, and encouragement– these things are absolutely crucial to your mental state and your ability to achieve success. And these things have a shelf-life. They are fleeting! The book I read says ‘renew your mind daily’. It takes constant replenishment and that replenishment takes effort. We must work to remain positive and motivated. I love quotes and inspirational sayings- if you follow me on Twitter you already know this. These things replenish me. They renew me and my commitment. Yet another reason that I love Socially_Fitthe constant motivation and encouragement.  

 

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Athletes amaze me. I’m addicted to their inner strength. They get it, when the rest of the population doesn’t. Every damn day!That motto, that mindset. Regardless of the circumstances, the weather, the mood- they get up and go do their thing. Run, swim, bike, lift, Zumba, Crossfit, it doesn’t matter. That mindset translates into everything else in their life- the ability to push through the pain and to get up when you can’t. Because let’s be honest, life is going to knock us on our ass sometimes. How long we stay there is up to us and is often more a mental battle than a physical one. Every athlete knows it’s better to get up, get going and get it done. Life is always better when we do this rather than just lying there feeling sorry for ourselves. And similarly the day is always better when we get up and get that workout done. Love it.  

 

Balance: 

I am a big believer in well-rounded fitness and truly love all forms of exercise. In training myself to become a better athlete it didn’t take long before I expanded my view to include all the aspects of what healthy really means. The ONLY view that’s acceptable is a holistic view. We’ve all seen that guy in the gym that looks like the Hulk above the waist but is standing on toothpicks! Or the opposite version of the ultracyclist with amazing legs but looks like a 10 year boy above the waist. This imbalance is present in anyone who only focuses on ‘one’ thing. They develop imbalances in muscle strength. Different parts of the body compensate and stress is placed on parts that weren’t made for it. The eventual result is injury. Balance is the key to our health and I believe in holistic view of muscle development with an emphasis on core-related fitness.  

 

But we can expand this holistic concept a little more. For example, great exercise without proper nutrition will result in ceilings on our achievement as well.As I began to move into multi-hour workout sessions and multiple workouts per day,nutrition became a more important part of my life. You cannot train at high levels without making nutrition one of the pillars upon which your fitness is built. Now it’s about focusing on the various aspects of nutrition: pre-workout fueling, fueling during the workout, recover fueling and getting the body ready for the next session- which many times is only a few hours away. I get so tired of eating! Very rarely is eating for enjoyment- it’s about feeding the machine- about fueling the beast- making it better, stronger and ready for the next challenge.  

 

Now, if we dare to expand this concept a little more to account for our life as a whole, it’s easy to understand how all things need to be in balance– God, family, fitness/health, rest/recovery, work/career, seriousness, silliness, leadership, followership, father/mother, son/daughter, etc. If any of these grows too large individually at the expense of the others we will have issues sooner or later. We are made to be multi-dimensional- we can’t achieve our full potential living a one dimensional life. If we fail to achieve balance at any of these levels we will undermine our goals and will not reach our potential. Again, balance is the key.  

 

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“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift” 

People often ask me how do I run and bike for hours at a time. What do you think about all that time? Why do you do it? Truthfully, inside me there’s a celebration going on! Every workout, every mile is an expression of gratefulness. There’s so many who would love to be doing what I’m doing and they no longer have the chance. I run because I can. And I run for all those that can’t. 

 

And my favorite feeling? Post-workout, laying on the ground, covered in sweat, too tired to move. The body completely drained of everything it had. You gave it all. There’s nothing left. That feeling of complete and utter satisfaction. The body is empty- but the heart, the heart if full!  

 

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Final Thoughts: 

ImageI want to make myself better tomorrow than I am today. I want to attain heights I’ve never reached. I want to inspire and help others to do the same. But I’m also at the point where I want it to be about more than just me. I want to do more. That’s why I was very excited to find the Charity Miles app. It’s an app that tracks your cycling and running and then a sponsor will donate to the charity you choose. It’s an awesome example of something that is ‘right’. A way to give and a way to help by doing what you were going to do anyway. There are some great charities and great sponsors. I run and cycle for the Wounded Warrior Project and PROMAX Nutrition donates for me. It’s a great relationship. I would like to find more ways to do similar things like this. If you know any, please let me know. 


Dramas of a Bald Head Queen

My Journey Through Fitness - Nina Brewton

My Journey Through Fitness – Nina Brewton

Today, I am a wife, daughter, sister, aunt and so much more! I am blessed to be more content with the woman I am today than I’ve ever been in my life. All is not perfect but all is indeed well!  

I am a two-time self-published author and am currently working to re-release my memoir, Dramas of a Bald Head Queen in late June. I’m also working on adapting Dramas into a one-woman show which will debut on stage next spring!  

I mentor young people and am looking forward to serving on the board of directors for a non-profit organization in our nation’s capitol.  

I am so very excited about my future and know that this is just the beginning!  

Excerpt from Dramas of a Bald Head Queen

“Carl – dad – doesn’t sit still.  He’s constantly moving something; fixing, building, planting, painting, going somewhere.  He rarely moves without a purpose. He believed his two children would benefit from the same kind of movement.  If he found we’d been planted indoors for too long he would make us get up to do SOMETHING. He did the same for all the neighborhood kids…

Even though my father always had my brother and I on the go, I would not say that we were a “health conscious” family. I grew up eating large portions of traditional Southern cuisine, or “Soul Food”, on a regular basis. Most vegetables were cooked in “fat back” (pork fat) with lots of salt and meats were often fried – be it fish, chicken or my father’s blessed pork chops! Diet was not a familiar word. We were that family who ate white bread during dinner every night. 

I remember in high school, I was an avid runner and cheerleader who could, and would, eat nearly anything! During that time, my mother would always warn me, promising, “Alright, you keep eating like that, it will catch up with you!” I laughed it off, confident in my slim athletic build. I knew that if I kept moving, I could eat what I wanted without gaining weight. Good genes have kept me looking remotely fit over the years. I have my father’s “stocky”, athletic build and have taken advantage of that for years since first becoming involved in organized sports in middle school.  

Even after running track throughout high school and continuing as a hobby into my early 20’s, I noticed that my body began to change somewhere between year 25 and 26. In all my moving, doing and eating, the one thing I failed to consider was my body’s metabolism and how time and nature would one day turn against me…*cues scary music* 

During the two weeks leading up to Christmas 2006, I took a road trip from Virginia to Texas. After two days of eating food on the go, I found that my then size 8 body was quickly drifting into size 10 territory. I’ve been creeping up in size ever since, hitting a size 18 and 230 lbs in 2010. That was truly the heaviest I’d ever been in my life. Something had to change but even with all of my natural athletic abilities and physique, it hasn’t been easy. Besides becoming physically stronger with consistent exercise, I have discovered that I grow mentally and spiritually as well as I strive to be disciplined and obedient. I recognize that my purpose in life goes well beyond my being fit to look good or simply to fit into a pair of jeans. 

Nina at her heaviest - 230lbs

Nina – Size 18 230 lbs

I have learned that in order to be available to God, I have to be the best that I can possibly be. If I claim to live for God but lack the discipline to even control what I eat or whether I take the initiative to take care of my physical body, I can’t possibly have the discipline required to maintain a high level of spirituality.  

I take full responsibility for being a living example for every person that I am connected to. I strive daily to be that in every area of my life! I am most driven when I consider all the people in the world who are physically unable to do the things that I can do, I am reminded of my mantra, “If you’re able, be willing.” I think of all the people who are inspired by my life and I know that it is important to lead by example. From the youngest to the oldest, the world is in need of inspiration. If I can encourage one person to be better by remaining motivated to be fit, then I’ll do it! But I don’t do this alone. My family is most supportive. My husband, Raphael is not an athletic type so, he doesn’t go so far as to workout with me but he is totally supportive of my desire to be fit. From meeting me at the finish line at early morning races to making sure we include new running shoes and other workout gear into our budget, I know that he’s got my back, no matter what! 

Doubt is a killer of drive and ambition.

My mind is the greatest obstacle I’ve ever encountered. Whether our goals are physical, academic or professional, we have to take control of our thoughts to overcome our doubts and live up to our full potential! 

Nina a couple of weeks ago at the Color Me Rad 5K run

Nina a couple of weeks ago at the Color Me Rad 5K run

I recently rejoined the YMCA after two years because I found myself bored with my workout regimen. For over a year I was just running and running as I trained for my half-marathon. I eventually hit a plateau, growing tired of just running. I realized that, even though I enjoy running alone, I missed the camaraderie and support that comes from being involved in a group.  

My routine also lacked strength training so now I do a Bootcamp, circuit class every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning which includes combinations of body weight exercises, calisthenics and cardio routines.  On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, I run and lift weights.

I really don’t have a meal plan, per se. My goal every day is not to overeat! For breakfast I’ll generally have three hard-boiled eggs and an avocado with black pepper, turmeric and a dash of pink salt. That is my current favorite thing to have for breakfast. I also include juicing and smoothies with my meals to make certain I’m getting all the nutrients I need! As for supplements, I’m not a big fan. I may include whey protein powder in my smoothies but honestly, I am terrible at taking my daily vitamin.

Back in February my weight crept back up to 225. I have been working hard and I’m currently just under 200lbs. I would like to lose another 15lbs. My overall goal is to maintain my weight between 180 and 185 and to be wearing a size 10/12. Besides weight and size, I also have a goal of running my second half-marathon later this summer so, I’m training for that as well! 

Everything stems from LOVE - Nina Brewton

Everything stems from LOVE – Nina Brewton

If you’re thinking of starting your fitness journey it really begins with you. One has to get to a point where their ultimate well-being is their motivation. Not everyone is going to be a marathoner, a yogi or able to bench 200lbs but everyone can find what works for them and become great at thatJUST. DO. IT. Don’t think. Just do!

Every small step is a step towards a goal and no step is too small! Allow yourself to progress naturally. Compare yourself to yourself only! Don’t look at the progress, size, shape of others for your motivation. The better you has to be your motivation and the former you must be your competition! 

It is so very important to surround yourself with people who are like-minded in your endeavors. From your online network to those who are a direct part of your life, changing our mindset often means changing our environment and the people in it!As you purge your physical weight, don’t be afraid of letting the weight of negative, unsupportive people go as well!  

Contact Info:

I’m on Twitter and Instagram as @baldheadqueen and can be found on Facebook by searching for Nina Brewton. You may also find all contact information at www.baldheadqueen.com or follow my blog at www.baldheadqueen.blogspot.com 

Fabulous and Fit

Felicity

Hello, my name is Felicity and I’m about to transition out of my “Dirty 30’s” into the big 31. I still feel as vibrant as I was at 21 though. One thing that will never change is my personality and love for life! I am currently working as a Patient Care Coordinator full time setting up fertility orders for women all over the country who are trying to get pregnant. In the past I have worked as a pharmacy tech and my dream job would be to pursue entrepreneurship and have my own business. Something where I can work when I want, where I want, yet fulfill my creative needs. I am married – we have been together 11 years but married 3. I am a doggy mom of two rascals and I have two stepchildren that we never see. I am a socialite. I feel like I am always on the go. My motto is “I’ll rest when I die”. I’m usually bouncing from work, to the gym, to home, to spontaneous fun with friends. I enjoy talking, listening and just being around other people. My current obligation is first to my health, second to my marriage and third to my friends, family and spending as much time with them as possible. You should never take anything or anyone for granted.

I was a very active child. I cannot remember a time that I was stuck indoors being lazy for a long period of time. I was always out roaming the neighborhood and riding my bike with friends. I grew up with a swimming pool too, so I spent a lot of time pretending I was a mermaid! My mother also put me in jazz and gymnastics early on and I did that for many years. I started with somersaults and hand-stands and ended up doing no-handed cartwheels and front hand springs! I was very good at what I did and very flexible. Although I stayed fairly active – I was always “the bigger girl” around friends or in gym class. I didn’t like sports, mainly because I had stage fright and did not like to be “watched” while performing. So I was more active at home than I was in school. I was just not confident enough, so I shied away from “fitness activities” there.  I grew up on family foods, fast foods and there was no real structure as to what we couldn’t eat. My weight was always brought up during doctor visits and they always tried to give me ideas on how to slim down but I just got bigger over the years. Three years ago I lost 18 lbs and ended up getting pregnant. Unfortunately I miscarried 16 weeks in and haven’t been able to get pregnant since.  I really think that the way I changed my eating habits at that time played a major role in my being able to conceive and so I started my journey to fitness. Initially I wanted to get healthy and become pregnant again. It was only 10 months ago that I finally committed 100% and I am determined to stick it out.

I have never admitted that my weight has held me back in life – but now that I have lost some weight, I find that I have more energy and I’m feeling better about myself; I can finally admit to that. It did hold me back from doing things I have never done before; hiking, canoeing and other physical activities. I also find myself being even MORE social with friends/family when I go out. I don’t mind being in the spotlight as much, I get out on the dance floor and I have more confidence in front of strangers. This journey has also brought me and my husband closer together. I was eating better and exercising for about 5 months before he joined. Now that he’s joined (about 6 months ago) he has lost 40+ lbs! We spend more quality time together hitting the gym every day, taking the dogs for longer walks and cooking healthier meals. We share a new common interest which is rare for us because we are complete opposites.

My “before” pictures keep me motivated on a daily basis. I don’t like to say “after” yet because I am not at my goal. I see those pictures and think, “wow – was I really that big?” Cause at the time I still (for the most part) felt fabulous. But today I feel even MORE fabulous! I can pick clothes out from a regular store without having to go to plus size (went from buying a 3X shirt or pants to being able to squeeze on an XL) and when I look in the mirror I am not trying to hide away my muffin top or change my wardrobe three times in order to feel comfortable and confident. Also, I see other people’s transformations and I know that it’s not impossible. Anything I want, I can achieve with just dedication, hard work, and effort.

Just recently a friend told me, “Felicity you were never the FAT one, you were always the FUNNY one.” Which made me feel good cause I have beautiful friends. Talking drop dead gorgeous, nice bodies, high maintenance ladies and well groomed! And to be honest, I always felt like the “fatter” one among them. Having the same best friends for 15+ years now has helped to keep me going. Not only do I want to prove to myself that I can do this, I want to prove it to them. I wanna be able to walk into my best friend’s house and slip on a pair of her jeans. A few of them have joined along in effort to lose weight and tone up, some of them have been inspired by me to do it and everyone fully supports me! I joined Myfitnesspal.com and have currently logged over 300 days straight, counting calories and losing weight with online friends I’ve met. I also started a fan page on Facebook mostly to inspire others on their journey and to document mine as much as possible. In some ways I feel like a celebrity because I have so many people rooting for me, it’s lovely!

Eating out remains the hardest obstacle for me to overcome! I must say that making healthy choices during spontaneous moments can be hard. Especially after a long, busy day when we’re too tired to cook, so we decide to stop at a sub shop. Or if it’s during a party or cook out. I tend to tell myself “today I am going to make a better choice” then when that moment comes and I’m faced with either a salad or a sub – I choose the sub!! It’s almost like an addiction and making an irrational decision. After all is said and done and that moment passes… I regret it. But unlike before, I keep on moving forward now. I will not allow bad choices or small mistakes to deter me away from reaching my ultimate goal.

So far I have lost 43 lbs in less than a year. I’ve dropped over 20 inches through out my body. I have dropped 2 jeans sizes and 3 shirt sizes. My rings are now too big for my fingers and I have taken part in activities I never thought I would before, one which includes a 5k for Susan G Komen with co-workers! I can jog for at least 5 minutes straight without feeling like I might die and I built up endurance for all the cardio machines at the gym and I have earned a passion for weight training too! I normally hit the gym 3-5x per week. At first it was all cardio. I would do a mile on the treadmill, 3 miles on the bike, and a short time on the elliptical. Now I am in love with strength training. So I will spend 15-30 minutes doing free weights or machines. Then 30-60 minutes doing cardio. I have built up my endurance. So I am now able to not only walk on the treadmill but jog in intervals. I can last almost an hour on the elliptical and have recently built up 45 minutes on the Cybex (which is like the elliptical on the moon). I also try set goals and do one new “fitness” activity each month. Recently completing 8 weeks of an intense Bootcamp and this month doing a 5k. For supplements I just take a multi-vitamin and load up on whey protein.

Most mornings I have an iced coffee with a scoop of whey protein or just a whey protein shake made from almond milk. I’m trying to be better at eating every 2-3 hours to keep my metabolism up but because I work in a call center it can be hard. On the days I am home in the morning I try my best to eat breakfast which usually includes eggs and spinach! For snacks I eat fruit, cottage cheese, and nuts. I also love munching on apples & celery with peanut butter too! Lunch could be left overs from the night before or something small like fruit and yogurt or a garden salad. For dinner I eat a lot of raw veggies with chicken. Zone bars, pria bars, and luna bars are also a great meal replacement or post work out snack. I am very enthusiastic about meal planning for the week so I have a “Food Prep Sunday” where I cook and package my food for the next 4-5 days for easy access, it also helps me stay on track 100%.

Before I started this journey at 278 lbs I promised myself that I would lose 100 lbs and get down to 178 lbs. I started in May of 2012 and by December I had lost 33 lbs so at that time my New Year’s Resolution was to double that for 2013 and lose 66 lbs. Which would bring me down -99 lbs. total. I am currently down 43 lbs and look forward to what the rest of the year will bring me. Sometimes I feel like it’s a slow process, but its a work in progress and I am happy with that. Once I reach 178 I will then work on toning as much as possible and if I lose anymore I will stop when I am most comfortable and happy! It almost seems impossible to CHANGE; to make healthier choices and step outside of your comfort zone and exercise regularly. You just have to commit to and just do it! One of the biggest problems people face is screwing up. I want you to know that one bad choice or one bad day does NOT mean that you failed and you have to give up. Every meal, breakfast, lunch, or dinner and EVERY day is a new chance to make a healthier choice and keep going! Put that bad choice in the past and move forward – if you give up then a year from now you will have to start over and you’ll wish you would of just kept going. Slow progress is better than no progress and eventually you WILL be where you want to be!

The numbers on the scale are not the most important. The non-scale victories (us in the weight loss world call them “NSV”) are what’s most important. When you reach a physical or mental goal; when you fit into an old pair of tight jeans;  you discover that it’s the little successes in life that make you most proud. When you compare your fat pics to your progress pics I promise you will see a difference and THAT will motivate you to continue. I just want every man or woman especially to know that it is NEVER too late to change.

Felicity

In the past year I have been lucky enough to network with people of all different ages and sizes that have been successful no matter what their circumstances, all it takes is just some effort, passion, and dedication!

http://facebook.com/fabulousanddfit
http://myfitnesspal.com/fabulousago
http://pinterest.com/fabulousego
http://instagram.com/fabulousego

Running and Dancing to the Beat of my own Drummer

A young Cory Pagett

It seems fitting to me to be interviewed by a blog called Socially Fit as a large part of my physical activity these days involves social engagement, while also seeking to stay fit.

This past year my main focus was training for the ING NYC Marathon, on behalf of Team for Kids, a program run by the New York Road Runners to help underprivileged children gain access to running programs and nutritional information. As many of you know, the marathon itself was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy, but that didn’t negate my fundraising efforts, nor stop me from completing a marathon, albeit under very different circumstances. But then again, my fitness journey has not always taken a very linear path. As a child, sports were more of a source of tension for me than excitement. Struggling through a few seasons of T-ball, I never progressed to Little League, instead joining the less popular and perhaps less physically-demanding Youth Bowling Council. While I would go on to successfully compete at the provincial level, let’s just say the trophies failed to gain much attention on the playground.

Indeed, I was the proverbial last one to be picked for dodgeball, the one tripping over his own skates at school outings to the local rink and the one too scared to jump into the pool until the threat of a failing grade outweighed that fear. Given my recent venture, it’s interesting that it was on the track where I first exhibited a strength that also impressed my classmates. Literally bypassing them all during practice, I was selected to represent the school in a series of short distance sprints and as part of a relay at regional meets.  But the pride I took in these accomplishments was short-lived after choosing dance as my next venture. While neither of my parents batted an eye at their son entering this female-dominated sport – and make no mistake, it IS a sport – my schoolmates were quick to rib me. While I enjoyed some success in competition, the bullying was overwhelming, and I abandoned lessons after three short years.

Dance, however, would continue to play an important role in my life on so many levels. Despite having given up on classes, I auditioned for the Stratford Festival and was fortunate to be chosen to perform in Gypsy. This experience exposed me to the discipline (physical, mental, etc) required to be in the arts and influenced me to apply for a local performing arts high school. For the next four years, I devoted all of my energy to exploring dance, music and theatre. Pushing myself to my physical limits, I was accustomed to pain, exhaustion and leaving my heart on the stage. In many ways, it was the world of dance where I experienced the most growth through learning a variety of styles and eventually choreographing my own works. I continued this journey even during a year abroad in France on exchange, but stopped abruptly when I got back to Canada and began university in Toronto.

The many shades of Cory (the dancer, the runner, the yogi, the fitness fiend)

As I began to gain exposure to a certain segment of gay urban life, I realized that a gym membership was going to be necessary. While my years of dance had served to keep me fit, I suddenly found myself bombarded with the “bigger is better” aesthetic.  I immersed myself in books, magazines, websites, a personal trainer and jumped from gym to gym, all in pursuit of an elusive ideal. Elusive, because it was imposed by external influences and therefore subject to change. A membership at a boutique gym led me to reconnect with the dance world I had left behind. Stepping into a ballet bootcamp run by Jennifer Nichols at 99 Sudbury, I was faced with the initial “Are you sure you’re in the right place?” After the first class, however, Jenn attempted to recruit me to dust off my dancing shoes and perform with her company, Hit and Run Productions.  I initially resisted, but when the opportunity came up to perform at Fashion sCares I agreed, assuming that it would be a matter of a few chassés down the runway. Arriving at the rehearsal, I quickly learned that it would involve partnering, lifts, etc. – much more work than just werq. While that was a one-night only return to the stage, I’ve continued with classes, following Jenn from one studio to the next and using her approach to movement to motivate my muscles.

My fitness path had also led me back to running. My first race was for the Pride and Remembrance Run in 2008 and in preparation for the 5k distance I joined the Toronto Frontrunners, an LGBT running group. An interesting mix of the social and the physical, the Saturday morning training runs allowed me to meet other members of the community and get tips on form, gear, nutrition etc.  From that initial run, I chose to add a charity aspect to my races, raising funds for causes such as prostate cancer, children’s arthritis, leukemia and lymphoma and various disabilities, while gradually increasing the distance to 8k, 10k, a half-marathon and 30k. When I felt like giving up, I simply remembered who I was running for.

While I enjoyed my time with Frontrunners, and later joined Team in Training, even becoming a mentor with them this season, running also became a time that I could dedicate to me and my thoughts. Alone with my iPod or iPhone, I find myself able to focus and reflect in a unique way. In fact, it was on a solo run in Washington, D.C. where I found the spot to propose to my partner.

During the summer of 2009, though, I hit a major roadblock to all physical activity. While vacationing in New York City, I experienced what was later diagnosed as an acute psychotic episode. After an attempt on my own life and hospitalization, I would go on to face severe depression and anxiety that quite literally paralyzed me and forced me onto short-term disability and caused me to retreat from almost all social interaction for several months.  Due to medications required during my treatment and literally not leaving my bed, I suddenly encountered a problem for the first time in my life: weight gain. Fortunately, I have not been on this path alone. Through the support of my husband, my family and friends, I have moved past this dark moment in my life and actually feel stronger to have gone through the experience and come out the other side.

I had established the goal for myself of running a marathon prior to my 30th birthday, but because of this setback, I didn’t feel prepared when the time came. So earlier this year, I decided to once again look at the possibility. I chose to participate in the New York City Marathon as a way of reclaiming the city that I hadn’t returned to in three years and to truly close the chapter on the mental health crisis that began there. During my training and fundraising, few knew the true importance of the event. In fact, this is the first time I have publicly shared this part of my story.

Cory Pagett – Fashion Cares – Toronto

As I said before, my fitness journey hasn’t always followed the course I laid out for myself. Three weeks prior to the marathon, I developed walking pneumonia, but after a round of antibiotics and stocking up on puffers, I got medical clearance to run. I then arrived in New York City on the Friday of the marathon and picked up my race kit, only to learn of the cancellation an hour later. Having overcome the mental hurdle of heading back to New York, I also decided that the cancellation wouldn’t stop me from keeping my commitment to those who had encouraged me and supported me over the past year.

So, the final chapter of this story took place on November 11. Some critics accused those looking to continue with the marathon in the aftermath of Sandy as being purely interested in a parade of ego. Personally, I chose to set out alone, on a 42.2-kilometre course that I had mapped out across Toronto. Without any bands, water stations or onlookers, I ran the entire distance, keeping in mind the importance of Remembrance Day, stopping at 11 am for a moment of silence. And when my iPhone ran out of energy before I did, I simply listened to my heart, grateful for the ability to continue running and dancing to the beat of my own drummer.

Cory

@cmdp1980

Chasing Change

What would happen if you took the same training approach day after day– if you lifted the same weights, did the same number of reps, or ran the same mileage? Initially, depending on your fitness level and what you were doing before, your body would respond. But as it became accustomed to the routine, your progress would stall out. It’s no mystery that you have to keep upping the challenge if you want to see growth. And like so many fitness truths, the same can be said for life in general. 

Elizabeth Renter – Freelance writer, editor, runner, gardener, and homeschooling mother of one

So many people manage their day-to-day life as if they are a programmed machine. They rise, eat the same breakfast, go to work, have the same conversations, clock-out, do the same tired workout, watch the same television shows, and go to bed at the same time every night. Routine is comforting, isn’t it? But when something happens to shake things up – car trouble, a lay-off, the cable goes out – their whole world can come tumbling down. I’m exaggerating just a little to make a point here. The point is: we have to not only accept change but to embrace and welcome it if we truly want to live a satisfying life. When we are caught up in the routine of things, change seems forced upon us, and we are left reacting. But when we actively seek change, we are the ones at the wheel. 

I was never an athlete. I would fake sick on P.E. days in high school. I didn’t like exercise and absolutely abhorred running. I did a little yoga in my teens, but for whatever reason all other exercise was a nightmare for me. In my twenties, it got worse. I stopped doing yoga and continued avoiding exercise. It wasn’t until I hit my thirties that I tried to give fitness a shot. And of all things to test the waters with, I tried running. Disclaimer: While running may conjure images of long strides and graceful bounding—that’s not me. I’m slow. But I’m not walking. And you might even catch me plodding along with a smile on my face. 

Elizabeth at her first half-marathon

Yes, I found out I loved to run. I loved it so much that last year I ran my first half-marathon. I ran the entire thing, no walking. And the level of satisfaction I felt after training so hard and achieving my goal was like nothing I had ever felt before. The only problem was, I didn’t plan anything after the race. For the following weeks I would run 7 miles here or 5 there, but those runs dwindled until the only running-associated thing I was doing was carrying my Runners World magazines from the mailbox to the coffee table. I fell back into the comfort of my routine. After years of running and feeling good about myself, I fell back into doing almost nothing for about four months. It was almost scary how easy it was. 

I know I’m not the only one who’s been here before, who has just let their training slide for a few months. I would like to think it’s more common than I know (I wouldn’t feel so bad about it then). But it’s the knowledge that everyone has to fight this strange urge to do nothing that has once again motivated me to get back off the couch and training again. 

I fell back into the comfort of my routine…
Stock Photo Credit

As human beings I really think it’s in our DNA to take the path of least resistance. Maybe it’s an evolutionary thing—that if we can have our needs met with minimal exertion, there’s no need to rock the boat. But it’s the rocking of the boat that makes life worth living!

I try to live my life by challenging myself each day, professionally and spiritually. I try to go beyond what’s average and normal by pushing myself to achieve more, to be a better person, and to reach for that unlimited potential that we all have. I realize now that this same level of tenacity must be applied to my physical as it is to the other areas of my life. We all have the potential to have the life of our dreams, to achieve our wildest goals, and to feel more joy and satisfaction each day than we did the last. But in order to do that—we have to pursue constant change and evolution.

Can we be satisfied with mediocrity? Sure, millions of people are. They are content with merely being content. But I don’t want content, I want extreme joy and satisfaction. I want that just-crossed-the-finish-line feeling every single day. The next time you are tempted to get into the routine of things, to merely go through the motions of life or of training, remember that the changes we seek, those that we have chased down and trained for, are those that really make life worth living. 

 Elizabeth Renter is a freelance writer, editor, runner, gardener, and homeschooling mother of one. You can see more of her work at http://www.elizabeththewriter.com and follow her at Twitter.com/ElizabethRenter.