if it is to be, it is up to me

Posted on March 9, 2013. Filed under: goals, health, motivation, wellness | Tags: , , , , , , |

How often do you set your alarm a little earlier with the intension of hitting the gym, only to reset it to your normal wake-up time? Or get caught up in the business of your life and let your health and fitness goals collect dust? Yes, I think we have all been there. I am there now.

To fill you in; I have just moved from OH to DE for my first job as a physical therapist. I have always had a love and passion for fitness and nutrition, but found my passion faltering as I adjusted to my new life. The business, lack of funds, and well, loneliness of moving and starting a new life in an unfamiliar place got the best of me.

I was missing my routine. I didn’t have a workout buddy. I wasn’t making a paycheck yet so didn’t have the liberty to motivate myself with races. I didn’t have a gym to start swim training for tris, pump metal to ready my body for long bike rides, or absorb the enthusiasm from other like-minded people.

I was in a self-diagnosed fitness rut and found it difficult to dig myself out.

But, as my boyfriend says, fitness is physics. A body in motion stays in motion. And a body in rest stays in rest. I have goals I want to accomplish this year and they won’t happen if I stay in rest. Namely, complete a half-ironman (I have done several olympic tris) and Boston Qualify at the Columbus OH marathon in October (I was 4min behind last year). These goals will not be accomplished if I don’t get my mind and body working together to conquer them.

So, I decided to start back with the basics. I reminded myself I didn’t need a gym membership or special equipment to conquer my goals. And yes, while I appreciate and feed off of others training with me, if I wasn’t dedicated to training on my own, I sure as heck am not going to meet my goals. Because at the start line, I am left with my own preparation.

So what did I do? I went back to the basics.

I made the outdoors my gym by lacing up my running shoes and hitting the pavement. I found a park and after a run would do tricep dips and elevated pushups off of picnic tables. I invested in in-expensive fitness items to do home-workouts. I purchased a physioball, found my old jump rope and therabands, and gathered heavier objects around the house (ie gallon jugs filled with water/paint cans) to use for squats and other body weight exercises. I got out my old fitness magazine workouts I ripped out and stored away and I searched my fitness section on Pinterest and actually put these workouts to the test. I found websites that offered free videos like Youtube yoga videos or high intensity interval training videos from http://www.bodyrock.tv. Then I USED them.

Using our resources; that’s the key. We can’t live vigorous lives by waiting for our lives to move us; we have to do the moving. Whether it is a fitness, work, or other extra-curricular goal; it won’t get accomplished if we are not able to motivate ourselves to get after it.

Whenever I lack in motivation, my grandpa’s motto comes to mind, ten 2 letter words to live by: If it is to be, it is up to me. I WILL train and conquer a half-ironman this year.

What will you do?

Live vigorously,
Ang

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No sugar challenge

Posted on February 17, 2013. Filed under: diet, health, wellness | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Sugar: that delectibly, incredibly addictive white stuff. Why am I so infatuated with it and how did I become so addicted especially when I know better?!

I love sugar. I do. It is difficult to deny the sweet stuff and the rush of energy and good feeling it gives  within minutes of popping something sugary in my mouth.  But with that rush also comes the knowing that the sugar will not effectively do anything to better my body and will in fact, hurt it.

Many of us know that consuming excess sugar is bad for us, but why? What does it do to  our bodies?

Here are the facts:

–  Excess sugar is directly related to obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes,  high blood pressure, and increased risk of stroke

– Excess sugar causes an increase in the bad cholesterol, LDL.  As the liver works to filter all the excess sugar, it becomes overloaded. The liver then converts the extra sugar into LDL, aka fat, that circulates in the blood. This type of clogs arteries, causing heart disease, hypertension, and increased risk of stroke.

– Increased sugar is linked to increased risk of cancer. Approximately 1/3 of common cancers such as breast and  colon cancer need sugar to grow. If a person has a cancerous tumor, they will be essentially “feeding” this cancer by ingesting sugar because instead of going to supply the organs and muscles, it goes straight to the tumors.

– Sugar is addictive. Sugar activates the same regions in the brain as cocaine does. We experience pleasure from ingesting sugar by the increased release of dopamine (the good feeling chemical) that occurs. Over time, our bodies become sort of immune to this response and our brain requires more sugar to release dopamine. We have to eat more sugar to get that same good feeling. It causes an addictive cycle.

Check out any YouTube videos with Dr. Lustig, who has started a campaign against the overconsumption of sugar in the American diet.

It is decided; it is time I break-up with sugar. I will deny myself any cookies, cake, candy, sugar in coffee, honey on my peanut butter sandwich or in my tea, syrup, processed foods sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (salad dressings, peanut butter, yogurt, pop), refined white bread, pasta and the like.

My no sugar challenge is fullfilling my Lenten obligation, thus it will last 40 days. I have successfully made it four days without wanting to attack someone. Perhaps after these forty days, I will have a healthy relationship with sugar, not be addicted, and I can enjoy the sweet stuff in moderation–the way in which it was supposed to be enjoyed.

Are you addicted to sugar? Please join with me and begin your own no sugar challenge. Whether it is just a week, a few months, or whatever you decide, it is a step towards bettering our mind and bodies.

Be vigorous,

Angela

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A vigorous life

Posted on January 30, 2013. Filed under: wellness | Tags: , , |

How many of us can honestly say that we are living a vigorous life? I honestly cannot. And with the CDC categorizing 33.3% of Americans as overweight, I don’t think that many other Americans can either.

What is a vigorous life? Vigor is defined as active bodily or mental strength or force; active healthy well-balanced growth; intensity of action or effect: force.

What is stopping us from living this life? I believe the first and primary reason is the food we put into our bodies. We are constantly polluting our bodies with addictive fats and sugars that clog our arteries and makes as fat, sluggish, depressed. This combined with a sedentary lifestyle sets us up for a life without vigor.

What is the solution? Exactly the opposite of the cause. It’s adopting a healthy balanced lifestyle; one centered around whole, unprocessed foods and good doses of exercise and activity. My food: (mostly) unprocessed, vegetarian diet with fish aka pescatarian. My exercise: training for endurance events; marathons and triathlons.

Through this blog, I will share my personal triumphs and struggles as I strive for a vigorous life; one filled with strength, well-balanced growth, and intensity. Hopefully I will inspire others to do the same.

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