Tag Archives: healthy living

Are you ready?

Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted. One moment. Would you capture it or just let it slip away? – Eminem

In life you have to be prepared to take advantages of opportunities when they pass by.

This past Saturday, I had an opportunity come and smack me in the face.  While training at the karate studio, the Master Instructor asked me if I was ready to test for my Second Degree Black Belt in 13 days!!!!

Thirteen days?  Are you crazy?  I trained for 8 intensive weeks to receive my black belt……and that nearly killed me!!! (You can read that story here). Thirteen days!?!?!  There is no way I can do that!!

Now up until that moment, we had not even discussed the possibility of testing. No commentary on what would be needed to be prepared, where he or the other instructors saw weaknesses in my game or even the structure of the new test.

Just a spontaneous “are you ready?” conversation.  There was only one answer I could give…..

“Absolutely!”

You see, I train with a purpose and so should you.

Now your purpose is probably not the same as mine.  Not many people are actively training in multiple martial arts and focused on being able to go 10 rounds or stop multiple assailants on a plane if needed (yes, I really do think like that).   However everyone should put a purpose behind their health goals.

It is easy to skip a workout, or multiple workouts, when you don’t have a clearly defined purpose.  It’s easy to order the chili cheese fries when you don’t have a goal staring you in the face.  It’s easy to have that extra glass of wine when there is nothing to focus on.

Without a big goal to command your focus in the long run, the decisions you make in the short run lend themselves to the easy rather than the best choice.

So what is your goal?  Is it…

scale

Weight loss:

You know this is a simple matter of calories in, calories out.  You also have to understand that it is the marathon of goals, not the sprint.  Set a weight target and a realistic date to hit it and then track your ongoing progress (there are lots of great apps and calculators out there to help you do this).  Put that number everywhere you turn so it is constantly reminding you of the real treat, seeing your number on the scale.

Blood pressure

Lowered Blood Pressure:

Talk to your Dr. About what you need to do specifically in this area but I know for my family it is keeping salt to a minimum and making sure we are exercising.  Skip the salt shaker and get your 20 minutes in everyday.  Believe me you will feel and sleep a whole lot better.  Track it regularly and celebrate small incremental decreases.

energy

More energy throughout your day:

Foods high in refined sugar and carbs lead to spikes in blood sugar and corresponding crashes.  Remind yourself before indulging in those cookies of how you will feel an hour later.  Is the short term burst worth the crash later that day.  Sometimes the answer is ‘yes’ but work to make ‘yes’ a rarer and rarer answer.

headshot

Fitting in your clothes better:

When I started this fitness journey about 5 years ago, this was a major goal of mine.  When I am on the mat I am often wearing a rash guard/compression shirt.  They show every ripple, bulge, love handle, muscle or lack there of.  I was embarrassed enough of my body that I would wear a t-shirt over the rash guard until it was time to step on the mat.  Vanity was, and still is, a major motivator for me.

Interestingly, I fill out t-shirts and rash guards much better now but I still am in the habit of wearing a t-shirt over them for the most part, even in the gym.  I guess some habits are really ingrained.

But let’s not lose sight of the bigger issue here, you have to have a long term goal to help you make good short term decisions.

G2G

Jim Collins in his book Good to Great defines it as a BHAG -Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

If you have a clearly defined BHAG, and you keep it front and center, when the opportunity arises for you to make a choice that either gets your closer or moves you further away, the answer will be clear for you too.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a test to go train for.  Time to go spar, roll and practice katas.
See you on the road.

My top 5 runs across the country……

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I am fan of combining sightseeing with fitness through running.  I absolutely love running in cities across the country as a way to get both my workout in and see more of the city.  I recently had the opportunity to run Central Park in NYC for the first time and had several followers who commented that it was their favorite run.  That got me to thinking….

What are my top 5 runs across the country?

To me, a run has to have a few key elements in order to make the top 5.  After all, you can run anywhere but there are only certain places where I am going out of my way to make sure I get a run in.  So what makes a top 5 run for me?

The distance:  This is actually a tricky one as I want a route that can be flexible enough to accommodate routes between 3-6 miles.  If I don’t have much time, I need to keep it short and sweet but in order to be top 5, it still has to have the other elements below.

The sights:  Looking at the same thing for 30-60 minutes is incredibly boring to me.  I have a special kind of envy for those who can do long runs on a treadmill but I am unfortunately not among them.  I love running but I need to have something to keep my mind going through the run.  All of the runs below differ in the scenery but all of them have incredible scenery.

The challenge:  On my ideal run, we don’t just run.  Each of the runs below also include the opportunity to include an additional physical challenge unique to that run.

Soldier Field

#5 Lake Front – Chicago:

‘Da Bears!!  Running by Soldier Field, the Convention Center and Navy Pier?  Sign me up!!!  However with that said, I will only do this one between May and October.  Outside of those dates, forget it.  Otherwise Minneapolis probably would have made the list.

image

#4 Fort Lauderdale Beach, FL:

I probably do this run more than any other next to #1 below.  Every time I am in South Florida with extra time on my hands, you can find me here.  With courses of various lengths and a fitness challenge park near the south side of Fort Lauderdale beach, this really does have it all.  Add to it the ocean and great dining al fresco once you are done with your run and you can understand why I will shower in the Admirals Club just to be able to get one of these runs in.

image image

#3 San Diego Convention Center:

Great views, challenging course and great weather year round, you really cannot go wrong here.  I like to run the waterfront first, especially by the USS Midway where World War II ended and finish with the stairs at the convention center itself.  I have never run this course alone as there are always folks getting their workout in at the Convention Center.  The constant hum of helicopters ferrying around training Navy SEALs is only added inspiration for normal folk like me.

strip 2 Strip

#2 Las Vegas Strip:

The strip has morphed over the last decade or so to allow for all of the pedestrian traffic to never have to stop for a stoplight.  All you have to do is go hit the escalator and take the sky bridge.  What this means for runners is that you can do between 3 – 10 miles on the strip easily without ever having to wait for a stoplight to change and you get the challenge of constantly running stairs.  However you have to do this one early in the morning and not just to avoid the heat and crowds.  No, the people watching provided by the strip in the early morning hours cannot be matched anywhere else.  Where else in the world can you see folks who are stumbling home from a night out, workers heading home from all kinds of professions and the families heading out with their kids to show them the sights?  There is no better people watching in the world.

WWII  DSC_0065  White house

#1 The Capital Mall – Washington DC:

Hands down my number 1 run in the country.  If I want a short run, it is from Lincoln to Washington and back.  More time?  Start at Arlington, head across the Memorial Bridge and hit the Capital Cross.  Want something more physically challenging?  Run the mall and Potomac Stairs with interval exercises in between.  Best part of this run is you cannot go more than 4 steps without seeing history, literally (and dodging tourists is always entertaining).  I have run this path in all kinds of weather and conditions (I think the Korean War Memorial is best seen in the snow) but if you can time your trip to coordinate with the Cherry Blossoms, it is absolutely stunning.

So there it is, my top 5.  Now there were a whole bunch of others that came close (Huntington Beach, The Parthenon in Nashville, Seattle Center, Palm Beach and Central Park amongst others) but they all were missing at least one of the elements above.  So let me hear from you RoadWarrior Nation…what are your top runs across the US?

So you’re heading to RealWorld – – now what?

realworld

This upcoming weekend marks my 5th RealWorld Conference.  For those not in the know, RealWorld is the conference specifically dedicated to RealPage and their partners where we showcase the latest developments in the industry, the product improvements being delivered/developed and most important, thank our partners for their continued partnership.  It is 3 days of networking, learning, previews and fun but let’s face it, it is also long days, longer evenings and tight schedules.  In order to make the most of the sessions and travel fit, you have to have a strategy to thrive.

Over the last 5 years, I have developed a strategy to make the most of both the conference material and my health while I am at RealWorld.  So here are my RealWorld rules to live by:

Tip #1: Plan ahead:

I cannot over emphasize this one enough; Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail.  If your plan is showing up at the conference and getting a workout in ‘whenever there is time’……not going to happen.  There are just too many great options of sessions to attend and fellow RealPage users to meet.  If you don’t plan ahead, your workout is not going to get done.

Plan your day and block out your workout time (if you haven’t downloaded the App yet, do it here now.  It is an awesome tool).  How much time do you need?  Where is the gym?  Is the conference center so far away from your room that you will be walking 20,000 steps each day anyways?  As I look at my calendar for this upcoming week, I know I have to get my workouts in in the morning or they are simply not going to happen, my afternoons are filled with speaking engagements and evenings with great events like visiting to Seussville.  For me, it means I will be running early and hitting the gym late (see tip #3).

Tip #2: Stay hydrated:

water bottle refill

You know you should normally be drinking 8 glasses of water a day.  Well if you are going to be walking more than you normally do and potentially imbibing on an alcoholic drink or two in the evening, I am going to recommend you up your water intake from the standard 8 glasses.  Trust me, you will thank me when you are waking up on days 2 & 3 of the conference.  Now this is where planning comes in again.  I find that it is a very rare thing to find a conference center that keeps the water pitchers/bottles full throughout the conference.

SO BRING YOUR OWN!!

You may not always be able to find a nice chilled bottle of FIJI but you can usually find a water fountain to fill up your own bottle.  And if you are anything like me, you find an empty water bottle strangely motivational.

Tip #3: Recharge:

weary traveler

This will look different for each of us but I find I need a point in my day to recharge more than just my phone.  For me, it is time in the gym.   I can get my head on straight and work all the kinks out that I am feeling from standing all day.  For others it is a power nap in the room, others it is 15 minutes in the sun out by the pool or overlooking the bay.  Whatever it is that recharges and helps your re-center your mindset, make sure you have time built in each day to accomplish it.

Tip #4: Eat well & Eat often:

image

Make sure you take the time to eat like you should.  Do not sacrifice the quality of your diet because you need to rush somewhere.  Stop by the store on the way to the hotel and grab some snacks for the room (don’t get me started on the mini-bar options for $10 bucks each).  Put a bar in your purse.  Throw an apple in your bag for later in the day.  Your body needs fuel to thrive vs. survive.  Give it what it needs.

Bonus Tip:  Most hotels that host conferences have pretty good gyms.  Gyms where they actual stock fruit for the taking.

Tip #5: Have fun:

Dr. Seuss

If this is your first RealWorld Conference, you are in for a treat.  It is a blast, especially the theme party on Monday night – which this year is celebrating the life and works Dr. Seuss.  If you don’t have an outfit picked out, I cannot encourage you enough to do so.

wolverine AB

The picture above was from RealWorld 2 years ago when we had a Super Hero theme.  Every year people outdo themselves with their dress for the theme and I expect this year to be no different.  And yes, I will be dressed up…..and you can find out as what on Monday.

Time for me to go pack and finish my presentations but hopefully I will see you at RealWorld!!

Happy Birthday!!! – A year’s worth of blogging lessons

It is hard for me to believe but today marks the 1 year anniversary of the very first post on RoadWarriorFit.net.  I remember posting with a very specific goal in mind, providing a resource for travelers who want to put their fitness and health at the forefront of their travels.  What it has ended up being?   A completely hot mess and a total work in progress.

There are definitely a few things I have learned over the past 12 months that I want to share with all potential bloggers.  These are the things I wish someone had told me that I would learn over the first year so go ahead and do them now.

Just write: 

When I began the prep work for this blog, I had all kinds of ideas of categories for posts.  Reality has been that it has been a random collection of my thoughts and observations over the last year.  Candidly, I think it has turned out for the better that I did not stick to the ‘script’ but the key to that evolution has been to just write.  Some topics never see the light of day but none the less, you need to write.

Sometimes you have to break the rules: 

One of my first blog posts was on the Guardrails that every RoadWarrior needs to have in place in order to keep yourself true on the road.  When it comes to writing blogs though, see lesson number 1.  Write, write, write.  Rules be damned.   Don’t worry about which ‘tag’ you haven’t written for in the last month or that the content on this ‘tab’ is stale.  Just write.

Get a Swedish Fitness Model/blogger to follow your blog early:

fitness on toast

So I have no idea how this happened but very early on, I had a Swedish Fitness model and blogger follow my blog (you can see her posts at Fitness on Toast – I recommend it, I actually really have enjoyed following her travels).  I think it actually may have been my post on the motivating factor of an empty water bottle that attracted her attention.  Regardless, it has led to a slew of attention from the European Fitness Fashionista/Blogger set and I would like to specifically thank FitnessonToast, Alys, Akvilee, faceandfortune, The Keen Peach and others for their support.  If I believe my own hype, I am actually a big deal among the European fitness and fashion blog set and I chose to believe my own hype.

Laugh at yourself:

SNL 1

My second most read post, and by far my most popular based on Twitter/Facebook, was about #snowleopardpants.  They have fueled a fantastic date night, raised thousands of dollars for Love Is Louder Than Cancer and taught me the hard lesson of not internet shaming anyone for their fashion choices.  However they never would have shown their power if I was not willing to completely release all pride and let the #snowleopardpants power shine through.

Share the real you: 

People read posts that reflect your actual experiences, not the ones you wish you had.  My original idea of posting a variety of workouts you can perform that conform to the resources available to you at various levels of hotel standard has still not materialized.  Drinking more water at conferences?  Two posts, hundred plus reads and counting.  The story of how Being fit nearly killed me?  By far the most popular and most read.

Study your stats: 

I know that if I post on Wednesday, you are the most likely to read this.  On Monday…not a chance, which is ironic considering that our anniversary is falling on a Monday so I have to honor the date.  Oh well, here is to re-blogging on Wednesday.

Don’t obsess over your numbers: 

OK – this one may just be me preaching to me but you can’t obsess over how many followers/likes/page views you have.  It is not healthy.  You need to blog for you not for the followers.  That being said, thank you for clicking on all of the links here so I can obsess further on why you clicked on how I nearly died but didn’t on combining sightseeing with your travel.

Enjoy the evolution: 

RoadWarriorFit.net is nothing like I thought it would be when I started this.  Thanks to all of you and your feedback, it is so much better.

So thank you.  Thank you for letting me process this crazy life on the road.  Thank you for ‘listening’ to my occasional rant.  Thank you for providing me with the accountability loop necessary to keep myself on track while on the road.  And most importantly, thank you for sharing the journey with me.

Here is to another year of travel, fitness, diet, health and wellness.  Looking forward to spending it with you.