It’s National Dog Day!

In our home it’s always Dog day! But today’s the perfect excuse for all of us dog lovers to brag on ours.

CJ & Esme got to hang out with me at work today, meeting and greeting people and their dogs. CJ loves the people, Esme loves the dogs.

How did your dog(s) spend National Dog Day?

Freddie Mercury doesn’t really give a crap! He knows cats are superior.

The best POUND I ever gained

So sorry for my lack of blogging over the past few weeks. Things have been crazy busy around here lately! I’m still training for my first half marathon that is going to take place next week! And I’ve had a lot of other stuff going on as well. Not much end in sight, but I took tomorrow off from work after this weekend’s festivities because I knew I’d need a “catch-up” day. But I’m not going to write about this most recent adventure just yet. I’m going to go back and start from where I left off…then we’ll work our way through the timeline til we get all caught up! By the time June gets here, things should start slowing down, so by August I should be all caught up on my blogging.  I hope…

Group fitness has always been an interest of mine. I enjoy getting together with other people who have the same or similar fitness goals, and love to help others get or stay motivated. I know, from my own experiences, how important positive motivation is and consider my motivating others a form of “Paying it Forward.” Additionally, by being a motivator for others, watching those who I have inspired to reach their goals helps to drive me toward reaching my own personal goals. It ends up being a positive continuum; an addiction of sorts.

I officially started my journey toward becoming a group fitness instructor in December of 2014, where I began the process of obtaining my AFAA certification. I’m still in that process and hope to have it completed by mid to late summer. On March 22, 2015 I officially became a POUND Pro! That experience was exciting and educational. If you are not familiar with POUND, it is a group fitness platform that uses lightly weighted drumsticks in full-body workout routines. It’s a fun and effective way to burn calories and to get toned. It was developed by Kirsten Potenza and Cristina Peerenboom, two women who value health and well-being that also happen to be recreational drummers. Visit the official POUND website for more information about the workout, and to learn more about Kirsten and Cristina’s amazing story. It really is very interesting! There are at-home videos available if you don’t have a local fitness facility that offers POUND classes. If you do have the opportunity to attend a live POUND class, I highly encourage you to do so. And if you live on, or are ever visiting, the Eastern Shore of Virginia, let me know and I’ll let you know when and where you can find me teaching classes!

POUNDing has been my first opportunity at teaching group fitness and I absolutely adore it. The POUND community is amazing, both online and in person. They are launching their first ever 60 day fitness challenge, Tour to Summer, that starts April 6, 2015 (tomorrow as I write this!) and runs through June 4, 2015. It’s a virtual tour that is sure to be AWESOME!  It’s not a weight loss challenge, nor is it a restrictive diet challenge. It’s a challenge that encourages healthy eating habits and activity. It’s about incorporating things into your daily routine that will improve the way you feel, both inside and out. When you eat food that is healthful, you feel good. When you are active, you feel good. When you feel good, you like that feeling and want it to continue so you keep doing those things that make you feel good! Then it becomes habit, and ultimately you become the best possible version of yourself. It’s not about a number on the scale. It’s about you feeling AWESOME. That’s why I’m taking on the challenge and I think you should too.

Check out the official POUND website to learn about POUND and sign up for the Backstage access. You’ll be happy you did, trust me! Then go to the POUND TOUR site and get ON THE BUS! It’s totally free, and it will be worth it. Hope to see you along the way.

For the Love of Run

As a kid in a tiny town in Northern Illinois, I did a lot of running and bicycling because all of my friends from school were several miles away.  Where I lived was considered the “boonies” so, to visit my friends, I’d hop on my bike and ride into town (about 5-7 miles, but it felt like 20+) and back, or I’d run and make my Mom pick me up from Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  I was also active in school sports, namely basketball.  I don’t know how many of you are familiar with basketball, but there’s a lot of sprinting that goes into the game, along with the dribbling and shooting of hoops!

Unfortunately, I was one of those kids that was easily influenced by others and by the time I was 18, I’d taken up the awful habit of smoking.  It started out as it usually does; one here, another there as I was hanging out with my friends.  Then eventually it developed into a habit.  A nasty habit that I was not proud of and tried to break myself of at least a dozen times.  Along with the smoking came the lack of willingness to do other physical activities, like running.  By the time I was a Junior in college, I was smoking a pack-a-day and not really doing anything in terms of physical activity other than walking to and from classes, daily routine stuff, and working my full-time job.

Fast-forward to 2008.  My long-time boyfriend (still happily un-married; another blog post at a future time) and I moved to the Eastern Shore of Virginia from Southern California.  We went from the Mojave Desert to the beautiful green, surrounded-by-water Eastern Shore.  It was like I belonged here!  It reminded me of my childhood home in Northern Illinois; a small farming community where the majority of the people are very friendly and sociable, only this place is warmer and surrounded by salt-water as opposed to fresh-water.  This new environment made me want to get out and explore!  But I was so out of shape; I wasn’t overweight, I was just not very physically fit and was unmotivated.  Cue the motivation.

In order to get my diet and nutrition on track, I signed up for Weight Watchers.  I had a few pounds I could stand to lose, but I really wanted to learn how to 1) eat right and 2) control my portions.  No matter what your opinions may be about Weight Watchers, it was great for me.  It was step one to gaining control of my health.  Not only did Weight Watchers teach me how to control what I eat, but the meetings and the other members were very supportive and helped provide me with the much-needed motivation I was looking for.

During the time I spent at Weight Watchers, I also started getting active again by walking.  We live 1 mile from the water, so I’d leash up the dogs and we’d head down to the end of our neck and enjoy the beautiful view.  The dogs could run off-leash and explore the shore so they were having a great time!  I eventually started incorporating short bouts of running into my walks; I’d walk for 5 minutes then run for 30 seconds to a minute, and walk some more.  I would often get short of breath because of the smoking.  Stupid cigarettes.  I wish I’d never started because quitting smoking is not easy!…

After numerous unsuccessful attempts at quitting smoking, I was finally successful in 2011!  With the help of running and an electronic cigarette by blu, I was able to curb the addiction and then the habit.  The more I ran, the more I wanted to run; the less I smoked, the more I was able to run.  So, running kind of saved my life in a sense.  And I’ve been keeping up with it ever since.  I literally love to run.