Welcome to our third week of #WhyIExercise. You’re sure to be encouraged by this week’s guest blogger, Rinard Pugh. Rinard is the proud principal of Allendale Elementary School. Rinard grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and attended Western Michigan University for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He is currently working on Ed.S at Central Michigan University. Follow Rinard’s educational blog, The 5th Element, here and on Twitter @elemz5.
Let’s get going! Here’s Rinard.
Exercise has always been part of my life. Ever since I was young, I enjoyed running, sports, and playing outdoors. I am a big basketball fan and I played in middle and high school. I also took up cross country/track in high school and have developed a passion for it.
I exercise because I am striving for wellness. I know that physical activity reduces stress, shapes your body, and keeps your mind healthy. I enjoy working out. It puts me in a more positive frame of mind and supports healthier decision making with everything I do.
My main regimen is treadmill running. I love to run anywhere from 2 to 7 miles per workout. I sometimes include intervals where I speed up and jog at a slower pace to tease my body. When I am not on the treadmill, I enjoy using my elliptical machine. I also incorporate weights ⅔ times a week. I use a combination of heavy and lights weights and adjust my reps and sets accordingly.
Nutrition is definitely an area I continue to work on. I am not as disciplined as I should be. When I am on my A game, I enjoy fresh fruits, green vegetables, and lean protein like salmon and chicken breasts. If I am on the go, I will make a smoothie with protein powder. I have recently been using flaxseed and chia seeds which have provided energy and added nutrients to my diet. I also take a multivitamin daily.
I feel my fitness routine sets a positive tone for my family, friends, and co-workers. My kids see that I value fitness and they too have been participating with me. My co-workers ask me about my fitness regimen and I do not mind sharing advice with them.
Personal: One personal goal I have is to continue to grow in my faith. Stay active with my Bible study group. Stay actively connected in church. Volunteer my time.
Professional: Professionally, I want to continue leading my school fearlessly. I want to model excellence and always maintain a non-anxious presence, even when faced with challenges. I also want to continue progressing along with my education at CMU.
Athletic: I want to keep running, shave time off my 5k average, and run a 10k.
I thank my Tweeps and my #FitLeaders crew for their support. Thanks to @MarilynEDU for giving me a chance to share my story. Much love to my fitness dudes @RyanBJackson1 and @PrincipalSJV for always motivating me to stay the course.
I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to Rinard for sharing with us. What a great message from a man that is striving for wellness. Whether in the school house, in our homes, on the court, road, or gym, may we all take Rinard’s lead and strive for our own personal wellness. Rinard is truly a leader that walks the walk.
We’ll see you again next week!!!
#MuchLove . . . Marilyn
Welcome back to #WhyIExercise. This week’s spotlight educator and guest blogger is Mr. Gregg Bruno. Gregg is the proud principal of Saint John Vianney Catholic School in Wyoming, Michigan. Gregg was raised in Boston, Massachusetts and now calls Grand Rapids, Michigan his home. Gregg has a BA in History with a Justice Studies Minor from University of New Hampshire, a MA of Teaching and Learning from Boston University, as well as a MA in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University. Gregg is a regular source of inspiration on Twitter with motivational quotes and words of encouragement to members of the #FitLeaders tribe. Follow Gregg at @PrincipalSJV.
Without further ado, let’s hear from Gregg.
As a kid, I tried to play football, hockey and baseball. My dad had been all-state in all three. Though I loved them, academics were much more my strong suit. In college, I ran into the dreaded 'Freshman Fifteen,’ not once, but twice, so I really packed a lot of pounds on a small frame (I’m 5’6’’). I had become friends with a guy who helped me get in shape. He ended up being my best friend, best man at my wedding, and we're still close to this day. With his help I slowly got back into shape, and even walked on to the lacrosse team. In trying to get in even better shape to get off the bench and get more playing time, I started running on my own. In doing so, I learned that I loved to run. I wound up becoming an avid distance runner. I've raced every distance up to the marathon. I’ve been blessed to coach both cross country and track. Coaching those kids, especially the distance group on Byron Center’s 2010 State Championship Track team, is a top 5 professional experience.
Originally, it started out to get in better shape, and that has remained a consistent thread. I want my children to know it’s important to be active. A big part of it now is that I actually love to run. It’s my classroom of silence. It allows me the quiet time I need to reflect, solve problems, and grow. I’d always encourage everyone, it might not be running, it might be cycling, rock climbing, lifting, crossfit, swimming, but whatever it is, find it and embrace it. My wife is an amazing best-friend and partner and her encouragement has been essential to my success.
I generally shoot to run 4-6 times a week. I vary distance and pace, with a long run generally on early Saturday morning with my brother-in-law. I try to do push-ups, lunges, and chin-ups 3x a week.
As best I can, I try to eat relatively healthy, i.e. lean meats especially chicken breast and turkey. My wife and I drink a ‘green thickie’ for breakfast which is primarily spinach, flax milk, and dates. I’m not much of a supplement guy though I do take fish oil and glucosamine/chondroitin regularly even if it’s just because the ‘placebo effect’ is real and documented.
Running allows me to recharge. It also helps provide me with time and space to clarify and solve problems. Many of my best ideas and solutions to issues have come during a run.
I often have to get up around 4:30 AM to get my run in. I’ve been using individual packets of instant coffee so I can make a quick cup without waking my family. Tastes a bit rough, but gets me out the door.
Personal: To be present to my family and not be so easily distracted.
Professional: To support my staff as we continue to create a school that is truly inclusive of all of God’s children.
Athletic: To bring consistency back in my training. I’m fully recovered from a chainsaw injury two years ago that nearly took my left thumb, index finger and middle finger, required surgery, and caused me to miss almost a full year of running. (The doctor had to stitch numerous tendons in my hand back together. If I tripped and fell and tried to catch myself with my hand out, everything would shear back apart.) I haven’t truly resumed consistent training since. I’d love to put together a really good race. I resumed racing this fall for the first time in two years, and while I’ve had some good segments, I haven’t been able to put it together for a full race.
My one word is trust. Our priest, Father Loc, gave a great homily on the need to trust God when we do our best. That we need to do our best, but then trust that in the end, doing our best will be enough.
I’m grateful to have the support of #FitLeaders, an excellent social media PLN that is wonderful for building everyone up! I think my experience has taught me that sometimes we try too hard to be good at things we’re not designed or meant for, and that instead we need to truly find our talents and passions and ‘run’ ;) with them!
I’d like to personally thank Gregg for sharing his journey with us. I absolutely admire his commitment to God, his family, and fitness. The message we can take from Gregg is the importance of following our individual passions, be the best versions of ourselves, and be true to who God created us to be.
Gregg has coined the hashtag #RunBeforeTheSun. May we all find the beauty this life has to offer, as well as conquer our fitness goals.
#MuchLove . . . Marilyn
Welcome to our third summer of #WhyIExercise. I hope you had an exceptional 2017-2018 school year. Summer is the perfect time to relax, reflect, and recharge. Through the journeys of six exceptional educators, we hope to inspire you to start, recommit, or find a renewed motivation to exercise. Our first spotlight educator is a reading teacher from Virginia. Please welcome Kim Dinga. Kim has been an educator for 14 years. She grew up in Johnson City, New York and received her bachelor's degree from SUNY Cortland and master's degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton. Kim can be found on Twitter @MSLiteracy.
Here is Kim to kick off this year’s #Why I Exercise!
I joined ski club in middle school and continued to ski throughout high school. Also, I played varsity soccer and softball. While I played softball, I earned two awards, most improved player (MIP) and most valuable player (MVP) as shortstop. Later, I continued to play soccer at Broome Community College. I was always energized by interacting with other people who were on the lookout for a challenge and a way to invest in their well-being.
Sadly, when I was in my 20’s, I tore my ACL and lateral meniscus. Instead of choosing surgery, I finished physical therapy over the summer and joined the Finger Lakes Cycling Club in Ithaca, NY immediately to strengthen my quads. During recovery, I got back on my skis and continued cycling. I became a triathlete, crossfit athlete, and fitness addict. I was inspired by so many stories of other athletes who did not quit on themselves even when life got hard. To be an intrepid leader like them, I knew I needed to crave adventure and not be afraid of failing, falling, and finishing last. Opting out of the surgery was the best decision for me because I proved to myself that I could have fun and finish over twenty triathlons, three century bike rides, dozens of 5k’s, and hundreds of rides between 20-60 miles with a physical setback.
I realized that I was becoming addicted to excitement and I knew I could not keep up with this lifestyle forever, so I changed my workout routine. Currently, I go to the gym about three times a week. I swim for 20 minutes, which is about a half a mile. This decision helped me maintain and build endurance, strengthen my muscles, and improve my cardiovascular fitness. I also like swimming because it takes stress off my body and knee joints while keeping my heart rate up. Finally, I weight train to improve my form and gain strength without bulking.
As a 30th birthday present, my friend asked me to join her in a group cleanse, a Master Cleanse. She said I would most likely feel full of vitality, so I took a chance! Then I had a life changing experience. As she expressed, I felt energetic. I changed my diet completely by eliminating sugars, processed foods, and sodas. Ten years later, I became a vegan and I no longer “cleanse”, instead I eat a plant-based diet on a budget. I am human and I like eating cake when my friends bake for me.
Staying fit helps me rarely miss a day of work. It increases my brain power and helps me stay motivated at work.
Personal: My goals are to let go of control as much as possible and not take life so seriously.
Professional: I want to strengthen my professional relationships by listening actively, appreciating others, managing boundaries, and avoiding gossip.
Athletic: I want to stick to a 3-day a week challenge.
My one word next year will probably be “integrate” because we live in the digital age where students are digital natives familiar with computers and the internet from an early age. That said, “integrate” means to me combining digital natives, agencies, and things into a whole so that engagement, collaboration, and enhancement of overall interactions can occur.
I’d like to sincerely thank Kim for sharing with us. I don’t know about you, but I love Kim’s energy and commitment. If you already follow her on Twitter, you know exactly what I mean! Kim’s story reminds us that finishing strong is where our focus should be. No matter where you are in your fitness journey, take that first step and soon you’ll be making gains that you may have never even imagined, just like Kim. I love her quest for adventure, commitment to a healthy diet, and more recently her sense of balance.
#MuchLove . . . Marilyn
Welcome back to summer three of #WhyIExercise. If you’re new to this blog, you’re in for six weeks of inspirational posts by some of our favorite Twitter educators. The series started three summers ago when I noticed that many educators were being intentional about fitness, health, and work-life balance. Additionally, two great tribes, #FitnessEdu and #FitLeaders, regularly share their fitness goals and motivate others to achieve theirs. This blog celebrates the journey and hopefully along the way will encourage others to recommit, begin, or continue developing a healthy and fit lifestyle.
#WhyIExercise has spotlighted 13 educators. Let’s take a look at where some of them are now.
Michael Courington - @MrCourington53
The passing of time has a way of bringing change...good and bad. I have experienced some big changes both professionally and personally since that first summer post. One constant has remained through it all...my commitment to sweating every day. I suffered a massive injury May of 2017 that had the potential of losing all of my fitness gains. I tore my achilles tendon requiring surgery and months of rehabilitation. Instead of settling into a sedentary lifestyle, I embraced the challenge of working out every day. I used crutches for cardio and logged miles each day. I used weight training to maintain upper body strength. Working out was the catalyst that kept me out of self-pity and regression. I had a personal setback in December of 2017 and again I turned to exercise and self-care to help me thrive during hard times. I lost a significant amount of weight and have managed to keep it off. I can honestly say I am in the best shape of my life and my energy levels are at an all time high. When change comes, it is our positive habits that help us navigate uncharted waters successfully. I have reached the point where if I don’t exercise in the morning, my day doesn’t feel right. The motivation I get from #fitleaders keeps me consistent and I am very grateful for the vibe of this tribe. People say “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” I disagree. I say sweat through the small stuff and the big stuff in life...well-being, happiness, and the tools to thrive will be the reward.
Mari Venturino - @MsVenturino
In all 100% honesty, I’ve fallen off the regular exercise bandwagon. I’ve been caught up in the stress of work and other challenges, and haven’t been taking time for myself. It all goes back to the health triangle: physical health + social health + mental/emotional health. Once one of my side of the triangle gets weaker, everything else seems to follow. I rejoined a gym last December, and it has been nice to get back into classes and working out on my own. I’m enjoying the low stress of this gym, friendly people, and useful amenities. One of my favorite things ever is free hydromassages, included in my membership--if I’m being completely honest, half the time I go to the gym these days, it’s to do a hydromassage after my workout! My big summer goal is to dig myself out of this hole by going to the gym more often, getting outside to go for walks with my dog and/or friends, and spending less time in front of screens.
Sean Thom - @SeanAThom
As a candidate for United States House of Representatives through the last year (NJ-CD 2), consistency with my fitness was difficult. It seems that my fitness routines come at the expense of sleep and vice-versa. I am an early morning workout warrior (3:30 AM wake-up call!) so late night campaign events had a significant impact on my physical well-being. Luckily for me, I do pretty well on 4-5 hours of sleep a night. Once I regained some of that consistency in my exercise, everything else improved as well. Now that I am no longer running for public office (withdrew recently), I have rededicated myself to my fitness and diet. I have not run any Elite Spartan Races since last April (2017), but my wife and I are currently training for a Spartan Sprint this summer (which will be her first Spartan Race!). I plan on continuing to place high expectations on my fitness because it helps to drive me in other areas of my life. With a full plate as a school admin, father, husband, and community activist, I need that drive and balance!
Thank you so much, Michael, Mari, and Sean, for continuing to share your journey.
Each week, guests are asked to share why they exercise, their exercise regime, their food and diet plans, as well as motivational quotes, goals, and their one word. Let's take a photo walk and get some inspiration from previous guest bloggers.
We’ve had two fun summers of fitness. I’m excited to spend another summer with you. Join us for the next six Saturday mornings as a new educator is spotlighted each week. Be sure to give them a follow and continue to be inspired.
Excited to spend the summer with you!
#MuchLove . . . Marilyn