Welcome to #WhyIExercise. This is the final post in our summer series. I sincerely hope you enjoyed the summer with us. I’m honored to introduce our spotlight educator, Sean Thom. Sean is a principal in New Jersey and a former science teacher. He has a bachelor’s degree in Communicatons and a master’s degree in Educational Adminstration. Sean is active in the #FitLeaders tribe, an inspiring blogger, and Spartan athlete. Sean can be found on Twitter @SeanAThom.
Let’s get to it . . .
I have always been an active individual. I think I can contribute my need for exercise and physical activity partly to my ADHD. As a child, I played a lot of baseball. As a teenager, I stopped participating in organized sports to focus on working to support myself in high school. I did run a significant amount and always enjoyed pick-up games of football, basketball, and whatever else we could do. In college, I played rugby at Rutgers University. I can say I wasn’t the best, but I always left it all on the pitch! As an adult, I have found a love of racing in Elite Spartan Races and other obstacle course races.
I exercise for many reasons, but the main two are fitness and sanity. As I mentioned, I suffer from ADHD and I need intense, strenuous physical activity to help me manage the issues from this disorder. If I go several days in a row without exercising, I struggle to maintain focus, sanity, and am not fun to be around. I also love to challenge myself to improve my fitness. Working out for me is a fun time that allows me to focus on myself. Being fit is incredibly important to me because it allows me to live the life that I want to lead.
I have been getting up to run almost every day now. I have developed a bit of an infatuation with Pokemon Go. To integrate my exercise and love of the game, I do sprint intervals and other challenges during my runs in-between catching Pokemon. I also try finding time to High Intensity Interval Training with programs like T25, Insanity: Asylum, and making up my own workouts for fun. In the summertime, I have been finding time to work out twice a day, which has helped significantly with my ADHD symptoms. This is something that I hope to continue into the new school year. I also find time to work on my mental fitness by meditating for 10-15 minutes every morning.
I have been a vegan since I was 17 years old (14 years now), so my diet is obviously entirely plant-based. For most of the week, I eat overnight oats for breakfast, mixed green salads with various beans for lunch and dinner, with shakes, fruits, and other goodies for snacks in between. I eat very little foods with added sugar. I do struggle with peanut butter, as it is a huge guilty pleasure of mine. I also have a cheat day every weekend that typically consists of eating anything and everything in site. I love to gorge on homemade pizza and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream on these days.
If I am not active in working out, this impacts me directly as a professional. I can most likely attribute this to my ADHD, but I struggle when I don’t work out. I was on the shelve for a torn ligament in my shoulder a few months ago, and it let to a genuine bout with depression for me. When I cannot exercise, I typically feel down, unmotivated, and not my high-energy self. This impacts all facets of my life and is something that I try to avoid at all costs.
Everybody has to start somewhere with fitness. The hardest part is finding out what your starting point needs to be and actually getting started. Be realistic and intentional when setting your goals. Recognize and understand that there will be setbacks, nobody is perfect, and that your best is the best that you can do.
Personal: We are welcoming a new son to our family in early October and we are preparing for how that will flip our lives upside-down. I am very excited, but know that this will be a tough time for our family and will require me to be my absolute best. I hope to be able to rise to the challenge and continue to be the father and husband that my family needs and deserves.
Professional: I will be transitioning to a new role and position shortly in my educational endeavors. I am also working on starting a show on BAM Radio Networks that will focus on our #FitLeaders movement and physical, mental, and emotional health. There are a few other things going on right now that are in the infant stages, so I have a lot on my plate!
Athletic: I know that with our new son, my time for working out will be reduced significantly. I need to find balance in my life between family and my fitness. I still want to be able to compete on an elite level in Spartan Races, but also recognize that family always comes first. It is going to be a tough transition, but is something that I will work out!
Balance! I am looking at a new role and position as an educator, a new addition to the family, lots of professional endeavors happening at the same time, and not enough time in the day to do everything I would like. I have never been the best at budgeting my personal time, but I need to find a way to balance better. I plan on taking everything one step at a time and doing the best I can whenever I can do it.
It’s been an honor to have Sean share his journey with us. Thank you, Sean, for your transparency and passion. The new school year is just around the corner and may have already started for some. Sean’s motto, “Start Somewhere” is a great reminder for us. Whether it be exercise, a new educational strategy, or personal endeavor you’ve been thinking about trying, take the first step. Start somewhere. You might just surprise yourself.
Check out Sean’s blog and read about his Spartan Races and a team Sprint with staff members.
It’s been a pleasure sharing #WhyIExercise with readers this summer. With school upon us, I will attempt to post every couple of weeks. We’ll keep the Friday post date.
Have an amazing 2016-2017!
Marilyn . . .
Welcome back to #WhyIExercise. It is with great joy that I introduce you to Shana White. Shana is a technology coordinator from the state of Georgia. She has a bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science, a master’s degree in physical education, and has recently earned her education specialist’s degree. Shana was one of the first people I interacted with on #FitnessEdu. I was so impressed with her passion for fitness and recognized her humility at once. On Twitter, she can be found @ShanaVWhite.
Let’s hear from Shana!
I played sports since I was eight. In high school I played softball, basketball and soccer. I lettered 10 times in high school and was a varsity starter as a freshman in both basketball and soccer. I was a county player of the year in basketball my sophomore and junior years, and selected to the all state teams my junior and senior years. In addition to soccer and basketball, I played softball for two years and was the starting left fielder for the first ever GA state fastpitch champions at Dunwoody High School my junior year of HS. Soccer was my first love as a sport but I devoted more time to basketball, playing travel ball for the Georgia Magic and winning a YBOA national championship with them. I was voted most athletic female as a senior and am still in the top five scoring wise all time for girls basketball at my high school.
Exercise helps relieve stress and takes my mind off the issues of the day. I love the endorphins after completing a great training session and the huge stress release I feel.
Right now I complete workouts devised by my coach. I lift a minimum of four times a week doing the powerlifting main lifts (squat, bench, and deadlift) and accessory work as well. My training sessions usually take between 1-1.5 hours. On the weekends, I usually walk the neighborhood with my family to get a little extra cardio in.
Food is fuel for the body. I enjoy eating what I like, but consistently eat lots of protein and veggies. I also make a point to drink a lot of water. I don’t feel guilty eating a slice of cake or having ice cream. Supplement wise, I hardly take anything and only every once in awhile will I have a whey protein shake to supplement my meals.
Fitness allows me to encourage other educators into developing their own healthy habits. They respect my commitment to healthy living and ask me for tips or advice. My fitness levels are also a huge reason that I do not get sick often and am able to put in longer hours without excessive fatigue or physical wear on my body.
“To whom much is given, much is required,” Luke 12:48.
Personal: Spend more time with my husband and children now that I am graduating from graduate school. Slow down more and cut out more leisure time for myself. Continue to build stronger relationships with the women in my discipleship group.
Professional: Continue to purposefully disrupt the status quo and provide opportunities for students and teachers at my school. I also hope to successfully run a school-wide makerspace this year, continue to have PD sessions that are beneficial and meet teachers’ needs, and have a smooth transition to going GAFE school wide. I also want to become more proficient at coding and possibly create an app. Finally, I hope to continue to improve my professional practice by learning from others and hopefully attend ISTE and DENSI next summer.
Athletic: Return from a long hiatus (over a year) and compete in a USAPL (USA Powerlifting) meet before the end of 2016. I would like to bench 225lbs before the end of the year as well.
Illuminate is my word for this year.
I'd like to thank God, my husband, my two children, my mom and dad, and my friends and family for all their love and support.
And I’d like to personally thank Shana for sharing her story with us. When I think of Shana, the word champion comes to mind. Shana was clearly a champion is high school athletically and she’s kept that winning spirit with her. As we start the new school year, let’s be intentional about championing what matters to us and shine our lights on others.
Marilyn . . .
Read more from Shana on her blog . . . I’m not done, yet.
As educators, we know the importance fitness has on both our bodies and minds. This blog is a celebration of educators and the role exercise plays in our lives.