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 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
Welcome to the final #WhyIExercise post for the summer. Please join me in welcoming John Riley. He may be our last spotlight of the summer, but he’s going to continue to inspire. John is from Hillard, Ohio. He is an Academy EDU instructor. John earned his BS in Environmental Science Morehead State University and his Masters in Education from Mt. Vernon Nazarene University. He continued his education and received his ED Leadership/ Principal Licensure from the University of Dayton. He is currently completing his EDD in Leadership and Technology. Follow John on Twitter @MrRileyJo.
Currently, I workout with the #4amcrew at Old School Gym in Pataskala, Ohio. It’s about the only time I can squeeze in my training with the kids. Plus, the atmosphere there is unmatched and I get to train beside some elite athletes. It pushes me way outside my comfort zone. I also do my best to squeeze in a couple of workouts with my wife. We firmly believe in setting the example of healthy living for our kids and will from time to time get them involved with our workouts. My wife is a huge inspiration for me and one of my role models in exercise as she has set the pace with her running and dedication to health.
I can’t say I follow a specific diet plan. With me, my weakness is moderation. I love food! I especially love sweets! If anything, I must truly focus on what I am putting into my body. I try to eat a heavy protein diet and usually find it easy to drop weight when needed by increasing cardio. As far as supplements I use MaxEffort Muscle supplements. This is a supplement company founded by OSG owners. I typically take the supplements pre and post workout. I also take their Tri Blend protein to help increase my protein intake or supplement a meal throughout the day. When I am leaning out, I will take a cycle of their Fat Burner to increase my metabolism.
A good workout is the best way to start my day and I find I am able to handle stress and at a much higher level. Pushing myself physically under the iron prepares me for whatever life has to throw at me. It’s an area in my life where I know I can continuously grow and learn. Where failure is a necessity for muscle growth. Where testing your limits builds character and keeps one humble.
I love Theodore Roosevelt’s speech . . . The Man in the Arena. Watch this video.
Personal: Be present in my faith and with my family. I’m currently reading “Play The Man” by Mark Batterson and I am moved to be the man God needs me to be for Him and my family! After all, true success is “when the people that know you best respect you the most.”
Professional: Complete my EDD at Morehead State this year. Create lifelong impacting experiences for my students while impacting the future of education.
Athletic: Keep pushing myself to be #UNCOMFORTABLE. Compete in a powerlifting competition.
My current word is #OLLIN . . . the ability to move and act with all your heart. I have my man Coyte Copper to thank for that.
I just love John’s story. If I had to give him a word, it would be DEDICATED. John is dedicated to his profession, dedicated to his education, dedicated to his fitness, but most importantly, dedicated to his family and faith. It’s clear that his wife, children, and God are the center of his life. It’s a true act of love that John is fathering two children as his own. They are certainly blessings to John and his wife. Through it all, John knows that he must take care of himself first. Those 4am workouts are the truest testament to his commitment to his health and fitness. His lifts have been getting heavier and heavier! A powerlifting competition is surely in his future. I’d like to thank John personally for sharing with us.
Readers, it’s been an honor sharing with you this summer. We’ve spotlighted eight amazing educators. Their personal, professional, and fitness lives are extraordinary. We’ve been inspired by every single journey. As we end the #WhyIExercise summer series and begin our new school year, may we take a moment to reflect on our unique journeys. Each one of us has a reason why we exercise. I challenge each one of you to honor your reason and make 2017-2018 the best school year ever in your personal, professional, and fitness lives.
Welcome back to #WhyIExercise. Our spotlight educator has been around the educational leadership and fitness community for quite some time now. Please welcome, Dr. Chris Longo. Chris grew up in Waterbury, Connecticut. He is currently the principal at Schaghticoke Middle School in New Milford, CT. Chris earned his BS in biology from Iona College in New Rochelle, New York. He continued his education at Southern Connecticut State University where he received his MS in biology and his Sixth Year Professional Diploma in Education. In 2012, Chris became a Doctor of Education from Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, CT. Follow Chris on Twitter @drchrislongo.
Without further ado, let’s hear from Chris.
I ran cross country and track in high school and began breaking numerous school records as a freshman. Then, I obtained a full scholarship to run track at Iona College in 1995. I also played basketball in high school on a team that won a state championship.
I run to decompress, reduce stress, and as a competitive means to accomplish goals. I run for my lost daughter, Angelina Marie Longo, lost on 1-1-16. I have been training since that time to run 22 marathons (she passed at 22 weeks). I currently have 20 complete. [Readers, please read this Fox News article about Chris and his quest to run 22 marathons.]
I train 3-4 days per week. 5 miles a day for two days a week, a day of 7 miles, and a long run of anywhere between 13 and 22 miles. I generally train alone but also run with an ultra marathon training group on select weekends.
I eat salads or wraps for lunch and a bowl of cereal with a banana for breakfast. Always have a good dinner that is high in protein. Being Italian, we have pasta every Sunday and I love pizza. My metabolism is very fast, so I can really eat whatever I want. At least right now!
It keeps me at balance in life.
Personal: To complete my 22 marathons in honor of my lost daughter Angelina. To share in this moment with my family, including my newest son, Matthew Luke, who is currently 4 months old.
Professional: To lead our middle school to success in my second year as Principal.
Athletic: To qualify for the Boston Marathon by running under 3:15:00.
Life has highs and lows; we need to push through the rough times, as these moments make us
My wife is my rock. Her support and love have made the journey even more meaningful. We are always there for each other and I couldn’t have been able to work toward the 22 marathon goal without her.
I’d like to personally thank Chris for sharing his story with the #WhyIExercise tribe. It’s such a personal story. I remember reading about Chris and his reason for running about a year and a half ago. It hit home. My husband and I lost a precious daughter at 26 weeks. I felt the pain that Chris and his wife went through. I remember reaching out to Chris’ wife. My husband and I believe that God knows so much more than we do. For whatever reason, our daughters are with Him. They will always be part of our families. We will continue to love them daily. One day, one glorious day we will see our precious daughters. Until then, they are in the best care ever.
Thank you, Chris, for reminding us of the importance of our families. Good luck on your final stretch for Angelina.
Marilyn . . .
Welcome back to our sixth week of #WhyIExercise. We have two more weeks of our series. I’m thrilled to introduce this week’s spotlight eductor, Brooke Perry. Brooke is from Tacoma, Washington and is embarking on a new journey as an Elementary Instructional Coach. Prior to this she was an ELA TOSA (Teacher On Special Assignment) and taught 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. Brooke earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at Washington State University and her master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and Ed Tech from Lesley University. Brooke is also the cofounder of the National Blogging Collaboration @Nat’lBlogCollab. Side note . . . I met Brooke when I was searching for a blogging coach. She’s amazing!!! Follow Brooke on Twitter @Brookster29.
Let’s get started . . .
I participated in organized group sports since I was a little kid. The sport that had my heart, though, was always softball. I loved the competition, of course, but looking back I have more memories of the friends that I made and of the support from my family. Summers were about softball and any and all family vacation efforts were channeled into travelling with my softball team. I played softball and soccer for my small high school and after I went to college, I just stopped. I’ll admit, it was strange to go from doing something for 12 years of your life and then just stopping. I think it caused a bit of an identity crisis on top of the awkward transition to college and adulthood.
A little disjointed … but I thought of this when I was running today. As a child and teen I HATED running. I thought it was boring and quite frankly I wasn't any good at it unless it was running the bases. I started playing soccer for the first time in high school and on the first day of practice the coach said, “Ok girls, I need goalkeepers to go over there and the rest of you come with me to run a few miles.” It was that moment that I became a goalkeeper! Luckily I was pretty decent at it, but I laugh now that I willingly run 20+ miles a week!
Lots of reasons, but honestly I just feel better about myself when I put effort into my fitness. I am addicted to feeling strong, athletic, and capable. Like many women, I’ve had my fair share of body image issues over the years. I’ve never had a hard time finding something wrong and picking myself apart. But, when I focus my energy on challenging myself or meeting a goal (right now I’m working on a half-marathon PR), there’s no time or energy left for being critical about the way I look.
Secondly, it wears me out! We have taxing jobs and I’m no stranger to laying awake for hours in the middle of the night stressing about this or that. There’s nothing better than that exhausted from an amazing workout feeling. It helps me focus on something other than work (which is something I’m trying to do while not at work!) and is a huge stress relief as well.
This year I’ve been focused on running. Depending on how far out I am from a race, my weekly regimen can change. I run four days a week which usually includes one or two “easy” runs (moderate paced, fewer miles), interval or tempo training, and a long run. Again, it varies based on where I am in my training schedule, but I run anywhere from 15-25 miles a week.
As far as training schedules, I’m currently using a half marathon training plan that is helping me run faster. I can run 13.1 miles, I just want to run them faster now!
I love food. My husband and I consider ourselves foodies who love to try new restaurants and cuisines. We also love beer and frequent the many local breweries in the Seattle area. That being said, I do focus on moderation and balance. I don’t count calories (I have in the past, which I think was good as it helped me learn more about the nutritional aspects of the food I eat), but I do focus on eating what makes my body feel good and work efficiently while also occasionally giving in to my addiction to Sour Patch Kids.
I’ve been a vegetarian for a little over three years now. That change has also been eye opening when it came to learning more about food and making conscious dietary decisions. The only things I struggle with and am always trying to watch is my protein intake (getting enough) and drinking water!
I tend to have difficulty setting work aside when it’s time to set work aside. After a busy day, when I go out for a run, I’m able to not only decompress from a busy day, but also devote my attention to my training and NOT work. By the time I get home from a five mile run, checking work email is the last thing on my mind.
What I’ve learned over the last seven years in education is that you can’t be everything you need to be in the classroom if you’re not taking care of yourself. On top of that, I spend 7+ hours a day focusing on the needs of others (which is a good thing for a teacher to do!), but running is something I’m able to do just for ME.
Some of my favorite quotes relate to one of my bigger challenges: TIME. I sometimes default to “I don’t have time,” when really it was about not making working out a priority, and sometimes that’s ok! However, taking responsibility of my time and acknowledging that it’s ME who chooses how to allocate that time, has been a shift in the right direction for me.
“It’s not about having time. It’s about making it.”
“Someone who is busier than you is running right now.”
Personal: Devote 100% of my attention to whatever it is I’m doing and wherever it is I’m at. If I’m at work, I’m going to focus on work. If I’m at home, I’m going to focus on family. I think that is a good priority to make for myself as I constantly strive to find more work/life balance.
Professional: I’m starting a new job in a new school district - so I have a lot of goals, the first of which is to not be awful! (kidding.. mostly). Really, I just want to build confidence in myself and develop strong and productive relationships with the teachers I work with. I want to continue to stay student-centered, to honor and learn from the experience and knowledge possessed by the teachers I work with, and play a role in increasing the effectiveness of instruction in my new building
Athletic: I’m on the hunt for a sub 2:10:00 half marathon!
When I think about someone who is tenacious I think confident, diligent, and focused. These are qualities that are not just helpful, but necessary when it comes to being an effective instructional coach (and runner!).
I’d like to personally thank Brooke for sharing her story with us. I love Brooke’s goal of giving 100% to whatever is in front of her. As we start gearing up for a new school year, that’s some advice to can latch on to. Work, family, and even quiet time deserve our 100%. Let’s commit to making it a goal for 2017-2018.
Brooke, good luck with your half marathon time. Your numbers are looking great!!! The #FitnessEdu and #FitLeaders tribes are cheering you on.
Marilyn . . .
I hope everyone is having a great summer and getting in some much deserved rest and relaxation. I am very pleased to introduce you to this week’s spotlight educator, Zach Snow. Zach is currently the district coordinator of STEAM and Innovation and also the head Girl’s Cross Country coach in Royse City, Texas. He humbly serves as the community pastor at Four Winds Church. Zach earned his BA from Arlington Baptist University and his MEd from Lamar University. Zach can be found on Twitter @ZachSnow.
Let’s hear from Zach . . .
I have always been active. In high school, I played basketball and baseball then went on to play college baseball. While finishing up my first degree, which then led directly into the birth of my boys (15 months apart), I stopped prioritizing fitness and nutrition. Before I knew it, I was tipping the scales at almost 230lbs (which is not a good look on a 5’9” frame). At this point, I really started to try to right the ship. Shortly after this time, my dad passed away at the age of 53. He just fell asleep and didn’t wake up. Cardiac arrest. Heart disease runs in my family (on both sides) and this was a very big wake up call. I want to be around the see my boys grow up. I want to be around to spoil grandkids. Another flashpoint moment for me was when my big brother finished grad school and told me that now he was done with that he wanted for us to train for a 5K or something together. I jokingly sent him a link to the Spartan Race that would be happening near us toward the end of the year. He said, “Let’s do it!”, I panicked. For the first time since ending my college baseball career I was reminded of the difference between EXERCISING and TRAINING. You see, when you are simply exercising and then one day you don’t really feel like exercising, you simply don’t exercise. When you are training for something, and you choose not to train, you embarrass yourself when it comes time to compete. I began running, really for the first time ever. When I started, I could not run for more than 2 consecutive minutes without stopping to rest. Over the course of the next 7 months I worked my way up to being able to run a full mile, then 2 full miles, then eventually running 5K’s at a sub 10 min pace to ultimately completing the Spartan Beast Race. The Beast is a 15 mile course with 30+ obstacles along the way. During the course of my training, along with a renewed commitment to nutrition, I was able to get down to 185 lbs. About what I was when I was playing ball in college. I can say that I have been able to maintain this program and this weight for 3 years.
Body - This is the only body I get, if I do not take care of it I will not be able to do all of the things that I love to do. I love playing ball with my boys. I love taking walks/runs with my wife. I love just being active. I’m am almost 40 (38 to be exact) and I can truthfully say that I feel 100% healthier and more fit than I did 10 years ago.
Mind - I have a very demanding job. I have a very demanding schedule. Being disciplined with my fitness and nutrition helps to bring clarity to my mind. I am a better, more focused leader for my family, colleagues, the athletes I coach, my district, and my community when I prioritize my fitness.
Spirit - I honestly believe I have a responsibility to my God to take care of the body He gave me.I truly believe that I live where I live and I work where I work for a specific PURPOSE. I see my job as a calling. I take a missional approach to every aspect of my life. Fitness and training, really pushing myself does not only give me clarity of mind, it gives me a connection to Christ. It’s part of my spiritual act of worship.
I run 2-3 miles 3-4 times per week. I will periodically extend into longer runs but I battled runner related injuries so much a couple of years ago I feel like I have learned to find a balance.
I crosstrain using HIIT movements with my running. I do not do a lot of “weight lifting” (moving iron) but mostly body weight movements (lots and LOTS of burpees, squats, planks, push-ups, pull-ups, etc.)
I. Jump. Rope. I jump a lot of rope. This has been a new addition to my program and we have a serious love/hate thing going on. My wife bought me a new jump rope and I use it almost every day now. (Get started jumping rope here.)
I mix up my workouts a lot. I get bored with routines really easily. My wife and I use Beachbody On Demand (think Netflix but with this huge variety of workouts instead of movies or TV series). Recently I have started this series with @ShawnTfitness that is a month long mix of different workouts. It’s pretty killer. I like it though because it’s fun and fast paced and it keeps me on track because it’s laid out for me every day.
Sometimes I will see workouts that my #FitLeaders friends post and I’ll just do that.
I try to keep this pretty simple. The rule is “greens and proteins”. I have recently given up gluten. I went completely gluten free for 8 weeks and will now give an exception occasionally because I did not give it up due to allergy but as a way to cut WAY back on my total carb intake (and it worked). I also have been completely kosher (no pig, no shellfish, no scaleless fish...no vultures) for a little over 2 years. If God said, “don’t eat it”, I don’t eat it. While I believe there was a reason for Him to tell us not to eat those things, it also has a big impact on the one area that my family medical history shows me I have to be mindful of, cholesterol.
Other than the occasional Shakeology smoothie that my wife makes for me, I do not use supplements.
Oh, also, I try to have a bowl of cereal before bed.
My overall fitness affects me professionally in a big way! I am a district employee. We have 8 campuses, almost 400 teachers, and 5400 students. I want to be as involved in the educational process with as many of these people as much as possible. I have become known around the office as the guy who doesn’t sit down. I only have a stand up desk in my office and I also have a mobile stand up desk that I can wheel around to other meetings. As an instructional leader for our district, I feel like it’s my job to be a constant source of positive energy. If I do not properly take care of myself, I cannot be this for my people.
Along with these responsibilities, I am also a cross country/track coach. My fitness regimen allows me to be able to not only coach my kids but I can also get out and workout with them, which is really important to me.
Personal: To be present. Not distracted. Focused on strengthening my marriage. Intentional about growing, developing and disciplining my sons. Read books that stretch me. Lay in a hammock as often as possible.
Professional: Continue to grow and strengthen our district wide STEAM initiative. Develop empowered leaders through our iCoach program. Read books that stretch me. Spend more time in classrooms, lunchrooms, gyms, libraries, and anywhere else students and teachers are. Offer more face-to-face learning opportunities while continuing to develop online learning for our teachers as well. (Follow RCISD STEAM innovations here.)
Athletic: Be disciplined. Be consistent. Be purposeful. I am hoping to finish my first sprint triathlon this year. I am also hoping to complete another Spartan Race. I would like to complete a 5K at a sub 9:00 pace.
My family and I actually did do the #OneWord challenge for 2017 and mine was TIME. I have committed to not saying “I just didn’t have the time to get that done”. I want to be a better steward of the time that I have been given. It’s just a conscious attempt to sanctify it.
I am so grateful to the #FitLeaders family that consistently fills up my feed with motivation.
Zach, thank you so much for sharing your fitness journey and experiences with the #WhyIExercise community. Your passion for your family, work, and church clearly drive your life’s mission.
As we reflect on Zach’s message, there is a point that particularly stands out for me. We only have one body. Zach knows first hand. Our hearts go out to you, Zach. To honor your father, you are sharing the message of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. It is extremely important that each of us know our family medical history. Take some time talk to your relatives about possible concerns. As Zach reminded us, we “want to be around to spoil grand kids.”
It’s an honor sharing these amazing educators and their stories with the #WhyIExercise tribe.
Marilyn . . .
Welcome back to week four of our #WhyIExercise series. You’re in for a treat as our spotlight educator, Mindi Vandagriff, shares her story with us. Mindi’s hometown is McKinney, Texas and is a Coordinator of Professional and Digital Learning in Anna, Texas. She has a BA from The University of Texas and a MS in Media Design and Technology. Mindi is currently working on a second master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. I hope you’re as touched by Mindi’s transparency as I am.
Let get to it, y’all . . .
Exercise, per se, hasn’t always been a part of my life… but being active has. I was an athlete in high school; I was my high school’s mascot and I played volleyball, basketball, softball, and ran track. I wasn’t exceptional at any one sport, instead, I was a decent athlete at most sports. Being involved in team sports early in life, set the stage for my love of team sports in my adult life… which eventually led me to adult co-ed softball. A lot of adult co-ed softball. There was a time when I was playing softball at least three nights a week, and in tournaments most weekends. It was something that my husband and I could do together. Something that we loved doing together. Whether he was a spectator or the pitcher for our team, we were together. But juggling being a firefighter’s wife, a full-time mom to two boys, a full-time educator and a part-time softball player eventually caught up with me. I had to give up something and I reluctantly chose softball.
I still made time for me by joining a local women’s fitness group, P31, an hour workout 3-4 times per week, with women who also juggled being moms and wives and professionals. And while I loved dedicating more time to myself and my family and to my students, I realized that I was missing something. Being active. And not just being active like going for a jog or shooting some hoops in the backyard with my boys, but being active with my husband.... a team… a community of athletes. And maybe, just maybe I even missed the competition.
Last summer, I joined my local box, Crossfit TBR (#cftbr) in Anna, TX and it has challenged me more than I could have ever imagined. Physically, mentally and emotionally. I have found my tribe.
The reason that I Crossfit is honestly a little selfish, and maybe even a little vain. Don’t get me wrong, I do want to be healthy and strong, but I want to look healthy and look strong. I want my daily struggle to exercise to SHOW. When I look at physically fit people, I don’t look at them with envy, I look at them with pride-- like WOW. I know exactly what it takes to look like that and WOW. Nice work.
But if I am being completely honest, it motivates me. I hear their talk, via social media and in my Crossfit box, their motivation and their inspiration, and it changes the way that I talk to myself. My inner voice. Sometimes she (my inner voice) is downright mean. Nasty and hateful. The things that I say to myself are things I would never, NEVER say to anyone else. “You’ll never look like that.” “You aren’t dedicated enough.” “You aren’t strong enough.” “ You’ll never be that fast.” “It’s too late.” “You’re too old.” “It’s not worth it.”
And this, y’all, is a daily, if not hourly, struggle. But when I hear other people’s talk… it changes mine. So the reason I choose to exercise, to Crossfit, is to surround myself with people whose talk is louder than my negative inner voice. To drown her out and change her rhetoric.
I choose to Crossfit because I want people to see what I have overcome to even lace up my shoes or get out of bed and walk into the box.
I choose to Crossfit because I miss being on a team. A team of athletes who struggle and conquer daily just like me, who challenge themselves to overcome just like me. Who set and meet goals and set goals higher just like me.
When my mean, nasty, negative inner voice hasn’t convinced me to stay at home or convinced me that work is more important, a bigger priority than my health, I am at Crossfit TBR. I’m with my tribe. The WOD (Workout Of the Day) is different everyday and I LOVE that. Something new and challenging every time. During the school year, my favorite class is at 0500. Dark thirty. I love starting my day working out before the sun even rises.
During the summer however, I am trying the 0830 classes, which is a different regimen for me. Eating before I workout… lifting and running when there’s light outside.
I really enjoy doing HERO WODs-- named after Heroes who gave their lives in the line of duty. CrossFit Hero WODs are some of the most intense workouts that you could experience. They are intended to be performed with intense effort, in honor of our fallen Heroes. Their purpose is to remind us to think outside of ourselves. This past Memorial Day, I completed the annual #MurphChallenge. Maybe the most painful, challenging, and intense workout I’ve ever done, in memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.
My most recent WOD was 5 RFT, 20 cal Air Dyne, 20 KB swings, 20 sit ups. Don’t let the Air Dyne fool you. That thing nearly ended me.
Food is my vice. My dirty little secret. I love food. All kinds of food… healthy foods, fattening food, sweets, drinks… all the food. I don’t eat until I’m sick, to the point of gluttony, actually it’s quite the opposite. I don’t eat enough. And you may think, wait what? Is she like 50 lbs? Nope, again quite the opposite. I struggle with food intake and so my body goes into fat-storage mode, something I honestly didn’t have to worry about until after I had babies. Which was almost 13 years ago, so you’d think I’d have it figured out by now. I don’t. I’m working on that.
You’ve probably heard that being fit is 20% in the gym and 80% in the kitchen. I’ve heard it, too. But I didn’t really realize that pertained to me until I reached the 20% in the gym. I was and am doing all I can in the gym; now, I’m working on what I do in the kitchen.
Actually, I’m not. I hate the kitchen. I hate cooking. I hate grocery shopping. The meat section at the grocery store intimidates me. I do not enjoy preparing a good clean meal. My husband, however, he has become quite the cook over the past 11 years as a firefighter. The problem is, he always cooks for 12 men. Even when he’s at home. There are 4 of us.
And did I mention I live with two teenage boys? They eat ALL. THE. TIME. I can’t keep up with the food and I certainly can’t keep up with the metabolism of two teenage boys and an active firefighter.
Yes, I know how to eat clean and buy it and prep it, but I do not enjoy standing in the kitchen for hours. You know this now. So, this past April, I started paying someone to food prep for me. She preps 10-12 meals plus snacks per week. I eat every 3 hours. It is the best money I’ve ever spent on my health.
As an education professional, I consider myself a servant to education. I am constantly serving others. I serve teachers, I serve students, I serve parents. And in that service, I am constantly thinking about I can serve better. Which means I am always “on”. Exercise helps me turn my brain off… from my work life, from my personal life, and make time for me. This is where I feel like the reason I exercise is selfish. When I am doing a WOD, I am not thinking about anyone but myself (selfish, but I am ok with this), setting goals and failing and setting new goals and achieving them all in the same workout. This tends to be my life mantra, start, fail, start over, keep going. This mantra carries over into my professional life because I live and breathe it when I exercise.
The funny thing is I relate just about everything to Crossfit, especially when I am at work. The analogies I give when I am facilitating lessons with students are Crossfit analogies. The analogies I give in professional developments and teacher trainings are Crossfit analogies. I even gave a presentation to our school board where I talked about academic measurements and of course, Crossfit.
Personal: Keep work at work. My boys are only getting older and my husband is only here 2 out of every 3 days. Spending time with them, albeit in front of the TV or riding around the neighborhood on our golf cart, is worth so much more than them constantly seeing me with a computer attached to my lap.
Professional: Keep work at work. My goal is to increase efficiency while I am at work so that I have more time for my family and for me when I am home. But while I am at work, my goal is to inspire and encourage others… lifting them up and celebrating small victories with them. I don’t need to be in the limelight, instead, I choose to help teachers feel empowered as our bus moves forward.
Kipping chest to bar pullups
WHEN I get these, my #fitleaders will be the first to know!
I literally have this tattooed on my body. It reminds me to slow down and focus. Focus on what is important. To inhale worries and stress and problems and to exhale all that I have been blessed with-- my health and the ability to set my mind to achieve anything physically possible; my husband who supports me and all that I take on, who encourages me to be the best version of myself daily; my boys who are so wonderfully made… full of good down to their cores; and my profession which I so passionately love and rewards my soul. When I take time to just breathe, I remember that I can NOT do it all. And to be perfectly content with that. When life happens, I encourage you to just #breathe.
I, by no means, pretend to be a fitness guru. In fact, I considered backing out of writing this post because of the educators who have been highlighted thus far, I am probably the least physically fit. I don’t exercise everyday. My food and dietary habits should not always be emulated. But my will to exercise shall prevail over my struggle to not. The struggle is real, y’all. And if I have learned anything over the years exercising and being active, I have learned that I am not alone. Talking about your successes and failures gives you fuel to take a cleansing breath and put one foot in front of the other. Talking about it quietens your negative inner voice. When we talk about our failures, it helps us pick each other up and keep going. I could not do this without my Crossfit TBR family. I could not do this without my #fitleaders family.
Wow!!! If there’s anybody that's going to get you to join Crossfit, it’s Mindi. Her passion for Crossfit, education, and her family is off the charts. If you’re not ready to join a box, but are ready to try some WODs, download the MyWOD app. Scroll through the WODs. You're bound to find one that you like. Well . . . except ones with burpees. :)
As much as we learned about Crossfit, the message that resonated the most for me is Mindi’s self-talk. Each one of us is more capable, more confident, and more amazing than we give ourselves credit for. We are leaders. We are role-models. We are life-changers. I challenge each one of you to stretch yourself this week. Do your own Hero WOD for yourself. There are students, colleagues, and family members that look up to you daily. You are their hero.
Mindi, thank you so much for sharing with us this week. You’ve inspired us more than you can even imagine.
Marilyn . . .
Wow, we’re on to week three in our #WhyIExercise summer series. This week’s spotlight educator has a true transformational story, epitomizes the word grit, and leads both his family and school with passion and pizzazz. It’s a privilege to introduce Matthew Arend. Matt was born in Pierre, South Dakota and was raised in Ankeny, Iowa. Matt says he, “Made it to Texas as quickly as I could.” Side note - my parents and siblings are from Texas, so I completely get it. As my mom says, “Once a Texan, always a Texan.” Matt received his Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Peru State College in Peru, Nebraska and his Master’s of Education from University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Currently, Matt is the principal at Sigler Elementary in Plano, Texas. On Twitter, you can follow the @SiglerStars and Matt @matthew_arend.
Without further ado, let’s hear from Matt.
I have always been active playing sports as a kid including high school and college. It was in high school I discovered the deep relationships that can be developed through playing team sports and having to count on your teammates to achieve greatness. Clearly, there are parallels in my job today as a principal and the relationships developed with our staff (aka the team). After winning the high school football state championship as a senior in the state of Iowa, I continued playing football in college receiving a scholarship from Peru State College. College football allowed me to continue to develop relationships, focus on teamwork and taught me lessons in grit and perseverance. I had to overcome a foot surgery, broken leg, and knee injuries over my college football career, but learned valuable life lessons about myself through the process and came out stronger as a competitor and more importantly as a person. As an offensive lineman in high school and college, maintaining strength and weight was just part of life. At my heaviest, I weighed in a 280 lbs. After my last game, I knew life as a football player was over and so was weighing nearly 300 lbs. It was then that I took up running. I started with 5Ks which led to 10Ks and half marathons then ultimately marathons. 80lbs later I have over a dozen marathons under my belt and have successfully completed one (sprint) triathlon. While weights are still a part of my workout regimen, the heavy weight lifting from the football years are waaaay behind me.
Exercising is part of life. For some it is something they must do and for others it is something they choose to do. For me...I would say it is both. In a weird way, I like the way my muscles feel after putting them through a grueling workout or how I feel waking up the next morning after attempting a workout I have not tried before.
My trips to the gym include my son who I am growing as a future #fitleader. As a principal, I model the balance I want my teachers to have, but as a father, I model the lifestyle I would want my son to have. I want him to enjoy going to the gym, being fit, and balanced. I cannot think of a better way to model that than having him be a part of the journey.
If those two reasons are not reasons enough for #whyIexcercise, the last is easy. I never want to weigh 280lbs again….ever!
I am one month into training for the Marine Corp. Marathon that will be in Washington DC in October, so my regime is running, running, and running some more. When I am not running, I count on the support of the #fitleader family to serve up some motivating workout routines and some #WODs. While there are some great CrossFit workouts to complete, I was in Florida last December and cooked up my own #WOD which I titled the “Texas 50”. All together it is a 5 mile run, but at each ¼ mile you do 50 reps of an exercise. I have substituted a variety of exercises depending upon the tools at my disposal, but I would love to see you give the “Texas 50” a try.
As the saying goes, abs are not created in the gym. Abs are created in the kitchen so food and diet is important. My wife plays an important role in supporting my fitness and takes great care of our family in the kitchen. We regularly use JuicePlus which encourages our clean eating. A smoothie for breakfast, a clean lunch, and a clean dinner help the body metabolize the healthy foods and keep the unhealthy foods at arms length. Once every two months or so, we will participate in a 10 day cleanse removing the following from our diet completely:
No food after 6PM
Exercise also provides the balance I need to be a #fitleader. I love being a principal and I only know one gear. I go hard. Knowing I go hard, I need to find an outlet that allows me to reflect, recharge, and be ready to go the next day. Exercise is my outlet. Whether it is a run to clear my head or a WOD to blow off some steam, I know I will find my center, be a better leader the next day, and model the #fitleader mindset and lifestyle for the teachers and community I serve.
“Sleep when you’re dead.” My grandpa used to share this quote with me when I was in high school and college and the message he was getting me to understand was “seize the day”. Yes, #fitleaders must rest, but there is a difference between rest/recovery and being lazy. “Ain’t no one got time for that.” I go hard, play hard, and push my body to it’s limit. Call me crazy.
Personal: Being a principal can be a demanding job. Personally, I strive to find a balance between being a husband, father, and principal and in that order. Easier said than done, but that is the goal. My family comes first and I need to remind myself of that often. (Sometimes they remind me too!)
Professional: Be the best principal I can be. I will not be a principal for the rest of my life, as I do want to move up the professional ladder, sharing my gifts and experiences, but until then...I want to grow #SiglerNation and share just how amazing our teachers, students, and school community is.
Athletic: Each marathon I run I set out to PR. My previous best is 3:19, so when I hit the streets of DC in October, the goal is to improve. When I am not running, it is to keep a healthy baseline and push myself, introducing workouts I have not completed before.
Grow - I am entering my 7th year at Sigler Elementary and we are ready to take off! Our theme for the upcoming year is #SiglerNation and it is taking the voices of our students and staff and putting them out there for others to connect with, learn from, and grow with us. We hope you join our efforts and connect with #SiglerNation.
A teacher who will be joining #SiglerNation next year shared with quote with me and I believe it fits each of us, regardless of our journey. “Go where you’re sent, stay where you’re put, give all you’ve got.”
For those reading who are new to the #WhyIExercise or the #Fitleaders movement...you are at a starting point. Put one foot in front of the other and take the next step. Some days it is a big one, some days it may be smaller but always keep moving forward.
I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to Matt for sharing his fitness and educational journeys with us. I’ve been a fan of Matt’s for about two years now. He keeps me motivated athletically and fills my Twitter feed with exceptional educational blogs and articles.
Matt’s one word, grow, is one that we can all latch on to. We can grow as role-models in our homes, we can grow as influencers in our classrooms and schools, and we can grow as athletes in our gyms, courts, tracks, or garages. I challenge you to be inspired by Matt and choose one area where you would like to grow. Follow us on the #FitnessEdu and #FitLeaders hashtags to share your journey.
Welcome back to #WhyIExercise. I feel privileged to introduce this week’s spotlight educator. It’s our very own, Lori Vandeborne, leader of the #FitnessEdu tribe. Lori grew up in Weirton, West Virginia and now resides in Marion, Ohio. She is the Continuous Improvement Officer at Rushmore Academy. Lori holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and Special Education Mild to Moderate (PreK-12) and her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership Curriculum and Instruction. For her professional biography, click here. Follow Lori on Twitter @MrsVandeborne.
Hold on to your seat, as we hear from Lori.
Exercise has always been a big part of my life. I think my competitive spirit started in my neighborhood where the kids would always congregate at my house or the playground. We would play outside all summer which was always centered around some sort of competition whether it be foot races, bike races, basketball games, playground challenges, lowering the rim to have slam dunk contests, building our own bike park for BMX bikes in the tennis courts, or using the fence posts as balance beams. The kids I grew up with still brag about the races we won in organized playground competitions more so than our state championships. Broken bones and bandaged knees were pretty normal and expected in my neighborhood. Many of those kids I grew up with became college athletes including myself.
I ran track (High Jump and Hurdles) and played volleyball since 7th grade. When I was in my sophomore year of high school, I gave up track to focus on playing Volleyball for the Renaissance Volleyball Junior Olympic team in Pittsburgh, PA. Because the WV volleyball season was still in the winter, I practiced and played both at my high school and Junior Olympic games during the same season for the first two years. Then, WV shifted their season to match the surrounding states. During that time, I would leave school practice and drive an hour to Pitt University or high school gyms in the Pittsburgh area to practice with my team. On the weekend, we would either play regional tournaments or fly across the nation. During this experience I got to participate in three national tournaments and play with and against the best in the nation, some of who ended up on the actual Olympic team. I went on to play Division 1 Volleyball at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida. While there, I took my training to a new level. I would spend every morning doing cardio, lunch time in the weightroom, and evenings in the gym. Plyometrics, Leg-Circuits, Cardio and sprints took on a whole new meaning. I got down to 16% Body Fat and was in the best shape of my life physically. However, I wasn’t taking care of my whole self and being so far away from family became difficult. I learned the importance of being surrounded by people who love you and who you love so I transferred back to Fairmont State College in Fairmont, WV to play for a coach that had recruited me in high school. While there, I led the team to a Conference and Regional Championship and had the opportunity to play on a national team in Europe during the summer of my Junior year. Unfortunately, I fractured my L4/L5 vertebrae at the beginning of my Senior year and had to end my college athletic career. This was very difficult because Volleyball was my first love so it was like losing a part of me and who I was and am. Read more of Lori’s journey here.
In the past it was to perform, compete, and win. Now I exercise to stay healthy, keep a positive mindset, have some me time and to set a good example for my own kids.
I am currently coming off of an injury to my hip and then to my arm. However, what I usually do is cardio at least five days a week where I either run outside 1-4 miles, ride my bike 10-16 miles, or ride my stationary bike inside. I love to strength train and push my limits in the weight room. I tend to hurt myself if I focus on lifting heavy but I have found a routine that works very well for me to stay strong, feel challenged, and burn cardio at the same time.
My strength training routine I do every other day.
Of the following combination exercises I take no rest between working my upper and lower body. This becomes more of a cardio routine due to no rest.
For each exercise, I start with low weight and do a set of 12 then increase the weight and do a set of 10 then increase the weight and do a set of 8 then max out and do a set of 6. I then pick a weight I am comfortable with and do a set of 24. After the set of 24, I rest for two minutes and move into the next combination of upper and lower body exercises. Here are the combinations I work through:
This routine has been the one I have followed for the past 7 years since my children have gone to school and I went to work.
A big part of my routine is keeping a cadence of accountability with the #FitnessEdu chat. This chat has provided me with a support system to help with the luls that occur in fitness routines. If I am going to be leading others in setting fitness goals and sharing their achievements every week, I have to be living what I lead. This chat has also helped with my emotional and social well being. It keeps me connected to others and accountable for my health. For more on #FitnessEdu, read this newspaper article and listen to this podcast.
As a college athlete, I know how to eat in order to help increase the effectiveness of my work outs. I try to eat more protein and vegetables than carbohydrates. The most important part of my diet for me is to drink only water and stay away from carbonated drinks. I can always tell a difference in my mood, performance, and the way I feel when I am not drinking enough water.
Fitness is essential for me to stay positive and effective as a professional. Being in educational leadership is a very stressful and often emotionally exhausting. For me, my fitness routine is my way to help me process my thinking, clear my head, and provide me with the adrenaline and strength needed to make the difficult decisions that I face daily.
I like to remember that all of my actions affect others. As a leader, this is one of my favorite quotes:
“Teams do not exist in a vacuum. “We are all parts of multiple webs of significance”: different teams, units, and social groups. When the values and expected behaviors change in one group we belong to, it affects how we behave in other groups.” - Clifford Geertz
Personal: To focus on my family’s and my overall health and wellness and not just my physical health. I need to get better at making my emotional and spiritual health a priority.
Professional: To be a more of an active listener so that I can be a proactive leader with plans and processes in place that will help build relationships and maximize both student and adult learning.
Athletic: I would like to to gain more consistency in my fitness routine and build endurance, muscle, and strength.
My one word is purpose. I would like to make sure that everything I am doing has a purpose behind it. Going through the motions or actions to complete a task without knowing the purpose is often draining for me. I want to keep my focus on doing the things that are necessary to make a difference in the lives of my family, my students, my colleagues, and the staff that I serve.
It’s been a joy to have Lori share her fitness, life, and professional journey with us. From the moment I met Lori on Twitter, she’s been a source of encouragement and inspiration. Her influence on her family, students and staff that she leads, and the TwitterEdu community is far reaching. If there’s one thing we can learn from Lori, it’s combining belonging and individuality on our quest for success.
If you’re just starting or continuing to set fitness goals, please join Lori and the rest of the #FitnessEdu tribe on Sundays at 7:00 EST for sharing glows, a 30 minute chat, and setting goals.
Thank you again, Lori, for sharing your story on the #WhyIExercise summer blog series.
Marilyn . .
Welcome to our second summer of #WhyIExercise. I hope you had an exceptional 2016-2017 school. Summer is the perfect time to relax, reflect, and recharge. Our first spotlight educator knows all about the rigors of a productive school year. It’s an absolute honor to introduce Ryan Jackson as our first spotlight educator for #WhyIExercise this summer. He is currently the Executive Lead Principal at Mount Pleasant Arts Innovation Zone, the nation’s first K-12 STEAM Campus, aka #TheMount. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Indiana and his master’s and Ed.D from Trevecca University in Tennessee. He is also the founder of the #FitLeaders tribe. Ryan can be found @RyanBJackson1 on Twitter.
Without further ado, let’s get started . . .
I graduated from Harrison High School in Evansville, IN class of 1998, lettering in cross country. I committed myself to running after it became apparent I couldn't hit a curveball, a high school curveball at that. I ran cross country and track in high school, but would not get back into exercising until my 30’s.
I got a divorce, started my doctorate, began mentally planning for my transition to education administration and stopped drinking alcohol. I quit drinking on New Year’s Eve 2012 and have been sober ever since. I used an intense weight lifting regimen to combat alcoholism, leveraging it’s mind/body/spiritual effects to overcome a genetic disease. I had an unwavering focus and progress monitoring system. My wife was instrumental in my transition. She taught me how to love myself in order to begin healing.
I workout 5-6 times a week; 5 day isometric bodypart rotation; stairclimber and jumprope for cardio, depending on leaning/bulking goals. Some of my best workouts are in The Mount gym as I develop relationships beyond academics with students. On weekends, my workouts continue at Anytime Fitness.
I eat almost zero processed sugar (absolutely no soft drinks); eat in 2 hour intervals to keep body in homeostasis; high protein/conscious of carb intake; lots and lots of water (and coffee in the morning); GNC performance/vitality pack once a day; pre-workout/BCAA during workout/protein shake post-workout.
There are so many benefits of regular exercise: improved health/strength bolsters my immune system - as an educator this is HUGE. Goal - setting and reflection boost my intrapersonal leadership; also, to quote John Medina’s Brain Rules, “physical fitness is cognitive candy.” Thus, my thinking, my focus, perseverance are all dramatically improved by my physical fitness.
(Read more about Ryan’s journey here. Ryan’s transparency and purpose is clearly revealed.)
Personal: Lead my family into the digital age, modeling balance, awareness, and growth.
Professional: Continue to grow my brands; #TheMount, #FitLeaders; Position The Mount as a beacon for STEAM curriculum and culture, where districts from around the country come to learn and gain insight from our cutting-edge pedagogy/ideology.
Athletic: Reach 205 lbs of lean mass; compete in drug-free powerlifting competition.
Progress: too often we’re prohibited from progress due to distractions and doubt. The key is goal-setting, embracing incremental growth and celebrating each and every win.
The stressors of leadership can be devastating physically, mentally, and emotionally. In order to sustain, more importantly in order to thrive, we must first set our sights on leading from within. Once we can control over ourselves through discipline, goal-setting, and striving for personal excellence, only then can we truly be prepared to successfully lead others, weathering leadership’s tumultuous journey.
It’s been a delight to have Ryan as our first spotlight educator of the summer. His insights are just what we need to help us forge new roads of success at work, at home, in the gym, on the court, or on the pavement. Ryan’s quote by Tony Robbins is a place to start, “Progress equals Happiness.” With a plan and perseverance, happiness and greatness are sure to come.
Ryan has been a guest on the Better Leaders Better Schools podcast, been a Tedx speaker, and has his own blog. It’s no surprise that Ryan helped turn a struggling school around. Watch this video of how Ryan partnered with the community to make a difference.
As you seek your fitness and educational goals, please share them with the #FitLeaders and #FitnessEdu tribes.
Thank you again, Ryan, for sharing your incredible journey with us. It’s not over yet! We can’t wait to see and hear more about your continued success.
Marilyn . . .
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.