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 . . .
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.
Welcome to #WhyIExercise. It’s an honor to celebrate this week’s spotlight educator, Kevin Loadman. From the state of Ohio, Kevin is an English teacher and assistant varsity football coach. He has earned two bachelor’s degrees from Ohio State, Communications and English. Furthering his education, he has a master’s degree in 21st century teaching and learning. When he’s not on the field or in his classroom, Kevin can be found active on Twitter in the #FitnessEdu chat on Sunday as well as the #Ohedchat on Wednesday. Kevin’s Twitter handle is @LoadmanHHS.
Join me, as we hear Kevin’s story!
Originally, it was not so much about participating in what I would now consider training or even exercise as much as it was being involved in a variety of different sports & activities. I started out playing soccer both fall & spring, eventually transitioning to baseball in the spring. A few years of youth league basketball was mixed in there as well. In 5th grade, I traded out soccer for football. I added wrestling in middle school, but didn’t pursue that much in high school aside from the 2nd half of my junior year. Football was clearly my #1 love, and I continued that into college, earning a spot as a walk-on at The Ohio State University, and was a member of the team for 4 years, earning 1 Varsity letter.
I exercise for a number of reasons. #1 - I want to work towards being healthy and living what would be considered a healthy lifestyle. I feel that I need to set an example and standard that my daughter, students, and athletes can follow or at least gain information from. #2 - it helps fuel what has always been an ultra-competitive drive for me. It does not matter what it is, I am and likely always will be fiercely competitive. This led me to entering my first Power Lifting competition in the summer of 2013, and I continue that to this day. It helps drive my training and focus, as well as the constant learning that must be done in order to be successful. It also allows me to pass on what I know to friends, colleagues, students, and athletes. #3 - being stronger and getting in better shape is a confidence builder.
I am currently using Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 training program, which is very good in terms of achieving maximum strength. It is a program that is easy to follow, with auto-regulation built in to account for things as simple as how you are feeling on a given day. Wendler has published several books on the subject, and it lays out a very simple but effective training program that anyone can use. My personal favorite is “Beyond 5/3/1”. I also walk several days a week, usually my non-training days, in order to maintain a basic level of cardio that allows me to push harder in my training. This is certainly a phase of my ‘game’ that I need to work on.
My diet is something I am in a constant state of war with. I tend to do well during the week, especially during the school year, but need to do a better job in the summer in order to continue to make positive progress in terms of weight, strength gains, and especially body composition. I use a number of supplements in order to meet my goals, as part of the rest of my diet and training routine. The purposes vary, from recovery to energy to just building additional muscle mass.
Training is part of who I am, and it has a direct effect on my work as a football coach. I also do not believe I can advise any student, colleague, or friend on training & health if I am not actively involved in training. It also provides materials & information I can use in the classroom, as my training requires things like learning, dedication, discipline, and mastery (in this case the technical side of the lifts).
Personal: Continue to work to find balance between all of the things in my life (family, health, and professional). At the end of the year be able to say, and mean sincerely, that I grew as a father, coach, athlete, husband, and person. I also want to (having tracked closely) be able to see clear changes in my body composition, blood work (which is pretty decent now), and overall feelings of health.
Professional: Make learning more meaningful and personal for my students. Do my absolute best to find ways to connect with and help my students with their individual learning goals and needs. I want to help them see the value of what we are doing regardless of current ideas or future goals. Instill in my students a desire to master skills and achieve on a high level.
Fitness: Continue my growth as a lifter, both in terms of a constantly expanding knowledge base as well as continuing to get stronger as I progress towards both short and long term goals.
Balance . . . I need to do more than pay lip service to putting balance out in front of everything. It needs to be a deliberate and well thought out mission rather than just something that sounds good but I never take time to reflect on and it put methods into practice to help me achieve it. A standard of balance that helps keep me on track, while also prioritizing and giving the appropriate focus to each item on the agenda without any feelings that I neglected something.
I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to Kevin for sharing with us. If you can’t tell, he’s a real beast with a big heart. Kevin’s passion for power lifting is paired with his desire to be a role-model for his students, family, and #FitnessEdu community. To me, that’s a winning combination. Good luck with the football season and continued success in your training.
I leave you with Kevin’s favorite place . . .
Marilyn . . .
Kevin has written several pieces for the Elite Fitness & Training Systems website, better known as EliteFTS. His most recent article deals with the idea that in both education & athletics expectations are seen by some as mere suggestions. Take a read.
Welcome to our third installment of #WhyIExercise. I’m thrilled to introduce you to this week’s spotlight educator, Mari Venturino, a 7th grade science and 8th grade AVID teacher as well as Blended Learning Specialist from San Diego, California. Originally from Sacramento, Mari attended UCSD where she earned both a BS in Biology and a M.Ed in Secondary Education. Mari is a board member of the San Diego CUE, a GAFE Trainer and Innovator, and co-creator of Breakout EDU Digital. She is also a host on the EduRoadTrip podcast, and co-creator of #FlyHighFri. She can be found on Twitter @MsVenturino.
Without further ado, let’s hear from Mari.
I grew up playing sports, including soccer, baseball & softball, swimming, gymnastics, and dance. I was also very active as a kid, preferring to run around outside rather than watch tv. When I got to college, I stopped playing sports because I was too busy with school and wasn’t sure how to get involved. I did walk to class at UCSD--living in the Eleanor Roosevelt College dorms and The Village and walking to science classes in Revelle, it was almost a mile one way! After college, I joined a gym and started going to workout classes. Now, it’s something I do for fun, either at the gym or with friends at home or outside.
I exercise to stay healthy and fit, and to reduce my stress. I love how I feel after I’m done exercising. However, I will admit I often have a hard time getting going.
Right now, it’s not so impressive. I’ve been overloaded with work and outside of work commitments, and I haven’t been good about taking time for myself. I can see how much it’s affecting me, not only physically, but also mentally--I find myself getting stressed more easily. So, current fitness needs to get stepped up. Mainly it’s walking my dog and doing workout videos at home. I love taking Zumba and spin classes, and hiking when I have time. I also have started #EduHike, a meetup for teachers who enjoy hiking. I’m hoping to plan another one in August in San Diego.
I love food! My favorite foods are cheese and ice cream. In general, though, I eat very healthy and I enjoy cooking homemade meals. I’m thankful that we have great access to fresh produce in California, and avocado goes with everything. This is not to say that I don’t enjoy some junk food on occasion, but I enjoy it in moderation.
I don’t take any supplements, unless you count dessert (my happiness supplement) every night!
When I exercise, I feel less stressed and I can handle frustrations better. Plus, I love going out to PE on my prep period to run or play sports with my students. This is a great way to make connections in a different setting.
Personal: I want to establish a better work-life balance, and turn off the electronics for set periods of time in the evenings and on weekends.
Professional: My goal is to use my prep period effectively and take home as little work as possible. This way, I’ll have more time to work on Breakout EDU Digital! I also run our tech club, Viking Tech Crew--we’re relaunching this year, with new student leadership, and a new format (blog post coming soon…).
Athletic: I want to find another half marathon to run. I ran my first in July 2014 (Costume Run) and second in September 2015 (Disneyland Half). I’m considering signing up for the San Diego Triple Crown: Carlsbad Half, La Jolla Half, and America’s Finest City Half.
I’m also hoping to organize one or two more #EduHike adventures before the end of 2016.
I’m going to stick with my 2016 #OneWord, intentional. I’m working on being intentional with how, where, and why I spend my time.
Exercising with friends is a great way to stay motivated. Plan a walk together--even if it’s not strenuous, it get’s you up and moving.
I’d like to extend a big thank you to Mari for sharing with us. I met Mari at a #GafeSummit and was immediately drawn to her positive attitude and passion for teaching. When she organized her first #EduHike, I thought it was brilliant. What a great way to connect, share, experience nature, and get fit at the same time. As educators, we don’t always feel like we have time to exercise. But Mari nailed it, go outside and take a walk. Even better, go outside and hike with some friends. The next time you go for a hike, be sure to use the hashtag #EduHike. We’ll be looking for it!
Good luck on all your endeavors, Mari. You’re touching precious lives every day!!!
Marilyn . . .
Welcome back to #WhyIExercise! You're going to be touched by this week's spotlight educator, Teresa Gross. She is a middle school literacy teacher outside of Rochester, New York. During her 15 years as an educator, she started out as a speech therapist, and is currently teaching 6th - 8th graders. Teresa can be found on Twitter @teresagross625.
Let's hear Teresa's fitness journey.
Over the past 10 years, a healthy lifestyle has become extremely important to me both personally and professionally. Working with middle school students, particularly young women, I consider myself a role model for them. I want them to feel good about themselves and see the beauty they have inside and out. Showing them a balanced lifestyle, which includes healthy eating and working out is important to me. So many of our young women are dissatisfied when they look in the mirror. I hear from them on a daily basis, “I need to lose weight.” I want to empower my female students to be proud of who they are and embrace their natural beauty.
Exercise has always been in and out of my life. It found its permanent place approximately 10 years ago when my dad passed away and I went through a divorce. I was overweight and feeling overwhelmed with what was happening in my life. I needed a way to relieve the stress and anxiety I was feeling. I started out small, just doing some Pilates on a regular basis. It amazed me the results I started to see and feel. I was not doing it to lose weight or for anybody else. It was for ME. As I started to build up my stamina and strength, I added other workouts in.
Over the course of approximately 3 years I had lost around 50 pounds and was feeling 100% better. It was a complete lifestyle change for me. I realized I had to make exercise a part of my daily life. Ever since then, I have tried to incorporate it into my daily routines. It’s not that I “find the time” because then it sounds optional and it’s not optional. It is part of being a healthy individual.
It’s difficult for me to share this picture, but in doing so I hope others are inspired to implement a healthy lifestyle. It can be done. I am living proof of that.
It might sound simple, but I exercise to relieve stress, maintain a healthy weight and because I enjoy it. I get to combine two of my passions depending on my workout…...reading and listening to music!
I like a variety of workouts. Over the past few years, I have accumulated several different workouts and accompanying equipment I can use in my living room. A few examples are cardio kickboxing, Pilates, toning ball, balance ball, yoga, and riding the stationary bike while reading. I have nicknamed it my “Book & Bike” workout. It allows me to take any class, at any time, without leaving the comfort of my own home.
Walking is one of my favorite workouts. Living in NYS, we have a short amount of time with warm weather. I take full advantage of it. There is a route I take that is almost entirely uphill. I sometimes do half the route (about 30 minutes) and other times the entire route (about 60 minutes). I immensely enjoy the time to myself. Listening to music and cutting myself off from social media, it is a great time to reflect, recharge and relax.
I also enjoy the freedom to work out when I want and not be locked into a schedule as I might be if I joined a gym. My favorite time to work out is between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM, which is impossible during the school year. On the other hand, it is ideal for the summer and when we have time off. During the school year there are times I wake up at 4:30 AM to get a workout in or wait until after work in the evening. It has been a challenge for me to find a balance between fitness and my professional life during the school year. It is a work in progress.
The most important element for me in my routine is that there is no routine. The only requirements I put on myself is to try and integrate abs and arms with my lower body workouts. In addition, I aim to work out at least 4 times weekly. I mark a calendar with an “X” to keep track of my progress. Some people might need more structure, however it is a system that meets my needs and works for me.
Unfortunately, I have always been somewhat of a picky eater. In my twenties, I started developing debilitating migraines. When I was living on my own again, I cut many foods out of my diet to see if I could find a source. Since then, I eat very plainly and drink mainly water. As a result, my migraines have essentially disappeared. The only beverages I consume on a daily basis are water (a lot of water) and coffee. In addition, I have started eating smaller portions throughout the day. I have always been more of a “snacker” than wanting to sit down for large meals. I eat foods like carrots, almonds, yogurt, bananas, oatmeal, cheese, protein bars, salads, etc. Since I do eat such a limited variety of foods, I have been attempting to incorporate more protein in my diet with smoothies. I use cranberry juice, orange juice, strawberries, ice and a protein powder. Eating a balanced diet is extremely challenging for me. I am getting better with some support from my amazing PLN!
Students are the reason I do what I do. The more balanced I am, and the healthier I feel, the better I am as a teacher. When I am well rested, healthy and fit, I have more energy, am more focused and can put 100% into my instruction every day. My energy level is mirrored by my students. The more engaged I am, the more engaged they are. I am also a role model for my students to find a healthy balance between their academics, social and athletic lives.
I find it incredibly motivating to have a “check-in buddy”. Whether you check in about workouts, diet or just to encourage each other. It can be via twitter, voxer, text, etc. Whatever works for you, but don’t feel you have to do it alone. I have found great support through the #fitnessedu team. I highly recommend finding a support of your own.
I just love the simple Nike quote of, “Just do it.” Whatever it is, whatever your passion, whatever your reasons…...just do it. Do it for you and nobody else. I highly recommend the book "Shoe Dog" by Phil Knightly. The memoir tells the story of how Nike started out small and later became a world wide phenomenon. The perseverance, support and innovation of the masterminds behind the popular brand is inspiring. It models collaboration, communication, risk-taking, trust, respect and leadership. It is not just for athletes.
As I think about next year, a combined personal, professional and athletic goal is to maintain balance. I also think that might be my #OneWord. Believe in yourself, imagine the endless possibilities and find a healthy balance in all that you do.
A sincere thank you to @RunnerGirl13_1 for inviting me to tell my story! It was an honor and pleasure writing this.
A big thanks back to Teresa, for opening her heart and her mind with us. Her transformation journey is truly inspiring. As educators, we can’t take lightly the role we play in influencing our students academically, socially, emotionally, and physically. Teresa is a role-model indeed!
As we continue on our own personal fitness journeys, let’s take it from Teresa, and . . .
Marilyn . . .
For more inspiration from Teresa, follow her blog, “Loving Literacy”.
Welcome to our first spotlight educator for #WhyIExercise. I’m so proud to introduce Michael Courington, a K-5 elementary principal from Illinois. Michael is transitioning into his first year as principal after being the vice- principal for five years, an RTI interventionist, and a fourth grade teacher. He was born in Melrose and raised in River Grove, Illinois. After earning his undergraduate degree from Elmhurst College, he has since received two master's degrees. On Twitter, you can find him @MrCourington53.
Let’s take a peek at Michael’s story.
My father was a habitual exerciser. I have memories of him sitting at the kitchen table with an orange juice and a banana lacing up his gym shoes before sunrise. He would workout every morning before work. He introduced me to tennis at age 5 and always had time for a game of catch, tennis, or simply holding the football for me while I attempted to kick it through imaginary uprights. I fell in love with lifting weights around 8th grade. I went into High School wrestling at 103 lbs so lifting weights was a way for me to put on some size. It wasn’t long before I was in the gym every day after school. As an adult, I now find myself at the kitchen table before sunrise with a coffee lacing up my gym shoes.
Exercise is my lifeline. The reason I move every day is simply out of habit at this point, but I am reminded of the “why” when I have to miss a day for any reason. I do not operate the same on days when I can’t exercise. I find my energy levels are lower and my mood is off. I read “The Happiness Advantage” last year and exercise ranks among the top 5 things a person can do to raise their levels of happiness. I enjoy sharing smiles and positive energy with those around me. Exercise is one of my methods for maintaining a positive outlook on life.
My philosophy is pretty simple. I have to sweat . . . every day.
I love riding my bike (106 miles in one day is my biggest achievement). I dig running shorter distances (9 miles is my longest run). I still love lifting weights at the gym. I do indoor rock climbing. I have a 50 lb sandbag that I use every now and then. It is safe to say that my approach to fitness is rather eclectic, but the rule that remains the same . . . sweat every day.
I do not watch what I eat too closely. I do enjoy a daily AM shake that is filled with greens, carrots, fruit, and protein powder.
Fitness permeates every aspect of my life as a professional. A school leader must have high energy levels to carry out the demands of the job. Furthermore, the Spartans (our students) expect and deserve me to smile, project positivity, and be someone they can count on. I try to leave “my stuff” at the door and a focus on fitness helps me do that.
Personal: I have joined the #SixtyBooks movement on Twitter and have set the goal of reading sixty books by 12/31/16. I’m currently on book 36, “Mindset” by Carol Dweck. Exercising the mind is important too!
Professional: My goals are simple: to educate, serve, and care for the children each day they are in the halls and classrooms. To be a model of the Spartan Code and to instill in our students the value of being respectful, responsible, and their best every day with everyone. Always make decisions with the question, “Is this best for kids?” in mind.
Athletic: Sean Thom has inspired me to return to the obstacle races. I have a goal to complete a Spartan Race in 2017.
My one word is SPARTAN. Read more about it on my blog.
I'd like to personally thank Michael for sharing his story with us. We all have different functions in education, but nurturing and educating children remains the same. Michael's positive approach to both his physical and mental health is sure to inspire many. And . . . good luck on your Spartan Run! You'll have to check back in with us to let us know how it goes.
As Michael reminded us, remember your "why".
Marilyn . . .
If you're interested, my bio can be found in the "About" page.
I’ve been waiting to write this blog for some time now. Since I’ve been on Twitter, about a year, I’ve noticed that a lot of educators are actively engaged in fitness. My curious mind really wanted to know more. So . . . let’s get our WOD on. (Ask a Crossfitter.)
First, I created a Google Form and posted it on Twitter to get responses. The survey started with some general questions: job title, years in education, and types of fitness activities participants engaged in. Then, I asked some open-ended questions. The 45 educators that responded were candid, thoughtful, and extremely relevant in their mindsets. Take a peek at the first set of questions.
That's some serious experience! Seems like a pretty good cross-section of jobs in education. Notice the running and walking trends? And I really wonder what types of "other" fitness activities are taking place. Could be another survey.
Now let's get to the real meat of the survey. My first step in analyzing the data was to cut and paste the responses into a word cloud generator. Take a look at the most commonly used words and phrases.
The open-ended questions were super insightful. I honestly could have recorded any one of them here, but for the sake of space, I chose 6 from each.
#Why do you exercise?
#What impact do you think an educator’s health/fitness has on their job performance?
#Please share a motivational tip.
As we can see, we educators are pretty passionate about fitness. In a profession that requires us to be on top of our game, it's vital that we take care of ourselves. Whether it's a brisk walk, a Spartan Run, a hike in nature, or an intense weight lifting session, taking care of our physical bodies will enable us to maintain a healthy mind as well. As @RaRaPenquin wrote, "It's that little extra that makes the difference between ordinary and extra-ordinary." It's time, dear friends, to be extra-ordinary for our families, for our students, for ourselves.
A couple of great hashtags to follow are #FitnessEdu, #FitLeaders, and #EduHike.
And my personal motto, #HealthyBodyHealthyMind.
Live it out everyday because our kids are watching.
#HustleAndHeart, set us apart.
It's time to get fit!!!
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.