Welcome to another installment of #WhyIExercise. We’re excited to spotlight a fabulous duo! Please welcome husband and wife, Angela Rivas and Brent Klug from Michigan. Angela is a high school special education teacher. Brent is a world history teacher and soccer coach. Both Angela and Brent earned their Bachelor’s degrees from Grand Valley State University. Additionally, Angela earned her Master’s degree in Education Technology from Grand Valley. Angela is a member of Nick Mann’s Fire and Flow Crossfit group and #TeacherFit community on Twitter. Follow Angela on Twitter @MsRivas2U.
#WhyIExercise . . . Angela
I’ve broken up and made up with exercise for most of my adult life. I have lost count of how many times I’ve heard, “You’re so skinny--you don’t need to exercise!” Yes, I’m naturally small. I got it from my mother. We are smaller women. However, skinny doesn’t mean healthy. I’ve always dreamed of being one of those women with defined muscles. Not bulky, but more muscular than I am now. Unfortunately, it was easy to put off exercising. I had kids, I had a job, there are always things to do. There was always a reason. If I was exercising regularly and missed a few days, it was easy to leave it altogether, thinking I already failed at it. Now that I’ve leveled up to Level 40 in life, it’s become much more important to me. First of all, it has been a big help with my anxiety. I have struggled with anxiety almost all of my life and exercise is a temporary release from it. I tend to overthink and worry about everything. When I exercise, I’m just focusing on that and any other worry disappears. At that moment, I’m just trying to concentrate on my breathing and survive the workout. I truly believe exercise is a cure for so many things. There has never been a workout that I’ve regretted. I may have regretted it during the workout, but when all is said and done, I’m proud of myself for getting it done.
About 7 months ago, I sprained my ankle really bad. I am still recovering. I remember at that time thinking, “I wish I could work out or do something.” I knew I would get better eventually, but I also knew there are people who have conditions who would love to be able to do what I can do but can’t exercise for whatever reason. I’m able. So I should. And I want to. I like to challenge myself to see how far I go in my fitness journey. Just because you get older doesn’t mean you can’t be fit! I’d love to be those ladies, who in their 70s or 80s are still going strong with their fitness! I never want to workout because a doctor tells me I need to due to a health condition. It should never get to that point. I think just 30 minutes of physical activity a day is more realistic at keeping the doctor away than an apple.
Lastly, I have 4 children. I want to set a good example. My husband and I both exercise and we ask them all the time to work out with us, which they find annoying. I encourage them to just go on walks. It doesn’t have to be a heavy workout. I think that’s where dread starts to set in. If it seems too daunting, they don’t want to do it and I’ll admit- it can be like that for us as well. Honestly, it still takes some pushing on our part. However, they see that taking care of ourselves is something we prioritize. We try to limit junk as much as we can in the house, but will allow a little here and there. I remember my now 18 year-old went on a Spring Break trip with her friend’s family. She said they ate fast food the whole time and wished for a salad just once. This is coming from one of my pickiest eaters! I know my children will make their own choices as adults someday but hope they take on some of the habits we’ve tried to instill in them.
I exercise because I have a genuine desire to better myself, both mentally and physically. However, as a teacher and a parent, I have teenagers watching me on a daily basis. I want exercise to be just as normal and routine as taking showers or brushing your teeth. In an age where my students and my own children are bombarded with junk food advertisements and products and spend hours a day on social media, it’s a battle we need to keep fighting. The more they see us do it, the greater the chances that they’ll consider it as a positive change for themselves.
#WhyIExercise . . . Brent
Are they looking at me? Do I look in shape? Do I have the “Dad Bod”? Yo, why am I flexing in front of this mirror, does this make me conceited? All thoughts I have had. The insecurities can be solved by exercise and the pride can be caused by exercise. I am a proud husband, father of four, coach of two soccer teams and a teacher of 150 students. People are looking at me.
What I want them to see is a person who looks like they take care of themselves. I want my kids to see a good example of what taking care of yourself results in. Yeah, I want my students to appreciate the academic aspects of the things I teach them, but that’s not it. I give them life stories and advice about life. One piece of advice is their health. I want to be a solid example of what I preach to them about. I talk about eating healthy in front of them. I eat healthy in front of them. So if I talk about the benefits of exercise and living healthy, I better be a good example of what I am preaching. As a coach, my players want to see me do “Beast Mode” not just preach about it. They ask me why I do it, and I simply say because I want to be a beast and you can too. I show them the grind. I show them heart and passion. Because I exercise, I show them the results.
I’ve slipped in and out of shape. I have hit low places in my health. I have lost my muscle definition and had to bust my ass to get it back. I know I am not the fittest person, but I know I am better than the average 34 year old. Yes, people are looking at me. Yes, I feel I am in shape. No, I don’t have the dad bod. And no, I am not conceded. Our bodies are works of art. We all have a different ideal of what we want to look like, and I am looking into that mirror evaluating the art of my hard work and dedication.
I exercise almost everyday because I have the eyes of our youth on me. I want to be a great example of a healthy human. I also do it because it is good for my mental health. My physical appearance is something that has made me insecure, and I don’t want to go back to that.
Thank you so much, Angela and Brent. What fantastic stories from both of you. Angela, you are a true testimony to your children of what a healthy woman can be. Your focus on physical and mental health is a great reminder for all of us. Brent, your passion for your health on and off the field is surely not going unnoticed. Our youth are watching. As educators, parents, and members of our communities, we have tremendous amounts of influence. Thank you both for sharing your fitness journeys and mindsets. It’s an honor to have you as guests on #WhyIExercise.
Educators, if you’re ready to start or ramp up your fitness journey, I highly recommend Nick Mann’s “Fire and Flow” online coaching and community. Angela and I are both members and are already seeing tremendous results. For more information, click here. Angela and Brent were recent guests on his podcast. Take a listen here. Follow Nick on Twitter @S2Change2.
There are some amazingly motivating fitness communities on Twitter. Be sure to follow the hashtags: #FitnessEdu, #FitLeaders, #TeacherFit, and #RunAndRant.
#MuchLove . . . 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.