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.