Saturday, December 31, 2011

Small Tweaks For 2012

I really am uncertain about my feelings of "resolutions" even as I write this entry about resolutions.I feel like we are constantly changing so therefore we must be prepared at any time depending on what life throws our way to revisit our goals and game plans to fit the needs of our current situation. It is literally the final hour of the year, and what a year it has been! I will say the past years have felt like a plateau on some levels in my life, almost as if I was at a standstill. Then this time last year I got the ball rolling and started heading in a direction that finally felt right. The first goal that I faced in 2011 was purchasing and preparing for my National certification in personal training. I spent most of 2011 reading, studying, preparing, stressing, and finally testing AND passing the exam. That was huge. The year as a whole had a lot of lows, times of struggle, setbacks, and was definitely one of my more challenging years but then ended on such an amazing note yesterday when I met my dad, which has been something I have wanted to achieve for many New Year's. So check! Now as I sit here and reflect on the past year and anticipate the coming year, I feel empowered to take this year by storm! Make lots of changes or tweaks to really make the most of my life. Here are a few of the things that I would like to work on when it comes to me this year:
1. Most people want to go to the gym...Not an issue..No I want to make an effort to get out of my gym clothes once I leave the gym. I have a bad habit that I have developed over the past few years for a few reasons of staying in sweats, hoodies, tanks, and flipflops all day. Not this year! I work too hard to have the body I do have, so I vow to put an effort into my appearance and wear more flattering clothes and do something with my hair!
2. Do CARDIO!!!!!I am a gym rat but I hate cardio!!!I will find all sorts of other ways to justify my "cardio" for the day. I am going to strive for 20 min 2-3days per week.
3. Get more sleep. I don't get enough of this!!!
4. Try more dishes in the kitchen. I have recently started preparing more meals at home. It is cheaper and healthier, I want to continue exploring more recipes and meal options.
5. Read more goal is a book every month. It is important to stay mentally sharp/fit.
6. Be more spontaneous. I can be so rigid in my life and set expectations for so many things that I have found myself feeling empty at times after the moment has passed. So I would like to allow more room for options and changes to be made when needed.

These are a few simple tweaks I would like to see in myself in the coming year to help me have a great year. I also put together a virtual vision board of words, thoughts, pictures that will be constant reminders through the year of the direction my life is now heading. I can't wait to see how these small changes will have big improvements in my attitude, health, and life!HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Happy Endings...And NEW Beginnings

I realize this blog was created mostly for fitness and healthy lifestyles. Part of a healthy lifestyle is not only your physical health, but also your mental and emotional health. Another purpose of this blog was to INSPIRE you to make moves, take chances, and change situations so you can live a better life...To improve yourself and feel empowered. So as 2011 comes to a close and we look to start a new year, and a fresh start I felt that one of my final blogs should be a story of inspiration. To leave this year on a good note and start the new with something positive. I hope that after reading this you feel inspired and can find some way to apply it to your own life presently or sometime down the road.
How often does "happy endings and new beginnings" apply to one situation all at the same time??I would have to say not often, and I definitely have not experienced it personally in my own life until yesterday. Let me start at the beginning...I was a little girl who was raised solely by my mother. My dad left shortly after I was born and was never a part of my life. My mom did re-marry, and have another child. But she eventually divorced and before I was in junior high, she was a single mom, raising two girls. I can honestly say that I spent most of my childhood and a good portion of my adult life crying about my dad and longing that he was a part of my life. In addition as a kid I vividly remember always wondering what was wrong with me, why wasn't I good enough, why didn't my dad want me....Those thoughts and feelings are horrible for a child to think and feel. It affects you in ways that are so complex and multi-faceted that it would take a long time to describe to an outsider and years of therapy to undo. I have wanted to meet him my whole life and there has honestly never been a day that has gone by that I have not thought about him in 32 years. Besides the typical milestones that I longed for him to be a part of such as first day of school, first day of high school, first dance, prom, high school graduation, college graduation (both times), birthdays, holidays, etc. There were also the simpler things that left a huge void in my life such as teaching me to catch, cheering me on at softball games, giving me a pep talk before cheer leading tryouts, teaching me to drive, celebrating my accomplishments/successes, and so on. Let me make it clear however that my mom was and is an amazing mom. She inspires me and I remain in constant admiration of the woman she has been my whole life and the woman I see her evolving into before my eyes even as an adult. And on some levels I feel that if my father had not been ABSENT in my life, there is a possibility that my mom would not have been as PRESENT as she was/is and we might not have the bond that we do today...
Well my moment finally arrived and my prayers were answered yesterday. I finally met my dad(12/30/11). This was a lifetime in the making on some level, but it became more urgent in recent years, and I definitely started actively seeking him out about three months ago. Before I go any further I will say that I am going to refrain from sharing some of the personal details from yesterday and my moments I shared with my dad because it is very sacred to me. However the themes from yesterday and my general thoughts on the amazing experience I will share in hopes that anyone in a similar situation will feel inspired to take the steps towards finding their own closure, or anyone else can gain strength from my story to apply it to various aspects of your own life. Prior to yesterday I had it all planned out how it would go, I was very methodical about the situation. I had my outfit picked out, a list/outline of questions I wanted answered in case I lost focus and got wrapped up in my emotions, I had it mapped out how to get from my house to his, a time of departure, I even had my car washed so it would be perfect and make a good first and possibly last impression on my dad. I am a planner. However even with all the planning I was not prepared for the way the day played out, the turns it took, the dead ends I hit along the way (literally and figuratively), nor the way it ultimately came full circle. After making the drive, I spent 2 hours lost even though I had directions, three hours waiting on his driveway because he wasn't home (which I hadn't anticipated), to then be greeted by his wife,alone...also not prepared for...who turned me away and shut down every suggestion I presented to bring me closer to meeting my dad, which turned into me and my mom sitting on a parking lot trying to re-group and make executive decisions on what to do next. As I called my very logical and at times brutally honest friend to get advice, and as she became inspector gadget for me and googled my dad trying to find some kind of contact info, my line clicked and it was a number that I had dialed several times during my wait on the driveway which my mom had in her address book but wasn't sure who it belonged to but it was near my dad's name so I thought it was worth a try. The voice on the other end turned out to be my dad!!!!And to my surprise he was eager to meet me but he was at work...Somehow plans changed and an hour later we were both heading to a decided meeting spot to meet for the first time..The next few hours I spent with him were total game changers. This was absolutely a life changing experience.....for the better....Even just 24 hours later I can't believe it happened. The way the day started, the turns it took, there were moments I felt defeated and disappointed, but I never gave up. Yesterday reminded me that I have a lot of fight in me, when there is something I want I have the drive to achieve it....My determination is not measurable and my resilience and ability to persevere are incredible. I told my mom that I have not had to "fight" for anything in a long time. But this lifelong "battle" brought one of the greatest blessings yesterday. Sitting here on New Year's Eve, I can honestly say I feel more complete then I ever have in my 32 years. It took me a long time to get here..I have hit many bumps in the road, gone over many hurdles, and jumped through my fair share of hoops..but this moment and this experience reaffirms me that the greater the struggle the more you appreciate something. Words can not describe how thankful I am for yesterday. I have always said my whole life that if I ever met my dad I would not call him my dad...He is my father, which by definition means someone who contributed to me being here..A dad is someone who is there for their kid, which he never was...So therefore I always felt he was un-deserving of that title and honor in my life... However it is amazing that after a lifetime of heartache and pain when it comes to him, just spending the three hours that I did with him and really feeling and hearing his genuineness in his voice and touch I can refer to him without hesitation as "dad". That is my dad. And I learned so much about him in that conversation and about myself. He is a good man and I am proud to be his daughter and call him my dad. These feelings are so new and shocking to me because I never thought I would feel that way towards him and share the moment I did with him yesterday. When I dreamed about me meeting him, even in my best dreams, they never played out like yesterday. Yesterday was my best dream magnified by a million!!!It was so amazing that I honestly chose to stay in tonight to celebrate by reflecting on it, knowing that no matter what was presented or suggested to celebrate a new year, there was no way that it would top me meeting MY DAD. My life has literally come full circle, my heart is full, another piece of my puzzle has been put in place, I feel loved. I don't care who you are or what your life situation is, but I can honestly say coming from where I did and now arriving to this moment, that all of us at our core wants to be validated, especially by our parents. I have been since day one by my mom. But after yesterday I was validated by my dad, he acknowledged me, and claimed me as his daughter. It is a dream come true, and because of it I am walking a little bit taller today, there is a glow on my face that I haven't felt in the longest, and a permanent smile that can't be erased.
I remember right when I left my dad I rushed to my mom's to tell her all the details and remember feeling a little torn because I knew how much time I have lost with him and opportunities I have missed and we have missed. However, as I thought it out I decided I could either be mad about that or feel grateful that I shared what I did with him yesterday and the endless possibilities that we have moving forward. That is what life is all about...Moving forward...Does life always play out the way you want? Not even close. Do things happen that you don't plan? All the time. So all we can do is try to make the best out of every situation, never give up, and never lose faith that amazing things can happen. And when they do happen, and they will, know that you deserve them and appreciate every moment of it, and try to never lose sight of the feeling that it gives you, because that is what I am doing tonight. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Why WOMEN Should Lift Weights

I can't tell you how many times I walk into the gym I see the same situation..Men by the weights and women mostly occupying the cardio machines. Or how many times I have seen women sticking to "light weights" when they actually do lift because they don't want to "bulk up". All I can say to that is that it is very difficult for women to gain large amounts of muscle mass due to hormone differences between men and women. In addition it is very difficult for women to do so NATURALLY without the help of steroids, etc. Yes, women can become very lean and buff as some people would describe it, naturally, but in addition to a disciplined, specific training plan, one would also have to maintain a very strict high protein diet to support muscle growth. Recently I read an article about women and weight lifting, so for all of you cardio fanatics that fear the weight racks, here are the top ten reasons why WOMEN should lift weights. Hope this changes your opinion or at least opens your mind about the possibility to venture into the weight room:
1. You Will Be Physically Stronger
Increasing your strength will make you far less dependent upon others for assistance in daily living. Chores will be easier, lifting kids, groceries and laundry will no longer push you to the max. If your maximum strength is increased, daily tasks and routine exercise will be far less likely to cause injury. Research studies conclude that even moderate weight training can increase a woman's strength by 30 to 50 percent. Research also shows that women can develop their strength at the same rate as men.
2.You Will Lose Body Fat.
Studies performed by Wayne Westcott, PhD, from the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts, found that the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly two pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat. As your lean muscle increases so does your resting metabolism, and you burn more calories all day long. Generally speaking, for each pound of muscle you gain, you burn 35 to 50 more calories each day. That can really add up.
3.You Will Gain Strength Without Bulk.
Researchers also found that unlike men, women typically don't gain size from strength training, because compared to men, women have 10 to 30 times less of the hormones that cause muscle hypertrophy. You will, however, develop muscle tone and definition. This is a bonus.
4.You Decrease Your Risk Of Osteoporosis.
Research has found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density (and enhance bone modeling) by 13 percent in six months. This, coupled with an adequate amount of dietary calcium, can be a women's best defense against osteoporosis.
5.You Will Improve Your Athletic Performance.
Over and over research concludes that strength training improves athletic ability in all but the very elite athletes (See Article). Golfers can significantly increase their driving power. Cyclists are able to continue for longer periods of time with less fatigue. Skiers improve technique and reduce injury. Whatever sport you play, strength training has been shown to improve overall performance as well as decrease the risk of injury.
6.You Will Reduce Your Risk Of Injury, Back Pain and Arthritis.
Strength training not only builds stronger muscles, but also builds stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability. This acts as reinforcement for the joints and helps prevent injury. A recent 12-year study showed that strengthening the low-back muscles had an 80 percent success rate in eliminating or alleviating low-back pain. Other studies have indicated that weight training can ease the pain of osteoarthritis and strengthen joints.
7.You Will Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease.
According to Dr. Barry A. Franklin, of William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, weight training can improve cardiovascular health in several ways, including lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol, increasing HDL ("good") cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. When cardiovascular exercise is added, these benefits are maximized.
8.You Will Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes.
In addition, Dr. Franklin noted that weight training may improve the way the body processes sugar, which may reduce the risk of diabetes. Adult-onset diabetes is a growing problem for women and men. Research indicates that weight training can increase glucose utilization in the body by 23 percent in four months.
9.It Is Never Too Late To Benefit.
Women in their 70s and 80s have built up significant strength through weight training and studies show that strength improvements are possible at any age. Note, however, that a strength training professional should always supervise older participants.
10.You Will Improve Your Attitude And Fight Depression.
A Harvard study found that 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard counseling did. Women who strength train commonly report feeling more confident and capable as a result of their program, all important factors in fighting depression.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Stay Fit Christmas Wish List

This is my Christmas list this year....It is very similar in theme to my birthday list(which was just two months ago). Actually all of my gift "lists" have been similar for the past few years, ever since fitness became my way of life. I truly feel that when I express an interest in these items and then receive them as gifts I stay more motivated to stick with my training. With that being said this is my "stay fit xmas list" that only has items dealing with fitness (minus the Kardashian book)...I think its a great idea to include items that support your fitness habits whatever they be (mat for yoga, shoes for runners,etc). Also if you have a family member that just started a new activity or just joined a gym, buying them a gift that they could use for whatever activity is a great way to show support!!!Here's my list:
Tennis shoes-hot pink and black new balance (they are the newest style)
2. Victoria Secret CAPRI LEGGINGS pants from the PINK line...and design...size small
3.Jackie Warner workout DVD-target
4. Insanity Workout DVD set (its like P90x but crazier)....I was thinking off of ebay??
5.sliders...its small workout flat discs that slide on the floor for workouts -----bed, bath, and beyond

6. Kris Jenner All things Kardashian book
7. large stability ball for workout

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Snacking and Losing Weight

Here is an interesting article I read in a recent email and wanted to pass along...When it comes to losing weight, it’s generally the culmination of numerous small actions—such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or choosing nonfat over whole milk—that end up making the biggest difference. Unfortunately, the reverse also appears to be true. New research suggests that something as benign as a mid-morning snack may hamper even the most dedicated dieter’s efforts.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association compared the dietary habits of 123 overweight-to-obese postmenopausal women, ages 50 to 75, who were randomly assigned to a diet-alone intervention or a diet-plus-exercise program. Both groups followed the same dietary goals of consuming 1,200 to 2,000 calories per day (depending on starting weight), with less than 30 percent of calories coming from fat. The second group also performed 45 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise, five days per week.

The women were followed for one year and researchers discovered that those who avoided snacking after eating a healthy breakfast lost 11 percent of their body weight, while those who consumed a mid-morning snack (defined as any food or drink) lost an average of 7 percent of total body weight.

Researchers (and most nutrition experts) don’t believe snacking is inherently bad, and can, in fact, be an important tool for warding off hunger that can lead to poor choices. However, according to lead researcher Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the Hutchinson Center’s Public Health Science Division, “Mid-morning snacking…might be a reflection of recreational or mindless eating habits rather than eating to satisfy true hunger.”

In other words, not all snacking is bad, but it could slow down weight-loss efforts if it is done habitually or mindlessly rather than in response to true hunger. Interestingly, afternoon snackers ate more fruits and vegetables compared to the women who didn’t snack after lunch.

Rather than discourage your clients from snacking, instead urge them to follow the advice of most nutrition experts and choose nutrient-dense snacks that also include protein, such as low-fat yogurt, string cheese and small amounts of almonds or other nuts. And, based on this latest study, snacks should be timed according to hunger and not eaten too close to other meals, particularly in the morning.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

High in Protein Low in Fat Meal Option

This is my first attempt at turkey meatballs, and I gotta say they were delicious! Two meatballs equal one serving and only contains 80 calories and provide 11g of protein!

KALE is the new BEEF!

Like the saying goes, the only constant is change. We may resist it all we want, but Time and its inevitable evolution of everything in its path is unaffected by our attempts to stop it. The resulting trajectory of humanity's nascent ascent appears to be positioning itself to sweep us into progressive new times, especially where our food choices are concerned, as nearly 7 billion people are now standing on the little scraps of land that we share with some 55 billion rather large animals raised for food each year. (As another famous saying goes: This town ain't big enough for the both of us.) So, beef (and all factory-farmed meat) may be going from rib-eye to relic as we transition to a greener world… literally—as in leafy, green vegetables.
Environmentalists cite meat production as one of the biggest contributors to global warming, and the USDA's new food pyramid (MyPlate) suggests the healthiest choice is making vegetables and fruit the biggest part of every meal by reducing consumption of animal proteins. Kale is far more nutritious than other leafy greens, but these seven reasons why it is such an important futurefood may just surprise you.
1. Anti-inflammatory: Inflammation is the number one cause of arthritis, heart disease and a number of autoimmune diseases, and is triggered by the consumption of animal products. Kale is an incredibly effective anti-inflammatory food, potentially preventing and even reversing these illnesses.
2. Iron: Despite the myth that vegetarians are anemic, the number of non-vegetarians with iron-deficiencies is on the rise. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef.
3. Calcium: Dairy and beef both contain calcium, but the U.S. still has some of the highest rates of bone loss and osteoporosis in the world. Kale contains more calcium per calorie than milk (90 grams per serving) and is also better absorbed by the body than dairy.
4. Fiber: Like protein, fiber is a macronutrient, which means we need it every day. But many Americans don't eat nearly enough and the deficiency is linked to heart disease, digestive disorders and cancer. Protein-rich foods, like meat, contain little to no fiber. One serving of kale not only contains 5 percent of the recommended daily intake of fiber, but it also provides 2 grams of protein.
5. Omega fatty acids: Essential Omega fats play an important role in our health, unlike the saturated fats in meat. A serving of kale contains 121 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 92.4 mg of omega-6 fatty acids.
6. Immunity: Superbugs and bacteria are a serious risk to our health. Many of these come as a result of factory farm meat, eggs and dairy products. Kale is an incredibly rich source of immune-boosting carotenoid and flavanoid antioxidants including vitamins A and C.
7. Sustainable: Kale grows to maturity in 55 to 60 days versus a cow raised for beef for an average of 18-24 months. Kale can grow in most climates and is relatively easy and low impact to grow at home or on a farm. To raise one pound of beef requires 16 pounds of grain, 11 times as much fossil fuel and more than 2,400 gallons of water.

To get my dose of kale I choose to juice it...It mixes well with other veggies and fruits, however uncoooked the taste can be quite bitter. There are tons of ways to prepare it and the benefits of this super veggie are unreal!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why JUICE???

This is a cliff notes version that I found in an article online which discusses the benefits of juicing....I have been juicing for about three months now, and I can't tell you how many times I get asked: WHY DO YOU JUICE???

If you are looking for an easy and effective way to do something good for you body, consider the health benefits of juicing. Juicing is preparing and drinking fruit and vegetable juices, and the many health benefits of juicing far exceed those of eating solid fruits and vegetables.

For one thing, the body can quickly absorb larger amounts of nutrients from juices than from solid foods because the process of digestion that is necessary when you eat whole foods is bypassed. Raw fruits and vegetables contain many substances that enhance health, and juicing benefits the body by providing the most concentrated and readily absorbed source of these substances.

Another one of the major health benefits of juicing is that it is an easy way to get beneficial enzymes, which are primarily found in raw foods, into the body. Enzymes in fresh fruits and vegetables have the vital role of converting food into body tissue and energy. Enzymes are also involved in metabolism, so one of the more valuable health benefits of juicing is that it can increase metabolic rate. Juicing also ensures that the body is getting sufficient amounts of phytochemicals, substances in plants that are considered among the most powerful ways to fight disease. While most people do not eat enough raw fruits and vegetables to obtain the amount of phytochemicals that would make a difference, it is relatively easy to drink enough juice to obtain sufficient amounts of these powerful nutrients. In addition, antioxidants and other immune enhancing properties are concentrated in juices.
Juicing can therefore help to accelerate recovery from illness. In fact, juicing with specific combinations of fruits or vegetables can target particular conditions and improve or alleviate symptoms.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday hints on how to stay healthy

I saw this article on my email and thought I would share. It reminded me of a post I did before Thanksgiving.....BUST the Top 6 Excuses for Skipping Exercise During the Holidays

Holiday season comes with great cheer, but it also comes with alcohol- and calorie-laden parties, sweet treats and busy travel schedules — all of which can make good excuses for why you can't keep exercising.
If you're already convincing yourself that you can't possibly fit in exercise this wintry season — because it's too cold, you're too busy meeting family obligations, or traveling between family and friends — you need ACE's tips on how to bust the 6 most common excuses.
Won't it be nice to enter the new year without having to start your exercise program from scratch and without extra holiday weight gain? Exercise will also help you beat holiday stress and keep energy levels up!
EXCUSE: It's too cold.
Surely, with the temperatures dropping and the holidays being just around the corner, Mother Nature becomes a great excuse to avoid the gym or experience the great outdoors. If this is the case for you, bring the gym home — literally.
Stair steps, chairs, your living room floor, and doorways can all be easily converted for exercise. Use these body-weight-only exercises to keep your exercise routine on track.
EXCUSE: I don't have the time.
With holiday gift-shopping, get-togethers, cooking, hosting and entertaining family members, time is more precious than ever. If you feel like you're too busy to fit in regular exercise, try combining exercise with some of your daily activities.
Park your car further away from the entrance at the mall; set up walking business meetings; take your dog for an extended walk; and create workouts with your co-workers during lunch. Recruit your family for fun, aerobic activities, such as taking brisk walks, engaging in a friendly snowball fight or visiting the public ice skating rink, the ski slopes or playing Nintendo Wii Sports video games. Physical activity is a great way to relieve stress, create team spirit and tighten emotional bonds.
EXCUSE: But I need to travel and can't take the gym with me.
If you're traveling this Holiday season, you're not alone. Millions of Americans will be on the road or in the air, but that's still not a good enough excuse to stick your exercise routine on the backburner!
People who travel for extended periods of time in an airplane should stretch to avoid deep vein thrombosis, a potentially life-threatening disorder that occurs when a blood clot forms, and create an action plan to incorporate active breaks during extended car travel.
EXCUSE: I'll start fresh in January
The new year does mean new beginnings, but wouldn't it be nice to start it with a headstart? New Year's resolutions are full of promise, but very few people actually keep them. By staying active through December, you can avoid the common new year pitfalls of doing too much too soon, which can often lead to burn-out or injuries.
EXCUSE: I can't get motivated when it's so dark.
If you’re telling yourself, “I can’t hit the running trails in the mornings, because it’s still dark outside,” or say “I may as well drive home after work because it’s dark,” it may be time to recruit an exercise buddy or hire a personal trainer. Having the accountability and companionship may be just what you need to stick to the workout on your calendar — even when it is cold and dark outside.
If you can’t find a workout buddy, try a group exercise class like indoor cycling, Zumba and boot camp. The classes might add some needed variety — and fun — to your routine, too.
EXCUSE: I have so many holiday parties to attend!
Yes, it’s definitely tough to stay on track when temptations like holiday treats are ubiquitous. While there is nothing wrong with splurging a little, you’re bound to feel better following a healthy diet while limiting your alcohol intake.
Useful tricks for party-goers include bringing your own healthy treat like a veggie platter; eating something healthy before going to the party; drinking a glass of water with every alcoholic beverage; staying away from the dessert tray; paying close attention to portion sizes; and avoiding going back for seconds.
Also, exercising before festivities helps prevent unwanted weight gain and fosters well-being, so try to fit in 30 minutes before you get ready for that party. If you don't have 30 minutes to go for a brisk walk, try breaking it up into three 10-minute walks!

A little late....but still THANKFUL.....

I realize this is a bit late for a Thanksgiving post but time has definitely escaped me..It always seems to happen to me about this time of year....I get swept up in the hustle and bustle of back to back holidays and lose all track of time..However this post has been on my mind even prior to Thanksgiving and I didn't want to forget to post about a few of the things that I am thankful for in my life....First and health...I remember when I was a little girl my grandpa would tell me, "if you don't have your health, then you have NOTHING". He would remind me of this occasionally throughout my teenage years and into my adult life..I would always nod and think "yeah yeah," but never really put too much thought into it until recent years when I became obsessed with fitness. He was right...You could be the poorest person, but if you are healthy you are richer than the wealthiest man. Having your health is everything! And I am so thankful to be mostly healthy...This saying that I heard years ago from my grandpa is always in the back of my head, and on days when I struggle to be active I can hear the voice louder and it pushes me to get moving! Along with my health, I am so thankful for the loved ones that are in my life, be it family or friends. I have some very amazing people in my life, that each have something to offer and make my life that much richer. Beyond that I am very thankful for my job, especially in today's world where employment is not guaranteed, nothing is definite, and so many are barely getting by paycheck to paycheck. I am thankful for my drive and passion in fitness, and that I finally found my calling, and am determined to be an advocate for it and contribute in a positive way to society to impact as many lives as I can......I am thankful for all the moments that have led me to this moment and this place in my life to share with the people I love. I am just THANKFUL for all the blessings I have been given......big and small