Stuck between two passions


This is so how I felt at 4:30 this morning getting up to go to the airport.   Been doing a LOT of soul searching lately.

I actually didn’t know I had two passions until less than a year ago.  

My first has always been science.  I’m a chemist.  I have the privilege to work for one of the worlds largest health care companies.  I’ve liked science and facts for as long as I can remember.  Santa got me an invisible man anatomy set for 5th grade and a microscope by 7th grade.   This weekend we took the kids to the museum of national history in NY and I was so excited to donate my microbiome to science.   Ironically I’m a chemist for skincare and not a doctor or biologist. 

  

I proudly wore my sticker “I swabbed for science today”


My second passion is helping people achieve their health and fitness goals. (Which I guess ties into biology).  

 I am starting to realize it’s all science.  I’m amazed at what the human body is capable of and what you can achieve through exercise and nutrition.  
I was really shocked by my own transformation when I honed in on my nutrition and treated food like a science last year.  I weighed it out and counted my nutrients.  My “macros.”  I’m not as strict now as I was last year because I like ice cream and wine, so I’m struggling to find the right balance for me.  As always these guys come first…

The other portion of a health journey is mental.  Through helping others it seems to me that health, fitness, and achieving goals is more mental than anything else!  Another science, the science of the mind.

People have the hardest time mentally, we make excuses for everything (myself included).  I’m tired, I don’t have time, I’m “too” out of shape, I don’t have money, I don’t know how to cook, I’m too busy, I don’t like (insert physical activity here), I’m stressed…I’m in a rut. 

So I guess thats where I am right now.  In a rut.  I want to continue helping people reach their health and fitness goals, but I feel like I can no longer use Facebook as a platform for connection.  Too many negative people, too many co-workers, too much judgement of how I spend my time.   

Since I’ve been in my “rut” I’ve been horrible about keeping up with my exercises (daily) and indulging way more than I should.  Coaching kept me accountable.  

So, what’s the point?  I guess the point is I am still figuring stuff out, how to live into both passions.   I have a very small group I’m hosting for summer now. 
Questions for you

– how do you connect with new people?

– what is your biggest excuse?

– what are you passionate about and are you living your passion? 

– would you be interested in joining us?

Thoughts on life & Fitness is a journey 

Thank you all so much for your kind words after the passing of my Opa.  It has been a crazy month.  I was traveling for work and getting a few workouts in at the hotel, then as soon as I came home I was told my Opa would be going on hospice.   He was brought to my parents house on Monday.  I was planning on spending the day Friday but my father told me he wouldn’t last that long.  Tuesday was my daughters very first swim lesson, so we didn’t go Tuesday.   She loved it…


Wednesday I picked the kids up early from daycare and we shot up to my parents house.  By then he was barely able to keep his eyes open, but when he did he registered that me and the kids and James were there.  We talked to him and squeezed his hands.  He tried to open his eyes and focus but it took so much energy.  

My husband urged me to stay the night and at 4:30 am my mother called me down.  “It’s time,” she said, just like the doctor said to be during childbirth.  We all held his hands and he slowly just stopped breathing.

It was remarkable to see a body so full of life, that contained such a a HUGE personality, just stop.  The last breath was gone and in that instant, so was he.


I don’t often talk about faith, but at that moment, I was so glad I had my faith, to know that he is not just gone but in heaven with his wife and they are looking down on us.   He is at peace and no longer in pain.

We called my brother to tell him and he came to the house by 6am.  We called the hospice nurse to pronounce him after 8 and spent time with him, drank our coffee and remembered the good times.  

There was so much to do, so many arrangements to make.  We had the wake on Friday and the funeral Monday followed by the mosileum.   There was a lot of drinking, a lot of German beer songs, a lot of family.  He was honored to have a 2 soldier solute at the mosileum for serving our country in the army and my dad was presented with the flag.  

Jimmy sang Ein Prosit on the way home… 


I thought things would calm down and I could rest Tuesday but there was urgent things to do at work- so off I went.

Now, finally today I was able to get back into a routine.  I felt so at peace and at home when I walked downstairs this morning 


I was nervous about exercising because it had felt like AGES since I had.  But I pressed play and it felt amazing.  


All these emotions I had been carrying seemed to be sweat away.  I feel so alive and so blessed to have such an amazing family and be surrounded by love and have a body young and healthy enough to exercise.  Life happens, fitness is a journey.  The best we can do is for it in with the time we are given.  


I hope everyone has a happy day. 

Pajamas & Coffee

So many things going on lately I haven’t been blogging.  Here are some thoughts on this mindful morning.


To be completely open and honest with you, I have started being very selective in the group of people I coach.  I have stopped trying to put myself “out there” on Facebook because it was not always feeling genuine.  If people would like help, I will always find a way to help them but it is no longer a focus of my energy.   So I’m thinking of repositioning the blog a bit away from “beachbody”.

I really see 3 aspects of my life.  My career, my kids & my marriage.  My career has been and is amazing.  I absolutely love going into work every day and helping drive the business forward, and the feeling of being a part of something big.   


My kids are the light of my life and marriage has its ups and downs.  This is them right now, Saturday morning watching Sesame Street.


I had such an awakening last May while doing the 21 day fix.   I lost a lot of weight, got super toned, met amazing and inspiring people, and really found myself again.   These past 2 months have been rough.  I haven’t had the same “intense” drive to exercise and I’ve definitely indulged more on weekends.  I know everything in moderation is healthiest, but I feel the best when I really am on point with my nutrition and exercise.   

I’m working through what should be healthy for me.  Maybe it isn’t being 100% every day, but maybe exercise 5x a week should be my goal, and working in indulgences 2x a week or something to that affect.   I can make arguments for both sides!  

I’ve also been working through a lot with family.  We had a death in the family this week and today will be the wake.  It’s made me think a lot about family and my values.   

More to come, lives are so complex.  Just remember everyone has a story and a battle they are fighting.  Be kind. 

Fact Friday- All about the Heart, remembering Opa

Today I was going to continue to talk about macros and break them down into the 3 components, but I am going to switch it up and talk about the heart today.

Yesterday, my grandfather Adolf passed away.  He suffered from Congestive Heart Failure.  Remembering Opa on the blog today.

Opa was the very definition of a German man.  Growing up in his household must not have been easy.  He was strong, opinionated, & stubborn.   I share so many of his traits (good or bad).   When we were little the main things I remember are how he always sat in his reclining chair in the corner of the room with this little light.  He enjoyed watching soccer and WWF.  So funny to think back on that now.  His wife, my Oma, was the most loving woman I have ever known.  I can still remember the way her skin felt and they way she smelled.  Opa used to tease her that she had wooden teeth and she would always respond by yelling “Oh Ady!”   Opa would sit in his reclining chair and try to trip my brother and I every time we ran by.  Then he would grab us and squeeze us tight until we were laughing so hard.   Other than those little moments, it was really Oma who played with us when we were little.  She passed in 1998 and Opa changed so much since then.  He became much softer and I am glad that my cousins only got to know that Opa.  They are about 13 years younger than me.   Since her passing it was fun getting to know him as an adult.  He is most remembered for singing Ein Prosit at my wedding (and EVERY social gathering), and telling the story of how you need to hold a shot glass with your thumb and pinkie finger because German’s hands are stuck in that position from always holding beer steins.  All our adult friends loved his drinking songs and his rousing Zicke, zacke,   zicke, zacke, hoi, hoi, hoi and Prost!  A little history can be found here.  

 

Opa suffered from congestive heart failure (which my maternal grandmother also has).    So, in his honor my fact friday is going to be about heart health.    Our heart is our most vital organ.  It pumps blood through our bodies.  One of my favorite ways to learn recently has been reading to my daughter.  She got this book as a gift and it gives a wonderful explanation for what our blood does.

Blood helps your body fight germs that might make you sick, but it also carries all kinds of things around your whole body, so you need a lot of it!  Blood can’t move itself around your body, it relies on your heart to do that!   Your heart is a muscle, and when it squeezes it pushes the blood along the vessels.    Blood is a bit like shopping.  It carries things along, and swaps and collects things as it travels.   Blood swaps used air for fresh air when it goes to the lungs.  Blood collects food when it goes near the intestines then carries it to the other parts of your body that needs it.   The right side of your heart receives blood from the body and pumps it to the lungs. The left side of the heart does the exact opposite: It receives blood from the lungs and pumps it out to the body.

A lot of things can affect your heart health and knowing what you can do to stay healthy is important.   The American Heart Association recommends that you be aware of five key numbers:Total Cholesterol, HDL (good) Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar and Body Mass Index (BMI).  There is a WONDERFUL resource at http://www.heart.org

Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle is weakened and cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with heart failure, it can be frightening.

 

For those of us who are healthy, let’s stay that way by focusing in these 7 simple steps:

    1.  MANAGE BLOOD PRESSURE:  High Blood Pressure is a major risk factor for Heart Disease and Stroke. When your Blood Pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys, which keeps you healthier longer.
    2. CONTROL CHOLESTEROL:  High Cholesterol contributes to plaque, which can clog Arteries and lead to Heart Disease and Stroke. When you control your Cholesterol, you are giving your arteries their best chance to remain clear of blockages.

    3. REDUCE BLOOD SUGAR: Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (or blood sugar) that our bodies use for energy. Over time, high levels of Blood Sugar can damage your heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.

    4. GET ACTIVE: Living an active life is one of the most rewarding gifts you can give yourself and those you love. Simply put, daily physical activity increases your length and quality of life.

    5. EAT BETTER: A healthy diet is one of your best weapons for fighting Cardiovascular Disease. When you eat a heart-healthy diet, you improve your chances for feeling good and staying healthy – for life!
    6. LOSE WEIGHT:  When you shed extra fat and unnecessary pounds, you reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels and skeleton. You give yourself the gift of active living, you lower your Blood Pressure and you help yourself feel better, too.
    7. STOP SMOKING: Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing Cardiovascular Disease. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health.

Now let’s use that glorious muscle to share some love!

This would be an awesome tattoo with one half my husband's fingerprint and the other half mine:

Resources:

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Conditions_UCM_001087_SubHomePage.jsp

https://www.goredforwomen.org/know-your-numbers/

Call to Action- Let’s Get Fit For Summer

With the warm weather upon us, we are reminded that summer is coming. I for one am so excited to do more outdoors. I just wish I didn’t have to cook dinner when I come home! Looks like I’ll be making more on the grill.

That being said, what I also love about this time of year is how committed people are to their health and fitness goals.

What are you doing to get fit? Is it working? Are you open to something NEW?

Last year, I started helping people achieve their health and fitness goals, and it has been the most rewarding experience.  A few highlights include

  • A mom who was on the verge of tears daily who is now content and enjoying her kids childhood
  • SEVERAL running PRs (2 5Ks improved by 4 minutes and a half marathon by 20)
  • 30 lb weight loss
  • A few women who were able to advance their yoga practice (hello headstand)
  • New friends made by all

I am looking for women, specifically working moms with little time on their hands. People who aren’t the best cooks and need quick and easy kid friendly recipes. Women who rarely take the time to take care of themselves and always put everyone else first. Women who are exhausted and just don’t know how they could possibly even find time to exercise. Women who have a gym membership, but never go. Women who are living on coffee for breakfast or their go to cereal they have been having since their college days. Women who used to have time to train for races before they had kids but now running takes too long.

I’m looking for you, because last year I was you! 30 minute workouts, easy food, and most of all SUPPORT have changed my life.

I’m not saying I can change your life, but you can. The power is in your hands and I have had the pleasure to connect with so many women this year, women who were hanging on my a thread and now just feel good.

MAY 1st is the start date. Send me a message and we’ll work together to find something that will work for your unique situation and preferences.

We are going to have an awesome summer, you ready to join us?

Jessica Heidi's photo.

Fact Friday: Antioxidants

I am driven by FACTS (as a scientist) and I have been feeling that there is so much fluff out there, people never know where to go for information, and is that information true? Then, what does that information mean to ME? So, what I have decided to do is create a FACT FRIDAY post where I will highlight a different ingredient in food or skincare as or class of chemicals and give YOU facts from reputable sources and be as clear as possible without expressing my opinion, just the facts.

 

Please feel free to request what ingredients you are curious about.

For my first Fact Friday: I was going to talk about chia seeds, BUT I realized you may not know WHAT Omega-3 fatty acids or antioxidants ARE or WHY you should even care?! So our first fact Friday is going to be about: ANTIOXIDANTS, what they are, how they work, and why they are important.

ANTIOXIDANTS:

Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals….HOLD UP.

What are free radicals? What kind of damage can they do to your body?
“Free radicals” are unstable atoms, or molecules, in your body. They are missing important components that would make them more stable. So they rob other cells of those components to meet their needs. This causes injury to previously healthy cells. Over time, this damage can lead to diseases such as cancer, heart disease, or Alzheimer’s disease.

Your body produces free radicals through its NORMAL processes. Your body also contains ITS OWN antioxidant molecules, which deactivate harmful free radicals. But things like cigarette smoking, pollution, and excessive alcohol consumption can create SO many free radicals that your body has a hard time defusing them on its own.

aap-antifreestop

Antioxidants- What they do
• stabilize those free radicals and can help minimize the damage to your cells
• Help decrease inflammation
• Help maintain the immune system
• Potentially decrease the risk of degenerative diseases

Antioxidants include
• vitamins (such as vitamins C and E
• some minerals (such as selenium)
• flavonoids, which are found in plants
• The best sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables

antioxidants

Antioxidants in Shakeology:
• Camu-Camu
• Acerola Cherry
• Bilberry
• Goji berry
• Green Tea
• Luo Han Guo
• Pomegranate
• Rose Hips
• Vitamins A, C, E

 

Resources: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/antioxidants-topic-overview

http://www.webmd.com/diet/antioxidants-directory

ACE Health Coaching Textbook

Fact Friday- Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Don’t be scared of the word “fat.”  Fat is essential in our diet for our cells to function properly in our bodies.

I am going to throw some serious science at you guys today!  As always my takeaway message is eat in moderation.  Here try to eat foods high in Omega 3s (list below) and try to minimize Omega 6 rich foods (processed foods, certain oils etc)

What is the Difference?

Omega-3 and Omega-6 are a chemical class called fatty acids.  The # corresponds to which carbon has the first double bond (Start counting from the right, and each point is a carbon)

Omega fatty acids UK

Your body does not produce Omega-3 fatty acids, so you need to obtain them from your diet.  Two crucial ones — EPA and DHA — are primarily found in certain fish. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is found in plant sources such as nuts and seeds. Not only does your body need these fatty acids to function, but also they deliver some big health benefits such as lowering the risk of heart disease, depression, dementia, and arthritis.

How do they do this?  They set off signals in our bodies to reduce INFLAMMATION.

Omega-3s curb inflammation in the blood vessels (and the rest of your body), this especially helps your heart.  At high doses they also make abnormal heart rhythms less likely and lower your level of blood fats called triglycerides. Finally, they can slow plaque buildup inside the blood vessels.

Omega 6 vs Omega 3

This may seem like a scary crazy image- but the takeaway message here is Omega 3s set off your metabolic pathway to release anti-inflammatories in your body.  How cool is that?!

Where to Get Omega 3s

When possible, try to get omega-3 fatty acids from foods. Aim to eat fish high in DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids two to three times a week.

These include:

  • Anchovies
  • Bluefish
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Salmon (wild has more omega-3s than farmed)
  • Sardines
  • Sturgeon
  • Lake trout
  • Tuna

Good food sources of ALA are:

  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseed and flaxseed oil
  • Canola oil
  • Soybean oil

While foods containing omega-3 fatty acids have health benefits, some — like oils and nuts — can be high in calories. So eat them in moderation.

 

So I threw a lot of complicated stuff at you-  takeaway message….  Live in moderation.  Try to eat foods high in Omega 3s and minimize your intake of processed foods and oils.

Happy Friday!

Any requests?

Don’t Skip the Stretching!

I got a wonderful email today from my health care provider (Aetna) and there were so many great little nuggets of information I am going to dedicate a blog post to each one.

Stretching… don’t lie, I know when the video is over and there are 3 minutes left of stretching, you turn the video off and go put in a load of laundry or empty the dishwasher.  Don’t!  Stretching is just as important as the workout both to warm up your muscles and cool them down.  This prevents injury.

Experts say the best way to do this is to go at a slower pace for 5 to 10 minutes. So if you’re jogging, you should walk for a few minutes to warm up. And then again to cool down.

Stretching’s important, but bouncing is for balls
While stretching is important to remain flexible, if you don’t do it right, you risk injury. You should stretch your muscles a couple times a week.  Hello yoga!

yogakids

Avoid the following:

  • Stretching cold muscles
  • Holding a stretch for more than 15 seconds
  • Bouncing (don’t do that)

Other ways to avoid injury include using the proper equipment. And having the proper form. No matter what the exercise warriors on television advise, don’t overdo it. If you push yourself too hard, you could go from warrior to war torn.

For more on how to avoid injury from exercise, visit the National Institutes of Health Medline Plus website.

Give it a wink

Choosing to take care of yourself and do something about how you feel takes mental strength. When you are tired from working, or taking care of your kids (or husbands or pets) but you still make the decision day after day to keep going and just get in 30 minutes of exercise for you. It does wonders for your mental strength.

I don’t know about you, but when I complete a really tough workout, that sense of accomplishment trickles into the rest of my day. I think critically, bring forward innovative ideas at work, and at home I have just that ounce more patience with my kids start screaming at me when I cut their sandwich in rectangles instead of triangles.

Today I finally had a “normal” routine day where I got up early and got my workout in before the household was awake.  I hadn’t done a hardcore lifting workout in awhile, so it was challenging but felt great.   The rest of the morning there were a few bumps, but I didn’t let them bother me and we all got out the door without too much struggle.

strong

I personally love a challenge.  When someone says I can’t do something, it gives me more fuel to prove them wrong.  Oh yea I can’t?  Watch me.

Half way through the week.  Let’s finish strong!

Time Management Tips, how to juggle it all

The question I get ALL THE TIME is “how do you have time?!?”  It’s like people think it’s impossible for me to succeed at a corporate job, coach, and be a parent.  Well, I am here to tell you that is isn’t always easy, but it CAN be done and each job plays a very important role in my life.    So this is for those people who are currently in the work world, are interested in coaching, but think you can’t do both.  

It is all about TIME MANAGEMENT!

This is how it works for me.  My first priority is to my family.  Second to my career at J&J, lastly coaching.  

Here are some of my time management tips for every day.

  • Plan out your meals on the weekend.  I don’t have time to actually meal prep, but I either grocery shop or ShopRite from home everything I need for the week.  I’ll even freeze some meats to defrost later.  I know what I’m going to make for dinner so when we get home I just start cooking
  • Get up early.  I know this is the one that everyone hates, but when you carve out time in the morning you can start your day on the right foot.  For me, that means 5:30 exercise, 6:15 shower, kids up at 6:30-7, breakfast and getting the kids out the door by 8.   
  • Work smarter, not harder.  I had a co-op last year say this and it stuck!  Instead of opening up 5,000 things.  Complete 1 task at a time, then move onto the next.  I also work through lunch in order to get more accomplished and sometimes take walking conference calls or meetings. 
  • Put everything on the calendar.  There are actually a lot of hours in a day.  

Here are my tips for adding coaching into the mix

  • Use social media scheduling tools.  When I have a group I am running and I know what I want the daily message to be, I use a free post scheduler like postcron.  I’ll plan out my week of posts on Sunday and schedule them to post daily at 6 am, while I am actually showering.
  • Put time on the calendar to exercise.  Mine is 5:30, that is an appointment with myself.  Don’t skip it.
  • Put time on the calendar to talk to people and ONLY check your phone/social media at that time.  Mine is 9-10pm or 10-11 pm after my husband goes to sleep.  I also check in on Sunday.

Bottom line, Be flexible and have fun.  Learn new things and meet new people.  You never know where inspiration will come from.  
These 2 are why I do both.  The corporate world challenges my brain and coaching helps me grow as an individual.   

  

Make time for what is important.  Even something as small as 10’minutes of coloring before bed really gives us quality time together.

  
Don’t limit yourself.  This is a big world that is growing and changing.  You have the ability to make an impact on people’s lives.   Think big.  Don’t put yourself in a box.  You can do and be whatever you set your mind to.  Never stop growing, never stop learning.