Spotlight: Michelle

My Name: Michelle

Where I live: Orange County, California

Favorite Excuse: I don’t really have an excuse for not working out, although there are sometimes reasons I can’t. I try to run at least five times or 25-45 miles a week and usually do. I’m almost always training for a marathon, so not running isn’t an option. I also attend a weekly spin class. I wish I could do more, though. I’d love to take yoga two or three days a week and lift weights more often than I do. Between work, school, writing, and my training schedule, it’s hard to fit all that in.

My Inspiration: Pushing myself beyond my perceived physical limitations has always inspired me. When I used to run five miles, my “unattainable” goal was ten. When I ran ten miles, a marathon seemed like Everest. When I ran my first marathon, the new goal was to qualify for Boston. I just ran the insanely vertical North Face Endurance Challenge trail marathon in San Francisco last month and have my eye on the North Face 50K next year. I’m also going for a personal best at the Orange County Marathon in May, so I’ll need to find some new inspiration for speed work.

My workout habits/Personal Strategy: Food and music are critical to my running success. I always try to eat an hour and a half to two hours before running. I have really low blood sugar, so running on an empty stomach is disastrous for me. I’ve nearly fainted on runs before, so I never take chances. Since I have to run before or after work, timing meals and snacks around my runs can be tricky. I schedule my long runs (12-22 miles) on Sundays, which means getting up around 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. to eat and get out the door before dawn. Those are hard days. I also have to refuel every five or six miles, so I usually stash packets of GU and Fig Newtons in my pockets.

Music is also really powerful – it’s super corny, but I always listen to the Top Gun soundtrack in my car when I’m driving to a race. By the time I get to the starting line, I’m pretty amped. The right song can also keep you going when you think you’re not going to make it. At some point during a marathon or long training run, I enter a zone in which time seems really abstract. Sometimes hours pass, and I realize I’ve listened to the same song on my iPod for miles. I ran about 17 miles of the 2009 San Francisco marathon to “It’s the Climb” before it occurred to me to change the song. Thank goodness for the zone, though; it helps you forget how much pain you’re in!

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Spotlight: Loverly

My Name:LoverlyWhere I live:Gothenburg, SwedenFavorite excuse: “It’s to cold outside! lol…it usually is in Sweden!”

My inspiration: As I get older- my health, trying my best to live a healthy /balanced lifestyle, feeling great (I believe if you feel great about YOU, then everything comes together in full circle!:)

My workout habits: Hmmmm…I am not the least bit a “workout” person. Mundane routine workouts like going to the gym won’t work for an energizer bunny like me.  I tend to get bored with daily workout routines, so I try to mix it up. However, for many years I have maintained the routine of walking for at least one hour every day. I love walking! It’s my therapy session, plus I get to burn a few calories. Since the weather can be brutal in Sweden, I usually go swimming two days a week when I’m unable to go walking. That amounts to two one-hour sessions, which, I must say, is the best full body work out for me! I love it! I sometimes go hiking with friends, play badminton, dance at home, (lol..I know) and of course, keeping up with an energetic two-year-old can keep anyone in shape! lol

Personal Strategy: I do what works for me. I don’t kid myself by starting workout routines that I know will be short lived. If you do what you love, then it just becomes a way of life and not a task, and since I love to walk, walking has been a way of life for me. No matter what, I know that as long as I am able, my daily walks will be a part of me, always. Also, I believe in setting limits and boundaries. I try to make seven pound weight gain the limit, and then get back to form. Otherwise, it is just too easy to loose oneself in the weight struggle!

A Little Fitness Inspiration for the New Year

Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope you enjoyed the season, got to spend quality time with those who matter most, had a little downtime to reconnect with yourself, and now feel rejuvenated and ready to face 2011.

Many of us make resolutions to lose weight in the new year and have no idea where to begin, so I thought I’d  share my workout habits, though I’m no expert, and pose the following short interview to a few of my friends. I’ll go first, introduce the first young lady, my high school friend Anamai, then go on posting a new response each day that follows.

I chose these ladies for their varied approaches to fitness and the fact that their fabulous bodies help keep me inspired and motivated. I hope their unique approaches will inspire you to develop an approach that works best for you. No two people are the same, no two bodies are the same, and no one knows you better than yourself, so trust your instincts, listen to your body and have fun!

Me!

My Name: Natalie

Where I live: Los-Angeles, California

Favorite Excuse: “Too much reading/writing to do.”

My Inspiration: Friends, Beautiful weather, Desire for a feeling of general wellness when things get too stressful, Music.

My workout habits: I visited my neighborhood Y.M.C.A this summer, played volleyball two or three times a week with a bunch of friends I met in the park, tried my arm at tennis, but all this got to be more and more infrequent as the semester wore on. Very very infrequently I go hiking at Runyun Canyon; it’s not often that I feel compelled to brave the freeway, though it might be well worth the drive. I get a pretty cool view of the city and the Hollywood sign, plus I might run into a celebrity (I once saw “William” from Girlfriends and I hear that J-Lo hikes there).

These days I’m mostly indoors, so I get up and dance for as long as I like whenever I feel the need to let the music move me. Sometime, when it’s nice out (that’s often enough), I ride my bike in whatever direction the wind blows. I also like doing You Tube yoga classes in my living room whenever I need to get centered.

My personal strategy: I’m a very spontaneous person so I rely on my feelings to decide what I want to do. I find that I can’t really stick to a schedule, so I pay close attention to how I’m feeling on every level. I’ve learned that neglecting one aspect of my being affects every aspect; if I’m not physically active I pay for it mentally and spiritually and vice-versa for each. Kundalini yoga and meditation take care of the physical and spiritual, while school, reading and writing, all challenge my mind.

Now to introduce the first of my friends:

 

 

My name: Anamai

Where I live: Miami, Florida

Favorite excuse: “I’m too busy, I need to ease myself back into it”

My Inspiration: My friends who are dedicated athletes, Shaun T and his Insanity program, Never having to count calories or diet.

My workout habits: I used to keep my weight down by smoking. YES! TERRIBLE, I KNOW. Smoking was an on-again, off-again habit for me for a couple of years. I also used to count calories, submerge myself in my work and practice strict diet regimens. This worked for a while, but I started noticing that my arms were losing definition, my hips were widening and my core was becoming engorged. I also often experienced back pain, which led to me having to stretch every few minutes in an effort to alleviate the pain.

All that changed once I was introduced to Shaun T’s Insanity program. The first day I tried it, I was wheezing, gasping for air, pausing the video and lying on my back while my heart pounded away in my ears. Shaun kept encouraging me (the audience) to pace myself and to take breaks if necessary. At the end of the Fit Test I was only able to do one-sixth of what Shaun and his trainers were doing (if that). I checked off my first day on the calendar and kept going.  There were a few days I took off, but I just kept at it.

By the third week, I felt like a completely different person! I was keeping up with the guys on the DVD and sometimes even outperforming them! I was getting amazingly toned, fit and CONFIDENT! My hair, skin and nails were renewed! The back pain was gone! I felt amazing! For the first time in my life, I felt like I had found the “magic pill” to being the person I always wanted to be. I was singing in the shower and was able to hit the high notes! My mood was 100% improved. That’s why I encourage others to try this workout. It is why I’m such an advocate.

My personal strategy: Keep fitness as a VERY important and necessary part of my life. To keep outperforming myself and pushing myself daily and remaining focused on my goals. People are now telling me I could be a fitness model. Just imagine if I were able to keep this up for a few years. I think fitness can be a part of even the busiest lifestyle because all it takes is a few minutes a day to transform your body and your life. I am not an actor for an infomercial. I’m a real person who has experienced it, so I will remain steadfast in my fitness goals for myself and always look towards self-improvement.