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Adventure, Biking, Exercise, Gym, Hiking

A workout that keeps me coming back

April 26, 2016

Below is a post I wrote recently for the Madabolic blog.

I have been going to Madabolic for almost three years now.  This is unusual for me as I tend to move from gym to gym and have tried almost every workout in the city. What I love about Madabolic is from the very first time I walked in, their team asked me about what I like to do and my fitness goals. I told them I wanted a good workout but also love to run, bike, do Flywheel, the occasional yoga, hike, ski and just about anything else outside. They said “greatyou should keep doing all of that and let’s figure out how to integrate our workouts into your lifestyle.” 

I appreciated that the team at Madabolic was more focused on how I could improve my lifestyle versus how many times I came to the gym. Most weeks I go to 2-3 classes with some running and other outdoor activities mixed in.

Recently, I told the trainers I was going to join some friends to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro which is the highest peak in Africa. The trip was only three weeks away when I made the final decision to go. I believe my training at Madabolic was a big reason I could say yes to an opportunity like this. Will Smith once said, “you don’t have to get ready if you stay ready.” The trainers even gave me a few things I could do outside of class to prepare for the climb.

I had an amazing experience on Mt. Kilimanjaro. We made it to the Summit (19,341ft.) after a 6.5 day journey. The view was incredible at the top.

mad trucker hat at summit

Leading up to the trip, I was a little worried if I would make it to the Summit. I used to do this with my workouts too…always wondering if I was doing the best one and so focused on the end result. However, the best part of Kilimanjaro was not at the top. What I really enjoyed was going on a journey with great people. I learned to appreciate the simple things. I loved doing something active everyday, taking in the surroundings and not knowing what the next day would bring.  “How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.” – Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia Founder)

After getting back from Kilimanjaro, I have started to put these lessons into practice. My typical Saturday is a good example of this and is also my favorite day for Madabolic classes. The day starts with a 1 mile jog to Mad with my dog Brooks. He sits patiently outside while I workout.

brooks at mad

The workout keeps my mind stimulated, and I never know what to expect since the intervals change everyday. The trainers (Brandon, Kirk, Cristina, Sarah, Carl, Rae and Finley) are very intentional to watch my form and make sure I am getting the most out each repetition. The music is awesome and I am energized by the atmosphere.

mad workout

 

I usually leave tired, breathless but also with the satisfaction of feeling like an athlete again. After I catch up with a few friends, I grab Brooks and we jog over to Atherton Mill Market. The smell from Not Just Coffee is amazing so I grab a coffee and a Bruks Bar. I talk to my favorite farmers and sometimes buy things I have never heard of like Chinese Kale :).

The afternoon may call for some bike cruising around Southend with music playing on my speakers.

bike crusing

I usually have some Lord Huron, Kygo, Chvrches, Frightened Rabbit or “Beat It” by Michael Jackson going. I may have even poached a few songs from what I have heard during my workouts at Mad :). Another favorite activity is heading to the Whitewater Center for some Mt. Biking or kayaking with Brooks.

Dinner could be one of my favorite food trucks like Tin Kitchen, something healthy or making some homemade pizzas :). It just depends on what I want to enjoy most!

I usually hit the pillow at night pretty hard appreciating days like this. I am thankful for the team at Madabolic. I have a greater quality of life since starting there a few years ago.

I still get energized thinking about the next Kilimanjaro but until then…I am keeping the focus on how I climb.

Energy Management, Exercise, Gym, Leadership, Presence of Mind, Productivity, Uncategorized

Is exercise the access to greater performance?

November 3, 2013

A few months ago, I noticed I was starting to slack on some of my workouts. I had been running but not really putting the time in for some of my workouts at the gym. I would try to squeeze in 10 minutes here and 20 minutes there and always validated reasons to cut it short. Did I really have time for a whole hour????

However, this all changed when I joined a gym called Elite Wellness with a trainer named Jason Boudrie who puts together some amazing group interval workouts. After the workouts, I immediately noticed I was more focused and my energy levels were through the roof into the afternoon.

On one particular day when I did a really tough workout, one of my colleagues said my some of my work was the best she had seen in several months. I could tell my heart rate was up more than ever during Jason’s workouts. And lately, I have I started doing some fantastic group interval classes at Madabolic. Not only is it a great workout, but I leave feeling refreshed by the sense of community and comraderie.

What I have noticed over the past few months is that I am able to get difficult tasks done quicker and with better outcomes than usual. My concentration levels and general sense of well-being and aliveness have been great.

box jumps

What I experienced is that making my exercise a priority is the access to greater performance. A noted Harvard Medical School professor and brain science expert named Dr. John Ratey outlined these ideas in a fascinating book called “Spark.” Dr Ratey’s research showed that “the real reason we feel so good when we get our blood pumping (through exercise) is that it makes the brain function at its best…building muscles and conditioning the heart and lungs are essentially side effects…the point of exercise is to build and condition the brain.” This has some interesting implications for leaders that want to tap into greater creativity and innovation in themselves and others.

Dr. Ratey’s research also showed how organizations can produce powerful results when their culture is built around wellness. A school district in Naperville, IL started educating students on a healthy lifestyle versus just getting them to play sports. At some schools they started using heart rate monitors to make sure students did some hard physical activity before their most difficult class. This was all designed to make sure the brain was ready for their most challenging tasks of the day. In 1999, Naperville district students scored first in the world in science on the Trends in Mathematical and Science Study (TIMSS) and 6th in Math.  By comparison, the rest of U.S. students ranked 18th and 19th respectively.

Unfortunately, many times our exercise is the first thing we drop when life gets busy or we just try to “fit in a few minutes” like I was doing. What could this be costing us with the performance of our organizations and our overall well-being? I know I feel like a new person every time I leave a great workout. It isn’t always easy to commit an hour to exercise, but the results are too strong for me to ignore. As Dr. Ratey points out, exercise is huge catalyst for greater performance and can also take us to the next level with our happiness, satisfaction and energy. Instead of trying to fit in exercise, what if our lives and organizations were built around when we exercise?

 

This was also posted on the blog for The Center for Intentional Leadership

 

Biking, Exercise, Gym, Hiking, Leadership, Running

Mixing Exercise with Friends

December 13, 2011

Ever feel like you want to see your friends, but you also want to exercise? Why not mix the two activities? I was at the Dowd YMCA on Saturday morning when I ran into a good friend. I had just finished my workout, but I decided to jump on the stairmaster next to her to catch up. Without even knowing it, I ended up talking with her on the stairmaster for over an hour. I left the YMCA feeling refreshed with an extra hour of cardio and connected with a good friend.

(source)

This made me realize that I don’t always have to go get coffee, lunch, dinner or a drink when I want to see my friends. Now I could just ask if they want to head to the YMCA and talk on the bike, stairmaster or treadmill. Even if I have to pay a small guest fee, isn’t that less than the price of a meal or drinks? Yet, I am exercising and being active when I go to the gym.

What are some other ways we can do this? A short run outside, a nice walk, a hike or a bike ride come to mind. I have another friend that I meet on occasion for a bike ride, and I realized this really has just been another way for us to stay in touch. When I go home to Florida, I always meet an old friend for a run on the beach, and some of my best blog ideas came from those runs. Sharing ideas, enjoying the outdoors, exercising, soaking up the sun…a lot of wins here. The picture below is from Stone Mountain, NC where I got to spend a whole day hiking with close friends. Since I took the picture, Brooks represented us in the photo! It was an amazing day that I still talk about.

 

So what other ideas do you have to incorporate exercise into catching up with friends? You may save some money, improve your well-being and walk away a little happier. It happened to me on Saturday at the YMCA, and that makes one plus one more than two for me.