Tuesday, January 17, 2012

No stopping the swimmers ...or YOU!

Janet Evans, 40 year old Mom of 2- inspiring in the pool!

What a way to start 2012- be inspired by all the women who are pushing farther and farther outside the norm of sports' comfort zones. Just this week, Janet Evans  qualified for the 400 meters at the US Olympic Trials. She is 40 years old and will be one of the most decorated Olympians if all goes according to plan.  Dara Torres was 2nd in the 50 meter free in the US Winter Nationals in December, after returning post knee surgery at ...age 44!

You hear it every day and read about it in magazines ranging from Redbook and InStyle,  to Fitness and SELF.  "I found my body when I turned 40, a confidence clicked and there was no turning back once I got hooked on exercise." But it not just exercise- it is the lifestyle change of becoming an athlete. It is the identification process of not just working out, but having a sport you can call your own.

Janet and Dara were swimmers their entire lives. They don't know a world outside of swimming.  Janet  having competed for Stanford, while Dara competed on the University of Florida swim team. Post college, many of us start working, play it up in the young 20's scene, have fun and maybe go to the gym or run recreationaly.  But often, we forget about the sport we used to identify with. WHY?  Why stop when there is only a big future in front of you to fine tune your athletic skills? It is never to late.

Dara Torres-44 year old Mom is making waves
I challenge you to find your inner athlete.  Try a sport you used to love and begin by practicing once each week.  As you get used to training, push yourself a bit harder and see where your current limits lie.  Now, push again and go further and faster.  See what your body is capable of doing. If the sport isn't bringing you joy like it did when you were young, try a new sport. There is nobody saying you can't be a dual sport athlete, nor is there anyone saying you have already met your athletic potential once you're an adult. I personally think it is just the beginning.

Why is it the beginning, you ask? Because as you get older, you often possess a gift of throwing away the concerns filtering through many "younger athletes". The little voices repeating, "You aren't the fastest" slip to the side, and your inner strength can push through stomping those mean voices to the ground. At this age, the focus on hardwork and developing skills is there. The focus to not waste training time is there; you know as a busy Mom juggling a career and being an athlete, that your workout and training time is set on the calendar and if you miss it, you miss it!

I personally am not 40 years old yet; I just turned 36 one month ago.  But as I have been told by many friends, I often have the mindset of a 40 year old from having embraced lifes challenges.  I understand that life gives us hiccups along the way and nothing is guaranteed to  go according to plan, even when we detail every event in our smartphone calendar.  From the knowledge that we have one life, it and one opportunity to seize the day athletically, I know to embrace each opportunity and GO FOR IT!!

If Janet and Dara can race against younger gals and beat them in the pool, what is holding you back from lacing up your soccer cleats again?  What fear is making you keep you bike on the rack in the garage verses on the road climbing hills training for your next triathlon? Yep, I think that would be the sound of crickets because there are no excuses...
YOU just need to take the initial leap out the door and go for it!  

Age is just a number my friends, and the older you get, the more opportunities you have to kick some ass! 

Cheers and as always, take time to Challenge the Power of YOU

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

8 Tips for Surviving the Holiday Craziness and Celebrations!

  8 Tips for Surviving the Holiday Craziness and Celebrations!

 You can do it! You can get through the holiday season stronger, healthier and determined to start the New Year right.  All you have to do is focus on the 8 Holiday tips each week, exercise, and talk positive to yourself.  In addition to the goals, try to incorporate 2-3 additional 20 minute cardio blasts to your week. It could be mall walking while holiday shopping, riding your bike to get the holiday party’s groceries, or jogging to and from Power Fitness PDX instead of driving.

Tip 1: Drink 10 8-oz. cups of water per day. If you can do this, it will help you feel cleansed, fuller, and content.
Tip 2:
Eat a small meal every 2-3 hours and try to have a small meal before going to a holiday party. Print up the Clean Eating list and bring it to the grocery store.  Nutritious rich foods help balance the celebrations.   You will arrive to the party satisfied, and not eager to eat the entire platter of mini quiche.
Tip 3: Start keeping a journal log of what you are eating throughout the day.  If you notice you’re snacking between 4-5 p.m., why not make the snack a serving of vegetables with hummus, Half Greek Yogurt with 10 almonds and protein powder. It will help satisfy the urge to munch at the tough time of day.
Tip 4: When holiday shopping, wear a pedometer. It may seem silly, but nobody will see it under your sweater or shirt.  Park in the farthest spot possible, and do 3 laps in the mall or around the block  before hitting the stores you need.  Try to reach at least 10,000 steps by the time you’re done shopping and head home.
Tip 5:  If you can, leave at least a 2-hour window of an empty stomach prior to bedtime. Also drink two glasses of water before nodding off.
Tip 6: When you have a huge celebration you’re headed to, plan your drinks accordingly.  Alternate between sparkling water and wine.  Limit the fruit juices, caffeine and the cocktails. The added sugars cause headaches, weight gain and dehydration.
Tip 7: When wrapping gifts do one set of push ups, squats, dips, burpees or jumping jacks in between each finished package.  1 set = 15-20 reps.
Tip 8: Utilize your families Zoo memberships and go to Zoo Lights at least once each week. Your kids will enjoy the activity and lights, and you’ll feel invigorated after getting a hilly walk and being in the crisp air.

Ice Skating in Union Square -12.17.11

Bike riding to check out Holiday Lights -12.18.11

Enjoy the time with your family and have fun! The holidays come once each year, and if you plan accordingly, you’ll enjoy them without adjusting to a roomier size come New Years. Cheers!

When not chasing after her two little girls or teaching fitness classes, Erin Kreitz Shirey is the CEO/Master Trainer/Running Man Laugh filled Coach and Owner of Power Fitness PDX.  An award winning trainer recently named 2011 Most Motivational Personal Trainer by Alameda Magazine, and currently the Top 10 Finalist for PFP Personal Triner of the Year, she has written for various athletic publications, been a contributing editor on the hit morning show, Better, and has fitness DVD’s arriving late 2011.  Erin has a BS in Kinesiology, is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, Fit to Deliver Pre and Postnatal Certified trainer and Sports Nutrition Certified. Visit Erin and learn more about her trainings at www.powerfitnesspdx.com

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jeanne Kettles- One Year of Inspiration!

Jeanne joined Power Fitness PDX for the Challenge. When she called the first time, I remember hanging up thinking I hope this woman can do the Challenge for herself. I have a feeling she could get so much out of it if she allows herself to believe in herself.  Guess what, she did and is PHENOMENAL!! Jeanne has inspired so many others without realizing it and has more strength than she once believed. To say I have been honored to train Jeanne and have her be part of Power Fitness PDX is an understatement. Jeanne also taught me to believe in my own strengths as a trainer and coach, as there are little nuggets brought out that can help every client on many levels. Let Jeanne inspire you to take the time to Challenge the POWER of YOU! 

Jeanne (on left eating), New Years Eve 2010
Jeanne Kettles

This time last year I was floundering…big time!  I was burned out:  overwhelmed, overweight, under a tremendous amount of stress, and feeling totally depleted.   After three years of a challenging Masters program followed suddenly and unexpectedly by three years of a nasty divorce which left me totally broke and completely on my own as a single mother with no job, I felt “washed up” on some strange shore as the divorce became final and I landed a wonderful but demanding full time job.  I had been “coping” with years of stress by self-medicating with all the wrong food and drinking, staying up late “too tired to work out”, forgetting myself and throwing everything into caring for my children and the demands of life.  I wanted things to change, and I realized the only way they could would be to change the course I was on – but how?

I saw a postcard for Power Fitness PDX which boldly affirmed, YOU have the power, strength and courage to make your life the best yet. Without even realizing it, you possess incredible determination and dedication to be your most active self possible...you just need a little nudge, education, and support”.  It’s like Erin was talking directly to me.  I went on line and read about the women’s only boot camp and Erin’s philosophy.   I remember my first conversation with Erin: it was remarkably easy to talk with her about my fears and reservations “would everyone be more advanced than me? – I’m really out of shape”  She encouraged me by letting me know that although everyone might seem at different fitness levels that everyone had their challenges and that was the point – we would come together as a group to challenge ourselves – together.  I made the commitment to do the fitness challenge – a three month intensive diet and exercise boot camp.  I never imagined how it would change my life.

I tried and I cried.  I sweat and I hurt and rode the waves: from the troughs of fearful doubt and self-loathing to the crests of accomplishment and self-affirmation.  When my determination threatened to falter, Erin and the women of the group helped nudge me back with an understanding comment or self-revelation that reminded me I was not alone.  The laughter and “way to go!”s we fed each other with sincerity through the grunts, groans and sweats, bonded us in camaraderie, mutual respect and appreciation as we each challenged ourselves and each other to “dig deep and play hard” and bring it!

Jeanne looking & FEELING great December 2011
I lost 10 pounds those first three months, but I lightened up more than that.  I found a part of myself that had been buried in heavier weight for a long time.  I signed up for the year, knowing it was going to take a long term commitment to myself to see me through to where I wanted to be.  But Erin always kept it interesting with some fun and cutting edge way to push all our workouts to the max - and not take no (or slow) for an answer!  She is famous for casually "suggesting” to the group, “You know what would be fun…” and then get  us all signing up for See Jane Run 5K or 10K – or some other race or half marathon - even if we never ran a race before!  And we had a blast!  Even though I wasn’t yet able to run the full distance straight through, I paced myself and pushed myself and completed a 5K.  And the crazy lift it gave me (“I did it!”) fed into my increased commitment to pushing my training and see exercise as fun.   My kids are ever more proud of me and it gives them strength and encouragement to see me be active and make better choices for my well-being.  Now we often “work out” together and they don’t ever seem to grumble anymore about walking someplace instead of taking the car.

One day, months later, as I lugged my workout bag with 2 twelve pound weights, 2 five pound weights and a full large water bottle, I realized that I had actually lost that much weight (and a little more: forty pounds and twenty inches)!  I laughed in amazement that I wasn’t carrying that around anymore and how good it felt to feel energetic every day, throw out my size 18 clothes and shop for size 10 instead!  And the fun part was sharing that with the group of friends who had seen me from the start of this journey and have them celebrate with laughter and joy too!

I can’t say enough about the incredible spirit and skill Erin brings to her work in guiding the group and each participant on our individual paths.  She is knowledgeable and fit, yes, but something so much more.  It’s not everyone whose passion burns so bright and true that it sparks the hearts of others even when they feel burned out or their light seems doused.  Erin and Power Fitness PDX are amazing and I recommend the experience to anyone – no matter where you are in your journey to Challenge the Power of You.

Annie (Challenge Winner 2011), Coach Erin Kreitz Shirey, Jeanne - Holiday Party 12/2/11

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gemma Lim- She made a change and continues to do so!

Today I got an email from Gemma, a Mom to dynamic boys who was trying to find her time to train. She has been a PFPDX'er since January 2011, even doing workouts in Paris when traveling with friends.  Gemma shared her journey, which will hopefully inspire you to make time for yourself too.  What a gift to read these words of real, life transformation.
Coach Erin Kreitz Shirey

This note has long been overdue! I hope that you know how much I APPRECIATE you.  I have not expressed my appreciation in so many words and ways, but I am so thankful that I met you.  I have indeed come a long way from the first day I came in to try out your early morning boot camp class (thank you Karen for pestering me incessantly that I must meet Erin!) armed with nerves (the trepidation of “going to boot camp”) and vertigo! You kicked my butt on the first day and I have been hooked since!

It has been almost a year since I joined PowerfitnessPDX and I see all the positive changes in myself both physically, emotionally and mentally.  Who knew that I could do over 20 military push ups - in proper form! And for someone who has never run in her life, I am amazed that can jog for over 30 minutes WITHOUT stopping!! It is so exhilarating and rewarding each time I finish a workout with you and the gals. My days are always better when I start them with a PDX workout.  Before I met you, I was so out of balance when I didn’t get a workout in first thing after I woke up.  I would always try to pencil in my workouts and as everyone knows, our own personal goals go to the bottom of the list.  Kids, husbands, significant others, jobs – LIFE takes over and we play second fiddle, again. Before I joined the group, my workouts were not very consistent. I exercised after 10 pm when everyone in my household was upstairs and left me alone to get my workout in. I traded in a decent night’s sleep for what workouts I could squeeze in during the workweek. I didn’t realize that this was working against me. I wasn’t losing weight and inches and I felt so resentful of the little time I had for myself.  My fitness regimen did not work as well as I wanted it to.  Until I met you and started my Power Fitness PDX workouts. Boy, did you change my life!! Do you remember the first few weeks when I did the stairs at Washington Park? I thought I was going to throw up! Living with vertigo, stairs was not my cup of tea. In fact, I avoided workouts that involve climbing up and down stairs for fear of falling down or losing a step and injuring myself. Erin, you changed all that! I conquered my fear of stairs because of you. I have learned that the stairs don’t rule me. I RULE! It is now all on my own terms.

Over the course of the year of doing PDX, you helped me understand that exercise/fitness is very fundamental to how we should live, that it can be fun and it doesn't have to feel like a chore.  You have inspired me every morning to challenge myself, to do that extra push up and lunge, that extra sprint up the stairs. I have become one of your bonus Betties! Doing PDX, I am much more alert and in perfect equilibrium.  Take it from this neurotic Libran, I am so much happier when my scales are in perfect balance!  

So Erin, a huge THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for helping me believe that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. 

Dig deep, play hard!!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Quarry Turkey- 11.26.11

The Turkey! We caught him before the race!
We found a new tradition in Power Fitness PDX...A turkey trot for only the adults to do.  While it is family friendly, we decided to go sans partners or kids and have a fun run with each other.  The idea was presented a few months ago, and the race was picked to motivate the masses.  Those who were motivated....Annie Chan, Sonia Urzua and me- Erin Kreitz Shirey.  Everyone was motivated for the fun challenge for various reasons. Annie wanted to have a fun race to push towards after completing the San Jose Rock N Roll Half Marathon in October. Sonia did her first 5K with Power Fitness PDX in June and was ready to go for the 10K- 6.2 mile race.  I was motivated to have a fun race before my scheduled knee surgery on December 19th.  One thing we were all motivated to do was have fun and cheer on each other!

To say I am proud of Annie and Sonia is an understatement. They both cheered on one another before, during and after the race.  Sonia was a bit nervous about her body doing 6.2 miles, and Annie encouraged her with positive words.  Annie laughed about her pace and running a 10K since she hadn't for a while.  I was similar to Annie; I hadn't raced a 10K for 4 years and was curious what my presurgery body would do.  

Smiling as always, Annie looking strong at the end!
To say it was a gorgeous morning is an understatement. The day was perfect, Fall crispness, and clear skies.  The route fantastic along a resevoir and on a nice path that was just for runners.  The horn blew, we were off!  When running and coming upon the turn around, I was excited to find and high five Annie and Sonia. Both were running strong and SMILING!!  That says a lot about their cardiovascular abilities...cheers to their hard work running and in Power Fitness PDX.  I came to the finish line and felt good; knees were good and while I could have pushed it even harder I truly felt perfect.  I cheered for Annie and could see her smile as she turned up the shute to finish.  She ran by happily jaunting!  She ran to where I was standing and we saw Sonia bopping along. She looked fantastic and was also...smiling!!!

Sonia running towards the end! Her goal- 10K - completed!
When we got together we all marveled at what a beautiful spot the course was and how Fremont had some hidden gems. Brazen Racing did a great job, and all of us enjoyed the race.  We felt energized and ready to take on the rest of the weekend.  Upon seeing results, Annie found out she placed 6th in her age group and dropped her PR!  Sonia found out she ran faster than her goal by 3 minutes.  I found out that with placing the third female the women who beat me were....girls ages 17 and 23! How did 35 suddenly feel old, but at least it proved athletic performance enhances with age.  What could happen with knew bionic knees, right? As I say to my clients, Power Fitness PDX'ers and everyone...you can get faster as you get older since you are more equipped to juggle time, work, stress, and kiddos all at the same time.  Our bodies are like fine wines...the get stronger and better as we mature.  I toast all of you!

Thus, HUGE CHEERS to the always maturing ladies of Power Fitness PDX.  Annie and Sonia, you inspired others and did incredible! I look forward to running the race again next year, and watching the group grow and mature each year!
Look at these rockstars- Annie and Sonia you are INCREDIBLE!! Go Mamas Go!

* Thank you Brazen Racing-  we had a blast!!