Monday, June 28, 2010

If a 6 year old can overcome a fitness fear, why can't you?

Sometimes as an adult we have big challenges we try to overcome, but we let fear get the best of us. In health and fitness we worry we won't be able to keep up with everyone, we aren't good enough for boot camps, we will be the slowest one to complete the challenge, or just plain and simple that "we can't do it." YET, we support our friends, family members and children with encouragement and guidance to overcome fear and acknowledge how incredible he/she is.  We try with compassion to help those we love feel supported in whatever their challenges are, knowing they have great potential. Why do we not do the same with ourselves?

On Thursday, my oldest daughter, Makenzie, started a new gymnastics class. She loves gymnastics, but hasn't participated in a class for 2 years and didn't know anyone else at the new location.  She excitedly talked on the way to class, yet was white as a sheet when it was time to begin.  After the first warm up exercise she looked at me with eyes welled up with tears.  She continued on and was participating, but not to the ability she'd displayed before, and would cross her arms in between each exercise looking rather uncomfortable. During this time I gave her silent praise from across the room with smiles and thumbs up. Yet all the while I knew she wanted me to say "It's ok M, come sit down and watch instead". She continued with cartwheels and I tried to let her see I was proud of her despite the apple swelling in my throat.  At one point she did come over and I told her she had to try the one class and then we could watch next week. But just try because she has it in her to succeed and have fun in the class.

Then the class went to the uneven bars and trampoline. At that point, I wasn't sure if I wanted to quickly give her a hug and say she could go home, or follow through with my "one class" decision.  For what seems like a perfect time, E was asleep in my arms and I was cradling her so I couldn't maneuver to see M participating....but I could hear her! I heard her laughing and the instructor giving her praise. I heard another belly laugh with an essence of joy in it.  Then they came back to the main room to finish strength training and M missed her time for wall sits. She had to stay on the wall another :45 while the other girls were done. Nerves rose in me and I worried she would collapse of embarrassment and tears...but she didn't. She smiled at the teacher, said "My Mom does these in her classes all the time so I'm good at them", and stayed on.  She looked at me when done with a big grin and asked if she could have a sleepover at gymnastics class.

M overcame her fear in 60 minutes that normally would have her crying with nerves and uncomfort for days. While I did believe she could do the class, to see her realize she could have fun and believe in herself was powerful.  If she can do it at 6 years old, what is stopping YOU from doing it now?  What are you waiting for, your time in NOW.

Erin Kreitz Shirey- Owner, Lead Coach and Trainer
Power Fitness PDX LLC    

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Run or not to run

Sometimes loving running can be a bit of a burden and a curse in one.  If I were to have a day where I could do anything, I would start on an early morning run in the quiet, followed by a trail run in the evening with a picnic in the park. The feeling of sweat dripping down your back, and fire in your legs when your muscles are pounding steps is like no other rush. The runner's high is one that can be described, but not understood until someone experiences it.  I am still on a "high" from the 100th Dipsea Race, and that was 2 weeks ago.

But today I am challenged because I want to run a loooong time, and only have a small window.  That is when people ask "Do I run? Or just wait until tomorrow?". My response always is "RUN". You will feel better and even if you can't do the distance you want, you'll have your body moving and muscles working for you.  Your tasks later in the day will seem more doable and enjoyable. Thus, even if you only have 20 minutes, get out there and RUN!

Now, off to lace up my Mizunos and hit the trails...even if only for 35 minutes instead of an hour...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

IT IS easy to be HEALTHY & GREEN!

As Moms, we MUST lead by example.  Everyone does make a difference and leaves an impression on one another. You may not think it, but the days you decide to drive the .5 miles to pick up one gallon of milk, are the days your child learns it's ok to drive small distances. The nights you excitedly go on an active date night are the nights your friends are encouraged to do the same and learn that riding bikes to the local organic pub create romance like no other...while romancing the earth.

Idea #1 No Car Days-

Upon moving back to California in the New Year, we decided to try life as a "one car" family.  When in Portland I often ran my oldest to school, ran to do errands(including getting groceries)... ran or walked to go everywhere. When it came to wild weather, I would plan the car trips accordingly. IN the Bay Area, it is rather easy to have no-car days.  An umbrella tends to be what's needed and if anything, we all dry after getting a bit rained on.  Currently I have the car 1-2x/week. On those days every drivable activity is crammed in, and if not, I do it the next car day. I have been the one needing to adjust more-so than my husband with logistics, but I really like it. I feel more socially responsible, am teaching my kids how our/their bodies are built to move, and have learned how adding a cushion of time to get places makes you relax a bit when venturing there. 

Thus, if you can, make 1-2 days each week when you don't use the car at all. It creates one less vehicle on the road, and hopefully one more pedestrian or bicyclist on the roads shopping fresh and local. Bike to BART to visit a friend, and enjoy the time on the train reading a book. Slow down a bit and enjoy where you are AT instead of the rush it takes to get there. With driving less, you may find you are able to relax more. It takes the tension of sitting in traffic away since you know that you can't control the means to get there and...your legs will be stronger and sexier as you save the Earth! 

Idea #2 Farmers Markets Fresh Bike RidesYou have read many places that eating fresh and local is incredible for the environment. It is also incredible for your waistline. Plan Farmers Markets Fresh Bike Rides to get produce 1-2x/week. The bike ride to get the groceries allows you to SEE the city you live in. You can also learn from the farmers what are their favorite recipes to use with their farms' produce.  To pay back to the local farms helps keep the fresh cycle going, in addition to getting some of the most nutrient rich food anywhere.  After picking up your produce enjoy the bike ride home planning out what you will make with your items.

Idea #3 Waste Coin Collection
Create a "Waste Jar" in your home.  In many households people have "swear jars" or "bad thought jars". They are jars you put money into when saying a bad word or a bad thought about your self.  The Waste Jar will be used to put money into when you do something new that is good for the earth. It could be to use Freecycle, remember your to-go coffee cup daily for 7 days, or  remembering to bring your shopping bags with you to the grocery store every day for 2 weeks. The money from the jar should be used for a gift to the a tree for your neighborhood, send water purification tablets to Africa, or purchase reusable sandwhich bags for kids at the local homeless shelter. 

All actions you take help make the Earth healthier for future generations.  As Fancy Nancy shared her favorite rule in the book Earth Day is Every Day, " Less than a mile, bike in style". Now dust off your bike, make it fancy and head to the Farmers Market or to work!  

*My tree hugger kiddo above playing in the park on a No Car Day! Fit playtime into errands
makes for a great afternoon.
Email your green active ideas and tips to -

30 Minute Park Workout

This workout can be done with or without your kids.  If you have older kids, have them do the workout with you. If you have a little one, use the jogger which adds an additional challenge to push during the sprints in your workout. 

Jog 3 laps around a park (2 laps if small park)

Shuffle Run for 2 Minutes-
Pick three trees/ tennis court/ your kiddo running with you or in stroller as the center spot. Start at the middle and shuffle to the left, tag the ground in low squat. Shuffle back to the middle, tag ground. Shuffle to the right, tag ground.Repeat.

Hoover Hold and Point - 30 counts
Stay in steady plank and reach forward with your right arm. Return arm and reach with your left. If your child is in front of you tickle them each "reach". Repeat 30 times.

Bicycle -30 counts
Make sure to point your toes with each extension and maintain the size of an "apple" under your chin.

Jog 1 Lap and SPRINT 1 Lap Around the Park

6 Hill/Stairs Repeats-
Find a hill/Stairs and repeat it with the
First 2 reps- 65% intensity
Second 2 reps- 75% intensity
Last 2 reps- SPRINT

20 Mountain Climbers & 20 Boulders
Repeat 3x

Caterpillar - 15 repetitions
Start in standing position and bend over touching toes. Gradually walk hands out to plank position. Perform push up. Walk toes gradually to hands and stand up tall, extending arms overhead. Repeat 15 times.

3 Stair/Hill Repeats
1st- Skipping up Stairwell
2nd- Bum Kicks up Stairs
3rd- SPRINT to TOP!!

Bicycle 30 counts

Plank on Forearms- Max Out
Repeat with rest of 30 seconds in between

Jog 1 Lap Around Park are now done!  Way to go!! 

Quotes to make you think

Some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of oit, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity... 
--- Gilda Radner

Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
--- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lead By Example

We are informed from day one of being a Mom, to lead by example.  Our children watch everything we do, and all words we speak.  When looking into our newborn's eyes, we search for that connection to the baby that will forever change your life.  That life we, as Moms, have the love and dedication to make the most dynamic, healthiest, supported, educated, encouraged, and fulfilled as possible.  For me, I have been taught how to be a Mom by the most incredible Mom I know, my own. 
My daughter, Makenzie,  and I post Oakland Half Marathon- placed 2nd in Age Group. She was a huge cheerleader!

                                                                 Mom and my youngest, Emerson, smiling away
During a time when many people were not into yoga, my Mom, Tina, was. She met with her girlfriend, Lois, and had the Dads watch the 6 of us kids while they took evening classes.  I remember as a kid waving "bye bye" to Mom as she was dressed in her hip yoga gear.  I still do as she hits her yoga class weekly.  Mom was ahead of her times in bike- commuting.  My sister, brother and I were ridden around Alameda in the big bike "buggy" and didn't know any different.  Mom rode to do all errands and made it fun, singing songs and stopping at the beach to play along the way.  She taught us that    being active was part of what people do, just like eating and sleeping.  If we were at the swimming pool, Mom was the Mom in the water playing mermaid games with us. She would throw the dive rings for us to find, and have under water tea parties while some of the other Moms sat on the pool side talking. Mom was active with an effort because she could be, that taught us exercise was invaluable to a healthy lifestyle.  She has an energy and youthfulness that has always been known by her friends and anyone she meets(wonder where I got mine), and isn't afraid to laugh at herself.  Mom led us to believe life is to short to not have fun, and to believe in yourself when doing so. 

Believing in yourself is a value where Mom has outdone It wasn't only sports that had Mom Mom encouraged us to try everything we set our heart to, be it gymnastics, swimming, tennis, soccer, theater, or art.  Mom just wanted us to "try" and go for it.  

5.7.10- Post Power Fitness PDX's Annual Mother's Day Boot Camp Class- Nothing like coaching to honor my own MOM!
Now, as a MOM, I do the same.  It's funny because I feel like my Mom often, and when some people say "You make me think so much of your Mom" I take it as the biggest compliment.  When riding my bike with the girls in the Burley to go swimming, I have visions of remembering Mom pulling us over the Bay Farm Bridge to the Harbor Bay Club to do the same.  As I am doing cartwheels and swinging on the Monkey Bars with Emerson and Makenzie mimicking me I think that they will hopefully feel the same about me teaching them to be active and goofy Moms too.  I am grateful daily for the impressions she continues to leave on me, and hope I can do the same for my girls too.