Fit For A Mom

My ramblings of balancing my passions… fitness, family, & entrepreneurship.

What really is this “Active Living” all about? February 7, 2010

Active living is a way of life that naturally incorporates physical activity into daily routines. Walking with your kids to the park, walking to the store, riding your bike to the beach. It is the way that are bodies are meant to live, active and fluid in everyday life.

Active living is and should be a community-wide effort.  Prior to the “suburbia” flight of the 1940’s and 1950’s, communities were structured quite different than they are today. Neighbors talked to one another, the store was a few blocks away, kids and adults walked most places.  Why?  Because the communities were accessible to everyday needs, they were “walkable”.

Once the suburbs were established things changed drastically.  By nature the word means “A residential district located on the outskirts of a city.” Since these communities developed outside the city, naturally they were not easily accessible say to the grocery store or the library. People wanted their “patch of land” and did not want the more condensed way of living that the city had provided.  Due to this rapid expansion and the natural architectural design of these neighborhoods, it became impossible for its inhabitants to walk anywhere. Traditional city blocks with sidewalks on each side gave way to curvy wide roads, cul-du-sacs, sometimes with sidewalks only on one side.  Regardless, each “development” or “subdivision” was separated by two-lane roads which did not have a pedestrian path.  Once you left your development, you could most likely walk to several more, however, the sidewalk would end and you would be forced to return. Instead of the corner store where you could walk to, citizens of the suburbs were now forced to get in their car and drive even further to a strip of stores to purchase their groceries and their clothes.  After a day of shopping, they would then return to their cars and drive back to their respected suburb.

As you have heard, this is one theory on why Americans are overweight and suffering from a vast array of chronic diseases.  To save time on this post I will not go into the explanations and theories.  You are an adult and smart to say the least.  Make your own conclusion.

Fast forward to now. Proponents of “new urbanism” are leading the movement to revert back to walkable communities.  According to Wikipedia, “new urbanism” is an urban design movement, which promotes walkable neighborhoods that contain a range of housing and job types. It arose in the United States in the early 1980s and continues to reform many aspects of real estate development and urban planning. Simply put, revert back to traditional neighborhoods where people worked, played, lived AND walked.

If your like me, you live in a suburb.  This might be by choice as I know it is for our family.  We moved across the country and asked our realtor where the best schools were and “BAM”, here we are.  With that in mind, you are not a slave to your surroundings.  Get out there!  Drive to the park and walk if you have too. Walk around your communities, and as one familiar phrase puts it, “just do it!” Can I get a kickback on that promotion? 🙂

The goal is to get at least 30 minutes of activity a day. This can be achieved in many different ways, from walking or bicycling to playing or gardening in a neighborhood park.

Active living is about creating healthy communities that have safe and convenient choices for people to walk, bike and be physically active on a daily basis. Consider these facts from the most recent research summaries by Active Living Research:

* People who live in neighborhoods with a mix of shops and businesses within easy walking distance have 35% lower risk of obesity.
* 43% of people with safe places to walk within 10 minutes of home meet recommended activity levels, while just 27% of those without safe places to walk are active enough.
* Creating and improving places to be active can result in a 25% increase in the percentage of people who exercise at least three times a week.
* More children walk to school when there are sidewalks

Make the little changes and do what you can to MOVE and have a life that is Fit For A Mom and her family!

 

Social Media Pointers Take 20 January 31, 2010

  1. Spend time truly listening to others. It’s called “social media” for a reason. Be prepared to interact consistently.
  2. You can’t win the game focusing on the scoreboard. Focus on the game of engagement and the traffic will come.
  3. Don’t worry about losing followers. Focus on quality and the quantity will come.
  4. Have a goal and measure results. This provides feedback and improvement.
  5. The internet has always been about helping people connect to people.
  6. Pay it forward. Teach and guide others, especially newbies.
  7. Study people who are credible with the type of clients you want to attract.
  8. Marketers aren’t always synonymous with community builders, traffic and followers isn’t always equal to credibility.
  9. Before you start your campaign define your market and their pains.
  10. Everyone and every company gets off message once in a while. Learn to reengage and refocus.
  11. Continually tweak and update your Linkedin profile, your network will be notified as soon as you do. That way you are on the front of their minds should they ever need your product or service.
  12. Social media is changing so quickly that if you stop too long to smell the roses you’ll be out of touch. Be up on your game.
  13. Try a new platform each month, video blogging, FaceBook, tumblr etc. Mixing it up is good for your skills and stems curiosity in others.
  14. You can’t make a robot network for you at a party, why do you think they can do it for you on the web?
  15. Some un-follows are strategic. People want to know if you’re really listening.
  16. You can’t please everyone.
  17. Ping.fm updates FaceBook, Brightkite, Twitter, tumblr and Linkedin statuses all at once
  18. Be careful about auto following your followers. The last thing followers want is the be blasted with DM’s (direct messages for you newbies) touting your business or product and how they can make you one gazillion dollars in 5 minutes.
  19. Be genuine and credible. People can sniff out a phony very quickly.
  20. Most importantly, have fun with it!

 

Cat’s In The Cradle January 30, 2010

In the car this morning I heard the song “Cat’s in the Cradle.”  This is a 1974  folk rock song by Harry Chapin from the album Verities & Balderdash. The single topped the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1974. As Chapin’s only #1 hit song, it became the best known of his work and a staple for folk rock music.

The song is told in first-person by a father who is too busy to spend time with his son.  Though the son repeatedly asks him to join in childhood activities, the father always responds with little more than vague promises of spending time together in the future, which is peppered with images from nursery rhymes. While the son longs to spend time with his father, he continues to admire his father. This ultimately shapes the son’s future behavior. The final verse is a reverse of the roles; where the father asks his now grown-up son to visit, but the son responds with his father’s line. The father then reflects that they are both alike.

I am a big fan of this song for multiple reasons and it is a well-played favorite on my iPod.  This song is one of the rare few that continues to resonate with me every time I hear it.  It makes me think, “Ok, are my priorities in shape?”  There was a time, not long ago when they were not.  I remember hearing that song play and I was flooded with emotion. Trying to fight back the tears, I knew why they were there.  I was working a lot and my son was only 6 months old.  I saw him briefly in the morning and by the time I came home, we spent roughly an hour and a half together. Total time = 2.5 hours.  I compensated, or so I thought, by cramming as much time on the weekend as I could. That coupled with catching up on errands and laundry, did not lead to quality.

After my corporate lay off, I had a chance to reflect. I now realize that I DO need to work, both for financial and personal reasons.  However, I am beginning to realize that this can be on MY terms. I do not need, nor do I want a long commute, long hours, and lots of travel.

As a woman born after the feminist revolution of the 60’s, I know that those courageous women paved the way for my generation to have it all.  Don’t get me wrong, I do want it all…career AND family.  But, I want them to be balanced. I want to remember this time with my kids as much as I remember my purpose and my work. Chapin’s song is always close to heart.  I know that my children are watching me.  I have experienced them wanting my attention.  I have been guilty of pushing my 13 year old daughter away and telling her “I’m busy.”  I have done the same with my 6 year old, as well as having put my 17 month old son in front of the TV.  But I have also learned to push away other things and telling them that “I’m busy.”  Work will be there. It always will be calling your name.  Kids will not. I do not want to look back and wonder, “where did the years go?” Not to mention my daughter (who will be in college in 5 years) telling me, “I’d love to see you mom, if I can find the time.”

Find the time now.  The ride will not last forever.

 

Work For YOUR Dreams, Not Someone Else’s…So Is The Entrepreneur Life January 20, 2010

I can remember the turning point so vividly in my mind.  A friend of mine recommended this book titled, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”.  I had heard of it before and decided that I’d give it a read.  Little did I know that it truly would be life changing? Now do not get me wrong here, I know that term is used lightly by many gurus, however, in this case it did create a spark.  A spark somewhere deep down that I never knew existed and quite frankly, did not know how to act on it.

So as most people do, I put the thought out of my head and moved on.  Want to know what the thought was? Working for me.  Initially, it was not for the financial freedom, although I have learned that it is not a bad thing and that with financial freedom comes a great responsibility. Most importantly to give back what has been given to you. No, for me it was two-fold.  One, the flexibility of working for myself and raising my children and two, giving 120% for me.  On the surface that sounds selfish, but let me explain that it is just the opposite.  If I could divert that energy into something that I’m passionate about then I could create my own “wealth”, both freedom and financial.  Only at that stage would I be able to contribute even more good, by giving back MORE good to those who I connect with. That is what it is all about.

I read that book in 2005.  Time passed and those thoughts kept creeping back in my head over and over. I would wake up thinking about it, find myself researching and reading everything that had to do with entrepreneurship. I wanted to surround myself with others like me. Working for someone else just did not make sense anymore. I was consumed by my thoughts.  There were times I wondered what was wrong with me. I then knew that someday I would own my own business. It only took a lay off in the corporate world four years later, to give me the push to really do it.  That was last year.  Ironically, I always thought that if I was ever “laid off” I’d have the time to devote to starting something. I guess now I have to prove it.  Strange how the universe and higher power works.

Currently, I own two brand new businesses.  One is a marketing consulting business which focuses on strategy, communication and social media presence for the wellness and small business sectors.  The other is that I am a distributor for Juice Plus which is a whole-food supplement that has over a 15 year research proven history of excellence.  My passion lies within words and wellness….what better way to meld the two? Oh, I am also working on a book as well regarding overcoming tremendous personal obstacles, but that is for another day and time 🙂

I do not intend to sound “cocky”. I am just the opposite, humble.  What suits me best is “driven”. This is me and I am content, at least for a short time.  I always strive for excellence and I have to remind myself to push past my fears and be patient, it will happen.  The attributes of faith, family, tenacity and pushing my limits (guess the last two are essentially the same, huh?) have proved me well in the past.  So, it is those that I rely on now.  I want to leave a legacy and be the best example that I can be to my children now and in the future. I do not want to leave this earth and be known for mediocracy.

Keep the spark alive and do all you can to ignite it.

 

Spandex Anyone? January 12, 2010

BskinzNow that the holidays are over, I finally have time to get back to my blog.  There is just something about the holiday season and not having enough time for anything. Who am I kidding, how is that any different from the rest of the year? Oh well, I want to get to the meat of my post and talk about an up and coming mom business whose focus is Spandex. Yep, it is making a return!

Since I am a mompreneur myself, one of my passions is connecting with and  chatting about other mom’s ideas and products that I think are unique and useful, especially those that help me spread the word that:

FIT MOMS = FIT FAMILIES = FIT BUSINESS.

Mom-owned company Bskinz is just that, and is simultaneously blazing a path in the compression shorts arena. Bskinz is owned and operated by two stay at home moms from northern NJ, who decided to reenter the workforce. They started as a small sports team apparel business, which furnished local teams with custom screened apparel.  One day a team of cross-country girls approached them wanting hot pink spandex compression shorts to wear under their game shorts. On their quest to find them,  they discovered that none of the large manufacturers such as Under Armour or Nike made fashion oriented colors for girls compression.  Not satisfied with just the basic black, white and sometimes navy, they decided to launch our own line.  It was then that Bskinz was born.

What also sets Bskinz apart is their customization process.  When ordering you could get one pattern for your left leg and if you choose, another for your right. How cool is that?  My daughter thought that was awesome and based on Bskinz success, she is not alone in her thinking.  Bskinz is distinguishing themselves alright.

Bskinz sent me their product to give it a whirl.  As a runner, I could not wait to put these to the test on my next outdoor adventure. One of the first things I noticed is the quality of the capris. The stitching is top notch and the spandex itself is thicker, yet still breathable. After having laced up my shoes, I headed out the door.

Alright fellow running junkies out there, you know what “chafing” is and how it is one of the most uncomfortable things that can happen to you out on the road. After a 6 mile run in my awesome Bskinz, I returned home with nothing bleeding!  Not to mention, I didn’t have to interrupt my run by having to pull up my pants as with other pants that I’ve tried.  Best thing since the Nike Women’s Marathon’s Tiffany finisher’s necklace….well, almost!

Since that first run, I find myself reaching again and again for my Bskinz, even more so since winter.  I have discovered that Bskinz makes a great base layer for cold weather running.

What more could I ask for?  Breathability, made in the USA, developed and launched by mompreneurs, supporting girl sports teams and the local economy, stylish and true to performance, not to mention it dries quickly. Oh yeah, did I mention a couple of FIT MOMS came up with the idea?  Rock on Bskinz, you are definitely FIT FOR A MOM!

Don’t just take my word for it, check out the many styles and patterns yourself over at: http://www.bskinz.com

P.S. One teeny, tiny recommendation….placing a little pocket on the inside so us FIT MOMS could put a key or a GU in there 🙂

Patterned and colorful girls compression wear with a tag line of B-Active, B-You.  After all isn’t that what every girl wants – to be active and yet express themselves fashionably!  I could not have said it better Bskinz.

 

25 Ways To Wellness… November 2, 2009

Because of my wellness background, I am always asked various questions and sought out for advice. I try to provide the best wisdom possible and below is a synopsis of 25 snippets of advice. I do not know everything, but I do hope you enjoy reading a few of my “tips”….

Keep a positive attitude * Stop smoking if you haven’t already * Be active in some fashion every day * Control your stress * Maintain close, personal relationships * Resolve conflicts peacefully * Practice gratitude * Eat fruit for dessert * Make it a habit to have at least one vegetable with every meal * Buy organic when possible * Drink water throughout the day * Avoid secondhand smoke * Celebrate life * Love yourself * Pay it forward * Take time for you, everyday * Eat foods closest to nature * Make healthy and active living a family virtue * Be passionate about what you do * Ask yourself, “What kind of life do I really want?” * If you have children, tell them you love them * Step outside your comfort zone * Go vegetarian once a week * Get outside * LIVE!

 

Running With Ghosts and Goblins…and a Yellow M&M October 30, 2009

Last Sunday I ran a 10K which was very exciting for multiple reasons.  One, to race is always a challenge, but this was so laid back that it was a nice breather. Two, this was unique in that it was a Halloween theme.   After having lived all over the country, my husband and I decided to move back closer to family and lucky for me my dad is a runner too. Six weeks before the race, I called him up and after thoroughly convincing him that he wouldn’t have to wear any kind of “costume” he agreed.  That morning as he sat down in the seat, I was thinking, “Why, am I doing this? I am going to freeze!”  I have to fill you in with the fact that we moved from Southern California and back to where there are now seasons, four distinct ones to be exact.  Driving down the road I summon up the courage to look at the temperature reading on the dashboard of my Jeep.  It screams back at me with that bright green hue 38 degrees.  Seriously. 

We arrive and find a place to park and head on up to the start line.  Before taking our place, we stand in line to use the infamous race port-a-potty.  This is one of the situations in my life (next to the monthly thing) that I wish I was a man.  I proceed to pull down and pull up all of my layers while trying to feel what I am supposed to feel.  You get the idea.  Ms. SoCal girl forgot her gloves, or should I say it did not cross my mind to bring them.  Rest assured that it was the first thing on my mind in that bathroom and I was kicking myself  for my hands being red and frozen.

After stumbling out the door I reach the facet where water comes out via the foot pump.  So here I am pumping this make-shift sink with my foot and anxious to get the 5 million germs off of my hands, when at that moment, the water hits my hands and it is ICE COLD.  Why again would I have thought that it would have been warm since it was probably sitting out all night?  After peeling off the layer of ice (of course I am exaggerating, but darn it that’s what it felt like) on my hands, I looked at my watch and realized it was almost time. 

We take our place. The gun goes off and the race begins.  I start running and slowly I began to notice all of the costumes and the original reason that I was excited.  I became intrigued by what I saw and made it a game to take notice of all the varieties of costumes.  Witches, ghosts and goblins were the norm, however there were a few that stood out in my mind;  The Jedi knight, the jockey with the horse actually attached to him, JFK, a fly with huge wings which clearly affected his equilibrium.  Unless, he was just drunk which I would have had to be to wear that awful contraption! Of course I cannot forget the yellow M&M.  He stood out in my mind the most because that was my favorite color as a child and M&M’s were so yummy.  Who am I kidding?  They still are!

The M&M Runner

After I locked my eyes on him, I started to feel sorry for the poor guy.  His running form was all over and he was sweating, a lot.  But, there was a smile on his face.  Not to mention a smile on mine and many others.  After a couple of miles I began to warm up and enjoyed the sights and sounds.  MJ would have been proud that “Thriller” was played on almost every street corner and that the crowd was having just as much fun as the runners, if not more.  With 2 miles left, my competitiveness started to kick in and I set my eyes on the witch in front of me.  Just as I was about to pass her, she veered off to the side.  It was then that I realized that little voices were saying, “Mommy, mommy, we are so proud of you”.  I turned to see two little girls around three and six hugging their mom.  I had to rub my eyes to clearly see.  It was then that I was brought back to my original state of mind.  Take it slow and enjoy the ride, er run.

 

Happy Halloween Mr. M&M guy and everyone!