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What Really Matters in Life: What will You Talk About When You are 90-years-old?

IMportant Life

By: Angela Joy

Today I was working with a client of mine who is 90-years-old.

He is a fantastic man who is able to do many exercises that people half of his age cannot do.

Each time we work together he amazes me.

He said something today that struck me.

While he was walking on the treadmill he shared a story from his past. He expressed how happy he was to be married to his wife and how lucky he was to have her by his side. This was not something new that he had shared. We have worked together for about a year now. He happens to have dementia and does not always remember the things that he has told me.

Nevertheless, as he expressed his appreciation for his beloved wife he began to reflect on one of his memories. “Right after we were married and she and I went on a trip. We went a trip around the world,” he said with a smile.

He had told me this story several times before. Today, however, I realized something. This story must have been a significant experience in life. Each time we talk about his past he tends to bring it up. This one seemingly unimportant event to some must be one of his favorite memories from his life.

Amidst everything else over the course of his entire 90 years of life he recalls this trip.

I thought to myself as he continued on with his story, “What will I talk about when I am 90? What memories from my life will be carried with me throughout the course of my life? What will be so significant to me that if I happen to lose my memory I will be able to look back and smile?”

For me personally, I am not sure. Maybe I will remember my study abroad trip to Europe during college. Or maybe a favorite race that I ran. Or maybe, and most likely, my memory will be one that I have yet experienced, which I hope!

One thing that I do know for sure was that my memory most likely will not be from the jobs that I have worked, the degrees that I achieved, or the awards that I received.

These accomplishments are all wonderful. However, they do not stand a chance to a trip around the world with your newly married spouse, or the birth of your first child, what it feels like to fall is love, the love that you receive from your parents, or the relationship that you have with a grandparents.

It can be so easy to get caught up in life – our goals, our jobs, our studies –we tend to lose focus on the things that are truly important in our lives. We forget the value of the moments that we hold in our memory and never forget. The refreshing smiles, the warm hugs, the contagious laughter – these are the moments we want to remember. These are the moment we want to value, appreciate and take notice of. These are the moments in our lives that we will want to reflect on when we reach 70, 80 and 90-years-old.

Therefore, I urge you to stop, take a moment, and appreciate these moments. Don’t wait until you grow old to appreciate and value all that you have today. The degrees, grades, awards, and belongings, they likely will hold little value to love that you shared, the friendships that you made, and experiences that you created.

 

Take a few moment and ask yourself;
What will you remember from your life when you are 90-years-old??

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Reflect on the Past to Prepare for the Future

reflections

By: Angela Joy

As the year comes to as close and we prepare for 2018 to begin, why not take a moment and reflect on all that you have learned, achieved, and overcome – before choosing your New Year goals and resolutions.

Each year when the clock strikes twelve and the New Year begins we are quick to shift our focus on the things we are not satisfied with in our lives, the things we don’t like, the things we want to change.

Meanwhile, all of the positive, happy and satisfying achievements, events, and accomplishments that occurred over the course of the year are unfortunately overlooked.

This New Year, why not take a few moments and examine all that has occurred over the past year; the good, the bad, and everything in between. Assess what went well, what areas may need improvement, and what areas may need to be eliminated.

How can you really know where you are going if you do not know where you have been? This New Year, take a few moments to consciously reflect on where you have been; what has gone well, what has not, what have you learned, what you have gained, etc.

To assist you in preparing for the New Year, author and leadership/life coach Eileen Chadnick creates yearly reflection questions for her clients to ask as they review the year that has passed and prepare for the year to come.

Chadnick believes that due to the “busy” lives that people often find themselves immersed in, it can be difficult to find time to “pause, reflect and get our bearings.” Therefore, each year asks her clients these six questions.

 reflectionssss

  1. What went well?

“Noticing the good – especially in tough times – is a crucial skill for resilience, success and well-being. Since our brains are not wired to hold on to the good (evolution has taught us to be wary),” Chadnick stated in an article published in “The Globe and Mail.” “We need to make the effort to bring the good back into our focus for a more balanced perspective.”

  1. Where in your life did you experience change and disruption, and how did you deal with this?

Chadnick explain that change is a constant factor in our lives, it can be beneficial to understand how we deal with change, if we can handle change more effectively in the future, and evaluate what ways did we handled things well.

  1. What did 2017 teach you?

The tough times in our lives can often times pave the way for “the greatest potential for learning and growth,” Chadnick explains. “Take stock of what 2017 taught you, and especially of how any of your challenges this past year stretched you for the better.”

  1. What needs to go?

As with all things in life there are seasons of coming and seasons of going. Some areas in our lives may no longer serve us. Chadnick advises her clients to evaluate the difficult situations, bad habits, out-dated approached, clutter in the house, and any other areas of your life, that may need to be let go and left in 2017.

  1. What made this year unique in some way?

Each year is different. With a little extra time and consideration we can recognize the events, situations and experiences that stood out and how these may have impacted us, according to Chadnick.

  1. Give your year a theme.

Chadnick recommends giving your year a theme or mantra. Now that the year has come to a close sum it all up into a theme; transformative, altering, rewarding, restorative, motivating, whatever may suit your year.

The above list is just the tip to the iceberg. Reflections are an important and ongoing part of our lives. Experiences should not just pass us by. They are a part of our lives whether we like it or not. It is our decision to choose how we respond to our experiences. One can either learn from experiences, or try to ignore them and act as if they never happened.

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How will you start off your 2018?

 

Appreciate Who You Are Today

Appreciate who you are today, and what it took for you to get here. 

As I crossed the finish line of my second triathlon the first thoughts that crossed my mind were, “What was my time?” “Whats place did I finish in?” “Did I beat my time?”

wearsafe

This in unfortunate because I had such a great race and I was not taking the time to appreciate my experience, recognize how fortunate I was to even participate in the race, or express my gratefulness for the training the I had done over the past several months.

Instead I was ready to put myself down, sabotage my results, and only focus on the negative aspects of the race.

Yes, if you are trying to improve it is important to recognize your weaknesses and work to improve them. However, it is not healthy or beneficial to dwell over the negatives without giving recognition and value to the positives.

triathlon

Though I did not finish at the time that I had anticipated or the rank I was hoping for, I did pretty awesome.

My greatest strength of the race was the run, the second was the bike and the third was my transitions.

My greatest weakness was the swim.

Now that I have recognized my strengths and weaknesses I will examine the how and why?

The Swim: 1/2 mile – time 25:06 – 203rd place
– I finished it!
– The water was clear and beautiful
– I became very anxious
– I was not prepared to swim for that long of a distance (1/2 mile)
– I was not prepared to swim that fast
– I was not prepared to run in the water and then swim

Therefore, I learned that:
– I need to practice a racing start
– I need to learn to swim well with others around
– I need to practice sighting the booeys
– I need to swim longer with periods of speed
– I need to swim more often (3 times per week)
– Most importantly, I need to become comfortable swimming in the water

The Bike: 11.5 miles – time 40:44 – about 16 mph – 48th place
– I made up for the (significant) lost time in the swim
– I passed at least 50 people
– I loved the downhills, they were a lot of fun!
– The views were very scenic and beautiful!
– The women racing were all very kind and encouraging
– Picking people in front of you and then making it a goal to pass them is very helpful

I learned I need to:
– Learn how to effectively change gears (how, why and when)
– Cycle faster and more efficiently
– Learn how to effectively pass in a race (proper bike etiquette)
– How to properly fuel and hydrate on the bike
– Get a good racing bike (for sure)
– Preparing my mind for the run
– Save my legs for the run

The Run: 3.1 miles – time 23:09 – 6th place
– I did fantastic! I ran 3.1 miles in 23 minutes, which is not my best time, but I am happy with it after having swam and biked
– I passed another 50 or so women
– I felt awesome running! I ran strong and effortlessly.
– I had fun and got into a comfortable racing rhythm
– I did not get hurt, which was great because we ran through trails

I learned I need to:
– Practice running after biking (pre-planned brick workouts)
– Improve my speed and running economy
– Prepare for the run mentally
– Give some more time to cycling and swimming while maintaining my running ability 🙂

appreciatte

Overall, I am appreciative that I was able to participate in my second spring triathlon race.

Though I did not finish where I would have liked to, there is a great deal of room for improvement.

I learned that I need to take the strengths that I have, recognized the weaknesses, and most importantly appreciate where I am.

Six months ago I knew nothing about triathlons and was intimidated to get into the water. Today, I have completed two sprint triathlon races, one of which included a half mile open water swim (something I never thought I could do) and I ended up finishing 41st in the race and 5th in my age group.

Yes, I do want to improve. Yes, I want to be faster. Yes, I want to become a better, faster and stronger athlete.

All of these goals take time. They must be recognized as goals.

appreciate-now

The only way to achieve a goal is to recognize where you are right now (your starting point), create a plan, and finally begin taking steps to achieve your goal.

Anything worth having is worth waiting for. You will appreciate something much more if you spend time working hard to achieve it. You are worthy of greatness, you just need to allow yourself time to get there.

Nobody become a pro-athlete overnight. Everything in life takes time.

Appreciate where you are RIGHT NOW, then take steps to move towards where you want to be. You will get there – at the right time, the right place, and with the right people.

value
❤ Wishing you love, joy and blessings,

Take some time and appreciate yourself for where you are right now.

-Angela Joy

From Runner to Triathlete

By: Angela Joy

triathlon

The triathlon; a swim, followed by cycling, and ending with a run. To some this may sound absurd, to others this may sound like a Friday morning workout.

For me, however, it appeared as a difficult to obtain goal.

Running several days a week was one thing – but cycling and swimming, there was no way.

First of all, I did not know how to swim. I had taken a few swim lessons as a child.

I swam in friend’s pools, the ocean and the river every now and then. But overall I did not know the first thing about freestyle swimming, goggles, one piece swimsuits, swim caps – or anything else related to swimming.

Secondly, I would need the proper bike – a beach cruiser likely will not cut it.

And last but not least – how would I transition between all three? What would I wear? How would I train?

These questions and fears ran through my mind along with many others.

It wasn’t until I overcame the barriers preventing me from beginning my triathlon training that I took the first steps towards accomplishing my goal – which you, too can do.

1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games
Australian S12 swimmer Jeff Hardy swims freestyle at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games

Step 1: Overcome your barriers preventing you from completing your first triathlon.

The barriers preventing me from participating in my first triathlon included learning to properly and confidently swim in a race and a road bike to train with and use during the race.

In an effort to overcome these barriers and begin my training I first purchased a used road bike.

The bike is not great by any means – however it is a good first road bike that served as a wonderful learning tool for a first race.

Secondly, I signed up for swimming lessons at a local YMCA.

These swimming lessons were not easy by any means, in fact they were incredibly difficult and I still struggle to get myself into the pool to improve my swimming skills.

Not having the opportunity to be around a pool and swim laps as a child or teen made it difficult to learn the sport.

Nevertheless, I did not allow the frustration and sometimes embarrassment prevent me from accomplishing my goal.

Each Sunday morning I showed up, I remained positive, and put forth my best effort.

Learning how to do something new as an adult can be difficult, however there is no reason to give up just because the task is hard.

tri-plan
(This was not my training plan, this is just an example of a triathlon training plan)

Step 2: Follow the proper training plan to achieve your goal.

After researching numerous triathlon training websites, books, and plans I put together a training plan that would fit my goals, schedule and fitness level.

Throughout my training I swam one to two times per week, cycled two to three times per week and ran three to five times per week (running is obviously my favorite of the three).

Transitioning from one sport to all three was definitely a challenge.

One must determine where they are going to swim, where they will cycle (indoor, outdoor and if outdoor the location) and for how long.

(Some training plans recommend training less than I did. However, based on my current fitness level this amount seemed fitting.)

Following a triathlon training plan can be difficult and time consuming.

One should a lot about one hour per day for five to six days per week for triathlon training.

Some days you will feel tired. You will want to quit. And then, when you least expect it you will overcome these feelings and wake up at 5 a.m. for your workout, go to the gym right after work, swim when you want to sleep and skip a fun night out to complete a skipped workout. These things happen, they can be stressful however they are worth it.

tri-ace

Step 3: Choose your race.

The most common first triathlon race is the sprint triathlon.

The sprint triathlon distance is generally a half mile swim (or less), a 10-15 miles bike, and a 5k run.

This race is doable for first triathletes who are swimming, cycling and running throughout the week one to two times.

For women seeking their first triathlon there are many women-only races that serve as very welcoming.

I however, chose the Atlantic City Triathlon in August.

The race was the perfect size, location and distance for me.

Things to consider when choosing a race include;

  • The distance of each event in the race
  • The location of the race and each specific event.
  • The body of water the swim portion is located in
  • The standard temperature of the body of water the swim is in
  • The distance the race is from your home
  • The locations your family and friends can watch you from
  • The depth of the hills and amount of turns during the cycling course
  • The type of course and temperature of the running portion

I am sure there are other factors to consider, however these are a few to think about when deciding.

tri-suit

Step 4: Get the proper gear.

Being a triathlete can be expensive.

Gear for swimming, biking and running is required – in addition to the specifically made triathlon gear.

Some gear to consider would be purchasing a road or hybrid bike, a pair of triathlon shorts and a triathlon top which can be worn during all three events instead of putting shorts and a shirt over a bathing suit, spare tire tubes in case your tire goes flat, a helmet which is required to participate, and comfortable running shoes.

After stressing over what to wear I decided to purchase a pair of triathlon shorts in addition to receiving a triathlon top given to me by a friend.

Before, during and after the race I was very pleased with my decision and the lack of stress I experienced trying to change during transitions.

Step 5: Participating in the race and having a great time.

While people can choose to participate in a triathlon for many reasons (weight loss, challenge, competition, to prove a point) the overarching goal should be to have fun.

After stressing over getting to the race, checking in at the expo, properly preparing my bike, checking in to a hotel, training, the course and much more – I ended up having the most fun that I have had all year!

My first triathlon was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. I enjoyed every second of it and cannot wait to compete in my next race.

I ended up finishing the race with a great overall time, experiencing no issues, and receiving a medal for the second fastest finishing time in my age group. To put it lightly I was over the moon.

Now it was not a goal of mine to rank in my age group and I don’t recommend setting it as an expectation, but this does not mean that it is not possible. Shoot for the stars, you never know what you are capable of until you TRI.

I encourage you to go out and accomplish your goal, whatever it may be. Whether it is a triathlon, a 5k race, a marathon, losing an amount of weight, gaining more muscle, feeling healthy or feeling happy – start today.

❤ Wishing you love, joy and blessings,

Angela Joy

dream-it

10 Steps to Becoming a Runner

By: Angela Joy

Are you someone who would like to run, but feel intimidated or unsure where to start?

When the furthest run you have ever completed was the mile run in your high school gym class running for fun can seem impossible. Don’t worry, you are not alone.

In an effort to offer motivation and support in beginning your running journey, I have listed my top 10 tips to becoming a runner.

I am a runner

  1. Start slow: My first tip is to start out slowly.

People often think that running must be completed at a fast pace, for multiple miles, almost every single day.

The truth is it is best to ease into running. Start with the run-walk method.

The run-walk method allows new runners to build up their running endurance, prepare and train their muscles, and strengthens their lung capacity.

During the first week of your training plan the Road Runner’s Club of America [RRCA] suggests beginning walk to run interval consisting of a one-minute run followed by a four minute walk for a total of thirty minutes.

Each week increase the amount of time spent running while interchangeably decreasing the amount of time walking until you are able to run for the full 30 minutes without walking.

You are  capable

  1. Set a goal: Whether the goal is as small as “running for 10 minutes without stopping” or “running in a 5k race” it is important to set a goal for yourself.

The American Council on Exercise [ACE] suggests setting SMART goals.

SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

Specific goals are not broad or general. They are simplified and precise.

Measurable goals have a specific distance or time.

Attainable goals are within your reach.

Relevant goals are relatable to your long-term goals.

Time-bound goals have a set deadline.

Short-term and long-term goals can also be set. Short-term goals help to build the momentum and confidence.

Long-term goals are beneficial when the motivation and confidence wear thin.

  1. Keep a training journal: In an effort to track your progress it can be very helpful to keep track of your runs.

Write down the days you ran, the mileage you completed and the time you completed the runs within.

After each week compare and contrast each run.

Make notes of where you may have run at a faster pace, a slower pace, a longer distance or a shorter distance.

ST Runners

  1. Learn to warm-up, cool down and stretch: For new runners it is fantastic to implement these three healthy habits early on.

Starting off with a slow and steady warm up allows oxygen and blood to be delivered to the muscles and fully prepare the body for the run you are planning to complete.

The cool down allows the body to ease the blood flow away from the muscles that were working and back through the rest of the body.

Stretching allows the muscles that were just exercising to stretch and prevent any tightness, injuries or pain.

Incorporating these three habits into your running routine will not only make you a much better and smarter runner, it will also prevent you from a great deal of pain and injury.

 

  1. Follow a plan: Once you have chosen your goal your next step is to create a plan that you guide you in accomplishing your goal.

The plan that you choose should be catered to your goal distance and time, it should offer you ample preparation time, while also providing a manageable schedule of training runs each week.

A female road runner runs down a road at dusk at Independence Pass.

  1. Get a good pair of shoes: It is important that you run in a supportive and comfortable pair of running shoes.

Running shoes that are several years old and worn down can cause injuries to your body.

Seek out a local running store and request a shoe fitting, along with advice for selecting the perfect fit.

The right running shoe will offer your feet support, will improve your stride, and will prevent injuries caused by incorrect or old shoes.

 

  1. Make friends that run: Having friends that enjoy running can be motivational, resourceful and supportive.

At times when you want to give up, skip a workout, or you are just looking for advice – the right running buddy will come in handy.

Whether your buddy is a new friend, an old friend, a running group or an organized running club – having people around interested in the same thing as you, training for a similar event, can be very helpful and supportive.

You can do

  1. Seek motivation and guidance: Motivation and guidance can be found in multiple places, including the internet, speeches and presentations, friends, and books and podcasts.

When preparing for a new event or type of race I often seek out new information from podcasts, YouTube videos, books and presentations.

I make an effort to learn as much information on the topic as I can.

I look to professional and accomplished contestants who have made a name for themselves in that event or type of race.

I also enjoy learning the how and why they chose to accomplish their goals. These stories always offer insight and motivation.

Juices

  1. Eat and drink well: When additional strain is put on the body it is important to replenish and refuel the body.

Proper nutrition and hydration will assist in improving runner’s performance, strength and overall health.

I am

  1. Enjoy the process: Last, but not least; enjoy your running journey.

This is a very precious time. Learning a new skill is not easy for anyone.

Give yourself credit and have fun along the way!

 

❤ Wishing you love, joy and happiness,

Angela Joy

The World Needs More L<3VE + Letters

In honor of the 5th annual 12 Days of Love Letters I am writing this post to inspire you to write a love letter to someone who really needs the love that only YOU have to offer!

More Love letters
One letter can make a world of difference, click here to learn more.

The blog, “The World Needs More Love Letters,” created by a girl named Hannah is currently holding a 12-day love letter writing opportunity for YOU to make a difference in someone else’s life.

Family members have sent in stories of loved ones who are in serious need of some extra love and support. Think of how incredibly meaningful and inspiring it must be to receive a love letter from a complete stranger! Today, you can be that incredible stranger.

With the spirit of the holidays, why not write a love letter to one of the people listed on the More Love Letters site?

Or, if you do not want to write to a stranger, you can try writing a love letter to someone you know that really needs some extra encouragement.

You never know the difference that YOU can make in another person’s life!

During this holiday season take some time to think of someone in need and remind them of how important, strong and truly incredible they are.

You are  capable

I hope this post inspires you to do something amazing today! Because YOU truly are fantastic and capable of such greatness. You just need to allow that greatness to flow from you and inspire beauty in other person’s life!

You are capablee

Have a beautiful day. Thank you!

❤ Wishing you love, joy and blessings,

Angela Joy

Wednesday’s Dose of Inspiration

By: Angela Joy

Do what you love

Don’t be afraid to do what you love.

Fear is only a thought within the mind holding you in the current state that you are in.

Whatever it is that you love, dream and hope for — reach out and grab it. Ignore fear. Disregard everyone and everything trying to obstruct you from achieving your goals.

When all is said in done, you will be grateful.

If you let fear overcome your thoughts and actions, you will never know what could have become of your life.

Step away from your fears and closer to these things that you love. 

What are some things you are struggling with? In what ways are you able to overcome them? Have you been successful in pursuing your dreams, or are you allowing fear to overcome your actions? 

Wishing you love, joy and blessings,

Angela Joy

Build Your life, Not your resume

By: Angela Joy

As I am transitioning between career paths I recognized that my entire time spent in college I focused on building a resume.

Now that I am doing a complete shift my previous resume is not very relevant to my future work — and all of that time spent working is gone.

Throughout the entire time that I worked and worked to build my resume I was missing out on LIFE.

I missed birthday parties, family get-togethers, lunches with friends, and so much more!

Now, I have finally come to realize that experiences on my resume do not bring me joy, fulfill me, or allow me to be who I was created to be.

Most of the things I completed on my resume I didn’t even like/enjoy. I only did them to add the experience to my resume.

It is the small things such as the quality time you spend with family and friends that allow you to experience and enjoy life — ultimately allowing you to learn to be the person that you were created to be.

Life not Resume

So take some time and, “Build a life, not a resume” 🙂

Building a life can mean a variety of things to you.

It may mean spending more time with your spouse, children, parents or friends.

It may mean spending time with yourself, your goals and dreams.

It may mean going on vacation or an adventure.

Whatever it may be I encourage you to go out and do it.

Instead of focusing on what your resume looks like, focus on what your memories look like, on what your passport looks pages look like, on what the dirt on your shoes or tires look like, on what the smiles of others around you look like — and most importantly what your heart looks and feels like!!

Treat every day as if it is a gift and you will be sure to create a new and improved outlook on your life!

Angela Joy

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