"My Father with My Son"
I remember growing up idolizing prominent figures: baseball player (and former IronPigs Manager) Ryne Sandberg , Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrong, and the likes. I was enamored by their abilities, their passion, and their determination to be the best at what they did – they were Super Gods! They were untouchable, invincible, and everything I dreamed of being one day.
In retrospect, through my present adult eyes, I now realize that there are positive and negative elements of your role model selections in your youth. You take a gamble with your selection because there is no way to truly know these individuals on a “to the core” basis. Some will have a fall from grace and with that crashing fall comes a certain confusion in a young mind. Children don’t know how to process what happens in a scandal of epic proportions. Yet, some of the role models of my youth did continue to lead productive, positive journeys through their careers and some of them I still hold in high regard to this day. Another aspect I think we lose sight of when acquiring role models is the lack of a reciprocal relationship. You place so much pride, investment, and trust in someone who doesn’t even know you exist.
There was one role model, however, that sticks out in my mind as soaring above the rest. I truly admired and looked up to this individual starting at very young age. And, honestly, I might not have realized it at the time, but my biggest role model was - my Father. He didn’t have all the “bling”, the fancy cars, the loud flamboyant demeanor of superstar role model but he did possess one trait that was parallel to the idols mentioned above - he was passionate about what he did. He wanted to be the best he could possibly be and continues to strive to be the best. I admire him for that. But there was one other thing he did that the others didn’t and really made him special in my eyes, and I believe this is what makes a true role model. He invested his time into me and our family.
What is my one word of advice to all the adults out there who want to be their child’s superstar role model? Invest your time! Investing time is the key to making our children look up to us as role models. Granted our role as parents is very complex, twisted, multifaceted, but the one as a role model cannot be overlooked. As my father did with me, we need to fully invest our quality time and energy back into our children because, at its essence, our actions and our love will transcend into the person they grow up to be.
When investing this bonding time with our children, it is not just showing up at an event or listening to them with half an ear. We need to put them first and truly get to know them which, in turn, will allow them to really get to know us on a different level. To do this we can communicate with them on their level, allow them to see what we do at work, have them engage in activities we are passionate about, be optimistic, and take the time to answer their questions. This investment you make with them, showing them how you work mentally, physically, spiritually and even emotionally, will go a long way in developing their character, confidence, and personal drive. Time investment will show them how to become successful individuals just like ourselves. These bonding moments will also allow them to see that perhaps you are not perfect and that it is okay. Witnessing our failures and missteps will show them how to overcome adversity and how to adjust their goals in order to succeed. The time investment is priceless and invaluable as they continue their journey of life.
When we invest this time back into our children’s lives they will invest with you. As we make the investment we need to make sure we lead by example and instill in them the confidence to stay true to their moral compass. We need to show them how to become strong and love themselves for who they are. I strongly believe that our children do look up to us but it won’t be until later that they will really admit it. We need to set the precedent for our young minds of the future, as we set the bar high for them, and lead them to success.
I challenge all of the parents out there to play an even bigger role in their child’s life, regardless of age, and to make a positive impact on their child’s life. We must remember that kids will then emulate everything that we do. We must be cautious in our mannerisms, tendencies, tones, sternness and approach of a balanced life. We must set great examples to make great individuals. Let’s go out there and help our little futures become the greatest individuals by investing the time that will allow your relationship to flourish into far beyond the reaches of “parent” and into the realm of Gods. Be their role model and you never know, they may put a poster of you on their wall one day!
Remember the days of sweating in the sun as you chased a ball around the field, or tried to hit a ball over the fence, or maybe even tried to see how fast you could run around a track filled with cinders and if you were lucky enough a track that might have been blacktopped? Ahhh, childhood memories! These days were filled with sweat, blood, sheer exhaustion, cramps, sometimes tears, laughter, fun, victories and losses. After the long days of competition, how were we rewarded? With SLICED ORANGES!! I remember looking into that big bowl trying to find the perfect juicy slice that was cut just right, that had few visible seeds (there weren’t seedless oranges yet), and that looked like it had nice juicy pulpy sections. My teammates and I would be like pigs around the trough at feeding time trying to locate that perfect slice. We would sink our teeth into that juicy pulp while recapping the day’s event. As we looked around, you would notice the juice dripping down a teammate’s chin as they would smear it across their jersey. As they wiped their chin, the natural sugars from the orange juice would take hold in between their fingers that would make them stick together. That pure fruit juice would reinvigorate our systems.
As I am now an adult and attend my child’s sporting events, I started to think - Where are the Oranges? Our kids are still putting out top notch performances just like we used some 20-30 years ago but after the events they are now rewarded with salty chips, cookies, and candy. The natural sugars from the oranges that made our fingers and chins so sticky are now replaced with the stickiness of marshmallows, frosting, and chocolate. The natural juices from the oranges have been replaced with sugary fruit drinks. As I look out across the field, court, or pitch, I don’t see much in the form of healthy nutrition being supplied to our young aspiring athletes. If I am lucky, I see a bottle of spring water basking in the sun as it sits by its lonesome waiting to be drank; but it is usually overlooked for a sport drink.
We spend so much time, energy, money, and effort to watch them succeed, to give them the best resources to compete on a high level but we place nutrition on the backburner. Not to mention, the efforts that our children are giving cannot be in vain in relation to the nutrition that we then give them after their efforts. Why does nutrition, more times than not, take a back seat. Let’s not short change our young athletes from a nutrition standpoint but educate them on healthy living. These benefits we can provide our children give them the ability to perform at their full potential. It starts with us. So let’s start one slice at a time and make our children’s nutrition a priority. My challenge to everyone reading this – buy a huge bag of oranges, slice ‘em up, and tell those kids – dig in!!
When you hear these two phrases they appear on the surface to be one in the same. People usually use these topics interchangeably and in my opinion it is a skewed perspective. Being fit and being healthy are two different issues and actually one is part of the other. They are common elements of a greater collective theme. I feel that being healthy is the overall result of living a certain lifestyle where you take care of your body in every aspect. Being fit is only one of the aspects of being healthy. Too many times people think that being fit is good enough and disregard the other aspects of living healthy. I believe the aspects of being healthy are:
1) Being fit – exercising regularly
2) Eating healthy - eating nutrient rich foods that benefit your body
3) Sleep – making sure you are getting an adequate amount that allows you to perform at a high level
4) Stress – the ability to manage and remove the stress from our lives
5) Happy – Keeping yourself happy and content is what life is all about
It is an often occurrence, that when someone encounters a health crisis, others are quick to say, “I can’t believe it happened to them, they take such good care of their body”. That may be the case, but how were they in the overall scale of being healthy. I see people working out like crazy people, only to get done and eat poorly or not get enough sleep to help the body repair itself. It is important to cover as many of the above stated issues in order to stay or start being healthy in totality. Remember being healthy is a lifestyle and constantly needs to be tended to. Listen to your body and it will tell you what it needs. Remember to live a life of moderation and balance and you will reap the benefits.
HUUB AERIOUS 4.4 Wetsuit
I ordered this wetsuit from PX Triathlon – www.PXTriathlon.com
– because of our cold conditions we have been having here in the Northeast. Winter just won’t leave, which left me worried about the water temps in my early season triathlons. I went up to Lake Placid to try it out in some very chilly conditions. I went up for a triathlon training camp with some good friends for the Memorial Day Holiday and wouldn’t you know it, it started snowing while we were there. So I thought the conditions should be perfect to try out my new HUUB Full Wetsuit Aerious 4.4, or maybe I have a touch of the crazy bug. Probably a little bit of both.
I ordered the Small Tall (SMT), I am 175lbs and 6’2” tall. I was right on the upper end of the size chart which I thought would be perfect, nice and snug. I ordered it and PX Triathlon had it to me in 2 days, perfect!! I pulled it out of the box like a kid on Christmas morning and I thought I had ordered the wrong one, I wasn’t sure if it would my 8 year old daughter. I thought I might as well try it on before sending it back and getting the next size up. I wiggled a bit and worked it up my body and got it on. It felt nice and snug with no air pockets what so ever. It felt great, guess I won’t be sending it back.
Test day in Lake Placid. I walked up to the beach in Lake Placid contemplating if I should go in or not, and looked out over the empty chilly lake with the top of the water looking like glass, and decided to suit up. I wiggled and squirmed again but not as much this time. It felt nice and snug, kind of felt like my skin. The wetsuit material was stretchy, and conformed perfectly to my body type. I felt the sand between my toes as I pulled my TYR Velocity Goggles over my eyes and dove into the shallows of Mirror Lake. The first sensation as the High 50 degree water temp hit my face was man this is crazy. I took about twenty strokes and got myself into a rhythm and started to evaluate my new wetsuit. I felt the buoyancy effect right away as it popped my body right to the top of the water. Then I concentrated on feeling the arm restriction from the sleeves of the suit. As I rotated my arms around my shoulders I could not feel any restriction what so ever. I have more restriction in my ZOOT sleeveless than I do in this HUUB Wetsuit. The material is thin and flexible enough that it does not interfere with the swim stroke at all. It felt almost like I was swimming without a wetsuit, in terms of arm restriction. Very refreshing to feel like this when swimming long distances like in a Full Ironman. Then I finally realized I forgot to check how I felt temperature wise. Well I wasn’t frozen up to this point. Since the temperature didn’t cross my mind after the initial shock, it goes to show that even though the material feels thin, light, and has a high elasticity that it doesn’t comprise the temperature controlling nature of the wetsuit. I did not feel cold in the least and actually started breaking a sweat towards the end of my 25 minute swim.
Finally I had to get this thing off of me. I raced up the beach as I would in a race and pealed it off my upper body with ease and then made quick work with my legs. It did take me a little longer to take it off my feet since the elasticity is very high but nothing that a big yank couldn’t take care of.
This product , the HUUB Aerious 4.4 Full Wetsuit is a great product. I was very impressed with all the qualities of this wetsuit. I felt that the makers of this wetsuit really took their time doing their research, design, and constructing such a great product. I would recommend this product to all my fellow racers that want a quality product. The whole process from ordering it from PX Triathlon to trying the wetsuit out seemed flawless and close to perfection.
I read a lot of health magazine articles and a topic that always seems to arise is the importance of good hydration. The consensus seems to be that we should drink about 8 cups of water a day on a typical day. With spring and summer knocking on our doors and our eagerness to get outside and train, hydration is a very important aspect of training not to overlook. Not making the proper adjustments during warmer conditions can be detrimental in keeping our bodies performing at a high level while racing or training. When we sweat, we don’t just lose water, we lose essential vitamins and minerals. If you’re training over long periods of time, it might be necessary to switch to electrolyte drinks such as Gatorade, or GU products, just to name a couple. Below are some tips to follow in dealing with proper hydration:
· How much am I sweating while I am training?
- The level of perspiration definitely varies from individual to individual. As you go through a training session, pay close attention to your level and rate of perspiration and gauge/assess your needs based on that day’s workout and gather patterns for the next time you train in those same conditions.
· What are the conditions I am training in? Is it cold, hot?
- Conditions play a major role in how much you will sweat. Obviously, if it is scorching hot outside you will be sweating like crazy. But also don’t forget that in cold conditions, when you are all bundled up for that run, you are still sweating, and the level of perspiration could be deceptively high.
· How long am I going to be training?
- How long you are being active will dictate the volume of fluids you should be drinking. A rule of thumb is that you should drink a full water bottle for every hour of training. So make sure you pack enough water or hydration drink to last for your entire workout or race.
· Your workout environment’s effect on perspiration?
- If you are in a controlled environment, such as a gym with poor air circulation, you will tend to feel like you are sweating more. In contrast, when you exercise outdoors, you receive the benefit of cool breezes to help cool you down. Don’t let this fool you, though, because this doesn’t mean you are sweating less or more, just that you might be more comfortable. Visually you might not be able to see the perspiration on mild/windy day but you are still sweating so remain vigilant and committed to your hydration plan.
· When to hydrate?
- We should be hydrating constantly. It’s just as important to hydrate properly before and after a workout or race as it is during the activity. Don’t neglect your body, give it what it needs to perform.
· Side effects of improper hydration
- Poor performance or lack of peak performance
- Dehydration - Dizziness, goosebumps (on hot days), disoriented
- Cramping of Muscles
- Imbalance of essential vitamins
Could Potentially BONK!!!
Refresh, Rejuvenate, Recover
This time of year can be a crossroads for most athletes. We’re about a month into our New Year’s Resolutions or we are starting to gear up for the beginning of our race season. The excitement of re-entering the training cycle has worn off and the reward of race season hasn’t begun yet. I am sure you did your research on what your workouts should entail, what your nutrition plan should look like, and what you need to have in regards to equipment and apparel to ensure you are comfortable while you are training and racing. One particular aspect many athletes and especially newbies overlook is the power of sleep. Sleep plays a critical role in the way we perform. The effects are huge both mentally and physically and sleep will allow your body to push through the doldrums of pre-season boredom.
With proper sleep it allows us to stay sharp and ready to go for each workout. If we start to lack sleep we start to feel sluggish and lethargic. With these feelings, it becomes very tempting for us to skip workouts and if we do choose to workout, lack of sleep will pressure us into slacking off and not putting in a good effort. You can almost think of the old adage of the devil and the angel on your shoulder. Lack of sleep will be that temptation voice saying “my body just isn’t up for it today”. Whereas the angelic state of a full night’s rest will encourage your body and mind to give it everything you have each and every time you train.” We don’t want to get in the habit of skipping workouts, each time we do this it becomes easier and easier to put it on the back burner.
From a physical standpoint, sleep is the time when our body repairs itself. This time is critical as our body prepares itself for the next day of workouts and our daily routines. We need to make sure we are allowing our body the time it needs to fully recover. Making sure we are fully rested also helps keep us healthy. Keeping our body fresh and energized helps keep our immune system strong, which in affect will allow us to stay healthy and produce better results in our training. It is all about balance and once we start to feel drained from all the hustle and bustle of the world around us, we need to take a step back and make our adjustments. Start with making your rest a priority and you will reap the benefits. Sleep works wonders for your body so take advantage of the easiest thing we can do – SLEEP. Sweet Dreams!
When training in the snow wether it is running or biking you need to take extra precautions. We all now the dangers of the cold tmperatures, so we need to make sure we dress warm enough to get through our workouts. Besides dressing warm enough you need to look a little deeper into the workout and into the conditions outsides. You want to make sure you keep your eyes ahead of you surveying your running surface but especially watching the vehicles you might be sharing the roadway with (remember to run towards traffic and not with it). If the temperatures are below freezing watch for icy patches, these are spots in your workout were you can easily get injured if you are not paying attention. Treat every wet spot on the roadway as black ice or an icy patch. Take your time and run under control over these areas. If there is a vehicle around you when approaching a questionable area stop, and let the car pass you then proceed with care.
When biking in cold conditions, it is very important to dress warm, don't forget to take wind chill into consideration when dressing to bike. Can get very chilly. Brrr!! So dress warm, very warm. If roadways are wet and is close to freezing Do Not go out. You do not want to risk wrecking your bike and potentially really hurting yourself from skidding on an ice patch. Pretty straight forward. One other major obstacle you might encounter while biking in the winter is road cinders and road debris. When it snows road crews hit our roads with salt and cinders. As the snow melts and cars use the roads the salt and cinders make their way to the shoulder of the road (our biking lane). These small pieces of road debris act as marbles, making it very hard to control your bike when trying to handle a corner/turn. So take your time and be aware of any areas that might present a problem. Constantly survey the road surface in front of you, to prepare yourself for what you might encounter.
Train hard but be smart and know when to be patient!! Enjoy the these winter training months!!
Now that New Year's is here and gone, I know a lot of people are really AMPED UP to start training again or get started for the first time. Some advice: Take your time and ease into it. You do not want to throw your body into fits by over doing it the first day or even first week. Take it easy and take your time, you won't get in the prime shape of your life the first day but you can definitely hurt yourself. Try and relax!! Concentrate your time on proper form and technique not on how much weight you are lifting, how many reps you might be pumping out, or how fast your legs are moving on the treadmill. Proper form and technique now will save you from injury later. .
5 Easy Tips when starting out:
- Focus on Technique
- Focus on Form
- Keep a workout log
- Make sure you are getting a good night sleep
- Stretch, Stretch and then Stretch one more time
Stay AMPED UP but make sure you funnel your time and energy into the right areas of your workout from the very start.
SET YOUR GOAL THEN GO AFTER!!
I have discovered throughout my life how important it is to have goals and how essential they are for one to succeed. I started noticing, though, how many of us have goals (which is wonderful) but sometimes we don’t put a solid foundation down as to how these goals will eventually be attained. As we head into the New Year, I want to help you in reaching your goals for 2013. Listed below are my favorite goal setting tools designed to help build that strong foundation that will ultimately result in success. My latest goal is to race triathlons professionally and from my experiences throughout my life and from racing, I have put together a strategy outline that you can use to achieve any goal you can think up. These steps have helped me immensely and I hope they will do the same for you.
1) Goal Identification:
a) Figure out what it is that you want to accomplish. Develop benchmarks to keep you on track or to use along the way to gauge your progress. Set a specific long-term goal and adapt your benchmarks as short- term goals that you can check off on your way to your long-term goal.
2) Motivating Factors – definition: to act as the motive for; the causative factor of; instigate, induce
a) This is the reason, the force, which drives us or will drive us to attain our goals. It could be in the form of a reward, to prove to yourself or to others that you can do something, the inspiration you receive from others, or possibly just the satisfaction of completing the task. Motivating factors will help you push through the tough times. I encourage you to re-visit these factors throughout your journey to remind yourself of what your inspirations mean to you.
3) Perseverance – definition: to continue striving in spite of discouragements
a) This is the ability to push through diversity or difficult times in order to achieve your goal. At times your perseverance will be tested to its limits but will be necessary to break down the roadblocks you face in order to fulfill the ultimate prize. These next three items: Fear of Failure, Doubters, and I CAN’T – are the topics I feel are the ones most commonly associated with not attaining your goal. Your ability to overcome these issues will be critical in your overall accomplishment of your goal. I want to delve a little further into these subjects below.
i. Fear of Failure - Failure in our society has become a very negative word and I am not exactly sure why. Instead of treating it as a negative word, reverse the perception and use it to your advantage. So when you come up short don’t be afraid of it, embrace it. Failure will happen - it is inevitable. It’s not the failure portion that will make or break your quest to reaching your goal; it’s what happens after and how you react to it. Are you willing to put the extra effort in to make sure the same outcome won’t happen again or are you going to do everything the same to ensure the same negative outcome? I urge you to change your approach and look at it from a fresh perspective. That is where the answer lies. Don’t take failure as a negative, use it as a positive and learn from your experience and change your approach. You didn’t fail, you ruled out one way that is not going to get you to where you want to go and you’re discovering the correct path.
ii. Doubters: These people will be all around you. Unfortunately, you will always have people telling you “you can’t do it”, “you’re not good enough”, or “you’re wasting your time.” My point of view is, why not at least make an attempt and see for yourself. Don’t let someone else’s comment deter you, especially since they haven’t done the homework like you did. You have to live life on your own terms - not on someone else’s. You don’t want to have any regrets when you’re taking your journey towards your goal.
iii. CAN’T: Remove this word from your vocabulary! This is a self confidence, or as some believe, a laziness issue. Never think that you can’t, anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I do not believe the issue comes down to the fact that you can’t do something, I think what happens is that if the approach to the situation is off, you might be attacking the situation wrong. Try it from a different direction. Be creative, don’t let a can’t deter you. Turn your can’t into a can.
4)Support System – Who are you going to have in place to help you attain your goal
a) Your support system are the people you will surround yourself with to help you achieve your goal. This group of individuals will help you through the toughest of times and help get you pointed in the right direction when things don’t seem to be going as planned. These individuals can be your parents, siblings, teachers, pastors, coaches, friends and people you might never expect.
One motto I have lived by is: “Surround yourself with great people and great things will happen”
It’s the truth. Embrace this group of people when they want to help and ensure that they feel included and a part of the process. Continually thank them for their support.
Goal setting is critical when trying to attain all different levels of success throughout your life. Setting up the proper goal setting outline will allow you to achieve your goals easier than just saying I want to do this or that. Don’t get discouraged, no matter what road blocks are thrown at you during your journey, pull from everything you have put in place to help you through and keep moving forward. You will get there. You can do it. Put your mind to it and it is amazing what one can accomplish. Also, lead by example. Help inspire others to reach their goals, be part of their support system (sometimes it is just as gratifying to see someone else reach their goal as it is to reach your own), help motivate them, and help them persevere through the rough patches.
DREAM BIG and then GO CAPTURE IT.
When trying to start to improve your overall health or begin a more active lifestyle, be patient. The first couple of weeks might get you feeling tired, sore, and out of sorts. That is normal, completely normal. It will take a few weeks to a couple months for your body to catch up to your new schedule. Make sure you keep your workouts fresh, try different things so you can see what really works for what your goals are. Talk to others to see what has helped them through this part of training (My Two Cents: make sure you stretch and train with someone who knows what they are doing, you don't want to start bad workout habits). Make small goals to accomplish at the beginning to help you along your way. Once you make it through about 2 months of training you will be surprised that your body and mind will be wanting you to workout. So give it time, keep it fresh, and keep an open mind and you will surprise yourself at what your next workout goal will be.