|"Move Your Body" event in New York City
|"Move Your Body" event in New York City|
|Hanging out with Seattle Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung|
|Doing the Heisman at the Sports Spectacular Gala!|
|Walking the red carpet at the Sports Spectacular Gala in LA|
The month of May seems like it has flown by. The April showers have passed and the weather across the USA is finally starting to be consistently spring-like, with hints of early summer. Flowers are blooming, people are peeling back the layers of clothing, the sun shines most of the day and those whom have procrastinated their New Year’s resolution to get fit or started off but quickly fell of the wagon are now in panic mode as pools, beaches and vacation time is approaching rapidly. Memorial Day weekend has passed and, as tradition, it is the official welcome three-day weekend to summer fun, family gatherings, honoring and remember those whom have served and let’s not forget SHOPPING SALES!
Often as elite athletes we get comments or questions about what drives us… “You are so determined and focused; how do you do it? Wow you must make a lot of sacrifices – do you ever just want to stop? What motivates you to live such an active lifestyle and dedicate all those hours to working out and eating right? It must be an athlete thing. How do you say no to the temptation? Must take crazy discipline?”
My answer to those questions is: It’s not just an “athlete thing” to be healthy, active, and push yourself to be a better individual through mind, body and soul. These are things that all people should want, do, and make the necessary efforts to accomplish. We only have one body and one life, and statistically it is supposed to last us approximately 80-85 years. It isn’t luck that people live until 100, a happy healthy fruitful life. They simply take control and action in the necessary steps to do so.
Soooooo I say… MOVE YOUR BODY! Stop wasting time, making excuses, and not living the life you want to live. You don’t have to be an “athlete” to be active, fit and healthy! I had the pleasure this month to be apart of a few activities which focused on MOVING… that is bettering yourself, whether that’s through mind, body, soul or all the above. Having my amazing mother whom has been battling the auto-immune disease lupus for over 30 years, a disease that she genetically inherited, has been a real eye opener. People tend to take for granted the ability to wake up in the morning pain-free, having all their limbs mobile, feeling energized and performing day to day activities freely.
This past month has been jam-packed between training sessions. At the end of April I was a guest at the “Move Your Body” kick-off event at the World School of the Avenues in New York City, supporting First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to fight childhood obesity. A bunch of guests were present from Disney, from actors to music stars, to get kids excited about getting up and moving. They wore me out with their dance moves, but it was great to see their enthusiasm and interest in being active and healthy for a better life quality.
While home in New Jersey I did my sprint training at my high school track and often helped coach some of the athletes in the throwing events. These young athletes are at the prime stage, where nurturing their knowledge of living a healthy active life style is crucial – from proper nutrition to rest and recovery, as well as being able to juggle the everyday stress of life all correlate together affecting performance in the classroom, on the field and in social settings. A few days some of my old teachers and peers from high school whom now teach there pulled me aside during my workout to talk to their classes about the importance of being healthy, some things I have learned along the way, and advice for their future strides. Being able to communicate to these students using my own personal experience really allowed me to connect with them and over the course of a few coaching sessions I could see real efforts for them to make productive changes. Hugely rewarding for me!
I have also been fortunate enough to have a local facility, Innovation Fitness Solutions in Butler, N.J., allow me to use their facilities while home training this past month. This fitness facility is one of a kind indeed. It has such a welcoming environment for all ages and all levels of fitness/athleticism. They recently have gone through renovations expanding the area, bringing in new equipment and allowing more space for classes held. It has truly been a privilege to hear peoples’ different stories on how and why they became active and started at this facility. It embraces every individual and their specific needs but also encourages group session for that extra motivation and support. I met a woman while training one day who, before joining the gym, couldn’t walk or do activity for more than 10 minutes. Now she can do two classes in a day, both of which are longer than an hour. She lost weight, got rid of some meds she was reliant on and is the happiest she has been in years. Now that’s moving.
The last event I attended this month was the Sports Spectacular Gala held in Los Angeles, Calif. Hope Solo, Adrian Peterson, Colin Kaepernick and Jason Collins were honored at the event for multiple contributions through sport to community and causes. A number of elite athletic professionals and medical professionals were in attendance to not only honor the honorees but also raise money, which would go to future grants for medical students, research and treatment. Sports Spectacular has raised over $22 million, has 35 fellowship grants and has partnered with numerous institutions to push the envelope of medical discoveries and practices to aid in directly affecting people’s everyday lives for the better. It was a huge honor to be in such remarkable company, as well as support such a great event looking to make significant impact on creating healthier, longer, more active lives.
So as you eat that last piece of amazing birthday cake, skip your local yoga or spin class, procrastinate doing the things you KNOW are good for you with an abundance of excuses and ‘I can’t’s… know there are people who wish they were able and crave the ability that you so easily take for granted. Hear me now on your shoulder whispering in your ear… “MOVE YOUR BODY!” You’ll hate me for a short time, but in the long run you’ll thank me! Be active and live the life you truly want to live.