|Kimberly Renee Shah|
Time and time again I have heard women say they can't do push-ups, although they have never put in the effort to train their muscles to be strong. It is a challenge to get started and build the strength. It is hard and you will be sore and ache in the beginning. But never underestimate the power of hard work...it pays off.
There is always something to come of every first race. Expect the unexpected. Shift and morph plan as necessary. Learn from the moments. You can experience total bliss and agonizing pain all at the same time. Blisters will bleed and sweat will sting your eyes and chafe your skin. You will forget the pain as you run down the tunnel of cheers spectators. Your body will overpower your mind when the finish line comes into site and what once you thought was impossible, you now experience a feeling that you've never been stronger.
EMBRACE those moments. Embrace them all. Because no matter how good or bad they are at the time, you will never experience another first again. The first is the start of your new journey. Your first will impact how your train for the next...or not. Your first will will be your platform on how you make decisions in the next.
All the preparations in the world can never prepare you for the unexpected twists and turns of any race. Especially your first one. Some of my best races were when things went wrong or not exactly how I had planned. It is the ability to adapt quickly, make split second decisions which will determine the outcome of the race. The only time I ever had stomach issues in a race was during my very first Ironman in South Africa which sent me to the port-o-pot every time I tried to speed up my run. It was awful...but it was the most amazing experience of my life. An experience which continued to change my life and form my career, bringing me to where I am today. Taking the good with the bad, learning from one's mistakes and adapting to any situation that is thrown at you is what will make for a great experience.
BE FIT FOR LIFE AND NJOY THE LIFESTYLE
Our body is an incredible machine. It is unfortunate that we often take care of our cars, homes and other material objects better than The One machine we are given to care for our entire life. The body is something that cannot be traded in on once it stops working. Daily Fuel is needed to keep us with a sound body and sound mind. A sound body and mind cannot be achieved without the other. It is important to find a balance between the two by finding exercises which spark your interest which serves the body and other exercises which works with the mind.
It is human nature to want to do workout types which attract you most. Example is as simple as some prefer strength training and won't do cardio specific workouts. While others will do yoga and no high intensity. When it is important to always keep in mind the importance of being well rounded in your fitness routine. Having a variety of challenges, different types of training throughout the week and with different intensities help you become more well rounded. This includes not just physically, but mentally.
Try challenging yourself with different forms of exercise you wouldn't normally find yourself doing. These are usually they types of challenges your body and mind needs in order to become more balanced. One thing I have always done with my athletes at the end of their season is have them take a 6 week break. Now this doesn't mean not working out during this time, it is meant for them to try new forms of exercise and training themselves. From fencing to rock climbing, trapeze to pole dancing to boxing and Bikram are just a few examples of out of the norm challenges from the 'typical' training regime we would do throughout the rest of the year.
The benefits to this is working the body and challenging it in a different way, while also allowing the body fully recover from the day to day breakdown it sustains from repetitive training for events like running, cycling and swimming. It also gets the mind involved in learning a new movement while also exposing one to something new they might actually enjoy and wish to continue as a form of cross training or even change to a completely new form a training.
Either way, it keeps the body and mind from becoming bored and challenges it. When we aren't bored and find interest in what we do, we are more likely to keep the habit of living a more healthy lifestyle and continue our quest on being Fit for Life.
Challenge Yourself: Try something new and discover new forms of exercise that will help you stay Fit for Life.
WHERE THE JOURNEY BEGAN
Touched and honored that people would write to tell me what an inspiration I am. While my intention was not to inspire, but to educate, I suppose it takes someone who can inspire to get one to want to learn or change their life for the better.
Endless interviews and questions from panels and groups about my history of fitness made me realize that my journey was unique from what people were used to in India. So where did my journey in fitness begin? It might take a lifetime to tell, so I will just pick a story a week for you to help unfold where I came and what moved me to indulge my life in the world of fitness.
I hated dance. I hated tutus and tap shoes. I hated sequins and ruffles. GET ME OUT OF THIS! But thanks to a sister who always wanted to do ballet and dance, by default, little sister had to as well. There was something to the affect of heel toe and shuffling. That was the end of my dancing career, and thank goodness for that!
All I wanted to do was play outside and forget this girly dance stuff. Needless to say, I was a tomboy...ha, was...still am. Maybe now days they call that being an 'athletic girl'.
Two things I learned in Dance Class:
1. I don't do well in groups or working together as a team. I like to dance to my own beat and do my own moves.
2. Little sister is going to have to do a lot of things older sister wants to do even if she doesn't want to. (like play with Barbies and such)
...Just PLEASE don't put me into a sport that requires lipstick please.
It is always good to have a friend. But having a fitness friend to help push you and hold you accountable is even a bigger bonus.
For many, when getting started in endurance sports it can be intimidating to workout with others because others may have been at it for a few years, or may be faster than you. But it is important to remember at some point in our life, we started from the beginning too. That is something I have never let myself forget.
Fitness comes in all shapes and sizes, strengths and movement abilities. There are an endless array of physical sports which one can participate. While I chose endurance sports, which usually requires long hours alone with myself, I have always found it more enjoyable with friends. It doesn't mean you have to workout with them, but can go to races, compare training notes, have a coffee (or a beer) and share Racing Stories with each other. It is nice to find extra motivation and support from your fitness friends.
As intimidating as stepping into a new sport might be, having that friend or group of will help ease all the anxiety of training and how you progress, to how to approach your first race and what gear you might need. It is worth opening yourself up to putting yourself out there and being a little vulnerable in the beginning. As a coach and athlete I have always took the approach 'Never forget' and 'I want everyone to have the same amazing experience I did when I first started because it changed my life forever in the most amazing way.' Neither of those things would have happened had it not been for now one of my very best friends in the world. She made everything that seemed impossible, hard and scary doable. She gave me confidence and helped me find a mental and physical strength I never knew I had in me. (including - taking a dive into Lake Michigan in the middle of winter with snow on the ground...pictured above)
I have raced on teams and made friends. I have travelled with friends around the world and done races. I have made friends with clients and do my training workouts with them. I have made friends at races from all over the world. I have made friends in races who have helped me push me through to victories and held me up at the end of a race.
Whether it is a training buddy, a friend for coffee talk, or racing partner, a Fitness Friend is always a priceless friend to have.
Conscious Living: Working in an industry that really should be looked upon as preventative health care here has been lowly looked upon by society here. Well that needs to change. While eyes are slowly...very slowly, starting to open, it is important for people to start putting INVESTING in their health.
How is it that people can go out on a weekend and spend Rs.3000-5000+/ and find an annual gym membership of Rs.10,000-15,000/ be unreasonable? Seriously!?!? Explain to me how you value your health. How do you value your children's health? If you are not willing to invest in your own health and care about being disease and pain free, your children will be likely to do the same.
People spend a lot of time and effort on their children, and often push their own needs and health aside for the "sake of their children". But how do they learn? It of more often by visual learning more so than auditory, therefore what they see you doing to yourself at the ages of 30, 40 years old is how they will treat themselves at those ages, and the cycle continues. Is having heart disease, diabetes, living in pain and on pills what you want for them? Value yourself. Value your health. Value your body and take action to doing what is right for it. There is only one body you get to live with for the rest of your life and it needs to be cared for. Your health is worth the investment
Never have I felt that needed someone in my life to feel like I was whole, however, there has always seemed to be someone there. It wasn't until the past couple years where I spent a lot of time with myself and started to discover the power within myself which made me feel rooted. While I am still working on the total connection between mind and body to feel whole, I can attest to the empowerment and wholeness I am feeling for finding my own roots I have grown and nurtured myself.