How to Maintain Fitness and Wellness Habits: Tips and Techniques

How to Maintain Fitness and Wellness Habits: Tips and Techniques

Maintaining your fitness and wellness habits can be challenging, especially when life gets
busy. However, developing simple and effective strategies will help you stay on track and
keep your health a priority. This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide to
staying fit and healthy, complete with tips and techniques that you can implement in your
daily routine.

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6 Tips For Quality Run Training

6 Tips For Quality Run Training

Tips for Quality Run Training Train no faster than one pace quicker than the race you are training for. For example, 5k pace is good for an Olympic-distance race, while half-marathon pace suffices...

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Transform Your Life: Pathways to Personal Evolution

Transform Your Life: Pathways to Personal Evolution

In the relentless pursuit of personal growth and self-fulfillment, the journey
Becoming the best version of oneself is a path worth embarking upon.
This self-improvement guide is a roadmap designed to empower you with the
knowledge, tools, and strategies necessary to elevate your life meaningfully. The following article, courtesy of Inner Fire Endurance Sports, provides clear and actionable steps to help you navigate the transformative process
of self-improvement.

Cultivate a Fitness Routine

Physical activity is a cornerstone of holistic wellness, as the glue that binds physical and mental health. Introducing even a modest regimen
of physical activity can pave the way for improved stamina, a reduction in
tension, and mood enhancement.
If you’re ready to elevate your fitness game, consider running. Not only does this
help you build strength and endurance, but training for races brings a new
level of vibrance. Working with Coach Brad of Inner Fire Endurance Sports can
also help new runners find a customized approach that offers lasting impact.

Embrace a Healthy Diet

Healthy eating is a foundational element of self-improvement. The food we
consume directly influences our physical well-being, providing energy and
nutrients necessary for optimal performance and overall health.
Beyond the physical benefits, a well-balanced diet can also positively impact our
mental clarity and emotional stability, laying a solid foundation for improved
decision-making and emotional resilience. By nourishing our bodies with
nutritious foods, we not only bolster our physical health but also cultivate the
discipline and self-care habits that are essential for a successful journey of personal
growth and self-improvement.

Foster Positive Relationships

Spending time with people who uplift us, add positivity to our lives, and inspire us
can significantly impact our journey toward self-improvement. Regularly getting
together with friends who share our values, aspirations, and interests can provide
a crucial support system that motivates and empowers us.
Try hosting small dinner parties or brunches to forge deeper bonds with these
individuals. Elevate the experience by adding a special touch with beautifully-
designed invitations, which can be effortlessly created using free online tools
that offer a wide range of templates to choose from so you can customize them to
your preferences.

Discover the Tranquility of Mindful Stillness

Few practices offer the transformative potential of meditation. This ancient art of
mindfulness empowers individuals to harness the profound benefits of inner
calm and self-awareness.
Regular meditation practice sharpens the mind, reduces stress, and enhances
emotional resilience, allowing us to approach life's challenges with greater clarity
and equanimity. Moreover, meditation fosters a deeper connection with our inner
selves, promoting self-discovery and self-acceptance, key components of
personal growth.

The Complex Terrain of Addiction

Reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption can be a pivotal step in the path to
self-improvement, as it offers numerous physical and mental health benefits. For
those seeking assistance in overcoming alcohol dependency, rehab centers can
be a lifeline.
While the cost of rehab can be a concern, many rehab centers across the US
accept health insurance from major providers, making it a more accessible
option for those in need. It’s essential to contact your insurance company to
understand the extent of your coverage. When selecting an inpatient facility,
factors include accommodations, accreditations, treatment
modalities, location, and reviews from former patients.

The Holistic Benefits of Yoga

The practice of yoga (especially for those who run) offers a world of
transformative benefits. Yoga’s harmonious blend of physical postures, breath
control, and mindfulness provides a unique opportunity to enhance performance and cultivate holistic well-being.
Yoga improves flexibility, balance, and core strength, reducing the risk of injury in
other physical activities. Moreover, it instills mental resilience, teaching us to stay
present, manage stress, and overcome mental hurdles personally and

Stay Hydrated

Staying adequately hydrated through regular water intake is an often
underestimated yet crucial component of any self-improvement journey. Water is
the elixir of life, essential for maintaining optimal bodily functions.
It not only helps regulate body temperature and flush out toxins but also boosts
cognitive function and supports overall well-being. Proper hydration enhances
physical performance, aids in weight management, and promotes clear, radiant
skin. Moreover, drinking enough water can improve mood, reduce stress, and
sharpen concentration – all essential aspects of personal growth.

In the journey of self-improvement, the path may be challenging, but the rewards
are profound. By embracing the principles and strategies outlined in this guide,
you have the tools to unlock your fullest potential and live a life enriched with
personal growth, self-awareness, and fulfillment. Remember that self-
improvement is not a destination but a continuous, evolving process. Stay
committed, remain resilient, and never underestimate the transformative power
of small, consistent efforts. As you embark on this path of self-discovery and
growth, know that your potential is limitless, and your journey is uniquely yours to

How to Maintain Fitness and Wellness Habits: Tips and Techniques

How to Maintain Fitness and Wellness Habits: Tips and Techniques

Maintaining your fitness and wellness habits can be challenging, especially when life gets busy. However, developing simple and effective strategies will help you stay on track and keep your health a priority. This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide to staying fit and healthy, complete with tips and techniques that you can implement in your daily routine.

Build in Daily Exercise

One of the easiest ways to maintain a fitness routine is to build in daily exercise. Even if you’re busy, there are several ways to fit in exercise that won’t take up too much of your time. For instance, try parking farther away from your destination and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. You can also use your lunch breaks to take a brisk walk or run.

Challenge Yourself with a Running Coach

If you want to take your fitness routine to the next level, consider working with Brad Minus from Inner Fire Endurance Sports to build your endurance. A coach will push you to achieve your goals and hold you accountable for your progress. Additionally, they will provide you with personalized advice and tips to ensure that you’re training in the most effective way possible.

Give Yourself Positive Affirmations

Incorporating positive affirmations into your daily routine can help you stay motivated and confident in your health journey. Start by telling yourself positive things in the mirror every morning. Repeat phrases such as “I am strong,” “I am healthy,” and “I am capable.” Before long, you’ll start to believe it, and your mindset will shift toward positivity.

Set Healthy Boundaries

Setting healthy boundaries is crucial if you want to maintain your fitness and wellness habits. This means saying “no” to things that interfere with your workout routine, such as late-night plans that will make you too tired for an early morning workout. Prioritize your health and protect your boundaries to ensure that you won’t be distracted or derailed from your goals.

Unplug Regularly

In today’s digital age, it’s easy to be consumed by technology, making it even harder to find time for exercise or self-care. However, it’s essential to unplug regularly and give yourself time to recharge, both mentally and physically. Try taking a break from social media for a day or two or turning off all electronic devices in the evening to help your mind unwind.

Create a Clean and Organized Home Environment

Maintaining a clean and organized living space is essential for promoting a healthy lifestyle. A clutter-free environment can contribute to a sense of calmness and reduced stress levels. Additionally, having ample space in your home allows you to easily incorporate physical activities like workouts or yoga sessions into your daily routine.

If you struggle to keep your home clean and organized, there are a few tips and tricks that can make it easier. Try to minimize clutter by getting rid of anything that you no longer need or use. When vacuuming, make sure that you empty your vacuum regularly to maintain full suction power. Next, establish a daily cleaning routine, such as doing a load of laundry each day or washing your dishes immediately after using them.

Maintaining your fitness and wellness habits requires a deliberate and consistent effort. However, incorporating simple and effective strategies into your daily routine can make a significant difference. Building in daily exercise, unplugging from technology, and maintaining a clean and organized home environment are all essential components to staying fit and healthy. By implementing these tips and techniques, you’ll be on your way to achieving your goals and living your healthiest life.

NYC Marathon 2015: The Why

NYC Marathon 2015: The Why

My Why – PKD

The human brain is an advanced computer that controls many different systems.  The body is like a room full of servers each independently managing a different system with one major system, the brain, as the master controller for all of them.

When the master controller has a difficult task to undergo, the systems will cluster together in order to complete the task as efficiently as possible.  If one of the systems begin to fail, it doesn’t mean the task will not be accomplished it just means another system will take over the lack of work.  The work may not be handled as efficiently, but nonetheless, it will be completed.

Only when the master controller issues a command to stop will the other systems desist what they are programmed to do.  The question would be “Why did the Master Controller issue the command?”

This long analogy comes right down to a quote I use all the time.  Internally, and with my client athletes.  “The mind will quit 100 times before the body does.”  Every excuse will come to mind while an athlete may be suffering, but it is the reason “why” they are challenging themselves that will override the mind’s command to stop.

My 15th Marathon was the 2015 New York City Marathon, and my “Why” was tested.

In 2014, at the completion of the New York City Marathon, I said to myself, “Self, I am really happy I did it.  It was a tough race, in tough conditions (sub-40 degree temperature with 33 mph winds), but we did it.  It may not have been the time we wanted, but scratch the largest marathon in the world off the list.  I will probably not do this one again.”

My reasoning was the logistics of the race.

First, it is located in New York City.  That just says a lot of $$$ is going to be spent.

2) Getting around the big apple in a timely manner is difficult for someone not living there.

3) I have a lot of friends that live in the city and I want to see them, which means, more travel, meals and more $$$ spent.

4) The race doesn’t start until 9:50 which at 4 hours means 1:50 which is after the usual 12 pm checkout time.  Again, more $$$.

5) In order to pack the corrals with 50,000 runners, it is required to be in the runner villages close to 3 hours early, and in sub-40 degree weather for someone from Florida is somewhat uncomfortable.

6) After leaving the finish line when the legs are burning and everything is getting stiff, it is another mile to get to checked bags and then another half mile to get out of the park where there are no cabs.  Then another 5 block walk to the subway.

Other than that the race is amazing.

This year, the reasons above meant nothing to me, because I ran this race not for me, but as a member of Team Tampa PKD for Erika Bragan, Jennifer Thomas and all of the other people affected by Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD).

Team Tampa PKD Scott with PKD Patient Erika

Scott & Erika Bragan

In 2009, Scott offered me a chance to run the Chicago Marathon for the Polycystic Kidney Disease.  At the time we were both in a boot camp class at a Lifestyle Family Fitness.  He mentioned it to a few others as well, so I brought up the idea of a team concept, where we could organize events to raise awareness and funds for PKD and then split up the money so everyone could reach their goal.  it actually worked for the 10 of us that competed that year, as we raised around $26,000 for the PKD Foundation.

Team Tampa PKD 2009

Team Tampa PKD – Chicago Marathon 2009

In 2011, we resurrected the team and signed on twenty-two members and raised over $56,000 for the foundation. Again in 2013 we had just Five members and raised over 25,000 that year as well.

Team Tampa PKD 2011

Team Tampa PKD – Chicago Marathon 2011

Team Tampa PKD 2013

Team Tampa PKD – Chicago Marathon 2013
(-1 not pictured)

This year, we again signed five members.  Scott, Rich, Myself, Kevin, and Karen.  we raised over $25,000 again, but this year we also accomplished something else.  Over the last few years, Erika’s kidney functions were reduced to less than 5% apiece.  A normal human being can survive on 5% of one, but with PKD it is inevitable that the kidneys will fail.

Team Tampa PKD NYC 2015

Team Tampa PKD – NYC Marathon 2015
(-1 not pictured)

Erika had already been put on the donor list for over a year, but it had yet to pan out, so we added not only raising as much financial assistance for the foundation but finding a donor for Erika as well.

For over a year, Erika has been in pain, not sleeping and basically been in a state of misery.  Scott has recounted this for me numerous times, so when he said that it was time to start thinking about a transplant, I immediately asked him for the details to get tested.  I wanted to help any way I could and if it meant giving up a kidney so be it.

The Bragan’s waited to see if being on the donor list would pan out, but as Erika’s kidney functions continued to deteriorate, family and friends stepped up to be tested as donors.

I was tested as a kidney donor, with the preliminary tests proving positive, meaning I was a match.

However, the secondary tests diagnosed protein in my urine which is common in endurance athletes.  Unfortunately, for the medical staff, it is a risk for kidney stones which have a small probability to clog my ureter and if that was the case now, I would have another kidney to fall back on.  If I donated one, it could be fatal.

I was heartbroken when I found out, but I understood the reasons.

On July 10, my friend and Team Tampa PKD teammate, Rich O’Dea was on a blind date at the Imagine Dragons concert.  While getting to know each other Rich made mention of Team Tampa PKD, the marathon and Erika.  At first, it seemed a nonchalant question when she asked how to get tested, so Rich took as her just being nice, but even after she ended up returning to a long relationship, she still communicated with Rich she wanted to get tested.

Team Tampa PKD, Rich with Jennifer Thomas, PKD Donor

Rich O’Dea & Jen Thomas

Her preliminary tests proved she was a match, and the secondary tests proved she was healthy enough to donate, so on Friday, Oct 23, the Tampa General Hospital Transplant committee approved the living donor kidney transplant from Jennifer Thomas to Erika Bragan, and scheduled the surgery for the 18th of November.

When I found out that Jennifer passed the second round of testing, I was absolutely ecstatic that she would be able to do what I and three other people could not.  I am still absolutely overjoyed that Erika will lead a longer more normal life and Scott, Madison and Spencer will continue to have their wonderful wife and mother.

While in an interview with ABC, Jennifer was asked why should give up her kidney for a total stranger.  Without skipping a beat, or even taking a breath she said, “Why wouldn’t I? The more important question should be, why is it so shocking that I would.”

I happened to be in the room when she was getting interviewed and I just about fell over.  Without trying to sound conceded, or take away any thunder from her, but I felt like Jennifer was someone who actually thought just like me.

Jennifer’s medical bills will be taken care of 100% by the Bragan’s insurance, but the recovery time may cause a little bit of financial hardship.

Of course, Team Tampa PKD is stepping up and hosting an event called Tailgate for a Transplant prior to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs New York Giants NFL Football game on November 8th at 1 pm.  (If you would like to help, but cannot make it to the tailgate please click here)

This is my “Why”.

What is your ‘why’?

Carpe Vitam!

Motivational Monday #1

Motivational Monday #1

What does it take to get you out of bed and get your workout on in the morning?

Is it just an alarm clock?  Is it the fact you have the opportunity to hit the “Snooze Bar”?

Do you have an issue with getting motivated for your afternoon workout?

Well, here it is; MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY!  I will try to give you at least a piece of motivation researched from the net and another from a conquest, challenge, race or accomplishment from someone local from the weekend.

Here we go:

Every Monday, I wake up with a different motivational level.  I wish I can tell you that as a coach I wake up and am ready to rock it every day.  Unfortunately,  that just isn’t the truth.

Sometimes, it depends on the weekend’s workouts whether I rocked them and I was so exhausted I just couldn’t get up, or they were not so spectacular and I let my psyche get the best of me.

It is definitely, very rare that I am not ready to rock early in the morning, but when I am not feeling it, I watch this video.  It is pretty popular on YouTube, but it get’s me moving every time.  I hope it does the same for you.

Personally, this was an extremely motivating weekend.

I have been training with National Champion Runner, Triathlete and Coach,  Jon Noland from Tribal Multisport for about 8 months.  Within the “Tribe” we had major victories this weekend.

Jessica Koelsch, Eric Patnode and Megan Murray (pictured in order below), all competed in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Zell Am See-Kaprun, Austria.

World Champs

In order to even compete in this event, athletes  have to qualify by finishing in the top of their division in another Ironman 70.3 race.  I am in awe of the athletic talent, perseverance and shear physical endurance of these athletes.  I am not even mentioning that each one of them are just great people in general with huge hearts.

What is motivating about them?  All three have families and day jobs just like the other 99% of athletes across the globe.

The other Tribal Multisport Coach and Pro Triathlete Nick Chase, completed Challenge Penticon in Canada and completely rocked it by finishing the 70.3 in 4:23:14 (Which is ridiculously fast!).  I am always thrilled to watch Nick race.  He is a dynamic and motivating coach and very fast triathlete.


I hope this provides some value to each and every one of you to strive to be the best you can be every day.  Have a great week!

What Motivates YOU?

Carpe Vitam!
(Seize Life)

Featured Friday – Rich O’Dea

Featured Friday – Rich O’Dea

It has been a while since my last post.  My only excuse is only to say that “life happens” and sometimes I do not get to accomplish as much as I want to in a day, so I end up putting off what I really want to do to accomplish what I need to do.  You know, work, train, eat, sleep, train, etc, etc.  Nevertheless, let me introduce you to Rich O’Dea.

Rich O’Dea

Rich O'Dea

Speaking of accomplishment, I want to introduce to you a very good friend of mine; Rich O’Dea.  His successes in the five years I have known him are nothing short of astonishing.  From losing 80 lbs to running and then placing in marathons and Gasparilla Challenges and always going for the PR and most of the time succeeding.  Lately, he has been on a quest to help others lose weight, attain their fitness goals and even start to work on their financial goals.  He does this by telling the story of his weight loss and showing people how to attain their dreams using Isagenix products.  He actually just recently attained the rank of Crystal Director which is a huge indicator of the success he, and the people that he has been helping, are having.

Through my postings, I have mentioned that I am endorsing these products, but it was actually watching Rich transform his body and then backing it up with the research that actually led to my involvement with Isagenix.  I digress, this post isn’t about Isagenix, but about Rich.

I have to credit Rich O’Dea with introducing me to the other type of ‘fun’ that is more popular with my elite athlete friends.  Rich O’Dea likes to WIN, and he has a drive and persistence rarely seen in any individual when he takes on a challenge.  I remember when he had a goal of running a half marathon in 1:45 or better.  He had his routine down to the calorie and his workouts down to the second.  Every workout and every meal was planned and accomplished and when race time came he finished in 1:36.  He refuses to stop and he works out like a champion in order to accomplish his goals.

Never Give Up

Ok enough of me boasting about my bud.  Let him tell you in his own words.

The Interview

Name: Rich O’Dea
Birthdate/Sign:   March 5, 1972
Place of Birth:     East Chicago, IN
Place growing up:  Highland, IN
High School: 
Bishop Noll Institute
High School sports: 
N/A – I was not in shape to play sports
Benedictine University (f/k/a Illinois Benedictine College)
College Sports: 
I was a 270lb back up kicker and lineman for all of two weeks of training camp before I realized I was in no condition to make it through the season
Other Sports: Competitive runner

Can you tell us what was the major turning point that started your fitness journey?

I struggled with weight my entire life going all the way back to childhood.  I remember my dad telling me I was so heavy as a toddler he threw out his back trying to pick me up.  My struggles continued through school and my adult life. The biggest turning point was the passing of my father who was always an athlete.  The thought that there was time to get in shape and make him proud caused me to miss that opportunity.  I was at one of my heaviest weights when he passed.  I made the decision at that time that I was going to never quit no matter what until I found a way to lose weight and become the athlete he always wanted me to be.

You have some great successes and failures within your journey.  Will you share a few of them with us?

Despite spending the majority of my life being overweight and in poor health, I did have brief periods in my life where I did lose weight and had some successes, but unfortunately, I resorted back to my unhealthy lifestyle shortly thereafter.  For example, in 2009, I was able to overcome the odds and lose significant weight and run my first Marathon (2009 Chicago Marathon) I finished with a sub 4 hour time.  A few months later, I ran the Gasparilla Challenge which is 15k and 5k on Saturday and a Half Marathon on Sunday.  I finished 7th overall.  While I was very excited about my accomplishments, it was short lived.   I bounced back from 175lbs back to 225lb within months.  I did not lose the weight the proper way and had no plan to maintain my success which ultimately leads to me failing again.

Rich O'Dea

What would say is your latest success and why did it work?

My latest success worked when I made the discovery on why ever diet and work out plan I ever tried in my life were flawed.  Life completely changed when I was first introduced to Isagenix earlier this year. I learned it’s not about caloric restriction or working out twice a day as a means of sustainable weight loss and athletic success.  Rather it’s about feeding your body quality healthy nutrition while cleansing out the built up toxins in my body.   Our diet and environment are full of toxins.  We are ingesting man-made food-like products and not food.   The typical diet is contaminated with herbicides, pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. Our air is polluted.  Once I started eating as much organic food, grass-fed meats, real food the way nature intended us to eat and incorporate Isagenix products into my daily lifestyle, my life completely changed forever.

Rich O'Dea

If you could give me one adjective to describe the feeling you get when you are working out what would it be?


When and why did you start running?

I first tried to run back in the mid-1990s as simply a means to lose weight.  It was a struggle. I could not slowly jog more than 5 minutes without stopping for a breather.

What is one thing you love most about competing in road races?

I love the competitiveness of road races.  Most of us will never be professional athletes and hear the roar of the crowd as we come out of the tunnel or hit a home run.  But for us, this is our sport.  There is no greater feeling than standing at the gun with thousands of other runners listening to the National Anthem getting pumped up knowing that my dad is looking down on me and is ready to run the race with me.  Gives me chills just thinking about it.

Coach Brad, Rich, and Scott

Coach Brad, Rich and Scott Bragan in Chi-Town for the Marathon

We all have those days when we just do not feel like training.  What do you do to get past that feeling and get on with your workout?

We all have those days we don’t have a full tank or have little motivation to get our training in.  I am a big fan of running and/or training with others.  When you have other people depending on you, you are more likely not to skip that workout.   I also don’t think of my runs or workouts at work. Your training should be fun and social.  Look forward to seeing your friends and rely on each other to motivate you through your training.  Join a running group or take a weekly workout class and you will find yourself looking forward to your workout.  And you will make some great new friends along the way.

What would you say is your greatest obstacle you ever overcame?

My greatest obstacle was myself and my lack of knowledge.  I always had the desire to be healthy, to lose weight and to be a competitive runner; but I did not know how to do accomplish these goals.  I struggled for decades because I was not searching for the answers in the right place and was not surrounding myself with like-minded individuals and groups.  I learned that if you want to accomplish a goal, find a handful of others who have accomplished the goal you are striving for.  Listen to them and do what they do.

What is your greatest victory?

My greatest victory is to carry on my dad’s legacy of being an athlete.  As low as I was when he passed, I made the decision that day that I would not fail.  Once you make the decision to not fail, you can only succeed.  For the first time in my life, I am comfortable in my own skin. I am If I never gain or lose another pound, I am happy just where I am at. For the first time in my life, I am at peace with who I am.  Waking up each day, knowing my dad is looking down upon me and is proud of who I have become.  There is no greater victory in life for me.

What are your favorite quotes?

“If you are going through hell, keep going” -Winston Churchill

“No one saves us but ourselves.  No one can and no one may.  We ourselves must walk the path” – Buddha

“The same wind blows on us all” – Jim Rohn

“My father used to say that it’s never too late to do anything you wanted to do.  And he said ‘you never know what you can accomplish until you try'” -Michael Jordan

 Want more of Rich???  Hear him speak; Saturday, September 21, 2013, @ 11 am at the Westshore Embassy Suites.  He will be accompanied by Lori Harder and Angelike Norrie who are both champion figure competitors and authors.  I promise you won’t want to miss it.


(Click for larger image)