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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Tribute #6 – Jessica Crate

Tribute #6 – Jessica Crate

It was apparent this was coming, right?  This woman was all over my Rock ‘n’ Roll recap, so the JC1inspiration was already foreshadowed and if you didn’t read the last post, then prepare to be inspired.

Jessica and I met on a set of commercial we were doing for some insurance company.  I never actual saw the final cut, but then again, that happens quite frequently.  We were actually placed in the roles of runners, which is why it made so much sense.  I was in a conversation about running and all of the sudden, I heard this upbeat, sultry voice from behind me enter into the conversation.  I turned around to see this tall, athletically thin, beautiful blond woman behind me.  Her hair in a ponytail, wearing a Newton visor and radiating the intense positive aura all around her.  There was more to this attraction then the minimalistic pure blood American male to the tall, stunningly gorgeous, platinum blond female(See? I am not denying the obvious).  The energy radiating from this woman was intense.

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We conversed in detail all the while waiting for the lighting to be rigged, and shots set up.  I came to find her life as intoxicating as Jessica herself.  This woman is an Elite Runner holding course records in the Gasparilla Half-Marathon, St. Pete Women’s Half-Marathon and the St. Pete Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon.  As of last year she began competing in triathlon only to make it to Las Vegas for the 70.3 World Championships her first year.  If that wasn’t enough, she also coaches other elite athletes, has her own marketing company, and recently created her own Not-for-profit.  She is committed to giving back.

As I have continued to attempt climb inside her head and soul to try and understand what drives her, I have yet to hear her utter a negative word about anything or anyone.  She truly believes in winning not only the race, but in life itself.  If there is ever the opportunity to meet this unbelievable athlete and woman, do so.  Before you know it, you will be winning to.  Let me introduce you to my good friend, Jessica Crate.

Jessica Crate

Birthdate/Sign:  07/25/1985, Leojc10
Place of Birth: Victoria, British Columbia CANADA
Place growing up: Lived all over the US…. Oregon, California, Wisconsin, NY during Elementary School years.
High School: Sarnia, Ontario CANADA
High School sports: EVERYTHING! Lol…. I think I tried out for and was on every team! Basketball, Volleyball, Soccer, Softball, Gymnastics, Swimming, Dance, Cheerleading, Track & Field, Cross-country, I even dabbled in Girls Rugby (big mistake-haha).
College: Arizona State for 2 years studying Exercise Science and Kinesiology and was Academic and Varsity Scholar athlete for Track and XC(Cross Country) both years.
College Sports:  Track and XC, but also dabbled in Soccer, Yoga, Strength training and swimming.Transferred to Florida State University for my last 2 years to pursue Pre- Medical Studies and continued my Minors in Psychology and French. Also ran on the Varsity Track and XC Teams and made it to National Championships all 4 collegiate years. ūüôā
Other Sports:  I currently work out 2-3 times daily and mix up my training with cycling, running, swimming, yoga, P90X, SUP (stand up paddleboarding), surfing, adventure/mud racing, volleyball, waterskiing, snowboarding…. You name it!

 

When was it you started competing and why?
I was born a competitor and my Mom tells me I literally came into this world “running” as I was born 1 month pre-mature. Clearly I was eager to get moving at an early age ūüėČ
I grew up in a very athletic family, so “friendly competition” has been a part of my life since my early years. I love to win and have a burning desire for change for the better. Thus, I’m always looking to improve and hone my skills.

 

What is it that keeps you running after all of this time?
I absolutely LOVE a challenge, I love growing, running is a part of me, and a HUGE part of my life, friendships, relationships and what I do. Others inspire me to KEEP running and in return I hope to inspire others in the process.

 

In our private conversations you have basically told me that this year you have decided to give back.   How did that come about?
 I have been overseas on several missions trips and have had the privilege of traveling the JC7world for racing, training and competing. Being awarded a full-ride scholarship to two D1 Schools for both athletics and academics was not only a blessing, but I felt it a responsibility to essentially “Give Back” all that had been given to me. Upon graduating from college, I partnered with Olympic athlete, Jon Rankin, to launch our own Non-profit organization entitled “Giving Athletics, Inc”, who’s mission is to “Inspire Social change through athletic participation.” It has been so rewarding to help others by fitting them with clothes and shoes that allow them to participate in sports and gain an education. ūüôā

 

If you could give me one adjective to describe the feeling you get when you are working what would it be?
Exhilaration, FREEDOM, accomplishment, energy!

 

When and why did you start competing in triathlon?
Back in April 2011, I had been training hard to qualify for the Olympic Trials in the Marathon. I JC3had raced several marathons already, but my coach believed I was ready based on my workouts and marathon times. However, at mile 14, I side- stepped around some runners at a water station and snapped my foot. The adrenaline, high pain tolerance and my will to finish wouldn’t let me quit, so I ran the last 12.2 miles on a broken foot. I requalified for Boston, but obviously did more damage to my foot by continuing the race. My Olympic Trials dreams were shattered and I was now in a boot, unable to run. I began physical therapy and realized that I was going to go crazy if I couldn’t run, so I picked up swimming and cycling. Long story short, I started sprint triathlons, qualified for USAT Age Group Nationals in the ITU distance and soon I was embarking on tri training. I ended up qualifying for the USAT ITU World Championships and setting new goals, like Ironman 70.3. Now, here I am! Runner turned Triathlete ūüėČ

 

What projects are involved with besides running races?
I currently own a marketing company “CRATE, Inc.”, coach and train athletes in addition to my training, while working with a neutraceutical company, LifeVantage. I have found my purpose and passion in life and live to lead a legacy by coaching, training and inspiring others to achieve their goals and dreams.

 

What would you say is your greatest obstacle  you ever overcameJC9
Breaking my foot in the Boston marathon, overcoming that injury and breaking onto the triathlon scene to qualify for 2 World Championships last year as well as set 3 course records in half marathons throughout the state of Florida.

 

What is your greatest victory?
My greatest victory is overcoming so many failures to continue succeeding. I firmly believe, and as the most successful people will tell you, you have to fail FORWARD. The faster you fail, the quicker you’ll succeed.

 

What are you favorite quotes?
My business partners and teammates know my favorite slogans, amongst many “Jessica-isms” are: “K.I.S.S.” (Keep it simple silly), “Relax, Smile and Breathe”, “Live life to the fullest”, “Go BIG or go home!”

 

If you’d like more information on where she will be next or to sign up for a training session, contact her at [email protected]

Or visit her website: www.jessicacrate.com

Carpe Viam!

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Jessica and the Goof

The 1st week: Are my goals realistic?

I have come to the realization that even I, as the epitome of the positive mental attitude, still hear those negative voices in my head.  For all the conversations I have with clients, friends and other athletes about going out and just having fun, I still have grand notions of finishing races with a PR(personal record) and while working out this week those goals seem daunting.

I had three Lactic Threshold tests I had to complete this week; one each for swimming, biking and running. ¬†While just doing these tests I felt like I was really out of shape, and truth be told, I did take an off season for the last couple of months, at least by triathlete standards. ¬†I did complete at least 5 hour long workouts a week with a half-marathon and a 10k thrown in there, and, oh yeah Ragnar, but I wasn’t in “training” mode per say. ¬†This week I started back “in training” and my goals seem so far off and this is only my third day.

Monday, I completed my Bike and Run LT tests which consisted both of a 10 minute warm up, followed by 40 minutes of the event at a pace that burned my legs and put me into a feeling of oxygen deprivation but not so much that I couldn’t complete the full 40 minute main set which was then followed by a 10 minute cool down. ¬†My running LT is 173 and my biking LT is 165. ¬†I looked into my future workouts they are noted with requirements that include the LT. ¬†For instance: ¬†Bike 12×1 minute climbs at LT+10, meaning I should be climbing and my heart rate should be 175. ¬†Sounds like fun doesn’t it? ¬†I know my body will acclimate, hopefully I won’t make a mess before it does.

Tuesday, I completed my first bike workout and strength workout. ¬†The bike was 8-12×1 minute climbs in the saddle at a RPM of 50-60. ¬†Now my normal riding RPM is 85-95, so you can imagine the resistance that had to be on the bike. ¬†I ended up doing it on the spin bikes at LA Fitness, because, well, there are no hills in my general vicinity which is Tampa, Florida. ¬†Nothing but flatland here. ¬†I have to travel 45 miles north to San¬†Antonio¬†to get any resemblance of some hills, and during the week, that just is not happening. ¬†Why? ¬†I have a responsibility to this activity called “work”. ¬†I wish I could sit here, blog and comment all day, but unfortunately I cannot. ¬†I blog in between meetings, lunch and then edit when I can. ¬†This workout while being fun, was what I would call, THE QUAD KILLER. ¬†It was brutal.

Unfortunately, I was late getting to the gym so I was not able to get my strength workout in, so I showered, drove to work and then returned that evening.  Luckily, I always have an extra set of workout clothes in the car. (I think I got that from Ben Mena.  He is notorious for spontaneously telling his girlfriend to just drop him off 10-15 miles from home and after changing into a spare set of shorts and shoes he runs home.)

I haven’t worked out with weights in a while, and I know from my studies of the anatomical makeup of muscles and the neurological systems of the body that there is a “breaking in” period no matter how much experience you have lifting. ¬†In order to activate the pleasure center of my brain instead of the pain center, I had to drop the weight down and do the exercises concentrating on good form. ¬†It was a circuit of 5 supersets and it was not easy, no sir, not easy at all. ¬†Deadlifts, pull-ups, squat to overhead thrusts, medicine ball wood choppers, side planks, cable twists and more. ¬†I felt beat to death afterwards. ¬†Of course, I understand my body enough that I had to stretch very well afterwards or my back would be yelling at me later.

I also learned why I really enjoy working out in the morning.  It was extremely busy at the new South Tampa LAF last night.  I barely got a parking space, and I ended up having to do most of the movements in a tiny little space, while other members were just waiting to pounce.  It was at that point I read myself the riot act and vowed that no matter how much I had to do during the week, I would just wake up early to finish all of my workouts in the mornings.

That vow started this morning as I was up at 4:30 and ready to leave at 5 even though my first workout was track at UT which didn’t start until 6. ¬† That workout was brutal as well; ¬†800-400×3-1mile-400×3, at least this week I didn’t falter until the last 400 and only by a couple of seconds. ¬†As soon as I finished and cooled down I headed to LAF to do my swim T-test. ¬†Basically this is 1000 meters swam as if I was in a race and then the average time of a 100 meters is considered my T-Pace for workouts. ¬†Future workouts for example included “4×100 at T-pace – 10 seconds”. ¬†I have been working really hard on my body position in the water, but I am still really slow. (Notice I am not¬†mentioning¬†what my T-Pace actually is.) ¬†With a pull buoy or fins, I can go forever at 1:50 min per 100m, but without I am…well…a little slower.

After going through all of this, I guess I feel like I should.  There is a long journey ahead.  I might as well enjoy it.

Carpe Viam!!!

Goof Review: Elf The Musical

The Tampa Bay Bloggers had an opportunity to see Elf the Musical on opening night and as a new member I was thrilled at the chance to take part.  Now as I am a new member I am not sure of the background of my fellow bloggers, but I do have a modest amount of training and experience in theater (www.bradminus.com), so I may be just a tad more specific especially on the acting, but nevertheless I hope my review will be informative enough to help you decide whether to see it or not.  Just a little foreshadowing….go see it.

Elf the Musical is based on the 2003 holiday movie Elf starring Will Farrell about a human baby who found his way into Santa’s bag during his Christmas visit to a local orphanage.  Since the boy was already an orphan, Santa and his elves decided to raise the child at the north pole just as they would any elf child.  The problem was Buddy, the human boy, grew to be over six feet tall.  After a small slip of the tongue by one of the other elves, Buddy learns that he is indeed human and asks Santa about his parents.  It is then that Buddy decides to go and find his father in the big city of New York.

NETwork Presentations LLC’s production of this family Christmas musical was alive with high energy musical numbers, colorful set pieces and smooth transitions from scene to scene.  In the past decade or two, Broadway and national tours have started to move toward high tech sets and stage work which include hgh intensive set changes, creative light and sound effects, and even some pyrotechnics.  Very recently I have noticed a small shift back to a more classical route where the set pieces are simple but painted well, the lighting is simple and the music and sound are achieved by a live orchestra instead of musical tracks.  This musical is a perfect example.  This simpler style has shifted the responsibility of the quality of productions back to the performers and less to the designers of sets, sound and lighting.  In my opinion it makes for a better show, but I may be a little biased.

The play opens up with Santa (Gordon Gray) sitting in his living room fighting with his television set.  He opens the fourth wall and greets the audience as if we were sitting on the floor right in his living room.  After subtly turning off his cell phone, he opens a book and prepares to tell us the story of Buddy the Elf.  At the point the living room is whisked away to Santa’s workshop where the elves are preparing for Christmas.   Gordon’s depiction of Santa throughout the play is wonderful.  His energy and boastfulness helped me to get lost in the show and actually believe I was at the north pole.

Matt Kopec’s characterization of Buddy is spot on as his high energy, child like characterization makes the audience believe this six-foot boy really does believe he is an elf and is horrified when he finds out he is actually human.  Matt’s singing voice is pure musical theater and was a joy to hear every time he opened his mouth.  I found myself waiting impatiently for his next number.

The real treat came from the character of Jovie (Kae Hennies), who captures Buddy’s heart the moment he sees her in the office of his biological father, Walter Hobbs (Drew Culver).  Jovie has to be coaxed in to singing during the number “A Christmas Song”, but when she finally decides to sing out, her voice beautifully resonates throughout the theatre and when paired with Buddy’s the duo create pure musical brilliance for any ear.

Other notable performances were by Michael, Buddy’s half brother played by Connor Barth who even as a young actor, had a mature voice for his age.  He tended to get a little pitchy in the upper registers, but because of his characterization was easily missed and forgivable.  Julia Louise Hosack played Emily Hobbs, Buddy’s step mother, also had a fantastic musical voice and she was able to lead Michael into musical duets that gave me the “warm fuzzies”.  The connection and chemistry between these two well trained actors allowed me to believe they were really mother and son.

The only drawback of this production that tugged me out of my holiday nirvana, was the voice of Drew Pulver whom played Walter Hobbs, Buddy’s father.  His performance was not inferior, it just did not mix well the rest of the ensemble in my humble opinion.  It was obvious to the audience that most of the ensemble were trained in contemporary music or musical theater   When Walter sang it was clearly operatic, to a point where the words were garbled and I couldn’t make out the lyrics.  Unfortunately, every time he sang it was distracting and his voice did not meld with the rest of the ensemble.

This show is classical musical theatre with simply painted sets, wonderful acting, and is sure to bring a smile to you and your family should you decide to see it.  It is a true Holiday treat.

Elf the Musical is playing at
Straz Center for the Performing Arts
1010 North W.C. MacInnes Place
Tampa, Florida 33602
November 20-25
Wed. 7:30 p.m.
Fri. 2 and 8 p.m.
Sat. 2 and 8 p.m.
Sun. 1 and 6:30 p.m.

 

Tribute Tuesday #1 – Amy Bennett Eck

I mentioned yesterday I am planning on having a regular column called Tribute Tuesday where I will select someone in my life who has had a positive influence on me in some way or another. ¬†Most of the time these people will have coached to increase my athletic prowess (which is actually pretty easy), challenge me intellectually (which isn’t really all that hard either), and/or ¬†inspire me to be a better human being. ¬†My first Tribute Tuesday subject has done all three. ¬†With no further ado I would like to introduce my coach, and friend; Amy Eck.

This is a kind of crazy picture of her, but it does really give the best possible introduction to her personality. ¬†She is a wild, and free spirit with the most positive outlook on life I have ever known in a human being. ¬†She refuses to believe there are limits to anyone’s potential, including her own. ¬†Just to give you an idea, this woman has competed in the Kona Ironman World Championships, the World Xterra World Championships, numerous ultra running and mountain biking events, and¬†was a¬†competitive wrestler in high school and college (yes I said wrestler). ¬†I credit her incredible coaching to my 47 minute reduction in time for my PR at Ironman Augusta 70.3. ¬†There is nothing Amy cannot do and her energy is uber-contagious. ¬†She gets so excited when she is able to help and/or see someone succeeding that she turns bright red. ¬†I cannot believe she doesn’t get muscle cramps in her cheeks.
Now she and her husband Erik are training for her biggest event ever, the birth of their first child. ¬†As you can see her pregnancy hasn’t taken an ounce of her positive energy away. ¬†She continues to enjoy life and even with all that drag she still beats both me and her husband in the pool. ¬†Obviously she doesn’t let anything conquer her competitive side. ¬†She was brought here to Florida due to Erik’s mobilization as a Reserve Navy Officer to CENTCOM, so the only negative thing I can possibly say about Amy is that she will be leaving to return to her home and coaching practice in Hawaii. ¬†(It was impossible to find a photo of her where she looks “normal”. ¬†In most of the pictures she is either¬†in a superhero costume or in race clothes, but it’s…well…it’s Amy)
Now when I said that she has also inspired me to be a better person, she does this by example.  This is a woman whom rode a mountain bike for 10 days through Peru to do missionary work, and she did it for her honeymoon!  Talk about combining all her loves; Erik, mountain biking, helping others and God.  The stories she tells of that trip are absolutely amazing. 
I had a chance to ask my friend some questions that I thought might give some insight to one of my most favorite people in the world, and here is what she had to say;
Name: Amy Ruth Eck (Bennett)
DOB: 5 March 1978, Pisces
POB: Royal Oak, Michigan (Ford Baby)
Grew up in: Arlington, Texas
High School: Arlington High School
High School Activities: Cheerleading, Wrestling, Cross Country, Track, Soccer, FFA, JROTC
College: United States Merchant Marine Academy
College Sports: Cheerleading, Wrestling, Cross Country, Sailing
When and why did you start competing in triathlon?

(I) Started triathlon in Hawaii with the motivation of my knee surgeon Dr. Bottoni who thought it would be better than straight running and my crazy friend Marcy Fleming.  Went to watch the XTERRA World Championships and loved the LIVE MORE and family atmosphere of XTERRA.  Came home and bought a mountain bike!  Within a year I was racing the Hawaii 70.3 and the XTERRA World Championships.

What is one thing you love most about triathlon?

I love the people!  Triathlon is all about challenging your body with a group of friends around the beautiful playground of earth. 

I know that you run an Xterra Race in Hawaii – How did that start?

Erik and I had wanted to do something fun for the community that challenged people to get outside.  We also wanted to launch an event that would give us a way to raise money for charity.  In 2009 we started Freedom Fest as part of our wedding weekend.  10k run, 20k mountain bike, off-road triathlon and then get married…it was awesome! 

The race has now grown to become an XTERRA World Championship qualifier with 500 people from 8 countries and 24 states.  Come join us!  www.xterrafreedomfest.com

Do you enjoy Xterra more than road traithlon? Why?

XTERRA does a great job of making every race challenging and fun. Off-road racing works you anaerobically and provides an adrenal rush that I am addicted to.  I do enjoy mountain biking more than I enjoy road racing, but I am probably better at road racing. You have to spend a lot of time in the saddle on the road to get the proper base training for off-road.  I think the major attraction of the off-road is you get to explore!  You are away from cars, out in nature, and get a real chance to connect. It is also something my husband can do together!

What was your favorite race and why?

Favorite race…that is hard.  Favorite marathon would be Boston, favorite on-road triathlon would be Wildflower, favorite Ironman would be Kona, favorite trail run would be our XTERRA Freedom Fest race, favorite off-road triathlon would be the old XTERRA Worlds course in Makena, favorite 100-miler would be Leadville, and favorite stage race would be La Ruta.  A great race is determined by the terrain, the people it attracts, and the after party! 

Congrats on the baby!  I know you are waiting for the surprise of the sex but do you have any names for either that are in your head?

We have some names…possibly Bennett after my family or Hudson Taylor after my childhood hero. But we will have to see what the lil hero looks like when they come out!

Do you plan on continuing in Xterra or Triathlon after the baby?

Yes, I would love to get back to racing.  I am signed up for the Frogman 5k Swim in JAN and the Princess Half in FEB.  Will likely race Hawaii 70.3 and the XTERRA Mountain Man in hopes to travel to the World Championships.  As a mom I have a new career path but I think having my child seeing me (compete) in sports is important.  They need to know the importance of investing in yourself and in investing in others.  

Do you plan on bringing your child up around the sport?  

YES!  As a USAT, USATF, and Newton Coach I think sports are great for children.  They teach sportsmanship, discipline, commitment, failure, success, and they develop your mind, muscle, and soul.  Watch out for lil Eck in the 2032 Summer Olympics!

As your friend and client I always describe you as the most positive free spirit I have ever met willing to go out of her way to help people.  How did you end up with this wonderful way of life without falling to the negativity of the world? Thank you Brad, I love people!  I grew up in a wonderful Christian home where we were always helping people and it was contagious.  I feel I have been very blessed and there is nothing better than to pass those blessing on to others.  My favorite Proverb says, Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it is within your power to act. Basically I have one life to live, one life to give.  I take the responsibility to heart and try to share JOY with others in everything!

What is your favorite motivational quote?

I have two J

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ‚Ä®~ Mark Twain
“And in the end, it‚Äôs not the years in your life that count.¬† It‚Äôs the life in your years.”¬†‚Ä®~ Abraham Lincoln


Is it possible to not love this woman?  I think not.

(Amy’s coaches virtually as well using email, telephone and Training Peaks software. ¬†You can find more information at www.campbennett.com)
Carpe Viam!