Posts Tagged ‘fitness buddy

Back in March, I pounded the uninviting pavement of Elkhart in search of a job. The lack of finds are what gave the proverbial pavement an heir of gloom. Nevertheless, before I exhausted my resources for making a few summer bucks, I racked my brain for all the ways I could rake in the cash regardless of how glamorous or career-applicable the job. It finally hit me: Swim lessons! 

I taught for a few years in high school but always dreaded my three hours at the pool shivering, head pounding from screaming toddlers, and permanently soaked with the scent of chlorine. Nevertheless, it was money and I was willing to do about anything less working a line with ex-jailbirds to make a dollar.

Here I am, a week and a half into my first session of swim lessons. I requested all level P1’s which means that prying them away from Mom is practically half my job. I still have kids that whimper the entire 35 minutes their in the water and kids that disregard on a daily basis the fact that they cannot touch, and need to hang on to the wall to prevent um…drowning. The reason I am telling you all about my super stellar summer stint is because yesterday I noticed something about the kids that I think we over-18 folk take away: they have an end goal in mind and they get the job done.

“I get to go see mommy now?” I hear this line approximately 15 times a day, as it is asked following the completion of each tough skill like “submerging eyes, nose, and mouth” or “front gliding 2-body lengths.”

Usually the answer is “In a little bit, but can you do it again so we make sure your mommy sees it?” 

They just want to get back hugs, kisses and cheerios; most could really care less if they can kick with straight legs or retrieve and object in chest-deep water. So the little munchkins get the job done to go back to mom. They may be whining, getting water up their nose, or freezing the whole time; but they stick it out.

So many of us complain about the journey and forget about where the journey may lead us. Take a college education, for example; as students it is easy to feel that our lives are lived in between tests and quizzes or from syllabus week to finals week. We moan, gripe, and pull our hair out in stress. But with work, comes reward. Our earning potential will increase and doors will open for us. In fitness and health sometimes the 5:30 am workout seems less than exciting, or that green salad doesn’t look quite as good as the pizza slice. Healthy choices mean healthy bodies and healthy bodies mean healthy lives. 

Stick it out, stay on the path to success–even if your bottom lip quivers or you get a little water up your nose.

“My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.” – Mark Twain

Few other quotes could accurately describe the relationship that my mom, Kathy, and I have nurtured for nearly the past 20 years. I labeled my 2-year-old to 12-year-old self as a “terrorist.” I was, at one point, asked not to return to children’s church if that gives you a clear enough picture of the little devil I was for the first 60% of my life, thus far. However, my mom’s ability to rationally explain to me that having a more positive and likeable attitude would reap positive consequences to my actions finally stuck with me at about age 13.

She is able to persuade not only me to reconsider my actions and potentially exchange them for more healthful, beneficial, productive behaviors, but almost anyone. My mom confronts people with such graceful assertion that one may not even notice that my mom really would rather gauge her own eyes out with a spork than attempt to calmly manage them–and they are almost guaranteed to take something positive away from the discussion. I try to emulate the communication skills that my mom uses on a daily basis, and I believe that doing so has allowed me to grow in so many directions.

Effective communication is vital in any relationship be it friendly, professional, family, or romantic. It is human nature to read tone, body language, volume, and eloquence during a discussion–not just the words exchanged. Therefore, it is important we remain attentive to our communicative actions when trying to foster heathy, growing relationships. I have learned to rephrase potentially abrasive statements to be more positively received by the listener– such as “I really hate when you cook steak for dinner,” instead maybe “Hey, next time you grill steak would you mind throwing a veggie burger on for me?”

Beyond healthy communication skills, my mom has put up with my health and fitness obsession for the past 6 years. She not only puts up with it, but fully supports it. She attends my workout classes even when her legs are sore; we walked a 40-mile cancer walk a few summers ago; she comes up with creative and health related gifts for birthdays and Christmas; she doesn’t bat an eye when I tell her my shoes are worn out and I REALLY need another pair; she always makes sure there are several vegetarian options on our dinner table even if I often decide last-minute fix my own dinner or eat with friends.

For almost 20 years, my mom has been my biggest supporter in health(I can’t say 20 years yet in regards to health, because 20 years ago she was pregnant and feeding me Burger King Whoppers and Dairy Queen Blizzards 4x weekly–not exactly “Fitness Buddy” worthy), happiness, and love. So thanks mom for teaching me to not throw rocks at people to make them play with me, for learning to love green  beans without bacon grease, and for pushing through chair pose every Tuesday and Thursday.

Since I started blogging it has become the joke amongst my close friends: Who will be AnnMarie’s next fitness buddy?

Will it be spaghetti-inhaling, pre-workout expert Garrett? Iron pumping, stair master Sophia? Calorie-counting cycle instructor John?

I have many, brilliantly fit friends who inspire me on a daily basis with their lifestyles tailored around healthy habits. However, today’s fitness buddy is extraordinary not for her limitless knowledge of proper nutrition or motivating spirit but rather for her desire to be inspired, her newly made healthy lifestyle changes, and for being my best friend in the entire world. Today’s fitness buddy is Elyse Eldridge.

“I’m a vegetarian now. I’m not even kidding.” “My legs are shot! I ran so much this week.” These are two texts that I recently received from Elyse that, had you asked me 6 months ago who these texts were from, Elyse would have been my absolute last guess out of everyone in my contacts. It is not often that I see someone make a total health-minded turn around as Elyse has in the past month.

About a month ago, she noticed that the food and fun inevitable in a college lifestyle were leaving her sluggish and out of shape. So she bought a pair of sweet Brooks running shoes and hit the pavement. She now runs to class, to see friends, and to just work up a good sweat in her down time. She even runs with me, something I couldn’t pay her to do for the entirety of our friendship (approx. 15 years). Then today, she tells me she read a brochure on animal cruelty and can’t eat meat anymore . Not only is a vegetarian diet proven to benefit the planet, the elimination of saturated fats found in animals is beneficial for cardiovascular functioning.

Starting a running/workout regimine and completely changing one’s diet are two extreme shifts in one’s lifestyle, and for Elyse to take on both of these challenges is admirable. I always thought that Elyse was admirable for her ability to talk to ANYONE, lighten ANY situation, and adapt to ANY enviroment, but never for her health habits–I am happy to say that I now admire her more than I ever have. I know that  if she keeps up with these positive changes that the positivity will spill into all other facets of her life.

Elyse makes me laugh, smile, cry, and now she makes me proud.

Keep up the good work champ.


Fitness buddies have been few and far between in my posts these days, but today definitely called for the recognition of one: Katie Reines.

I met the ballerina-esque fitness instructor at a picnic for our major (Nutrition, Fitness, and Health) during one of my first days on Purdue’s campus. I was automatically enthralled with her when she announced that back home she worked at both a raw vegan restaurant AND  yoga studio.

“Who IS this girl?!” I thougth to myself. She was the definition of a friend I wanted: health obsessed, spirited, conscious, beyond average. And what a pleasent surprise it was when Katie showed up at our first Group X staff meeting she was a fitness instructor too!

I have since switched my major, but Katie and I remain friends through Group X

and our shared passions. She is the type of person who radiates positivity. Today, when all I really wanted to do was lay in my bed and watch “Dance Moms,” I forced myself to teach an energetic Turbo Kick class and stayed for Katie’s Dance Mania class that follows mine. My mood instantly turned around as we began warming up to “No Hands;” my smile grew as we aerobically ground (this is an “AnnMarie” way of saying “shook our hips with the intent of burning calories,” please feel free to use the term in your day-to-day conversation) to “Wild One;” my whole body felt more alive when Katie and I both added some skillful singing to our movements during “Call Me Maybe.” Her class rocks. That’s why she has one of the highest attendance rates in the Purdue Group X program, because I am not the only one who is inspired and lit up by Katie’s contagious cheer.

I love Katie’s workout attitude: balanced, excited, amazed; but the thing I admire most about Katie is her committment to perfect nutrition. This is where I put her on a bit of a pedestal: she is a fairly strict vegan and by no means a typical eater by any stretch of the imagination. Katie and I share our own private stash of kale at Windsor Dining Court (they keep it in the back for us) but I admittedly skip the kale at least one day a week in exchange for something less healthy. She eats gorgeous salads all the time adorned with flax seeds, banana peppers, tomatoes, practically the rainbow. Her meals are seamlessly perfect and I look to her for inspiration to keep my diet pure, healthy, and cruelty-free. Truth be told, I’ve often hit the dessert line at Windsor with the thought, “I hope Katie doesn’t see me  eating this!” Not that she would judge, belittle, or even say a word about what I chose to eat, the thought would simply be out of desire to be as cool as Katie with her ideal eating habits.

Katie Reines is a brilliant dancer, fitness instructor, eater, and friend; so for that, she is the perfect fitness buddy!

Every week I want to highlight someone in my life who has a positive impact on my health and fitness or simply someone who inspires me.

This week I’m going to cover a biggie: My boyfriend, Jeremy: my best fitness buddy.

Jeremy and I have been together for four and a half years and our relationship was, for the most part, founded on fitness. We became best friends when I joined the swim team, grew to be more than friends when we started going on 7 mile runs together, and now keep fitness as a huge component of our relationship by training for races together. He will be running the marathon with me on May 5th.

Although we are 2 hours apart because we attend different universities, we keep each other motivated to complete runs by discussing them before and afterword. On days before a scheduled run I always squeeze,” So are you running tomorrow?” into our daily phone conversation.

Another way that Jeremy helps me to better myself is by allowing me to vent about any and all nutrition and fitness challenges that I face. After countless hours of talking at him in high school about which diet plan I would adhere to for the given week, or whether I was taking in the proper amount of calories, or if I planned to stick to a vegetarian diet in the long run, or how Insanity was impacting my body, or the fact that I didn’t feel I could complete a full marathon without a training buddy, it’s sometimes hard to believe he’s stuck around for all of these years.

Jeremy’s competitive drive is exciting and definitely a personality trait I lack. It is what keeps him driven to keep fitness in his life. He always wants to be a little bit better, faster, stronger than the next guy. I envy his athleticism; the kid can literally jump in a pick-up game of almost any sport and probably win. And even as competitive as he is, when the game is over, he is everyone’s friend.

Thank you Jeremy, for encouraging me everyday to reach my full potential in all aspects of my life.

Jeremy and I last weekend watching from a rooftop as O.A.R. performed at Superbowl Village

Jeremy and I at his conference swim meet when we were 15. I saw him receive many medals at the state level, and with each medal he received, I worked just a little harder in the pool. Oh yeah, and his hair IS blue, sigh, those crazy Concord swimming traditions.

Tomorrow: Radom fitness-related questions that people yell in my face…Answered.

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