I hit up a boxing class last night and then headed to Ashburn CrossFit this morning to workout with a dear friend I havent seen in over five years. I have written about Lidia previously and what an inspiration and kickass chick she is. It’s one of the greatest things about finding my fitness passion – meeting and bonding with the most amazing people. Many of them have become very dear to me and even though I don’t see them regularly, they continue to inspire me and motivate me to be better than I was yesterday. I mean – come on now, these are strong, bad ass chicks. If I let myself go to pot after all this time – I think they would kick my ass. Not only are they amazing people – they help keep me accountable. It’s a win that keeps on giving…
As you probably know, I don’t do CrossFit regularly anymore. The change was brought on partially by burn out. I was not getting the joy or seeing the results I used to from CrossFit. I also felt that my body wasn’t recovering like it used to which was causing me to not have as much fun while I was there. My shoulders weren’t healing either because of the constant stress on them. It’s only been since I stopped completely, have I regained range of motion in my right shoulder.
It is nice to revisit CrossFit every now and again and today it was quite a workout – a chipper.
In CrossFit, a chipper is usually a combo of 5 to 10 exercises designed to push metabolic conditioning. This morning’s chipper looked like this…
- 50 Wall Balls (20/14)
- 40 Push Ups
- 30 Medball Cleans (20/14)
- 20 Burpees
- 10 Pull Ups
- 20 Burpees
- 30 Medball Cleans
- 40 Push Ups
- 50 Wall Balls
(20 min cap)
I chose to do it with a 10# med ball and finished at 19:37. Yeah, Ouch. I am now at work and the soreness is creeping in. It hurts just to walk. I don’t know why, but it always surprises me at how sore I get when I switch up workouts even though I workout all the time!
I have to admit it was a great way to start my day. A group of strong ladies, a lot of laughs and creating a sweat festival.
- Parents’ Denial Fuels Childhood Obesity Epidemic
- ‘Fitness’ foods may cause consumers to eat more, exercise less
- America’s getting even fatter: Startling growth in obesity over past 20 years
As a final sign off on today’s post – I want to wish my smart, sassy and super adorable niece Amelia a Happy Birthday. I wish I lived closer so I could be in her life more, but here I am living in ‘Grassyland’ (that’s what she calls Virginia bc we have a lot of grass and San Fran does not).
I love her to the moon and back…
Lately I’ve been reading a lot about gender bias and the treatment of women in general. Maybe it’s because the influencers I follow have been bringing this issue to the forefront or maybe my college minor of Women’s Studies is rearing its head after years of lying dormant. Whatever the reason, it’s an interesting, relevant, shocking and downright disturbing topic that needs attention and change.
Yesterday, I watched John Oliver (who I think I love) highlight a very serious issue – Internet Misogyny- in a way that not only got the point across loud and clear, but entertained as well.
How scary is it that there are very few laws to protect against online harassment and revenge porn? And even scarier to realize that those hired to protect us are not prepared when it comes to what happens on the Internet.
Let’s Talk About Women Gamers
During the video, Oliver briefly mentions the harassment female gamers are subjected to on an ongoing basis. According to Emily Matthew over on the Pricecharting blog, 63% of women polled in 2012 report being harassed while gaming online. I’m sure that number has only increased…
There has been some heated discussions about the lack of ethics in video game journalism, and the role and treatment of women in the male dominated video game industry. Can you imagine being in so much fear that you actually have to leave your home because some anonymous gamer threatens you with bodily harm and death and also publishes your home address for all to see?
Throughout most of the discussions, the focus is on the victim and ‘blaming’ her for just being and living her life. Why should the victim be criticized and pressured to change? Where is the outrage at the behavior of these men? Men who have mothers, sisters, wives, daughters. Yes, of course women need to take basic precautions as a fact of life – we all do. But – being an awful human being is never OK. Lacking integrity and respect for fellow people (male or female) is never OK. Let’s figure out how to address the overall treatment of women as a whole and teach men to stand up for their mothers, sisters, wives, daughters.
We can be the change the in the world –and it starts at home.
Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there and of course a special shout out to the Dads in my life, including my husband who is the most wonderful Dad and a great role model for our kiddos. I realize this is a hard day for so many out there whose Dads are no longer with us and for those whose Dads were no where to be found.
My relationship with my own Dad has been complicated for most of my life and I wouldn’t necessarily describe us as close. Just in the past few years, I’ve come to realize that it is what it is. I can’t change what happened or who he is — all I can do is strive to be a better parent to my own kids and accept him for where he is today. Doesn’t make the past right or feel any better, but since I can’t change it, I choose to forgive and move forward. Now that he and my Mom are both getting older – it’s just not worth holding onto the anger and the resentment about my childhood. My dad’s health is failing and he is consumed by that fact – and he isn’t capable of being a different person. It’s not easy to give up on the dream of a different relationship but at the end of the day – I am who I am because of all I have experienced. It’s all in how you see things —
If it’s not obvious, Dads have a huge influence on our lives. According to Dr. Gail Gross, “Studies show that if your child’s father is affectionate, supportive, and involved, he can contribute greatly to your child’s cognitive, language, and social development, as well as academic achievement, a strong inner core resource, sense of well-being, good self-esteem, and authenticity.”
Also, according to The Importance of Fathers (According to Science), the effect fathers’ have on their sons is profound:
The Grant Study, the longest longitudal study ever done on the lives of men, found that a man’s father influenced his life in many ways exclusive to his relationship with his mother. Loving fathers imparted to their sons:
- enhanced capacity to play
- more enjoyment of vacations
- greater likelihood of being able to use humor as a healthy coping mechanism
- better adjustment to, and contentment with, life after retirement
- less anxiety and fewer physical and mental symptoms under stress in young adulthood
Speaking of family and Dads, we all went and saw Pixar’s InsideOut yesterday and I loved it. It really was able to demonstrate what goes on in all of our heads one time or another. One of the funniest parts was watching the family at the dinner table and the Mom is trying to signal the Dad to help figure out what was going on with their daughter. He just wasn’t picking up on it, just completely oblivious to what was happening. I was so amused and impressed at how perfectly they were able to capture the real life experience of many Dads. So, even though Dad’s are sometimes quirky and out of it, they have the opportunity to leave a big impact on the world. Go see it if you can and take time today to thank your dad for all he has done…
I have a lot of female coworkers, friends and acquaintances and I am a woman obviously. One topic keeps coming up time and time again that seems to resonate no matter where you live or what industry you work: Gender bias towards woman. I’m not talking about blatant, in your face kind of bias towards women which is bad enough. This type of unconscious gender bias seems to linger and many times, you don’t even realize it’s happening. Until I heard some of examples and I started to really think about certain experiences and situations, the thought never even occurred to me that it was a pervasive issue. It seems very normal, business as usual.
The other day I came across this piece written by Liz Dolan, Fox International Channels’ CMO and the only woman on the board of apparel and lifestyle brand Quiksilver’s board: Gender bias forced me to quit Quiksilver’s board. At face value, the reasons the board gave for not including her in overall discussions about the replacing of the company’s CEO seem odd but not blatantly biased. But let’s dig deeper: They told her that they had to be sure the CEO would not find out about what was happening and that they were concerned she was going to be “too conflicted” when backing the decision because of her past professional history with the CEO. What’s interesting to note is that many, if not all of them, had had previous ‘conflicts’ with the CEO as well and yet, they still felt they could handle making the hard decision.
Why was Dolan singled out?
“To me, it was a very clear case of unconscious bias. Because I had a previous professional relationship with the (now-former) CEO, the board assumed they knew how I would have voted based on a biased assumption that I’d vote to keep my “friend. ” Because that’s what girls do, right? They make emotional decisions about friends instead of strategic decisions based on business facts. Girls can’t keep a secret. Girls are too emotional. Girls can’t make tough calls.. And, thank goodness, girls won’t speak out when we marginalize them.”
Dolan is not alone. I have personally experienced unconscious gender bias during my work career. These are just a few personal examples, but I am sure that if you ask any woman out there, they have ample examples to share:
- Inappropriate comments about my personal appearance by members of leadership.
- Asked to order food for a group, when I was a senior member of the team but yet the rest of the group were men.
- Assigned note taking duties.
- Being asked to take care of buying gifts for weddings, showers, and other celebrations.
- Being left off of projects because they assumed I would not be able to put in extra hours due to family commitments.
What can be done?
There is no cure all to fix the issues that surround unconscious gender bias. I think it’s one of the reasons why so many women become disillusioned working for others and start their own businesses or leave the workforce all together. It’s hard to fight a deep routed, pervasive culture. According to Dolan, she “learned that even when a woman earns a seat at the table, the men can put you in a soundproof booth.”
Is it all dismal and unchangeable?
Learning to Recognize and See it, Acknowledge it and Talk about it can bring about change. It’s important to keep in mind that small changes can give way to larger ones if enough people get behind it. There are some good, influential people that are lending their voice too, which can only help. We call can start spreading the word and learning to identify when it happens….
- Google: You don’t know what you don’t know: How our unconscious minds undermine the workplace
- Sheryl Sandberg and Facebook: Lean In
- When Talking About Bias Backfires: Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg on Discrimination at Work
- THE GROWING BUSINESS OF DETECTING UNCONSCIOUS BIAS
- Unconscious bias is why we don’t have a diverse workplace, says Google
Months ago as I was browsing the health food aisle at Wegmans, I came across GoMacro MacroBars and figured I would give it a try. I ended up really liking it, so I headed to Wegmans to buy some more and they were SOLD OUT! Needless to say, I was bummed… but then they restocked and all was right in the world again. (A bit dramatic, but I really liked them!)
So a few weeks ago, GoMacro reached out to me and asked if I wanted to try their bars. Well – what do you think I said? Absolutely! I already love them and now I get to try other flavors that Wegmans didn’t carry. Win for me!
What I liked most about these bars is that they are made with quality ingredients and taste good. I also like that their company is family owned and cause driven. While these bars aren’t 100% Paleo, they are close. When I want something to satisfy my sweet tooth, with some protein and doesn’t totally derail my nutrition plan – these are a great choice. Also, they are great if you are on the go and want a healthy snack.
According to the company, GoMacro “believes in feeling good about what we eat. How it tastes, how it’s made and how it sustains the environment. Family-owned and based in a small rural community, our wholesome food maintains goodness on all levels.
MacroBars boast a variety of flavors, with different textures and ingredient combinations including nut-free and high-protein options. Our food is carefully crafted using the highest quality ingredients to provide protein, nutrients and slow-burning carbs for sustained energy throughout the day. The result is a satisfying treat perfect for everyone.
Small in size but big on impact, we are a big picture company. GoMacro.”
GoMacro MacroBars come in 11 flavors. My personal favorite is the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter but I am sure you all understand that. Because PEANUT BUTTER!
- USDA organic
- certified non-GMO
- project verified vegan
- certified kosher
- certified macrobiotic
You can head to Amazon and order them using this affiliate link: GoMacro Organic Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, 2.5 oz Bars (Pack of 15) or get to your nearest Wegmans or other grocery store! Once you have tried them, leave me a comment to let me know what you think!
Disclosure: Although GoMacro provided me with samples, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by the brand or company.
This past December, Mathias Giordano lost his cancer battle. Tomorrow he would have celebrated his 14th birthday. I have not been able to get him out of my thoughts since first hearing about him and what an amazing young man he was from my friend Gwen. Gwen and I, along with her son and HB ran the 5K this morning to remember him and raise money for childhood cancer research.
I was so proud of HB. I thought she was going to back out of coming with me early this morning but no. She stayed true to her commitment and did great. This is now the second race we have done together. I can’t even describe how much it fills my heart with so much love and pride that she is open to tackling the races with me. I think one of the reasons that I continue to be moved by Mathias is my own kiddos are around the same age – and after seeing how hard Scott’s cancer battle was, I can only imagine how much harder it is for those younger. During the pre-race speeches, I teared up thinking about him and his family. What an amazing example of faith and perseverance.
Partnering with the Team Mathias was Be the Match®, a global leader in bone marrow transplantation. They conduct research to improve transplant outcomes provide support and resources for patients, and partner with a global network
My last 5K was in March for Scope it Out Colon Cancer Awareness and my 5K pace was 9:36. This race I finished with a 8:45 minute pace. So I’m pretty pleased with that improvement. Boxing and Cycling are really helping my overall lung capacity for sure.
Childhood Cancer Statistics – Important Facts
Each year, the parents of approximately 15,700 kids will hear the words “your child has cancer.” Across all ages, ethnic groups and socio-economics, this disease remains the number one cause of death by disease in children. Despite major advances – from an overall survival rate of 10 percent just fifty years ago to nearly 90 percent today, for many rare cancers, the survival rate is much lower. Furthermore, the number of diagnosed cases annually has not declined in nearly 20 years.
- Every day, 43 children are diagnosed with cancer.
- 12% of children diagnosed with cancer do not survive.
- Children’s cancer affects all ethnic, gender and socio-economic groups.
- The average age of children diagnosed is six.
- More than 40,000 children undergo treatment for cancer each year.
- 60% of children who survive cancer suffer late-effects, such as infertility, heart failure and secondary cancers.
- There are approximately 375,000 adult survivors of children’s cancer in the United States.
- That equates to 1 in 530 adults ages 20-39.
One of the reasons that I continue to live healthy and fit is for the example it sets for my kiddos. We do all this stuff so that they are active and healthy growing but many of us let our own health fall by the way side. We have lots of excuses related to not having enough time. I have been really vocal about calling bullshit on that excuse but the past week I noticed something else…
Many times during the week, when I go box – I see parents either drop their kid off to a boxing session or sit on the bench and watch. Same thing happened when I took my kids to Rebounderz. I was the only parent jumping around the trampolines and having fun and getting exercise with my kids.
I don’t understand this at all — why not join your kids in an activity or if you drop them off at soccer practice, why not walk around the fields listening to music? Just MOVE YOUR BODY. You don’t have to go at it hard like some of us do but instead of sitting their on the sidelines watching your kid during a boxing session – put on a pair of gloves and join them. Not only are you helping yourself, you are spending time with them and setting a great example. So, stop sitting on the sidelines. Life is too short, kids grow up way too fast and you are allowed to make time for yourself! Who knows – you may even find it’s fun!
Here are some related parenting and kids fitness resources to talk about with your kids:
- How to teach your kids about sugar
- 25+ Ideas to Exercise with Kids
Rewind the Future
Every day I check out Humans of New York and meet the people they are highlighting. Depending on the snapshot and the story they tell, I have felt sad, angry, or mushy inside – sometimes just from a few sentences. On a good day, I’ve feel all three. I think what draws me to HONY regularly is I love “meeting” so many interesting people and learning about all the things that bind us together. Everyone has a story to tell…
There is one that stands out and it was shared again recently because it’s that good…
Here are a couple gems of wisdom from the author Regina Brett:
- “Ask yourself, in five years, will it matter?”
- “Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.”
How many of us wait to use something for a special occasion or delay what we want because we want to make it really special? What I am finding out as I gain more experience and get older, every day is special. We are special and deserve to be around people who love us, make us feel happy and deserve to do things that make our heart sing, or feel fancy and pretty. Why are we taught we must wait?
A writer and friend Lisbeth shared a writing of hers: Don’t Save It for Later that speaks to this idea of not saving things for a special occasion. It reminded me of an Oprah episode years ago with Luther Vandross. Luther was an amazing, talented, flamboyant, bigger than life singer who died way too young. During the show, Oprah was walking through his house and remarked about how all of his every day dishes were very fancy and his regular drinking glasses were crystal. I’m not sure of his exact response, but the gist of it was that every day is special so why not enjoy the nice and pretty things all the time. It’s strange that I still remember that part but none of the rest, but he’s right. None of us is promised tomorrow or a ‘later’, so why are you saving or storing things that bring you happiness and joy?
It’s also food for thought around your career or personal life. Why are you putting up with things or sticking around those that suck the happiness out of you? We all deserve happiness and love. If there are people in your life that are sucking your joy or if your job makes you miserable – it’s time to start the process of change. Many times it’s not easy and the journey may be long and hard, but in the end you can choose to struggle and be unhappy or struggle to reach your happy place. Which one would you choose?
The Connection Between Eczema and Eating Dairy
A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend of mine about her recent case of eczema. I immediately said it’s probably dairy. She said that’s what her doctor said too Fast forward to this morning, before our 6A boxing session, she said she stopped the dairy and almost immediately – her eczema cleared up! Well what do you know!! It’s amazing how many people don’t realize that a sensitivity to dairy can cause skin issues and congestion.
Before understanding how dairy affected me, I had hard, crusty hands all the time. To help alleviate the burning and itching, my doctor gave me a steroid cream. He never once discussed its possible cause. Once I quit dairy – it was gone. Just like that! Recently, I was reminded once again that dairy and I don’t mix. I started drinking a whey protein shake in the AM. Whey protein is a by-product of the cheese making process and after a few days, my eczema started to flare up on my hands again. I switched to a veggie based shake and the eczema issues cleared up.
As a general practice, I don’t eat dairy but maybe once a week. When I do have some, within hours, I feel congested and the next morning, my hands start to itch. If i eat it more than once a week, eczema on my hands starts to appear. One of my favorite treats – ice cream – is almost not worth eating because my congestion gets so bad that getting a good night’s sleep becomes a challenge. Everything in life is a trade off and now, before eating anything with dairy or gluten for that matter, I ask myself if it’s worth it. Sometimes the answer is yes, but most often, it’s no.
Here’s a bit more info on dairy and food allergies:
How can you figure out if dairy is causing you issues?
It’s simple really. Try eliminating it for a week or so to see if any skin issues clear up, including acne. Then, add it back in. If you notice a reaction, then you know that dairy is causing you some inflammation issues. Keep in mind that a week may not be enough time to really eliminate it. As with most things, It depends on the person. The thing is, if you find you are sensitive to dairy, you are armed with the knowledge and can be more aware of how your body feels and reacts to your food choices.
Appreciate and Celebrate the Sport of Running!
National Running Day, held annually on the first Wednesday in June, is a day when runners everywhere declare their passion for running.
Since 2009, the country’s foremost running organizations have worked together to celebrate the sport of running with thousands of runners. It’s easy to join by planning a run, spreading the running bug to a friend, signing up for a race, or setting a new goal.
Like last year, Women’s Running, the world’s largest women-specific running magazine is offering a special offer to
celebrate National Running Day and foster your love of running: A 6 Month Subscription to Women’s Running for $5!
Since last year, I have received Women’s Running magazine and it has provided me with some good info and resources as I attempt to run more than I have in year’s past. Based on my experience, Women’s Running magazine focuses on info that motivates women with regards to training, travel and nutrition.
How to Start Running
Want to start running? Read this great resource on how to go from the couch to a half marathon: Couch to Half Marathon Training Plan! You can do it – Yes you can!
Need more reasons to start running? Here’s an infographic with the Top 10 Health Benefits of Running…
Disclosure: I am sharing this information in exchange for goods provided by Women’s Running. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by the brand or company.