Monday Motivation: Just Don’t Care What People Think. #Dance

We spend a lot of our waking time caring what other people think–how they perceive us. As someone who spends most of her time interacting with people, I’m always thinking about how I’m perceived and how that reflects upon the company I work for.

One of the greatest lessons I learned in school was, perception is reality. Sometimes it’s difficult to flip the caring switch off. This Monday motivation is inspired by Phoebe Buffay. Yep, that Phoebe Buffay. The Phoebe Buffay of “Smelly Cat” fame. In this Friends episode, Rachel and Phoebe go running in Central Park. While Rachel is focused on fitting in with the other runners, Phoebe runs with her hands flailing about. As the episode progresses Rachel sneaks out of the apartment to go running without Phoebe. She’s ashamed of the attention Phoebe draws to them. Watch it for yourself here:

Yesterday, in the cold, arctic tundra that is Minnesota, the sun came out. As someone who hasn’t seen the sun in months, I decided to take my workout outside–ice skating I went. I hadn’t been ice skating in years. After a few trips around the rink, I hit my groove. This is where Justin Timberlake Pandora Radio comes into play. The dance moves came out on the ice. I’m sure it was funny for people to watch. But I haven’t felt that free in a long time. Not a care in the world.

I encourage you to turn your favorite song up, and dance it out. Who cares what you look like, just have fun!


Monday Motivation: Work Hard, Take Responsibility, Fulfill Dreams

We’re in election mode with election day being only a few weeks away.

Today I stumbled upon an interview by Cindi Leive, editor-in-chief of Glamour magazine, with Pres. Barack Obama. The article focuses on women’s issues, which makes sense since it’s target audience is women. However, I highly encourage you to check it out, which you can do here.

Cindi Leive interviews President Obama
Source: Glamour Magazine

In the interview, Obama said, “I’m not going to be satisfied until every young person who is willing to work hard and take responsibility can fulfill their dreams.”

This quote jumped out at me not only because it’s the foundation of the American dream, but also because, in times of high unemployment and countless employment rejections, it’s easy to take the pessimistic way out. It’s easy to blame the forces outside of your control, and sometimes they are to blame. But that shouldn’t stop you from fulfilling your dreams. And what’s more, that shouldn’t stop you from working hard.

Rejection builds character. So, remember, work hard, take responsibility for yourself and you’ll find your passion and fulfill your dreams. One day. One day, your hard work will pay off.

Please Note: This is not an endorsement of one candidate and does not intend to be. This post aims to share the fundamental principles of the American dream.

Zumba: Creating the Rhythm of Your Life

After a month-long hiatus, Zumba class is back in session! Grab your bright colored workout gear, a water bottle and let’s get ready to dance like no one’s watching.

Shake it. Enough said.

Zumba, for me, is that one hour during the week where friends, new and old, meet to workout, everything is perfect and the world does not exist outside of the dance studio. We support each other. We have a good time. We are not afraid to challenge ourselves. The world is perfect.

I’m a very active person, and have become addicted to being challenged. When you’re challenged — when you are pushed to your limits — you learn a lot about yourself and your strength. It’s my experience that your mind usually gives out before your body does.

So, the question is, what life lessons have I learned from Zumba?

First, try, try again and then try again. Whether you are a newbie or an experienced Zumba-er, it takes three classes to get into the groove and feel the choreography. You may not get the samba on your first attempt, but it’s that failure and that re-attempt that allows it to finally click.

One day you will get it. Be persistent. Don’t give up despite a failing attempt. Use your attempt as motivation to keep trying. And, when you finally get what you want, don’t be afraid to celebrate your success.

Second, get out of your comfort zone. I love to make people laugh. With that said, I will often bust out dance moves or jokes at inappropriate times, of course, for the sake of laughter. However, that’s comfortable to me. On the other hand, Latin-inspired dances require a certain amount of sex appeal, which is foreign to me. As you challenge yourself to expand and explore this new side, you learn about yourself. You open yourself up to a new part of you, and you become fearless in the face of new challenges, what ever those challenges may be.

That’s Zumba.

Finally, have fun. I have been blessed with over thinking every aspect of my life. Sometimes — well, more like most of the time — I forget to have fun or even that I deserve the opportunity to have fun and get  away from work. Zumba has taught me to let go, have fun and that it is good for your mental and physical well being. Even while you are having fun, your mind continues to process life’s daily struggles and battles. And, most importantly, it clears your mind.

While Zumba may not be for everyone, I encourage you to find an activity that allows you to escape the stress of your life, clears your mind and allows you to have fun in the process. And, possibly, takes you away from your computer, the Internet, Facebook and your phone.

Unplug yourself and have fun. You deserve it!

Monday Motivation: If Life Hands You Color, Run With It

The Color Run. How can you not be happy after being splashed in bright colors?

On Sunday, July 15, I will be running The Color Run 5k in St. Paul, Minn. For those of you who do not know, The Color Run is a 5K run not about being the fastest runner, but rather about being the happiest participant despite any flaws you may think you have. And, more importantly, it’s about getting bathed in the colors as you run or walk the course.

So, the question is, what makes you happy? Friends? Family? Work? Reading? Coffee? You get the point, but what ever it is, go do it more often.

Often times we know exactly what it is that makes us happy but our heads complicate situations. Don’t over think your happiness. Don’t complicate it. It’s simple. Everyone has something to be happy about. Decide what you are happy about, or what you wake up every day with a passion to do. Now, go do it. Simple.

Do more of what makes you happy. Easy enough, right?Stop judging yourself by the definition of what everyone else thinks you should be. Live for you. Be happy. Build your own path of happiness and enjoy the journey because, after all, you are worth it.

If you don’t want to be happy for yourself, then who else would want to be happy for you?

As you ponder that question, let me leave you with one of my favorite quotes, “Be so happy that when others look at you they become happy, too.”


Diet & Lifestyle: A Continuing Practice

Wedding season is upon us. And with wedding season comes diet and exercise regimens galore. But your mind frame can either hinder or help you succeed.

Many people willing enter into a diet regimen where they scale back on calorie intake, eating highly processed foods with little or no exercise. This leads me to my first point.

There is a difference between diet and lifestyle.

Diet, as defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary, is “the special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.”

And, a lifestyle is “the way in which a person or group lives,” according to the dictionary.

Why, you may ask, is this distinction necessary? Well, I’d like to argue that a diet is a short-term solution to a problem that will not produce long-term results. Yes, you might be thinking to yourself, “But aren’t short-term solutions the foundation of long-term results?” If you have no intention of carrying out this goal in the far-off future, then it does not contribute to your success.

A diet aims to restrict one from indulging. Whereas, a lifestyle allows one to indulge from time-to-time because who, after all, doesn’t need a little chocolate every once in awhile? But you’re working toward an overall healthy lifestyle that includes healthy eating and exercise. A healthy lifestyle consists of exercise, eating and sleep habits that are at equilibrium. The salient point being that equilibrium varies one person to the next.

Everyone isn’t the same. What works for one person may not work for another. So I encourage you to practice a healthy lifestyle. Practice, after all, is defined as “repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it.”  As Jillian Michaels says on her yoga DVD, “Jillian Michaels: Yoga Meltdown,” “It isn’t about being perfect. Perfect is boring. It’s about practice and trying something new.”

Here are some of the healthy mottos I live by:

  • Continuously try to improve, whether it be what you had to eat for lunch or your exercise regimen, strive to learn and evolve and you’ll be successful. But you also need to identify what success looks like for you. Try to improve how many fruits and vegetables you eat on daily basis. Try to improve the amount of time you spend moving. Try to improve your mind set. Obstacles don’t get in your way — your mind is your only obstacle. Rise above it.
  • Get moving. This one is easier said than done, well, at first it is. Growing up, I played softball. Weeknights were dedicated to games and practice, weekdays were dedicated to working out, and weekends were dedicated to back-to-back games while quickly eating McDonald’s or a ball park hot dog. To be honest, I hated working out then. I felt forced to do it. Today, I love working out. It’s something I do for myself. Nobody else can do it for me, and it allows me to relieve stress.
  • Don’t reward yourself with food. As noted in the previous point, I often ate unhealthy food in between softball games. I thought, “Well, I’m burning a lot of calories playing, so I can handle it.” Wrong. You’ll sabotage the “get moving” portion of my healthy mottos. If you let yourself indulge only on the weekends, then you’ll sabotage all of your hard work throughout the week.
  • Drink lots of water. Enough said. I suggest investing in a CamelBak water bottle. The bottle allows you to drink up to 24 percent more water.
  • Get more sleep. I know you know this, but make it happen. You’ll feel more energized. Studies have shown that people who get less sleep tend to consume more calories throughout the day than those people who felt well rested. For more reading, check out the article “6 Reasons You Need More Sleep” from Shape Magazine.
  • Seize every opportunity to get moving. Elevator or stairs — Take the stairs. Bus or walk the few extra blocks — Walk it out. It’s so important I had to put it twice.
  • Try something new. Challenge yourself.

You can do this. Let’s conquer the world one healthy lifestyle at a time. You’ll never regret exercising, but you’ll always regret not having exercised.

Looking for inspiration? Look no further. Here are some images I’ve collected on my Pinterest board (By the way, if you’re on Pinterest, let’s connect!) to get you moving and offer motivation.

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Zumba: The Best Workout You’ve Never Had

Not a professional dancer? Never taken a dance class? Afraid you’ll never be able to salsa or merengue?

Well, here’s some good news for you. I am neither a professional dancer nor have I ever taken a dance class. While many young girls laced up their ballet slippers and twirled across the dance floor, I laced up my softball cleats and  headed out to the softball field in hopes of striking out my opponents. And guess what, I can salsa, merengue and get a completely different workout. The best news of all–You can, too!

A 45-minute Zumba dance session can burn between 400 to 500 calories, according to Shape Magazine. While the moves are repetitive, it’s a great cardio workout paired with fun, upbeat music. To be honest, I often forget I am working out.

“The moves are very simple and repetitive so all you have to do is listen and follow the instructor,” said Julie Kelly, a Zumba instructor and certified trainer, according to Shape Magazine. “Zumba really works your core because the Latin dance moves specifically target the abdominal area.”

Still not convinced? Here are three of my favorite Zumba workouts from YouTube:

1. “On The Floor” by Jennifer Lopez

2. “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 Featuring Christina Aguilera

3. “Waka Waka (Time For Africa)” by Shakira

Are you convinced now?

Let’s get active and celebrate our bodies! If you miss a step, laugh it off and keep going.

For more information on Zumba, visit the official Zumba website.

Zumba in the media: