Category Archives: Being More Than An Athlete

Achieving Your Goals: The Story of Why

Deep in the Amazon there lies a tree of truth. Anyone who brews from this tree will be given all of the answers to their quest.

A sous-chef Aaron, sought out to the tree. There, he brewed his tea and fell into a deep slumber. He entered a world filled with light and hope.

“What is the secret to the greatest soup?” He yelled out.

Moments later he awoke to a note.

The secret to great soups….Heavy Cream, Broth, Bouillon cubes, Beef broth, Juice, Ground beef, Turkey bacon, Sausage, Cheese, Peanut butter, Flour Tortilla strips, Pasta, White rice, Chicken.

The list went on for two pages.

He gathered his belonging and zealously ran to the nearest village and began to shop. He spent every dime he had, for he was intent on making the perfect soup.

After one day of preparation and cooking, his soup was finally complete. He invited all of his acquaintances, and though he was still unsure what to call it. He titled the feast as the Worlds Greatest Soup.

This soup would be the key to his happiness.

Before the ceremony, he went for a taste and the soup was unpalatable. He felt so embarrassed, and frustrated that he spent all of his earnings on a worthless soup. Continue reading Achieving Your Goals: The Story of Why

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Resting When Sick

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Hi All,

I hope you all having starting this week on a great foot! I was under the weather all last week and felt it would be a great opportunity to share my experience. Also, check out my tribute to Black History Month post a spoken word called Roots!

Workout Update

As I stated previously, I was sick all last week. I’m unsure what I caught but it was terrible, probably the worst sickness I’ve ever had. I have always been taught to train through being sick and that’s exactly what I planned on doing. I attempted to practice twice last week both to no avail. The first attempt, I realized when I got there I wasn’t going to be able to do it so I talked to my assistant coach and went home. The next day, I was feeling fairly better and started the warm up but was too ill to finish it. I talked with my coach and we decided to try his approach. Which is taking it easy when you’re sick because your body is already in deficient so it best to let it recover. It was a really hard pill for me to swallow because my workouts had been going so well and sitting out boring. So, for two days I stayed home, rested and tried to get better. Friday I was able to warm up and Saturday I did a light workout and today (Monday) I am back in the game! Continue reading Resting When Sick

Holiday Eating: Planning And Moderation

Hey All,

I hope you all are having a beautiful Sunday! This week I wanted to take time to give everyone tips on how to tackle Thanksgiving eating. I know a lot of people are trying to stay on target for their goals and often times this Holiday season can be a real set back. So this is my advice to EVERYONE, Young Athletes and Non-Athletes.

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Planning

This is very important and you should probably start this as soon as possible. Plan out your week. The best way to go about Holiday eating is to consider that day your “cheat day”. No one wants to be at a holiday dinner on a diet and have to watch everyone enjoy all the great food. So plan ahead of time and make sure you are keeping up with your healthy eating plan before and after Thanksgiving. Meal plan around the holiday and if you are going out of town try to eat at healthier restaurants ( Chipotle, Jason’s Deli, Panera Bread, etc) or pick up some healthy groceries if you can. Now I know a lot of people pig out on Thanksgiving and then decide to start back on their meal plans on Monday. Resist that temptation! Get back on that healthy lifestyle horse the very next day. Your body will thank you for it. Continue reading Holiday Eating: Planning And Moderation

Being More Than An Athlete

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! This week I wanted to talk about what I do outside of track and encourage everyone to be more than an Athlete. Whether you are a high school athlete or working a full time job, it is always beneficial to do more than the requirement!

Doing More

As many of you know, I am definitely more than an athlete, I have obtained my Masters in Business Administration (MBA), volunteered, traveled the world, done public speaking and much more. While I was in college, not only was I a scholarship athlete but I was on 3 executive boards for student organizations, interned, and volunteered. While I believe in being well rounded and not putting all your eggs in one basket, I will admit it does have some drawbacks. Sometimes being overloaded with different things can cause a loss of focus or the feeling of being overwhelmed. The key is finding a balance and knowing how much one can handle.

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Continue reading Being More Than An Athlete

What it Takes

A week or so ago, I met a college triple jumper and somehow ended up asking her if she wanted to compete professionally. Her response was, “It’s not my dream but I wouldn’t mind.” Upon further reflection, I believe when I first came out of college that was me. It wasn’t my dream to run professionally, I don’t think I really knew what I wanted to do (I’m not sure if I even know what I really want to do now lol). When I first came out of college it just seemed like the right move. It was more of a curiosity than a dream. I believed I could run a lot faster. I thought that by going to a small school and doing well (becoming All-American, making Nationals 3/4 years, going to the Olympic Trials) that if I’d been able to go to a larger school with more resources, I would have done even better and I wanted to know how fast I could go under the “right training” but “a dream” probably not even close. Through that journey, I met some amazing people, traveled, and learned a lot about myself and others.

You are probably wondering, well is it a dream now???? A dream?

Well according to Webster, a dream (in the context I am talking) is defined as;

Something that you have wanted very much to do, be, or have for a long time

4. a:  a strongly desired goal or purpose <a dream of becoming president>

b:  something that fully satisfies a wish :ideal <a meal that was a gourmet’s dream>

I don’t think this defines how I look at it now. It is more of a relentless mission. Something I feel I have been assigned to do and must fight tireless to achieve. There is an objective, a plan, a strategy… it is no longer a strong desire because a desire is longing for or hoping or wanting… No, this is not desire it is will, diligence, sacrifice, action. A dream is something that isn’t going to happen, “A dream come true” is a surprise. This will be fought for with sweat, lactic acid, tears, prayer, weight room, workouts, drills, it will be no surprise, it will be deserved. This is not a game, it’s a war, against opponents but more importantly myself. As Muhammad Ali said,

“Champions are not made in the gym. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them- a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”

All of this to say, the young girl made me think about how far I’ve come, where I’m headed and what it takes.

Body Maintenance

This week I learned the importance of body maintenance. I’ve had an extremely busy schedule the past two months taking two business classes, coaching a cross country team, working 20 hours a week, and training myself (practicing, weight room, physio treatment) not to mention I made a trip home for a few days in October. Needless to say I’ve been exhausted. With my crazy schedule I was finding myself not warming up properly (sometimes not at all), I only received one deep tissue massage and cooling down mainly consisted of me jogging to my car. The last few weeks I’d been having cramping in my calves and my lower back was spasming causing my groin to hurt. I changed my schedule and it became in effect this week. I had come to the conclusion I couldn’t last much longer on the schedule that I had with this change came extra time that was definitely needed. I started properly warming upand cooling down and doing the exercises my physio gave me again. I had time yesterday to really, really stretch and roll out on a foam roller. What a difference! I feel a thousand times better. When I rolled out with the foam roller I discovered my calves have a hand full of knots in them which is likely the source of the cramping and with them not being properly warmed up the situation was only becoming worse.extremely busy schedule the past two months taking two business classes, coaching a cross country team, working 20 hours a week, and training myself (practicing, weigd. With my crazy schedule I was finding myself not warming up properly (sometimes not at all), I only received one deep tissue massage and cooling down mainly consisted of me jogging to my car. The last few weeks I’d been having cramping in my calves and my lower back was spasming causing my groin to hurt. I changed my schedule and it became in effect this week. I had come to the conclusion I couldn’t last much longer on the schedule that I had with this change came extra time that was definitely needed. I started properly warming up and cooling down and doing the exercises my physio gave me again. I had time yesterday to really, really stretch and roll out on a foam roller. What a difference! I feel a thousand times better. When I rolled out with the foam roller I discovered my calves have a hand full of knots in them which is likely the source of the cramping and with them not being properly warmed up the situation was only becoming worse.

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This week I learned a valuable lesson that I sub-consciously already knew, Body Maintenance is extremely important! I think I’m going to try to find time to go to yoga classes once a week and I’m going to attempt to stretch daily. I’m going to make properly warming up and cooling down a priority. It is better to take your time and be healthy.

Why Meditate?

I have taken up the art of meditating. I do it in my own way but I really enjoy it and every since I started I have a sense of clarity about my life and my purpose. I kind of do a mix of prayer and meditation. I saw this article about the benefits and thought I would share. 😀

7 Benefits to Meditation


by Anastasia Stephens, SMH

It’s a piece of advice yogis have given for thousands of years: take a deep breath and relax. Watch the tension melt from your muscles and all your niggling worries vanish. Somehow we all know that relaxation is good for us.Now the hard science has caught up: a comprehensive scientific study showing that deep relaxation changes our bodies on a genetic level has just been published. What researchers at Harvard Medical School discovered is that, in long-term practitioners of relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation, far more ”disease-fighting genes” were active, compared to those who practised no form of relaxation.In particular, they found genes that protect from disorders such as pain, infertility, high blood pressure and even rheumatoid arthritis were switched on. The changes, say the researchers, were induced by what they call ”the relaxation effect”, a phenomenon that could be just as powerful as any medical drug but without the side effects. ”We found a range of disease-fighting genes were active in the relaxation practitioners that were not active in the control group,” Dr Herbert Benson, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, who led the research, says. The good news for the control group with the less-healthy genes is that the research didn’t stop there.

The experiment, which showed just how responsive genes are to behaviour, mood and environment, revealed that genes can switch on, just as easily as they switch off. ”Harvard researchers asked the control group to start practising relaxation methods every day,” says Jake Toby, hypnotherapist at London’s BodyMind Medicine Centre, who teaches clients how to induce the relaxation effect. ”After two months, their bodies began to change: the genes that help fight inflammation, kill diseased cells and protect the body from cancer all began to switch on.”

More encouraging still, the benefits of the relaxation effect were found to increase with regular practice: the more people practised relaxation methods such as meditation or deep breathing, the greater their chances of remaining free of arthritis and joint pain with stronger immunity, healthier hormone levels and lower blood pressure. Benson believes the research is pivotal because it shows how a person’s state of mind affects the body on a physical and genetic level. It might also explain why relaxation induced by meditation or repetitive mantras is considered to be a powerful remedy in traditions such as Ayurveda in India or Tibetan medicine.

But just how can relaxation have such wide-ranging and powerful effects? Research has described the negative effects of stress on the body. Linked to the release of the stress-hormones adrenalin and cortisol, stress raises the heart rate and blood pressure, weakens immunity and lowers fertility. By contrast, the state of relaxation is linked to higher levels of feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and to the growth hormone which repairs cells and tissue. Indeed, studies show that relaxation has virtually the opposite effect, lowering heart rate, boosting immunity and enabling the body to thrive.

”On a biological level, stress is linked to fight-flight and danger,” Dr Jane Flemming, a London GP, says. ”In survival mode, heart rate rises and blood pressure shoots up. Meanwhile muscles, preparing for danger, contract and tighten. And non-essential functions such as immunity and digestion go by the wayside.” Relaxation, on the other hand, is a state of rest, enjoyment and physical renewal. Free of danger, muscles can relax and food can be digested. The heart can slow and blood circulation flows freely to the body’s tissues, feeding it with nutrients and oxygen. This restful state is good for fertility, as the body is able to conserve the resources it needs to generate new life.

While relaxation techniques can be very different, their biological effects are essentially similar. ”When you relax, the parasympathetic nervous system switches on. That is linked to better digestion, memory and immunity, among other things,” Toby says. ”As long as you relax deeply, you’ll reap the rewards.” But, he warns, deep relaxation isn’t the sort of switching off you do relaxing with a cup of tea or lounging on the sofa.

”What you’re looking for is a state of deep relaxation where tension is released from the body on a physical level and your mind completely switches off,” he says. ”The effect won’t be achieved by lounging round in an everyday way, nor can you force yourself to relax. You can only really achieve it by learning a specific technique such as self-hypnosis, guided imagery or meditation.”

The relaxation effect, however, may not be as pronounced on everyone. ”Some people are more susceptible to relaxation methods than others,” says Joan Borysenko, director of a relaxation program for outpatients at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston. ”Through relaxation, we find some people experience a little improvement, others a lot. And there are a few whose lives turn around totally.”

7 Health Benefits of Deep Relaxation

The next time you tune out and switch off and let yourself melt, remind yourself of all the good work the relaxation effect is doing on your body. These are just some of the scientifically proven benefits …

1. INCREASED IMMUNITY

Relaxation appears to boost immunity in recovering cancer patients. A study at the Ohio State University found that progressive muscular relaxation, when practised daily, reduced the risk of breast cancer recurrence. In another study at Ohio State, a month of relaxation exercises boosted natural killer cells in the elderly, giving them a greater resistance to tumours and to viruses.

2. EMOTIONAL BALANCE

Emotional balance, means to be free of all the neurotic behavior that results from the existence of a tortured and traumatized ego. This is very hard to achieve fully, but meditation certainly is the way to cure such neurosis and unhealthy emotional states. As one’s consciousness is cleansed of emotionally soaked memories, not only does great freedom abound, but also great balance. As one’s responses then are not colored by the burdens one carries, but are instead true, direct and appropriate.

3. INCREASED FERTILITY

A study at the University of Western Australia found that women are more likely to conceive during periods when they are relaxed rather than stressed. A study at Trakya University, in Turkey, also found that stress reduces sperm count and motility, suggesting relaxation may also boost male fertility.

4. RELIEVES IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME

When patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome began practising a relaxation meditation twice daily, their symptoms of bloating, diarrhoea and constipation improved significantly. The meditation was so effective the researchers at the State University of New York recommended it as an effective treatment.

5. LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE

A study at Harvard Medical School found that meditation lowered blood pressure by making the body less responsive to stress hormones, in a similar way to blood pressure-lowering medication. Meanwhile a British Medical Journal report found that patients trained how to relax had significantly lower blood pressure.

6. ANTI-INFLAMATORY

Stress leads to inflammation, a state linked to heart disease, arthritis, asthma and skin conditions such as psoriasis, say researchers at Emory University in the US. Relaxation can help prevent and treat such symptoms by switching off the stress response. In this way, one study at McGill University in Canada found that meditation clinically improved the symptoms of psoriasis.

7. CALMNESS

The simple difference between those who meditate and those who do not, is that for a meditative mind the thought occurs but is witnessed, while for an ordinary mind, the thought occurs and is the boss. So in both minds, an upsetting thought can occur, but for those who meditate it is just another thought, which is seen as such and is allowed to blossom and die, while in the ordinary mind the thought instigates a storm which rages on and on.

How to switch off stress

How can you use relaxation’s healing powers? Harvard researchers found that yoga, meditation and even repetitive prayer and mantras all induced the relaxation effect. ”The more regularly these techniques are practised, the more deeply rooted the benefits will be,” Jake Toby says. Try one or more of these techniques for 15 minutes once or twice a day.

Body Scan: Starting with your head and working down to your arms and feet, notice how you feel in your body. Taking in your head and neck, simply notice if you feel tense, relaxed, calm or anxious. See how much you can spread any sensations of softness and relaxation to areas of your body that feel tense. Once your reach your feet, work back up your body.

Breath Focus: Sit comfortably. Tune into your breath, follow the sensation of inhaling from your nose to abdomen and out again. Let tension go with each exhalation. When you notice your mind wandering, return to your breath.

Mantra Repetition: The relaxation response can be evoked by sitting quietly with eyes closed for 15 minutes twice a day, and mentally repeating a simple word or sound such as ”Om”.

Guided Imagery: Imagine a wonderfully relaxing light or a soothing waterfall washing away tension from your body and mind. Make your image vivid, imagining texture, colour and any fragrance as the image washes over you.

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/relax–its-good-for-you-20090819-eqlo.html#ixzz1kQtHr9Pm

My Source: http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/7-health-benefits-of-meditation