#FitMom Sharon: Resilience and Determination

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Sharon and I immediately connected when we shared stories of growing up on all things Latino, our expat experiences, and raising all boys. Her story needs no introduction. Sharon is one of the strongest women I know. Not only because of her physical strength but because of what she has been able to do mentally. Our minds need training too and Sharon is an example of someone who won’t give up despite of heartache and broken bones…Thank you, Sharon for sharing such a personal story. xoxo 

When did you decide to change your life and live it to its full potential? What happened that made you say, “Today is the day?”

I have to say that I always did…especially after my 30’s when we became expats and were stationed in different countries temporarily. You make the most out of your years there and of the time with the people you meet. You’re constantly thrown out of your comfort zone, facing new challenges…and you have to be capable of starting from scratch each time. Expat life makes you very aware of ‘limited’ time and teaches you how to make the best and get the most out of that time.

At least for me.

But I took it to the ‘extreme’ right before turning 40.  I hit an emotional low in my life after moving from Sydney, Australia to Augusta, Georgia. My husband’s job brought us to the US. I never wanted to leave Oz. After more than 4 years, it had become home. I loved the lifestyle (outdoors!!) and had many wonderful friends there.

We arrived on a mid October day and I think for months after there were many tears, I was feeling low, spent days and days in my bath robe and I basically just spiraled downwards emotionally.

I couldn’t connect with anything. I just wanted to go back.

Just a little over a year after, on January 1st (the one day we all make our NY resolutions), I told my husband that this no longer could go on. It was also the year I would turn 40 and I wanted to mark it in some way. If I couldn’t go back to Sydney, then in some other way. I wanted something completely different and something I’d never done before.

So I decided to complete a half Ironman. Why? Because it scared me.

It seemed impossible and at the time I didn’t care much for cardio work. Give me weights any time, any day…but cardio…not so much.

I bought a book, signed up for several events spread throughout the year:  a Sprint distance, Olympic distance, a Mudrun and the half Iron distance at the back end of the year that was close to my birthday. I looked at Youtube videos and taught myself how to do freestyle swimming and at the same time had to conquer my fear of murky open water and ocean swims.

All these events gave me something else to focus on, I was learning new things while enjoying the outdoors at the same time. Taking this challenge, learning, and meeting new people along the way was a major turnaround for me. I was slowly becoming my ‘happy’ self again.

 

What does your typical workout entail?

In the colder months I like to do more cardio/ strength indoors (d&i Fitness!).  Dumbells, kettlebells, battleropes etc. As soon as the weather gets a bit milder, I like to run 2-3 days a week, bike twice a week and continue my strength classes at least 2-3 days a week. It depends if I signed up for a race or not.

I  love to balance it out.

 

How do you make time for training?

I schedule it as an appointment.  If possible, I never schedule anything between 8-10 am so I can get my workout in. Whatever else I plan, I try to plan around my workouts.

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We all wake up feeling unmotivated once in a while. How do you get through a tough day?

Depends.

If I had a few training days back to back, I give in and do whatever it is I feel like doing. It’s good to listen to your body. We all need a break sometimes and it’s best to do something different. It helps you return strong.

On tough days, when I really do need to go work out (like when preparing for an event) I usually schedule something with a friend. Whether it’s a run or a ride. This holds me accountable.

 

How many children do you have and do they “work out” with you?

I have 2 boys. 15 and 11.

My oldest is a year-round competitive swimmer and runs cross country and track. He was born athletic. We really never had to encourage him to do anything. He’s always been active and is already talking about one day doing an Ultraman.

My youngest has found a passion for basketball.  He needs a little more encouragement in other areas. We encourage him to run at least two 5k’s a year by picking fun races like the Color Run or any local events which he can do with his friends.  We try to go out for long hikes on a regular basis. Great quality family time while staying active! Now in the summer, he likes to bike next to me as I do my runs.

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Tell us about a challenge you overcame during the process of ‘changing your life once and for all.’

As I was preparing for a 70.3 Ironman on August of 2014, I had a major road bike accident.  I broke my scapula, collarbone, a few ribs, lost some back teeth, suffered a bad concussion, short term memory loss, and had deep abrasion wounds on my entire right side of the body.

I underwent surgery and physical therapy and was told it would take me at least a year, to ease into lifting, biking and swimming again.  I will never ever take brushing my hair, my teeth or being able to just move around normally for granted! [Read more…]

Healthy Choices and Scheduled Workouts for this #FitMom

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Back when I was thinking of asking my #FitMom friends to join me in this MFBS and CR Photography mini series, I already knew bits and pieces of their stories but I admired them so much that I wanted to know more. Hence, I came up with the questions listed below. Because they train on a higher level of intensity (much higher than I would ever dream of training!), I wanted to know specifics. My journey has been completely different but in order to stay consistent with the series, I’m asking myself the same questions I asked mis super amiguas. Enjoy!

When did you decide to change your life and live it to its full potential? What happened that made you say, “Today is the day?” 
Unlike so many children today who start playing sports at a really young age (including my own), I didn’t join a sport until I was in high school. I was a Cross Country runner and a Track and Field long distance runner. I wasn’t winning many races, and I knew that I wouldn’t run in college, but when I ran a flat 6 minute mile my Junior year, I was so, so proud. I remember how my muscles felt that day. I even remember the smell of the indoor track. And I was hooked. I was hooked on creating many “personal best” moments that were realistic for me. Many years later, when I became a mom, workouts were never consistent but when I was pregnant with my third baby boy, I hired a trainer so that I could carefully continue to workout without ever stopping again. No more excuses.

What does your typical workout entail?
I finally found a group class that I LOVE! I have been doing Pure Barre for five months now. I try to make 3 classes a week and at least one day of running (no more than 2.5 miles). My core is really strong now and I believe it helps me avoid lower back pain which kept me from running for years.

How do you make time for training?
I tell myself that the day has 24 hours. I have to dedicate one hour a day to fitness and only have to schedule 4 days on my calendar. When I have a babysitter I go to a class, or if I don’t, I try to make Saturdays and Sundays work because Hubby is home. My kids often join in on the fun so when I have them, we get creative. I happen to have a two-level backyard so I run the stairs up and down over and over. After a few sets, I do push ups, sit ups and planks while the boys play! Then I do it all over again. I also have weights in the play area so when we can’t go outside, I take all that I learned from my trainer (Hi Jackie!) and apply it by myself. Jumping rope inside of outside the house is the least expensive way to get your heart pumping!

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We all wake up feeling unmotivated once in a while. How do you get through a tough day?
I always think:
“My boys need a healthy mom.”
“My boys need a happy mom.”
“I’m going to feel great when I’m done.”
And it works!

How many children do you have and do they “work out” with you?
If you are just getting to know My Friend Betty, welcome!! I have 3 boys. Diego is 8, Santi is 4.5, and Jordi is 3 yrs old. They also see me workout while they play in the park or playground and often want to join. Diego plays soccer and he is becoming a really fast runner. I do sprints with him and they all love to jog with me. We already see Santi becoming a great long distance runner. He never gets tired. I can’t wait to do more with them in the future.

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Tell us about a challenge you overcame during the process of ‘changing your life once and for all.
I recently did a 28 Day Cleanse that was so hard but taught me so much. I decided to do it because I started to notice habits that I didn’t enjoy. In the last few months, [Read more…]

#FitMom Elaine: Ironman at 41

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I’m so happy to welcome Elaine back to MFBS! Remember her? She’s a personal stylist, an involved member of our community, a fantastic mom and…an Ironman. Her story is incredible and when I first met Elaine, I would have never thought that the soft spoken, genuinely friendly new amiga had so much in her. So, so much. She is more than a #FitMom! Elaine constantly sets new goals for herself and it has been amazing to witness her journey. I can’t wait for you to read below… 

When did you decide to change your life and live it to its full potential? What happened that made you say, “Today is the day?”
I decided to train for the Ironman when I turned 41. After being a stay at home mom for 10 years, I felt like it was my turn to accomplish something big – to shift the focus onto me and achieve something ‘impossible’. I had been in the support role for 10 years cheering for my kids and my husband’s career. It was my turn.

What does your typical workout entail?
Leading up to the Ironman, I trained 6 days a week. Peak training included long bike rides lasting for 100 miles, long runs of 20 miles, swim workouts in the pool and open water swimming at Mountain Lakes. The training is grueling. My body felt constantly fatigued but also superhero strong at the same time! In addition to swimming, biking and running, there are two additional components to Ironman training which are nutrition and stretching. I would say I spent about 25 hours a week training for the Ironman during the peak.

How do you make time for training?
I do whatever it takes to get my training in. During my busy styling season, I wake up at 4:00/4:30 so I can get to the gym at 5:00am to workout. I always schedule my workouts in my planner so it just becomes part of my day. Working out and being healthy is simply a part of my lifestyle.

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We all wake up feeling unmotivated once in a while. How do you get through a tough day?
Training with my girlfriends keeps me motivated. There’s a new Nike commercial for the Women’s World Cup – Strong Alone. Unstoppable Together. That’s how I feel about training with my friends.

How many children do you have and do they “work out” with you?
I have 3 children – 11 year old boy/girl twins and an 8 year old boy. While I do not train with them, we do live an active lifestyle together as a family. We love to ride bikes together or walk into town to the library or explore different local parks for hiking. My favorite hike is in Hacklebarney State Park in Long Valley, NJ.

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Tell us about a challenge you overcame during the process of ‘changing your life once and for all.’
During the Ironman Lake Placid race last summer, there were torrential rains during the most difficult portion of the bike – a very steep 7 mile descent. Not only was it pouring rain but the thunder was so loud we could feel the ground shaking. [Read more…]

Tips and Advice from Kristen: #FitMom Mini Series

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MFBS note: CR Photography and I are starting off the #FitMom series with my dear friend, Kristen Fay! I met Kristen at our children’s preschool and after months of speaking to her in the hallways, one day she looked so different! Kristen had lost weight, but her skin looked gorgeous and her usual sweet smile turned into a happy bursts of laughter. I wanted to share her story with you because Kristen has learned so much about nutrition and fitness and willing to talk with anyone who wants to make little changes in their own life. Moms should carve out a little time for themselves and be considered a priority. Kristen is a perfect #FitMom example and has a few ideas so that you can too start or continue on your own journey. Enjoy!

When did you decide to change your life and live it to its full potential? What happened that made you say, “Today is the day?”
Since college, I’ve always had to exercise and eat healthily to maintain a good weight for my body type. Since then, life changes including: work (before kids), moving to CA and back to the East Coast, having 2 children born close together & raising them, plus managing the family’s needs have taken priority over my own needs and health. My exercise and eating well have been inconsistent over the last 10 years. In the late Winter of 2014, I was at my highest non-pregnant weight, I felt like I didn’t look good in my clothes, I lacked energy, and felt like my present state just “wasn’t me”. I decided to make a long-term, sustainable lifestyle change and hired a trainer to come to my house to help me get started. Lisa Gagliano, my personal trainer, was coming twice a week for an hour, then we backed down to once a week to maintain my fitness level.

What does your typical workout entail?
I work with Trainer Lisa once a week for an hour, then I do our workout on my own another day that week. We do a circuit of cardio, weight training, abs and stretching. I also play doubles tennis at least once or twice per week for 90 min. For toning, I do PureBarre classes once (sometimes twice) per week. I try and fit in a trail walk with the dog or a run outside around my neighborhood once per week for an hour.

How do you make time for training?
I usually workout on weekdays, when my young children are at preschool. Some weekends, I get up early before anyone else is up and squeeze in an hour workout at home or running in my neighborhood.

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We all wake up feeling unmotivated once in a while. How do you get through a tough day? [Read more…]

#FitMom Mini Series and GIVEAWAY!

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I am so happy to finally introduce CR Photography and MFBS’ special #FitMom mini series! We gathered 3 very special ladies and interviewed them to give you their special, inspirational and motivating stories. Kristen, Elaine and Sharon don’t mess around!! BE ready to be moved! Chitra (pictured above on the right) is my photographer and dear friend and has her own story to tell. And as a woman and mom who has always loved to discover healthier options and the latest fitness trends, I’m including my story too.

We will feature each woman in the next week and a half but to kick off this exciting mini-series, Pure Barre Short Hills and Pure Barre Red Bank (both in NJ) have decided to celebrate #FitMoms with us and giveaway one (1) month membership to one (1) lucky new-to-Pure-Barre, My Friend Betty Says reader! Both Mollie and Melanie are also moms, working moms, instructors and business owners. I’m so honored to have this group of women come together for the next five posts dedicated to health.

Stay tuned for more and good luck!!! P.s. The Rafflecopter below will ask you to visit Facebook pages. To properly enter, please “like” those pages. Gracias!!!

Note:Local NJ entries only please. This giveaway is only valid at the Pure Barre Short Hills and Pure Barre Red Bank locations. First time/new members only.

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I WAS HACKED!

I apologize if you received a crazy email suggesting I had written a post about um…certain dysfunctions. Please do not click on anything from that email! I can reassure you I have other more appropriate content lined up for you!!

Gracias!

Your friend,

Betty

How Long Can It Take?

Do you have a 2nd, 3rd or 4th grader at home? The infographic below was sent to me by Personal Creations and I thought it was worth sharing. Diego is going to 3rd grade and is an avid reader. This list has great literature selections for his next pick, PLUS it gives us an estimate on how long it will take him to finish a great book. P.s He is currently reading Mr. Popper’s Penguins and The Lemonade War. Happy reading!

How Long it Takes Kids to Read Popular Books

Family Play Time with Google Play

FullSizeRender (16)My family was invited to Google Family Play Time and we received a Nexus 9. However, all statements and opinions are my own.

This past weekend, we stayed indoors due to the non-stop rain but lucky for us, we had an invitation from Google Play to stop by their event and spend some quality family play time with them and their educational partners.IMG_4693 (1)The boys fueled up on impressive healthy snacks (the veggie gardens were gorgeous!) and Elmo cookies before making their way through all of the different stations Google Play had set up.IMG_4694Diego’s favorite station? Tynker. Handsdown. He was flying a drone and became super interested in exploring code to build his own games or app.IMG_4696

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Santi and Jordi explored Sesame Street on the Nexus 9 and I loved how Diego opened up some books and patiently waited for his brothersIMG_4692IMG_4695I also love how incredibly helpful all the guys in my family become when it comes to giving each other a hand with technology! I also had everyone help me navigate through the “Family” category. It is my favorite! Especially the Popular Characters section. I don’t have to do any filtering when searching for Peppa Pig! All of the characters are neatly organized which makes it super easy for Jordi to find his favorites.

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DJ DAG loved mixing on the Crayola app. The little guys are dying to try it too!IMG_4689“The sweetest release yet from Android,” Nexus 9 is light, bright and perfect for everyone in my family. We love the protective Bobj Silicone Case too! Thank you Google Play for a fantastic Saturday morning!

What’s Up with Betty?

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Hi there! This is what’s up! My boys have been out of school for almost 2.5 weeks now and let’s just say they are keeping me really busy. Diego is doing half day camps (except this week) and that means the little 2 have to learn to play nice with each other…all day long. I swear I spend much more time breaking up fights and sighing loudly throughout the day than working, writing or doing much of anything else. I did find this handy “25 Ideas to Avoid Summer Learning Loss” I wrote for Mommy Maestra that is so helpful and perfect right now.

What else is going on? Oh! I’m on day 24 of #28DayCleanEating challenge! I have been off caffeine, sugar, dairy, gluten and alcohol for the past 24 days. No secrets: Day 2 was the hardest. I suffered from caffeine withdrawal BAD, but over the years I realized coffee was making me really anxious and I knew I had to stop sometime. Also, I won’t lie but…weekends are hard! We love to eat out and often accompany every meal on the weekend with some form of fun alcoholic beverage (Bloody Mary’s for lunch to Spicy Margaritas for dinner!) and my tummy was so bloated. I would also wake up feeling extremely sluggish and although I have always maintained a regular workout routine, I wasn’t feeling energized. So guess what? Even though I wasn’t super perfect throughout this journey,  I have lost about 6 pounds and a few inches off my waist. My weight isn’t fluctuating after the weekends either. My belly feels and looks flatter and I feel AMAZING.  My journey hasn’t been perfect and I will let you guess where I failed due to my weakness and super social life (I kid! Just check out Instagram for proof of me drinking solo!) but I still did way better than I expected. I was not compensated for taking the challenge or to speak of the program. You guys know how much I love to learn and any way that I can help my family and I stay healthy, and pass it on to you…I’m on it! Let’s think before we eat! For additional info on this specific program, please visit HERE or contact Kanani Briggs by sending her a message HERE. I loved the private Facebook support group and I will take all of the new nutrition knowledge I have acquired in the past 3.5 weeks to continue to stay on a healthy path. The next group challenge starts July 6th!! Sign up!

What else I’m doing and loving right now?

Snapchat! Follow me! I’m @MyFriendBetty

Periscope! Follow me! Yup, @MyFriendBetty

I’m loving this leave-in conditioner. Just wash, apply and go! Really nice for these hot days.

And this SPF 30 that leaves your legs and arms looking and feeling super soft.

Just finished Us and starting One Day.

Do you have your summer swim suit yet? These are my favorite and I just picked up this one.

Sharing this immigration post again. We have to continue to share our parents’ and grandparents’ stories. So, so important during this time.

Happy Wednesday!

Your friend,

Betty

 

 

 

 

CAbi GIVEAWAY!

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Hi everyone! It’s been a while! But don’t you just love that this post and the last are giveaways??!  Thanks for your continuous support while I was away. I’m back to talk about CAbi…you know how much I love CAbi! The clothes are well made, super comfortable and on trend without making you feel like you were just in your teenage daughter’s closet. Here’s one of my favorite looks and THIS ONE! Love. Love. Love.

I have an $88 value CAbi giveaway for you today! If you haven’t tried #CAbiClothing, this is a great way to start. I have my own Candy Print Scarf (look!) and I love it so much that I got one for one lucky MFBS reader! I also picked up these gorgeous Chandelier Earrings to thank you for always coming to my little space to check in on me. Both of these CAbi accessories are perfect for any of your summer outfits and of course they will work as you transition to the fall.  All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter below, visit and “like” MyFriendBettySays on Facebook, and follow @myfriendbetty on Instagram and Twitter.

Buena suerte!

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