health and fitness

A different kind of list


Some group or another published a list of the most influential people in health and fitness for 2013, and though I have some issues with some of the people on there (Dr. Phil? Really?) and have heard of less than half of the others, it pleased me no end to see some of my personal favorites make the cut.

Shaun T. Insanity, T25. Motivation oozing from his Instagram and Facebook posts.

Tony Horton. The man behind the P90X (and all its variations) brand. He’s 55 and corny as heck, but there is no question that his workouts are effective effective effective.

Chalene Johnson, creator of my all-time favorite workout Chalene Extreme. She’s inspiring, motivating, and down-to-earth real despite her very hard-earned success. I would follow her anywhere.

Michael Pollan (of course) – what foodie can resist him? Mark Bittman, for the same reason.

Jonathan Fields, whose inclusion was interesting to me, as his work is in the “life balance” kind of health as opposed to the more traditional “eat right and sweat a lot” advice.

I posted this list on my Facebook wall, where a friend promptly fired back, “Where are you? This is BS!” Which I took as a huge compliment, even though he later on said he’d posted that on the wrong wall.

But it did make me think. Who are our personal gurus, the people we look to for advice and inspiration? I thought I’d share mine here, in no particular order. And yes, I’m focusing on the “health and fitness” angle, though I’ll include the Jonathan Fields definition here too.

  1. Tricia Lucas. Tricia is a friend of mine here in Charlottesville, very knowledgeable about nutrition and alternative therapies. When I have a question about vitamins and nutrients, she’s my absolute GO TO.
  2. Lindsey Neal. Another neighbor (and a Hospice doc to boot), Lindsey manages to infuse everything she does with excitement and energy. She is CONSTANTLY positive and upbeat, and I look to her for a dose of “rah rah” when I need it.
  3. Jen Lucas. I’ve known Jen for a long time (we were sorority sisters together at UVA) and my respect for her has only grown. Her work these days is in helping people find balance in their lives, or really helping people see the balance in their lives – and she helps me immensely every day, whether she knows it or not.
  4. My challengers. Every time I work with a group of people to increase their fitness levels, I am humbled and inspired. This group right now is no exception. They’re working with all kinds of obstacles, from time constraints to money constraints to physical constraints, yet every day they are going after their health doggedly. They’re sharing what’s working and what’s not, and they are lifting each other (and themselves) up in the process.
  5. Walker Thornton. Walker is a sex blogger who’s also in a writing group with me. Her posts make me think, challenge my expectations, and ultimately have opened my eyes to an aspect of my health that I wasn’t exactly comfortable being aware of.

There may be more that I’m leaving off the list, but for now, these women are my inspiration. Who is on YOUR list?

The joy in challenges


(this pic is not of our challenge group. It's from Super Saturday last year. But we all got sweaty together . . . really, not virtually. Virtually works well too!)


It’s been a while since I’ve run a challenge of my own. I’ve been involved with other people’s challenges – which is fun in its own right, to see how other people do this thing – but I bet it’s been three months or more since I’ve introduced people to each other online and seen the excitement and posts from something I put together.

Challenge groups, challenges, are groups of people who are meeting online, in secret Facebook groups, to motivate and encourage each other toward health and fitness goals. Everyone has shared a goal – everyone is doing a Beachbody program of one kind or another. Many people are taking advantage of the pure good nutrition in Shakeology.

The weird thing is how well these groups work. You wouldn’t think that telling someone ON THE INTERNET that you’ll work out at 6 am (or 7 pm, or midnight) will actually make you set the alarm and get sweating. You wouldn’t think that strangers sharing pictures of the water they’re drinking or the delicious-looking food they’re eating (healthy too!) would make you do the same.

It does. It works. I’ve lost 37 lbs in 2 years with the help of these groups. I’m helping 6 people in one right now, and we are FIRED UP. Fired up about our own fitness goals – and fired up about helping one another.

Helping people. It’s about as badass as you get. And that you help yourself at the same time? Even better.