Posted on January 27, 2015
This post is dedicated to the members of the J&A Shamrock Training Team.
The rain, the mud, nor the miles can’t keep me away from this group. Many new faces, but many familiar ones too, are what I look forward to every Saturday morning. Even when the temps are cold and the conditions may not be what you consider to be ideal, that is exactly what keeps me coming back for more!
Two weeks ago I started this post with nothing more than a title. Our training group filled a week night spin class at My Ride and hit the spin bikes for some amazing cross training.
One of the last songs in the playlist that night from the class was Barry White, Can’t Get Enough of Your Love. Being that the J&A tagline is Live Love Run, I knew this moment and song would come back later and the story would write itself. That it did from the 8+ muddy miles I tackled this weekend alongside many other smiling and muddy runners.
This past Saturday our J&A Shamrock Training Group hit the streets for one last trail run before switching things up to the oceanfront for the last few weeks of training. It poured all Friday night and was still raining when I woke early that morning. I knew the trails would be muddy and I also knew that on this particular morning, the run would be more mental than physical. As I drove to our meeting spot, I warmed my body with a hot cup of coffee. I had my rain gear on and was ready to go. I had packed a dry bag so I could change in my car after my run but before heading to breakfast. This ritual of running and breakfast has become a favorite of mine in my weekend routine.
I truly have a love for this group. From the leaders, the pacers, the familiar faces, and the newbies. Every week we head out together at different paces and have formed our own little packs ranging from 8 minute mile to 12 minute pace. Walkers and runners alike forge the trails together. Smiles and cheers are served up in passing regularly and challenges are discussed and shared as a group. After we finish our runs, ranging from 6-16 miles respectively, we meet for breakfast to discuss our times, shoes, and after run stretches. The half marathoners finish first and snag the tables. As the marathoners trickle in, cheers and congratulations ring out filling the air alongside the smell of bacon and pancakes. I love hearing the thrill and pride from the runners that tackle their longest runs for the first time. This is a magical moment to witness and for many, they are truly earning their badass status! There are many experts with many years of experience among us, but there are no egos present. Nothing but encouragement and empowerment here.
We have shared sweat, salt, smiles, and now the mud together. Remember whatever comes in March, you have already proven you are ready and able. We are badasses, we are strong, and we can! I can’t get enough of your live, love, run team!1 Comment
Posted on January 25, 2015
You are probably familiar with the buzz and hype that surrounds the lululemon brand. You know, it’s the cute athletic wear that most gals can be spotted in running around town with the weird logo, which is a stylized A I came to find out. The incredible patterns, colors, prints, and quality are familiar for many men and women in the fitness industry. Over the years, the Canadian brand has come into the spotlight here in the states for being bold. Lululemon has been known to be bold in the face of athletic gear and bold in the face of comments and even controversy from their outspoken founder, Chip Wilson. I may not always agree with the comments projected from Wilson, but I do believe in this company’s business philosophy and their mission.
I pay regular visits to the lululemon at Town Center Virginia Beach and every time I am in there I am greeted by name with a smile and many times with a hug. The educated staff in the Virginia Beach store is quite an accomplished group. This past week I took the time to stop in and spend a little time having a casual conversation with team leader and assistant manager Kaitlyn Hiltz. Kaitlyn and I got cozy on the chairs in the middle of the store. Immediately the light and passion inside her began to shine through, even on what was to be a cold and dreary Wednesday afternoon. I met Kaitlyn this past summer and was instantly drawn to her warm personality. Her passion for fitness, faith, and business is something I can relate to. Kaitlyn, a Virginia Beach local and a graduate and hockey player from The University of Virginia, is one of the many leaders in our local store. Like Kaitlyn, members of her team are accomplished athletes. From collegiate swimmers, soccer players, runners, certified trainers, yoga instructors, and even professional dancers, the resumes of these guys and gals is impressive. I couldn’t help but wonder about the qualities and traits the lululemon leaders look for when hiring and carefully selecting their staff. We discussed the values many athletes seem to share. Like minded people have like minded goals. Living better and being better is a theme here. “The grass is greener where you water it” remarked Kaitlyn as we talked. I loved this! She was absolutely right.
Goal setting is a hot topic with the lulu staff. Next time you stop in, check out the hallway in then back. Each staff member proudly has their current goal sheet posted on the wall. The staff shares a core library of leadership books and holds book club discussions regularly as part of their continued education and development. “We want to be a hub for fitness and communication locally,” mentioned Kaitlyn. The staff entrenches itself in the local community and has a pulse on the fitness industry here. The staff bounces from yoga studios to gyms on a weekly basis for group sweat sessions. They came to see me two weeks ago and we had a blast.
While trying out local fitness venues, they can also test out their own product. “This keeps the brand authentic to us. We are living, breathing, and sweating in it” Kaitlyn reports. Remember this the next time you inquire about the latest tights or jacket. Chances are the staff member answering your question has actually tested out that item for him or herself.
It isn’t all about the bottom line with this company. As another part of supporting the local fitness industry, they organize and sponsor different events. After realizing there was no local Valentine’s Run scheduled for our area, Kaitlyn and her staff organized and promoted a 2.14 mile Love Run. In less than 24 hours, the free week day race benefitting the local charity of the Roc Solid Foundation was sold out.
Many complimentary classes are held in the store on a weekly basis. All levels and members of the community are encouraged and welcomed to attend.
Outside of their staff, lululemon has an amazing group of well recognized and respected ambassadors from the local community. Notice the pics hanging in store. Runners, trainers, and yogis from the area grace the walls between the amazing product displays.
While we are on the topic of product, check out these new prints and patterns for the season. Not just fashionable, but functional! I became a lulu fan three years ago when I snagged a pair of running tights to train for the Shamrock Half Marathon. These things are no joke and worth every penny. They stay in place for the two or more hours of training I put them through and look like new to this day! That one item made me a believer and a lulu lover for life. The latest line offers up soft pinks, neutrals, and a camo pattern in navy that is to die for!
My favorite item from the spring line is the Spring Fling Puffy Windbreaker. The ruffle detail and adjustable waist make it a must have for me! I have been sporting it around town the past week! Be sure to check out their latest line of reflective wear and the men’s gear too!
The product quality, level of education, expertise, and warmth in our local staff is why I love lululemon and what it stands for. Stop in and check out the amazing events happening there. Check out the goal wall and ask how they can direct you to the right apparel to help you accomplish some of yours!Leave a Comment
Posted on January 19, 2015
The past several months I have watched and wondered about the enormous wind tunnel building going up at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. When it was revealed months ago that it would become an Indoor Skydiving Studio I knew it was something I wanted to try. Last Sunday morning, I got my chance. After some online research and preparations I was ready to go!
Clothes Toe Shoes – Check
Comfy Clothes – Check
Hair Pulled Back – Check
I arrived at iFLY plenty early and was able to watch several participants take their turn in the tunnel. I noticed several things right away.
1. Everyone seemed to be having a great time
2. Flyers were all ages, shapes, and sizes
3. The MPH wind gauge in the tunnel. Over 90 MPH!
After a quick “fly lesson” in the classroom, I suited up, strapped on my helmet and got ready to fly. Two rounds, each flight 1 minute each. The key was to keep my body in a ready position with my chin up, legs slightly bent and relax. I took my place on the bench and waited my turn. I was sixth in line for the 11:00 am fly group. After just several minutes I was up. The fly guide tighted my goggles and helmet and before I knew it I was flying…ish!
It was a strange sensation of weightlessness and also no control. When my minute was up, I was already excited to go again.
Flight #2 wasn’t as basic. Halfway through the session, another guy hops in the tunnel with you and pulls you to the moon and back! I was completely out of control of my own body. I couldn’t get over the amazing feeling of gravity setting in while zooming quickly back down to earth. It took my breath away and is hard to describe. I am not sure if I will ever attempt this from a plane, but the iFLY studio was a blast! I hope to go back soon.
iFLY offers flying for all ages and can accommodate individuals with disabilities. iFLY would be the perfect spot for a party or corporate event.
Click HERE for more details
Posted on January 12, 2015
Long days, late nights, and all at the risk of draining the batteries of your employees. Is it any wonder why sick days are at a record high. Even your best producers have worn themselves out and are compromising their own health to do so.
Think back to the interviews of your top hires. I would venture to say that somewhere in the discussion were displays of hunger, eagerness, drive, and competitiveness. Those are the reasons you hired them in the first place. You can’t expect to channel that inner drive only through the fulfillment of the job alone. Valuing the health of your employees sends a message to your staff that you in return value them. When the “captain” of the team promotes a healthy well being, it is more than just an added workplace perk.
Workplace wellness has become a necessity in many industries and is present in many big companies throughout the country. Big players like GE and Microsoft are among the healthiest companies to work for. For instance, General Mills offers onsite Fitness Friday’s. Don’t let space be an excuse or hindrence for offering such perks. Empty employee parking garages, courtyards, and conference rooms are perfect spots to hold workplace wellness seminars and even bootcamps. As a workplace wellness instructor for JWFNS, I witness employees bond together over fitness. They become cheerleaders for each other and they earn a newfound respect for one another’s capabilities. The playing fields are evened and a true sense of “team” is built. This workplace support doesn’t just last during our weekly bootcamp class. Employees are encouraged to fight for each other, for the company, and for the greater cause on a daily basis. They also are motivated to keep the healthy lifestyle going long after 5pm workday ends. Healthier lunch options and dinner menus are popular bootcamp discussion topics among employees. While on business travel, we notice our clients make an effort to hit the hotel gym before the work day begins. This energy becomes contagious and spreads from sales to executive assistants.
Consider a lunch time option or end of day sweat session to send your employees home on the right foot. When we feel better, we do better!
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Posted on January 6, 2015
This time of year all we hear on the radio, television, and internet are ideas of how to loose weight. Most of these ideas are fads. They are short term solutions or bandaids placed over long term goals of the ability to get healthy and fit. The problem is, these mass marketed weight loss “solutions” are not tailor made. Every physical body is different and every person has different fitness goals. For example, a 35 year old male elite marathoner and a 75 year old active female could not be further from each other in their fitness journey. Both have fitness in their life and both want to be healthy. However, each need to take in different amounts of calories per day. And each need different ratios of proteins, fats, and carbs throughout the day. The key to healthy living is finding the appropriate nutrition plan that supports your lifestyle. Change your mentality to”eat to live” verses “live to eat”, meaning that you are not on a diet.
Take some time and speak with a professional such as a registered dietitian to identify and develop a program that would work for you. For example, if you suffer from a wheat allergy, but you are extremely active, you replace wheat products with other appropriate carbohydrate options. If you are lactose intolerant, you replace milk with other options to insure you are getting enough calcium. The examples go on and on. This same philosophy is how you should retrain your brain to craft the nutritional lifestyle you need. When you eat things that make you feel good, in return you will look good. It is not about absolution or exclusion, but about the appropriate ratio and proportion of nutrients and food groups for you.
I am questioned a lot about what I eat. Often I find that my answers surprise people. The case for example is this. 34 years old, extremely active, busy and on the go, has a hard time fitting in protein. All of these bullet points were carefully reviewed and looked at when my nutrition plan was developed. Guess what, it includes the alcohol, sugar, red meat, and even pizza. Those items are not part of my daily nutrition, but built in to the plan if and when it is appropriate. I have been eating to support my lifestyle for 2 years and it is second nature for me to know what makes me feel good and what doesn’t. I simply eat for Jess.