One of the highlights of being a guest of Lexus at the espnW Women + Sports Summit was listening to Kerri Walsh take us through her gold-medal win during the London Olympic Games. From reconnecting with partner Misty May-Treanor to that final match in the sand, everything about Walsh’s journey to the podium took fierce motivation. Regardless of your own fitness level, there is a lesson to be learned from Walsh on staying motivated to your own fitness goals.
Set a goal (and stick to it): Going into the Olympics, Walsh said she had one thing on her mind: getting the gold. It was that thought, she said, that kept her head (and heart) in the game - even while five weeks pregnant! And while you may not have your sights set on Olympic gold, find something to carry you through your workout. Whether it’s improving overall health, losing 10 pounds, or upping your mileage, defining a goal will give workouts a more meaningful purpose, making them harder to skip. Once you reach your goal, make sure to set a new one. “I don’t want to put things in terms of what I’ve accomplished,” Walsh said. “I just want to get better.” For Walsh, that means another win at the Rio 2016 Games.
Believe in yourself: Even armed with goals, it’s important to believe that you can hit the mark. Whatever you set out to do - like Walsh’s path to London – “your heart has to be all in. If you’re a little bit checked out, you’re not going to accomplish what you want.” Once you have the attitude, Walsh said, the rest follows. You’ll find that with a stronger belief in yourself, you’re able to accomplish more, and the easier it becomes. Sounds like the perfect recipe for positive self-esteem.
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We are pumped to share one of our fave stories from espnW here on FitSugar!
By Bonnie D. Ford
Allyson Felix will never feel as if she has run a perfect race, but, on the last day of June, under overcast skies at the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore., she came close. Felix powered through the curve in the 200-meter final, her signature event, overtaking her rivals in what is normally the weakest part of her race. By the time Felix hit the top of the straightaway, she was alone and it was all over. Her stride opened up. In full flight, she looked almost relaxed.
Felix is often restrained in celebration, but not this night. She hit the finish line smiling. She clapped, hopped up and down, turned and gave a little fist pump toward the stands. Her ledger in the event is practically unparalleled – Felix, 26, is a two-time Olympic silver medalist and three-time world champion in the 200 – yet she had never run it as fast as she just had, in 21.69 seconds.
It was a remarkable performance not only because of the time Felix clocked and because the woman who finished second, 2011 world championship silver medalist Carmelita Jeter, had also run a personal best. The race came after months of flux that began this past August, when Felix, depleted from racing the 400 at worlds, was dethroned in the 200 and finished a listless third. It came after a spring of ups and downs in which Felix settled on attempting a different double, the 100/200, the one nobody expected.
And it came after a maddening weeklong waiting game triggered when Felix and training partner Jeneba Tarmoh finished in a dead heat for third in the 100 only to discover that U.S. track officials had no process in place to decide who should be selected for the Olympics.
Uncertainty still hovered over Felix and Tarmoh when they crouched in the blocks for the 200. Two days later, Tarmoh would controversially withdraw from the runoff proposed as a solution for the 100. But Felix, who has a knack for maintaining serenity in the vortex and who was well-sheltered by her advisers, had a clear mind before the gun went off.
Everything she has done since last summer – returning to speed-based training, trying to refine her starts, rejecting the 200/400 double many assumed was the path of least resistance to Olympic medals – has been geared toward running the most flawless race possible, not in Eugene but in London.
The image that propels her is from four years ago in Beijing. A gap of 0.19 seconds, the difference between gold and silver, yawns chasmlike in her mind. Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown is on the other side of that abyss, just as she was in Athens. Again and again in freeze-frame, Felix sees her rival lean into the finish and spread her arms with joy.
“I feel like I can’t escape it,” Felix said, perched on a couch in a hotel lobby in Philadelphia this past April, a day after helping the U.S. women sweep two races in the Penn Relays. “I’m always thinking about that race, thinking about that final. So hopefully everything goes well up until then. “I definitely go back to that moment of getting second all the time. I don’t think I ever really got over it. I think that I don’t want to.”
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Losing weight is not an easy thing to do. And while it’s ultimately up to you to drop those unwanted pounds, motivation to do so is often right in front of you. Here are some of Hollywood’s biggest beauties who know this struggle all too well. Read on to hear their thoughts on their own weight-loss journey.
We are pumped to share one of our fave stories from espnW here on FitSugar!
By Julia Savacool
On life’s laundry list of to-dos, losing weight rarely gets shuffled to the top spot. “Kids, work commitments, family obligations – life in general gets in the way,” said Natalie Gianesello, 45, a personal trainer in Riverside, Conn. “You have to be a little bit selfish and make taking care of your body your No. 1 priority.”
Gianesello knows what she’s talking about. Since having her two kids, now 14 and 11, she watched her weight climb higher, month after month. “I knew I had around 30 pounds to lose,” she said. “I just didn’t know where to start.”
Then, three years ago, after encouragement from a friend, she checked out her local gym. At the Sportsplex health club in Stamford, Conn., she signed up for the Lose Big program, an eight-week intensive weight-loss plan that included fitness and nutritional consultations for gym members seeking to shed unnecessary baggage.
“I was nervous,” said Gianesello. “I was not an active kid. I was not the person who went to the gym after work.” Though much of the health club scene was new to her, Gianesello quickly found her groove. “I felt comfortable in that environment, working out with other people who had similar goals.”
She lost about 14 pounds during the eight weeks of Lose Big, and kept chipping away at her larger goal after the program ended – first hiring her own trainer to customize a fitness routine, then signing up for bootcamp classes and finishing it off with weekly abs workouts. “By the end, I’d gone from around 169 to 129 pounds,” Gianesello said. “But it wasn’t just about the numbers. I got hooked on fitness!”
Gianesello’s enthusiasm for exercise did not go unnoticed. Her trainer mentioned her personality made her well-suited to becoming a fitness instructor herself. “I appreciated the compliment, but I thought he was joking,” she said. “Then after some more coaching, he let me teach one of his classes. And I discovered he was right: I loved it.” Gianesello began working toward her certification. Along the way, she learned invaluable lessons about helping others get fit. “I used to avoid group classes at all costs,” she said. “I did not feel confident walking into a studio and standing next to some skinny woman who knew all the moves.”
As she worked her way into better shape, she had a wake-up moment: “I realized that no matter what their size, all of the women in these classes were completely focused on themselves. That took a lot of pressure off.” She also learned that slow and steady wins the race. People who have a lifetime of fitness experience may be stronger than someone just beginning, but it’s the person who puts in the time, day-in and day-out, regardless of skills, who reaps the biggest payoff in the long run. “As a trainer, I see people of so many different fitness levels,” she said. “Everybody is working toward a personal best.”
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No stranger to the Freshman 15 in college, in fact, I experienced something closer to the Freshman 30. It wasn’t until I saw a photo of myself heading into my sophomore year that I realized I was carrying quite a few extra pounds and that it was time to do something about it. It took me a very long time to lose the weight (we’re talking not until after graduation), all because I thought I knew what I was doing. Boy was I wrong. Here are four things I wish I had known at the start of my weight loss journey.
You Can’t Eat Peanut Butter Out of the Jar
While peanut butter is full of heart-healthy fats, it’s not void of calories – one tablespoon contains 105. I found myself spooning it straight out of the jar, wondering why my jeans weren’t any looser. This is important to remember with all healthy foods: just because they aren’t considered junky, doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want. Be aware of portion sizes when it comes to whole grains, nuts, seeds, and health food store snacks.
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