Fitness

Healthy New Beginnings 2016 Style

The clock struck midnight and 2015 was behind us.

A bright, shiny and new 2016 stands before us.

Now what?

Each one of us must answer that question for ourselves. For some it is “Stay the course” for others it is “Abandon ship!” and for most it is somewhere in between.

For me, it is all about baby steps.

Making a Plan

planning for a healthy new year

Pen by Anna Langova

On January 1st I sat down with my youngest son and had a *brainstorming/planning/goal-setting/dreaming sit down meeting. Ok, maybe it was less formal than that. It was more like a sit in the recliners with our notepads and a couple of pens to chat about what we wanted to accomplish personally and professionally in 2016.

We started with a main theme and then separated it into different categories which then went into more detail as we worked on the first three months of the year. We called these our action steps. What good is a dream if you don’t take action to turn that dream into a reality?

We discussed each step as we went along. The sharing and discussion of our plans was helpful in many ways. Writing it down is one thing, but speaking it out loud and hearing it said gave us a sense of taking action. We were able to offer suggestions and new ideas were formed.

Taking Action

Why am I sharing this with the Health Fitness Beauty Quest readers? When I think of 2015, I think of it as a year of extremes. From cycling across deserts and mountains to months of sitting in hospital rooms while my youngest son battled a brain tumor. My personal health and fitness went from being at the peak adult shape of my life to back where I was in September of 2013 when the Health Fitness Beauty Quest began.

Being back where I started physically is a tough pill to swallow. Yet, while I may be in the shape I was in two years ago, my knowledge base of what it takes to be healthy, fit and beautiful is powerfully strong. I know exactly what it takes to get back to my prime physical shape. And you know what they say, “Knowing is half the battle”. (Thanks G.I. Joe cartoons for that gem.)

So, my theme for 2016 is: Getting Back to Basics

This means back to recording my meals, logging fitness activities and making myself responsible for my success or lack thereof. I know I’m not alone in my goal for a healthier and more fit 2016. There is a wave of energy towards making a positive healthy change at this time of the year. Let’s get together in person or virtually to encourage, challenge and cheer on one another toward reaching our health and fitness goals.

Let’s Get Healthy Together

Easiest way to connect is online:

MapMyRide | MyFitnessPal | FitBit 

Most impactful way to get connected is in person:

Send me a DM or @ message on Twitter or inbox message on Facebook with a day/time to meet for a walk in one of our fabulous city parks or a bike ride along the greenways.

I hope to get fit with you either through online workout challenges or on a group walk/ride. Here’s to a fabulously fit and healthy 2016.

*We modeled this idea from the Randall Carroll Family (Amazon Sellers) who shared their New Year Family Meeting model with the Educating for Success community. 

Tracking My Fitness and Nutrition

MapMyRide-MapMyFitness Album Art

Thank you for joining me for the National Podcast Post Month Version of the Health Fitness Beauty Quest Show. My name is Jennifer Navarrete and on today’s episode, I am going to share the two ways you can keep track of my progress.

I am using two iPhone apps for both fitness and nutrition.   The app I have used to track my fitness over the last few years has been MapMyRide. While the ride portion does indeed refer to cycling, it also covers walking, running, gym workouts and everything in between. It really is a robust fitness tracker. It also integrates with other fitness trackers such as FitBit. One of the features I really like is the ability to share my workouts as they happen through their LIVE option. It’s motivating to see friend workout notices pop up on my phone. It certainly makes you want to get out there and get moving.  If you want to keep track of my walks, cycling and workouts go to www.mapmyride.com/profile/epodcaster

The app I am using to track my nutrition is called MyFitnessPal. This was doctor recommended and once I began using it in the early stages of the Health Fitness Beauty Quest in 2013, I knew why. It has many existing food and meal nutrition and calorie info. The app also has a cool little bar code scanner which makes keeping track of my meals easy even on the laziest of days.

One of the bonuses to MyFitnessPal is the NOTE section. I use it to keep track of the nutritional supplements and essential oils I use on a daily basis. To follow my progress go to http://www.myfitnesspal.com/epodcaster

So there you have it. The two essential tools I have used successfully in the past and that I will use again to get my health and fitness back on the path to wellness.

Health Fitness Beauty Quest Restart

NaPodPoMo 2015 Day 1 Show Notes:

Thank you for joining me for the National Podcast Post Month Version of the Health Fitness Beauty Quest Show which for the next 30 days will be more of a daily audio digest.

On today’s episode, I give the background of the Health Fitness Beauty Quest. It all began in September 2013. I was 44 years old at the time. That year, like many before, I was wider and less healthy than the year before. In my family we are long-lived and based on the way I was living things weren’t looking favorable on that front.

I wanted to transform my life into one of a healthy lifestyle, but that was also something I had thought every year. So, I knew I would need accountability. By blogging, podcasting, posting videos and sharing progress on social media I was able to take my size 16 179lbs into a size 8 148lbs in 16 months.

The next stage of my quest was to ride my bicycle across the country starting in San Diego, CA and ending in St. Augustine, FL. A distance of over 3,000 miles. On March 31st 2015 the Health Fitness Beauty Quest Bike Tour began. I was very please to have sponsors and individual donations to support the bike tour. Sponsors like: Team RISE UP! Global, Educating for Success, Tourism Currents, Ivita Botanicals, Ventana Media Group and more.

Many folks know about how the tour was cut short in Deming, NM due to my youngest son ill health. He was part of the Support Team and ,came down will what we thought was, severe altitude sickness. We soon discovered that his headaches and nausea were actually due to a brain tumor. Six months later and I am very happy to report that he is on the mend after receiving treatment.

So, what does all of this have to do with the Health Fitness Beauty Quest? Well from the time we discovered my youngest son’s diagnosis, I have led a life that was the opposite of health and fitness. I went from cycling mountains and traversing deserts to little to no movement at all sitting in the hospital at my son’s bedside. Talk about doing a fitness 180º turn! I also discovered I am what you might call a stress eater. Let me tell you that when life hits you something that life altering, it’s stressful.

I jumped on the scale recently and it turns out I am almost right back where I was in September 2013…..not quite…almost. It is a bit frustrating to see the current state of my health and fitness. Which tells me many things. First of all, I need to get back to what I know works. Cycling, walking, tracking my eating and fitness. I also know I need to share this setback and the state of things in my health and fitness in order to have you hold me accountable.

Which is why NaPodPoMo is a perfect time to restart the Health Fitness Beauty Quest. Tomorrow, I will share some of the strategies I plan on implement which includes allowing you daily access to my nutrition and fitness. What better way to stay on track than to share the good, the bad and the ugly?

They say it takes 30 days to create a new habit or break a bad one. By the time November 30th rolls around, I hope to have done both.

Bike Tour Intermission: What’s Happening

Jordan and Dr. Q - Pinnacle WellnessHere is an update post on the off chance you’ve been wondering what’s been happening during the bike tour intermission. The first priority was to do everything possible to get Jordan back to full health. We took him to see Dr. Q. at Pinnacle Wellness for several chiropractic visits with neck and shoulder muscle therapy treatments as well as an infrared sauna session. With each visit his health improved. This was combined with rest, hydration and specific nutritional supplements from our Health Coach, Penny Muckleroy of Your Wellness Plan.

In the meantime, I was coming to the realization that I would need to transition the tour from supported to self-supported. I had always known that Jonathan would only be with us through April. It had always been the plan for the tour continue with Jordan, Ladybird and myself. However, with the severe sickness Jordan experienced we decided that it would be best for him to stay home and for me to continue the tour solo.

Roger and Susan continued riding the Southern Tier when we left them in Deming, NM. Each day they rode was another day they were getting closer to me in San Antonio, TX. While I was chomping at the bit to get back on the road, the priority was Jordan. I knew that once Jordan was back to good health I would rejoin the tour.

Riding self-supported meant that I would need to figure out how to take all of the clothes, cosmetics, bike repair supplies/tools, emergency food and a sleeping bag on my bike. At first I thought about stuffing it all into a backpack. I had researched ultra-light bike touring a few months ago and knew it was possible. We had even run into two young German bicycle tourists in Alpine, CA who were riding the Southern Tier with backpacks. However, when I tried fitting everything into my backpack, I discovered this would not work for me at all.

Road Bike Fully LoadedThe next logical step was to find a rear bike rack which would fit on my Trek 1.2 road bike. I was thrilled when my local BikeWorld had one in stock that fit my bike perfectly. My plan was to bungee the waterproof bag that contained my clothes with my sleeping back onto the top of the bike rack. The salesman at BikeWorld told me I really needed to look into bags for the rear rack. Roger also expressed concern about me being able to bring everything I would need for a self-supported tour unless I had bags. Luckily, I remembered Henry Parrilla from Bike Seven had mentioned his bike touring adventures when we took his bike mechanics class before the start of the tour. I contacted Henry and he did indeed have some bags I could borrow for the trip. My road bike now looks more like a proper touring bike.

At this point with Jordan now back to his happy-go-lucky healthy self, it is time to get the show back on the road. Roger and Susan will be in Del Rio, TX in a couple of days. I have my bike packed, prepped and ready. I weighed the load that will be on the rear rack of my bike and am happy to report that I am coming in at just under 20lbs. This is really great news for me because that means I am not having to pedal too much additional weight and my aluminum road bike can still deliver a relatively nimble ride.

ACA Map 3 picWhen I left the tour on April 18th, I wasn’t sure how long the intermission would last. Originally, I thought a couple of days at the most. I had no idea I would be gone for 10 days. I have missed riding 117 miles of map 2 and all of map 3 (496.5 miles). Roger and Susan’s actual map 3 mileage is less than the 522 miles of the Adventure Cycling Association’s Southern Tier Official Route. We stopped following ACA maps whenever it took us to scenic mountain routes. I think the terror filled ride from Superior, AZ to Miami, AZ cured us of any need to ever ride narrow mountain roads. I think Roger said it best, “If we really want to see the mountain views we can always rent a car and drive through them.” Susan and I whole-heartedly agreed and happily went off-route on flatter roads with wide shoulders.

Truth be told, map 3 was the section of the map that I was looking forward to riding the most in Texas. I love the Ft. Davis, Marfa, Alpine area. It’s one of my favorite getaway locations in Texas and I make trips as often as possible. The idea or riding up to the McDonald Observatory and down to historic Ft. Davis really appealed to me. Another section on map 3 that would have been a highlight was the huge bridge that crosses the Pecos River. The view is stunning and I was excited about the challenge of riding up that steep bridge. When it became apparent that I would not be able to meet Susan and Roger until they made it into Del Rio, TX I knew that I would have to make up that section of the map another time.

There was a part of me that considered going back to Deming, NM to complete the tour riding solo. That was quickly put out of consideration after mentally reviewing my tour experience riding thus far. I know that traveling with a group even a small group is much safer. There is more of a chance that drivers will see you if there are more of you to see. With the summer heat fast approaching, it looks like a ride from San Antonio, TX to Del Rio, TX and up to Deming, NM will be in order sometime during the fall months. It’s my plan to go back to the Crazy Guy on a Bike site to join a group traveling west along the Southern Tier to complete my journey.

So, there you have it. The summary of what’s been going on since the bike tour intermission began. The riding fun is about to start up again. You have no idea how much I’ve missed riding. I have been living vicariously through Roger and Susan’s daily posts on their journal. Now it’s time for me to start experiencing the open road as I pedal the rest of the 1,682.5 miles of the ACA Southern Tier.

 

 

Announcing the Bike Tour Documentary

Bike Tour Documentary

When it comes to embarking on a cross-country tour, cycling day in and day out for over 2 months is only part of the story.

The real power behind the tour is my support team. My sons, Jonathan and Jordan, will be with me along the entire 8 state ride.

I am thankful they’ll be providing cycling support but what is even better is that they will be recording the entire journey for a documentary film.

Having them with me on this trek to to film the ride experience and capture interviews of the people we meet adds so much value to the tour and makes it even more meaningful.

The Team

Jonathan

As part of the team for the bike tour, Jonathan is in charge of filming the documentary. Keeping sponsors, supports, friends and family updated through social media of Jennifer’s progress. Jonathan will also be one of the drivers of the support vehicle across the 8 states from California to Florida.

 

Jordan

Jordan his thoughts on the bike tour. As a member of the documentary team filming, Jordan will also drive and help Jennifer maintain her fitness through stretching exercise and workouts.

To learn more about the bike tour documentary simply go to the Bike Tour Documentary.

Training, Training, Training

Increasing Mileage

When it comes to preparing for a 3,000+ mile journey, there are many things to consider. Proper nutrition, supplements, hydration, post-ride stretching, and cycling attire are important factors to take into account. What it all really comes down to is time in the saddle. My body needs to become accustomed to spending hours pedaling those miles day after day. I have been steadily increasing my mileage per ride. On days when the sunlight and weather are not cooperating there may be a 20-miler, but the goal at this stage has been to ride a minimum of 30-40 miles per outing. I am thankful that the ability to pedal those miles has been easy enough. Although Texas is known for mild winters, we do have cold fronts blowing through which puts the pinch on ride days. The biggest challenge at this point has been getting these rides in between cold fronts and on good days before the sun sets.

Leon Creek Greenway

With 5 weeks left before the bike tour starts, it’s time to ramp up that ride mileage goal to better represent the daily mileage that my body will experience on the tour. San Antonio has a fantastic trail system that offers me many opportunities to ride safely. Currently, my go-to trail is the Leon Creek Greenway which offers 26 miles of riding. The plan over the next couple of weeks is to increase my single ride mileage from 40 miles to 50 miles. Then ramp that up even further to the 60 mile mark leading up to the tour start. Many folks might think the mileage increase is a big deal. Actually, it isn’t. I have ridden up to 62.5 miles before. The true challenge is riding those kinds of miles on back to back to back days.

 

Toughening Up

Riding day after day makes a big difference in the performance of each ride. Legs feel heavier on day three than they did on day one. I feel every single bit of every bump in the road. I know exactly where my sit bones are and can feel them more and more on consecutive ride days. This is giving me a taste of what I will experience on the tour. This is good because more than any physical toughness needed during the tour will be the mental fortitude it will take to keep on riding day after day for two months.

40 Mile Bike Ride on MapMyRide

40 Mile Bike Ride on MapMyRide

What I am learning right now is that each long ride is not a sprint. It is definitely more of an ultra-marathon. Currently, the ride time for me to burn through 40 miles is over the 3 hour mark. Part of my training now includes forcing myself stop more often than I would if I were only riding once in a while.

Sounds easy enough, right? Well, it is actually more challenging than you might think. The more I ride, the easier it is for my body to deliver a faster pace. Those moments when mind and body are in sync with speed are truly magical. I feel like I am lighter than air and flying along the trail is a mental and physical rush.

Balancing Act

This is where the battle between mind and body requires discipline. The fact is that staying at a fast pace is not something that is sustainable over time. Or at least it isn’t for me. I am working on balancing my minds desire for speed with my body’s need for a few moments of non-riding. Stopping to stretch out of the ride position is important. To offer my hips and back a chance to relax makes such a difference in the ride experience. Even standing on my pedals while riding and pushing my hips forward and straightening my back helps to ease tightness. Better still is stopping and taking the time to stretch out for a few minutes. Doing this always leaves me feeling refreshed when I jump back on the bike.

Jen riding fast

My faithful steed

As I work to increase frequency of rides with more ride mileage, this balancing act will become even more important. The long term sustainability of training rides and ultimately the success of the tour will rely heavily on this balance. Which is why I am so grateful to have this time to train. What a difference this knowledge has made so far. I look forward to learning and sharing even more of these nuggets of practical experience as training continues.

Do you have some cycling tips that have helped you improve your ride experience? Let me hear from you. Leave a comment below to share your training gems. Cheers!

Preparations Are Underway

The Planning: Self-supported vs Team Supported

From the time the idea for the Health Fitness Beauty Quest Cross-Country Bike Tour was hatched, I knew it would take serious preparation in order to take the dream and turn it into a reality.  Beyond training there was the logistics of pulling together a two-month event. From making the decision to travel solo on a self-supported tour to joining an existing group of riders or riding with a support team vehicle.

Initially, my plan was to take two months off to ride self-supported with a group of 2-3 cyclists.  However, the deeper I dug into everything that could be captured on the tour, (audio/video interviews, live audio/video diaries) the more I realized that cycling with a support team was the only way to tell the story fully. With a support team I could share the two month experience with the followers of the Health Fitness Beauty Quest in a way that was not possible on a solo trek. So, my new plan became riding cross-country to celebrate the everyday athlete and bike tourism all while maintaining my business.  Having a support team allows me to do all that and do it well.

Support Team and Partners

Jordan and Jonathan, Support Team and Videographers

Jordan and Jonathan, Support Team and Videographers

I am also pleased to announce that my two sons offered to become the vehicle support team. Jonathan and Jordan have been my biggest champions and frequently join me for what we call “family adventures.” They will not only drive the support vehicle but will also be the video production crew. They have both worked Social Media Lounge video interviews events with me through the years. They are well versed in both livestreaming and recorded video. The only difference now will be that the Social Media Lounge is 8 states across the entire southern portion of the United States.

The more I talked about the tour the more folks I had who were interested in becoming partners of the tour. These partners offer both sponsorship and in-kind donations. Both of which will go a long way towards make the bike tour successful. I have been blessed to have some fantastic folks jump in to sponsor the tour. There will be detailed information in a more in-depth future post.

You’re Doing What?!

Is the reaction most folks have when they learn of the bike tour. The tag that I have on my social media profile starts with “Living the Dream!” To me living the dream is a way of thinking, living, being. It isn’t something you wait to do when you retire or when you hit the lotto. It is in the now. The now for me means being able to do something I’ve dreamed of all while running my business and sharing the experience with my sons. We can all do this. I hope to be an inspiration to folks who have been waiting for the someday in their lives. “Someday, I will….” That someday could be now or next week or even next year. Whatever it is that you’ve always wanted to do, just go out and make it a reality.

Sharing The Story

One of the things I enjoy is sharing the story. Going deeper into a subject and learning by asking questions.  What this usually means is that I can frequently be found interviewing people with my phone in hand recording each and every word. It’s fun and my clients and interviewees appreciated the multimedia dynamic. After all, who can tell a story better than the person who is living it?

This is where the idea for adding a multimedia element to the tour came into play. As I travel through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida I will stop to interview everyday athletes and learn more about what small towns and big cities are doing to promote bike tourism along the Southern Tier.

You may be wondering, “When will you have time to ride and conduct interviews?” My plan is to ride a very manageable 40-60 miles per day. Which averages to about 4-6 hours a day with rest days every 5-6 days. This leaves plenty of time for recouping during ride days with days off to conduct interviews.

Where You Step In

sponsor bike tour imageWant to be a part of the journey? There are all manner of things we have on a tour list. Some of them are crucial and others would make the tour easier to ride and capture.

If you feel inspired to join us or become one of our partners to ensure we have everything we need to make the tour a rousing success then click on over to our here to learn more. Either way we hope that you will continue to cheer me on and be accountability partners as we  embark on the latest adventure of the Health Fitness Beauty Quest.

 

Reflections on 2014

On January 1st many of us set New Year’s Resolutions. We resolve to do better. Do more of the things that are good for us (health, fitness, financial) and less of the things that are not so good for us (poor food choices, sedentary living, frivolous spending). The model of success I have found through the Health Fitness Beauty Quest has been one of adding. The focus has never been about taking away, but one of incorporating more of the things that are better for me.

Health

By adding better food choices such as an apple before a breakfast taco or a salad before a burger, I found the cravings for poor food choices naturally minimize and were even deleted from my daily meal options. This does not mean I forgo pizza or burgers or tacos. What it does mean is that those types of food options have fallen into the few and far between meals. I simply do not care to eat them as often as I did in the past.

Fitness

In 2014, I added neighborhood walks, interval treadmill sessions, hiking and gym circuit training to my cycling and swimming. I was surprised to discover how quickly my body responded to mixing up my fitness routine. It took less time to loose inches and gain strength when I varied my workouts. By adding more movement and changing the types of exercise I was doing I saw bigger results.

Beauty

I went big when it came to beauty. I added monthly facials, had an abdominal awake lipo procedure, incorporated a morning and evening beauty regimen and learned more about how to care for myself than I had in all my adult life. I not only learned about beauty care, but I stuck to it day after day, month after month. It’s one thing to learn something, but it is an entirely different thing to see it through day in and day out.

Nutritional Supplements

Although nutritional supplements are not part of my blog title, they have played an important supporting role in each aspect of my health, fitness and beauty. In 2014, I became a part of the #1 nutritional supplement company in the world. Incorporating nutritional supplements to my daily routine was another I found to move my quest forward. By joining the company I also added another stream of income to my business.

As I look back on 2014, I see a year of transition and transformation. I took my life back from the unhealthy version of myself and staked a claim for the new healthy, fit and beautiful version of myself that will live out the rest of my adventure-filled days.

Walking Meetings

Steps by George Hoden

Steps by George Hodan

Most of the folks I know are like me, they work online. Which means many, many, many hours sitting down with a laptop and/or iPad. Being able to work for myself anywhere and anytime is a wonderful gift. However, spending any length of time sitting without moving is not a good thing. Studies from the Mayo Clinic, University of South Carolina along with articles from The Guardian and WebMD all point to excessive sitting as a serious health concern.

A couple of years ago I consulted with a local PR professional about one of their outdoor destination clients. During our brainstorming session, I proposed the “Have a walking meeting” campaign to encourage people to enjoy the outdoor space during the work week. This idea has stuck with me ever since. I just liked the idea of having meetings while walking outdoors. We all have mobile devices so taking meeting notes or even audio recording the meeting while walking would be easy enough.

It wasn’t until about 6 weeks ago that I personally implemented the Walking Meeting. I have a weekly call with my mentor and friend, Rhea Perry. I was sharing my fondness for the FitBit and my concept of the walking meeting. She liked the idea so much she went out and bought a FitBit and said she would join me. And just like that our weekly calls became Walking Meeting calls.

It’s been great. Our calls are late morning so it breaks up a day of meetings and calls. While our calls usually last 1-2 hours. The walking part of our calls last about 20-30 minutes. While 20-30 minutes may not seem like much of a workout, according to my FitBit I am burning between 120-230 calories per session. Which compared to what was 0 calories burned, is a very good thing.

In the past, many of my meetings were in coffee shops. Now, I have more and more of my meetings on the hike and bike trails. Let me encourage you to consider adding a walking meeting or two to your work week. Your waistline and your pocketbook will thank you.

Remember, you are worth the extra effort it takes to start the journey towards a healthier, fitter and more beautiful version of you.

Has It Been One Year Already?

Health | Fitness | Beauty Quest  Year One

Health | Fitness | Beauty Quest
Year One

The month of September marks the Health Fitness Beauty Quest one year anniversary. It is hard to believe so much time has passed. I look back at everything learned over the last 12 months and realize just how much has changed. When I started on this journey, I had no idea where it would take me. My hopes were to discover a healthier and fitter version of myself. As a self-proclaimed “Tomboy Techie”, I also was curious to discover more about the world of beauty.

For those of you who have followed my journey, I give you my heartfelt thanks. Your words of encouragement and support have been invaluable to me. The knowledge that you were cheering me on and holding me accountable have been a large part of my success.

I really do feel fantastic after a year of the Health Fitness Beauty Quest. It has been an incredible year and I am extremely grateful to each one of you. Your tweets, comments, likes and shares online have gone a long way towards keeping me on track. The face-to-face conversations, phone calls, hugs and texts warmed my heart, lifted my spirits and fueled my workouts. I have always felt I was in partnership with you on this journey.

In order to share some of the keys to my success I will be visiting with Pinnacle Wellness, ContourLase Body Institute and Your Wellness Plan. These companies partnered with me to provide services, products and education when I began this journey one year ago.

The archived and ongoing conversation can be found by searching for the #hfbq hashtag on Twitter and Facebook.