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“I’m Here, Alive and Well and Thriving.” A Breast Cancer Survivor Used Exercise and CrossFit to Aid Her Recovery

It’s been a while since I’ve written about my breast cancer journey, so I thought that since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it would be an appropriate time to check in.

First and foremost, I’m doing awesome! This past July marked my two-year survivor anniversary. In the past two years, I’ve been through five major surgeries, countless “minor procedures,” six rounds of chemotherapy, and am now on hormone therapy for the next 3 ½ years. If it seems like a lot to read, imagine going through it. But…I’m here, alive and well and thriving.

carol
Although I’ve been through a lot, I attribute my success and ability to cope to three things:

  • My Faith in God and His awesome power
  • My husband, Alvin; my family, friends and followers standing by me all the way and pushing me to keep fighting
  • Exercise

Without these three elements firmly entrenched in my life, I shudder to think what kind of shape (physical, emotional and mental) that I would be in right now.

Faith and family, I’m sure you can relate to how important these are to you when you need them most; but exercise?

Let me explain. This is not just any old type of exercise, but serious, vigorous, out-of-breath, leaves you crawling exercise. I first heard about how important exercise is to cancer recovery from a guest on my radio show. She was diagnosed with Stage IV Lymphoma and survived. While on the show she said that she attributed her success to vigorous exercise. This point stuck in my mind and when I was faced with a similar situation, I put my plan in motion.
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Retro Workout Circuit: Total Body Trampoline Workout at Home

Remember that old mini trampoline that was in your house growing up? It’s time to dust it off for a fun, heart-pumping cardio workout! I love to use mini trampolines with clients that I train- especially for those with bad knees. Unlike jumping on the ground, trampolines offer a soft, flexible impact that’s gentler on the joints. I also like that a trampoline is easily portable and can be moved to wherever you want your workout to be whether it’s inside, outside, or even right in front of your television.

mini trampoline

Here’s a super simple trampoline workout that works muscle groups throughout the entire body. These five simple moves will work your quadriceps, glutes, abdominal muscles, triceps and shoulders – just to name a few. Start with a 3-5 minute warm-up of basic bouncing at an easy pace and then move on to the circuit below. Perform each exercise for 30-60 seconds with a quick break for rest before moving on to the next exercise. Repeat the circuit 3-5 times and cool down with 3 minutes of basic bouncing, followed by stretching.

1. Low Bounce – Stand on your trampoline with your feet a little wider than your hips and toes slightly turned out. Lower yourself into a squat position (keep your knees aligned with your toes) and bounce quickly. Bring your feet closer together for more intensity.

lowbounce1 lowbounce2


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Americans Like Their Workouts Solo and Seldom. New Research Finds Only 20 Percent are Exercising

Seventy percent of Americans prefer to workout alone, and they usually only get around to that about once a week. Quick and solo was the general consensus.

That’s the finding in a new study, in which a group of 1,200 adults aged 24 to 44 were asked about exercise habits. Some strong truths were revealed.

woman fit time clock

“We know that among the general population about 20 percent exercise regularly, not say they do but do, and about, 80 percent don’t exercise,” said Dr. Walter Thompson, who studies exercise trends for the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), in the published findings at Reuters. The doctor noted that many people exaggerate in their responses and the reality is that the amount of people getting exercise is extremely low.

So low as only 20 percent? That’s the stark reality of this survey. The ACSM recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio exercise each week. And despite what those being surveyed answered, a tiny fraction are actually getting the work done.
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How I Changed My Outlook on Running and Actually Grew to Like it

Growing up, the word running was synonymous with a few different words. Among them were torture, punishment, pain, and dread. I remember trying to fake being sick on those dreaded few days each school year when we had to run the mile in gym class. I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to run – it just seemed so awful to me.

Fast forward to the year 2003 and I’ve decided to get in shape and join a gym. After a year or two of solely sticking to the elliptical trainer and the occasional group exercise class, I decided to take up running. For some reason, I always had it in my head that you weren’t a real athlete unless you were a runner. I wasn’t even really sure how one becomes a runner, but gave it my best shot. I can still clearly remember going for those first few outdoor runs.

runner

I started off by walking for a minute, running the next, and so on. Then my runs got longer, I could run for one mile without stopping, then two, three and so on. In 2005, a friend and I decided to sign up for a 5k race. It was my first race ever and I was nervous! I set a goal for myself to finish in 30 minutes or less. I finished in 28:30 and felt great! I registered for a number of 5k, 8k and 10k races over the next few years.

I started increasing my mileage and started thinking about running a half marathon; it seemed like a really great challenge and realistic goal considering where I was at, so I took the plunge and registered for the Baltimore Half Marathon. I trained for it by running 8-10 mile runs 2-3 times a week (and shorter runs one other day). I felt good and strong and prepared for race day. On race day, my goal was to finish in two hours. The course was pretty tough with a lot of big hills. It was also great because there were spectators along the entire 13.1 miles cheering us on. I got a sharp pain in my I.T. band around mile 7, but just kept running, and my finish time was 1 hour and 58 minutes.
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A New Way to Twerk-Out

I know, I know. The word twerk probably generates a negative (or even violent!) reaction because you’re automatically associating it with Miley Cyrus’ unforgettable performance on this year’s VMAs.

miley twerk

But don’t let that completely ruin your opinion of twerking- there’s actually a lot more to it!

If you’re wondering what exactly twerking means, let me help you out a bit. Urban Dictionary lists several fascinating descriptions of the word – my personal favorite being “to work one’s body, as in dancing, especially the rear end.” Can you paint that mental picture?

I was hiking with a friend last week who told me about a trip she and her mother recently took to North Carolina to visit her sister. During their visit, the three women decided to step outside of their comfort zone and take a class at a local studio that offered various “alternative” types of workouts. The one they signed up for was called Twerk It – and is exactly what you’d imagine. The instructor showed the class the art of twerking and all of the booty-shaking strength training and cardio that goes along with it! My friend said it was the most fun exercise class she’s ever done in her life and was totally shocked by just how much of a workout it was.
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