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Running for Her Life: One Woman’s Escape from Human Trafficking Made Her a Runner and Survivor

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Megan grew up in what some might consider an idealistic environment. They were a seemingly typical middle-class, Caucasian family; mom stayed home with her and her sister, and dad made it to all of her soccer games. Megan was first chair violin and graduated from high school as part of the National Honor Society. Her parents have been married more than 30 years and the family attended church regularly. However, after an abusive five-year marriage, she was left alone to support two small children. Her naivety and vulnerability, both emotionally and financially, put her at risk for sexual trafficking.

“Human trafficking is a very complex issue, and a lot of times people think that it’s something you can just ‘get out’ of. Unfortunately, it is not always that easy because there are social and economic obstacles, as well as mental and physical safety that all must come together. It is often, as in my case, a long process to fully get away from a predator and the subculture entirely,” shared Megan. “In short, I was able to leave my pimp and move back across the country, but it took another six months until I was in a place I could leave the sex industry entirely, and it has been almost two years of intensive recovery since then.”
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TaVona Boggs Lost 82 Pounds and Started a Social Fitness Group for Women

TaVona Boggs spent most of her adult life on a diet. When she wasn’t on one, she was thinking she probably should be. Finally, she learned how to make peace with food and gave up on what she calls the, “all or nothing” mentality. After an 82-pound weight loss, TaVona is competing in duathlons and inspiring other women to break out of their comfort zones.

TaVona collage

When did your weight struggles begin. As early as age 10, I remember begging my mom to buy me a thigh master. Throughout high school I kept my weight in check with physical activity, like cheer leading, volleyball and more, but once I entered an intensive physical therapy program in college, the weight crept back on.

What habits specifically led you to gain weight? I did not know how to eat properly. My solution was to eat what college kids ate and when the weight escalated, I would diet down to what I thought was an appropriate weight only to gain it back once I stopped dieting.

What prompted the change? I stepped on the scale one day and it said 224 pounds. At that point I had become so sick of dieting I couldn’t do it one more time so I said to myself, “I have to learn how to eat real food, and still enjoy myself.”

How did you lose the weight? With my mother’s encouragement, I decided to join a commercial weight loss program. With the support of the ladies in my group and my mentor, I was able to get to my goal of 155 pounds. After a while, counting points and managing my weight through exercise only got me so far. I oscillated, then got stuck and eventually saw the weight starting to come back on.


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4 Foods Runners Must Eat for Training and Recovery

runner-food

Two friends train for a marathon. They follow the same training plan and meet for long runs on Saturday mornings, keeping each other accountable to their goals. When the big day arrives one crosses the finish line with a smile on her face and arms raised in triumph. The other hobbles across, much later, ready to collapse in pain.

Our late finisher didn’t get injured. She trained hard but she neglected to pay attention to her fuel and her rest. Rest and recovery are THE difference makers not just in race training but also in fat loss, fitness and overall health. Giving your muscles time to recover and rebuild is key to a healthy and strong body that will carry you wherever you want to go. Getting plenty of quality sleep and including scheduled rest days gives the body time to recharge, repair and be ready for the next workout.

Finding the right calorie balance to meet your training level is just as important as finding the right running shoe. A balanced plate MUST be part of the training and recovery plan. Lean protein, smart carbs, and healthy fats provide fuel to replenish energy stores and rebuild muscle. Eating too little can leave you drained, while eating too much of the wrong things (like over carb-loading or surviving off fast food) can also leave you feeling sluggish.
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The 5 Indoor Fitness Trends Your Body Deserves to Try This Fall

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Resolution season is just around the corner, which means now is the time to get serious about your fitness. Make your outdoor workout continue for as long as possible, but when the cold sets in leave your excuses at the door! Whether you’re moving the workout indoors or it’s just time to explore some new ideas for staying active, these hot fitness trends will satisfy your body’s need to sweat and move.

Here are 5 ways to stay fit for fall: 

1. POUND

We spoke with former drummers Christine Perrenboom and Kirsten Potenza as they combined their passions for music and fitness to create POUND, a full-body cardio workout that uses lightweight drumsticks to beat out rhythms to high intensity music, plus some Pilates and plyometrics. Torch up to 900 calories in 45 minutes at Crunch gyms or through their DVDs. We seriously love this liberating workout!

2. PiYo

A little bit Pilates, a little bit yoga, and maybe even a little bit rock ‘n roll. PiYo is a total mind-and-body workout that boosts the energy of the class with upbeat music. You’ll torch calories during this strength and cardio class, which introduces elements of Pilates, yoga, and even dance and martial arts. PiYo is not to be confused with Yogalates.
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Nike+ Running is the App that Loves You Back: Why the Cheers from the Sidelines, and Facebook, Actually Matter

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Talk to anyone who’s ever run a marathon, a 5K, or any of the other Ks and they will tell you the best motivation is the crowd on the sidelines. The applause, and shouts of “come on, you can do it” are sometimes all the push they need to hoof it another mile.

Now, thanks to apps like Nike+ Running that sync with Facebook, runners can experience the same race-day rush during their daily trek through the neighborhood or park.

Angela VanBuskirk is an avid runner who participates in several races per year. She competes because they make her feel strong, alive, and also, she admits to being a medal hoarder – the bigger the better. The best thing by far, she says, are the cheering crowds.

“It’s a thing where your body is working so, so hard,” VanBuskirk explained. “You push harder than you ever knew you could and then seeing that finish line, hearing people who have never met screaming ‘YOU GOT THIS! GO! FINISH STRONG!’ It’s better than anything.”

“Out of nowhere you will hear the roar of a crowd, then another, it’s friggin awesome.” 

She was introduced to the Nike+ Running app by her buddies in the Ozark Mountain Ridge Running Club. It offers the option to sync with your Facebook account and each time you run, the following message is delivered to your followers: Angela is out on a run with Nike -Send me cheers along the way by liking or commenting on this post.

Angela says it was a surreal but wonderful experience to hear the applause and cheering noises through her ear buds as each like and comment came in.


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