I recently interviewed a friend who is becoming a TikTok sensation. She is an amazing person with 30+ years in the fitness industry. I originally wanted to interview Pam about her experience trying out for America’s Got Talent. Then, COVID-19 hit, and things went haywire. Although I am excited to now have 4 stories to talk about, I hate that COVID-19 was the reason for the delay.
Topics we cover in this interview:
Both of our experience in the Fitness Industry, including the “thong” fad in the ’80s and ’90s
Her experience with America’s Got Talent Tryouts
Both of our struggles with the Pandemic: depression, anxiety attacks
Her video that has gone viral on TikTok
Her adventure trying to win a cover shoot on Ms. Health & Fitness magazine that carried a $20K award
Would you like a short, effective arm exercise that doesn’t require much to perform? Well here is your chance to perform a challenging, arm workout using nothing more than a towel. In the video, I use a resistance tube, but you can perform it with a towel. Check out part 1.
Part 2 will be here in a couple of days. Be sure to come back and visit or subscribe to my channel through the link. Check out part 1.
In January, I wrote down my top goals for 2019. Attending The Sword Experience was on that list and I can now check it off as complete. Watching the tour dates, I saw they booked a Texas event at the Austin Comic Con 2019. It was the perfect weekend getaway I had been looking for. I bought a Comic Con ticket and booked the event.
Picking up a sword was new to me. I am always looking for ways to enhance my fitness journey and I wanted to try it. I’m glad that I did. The experience made me recognize some areas in my life that I have been struggling with for 6 years now.
I checked-in at Adrian’s booth at the Comic Con as instructed. The team delivered all of the promised benefits for the Gold level of The Sword Experience. (Autographed picture of Adrian Paul, armband for the event, a picture with Adrian Paul, and my bokken autographed the 2nd day.) I had the pleasure of meeting Anise and Beverly, as they revealed that they are amazing and bring a high level of customer care to the table. It is evident they take pride in Adrian and his work.
What is The Sword Experience?
Adrian founded The Sword Experience, as a way to pass on some of the knowledge he learned while working with world renowned action stars, stunt choreographers, and sword masters. To date, the testimonials speak for themselves. Not only has it given people a chance to receive the best sword fighting tips and techniques, training with some of the best sword experts around, but it has also given people a chance to do something different, to improve their fitness, their communication skills, their abilities, along with the chance to do something they may have only dreamed about.
It was exciting and nerve-racking to be in a room full of people swinging bokkens (practice swords). I was feeling a sense of empowerment as we practiced the Attack Numbering system and the Defense Numbering system. Adrian Paul (the founder of The Sword Experience and The Peace Fund, Actor, Director, Martial Arts Expert) and Anthony Buonomo (Teacher from Austin Historical Weapons Guild) were guiding us on our form and footwork.
There were many age groups and many different personalities in the room. The large diversity of the attendees and spectators was surprising. Each one of us had personal reasons for being there. Mine was to step out of my comfort zone and investigate the adventurous side of myself that I have tucked away.
We learned choreographed moves that were based on a scene out of Batman Returns. There were different moves in each of the 4 groups. We split up into practice groups and practiced our moves with an attacker coming at us. The feeling of Empowerment shifted to fear. It was a totally different experience with someone coming at you, which changed my frame of mind completely. I now feel exposed and uncomfortable.
The attackers learned the choreography for all 4 groups. They would alternate between attacking a person in each of the groups.
I continued to practice my moves off to the side as they shuffled practice groups in and out. I kept walking through the routine knowing how challenging it was to face off with someone. Anthony was a big help and guided me through my struggles with form and footwork.
After learning and practicing for 2 1/2 hours, it was time to film the scene. I am looking forward to seeing the results of the footage. We all lined up in 3 rows, down on 1 knee. We followed the command to stand, step out and present our bokkens. That was cool to see a group of people work together as a team and perform those moves as a group. Keep in mind we had 2 1/2 hours to learn it and practice it.
Oh, by the way, we were all dressed as Ninjas, except for the attackers. After shooting the opening entrance and the presentation, the attacks began. I had a great time and watching the filming process was actually like working on a movie set.
What I learned about myself
I have been trying to rediscover myself again for some time now. After the event, I did some soul searching and dug into some things that Adrian pointed out to me. He mentioned that I am holding onto stress and tension and instructed me to loosen my grip to let the bokken move with the hits. That stress and tension were holding me back. I wanted to know how and why I went from being confident, and outgoing to becoming a weekend recluse and homebody.
The event ran late and The Sword Experience team asked the Gold Experience attendees to come back to the booth at the Comic Con the next day to have our bokken autographed as promised. This would give me the opportunity to thank Adrian, Beverly, and Anise.
I arrive at the booth with bokken in hand and thanked Anise. She handed me a certificate that stated that I had crossed swords with Adrian Paul and survived. That was a cool certificate. I approached Adrian and handed him my bokken. He asked me if I enjoyed the event and I expressed that I was disappointed in my performance. He seemed confused and asked, why? I started talking and tears started pouring out of my eyes.
Remember, I have been holding back for a long time. Crying is one of those things I hold back on. I try to control my emotions and not let my emotions control me. I felt absolutely mortified by my actions. Adrian was gracious and understanding. As he reassured me, I regained my composure and thanked him and Beverly.
From a fitness standpoint
I have been teaching fitness classes for over 30 years. It was my 1st career and is now my “hobby” career. Before my accident, I taught a kickboxing class 2 to 3 times per week. The bag was a great place to let out the tension from my daily, high-stress job that I held at the time. After my accident, returning to kickboxing was difficult and I eventually gave it up. I currently teach PiYo and Turbo Kick. Both are great workouts but I enjoy trying new things to kick it up a notch.
When Adrian pointed out that I was holding on to tension, it brought me back to my kickboxing days. Punching and kicking that bag resulted in letting all that tension out. Adrian grabbed the bokken, started moving it and instructed me to let it move with the hit to let the tension out. He later told me, during my emotional moment, still embarrassed about that, to use the bokken as a tool to release the tension. In my mind, I went back to the boxing bag and how I used that as a tool for stress relief. Each piece of the puzzle is helping me understand myself better.
By the way, that was an amazing workout! The warm-up started with holding a squat for a minute. Everyone was like, yeah, I can do that. Adrian chuckled and said, “you say that now”. Within 30 seconds the room started erupting with loud breath releases and groaning. It was awesome! By the time we were done with the learning and practice sessions, everyone was sweating, red-faced and in disbelief of how challenging and invigorating it was.
Will I do it again?
Yes, I want to participate in this event again. I am going to continue to practice the attack and defense numbering system and maybe find a local teacher that can help instruct me. Now I know what to expect and it won’t be the first time having a bokken swung at me. That should boost my confidence.
One more thing added to my “Been There Done That” list. Whoop Whoop!
Spring adds new life and new beauty to all that is.
I have spent some time enjoying the look, the sounds, and the smells of spring this past week. There are so many beautiful things about spring it is almost impossible to capture it all.
Meditating in Nature
I don’t go into a full meditation mode, but more of an observational meditation. I start by the smells in the air and try to recognize where they are coming from. Right now, the Jasmine vines are in full bloom with the wind carrying an elegant fragrance that stops me in my tracks. You may not see the vines but you know they are around with the wind delivering the invitation to seek them out.
I then move onto sight, what am I seeing? Spring grass that is at its greenest; what a beautiful sight. Colorful flowers sprouting up everywhere creating a painting by nature. Water spouts in the ponds casting rainbows in the wind. Baby ducks swimming close together in tow of their mother. Birds flying, butterflies fluttering around, dragonflies zipping by, the list goes on.
When I move on to observing the sounds that go along with smells and sight, it pulls everything together. Sometimes I close my eyes to assure that I don’t miss sounds by focusing too much on sight. Birds chirping and singing is a sure sign that spring has arrived. How many different bird chirps am I hearing? The air is crowded with birds.
What does nature teach us during spring?
Spring is a time of new beginnings. No matter how bad the year before was, spring is always a new beginning. Although nature suffers great tragedy as well as humans, in their wakes, forest fires can give way to new growth. Nature teaches us that even after a devastating loss, we can push through and be stronger than ever.
Spring teaches us that no matter what happens, we have the right to be happy. It shows us persistence and perseverance. It reminds us that life is delicate but we can start anew.
What is your favorite thing about spring? Take a moment, go outside, look, listen, and smell spring in the air. In that moment of observation, get connected with your positivity. Visualize your future and think about the 1st step you must take to start down that path.
Did you know that losing weight reduces knee joint pressure?
According to a study conducted by Dr. Stephen Messier, 1-lb. of weight loss equals 4-lb. reduction in the knee joint load. Also suggested, individuals that lose 10-lbs would reduce up to 48,000 pounds of pressure for every mile walked. The results are a compelling case for weight loss associated with improving knee pain. Consider the workload over time, it can result in making a significant difference in knee joint damage, reducing overall pain throughout your life in the future.
Knee pain is a frequent issue that continues as people age. One factor that compounds this issue is weight.
After reading the facts about pressure on the knee joints, it makes me question the safety of wearing extra weight on stair climbers or while running. Over the years I have seen many types of training that I, myself, would not be comfortable with. Performing cardio with weights (hand weights, weighted vests, etc.) is one of them. The added weight will most certainly add to joint pressure. If it affects the knee joints, what about the hip joints?
As we age, those joints age right along with us. Will this strategy help everyone; probably not, especially if there are other factors weighing in:
disrupted cartilage in the knee joint
Each case is different and everyone should consult with physicians before starting any diet and exercise program. If you have any of the mentioned concerns above, your medical professional can give you advice on which type of workout is best for your body type. I, personally, love to swim when I have joint pain. (click here to see reasons why swimming is a smart choice) It helps relieve the pressure rather than add to the pressure. There are many facilities now offering water aerobics for clients that suffer from arthritis and other joint related illnesses, especially hospital-based facilities.
What about foot pain?
I have a client and friend who has been on a weight loss journey for a year now and has had great success as a result of lifestyle changes. Her goal was to lose 40-lbs and she is currently 1-lb away from hitting her goal. We had a discussion about reducing knee pressure which struck a chord with her regarding her journey. She mentioned that she recently wore a pair of wedge heels that would normally cause the ball of her feet to hurt by the end of the day. After losing 39lbs, her feet did not hurt as she had come to expect it to when wearing those shoes. That’s a win in my book!
Do you have any pain reduction stories related to weight loss? If you do have any stories, please share them with us by leaving comments. They can be success stories or no results, don’t feel constricted on the topic.
I recently had the opportunity to take a trip so, we packed up and headed to the Smoky Mountains. Here are some of the things we ended up doing on this trip.
Cades Cove Driving Loop
Near the Smoky Mountain, National Park Campground, you will find an amazing wildlife viewing area that we love to pass through – Cades Cove Driving Loop. It’s an 11-mile, driving path that loops around the cove and offers many spectacular views.
Valley of Rich History
The Cherokee Indians hunted Cades Cove for hundreds of years but no evidence was found of major settlements. The first Europeans settled in the cove sometime between 1818 and 1821. Cades Cove offers a wide variety of historic buildings and historic information about the people that lived there.
A working grist mill
other restored nineteenth century structures
Over the years, we have been blessed with many wild life sightings while driving through Cades Cove:
Many years ago the park released Red wolves into Cades Cove in efforts to restore wild wolf populations in suitable areas. Unfortunately, their efforts failed and the remaining wolves were captured and moved. Many were recaptured after straying from the park onto private land, 6 were killed – either hit by cars or killed by humans. Out of 33 pups born in the wild, only 4 survived. The wolves couldn’t find enough food to eat in this mountainous area. Many wolves left, presumably in search of prey, and some of those that remained succumbed to disease, parasites, and starvation. During one of our early trips to the park, we were blessed with a sighting of a Red Wolf and came across him later carrying a turkey in his mouth. I treasure that memory.
Experience the cove on a bike. The loop road is closed to motor vehicle traffic until 10:00 am every Saturday and Wednesday morning from early May until late September to allow cyclists and pedestrians to enjoy the cove. You can rent a bike at the campground store. It is strongly recommended to wear helmets and required of any children 16 and under. Visit the Campground Store Website.
Hiking was high on my priority list. Since we visit Cades Cove several times during these visits, we chose to hike a trail in the Cades Cove loop – Abrams Falls, which offers up a scenic hike and a beautiful waterfall at the end of the trail.
5.2 miles round trip
moderate difficulty rating
Hiking is one of my favorite, fitness activities. I find that the Smoky Mountains features cooler weather which means I don’t have to fight off mosquitoes, and the view is breathtaking. I find it risky with large drop-offs and slippery paths so, be sure to take precautions. You don’t want to end up in the E.R. as a result. Cold and rain can come up quickly, so do the research; what is the weather going to be like, what clothes to wear, what shoes to wear, what should you bring, etc.? Once, during my hike, a storm rolled in, causing the temperature to drop and I found the path extremely slick. I didn’t want to fall as a result, so I slowed my pace and kept a close eye on the path.
Pigeon Forge Titanic Attraction
There is something about the Titanic story that has always captured my attention so, we stopped in to see the museum and was quite pleased with it. The owner of the museum is none other than John Joslyn, who led a dive expedition to the Titanic site 2 years after it was discovered. As a result of his dives, 2 museums have opened up in Branson and Pigeon Forge, which exhibits some of the largest, permanent collections of the Titanic artifacts, and memorabilia. Guests enter a unique world that showcases exact replicas of the beautiful, handcrafted Grand Staircase.
Each guest receives a card with a story of a passenger that was aboard the Titanic. At the end of the tour, their fate is revealed. My passenger survived the accident and her story turned out to be surprisingly interesting.
One tip I would like to offer: At the end of the tour, we had the opportunity to take a picture. The Grand Staircase was superimposed in the background and the picture is beautiful and professional looking. I wish I knew how well that photo would have come out, s0 I would have dressed nicer. As a result, I was unhappy with my picture, but that was my own fault. Other than that, this attraction deserves 5 stars!
There are so many things to do in the Smoky Mountain region. If ever traveling that way, make sure you visit websites and do some research. There are many places you can stay. Cades Cove is a major attraction for my family. So, when we visit the Smoky Mountains, we like to stay in Townsend. It’s the easiest access to Cades Cove and take Wears Valley Road when we venture into Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
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Drinking water helps decrease the desire for other sugary, high calorie drinks.
What type of Water is Best?
Water that does not contain sugar or artificial sweeteners is best. Excessive consumption of artificial sweeteners can stimulate hunger. When that happens, it can derail your health goals and eating plans as a result.
How Much Water is Enough?
Making changes gradually can help reduce the daunting affects and help contribute to permanent success. Start making small increases. See what works for you. A doctor or registered dietitian can help you determine the amount of water that is right for you. I have included a quote from the Mayo Clinic’s website below as a reference.
How much water do you need?
Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water. So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:
About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20 percent of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks. What about the advice to drink 8 glasses a day?
You’ve probably heard the advice, “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.” That’s easy to remember, and it’s a reasonable goal. Most healthy people can stay hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, fewer than eight glasses a day might be enough. But other people might need more.
Factors that influence water needs
You might need to modify your total fluid intake based on several factors: Exercise. If you do any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to cover the fluid loss. It’s important to drink water before, during and after a workout. If exercise is intense and lasts more than an hour, a sports drink can replace minerals in your blood (electrolytes) lost through sweat. Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional fluid intake. Dehydration also can occur at high altitudes. Overall health. Your body loses fluids when you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Drink more water or follow a doctor’s recommendation to drink oral rehydration solutions. Other conditions that might require increased fluid intake include bladder infections and urinary tract stones. Pregnancy or breast-feeding. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. The Office on Women’s Health recommends that pregnant women drink about 10 cups (2.4 liters) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume about 13 cups (3.1 liters) of fluids a day.
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I have a good understanding of what triggers my night time eating but, I still fight it when I do not go to bed by 9:00 pm.
Findings from the International Journal of Obesity
The International Journal of Obesity conducted a study to better understand why evening hours pose a high risk for overeating and unhealthy snacking.
Blood tests were used to measure stress and hunger hormones, but participants also related their subjective levels of fullness.
Researchers discovered that the time of day significantly influenced hunger levels, with stronger perceived appetite in the evening than in the morning. Eating the test meal later in the day also reduced blood levels of peptide YY, a hormone linked to smaller appetite. Additionally the findings suggested that stress may increase hunger hormones more in the evening than earlier in the day and that hormonal influence on appetite appears to be greater for people prone to binge eating.
July-August 2018 ACE Fitness Journal
One of the suggestions that the article made for people who are vulnerable to late night eating, should be counseled on strategies to overcome the sensations.
What else can we do?
Perform light, evening, cardio exercises to reduce stress: walking, bike ride, etc.
Consume more calories during the day
Eat high-protein, fiber-rich foods at dinner to suppress hunger
Avoid late night screen time: television (lots of late night fast food commercials can increase cravings), phone time, computer time
Shut down all electronics 30 minutes before bed
Block all light coming into your sleeping area
Remember: I am not a licensed Nutritionist or Life Coach. Any information I share are from 3rd parties. You must do your research and seek direction from your doctors/nutritionists before you make drastic changes in your exercise routines, eating habits, vitamin and mineral intake.
Did you know that your room atmosphere can set you up for better sleep, or even sabotage it? According to an article I came across in the July/August 2018 issue of Health Magazine, you can “set yourself up for snoozing success by arranging the most restful room possible.”
Block Out Noise
“….Even if you don’t wake up, noise can disrupt your slumber and cause restlessness, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and changes in breathing patterns, explains Cralle.”These interruptions can lead to fragmented sleep, which makes it harder to reach the deeper, more restorative stages.””
Take A Whiff
“Create a bedtime ritual…….30 minutes before sacking out is a simple effective way to cue the body to rest, says Sara Panton, essential – oil expert and co-founder of Vitruvi. Not only are there certain scents that encourage drowsiness, but the very act of setting up a routine helps signal to your brain that it’s time to start shutting off.”
Blend of Essential oil Scents that Panton suggests: “7 drops of lavender, 4 drops of frankincense, 4 drops of cedar wood, 2 drops of bergamot.”
There are many different types of products you can buy that emit scents. I am a big fan of natural sources such as plants and flowers. This article suggest diffusing essential oils. I am not making any recommendations on what to use. You do the research and choose a source that best suits you. If you have pets in the home make sure you do the research on essential oils. I am not an expert on the matter but, I have come across some concerns online. Whether there is any truth to it, I do not know. However, I do not recommend any chemicals such as air fresheners, candles, etc. Visit the American Lung Associations website to further educate yourself on common household products that contribute to indoor air pollution.
Stay Slightly Chilled
“Body temperature regularly fluctuates throughout the day-it’s usually at its highest in the afternoon and lowest in the early a.m. So if your room is hot, your body will work all night to cool down-and if your’re sweating, you’re more likely to wake up. The sweet spot: 65 degrees, according to the National Sleep Foundation.”
“Room Stuffiness can hike nasal congestion and hinder your ability to breathe while you doze. Per a study in the journal Indoor Air, people who kept their window open overnight felt more alert the next morning than they did when it had been kept closed. If you live in a city and opening your window exposes you to noise, crack it open for 15 minutes during the day instead. No windows? No problem. Invest in a plant like a peace lily, which naturally purifies air. ”
Dim The Lights Early
“Not only does light send “stay awake” alerts to the brain, it also has an effect on circadian rhythm” (read my blog on When to eat, when not to eat to better understand the circadian rhythm) “which controls your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, explains Lawrence Epstein, MD, assistant medical director of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Brightness also stops the production of melatonin (the tired hormone), suppressing your sleep signal. While you actually kill the lights when you get in bed, you actually need to dim them much sooner. Switch from overhead lights to lamps around dinnertime to help your body wind down.” by by