Thursday, May 20, 2010

FitCity: Twitter Chats Are Magic!

Back in February, I became a FitCity Mom Blogger.  I attended my first Twitter Chat in February, as well.  The chat was with Matt Larson from the Ransburg YMCA.  His topic was beating workout burnout (which often hits in the wintertime).  My introduction on FitCity was on Feb 4.  That Twitter chat was on Feb 9. 

blogged about that chat.  It was a true lightbulb moment.  Matt said that it is recommended that you get 60 minutes of exercise a day.  I had a mild panic attack at my keyboard- I struggled to give up my lunch hour to get in 30 minutes of exercise, where would I possibly ever find an HOUR to give up?!  Matt clarified that it doesn’t have to be 60 minutes all at one time.  You can break it up into 10-15 minute times during the day.  Major ah-ha moment! 

2 weeks later, I participated in the next FitCity chat with Annessa Chumbley as the guest.  Annessa is from Flourish! and was chatting about navigating the grocery store.  I didn’t learn anything brand new but things I already knew were reinforced.  For example, shop the outside loop of the grocery store.  That’s where you find produce and meat and dairy and eggs and you skip the boxed, packaged, processed, factory made stuff. 

After that first chat, I was inspired to become more active and finds ways to incorporate more exercise into my day to day activities.  I work a desk job.  I often sit on conference calls.  Now, when I’m locked in my office and listening to a call, I mute the phone so they can’t hear me and I get up and march in place or do lunges and squats at my desk for 10-15 minutes.  In the afternoon, I will take 10 minutes to walk up and down a long hallway.  In the evening, I will take the family out for a walk after dinner.  In the evening, my 5 year old daughter and I will play Just Dance on the Wii

After that second chat, I started making changes to how I thought about food.  That chat was on February 23.  On March 1, I officially started a campaign to become a Healthier Me.  I decided to try and become the one thing I really never thought I would be- a runner.  I started to look at food as fuel that would either enhance or hurt my running performance.  I started to focus on fruits and vegetables- items found on the outer loop of the grocery store.

I did, unfortunately, miss a couple of chats.  But I got back on track with Twitter chatting on April 20 with guest April Adams.  She’s a dietician and author of the book, “Back to Basics.”  I was almost 2 months into my commitment to becoming a runner, living a healthier lifestyle.  I was starting to struggle a little with my choices in regards to food.  I was in a bit of a rut.  This chat was a huge boost to my confidence because it reinforced that I am knowledgable and I am making great choices.  I was revved up again and eager to stock up on fruits and veggies. 

Last week, our Twitter chat guest was Emily Collins from On Track Fitness.  Emily’s topic was overcoming workout hurdles, mental blocks.  I was eager for the chat.  I’d stalled out with my running program.  I’m following the Couch to 5K interval training program.  I had hit a hurdle on Week 4 with that first 5 minute run.  So I stayed on Week 4 for about 2 weeks until I conquered it.  By the end of Week 5, there is a 20 minute run and I was stumped yet again.  I couldn’t break that 20 minutes.  I could go 13-14 minutes.  I got advice on breathing, stride, mental tips… nothing helped.  For weeks, the best I could do was run a mile and then my body would just quit.  I was really hopeful that the Twitter chat would yield the same “magic” results for me- it would take my hurdle and help me find a way over it. 

It did.

That chat was on Tuesday and the very next day, I ran for 29 minutes. 

I’ve decided that the Twitter chats must be magic.  The first one got me fired up to find ways to fit more purposeful activity into my day.  The second one helped me get focused on changing my food choices.  The fourth one that I attended helped me feel confident in thos changed food choices.  And the last one clicked something into my runner’s brain to get past that mental running hurdle.

Ok, ok, I know the chats aren’t really magic.  Something I have learned over the past 3 months is that the best way to stay focused on being healthy is to surround myself with message about health.  Attending the FitCity Twitter chats is one way to keep healthy living right in front of me.  Being a fan of FitCity on Facebook is another way that I keep my active lifestyle fresh.  I’m on Facebook frequently and have found that seeing updates in my News Feed from and the Couch to 5K Running Program and Flourish! also keep healthy choices fresh in my mind.  I read the blogs of people who have changed their lives by changing how they choose to eat and be active- like The Anti-Jared - or that inspire others to get and be healthy like On Track Fitness

If I have fast foods ads in my face all day, that’s where my mind will stay focused.  If I stay passive and let the ads online and on TV and on billboards tell me what to eat and how to live, I’d spend most of my time eating burgers, fries and milkshakes or taking in a more-than-you-should-ever-eat buffet while heading to the casino to sit at a slot machine before going to sit in the hot tub and then sit and watch a movie and then stuff my face with this brand of ice cream only found at this store and if you don’t like how you look you can just have plastic surgery and…

Or I can purposfully surround myself with positive messages about healthy eating and active living.  I don’t anticipate seeing billboards along 465 for carrots or kiwi or running shoes.  I doubt I’ll watch Glee and see ads for broccoli or the health benefits of natural fiber found in fruits and vegetables.  I can’t imagine turning on the radio and hearing an ad that encourages me to put the car in park and walk the rest of the way home.  But I can choose to read those healthy focused blogs, to see tips and articles from health focused groups on Facebook and Twitter… to keep myself surrounded with postive, healthy messages.

If you are looking for a place to get started to build your own online healthy community, I’d really encourage you to sign up for the FitCity e-newsletter, to fan the FitCity Facebook group (look for fun stuff coming there soon), to participate in the FitCity Twitter chats (the next one is Tuesday, May 25 at 7 p.m. with returning gues Annessa Chumbley- just search/follow #indyfitchat).  Comment on the blog posts here and get connected in to this health focused community!

Do you have favorite ways to keep healthy choices in front of you?  Any favorite health focused blogs or websites or groups?  Have you participated in a FitCity Twitter chat and learned something new or had a positive impact from it?

Unfamiliar with using Twitter to chat?  Let me know in the comments and I will find a way to make the information easy to follow so you can participate, too!


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