30 Day Fitness Challenge

I originally had a salmon recipe to share with yummy pictures, but I completed a 30 day fitness challenge today and thought I’d share some of the blessings I had this last month for focusing on my fitness and I'll save the salmon for next week’s Fish Friday.

After 3 kids, my body has taken on a whole new shape.  My feet are even joining in the fun and are a full half-size bigger, which I knew was to be expected.  There are other things however that I didn’t expect, like my once poker-straight hair now being curly on half my head.  I can’t decide between straightening half of it or curling the other half, so my solution is usually a pony-tail.

But back to my post-babies body.  My friend Stefanie wrote an empowering post about all the ways that pregnancy changes your body and how important it is to embrace your post-baby body.  While I do have some pre-pregnancy pants that are in my closet daring my hips to ever come back together to fit in, my motivation for working out and completing the 30 day challenge was literally to try and work muscle groups that I know had been ignored since I was marathon training 5 years ago. 

I am a person that works better with a long-term goal and has a plan that tells me what to do each step of the way so that I keep myself accountable to doing it.  If I’m left to my own decision to just go for a run or do some squats or whatever, I’ll always find some excuse of an unfinished load of wash, dishwasher to empty, etc. to not get the workout in. 

Going from occasional workouts to something every day for 30 days was an exciting challenge and I don’t know if my daily attitude of gratitude I’ve been doing for Lent has fueled my passion to workout or if working out has fueled me to be more grateful. 

During the 30 days, there were times felt dumb for not knowing how to do some of the workouts, froggie anyone?...but then loved my feeling of accomplishment when I found the YouTube video and tried something new, though I may not be in love with froggies (Seriously, you’re going to look-up that YouTube video now aren’t you?). 

To be expected what I loved is that the workouts were effective.  Soreness meant growing stronger and the level of challenge was high.  Over the process, somewhat unexpectedly, vicarious learning started happening with my kids. 

Now, I know kids learn what they see from my post on my son riding his bike down a hill the day he learned to ride without training wheels and my husband calling me out on my fear of riding bikes, but I never really focused on the seeing part.  In the past, my husband and I would tell the kids we were going to workout, going to the gym, etc.  We want them to know we value this and it’s important.  And we are certainly active with them, but have done less formal exercising with them, apart from soccer drills.  This past month has been a daily dose of my kids seeing me do all sorts of new exercises and then start trying them themselves. 

Now, even when I go back to hitting the treadmill at the gym or long runs outside, I want to remember to do exercises at home with the kids so that the value of exercising is more than just words. 


Okay, so I know I had the whole Discover December series of blogs to introduce people to fitness alternatives for New Year's resolutions, so what's Zumba doing here in January?  What can I say, there are too many options to fit into just December.  Plus, there's been a lot of interest and talk about Zumba on Wailani's Facebook page, so I just couldn't resist.  And then there's the fact that I happen to know an inspiring Zumba instructor to give you an inside look, in case you haven't tried it yet.

Let me tell you a little about Zumba with Stefanie and I'm sure you're going to be just as impressed as I am at her commitment to living healthy.  Zumba is not her only activity.  First, she is an excellent mom to three active boys, which she blogs about at My Life with Little Boys...x3, and still manages to squeeze in CrossFit daily with her training partner/husband. 


A nurse by training, she knows what it means to be healthy and uses the Eat to Perform plan to support her fitness goals.


Best of all is that in addition to her passion for healthy living, Stefanie is kind, warm, and has a great sense of humor.  Fun and fitness, what more could you want?  So, if you like what you read and you want to check her out, you can find her teaching Zumba with Stefanie at CrossFit Tahlequah/Five Alarm Athletics on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

Zumba with Stefanie


In 2007 my husband joined the Air Force. We moved our little family all the way from Illinois to the bright lights of Las Vegas, Nevada. Being a small town girl, I was overwhelmed and lonesome, to say the least. Nellis Air Force Base had a large, on base gym that offered lots of different classes and it was all free to military members and their families.  When I saw that Zumba was offered on base I decided to give it a try. Not only was the aerobic aspect intriguing but the thought that I might meet some friends got me up and out the door.

That was six years ago and I’ve never looked back. I am now a Zumba instructor, teaching twice a week. When I started it was too fast paced and intimidating. The Latin music, the moves, the HIPS…oh, my! I stood carefully hidden away, in the back row for months. However, once I learned to laugh at myself and just keep moving I started to pick it up. Most instructors will tell their new students to give Zumba at least three classes before you give up. Students start to pick up the repetitive moves before they realize it and will start dancing in their cars to the songs when they come on the radio. I love Zumba because it’s challenging and fun. It gets my heart rate up and I’m sweating after the first two songs. Women can step it up and do advanced moves or take it down a notch or two and do low impact. It really is an exercise for anyone.


Not only did I fall in love with the high calorie burn, upwards of 800 calories per hour, and the dancing but I also fell in love with the people. Women of all ages, body types, athletic and dancing skills come to Zumba. Everyone is upbeat and excited to be there. It’s as if dancing and laughing with friends relieves stress or something…whod’ve thunk?!

I never missed a class, much to my husband’s dismay, even when I moved back to the Midwest. The classes available in my new little hometown started at 8pm. It was a struggle to get my boys fed and into bed before leaving but I made my health a priority and went to class three days a week. Sometimes it was hard to talk myself into going but I never regretted it once it was over.

I would recommend Zumba to anyone. Women and men love it alike. In fact, a man, Beto Perez, is the founder and creator of Zumba! Doing what you love and in turn, getting and/or staying healthy is the dream! Just remember to laugh when you go or you’ll be the only sourpuss in the back row.

Discover December - Yoga

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey of Discovery throughout December, to explore different fitness options for 2014 New Year's Resolutions.  We started the month with some inspiration on triathlons, moved on to CrossFit, and most recently had a wonderful post on running.  But you know that our month of exercising options wouldn't be complete without information on yoga, considering that two of Wailani's retailers are yoga studios. 

In a recent experience, I can tell you that yoga is not just about relaxation, but can also be an 'aggressive' challenge of your body, mind, and emotions according to my instructor -it just depends on what you want to get out of your practice.  In the words of my wonderful instructor, Valarie, "Anyone can do yoga. You don't have to be super bendy. Would you like more flexibility, better balance or ability to concentrate? Try yoga. Do you want to begin an exercise program and don't know where to start? Try yoga." 


Yoga is for everyone? Yes and yoga can help you in your other fitness pursuits, as Valarie puts it: "I appreciate yoga for many reasons, but more recently I've noticed it keeps my body more agile and flexible so I am able to enjoy other forms of exercise I love: volleyball, running, boot camp classes and keeping up with my energetic kids." If you're interested in a little more before you show up at a class in 2014, let me tell you what you might find, from the insights of one of the The 108 Yoga Studio's owners.

The 108 Yoga Studio

When I first walked through the doors of The 108 Yoga Studio, I quite literally caught my breath! Who knew that this jewel of a yoga studio perched on the second floor of an old brick building at 108 Muskogee Avenue in Tahlequah, Oklahoma even existed? With its hardwood floors, exposed brick walls, and tall windows allowing for beautiful natural light it truly creates a safe and peaceful place in which to practice yoga! I was incredibly excited to find it, and I am equally excited to share it with our current and future students.


At The 108 Yoga Studio we offer something for everyone, no matter if you are a seasoned yogi, or if you are completely new to the practice of yoga.  Our five qualified and experienced teachers provide an array of different yoga styles to our students, and we also offer Pilates, which can be a wonderful adjunct to your yoga practice, or a discipline in and of itself.


People come to yoga for many different reasons; to gain physical strength and flexibility, to relieve stress, to avoid an impending back or hip surgery, to "get quiet" within themselves, the list goes on and on. At The 108 Yoga Studio we don't care what your "why" is...we're just glad you've found us, and we can't wait to see what yoga can do for YOU! Namaste!

Discover December - Run Stretch Go

So excited to continue this series on discovering fitness options for your New Year's Resolution considerations.  About five years ago, I was training for a marathon when I found out that I was pregnant with my first child.  At the time, I was in the best shape of my life and my base of fitness helped me to have a very healthy I'm partial to running- though my husband says my pace is only slightly faster than a speed walk:) 


But enough about me and back to running, let me tell you a little about why Cyanne Demchak is the perfect guest post for our blog on running.  Some of you may remember her as the winner of our 500 Likes giveaway, with her comments on the scrub: "My skin feels so amazing this morning. Thank you Lisa and Wailani's. Loving my pumpkin scrub :) "  You also might remember that I shared that her blog, Run Stretch Go was doing a giveaway of a free three month music subscription to RockMyRun.

You won't be surprised that her personal passion for healthy living is matched with her career at a company in the health industry.   She cemented her love for running by completing her first half marathon in 2009, maybe another reason beside our time together in grad school and the fact that we both have two masters degrees that I feel a kinship with her.  I love following her healthy recipes on Pinterest, because I know she's always cooking to support her healthy and active lifestyle.  I am so excited to share her story about how she developed her passion for running.  I hope you find it as inspiring as I do to dust off my running shoes and get out there.


Learning to Love to Run

Growing up, I was always borderline overweight. I hated running more than just about anything (although onions, mushrooms, and lettuce were also hated pretty heavily). I ran when I was forced to in gym class, as warm up or punishment in sports. My one exception was running foul lines in tennis. For some reason, I loved those things. Otherwise, my general thoughts on running can be summed up in 4 words: "do I have to?" 

After college, I had gained a lot of weight, and remembered how quickly I lost weight in high school when I had to run every day in gym class. I started an intense multi-hour workout plan that included running a mile or two every day. I didn't love it, but I hated it a little less. I continued to run just a little for about 2 years, and then I got severe plantar fasciitis and landed in a boot for 6 weeks in the middle of summer in DC. I gave up running not long after that. 

Fast forward to grad school, and another point in time where I had gained some weight. I began seeing ads for the Pittsburgh Marathon and Half-Marathon, which was being brought back after almost a decade, and race day was 2 weeks before my graduation. I decided I wanted to run the half. I signed up, I found a training plan, and trained. For 12 weeks, I was religious about my training, although I did almost half of it on the treadmill, and was more proud of myself for crossing that finish line than I was for receiving 2 masters degrees a few weeks later. 

Over the course of the next 4 years, I'd complete 3 more halfs, with about 4 months of no running after each race. Then, in January, I moved to a new place, where I knew no one, and decided to train for a spring half. It was a way to keep myself in shape, not focused on everything that was going on in my life, and literally take time up in my day. Over the course of the spring, every run made me happier, stronger and more confident in general. After that half in April, I signed up for 3 more over the course of the year, and ended up signing up for my first marathon which I'll run on January 12th. This year I will have run 12 races total; I've run in 12 states; and I've set 4 PRs. At some point this year, running went from being a hobby, or a way to exercise, to being part of who I am.


I am a runner. I love how it makes me feel alive (and sometimes reminds me I'm alive because I'm in pain). I love how it makes me focus on what I eat, because you can't run 20 miles on Sunday if you ate crap for the rest of the week (or you'll regret it, at the very least). It makes my body strong, but it's made my mind stronger. Now, I have to be told not to run. If only Mrs. Vining could see me now!