Water Is Life

 Photo By: JonasForTheArt on deviantart.com

We have heard it our entire lives.  “Water, water, water; drink your water!”  Well folks, whoever was telling you this, for most of us I’m sure it was our mothers (who know best), was RIGHT.  It only makes sense.  The human body is made up of between 50-75% water.  To keep your body in balance and your components (organs) functioning at highest performance, you need to intake the same amount of water as your body is releasing.  This will vary depending on your hydration level.  Yes I know, we have to worry about weight, BMI, and blood levels and now, another measure.  Fortunately, we as Crescent Fitness athletes most likely live on an island or a peninsula, and are surrounded by this vital nutrient, second only to our other friend, oxygen.  Let’s put aside how fortunate we are to have the ability to walk up to a fountain or faucet at any given time on any given day, and fill our containers with clean, safe and hydrating water.

 Fun fact:  Charleston Water System meets and in many cases exceeds the water quality standards set by the US EPA and SCDHEC

It is no secret (ask anyone who must drive down Folly Rd) that throughout the year we spend many hours vigorously training in the high heats that charm Charleston, SC.  As adults and athletes, we owe it to ourselves to take care of our bodies; during training hours and just as importantly, outside of our training hours.  Do not take dehydration lightly.  Be aware that even if you experience mild dehydration once, your body is now greatly more susceptible to it reoccurring.  Please read on to discover signs, symptoms, and consequences of the ugly bodily aggressor that is dehydration.

UNDERSTAND THE SIGNS

– Decrease/darkened urine

– Dry lips, mouth

– Muscle cramps

– Dizziness

– Headaches

– Decrease in sweat during intense activity

– Mood alteration

– Memory impairment

– Constipation

Lawrence Armstrong, a researcher with the University of Connecticut Human Performance

Laboratory says “your simplest safeguard is drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.”

But as with any other health monitoring you do with your body, this amount will vary per

person depending on physical activity and intake of other foods, blood levels, medications. At

minimum, do yourself the favor of making this amount of water a regular part of your daily life.

A testimonial from a man who learned the hard way:

“Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink!”

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

(The Rime of the Ancient Marnier)

In this tale, a man is stranded on a boat in the middle of the ocean, dying of dehydration. For me, it goes beyond this story. This can happen to us “Land Lovers” too. Just think about how close you are to a drinking water source; a public water fountain, the office water cooler, a vending machine, store or even the forsaken tap! Now just think about how much water you ACTUALLY ingest versus the recommended daily intake. Mind you, it’s the recommended daily intake for the “average” person, not aimed at the high intensity work out artists like some of us reading this. I am not going to go off and spout a bunch of medical jargon about the evils of becoming dehydrated, you can Google that, I am just going to tell you how it happened to me, TWICE severely, and how I still battle its’ effects.

To quickly give you a background, I am not your average person. I am not even a person of average fitness. I am what you could call a person of “elite” fitness status, honed over 20 years of athletic and weight training that brought me from high school basketball and track standout to college recruit, then to U.S. Army recruit. Along the way I acquired the knowledge to combat dehydration, actually most of the time it was a requirement, but even I fell into the mindset of “it won’t happen to me”, and I was a Combat Lifesaver!

The first time I became a victim of heat exhaustion I was 20 years old, a soldier in the arid and scorching hot wasteland known as “The Middle East”. After a day of patrols and lugging gear I had made the miscalculation of how much I was sweating and failed to drink enough to replenish myself in the 120 degree heat. As the medic was administering the IV he made a comment that haunts me to this day. He says “boy…now you gotta be super careful cuz once you get the dehydration, it will always sneak back up ya.” Basically, your body becomes more prone to drying out once you get to this level…JUST ONCE. Just let that sink in. ONE incident leads to a lifetime of stress.

Once I was out of the military I obtained a job as a mailman. Again battling the elements, the cold and the heat, guess what? I got dehydrated in both of the extreme seasons, summer and New England winter! Bet you didn’t realize how easy it is to dry out in the cold did you? The worst of the times came during summer and it required me to be hospitalized. From that point on, I’ve battled through leg and arm cramps, and back spasms due to it. I’ve also struggled through kidney problems, memory loss, migraines, and much to my annoyance, trouble with bowel movements. Any slight variation in my hydration levels wrecks my body. Every time I deal with it, I keep replaying the medic’s words in my head.

Now maybe you are thinking, “hey idiot, don’t you think you learned your lesson?” and to some degree you are correct, but another byproduct of dehydration is that it fools your body constantly. Sometimes it takes 2 gallons to be properly leveled off, sometimes less. Sometimes I drink so much I flush my system and become sluggish, depleting my body of the vitamins

and minerals through numerous trips to the rest room. If I can impart one piece of wisdom to you all is this, you should drink enough to where you are never “thirsty”. Do everything in your power to not become a victim of dehydration. I know it’s hard, trust me, I know it every single day. However it is better for you to take a few extra trips the bathroom than deal with the menace of dehydration floating on your heels waiting for you to slip up.

– Thomas Reilly

An Elite Veteran, Athlete, & Man

I hope this piece has brought new knowledge or realistic awareness to Crescent Fitness athletes or anyone reading that is yet to develop solid hydration habits.  #WhatYouDoMatters  #DrinkUp

Kelly Hydrates

Photo Model: Crescent Fitness Athlete/Beastress: Kelly Butler “Bottoms Up”

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FEAR….it stomps on our dreams. It’s what stops us most from living the life we have imagined for ourselves. It’s inevitable and is not something to eliminate. That feeling that fear conjures up will always be present. It’s what we do regardless of the fear that helps build character. Taking action despite of fear is always a choice. Fear will often cause us to react in undesirable ways and prevents us from moving forward. Let your dreams be bigger than the avoidance of what you think might happen if things go wrong. Don’t spend your life wondering what if…

Take hold of your fear and use it to your advantage instead of your enemy. Do this by first recognizing fear in its initial stages. Become aware that something is preventing you from taking the next step. Then start to visualize the success you could potentially have if you took that step. After visualizing, make it happen!!! Schedule when you can start to take the steps that fear has been holding you back from and start taking them NOW! Realize the power of your thoughts and use them to your advantage. You are only afraid of something because you have convinced yourself you are. Belief in yourself and your capabilities is the greatest weapon against fear and the key to moving towards your dreams.

The Power..The Will

Hear are some great quotes about Fear… Let these quotes fuel you with the courage to break through the things that continue to stop you from pursuing what you want….

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”– Nelson Mandela

Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” Steven Pressfield

“You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear does not exist anywhere except in the mind.”– Dale Carnegie

“Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.”– Bill Cosby

“Do not let your fears choose your destiny.”- Unknown

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.”– Meg Cabo

“He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Fear is never a reason for quitting; it is only an excuse.”– Norman Vincent Peale

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”– Dale Carnegie

“Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.”– Japanese Proverb

“Waiting to develop courage is just another form of procrastination. The most successful people take action while they’re afraid!”- Unknown‎

“Never say never because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.”- Michael Jordan

Let today be the day, change your life…just like that!

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Check with the Doc

Most women have already done this, but if you haven’t… STOP what you’re doing and have a specific conversation and bring up the topic of exercise with your doctor at your next visit BEFORE proceeding with your workouts. Safety and the safety of your baby always comes first.

The general rule of thumb is in your first trimester it’s safe to continue exercising at the same level as you were before becoming pregnant while eliminating heavy weight and high impact exercises. If you’re a beginner to exercise at this point in your life, HIT is not the way to go. Your doctor will have much better recommendations based upon your state of health and any pre-existing conditions you may have. He or she will also be able to give you specific nutrition advice now that you are eating for two.

Listen to Your Body

During pregnancy your heart is forced to pump 50% more blood than it usually does, meaning the strain on your body is significantly increased without obvious outward signs. Part of this increased heart work is due to the fact your body requires a lot more oxygen. The first step is to reduce your intensity and focus on a comfortable, sustained pace. If you’re constantly out of breath or struggling to maintain your pace, don’t be afraid to take a break until you feel comfortable to continue. As your body undergoes constant change and your hormone levels constantly fluctuate, your diet needs will continue to increase. Don’t expect every week to be the same because it probably won’t.

 Adjust As You Go Along

Certain exercises have to be eliminated from your routine. Impact movements such as sprawls, BURPEES, jumps with knee tucks are the obvious movements that have to go. Core adjustments are also necessary as your lower abdomen bears extra weight and your pregnancy further develops.

WebMD has a great list of exercises to avoid during pregnancy.

The Mayo Clinic has put together a great list of exercise alternatives and adjustments that will allow you to complete workouts and continue your routine at a safe level.

If nothing else, extra low intensity cardio such as swimming, cycling, and walking will benefit both you and your baby.

CONCLUSION

More than most health conditions, pregnancy requires specific ongoing attention to your routine and diet as your body undergoes drastic changes. It’s proven over and over that exercise during pregnancy is beneficial for you and your developing baby, so continue to work and reap the rewards but make sure you consult a doctor, listen to your body and put your safety first.

Congratulations!!!!

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Wow.  What an incredible 2 day segment of this beautiful life I experienced over this weekend.  I will forever hoard memories from this stay in Grand Lake, Colorado dubbed by us Cupids as “Camp Cupid”.  The purpose of the occasion was for all the race directors for the Cupid’s Undie Run to gather. To meet, be lead and informed, share ideas, and begin a venture that we will all separately but collaboratively be part of working towards this year’s “end results” that is, February 15th, 2014, the day of our year.  This nonprofit organization was started from the recognition of a problem, an innovative idea, and a gut-wrenching closeness to the sucky genetically inherited disorder that is NF.

For those of you who don’t know what NF is, I’d love to inform.  It stands for neurofibromatosis.  There are 3 levels of this disorder however NF1 affects approximately 1 in 3,000 children born.  That number is enough for me to want answers.  Although there are various levels of pain, disability, and discomfort these children experience, I believe any pain deserves comforting.  Our children are our future and they deserve to know our generation has done something to provide answers and motivation for them to live a quality life.

I personally have been touched by NF through a young man I’ve never met.  His name is Drew “Drewbie” Fowler and he is 5 years old, as of 5 days ago.  Drew is a big brother, a bright eyed charming lover of all things Gaga and Disney, a son to two strong and beautiful parents, and the little cousin to a few individuals that have always been a blessing to my soul since the day they walked into my life.  As soon as my friend told me of Drew’s struggles with optic glioma and showed me his darling face, I was hooked on demanding help and answers.

A friend of Drew’s mother had started a gofundme page for Drew and I began sharing that, and making a donation if and when I could.  Then friends and I were going to a girls’ birthday weekend trip in Nashville and looked into things to do that weekend.  That was when we stumbled across a link to Cupid’s Undie Run.  I saw these things: undies, run, drinking, benefiting Children’s Tumor Foundation which aims to#EndNF.  To say my girls and I are a bit ridiculous may be an understatement but I still held nerves in asking my friends to join me in this run, as it took place on the day of my girlfriend’s birthday.  But I asked anyway.  To my delight, they both accepted with enthusiasm!  Right there and then, we committed to making #DrewCrew (an already formed name by the elite crew of people involved in keeping Drew and his family strong through this battle) as strong as the 3 of us possibly could in the 3-4 weeks until this run.  There was absolutely no shame in our fundraising game; sharing, tweeting and texting links to our page with coworkers, friends, family, ex-boyfriends, old coaches, people who had debts with us.

Immediately upon arrival to the run’s venue, we felt uplifted seeing how many people were thrilled to be decked out on this chilly Nashville day, in their underpants.  We had worn pants, but they didn’t stay on long.  Once in the venue, showing off our neon double layered Target purchased undies that read “famous” across the green pair, seemed necessary and above coziness levels of this crowd.  In just 3 hours, we felt pride in being recognized for best costumes, we felt victory in raising the amount we did, and we felt accomplishment for running a couple miles despite the cold, but ultimately we felt a part of an atmosphere and “crew” of fun-loving people who desired to do good to help those affected.  And we didn’t want to leave it.

Fast forward 6 months.  After harassing the Nashville race directors (I’ll forever be grateful to you Morgan and Michael!) via twitter, and the Master of the Undie-verse (yes, she’s a real person, and such a delight!) via email I was honored to be chosen as the director for Charleston, South Carolina’s first annual Cupid’s Undie Run.  What came next was an invite to this #CampCupid.

Prior to my touch down in Denver, I had excitement to meet all these new people (I kind of love people).  I had excitement to visit Colorado (24th state to visit on a bucket list item of “visiting all 50”).  I had excitement to learn some details about what to do to get this event planning process kick started.  I had an image in my mind of pretty mountains and some crisp brisk air.  What I didn’t have, is a clue, as to what the next two days would actually include.

After typical airport crisis of ‘anything that could go wrong with flight scheduling… will’ if my name is on the passenger roster, I arrived in Denver hours after planned, and in a new arrangement of Cupids.  Still, the excitement never fled.  Everyone involved was so calm about last minute plan transfers.  The ride from the airport to Grand Lake was instantly an adventure.  I claim to be a decent driver but let’s just say darkness and switchbacks are a new task in Kreezy’s book.  The 3 girls riding with helped navigate and kept the feel of the unknown travels a true and heartfelt adventure.  Even our stop at the gas station (which just so happened to feature a liquor store beside it) was a thrill, all making decisions based on what could blend well with Rumchata.

Team building exercises were already in action when we arrived.  Although I had met 2 of the individuals in the group prior (My “mom” and “dad”, Tamara and Brendan!), hugs and welcoming from all were equally as warm.  Immediately after a game of “two truths and a lie”, it felt like a family holiday I’d attended my whole life.  The room’s overall atmosphere simply contained kindness and greatness and it was an undeniable feeling of joy.

Throughout the next two days I experienced many firsts.  I saw a moose.  I saw a black bear.  I went white water rafting.  I ran (vigorously attempted trotting) at 12,000 ft elevation.  I saw 2 paddle boarders do a headstand while cruising down the river.  I jumped a 25 ft. cliff into the chilled Colorado River.  I ate paleo (Thank you Caveman Catering!).  I think I had altitude sickness.  I am confident I turned a 60 something year old man into a Miley Cyrus superfan and….. and never mind.  (Some things that happen on O’Ryan’s raft, stay on O’Ryan’s raft) But for not one of those experiences was I alone.  They say no matter how concrete you stage a plan; no two individuals experience it as the same experience. But somehow over these two days it felt like we all joined, collaborated, and departed, to go our separate ways with the same experience at hand.  We have a goal; to end NF.   Along the way we have an obligation; to raise as much money as we possibly can with the help of our registrants to devote to helping those affected.  And we have a strategy; to achieve quality relationships with those who share our visualization about owning Valentine’s Day.  Steve Holy says “Love Don’t Run”.  Well, the Holy City Cupid says “Love DOES Run”, and we’re doing it in our undies!

To say we’re touched is an understatement.  To say we’re invested is a challenge.  I believe that after the strategically organized and well-balanced #CampCupid, we are ready!  Shout out to my fellow memory hoarder, for encouraging me to continue to put down in words, how won-der-ful life is (c’mon no one really believed I can go an entire piece without a musical reference right?).  You’re a gem Ms. Alison and I support your dreams, your passion, your heart and your brand.  @krazykreezy love @powderedfeet

If anyone would like to donate directly to #DrewCrew, please visit his gofundme page.  Your genorosity is immeasureably appreciated by his family.

Cupid's Undie Run

Cupid’s Undie Run

-Kryssy Andrash Crescent Fitness Athlete

#CrescentFitness

Ask any athlete what their biggest concern or fear is and they will tell you it’s getting hurt to the point that they can’t practice their sport any longer. This applies even more to martial arts. Serious injuries can be an athlete’s worst nightmare. Not being able to train for a prolonged amount of time can greatly set back anyone’s progress and emotionally subdue his/her self-confidence and motivation. Just as the mind dictates what the body will do, oftentimes, wherever the physical body goes, the mind follows. Think of someone who has been overweight their entire lives and suddenly loses an abundance amount of weight through diet and exercise. Their entire attitude, persona, and energy takes a 180 degree turn for the better. The same applies to someone who is in great shape and then slowly falls into a pattern of overeating, gaining excessive weight. They will feel lethargic and not as energetic or confident as someone who takes care of their “temple.”

Keep Moving Forward

Here are some ways to …

Prevent – During training make sure you warm up your body with light drills and exercises to get your body warm and agile.

Have consistency in your training. Make sure you are maintaining yourself in fighting shape and have a complete understanding of your body’s capabilities and amount of stress it can withstand.

Focus on the technique, not speeding through your workout to make quick time. And it’s not about beating your fellow athletes time…the only person you should compete with is yourself.

If at any point you feel your body is in danger of injury, immediately stop. Its not shameful in doing so because you only learn from the lesson and make yourself a better athlete. Most importantly, you’re able to continue training. An injury is not worth trying to prove to yourself or anyone how good of a athlete you are.

Treat – The first thing one should do proceeding an injury is to seek professional help. Before you start to think about how you will continue training or when you will get better, seek out medical attention specializing in your specific injury.

Talk to your instructor and ask them how they feel about the injury and if they believe you are able to come back and train. Chances are they have been through it all and experienced a few or more injuries themselves. This is important because your doctor may say its OK, but your instructor may not.

Once you have received the okay from both your physician and instructor to continue training, make sure you take care of that muscle/joint/ligament more so than ever. This means that while training, have 100% communication with your sparring partner and let them know the situation so that they can become aware and assist you in not continuing any damage.

Ice the injured area constantly. Make sure you allow the injury to heal by resting as often as possible when you are not training.

Move Forward – As you treat the injury, make sure you take care of your mental attitude as well. It can be very easy after getting injured to become depressed and lack the self motivation to keep you strong and positive. This is your most important medicine and the body’s greatest ally for improvement. The right mindset will allow you to see the light at the end of the tunnel and makes the rehabilitation process much easier and faster.

Even if you are not able to fully train yet, don’t hesitate to break a sweat. Maybe you can’t engage in full contact sparring , but you may be able to perform certain exercises or perform cardiovascular exercises and drills. Never add damage to the injury by continuing to apply unwanted stress, however, if possible, don’t let your body go without some active recovery. This will make it much easier to get started again once the injury is fully recovered.

There is a wealth of information available about the right foods to eat and the wrong foods to eat when training on a H.I.T. program. I am not one who has a huge appetite in the morning and it’s pretty well known that breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day. Why you ask? Well, today let’s talk about the effects of skipping breakfast. Some effects are more long term than others and won’t affect your body if you miss a breakfast once in a while while others are more extreme and can increase risk factors that people already have, but all of them highlight the fact that nothing good comes from skipping breakfast!!!

Obesity – How does skipping breakfast lead to increased chances of obesity? It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s rather simple. When you sleep your body is generally fasting…hence the term “break + fast”… As a result, our metabolism slows down and you wake up on an empty tank. By skipping breakfast, you’re much more likely to suffer cravings and compensate by overeating in large amounts later in the day or eating quick meals.

Balanced Breakfast

Balanced Breakfast

(such as fast food because it is cheap and easily accessible), or you end up doing BOTH.

The other major concern is spikes in your blood sugar and their effect on insulin production. Skipping breakfast certainly won’t cause diabetes, but anyone who already has an increased risk or weight-management concerns should know this elevates their risk.

Mood – Mood swings and irritability, especially in the morning, have been linked to low blood sugar. Some people attempt to cover up for the lack of real food by drinking coffee and using caffeine to wake themselves up. This might work as a short fix, but you’re not doing your body any favors because once the caffeine wears off, you experience what is known as “the crash” ( you’ve heard this before ) and are left feeling even worse than when you started the day empty. For all the times we encourage you to listen to your body ( it is constantly telling you what’s up ), the morning is your first chance of the day to do the right thing. And that right thing is eating breakfast to start the day right. An unhappy metabolism leads to an unhappy mind, and combined can make for a very cranky person.

Risk of Heart Attack – Research has shown that adult men who regularly skip breakfast are 27% more likely to suffer a heart attack in their lives. While this was not a direct cause and effect study, it is an alarming indicator of unhealthy lifestyles and bad habits. Affecting older men whose habits are more deeply ingrained and hard to change than people in their early 20s, the solution is simple…..even a small piece of fruit or granola bar can dramatically change your diet and improve your daily health, leading to positive effects over the long run.

Physical Performance – There is a long running myth that working out on en empty stomach allows you to burn more calories from fat, therefore losing more weight quicker. ABSOLUTELY FALSE, working out on an empty stomach will start burning into muscle tissue and that is a whole other blog we can dive into another time! Bottom line, what you’re really doing is setting yourself up to crash and causing your body more harm than good. Again, even a small snack or piece of toast with honey is supreme to nothing and makes a huge difference.

Mental Performance – It isn’t just your body that suffers when you don’t eat breakfast and start your day off properly. Your mental abilities, such as focus, problem solving, memory storage and recall all suffer significantly when your brain does not get glucose in the morning. Just like the other organs in your body, your brain requires a minimal amount of energy to fire up and reach it’s optimal functions, and a failure to do so means you spend the rest of your day feeling sluggish mentally and trying to catch up. Relieve yourself of unnecessary headaches and increase you capacity to think and process information with a balanced breakfast. Even if you’re not planning to work out or are enjoying an off day, you’ll think more clearly and make life a lot easier for yourself and your loved ones.

In conclusion, whether it’s short or long term, there are simply no benefits and a lot of consequences to skipping breakfast regularly or even just for the day. Treat your body first thing in the morning, make breakfast a part of your daily routine and tell us if it has made a difference, we would really like to know!

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www.crescentfitness.com