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family fitness
Fitness
Published Tuesday Apr 24, 2018 by Chiteka Jackson

The Art of Balancing Family and Fitness

Fitness
Motivation
Food

As a mother of four, caretaker of an elderly parent and full-time professional, staying fit has been a challenge for myself and my family. And did I mention turning 46 doesn’t make it any easier? Luckily not all has been lost! In my family, we set an intention to keep our health a priority and focal point—no matter how busy life gets.  
 
So, how do you balance a hectic schedule and your health goals? By creating a plan. It sounds cliché, but the saying is true, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  

Here are five (very realistic) tips my family and I use to stay happy and healthy:
 

1. Who’s Hungry?

meal prep


Meal Planning - Confession: I hated the idea of planning weekly meals and cooking for the week. The thought of sitting at my computer or picking meals on my phone was not a task I looked forward to. When I took the time to plan meals for the week, not only does it help our routine flow better as a family, it makes grocery shopping easier, and we save a ton of money not eating out as much. Stuck on where to find fresh recipes? I get my inspiration from Pinterest and use the app Plan To Eat to ensure healthy, tasty meals are always at our disposal. 





2. No Junk Food Here!

healthy food


Managing Snacking - Eating unhealthy snacks can decimate any healthy food plan and sabotage your efforts to stay fit. Adding dried fruits, nuts, and other vegetables into my family’s food routine helps to manage cravings and can appease my hungry kids’ appetite until the next meal. Having my whole family decide on healthy snacks ensures junk food won’t creep into the refrigerator or pantry—and it’s a fun activity that gets everyone involved!





3. Fitness as a Family


family fitness plan

Prioritizing Exercise - The benefits of getting fit go far beyond just staying in shape. Not only can exercise be done anywhere and with the entire family, but it also gives you a chance to reconnect. My kids and I take walks when they come home from school, and we discuss their day while getting a workout. A little extra afternoon cardio always brightens our moods, even after a long day. 





4. In It to Win It


workout routine

Being Accountable - The definition of accountability is “the obligation of an individual or organization to account for his or her activities and accept responsibility for them.” Having a family workout regimen or eating plan creates a built-in accountability system for myself and all members of my household to adhere to. We become responsible for and support each other’s wellness. Having someone to keep you on track when you fall off your fitness path is always beneficial.





5. Catching Those Zzz’s


sleep

Getting Enough Sleep - Getting necessary shuteye is probably one of the most overlooked keys to staying fit and healthy. In this digital age of computers, tablets, mobile devices, etc., sometimes we find ourselves getting much less sleep than we need for our bodies to properly function. Lack of sleep leads to overeating and tiredness which can destroy your goal of maintaining health. For my family, I make time to “disconnect” before bed. Whether it’s reading or talking, detaching from screens helps to strengthen our bond as a family—making us healthier and happier. 
 
No matter how busy life can be, it’s important to remember that what you make a priority will help you succeed, especially when it comes to your (and your family’s) well-being. 

Chiteka Jackson
Written by
Chiteka Jackson
Contributor
About the author
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Chiteka is currently completing a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Forbes School of Business and Technology in Human Resources and Global Management. As a human resources professional for the last 18 years, Chiteka maintains a professional career as a mother of four and caregiver to an elder parent.
surfer catching wave in ocean olympics
Fitness
Published Friday Jul 23, 2021 by Bailey Clark

Why I’m Stoked Surfing Will Debut in the Olympics

Fitness

For the first time ever, the globe will be watching surfing take center stage at the 2020 (postponed to July 2021) Olympics. People from all over the world will be appreciating the sport, many for the first time.

This symbolizes the surfing community breaking through centuries of negative stereotypes. Though conditions play a big part in the sport, the biggest hurdle the athletes will have to overcome to see success is mental. The winner will be the one who chooses their waves wisely with their understanding of the conditions and ability to intimidate and therefore overcome components. Meanwhile, they will be challenging themselves to emerge from crashing barrels, fly into the air, and land on the shifting surface gracefully. No big deal. 

You’ve probably heard the invention of a wave pool, which creates the perfect man-made wave. In 2007, Kelly Slater founded his wave company with a passion to build the perfectly rideable wave at his surf ranch. It was debated whether the Olympics should be held in the ocean or on a manufactured wave, with many differing opinions on what would be right. The decision was made, and the event will take place in the sea, at Tsurigasaki Beach in Japan, about 40 miles east of Tokyo, where the rest of the 2021 games will be hosted.

As you watch, take a moment to reflect on the century of effort for this to happen. This initiative can be traced all the way back to the 1912 summer games that took place in Stockholm. Duke Kahanamoku, known as the father of modern surfing, won three gold medals in swimming, and while accepting his medal, he expressed that it was his dream to see surfing be added. To add fuel to the fire, International Surfing Association, recognized as the surfing world's governing authority by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), began lobbying for the inclusion of surfing in the Olympics in 1955.

The magic of surfing

Surfing is a multidimensional sport unlike any other. Nothing compares to paddling out to the serene silence that awaits beyond the breaking waves. Once you get out there, you immediately escape the many annoyances ingrained in everyday life—the constant notifications on your phone and laptop, your back-to-back schedule, answering to other people. You’re no longer on the time that your watch reads, you’re on mother nature’s time. You’re also no longer in control of your surroundings. Now, all you can do is surrender and wait for the next set to come, while trying to position yourself for when it does.

The high from catching the perfect wave is so addicting that surfers would fail on one hundred in a row just to catch that one. After you catch that perfect one, you replay it in your mind for the rest of the day.

A successful session is reliant on so many factors of mother nature—a force way bigger than us. For ideal conditions to exist, a good-sized swell must approach from the right direction, the wind must be flowing offshore, and you have to time your session right with the ebb and flow of the tide.

The sport is always teaching you life lessons. It is humbling, even if you’ve been practicing it for many years. One reason why it takes so long to master is that the conditions are going to be different every time you get out there. You might have caught a million yesterday, but today makes you feel like a kook because you can’t land one decent wave.

The community of people that you become a part of when you surf is special. A shared obsession with the ocean that brings you to dive into the water at dawn to get a session in bonds you quick. When you’re out there, you’ll find yourself interacting with people of all ages and backgrounds. People enjoy sharing the stoke of the sport. When you see someone out there teaching somebody new, you’ll encounter them cheering at the top of their lungs when they catch a good wave, and as you look around, you’ll see smiles all across the lineup. The other day, I caught a long wave in to be met with a cheering crowd of locals who frequent the spot that I do. When I got to shore, a local showed me their secret stash of hot packs to access in case I, or someone else, gets stung by a stingray when they aren’t around.

Being out in the ocean and abiding by her rules gives surfers a deep love and connection to nature. It’s common to see sea animals out there, like dolphins, stingrays, and fish. When you have an encounter, it’s a reminder that we are invading their territory. It sucks when you see trash floating in the water, or on the sand in its route to the water. It’s a sad reminder of the negative impact that humans can have on natural environments. It inspires you to pick up trash and advocate for sustainability so that we, as a collective, can take care of the beauty that we are lucky to have access to.

Tune in to see surfing break into the biggest international sporting event in the world beginning on Saturday, July 24th. 

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About the author
Bailey Clark is a serial optimist whose passion for marketing lies within creating authentic connections to make the world happier and healthier. As a San Diego native, her favorite pastimes are surfing, F45, practicing yoga, meditation, and really any opportunity to soak up the sun.