6 Lessons I Wish I had not learned from Ronda Rousey

I would be lying if I said I liked MMA before I saw Ronda Rousey.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t shed tears when she got knocked out by Holly Holm.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t get my hopes way up the minute I saw her make her walkout at the Amanda Nunes fight.

Little known fact about me, I love watching UFC fights and I am a consensual violence enthusiast. I’ve been told that mixed martial arts does fit my persona but I really beg to differ! I have a great respect for the amount that the fighters train and push themselves leading up to the fight. MMA is also an insane mental game that requires intelligence and mental toughness, and it should never be discounted as a sport.

I find inspiration from watching many different male and female fighters, but I truly resonated with Ronda Rousey and all of the adversity she has overcome when I was pushing through extra resistance on the elliptical or going the extra mile on my runs.

Ronda Rousey is a huge inspiration to me, I read her book My Fight/ Your Fight that she wrote with her sister, who is a writer for ESPN. Her stories about her will to win in her Olympic Judo Career and the amount of adversity she overcame throughout her life of training were very inspiring. I also found her to be an incredible relatable female athlete.

Post-Holly Holm defeat Ronda talked about making sense of her life:

“all the best things come from all the worst things”

she demonstrated this same sense of optimism and tenacity in her book.

My heart was broken seeing someone so inspiring to me get knocked out the first time, and I waited patiently for Ronda’s comeback. My heart hurt again seeing Ronda defeated again, and showing no fight.

I’ve had sometime to go through the five stages of grief (seriously) and compose my thoughts. I too tried to find the purpose of my idol’s defeat.

1. Always listen to your mother

This is something that I already learned years ago. I am the type of person that rarely goes a day without calling their mom and consulting her for advice. Everyone has a unique relationship with their moms but when moms offer advice, they are always looking out for your best interest. 

For those who don’t know Ronda’s mom Annmaria De Mars, she has an MBA and a Ph.D in educational psychology. She’s definitely not a dummy. Not to mention she was a world champion in the martial art of Judo. She was blunt and very public about her distaste for Ronda’s MMA coach, Edmond Tarverdyan.

Last February Annamaria said regarding Ronda’s coach,

“We haven’t talked about it too much, because I told her flat out that I think that guy she’s training with is an idiot and a fraud”

Ronda’s mom went on to say that Ronda got this far on her established talent, which looking back is not a controversial statement. Many agree now in hindsight that Edmond is a fraud, counting the fact that fighters that have moved to his gym develop losing records.

2. Don’t play the victim

 

When Ronda had the attitude of a winner, and was invested in going down as the greatest, nobody doubted her. Even powerful Joe Rogan proclaimed after she knocked out Bethe Correia:

“She is better than she ever was before, and she was already the best.”

It was surprising to see Ronda marketed as an underdog vs. Amanda Nunes. Being an underdog, or the victim is not what made Ronda a champ.

3. Evolve or die

Amanda Nunes said after that fight that Ronda’s coach told her that she could box, when clearly she showed no boxing improvement at all. Ronda has been under Edmond her whole career, but along with her mother, many agree that Edmond as a coach really never did much to improve her skills. In fact, it seems like Edmond

4. Face the tough questions

 

I hate to admit it but Ronda dodged all the tough questions from after the Holly Holm fight, before then she did every media outlet. Regarding Ronda’s blackout Miesha Tate said it best:

“It makes you wonder where her head is at”

Facing your toughest critics in life is necessary in order to prove them wrong. As much as we all love Ellen Degeneres, Ronda only making appearances there was a cop-out. Seeing fighters do the “pressers” pre and post fight is where there is so much emotion and drama, and Ronda skipping out on this shows that she was not emotionally ready to face those who doubted her.

5. Keep Your Ego in Check

 

This was something huge before the Holly Holm fight, I think that Ronda lost some fans when she went after Holly in the UFC 193. Having winner’s mentality is much different than having the mentality that you cannot lose. Ronda didn’t take Holly seriously as a competitor and she paid greatly for that.

6. Don’t criticize someone for trying

 

Fighters who have posted on social media making fun of Ronda, or even Amanda Nunes who has become less humble in her victory are not winning me over as a fan. I appreciate those who recognize what Ronda did for the sport and are looking toward a big future in the UFC Women’s Bantamweight division.
I still think it’s okay to idolize people sometimes, to find motivation from their feats and feel their pain in their defeats. Even though I feel sadness watching Ronda Rousey fall from greatness, I am thankful that I am now a fan of MMA. I am also thankful for all the times I didn’t feel like going to the gym but found a spurt of inspiration thinking about Ronda Rousey training to keep her belt.

Someone asked me the other day what I would ideally want next from Ronda Rousey. I really don’t know how to answer this question I would love to see Ronda prevail again like a true Rocky Balboa story, but realistically I think she mentally ready to move on. I know that what made Ronda Rousey a champion was herself alone, so I don’t ever see her training with a true MMA team in the future. The only thing I can hope for Ronda is that she finds happiness in her future outside of MMA. Although I can reflect on what led to Ronda’s downfall, I also think she would have never found greatness in the first place without her stubborn emotional attitude and ego.

Keep fighting the good fight,

Gotta Get my Steps! (Why I Love my Fitbit)

Since June 6th of 2015, there have been exactly three days that I have not worn my Fitbit. And yes, it killed me to miss out on the steps I was getting those days. I actually resented the walking that I normally celebrate.

A popular question my friends and family ask me is “are you still getting your steps?” I am mildly irritated with this question. OF COURSE I am still getting my steps. I typically set a goal for my Fitbit steps at the beginning of the month. I also pride myself on harassing others who have a Fitbit, “WHY ARE YOU NOT WEARING YOUR FITBIT TODAY?”

I originally had a purple Fitbit Charge HR, possibly the ugliest of all the Fitbits. I didn’t care, I wore that thing every day and slept with it to track sleep quality at night. Looking back on old photos, I can always spot that big purple dinosaur on my wrist. 

Of all the things that I boast regarding my Fitbit, I am still amazed at the accuracy of the sleep measurement. Exactly a year after getting my first Fitbit, I ran it into the ground, and it died RIP… For an early birthday present, I was forced by my step addiction to order a brand new Fitbit Alta off amazon prime.

Although I miss a few features of the Charge HR, I love the Alta’s more feminine appearance in comparison and even got the pink leather band to switch out.

I can’t help that I am this person, the fanfare of my 20,000 (15,000 in the winter) steps buzzing on my wrist is so rewarding. Getting badges and alerting friends that I have pulled ahead is exhilarating to me. I dare anyone to start a Fitbit competition with me! I am a champion of the “Workweek Hustle”.

As you can see my Fitbit steps thrive in the summer and suffer in the winter, February of 2016 being my worst.

I will admit, winter in the midwest is hard on the Fitbit steps, but one of the greatest benefits of having a Fitbit for me is realizing when I am being sedentary. My Fitbit really pushes me when I had a busy day at school or a lazy weekend day. If 3 o’clock rolls around and I am not even at 5,000 steps I feel the pressure to put in some time walking or running.  

I love walking around the track on my lunch break, and I realize without a tool of accountability I would not be so motivated to move. My Fitbit really has made me a mindful person to how sedentary I am and holds me accountable to getting enough sleep. 

I often get asked why I don’t get an Apple Watch. From what I have hear about the Apple Watch, it doesn’t have enough features yet to make me buy into the higher price point.

However, I am very open to wearable technology– I really do use the features of getting texts and calls to scroll onto my Fitbit via bluetooth. A convenient little buzz on my wrist tells me when my phone is going off and who is trying to call or text. It gives me peace of mind when I can’t have my phone handy. I also often use the silent (vibrating) alarm everyday for reminders.

Happy Stepping,

You CAN really change in 2017

As you may know, I am a big believer in New Year’s resolutions. I’ve had success with them in the past, but I’ve also made many wishful general statements in the past on New Year’s Eve, that I didn’t carry out past the first or second week of the New Year.

This isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but throughout the last few years I have been able to make some positive changes in my life due to learning how to effectively set goals. As an educator, I think that goals are essential in helping students succeed academically. I love thinking about goal setting as deciding what your finish lines are going to be. Although resolutions are never really finished since they are permanent changes, setting milestones and celebrating them will keep you on the race track!

Think about it if there was a starting line in a marathon with no finish line, people will run in all different directions and those who don’t have insane discipline will lose interest after the first ten miles. Envisioning that finish line is fuel to your journey.

New Year’s is a perfect time to make a resolution because it is a memorable day to measure from. If you ask me what I did on December 8th, of last year, I can’t really recall. For this reason January 1st, is a great day to start so you can think back to how your journey began the following New Year’s. Even if your changes don’t begin on New Year’s Day, we can still remember the time when we were preparing to change.

Write down your goal. In February 2015 I was forced to practice writing a SMART goal for an education class. I rolled my eyes while doing it, but this goal is something that I came back to all the time and kept me motivated. I wrote: “In the next year I will lose 30 pounds by adding healthy foods, cutting back sugar and exercising once a day”. Now that’s a specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based goal!

(by the way, Over the course of the year I kicked my SMART goal’s butt! I lost 40 lbs.)

The one thing I can add about weight loss is you won’t be committed until you start to feel better from the healthy changes in your life. Think about it:  even though you are unhappy with the way you look, you will tolerate it. You have done it this long. Once I started to notice changes in my mood and energy from eating healthy and working out, the journey did get easier.

If your goal is really a SMART goal and you know why you want to accomplish it, you can change in 2017!

My planner is littered with weekly, monthly, yearly and long term goals. I love setting these goals because I get to celebrate all of these little finish lines.

It’s not too late to make a resolution now, just think about how you will thank yourself next year. Take some time reflect on what your resolution will be this year, make a plan and envision your finish line.

Happy New Year!

Beginning the Bikram Yoga

Last month I was in a bit of a workout slump. I don’t have much excess income, and my tuition right now pays for me to go to a 28 million dollar rec center (seriously). So I would feel guilty paying for a gym membership. Other group fitness classes that I have gone to in the past are not at convenient times. My at home yoga practice was getting lazy, and I didn’t feel much motivation to go to my typical overpriced studio. As you can see the slump was REAL.

I knew it was time to switch it up and add something new into the mix to help my motivation, so I started to do some research of what other options I had near by. One thing that I have loved in the past is heated yoga. Most of the heated classes I have tried in my area were kinda weak, and I never knew what I was getting, depending on the instructor. Also, I am a self proclaimed Sauna Queen, so I really enjoy an intense sweat.

I have always wanted to try Bikram Yoga, maybe I have been listening to too much JRE (Joe Rogan’s Podcast). While browsing classes near me on my MindBody App I found a really small and very holistic studio that offers Bikram.

I find trying new fitness classes or yoga studios intimidating, I assume most people do. But they hardest part is starting. I found in this new class people were there for the common goal of doing something good for themselves that day, just as every yoga practice should be. So far I am suprised at how much I like the smaller class size, normally I try to just blend in with the masses in a yoga class.

The class is a small– just 3-4 people– and is highly regimented, as all Bikram classes everywhere include the same 26 poses and 2 breathing exercises. It’s a challenging practice and many of the poses required lots of focus. My instructor really pushes keeping the eyes open and being present even throughout the savasanas.

While Yoga itself has many proven benefits, there is not an overpowering amount of scientific evidence that Bikram’s method leads to superior results. There are some sketchy controversies about Bikram the guru himself (Controversy), but I think if you love to sweat and get stretched out you will enjoy this practice. Being very cognizant about hydrating before and replenishing electrolytes after has helped me benefit from this practice.

With the 105 degree heat and 40% humidity, going to Bikram during the midwest frost warms up my bones at the end of the day. I get an awesome sweat going on and I can already feel an improvement in my flexibility and balance. Balance (literally balancing my body) is something I have really been working on in the last few months, because it is beneficial for longevity.

An aspect that I find beneficial is the challenge of completing a 90 minute class. There are some breathing exercises that are mixed in as well and those definitely feel a little funky at first (https://youtu.be/amkJraCgIng Kinda like this guy) . The reward of getting into the final savasana and feeling the cool air at the end of the 90 minutes is an incredible reward.

I intend to keep my Bikram practice going for as long as I like it. The great thing about it is I know what to expect and where ever life takes me I can enjoy this same practice. Right now I am in the mode where I have momentum and I am inspired by the improvement I see each class. I am proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone and trying something new.

Working on my wellness,

A Journey to Wellness

I’ve sat down several times to write about my wellness journey. I don’t want to bore you with all the details. For me this journey started with a weight loss resolution in January of 2015. This weight loss shifted from vanity to health, when the one I loved the most was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, the autoimmune disease type not the lifestyle induced (don’t get it twisted). Mostly I want to give a preview of what I want to share in this corner of mine.

 

Wellness to me is…

Eating your greens

Taking time for hobbies

Worrying about blood sugar

 type 1 diabetes

Meditation

Juicing

Putting work into relationships

Making time for a workout

Going for long, long walks

Weight loss

Goal setting

Resolutions

Cooking new dishes

Yoga

Having an open mind to try new healthy things

Routines

Holistic approaches

Playing with animals

Volunteering

Hiking

Keeping everyone around me healthy

Seeing new places

Reading new research

Making my Fitbit goal

 

As you can see my definition of wellness is very broad. This gives a glimpse into my wellness journey so far and I am excited to share what is to come in my wellness journey.

 

Your health is your wealth,