Monthly Archives: January 2014

Investing in Spirit, Fueling the Soul

This year, unlike year’s past, I have no specific athletic event goals.  No big races I’m training for….no “PR’s” I’m trying to obtain (although I haven’t given up on a sub-3 hr. marathon performance in the future).  No…instead, after much thought at the end of 2013, I decided this was the year where “purpose” would come first…and my goal would be to pursue and develop a program that recruits and builds on the passion of others, so that we may collectively facilitate greater good through volunteered physical labor in this world in areas that need it…relying on things I know most – health & fitness.  I call the program “Fit 4 Duty” and details are to come….BUT in prep…I vowed I’d find ways to invest in my personal spirit so that it may be centered and rich enough to keep me moving forward…in the RIGHT direction, putting first things first.

This weekend, after being recruited by friends and family members regularly over the last few years, I attended a men’s retreat at the church I’ve belonged to for all of my years 30 in NJ (since I was 3).  While I’ve often considered myself someone of strong faith, and have had many moments in my life where I’ve felt an incredible sense of spirit burning inside of me, outside of regular attendance at Sunday mass, I’ve pretty much resisted anything that might seem a bit too “churchy” for me, and at times have gotten a little off path.  Actually the thought….or even using the word “retreat” has historically been a bit out of my comfort zone.  But having known and respected many of those who attended before me, including numerous community members, client-friends, parents, siblings & siblings-in-law (is there really any difference?), and most recently my brother Mike who has taken a slightly more active role with the group of organizers….I decided this year was the year I’d push out of my norm, and I promised myself to enter with an open mind.

Heading into the weekend, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, and had a decently realistic perspective on who I was….what my God-given talents are, and the principles and values for which I stand.  I figured on some listening….some sharing…. and some reflection.  But what I didn’t expect, at least as much, was the inspiration and wisdom I would receive from the other men in attendance, and the consistent opportunities  that seemed to come slowly but surely one time after another, to refine my focus on what is (and maybe isn’t) important in life as each of us travels down our own unique roads.

I left the weekend feeling enriched, having learned a bit more about myself and my faith and gaining a deep appreciation for the others in attendance, and their willingness to share the lessons they’ve learned about themselves and the role God (and their faith) has played both in good times, but more powerfully…in the bad.  I left the weekend feeling stronger, knowing that going through trying times is a part of EVERYONE’s life, but when relying on God, we can endure the hard times, and actually find strength in our pain.  I left the weekend feeling blessed….blessed with an amazing support network at home, and a community that has allowed me every opportunity to thrive, should I choose to pursue them AND do the right things for the right reasons.  And I left the weekend feeling clear….clear that while I’ll never be alone on my “journey” through life.. it doesn’t make it any less mine, full of choices and responsibilities, and opportunities for good….and after “randomly” selecting a bible out of a stack of 50 with the below passage highlighted…I’m clear that I’m on the right path.

“There are different kind of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them.  There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served. There are different abilities to perform service, but the same God gives ability to all for their particular service.” – 1 Corinthians 12: 4-6




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When do we start the “Fit Life”? Thoughts from an expecting father

With only 7 weeks until my wife is due to deliver our second (a son this time!), for the first time in this go ’round, she seems to be “nesting”.  All of a sudden the cleaning supplies are out, and things “have to be organized”….in all honesty, it’s music to my ears…I’m a big fan of organization to keep life as simple as possible.  Maybe I can thank my Dad who drilled “put things back where you found them” into the heads of my five siblings and I growing up…or maybe it’s because, well…I’m a bit “type A”.  But regardless – Amy’s mad dash for organization, and various trips to all the stores I love to hate provided plenty of “daddy-daughter” time for my two year old and I to CONNECT on Sunday….and after a day that included a trip to our “BaseCamp31” training facility so Emma could MOVE (run around, hang from the pull-up bar, and bounce on the stability ball in between practicing some core exercises some of our PT friends showed us), a celebratory fruit smoothie for FUEL,  and a 2 hour RECOVER(y) nap….it got me thinking…when does / should the “Fit Life” start if we’re to set our children up to ENDURE a long and full life?

The answer?  Well, for those not interested in reading further – as early as possible… in before the child is even born where possible.

For those seeking a bit more fact instead of just my opiniong – consider the following articles and research that has come across my “desk” (aka incredibly overfilled email inbox) recently.  According to an article recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine: Preschool-age children whose mothers did not smoke or gain excessive weight during pregnancy and who were breast-fed for at least 12 months and slept for at least 12 hours per day during infancy had a predicted obesity prevalence of 6%, as compared with 29% among children for whom the opposite was true for all four risk factors4; the rates were similar (4% and 28%, respectively) when the children reached 7 to 10 years of age.

Or how about this research review by nutrition expert Michael Greger (you should definitely subscribe to this guy’s Youtube channel), where he provides us the data that supports the linkage between meat and egg intake and the increased risk of gestational diabetes in expecting mothers, while providing further reasons to consume more plant-based foods.

The “Fit Life” relies on our ability to balance our MOVE, FUEL, and RECOVER…and if we do it right we’ll set our children up for the same, so that as they grow we may be a society who CONNECTS around these ELEMENTS, and ENDURES a long and fulfilled life.



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