Shedding excess pounds, unwanted fat and looking sleek for the new year are all tried and true reasons for enduring calorie-scorching workouts. It’s as commonplace as “new year’s resolutions,” and “feeling let-down” when said resolutions are inevitably broken.
Why does this happen? It’s no secret that the focus for getting-fit needs to shift to making and maintaining a complete lifestyle change, one that endures beyond two weeks into the new year. After all, many studies show that exercise reduces the risk of early death, helps to control weight and lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, anxiety, some types of cancer, and cognitive decline. It can help to improve sleep, concentration, memory and mood. Getting fit is paramount, and not just something for elite-level athletes or the beautiful people parading fashion show runways. Here are five fitness-fierce females who have redefined fitness:
Courtesy of www.alexsilverfagan.com
Alex does it all and shows you that you can too through her relatable approach to fitness. Rather than thinking of fitness as a “must-do,” her non-intimidating approach is rooted in changing the way the world views fitness and movement. A NIKE Trainer, Wilhelmina fitness model and Cellucor-sponsored athlete aims to make fitness an integral part of life. This ACE-certified personal trainer also teaches yoga, Pilates, Cross Fit, strength training, Olympic lifting, rowing, spinning, etc. The NYU alum also teaches group HIT (high intensity training) classes to the public, at CITYROW in NYC, as well as personal sessions with VIP/celebrity clientele. Alex works regularly with publications like Refinery29, Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan, Self and Shape, and is fortunate enough to teach and influence thousands daily through her social media platforms. She was also named as a “Top 5 Finalist,” in the 2016 Women’s Health Magazine’s “Next Fitness Star Search.”
Cristiane Justino (“Cyborg”)
Cristiane, more commonly referred to as “Cyborg” for her machine-like ways in which she decimates her opponents, is a Brazilian and American mixed martial artist and former Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight Champion. She won the Strikeforce title on August 15, 2009, by defeating Gina Carano via first-round TKO (knockout); this was the first time that a major promotion had featured a main event between women. Cristiane lives in Huntington Beach and trains and teaches in San Diego at The Arena. She was a national-level team handball player in Brazil before being discovered by Rudimar Fedrigo, a Chute Box Academy trainer. Cristaine combines Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, wrestling, submission-wrestling and boxing. As intimidating as Cyborg appears in the octagon (MMA’s version of what a ring is to boxing), she’s the perfect metaphor for what can happen through determination and hard work.
Bree Argetsinger, more commonly known as The Betty Rocker, works with people all over the world, helping them to transform from the inside out. Bree explains that: “I chose the name “The Betty Rocker” because it felt a lot like choosing a name that anyone could be, any girl who wanted to feel like she could totally rock at anything she wanted to.” She’s a C.H.E.K. (corrective exercise and high performance kinesiology) certified exercise coach, a Nationally Certified Structural Integration Practitioner (realignment of the body through manual therapy), an ISSA (international sports sciences association) certified fitness nutrition practitioner, and an all around fitness motivator and champion of personal growth.
But for hundreds of thousands of YouTube fitness enthusiasts (my wife included), The Betty Rocker is a highly-relatable, and understanding workout partner, via flatscreens and laptops everywhere. At half past five, every morning, my wife gets her motivation and encouragement compliments of Crocker, and for the first time in her life, at 42, has a highly developed six-pack! My wife is not an athlete, but prefers the “one-on-one,” attention, away from the gazes of strangers that are too commonplace in health clubs (Thank you Betty Rocker!).
Rocker has also written multiple cookbooks, nutrition and fitness plans that have been successfully used by thousands of people. Her “fitness as a lifestyle” approach calls for a complete, yet reasonable and practical, transformation that starts slowly with a daily focus on eating right, exercising and an overall active lifestyle. As Rocker loves to say, “Here’s to your health, your happiness, and your body.”
The United States Womens National Soccer Team, though not a typical “five fitness fierce” finalist, is simply the most dominant sports team-men or women-to ever grace the globe. They’re usually the top-ranked team on the planet, with their lowest ranking of “2,” coming once in 2003, twice in 2005, twice in 2007 and once in 2008. Our women, proudly donning the stars-and-the-stripes, have won the Womens World Cup three times: 1991, 1999 and 2015. They enjoyed a 43-game unbeaten streak that spanned two years-it began with a 4 to 0 win over Sweden in the 2012 Algarve Cup, and came to an end after a 1 to 0 loss against Sweden in the 2014 Algarve Cup.
Soccer requires tremendous (individual) fitness, and an entirely different level of mental toughness to compete, particularly as a team, at the international level. Consider this, the 2015 Women’s World Cup Final between the USA and Japan was the most watched soccer match-men’s or women’s-in American broadcast history. When Pele (regarded by many to be the greatest men’s player of all time) was asked to pick the top players in USA history, he chose two women: Michelle Akers-Stahl and Mia Hamm. He went on to defend his stance saying: “The US men’s so-called best players are, at best, mediocre; but because they’re America’s best they get celebrated.”
Enjoy USWNT YouTube videos, which show many training sessions, games and interviews that will leave the hardest couch potato powerless to resist the urge to find something spherical and attempt to juggle it-hands-free, of course!
There was a time when finishing a marathon was considered a major achievement. That is no longer the case. Now “destination marathons (Big Sur),” gave way to “theme marathons (San Diego Rock-n-Roll),” and before too long (it seems) everyone will have run a marathon. We now live in the era of the ultra marathon: distance (or length-of-time) races exceeding the traditional 26.219 miles variety by a good distance. There are two types of ultramarathon events: those that cover a specific distance greater than 26.219 miles, and events that take place during time with the winner covering the most distance in that time.
Michele Yates was named Ultra Runner of The Year (UROY), in 2013. She’s won first place in the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile run, overall winner (includes male competitors) in The Indiana Trail 100 mile, 17:35:18, course record, in 2013. She has completed 20 marathons, winning nine, and is a two-time US National champion and record holder for the 50 mile trail, in 2012 and 2013. She still holds numerous course records at the elite level. If that weren’t enough, she also won “Ms. Figure Colorado,” in 2008.
Michele graduated from the University of Nevada Las Vegas in May 2005 where she earned a degree in Kinesiological Sciences with a concentration in fitness management. Her personal training career began in 2003 with a paid internship at Club Sport Green Valley, Henderson Nevada. Michele has accumulated over a decade of experience in group training, individual training/coaching, kids fitness, fitness club and personal studio management. Michele’s educational background and experience provides her with professionalism in nutrition, strength, core, flexibility, cardio, and running. Her website offers a glimpse into that other, grittier world of endurance sports training and is proof positive that this beauty is a beast.
Not too many years ago, my advice to political candidates would have been pretty simple: "Don't do or say anything stupid." But the last few elections have rendered that advice outdated.
When Barack Obama referred to his grandmother as a "typical white woman" during the 2008 campaign, for example, many people thought it would cost him the election -- and once upon a time, it probably would have. But his supporters were focused on the values and positions he professed, and they weren't going to let one unwise comment distract them. Candidate Obama didn't even get much pushback for saying, "We're five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." That statement should have given even his most ardent supporters pause, but it didn't. It was in line with everything Obama had previously said, and it was what his supporters wanted to hear.
2016: What rules?
Fast forward to 2016, and Donald Trump didn't just ignore traditional norms, he almost seemed to relish violating them. Who would have ever dreamed we'd elect a man who talked openly about grabbing women by the **** and who was constantly blasting out crazy-sounding Tweets? But Trump did get elected. Why? Some people believe it was because Americans finally felt like they had permission to show their bigotry. Others think Obama had pushed things so far to the left that right-wing voters were more interested in dragging public policy back toward the middle than in what Trump was Tweeting.
Another theory is that Trump's lewd, crude, and socially unacceptable behavior was deliberately designed to make Democrats feel comfortable campaigning on policies that were far further to the left than they ever would have attempted before. Why? Because they were sure America would never elect someone who acted like Trump. If that theory is right, and Democrats took the bait, Trump's "digital policies" served him well.
And although Trump's brash style drew the most handlines, he wasn't the only one who seemed to have forgotten the, "Don't do or say anything stupid," rule. Hillary Clinton also made news when she made a "basket of deplorables" comment at a private fundraiser, but it leaked out, and it dogged her for the rest of the election cycle.
And that's where we need to start our discussion. Now that all the old rules about candidate behavior have been blown away, do presidential candidates even need digital policies?
Yes, they do. More than ever, in my opinion. Let me tell you why.
Digital policies for 2020 and beyond
While the 2016 election tossed traditional rules about political campaigns to the trash heap, that doesn't mean you can do anything you want. Even if it's just for the sake of consistency, candidates need digital policies for their own campaigns, regardless of what anybody else is doing. Here are some important things to consider.
Align your digital policies with your campaign strategy
Aside from all the accompanying bells and whistles, why do you want to be president? What ideological beliefs are driving you? If you were to become president, what would you want your legacy to be? Once you've answered those questions honestly, you can develop your campaign strategy. Only then can you develop digital policies that are in alignment with the overall purpose -- the "Why?" -- of your campaign:
- If part of your campaign strategy, for example, is to position yourself as someone who's above the fray of the nastiness of modern politics, then one of your digital policies should be that your campaign will never post or share anything that attacks another candidate on a personal level. Attacks will be targeted only at the policy level.
- While it's not something I would recommend, if your campaign strategy is to depict the other side as "deplorables," then one of your digital policies should be to post and share every post, meme, image, etc. that supports your claim.
- If a central piece of your platform is that detaining would-be refugees at the border is inhumane, then your digital policies should state that you will never say, post, or share anything that contradicts that belief, even if Trump plans to relocate some of them to your own city. Complaining that such a move would put too big a strain on local resources -- even if true -- would be making an argument for the other side. Don't do it.
- Don't be too quick to share posts or Tweets from supporters. If it's a text post, read all of it to make sure there's not something in there that would reflect negatively on you. And examine images closely to make sure there's not a small detail that someone may notice.
- Decide what your campaign's voice and tone will be. When you send out emails asking for donations, will you address the recipient as "friend" and stress the urgency of donating so you can continue to fight for them? Or will you personalize each email and use a more low-key, collaborative approach?
Those are just a few examples. The takeaway is that your online behavior should always support your campaign strategy. While you could probably get away with posting or sharing something that seems mean or "unpresidential," posting something that contradicts who you say you are could be deadly to your campaign. Trust me on this -- if there are inconsistencies, Twitter will find them and broadcast them to the world. And you'll have to waste valuable time, resources, and public trust to explain those inconsistencies away.
Remember that the most common-sense digital policies still apply
The 2016 election didn't abolish all of the rules. Some still apply and should definitely be included in your digital policies:
- Claim every domain you can think of that a supporter might type into a search engine. Jeb Bush not claiming www.jebbush.com (the official campaign domain was www.jeb2016.com) was a rookie mistake, and he deserved to have his supporters redirected to Trump's site.
- Choose your campaign's Twitter handle wisely. It should be obvious, not clever or cutesy. In addition, consider creating accounts with possible variations of the Twitter handle you chose so that no one else can use them.
- Give the same care to selecting hashtags. When considering a hashtag, conduct a search to understand its current use -- it might not be what you think! When making up new hashtags, try to avoid anything that could be hijacked for a different purpose -- one that might end up embarrassing you.
- Make sure that anyone authorized to Tweet, post, etc., on your behalf has a copy of your digital policies and understands the reasons behind them. (People are more likely to follow a rule if they understand why it's important.)
- Decide what you'll do if you make an online faux pas that starts a firestorm. What's your emergency plan?
- Consider sending an email to supporters who sign up on your website, thanking them for their support and suggesting ways (based on digital policies) they can help your messaging efforts. If you let them know how they can best help you, most should be happy to comply. It's a small ask that could prevent you from having to publicly disavow an ardent supporter.
- Make sure you're compliant with all applicable regulations: campaign finance, accessibility, privacy, etc. Adopt a double opt-in policy, so that users who sign up for your newsletter or email list through your website have to confirm by clicking on a link in an email. (And make sure your email template provides an easy way for people to unsubscribe.)
- Few people thought 2016 would end the way it did. And there's no way to predict quite yet what forces will shape the 2020 election. Careful tracking of your messaging (likes, shares, comments, etc.) will tell you if you're on track or if public opinion has shifted yet again. If so, your messaging needs to shift with it. Ideally, one person should be responsible for monitoring reaction to the campaign's messaging and for raising a red flag if reactions aren't what was expected.
Thankfully, the world hasn't completely lost its marbles
Whatever the outcome of the election may be, candidates now face a situation where long-standing rules of behavior no longer apply. You now have to make your own rules -- your own digital policies. You can't make assumptions about what the voting public will or won't accept. You can't assume that "They'll never vote for someone who acts like that"; neither can you assume, "Oh, I can get away with that, too." So do it right from the beginning. Because in this election, I predict that sound digital policies combined with authenticity will be your best friend.