Alex Wong | Obsession for Perfection

A dancer-cum-fitness expert has a simple yet effective formula to attain a rewarding fitness lifestyle.

Alex Wong | Obsession for Perfection

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Alex Wong is a dancer and fitness expert who started dancing since 7-years-old. Snapping both Achilles’ tendons did not deter him from chasing his dream and finding satisfaction in what he holds dear as purpose. At thealexwong.com he shares with his teeming visitors a variety of fitness information to help them get through their challenges.  

You might have caught the NYC/LA resident in some TV and film dance flicks. When he is not doing that, you might find Mr. Wong in a gym exercising or taking dance classes. Despite his fixed schedule, he has time to engage his following at @alexdwong on the major social media platforms where he also shares inspired fitness contents.

Fitness, training, and influence

Currently, I usually work mostly in dance for TV and film, and then on the weekends, I fly around the country to teach at conventions. I also created content for my social media with fitness and dance inspired clips – to me that ends up almost being like a live business card.

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Why this fitness journey?

I started dancing when I was 7 and I have never stopped since. I wouldn’t even really consider it a journey but I just consider it life. However, in the early part of my career, I only danced and didn’t cross-train much. I started lifting when I was 24 after I started working on TV just because I felt like it would look better. Then a few years ago I was introduced to group fitness classes because of ClassPass. Currently, I mix all of it together- dance, gym, and classes.

Fitness methods

Because dance is a visual and aesthetic art/sport, sometimes you are not doing things that are anatomically healthy. I make sure when lift or when I’m in fitness classes, however, that I train with good form. I find that I am in the best shape when I am taking a lot of ballet class and then lifting at the gym. Ballet is like a lower body and stamina workout whereas when I’m lifting at the gym I mostly focus on the upper body. Ballet really targets muscles you would not regularly use.

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Dancers, workouts, and satisfaction

Most dancers do train outside of dance. There are a few reasons for that. I think one thing is that our bodies get used to doing the same things over and over again and so cross training will help even out those body imbalances and help prevent injuries. Another reason that speaks to me as well is I genuinely just like to stay active and I find fitness quite fun, so I do it as a “hobby” outside of the whole “dance cross training” thing. A lot of dancers also do pilates or yoga, which most people feel like it compliments their bodies quite well. I don’t enjoy those as much as I like more intense high energy workouts.

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Effective planning

It’s never too late to start, and the first step towards living a healthier lifestyle. Definitely set an initial goal and plenty of small steps. I also find documenting so you can not only feel but also see the difference is an amazing motivator.

Working smarter

I think focusing energy on small incremental fitness goals is the most rewarding. I like having a fitness tracker (like an apple watch) that helps me hit goals. It can be quite fun and also working out with friends definitely makes it more fun and there is someone there with you on the journey.

The 80/20 Rule

A bit part of that 20% is just the effort to get going. There have been multiple times where I have been tired and not wanted to work out and then I forced myself to do it, and not once have I regretted it. In all my years I can only think of ONE time where I really didn’t want to go to the gym, I made myself go and when I sat on the equipment I said to myself, “I really can’t today”. That only happened ONCE. All the other times once I got myself there I eventually started.

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Power of the Mind

I think it’s almost the most important thing! Especially for fitness where you’re pushing your body a little more than what you think it can do every time. It really is mind over matter though. You will surprise yourself over and over again.

Perseverance

If you set your mind to it you truly can achieve almost anything. I had a lot of physical struggles which includes me snapping both of my Achilles’ tendons. I am back from it and stronger than ever before!

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Alex Wong

theAlexWong.com

@alexdwong

Walk the Walk

Walk the Walk

Drew Manning Walks the Walk to better understand the struggle of his fitness clients
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Health and fitness coach Drew Manning doesn’t ‘Talk the Talk’. When it comes to finding out what it’s like to be out of shape, unhealthy, and to struggle to make fitness gains he has taken extreme measures to ‘Walk the Walk’. Drew actually decided to get fat (that’s likely not the most politically correct term for it, so “overweight” or “unhealthy weight”) on purpose to experience what it was like to be overweight. “I was overweight for the first time in my life so I could better relate to my clients” Drew says ‘and so I wrote a book about my humbling experience and it’s now a TV show.

Drew started his journey of Fit2Fat2Fit (Fit to Fat to Fit) on May 7, 2011

The whole purpose of this journey was for Drew to gain a better understanding of what it was like to be overweight. He wanted to better relate to his overweight fitness clients.Drew says he didn’t know what this experience was going to lead to but. “Once I was asked to come on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno is where it finally felt “real” and that this idea wasn’t just some stupid idea that no one would pay attention to” Drew says.

The ‘Fit to Fat to Fit’ Journey

“I decided to get fat to better empathize with my clients. I grew up my entire life in shape and never knew any different. I had no idea how hard it really was for my clients so I decided to completely let myself go for 6 months and gained 75 lbs in 6 months. I also wanted to inspire people in a totally different way by doing something so completely different. I didn’t do it to disrespect anyone or to pretend to know exactly what it was like for people who are overweight and have been overweight for years or even decades, but at least I can say I have more empathy and a better understanding for having done this.”

“I grew up in a very strict/black and white culture of either ‘You do or do not’ and there were no excuses” Drew tells me, “So it helped to be strong and push past any pain or weaknesses. We were a very large family of 11 siblings. I learned how to work hard and my parents instilled us with great discipline. That discipline really was essential in this journey.”

“When I started gaining weight there was no way for me to know how poorly it would make me feel. I wanted to quit when I hit the 70 lb mark. I felt so horrible and disgusting at that point. I also wanted to quit when I saw my first stretch marks come in because I still cared way too much about my physical appearance at that time. What kept me going was knowing that there were people watching me and were counting on me. So that accountability helped me push past those hard times.”

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“The whole process helped me realize that transformation is much more mental and emotional than people think. It’s not so much about the meal plans and the workouts and the diets, etc. It’s about loving who we are and knowing that we are more than what our bodies look like.”

In the end, Drew says he’s most proud when people come up to him and thank him. “People tell me their life story of obstacles that they’ve overcome in their past. Seeing how many people have been inspired by this crazy journey. It’s so touching and rewarding to see people so inspired and motivated to transform their lives.”

Focus on the Process

“After going through this process and looking back on what were the most important elements of a successful comeback.” Drew says “I advise people to stop worrying about what other people think. You must let go of your ego and to stop attaching yourself to outcomes. Instead just focus on the process and the growth that comes from putting in the effort no matter what the outcome is. In the end, if you keep that focus, the results will come.

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Drew stays busy with his television show but there’s even more to his busy life

A Day in the Life

Morning

I wake up and meditate and do positive affirmations. I drink my water with lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Then I brew my coffee and add in butter and mct oil or coconut oil sometimes. Then I’ll work for a couple hours and get ready for my workout and I’ll take my exogenous ketones an hour before I workout.

Afternoon

I’ll get my workout in and come home and get my first meal in, which will usually consist of eggs, sausage/bacon, butter, cheese sauteed with some spinach and broccoli. Then it’s a shower and back to work.

Evening

This is where I’ll have my second meal of the day and usually this will be around 7-8pm. This will consist of maybe a couple beef patties with some avocado and cheese on top and I’ll sautee some cauliflower in 100% full fat coconut milk.

Night

I’ll wind down by watching an episode of Game of Thrones and then I’ll read one of my books before bed.

Workouts

Most recently I’ve been training for a Spartan Race and doing a mix of HIIT / Crossfit style workouts 3 days a week. I’ve been running, sprinting and climbing hills 3 days a week and one rest day. When that’s over, I might get back to Crossfit / Super Set Style body building lifting. I like mixing those two up.

Diet & Nutrition

Currently, I’ve been loving Ketosis and not for the reasons people might think. I’m not doing Keto to get leaner or to lose weight, but for the improvement in cognitive function, mental clarity, focus and energy. I’ve done Paleo and Whole30 in the past and still think those are great. Most people will benefit from Paleo and Whole30 for sure. I do think different diets work differently for different people and I preach all the time to find whatever works for you and make it a lifestyle change. I just love not being a slave to food, only eating twice per day and never feeling like I’m starving or ‘hangry’ all the time if I don’t have food.

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Change & Mindset

When people are trying to make healthy changes and become physically fit when they haven’t been so before, they need to make major lifestyle changes. That being said, establishing inroads to attaining a fit body is going to be different for each person depending on their goals and their past history. Finding a support system is probably the first step. Even before that, you have to be mentally and emotionally ready for the lifestyle transformation. Finding either a trainer, nutritionist, a group fitness class would be a good place for people that have no idea where to start and need their hand held for the first little bit.

Once you’ve gotten started and established new habits is where accountability comes into play.

I advise people to keep yourself accountable to friends, family, or an online community to help you in these moments. It’s not a magic pill, but it’s easier to get through setbacks if you have a support system to help keep you accountable. No matter who you are, you’re going to have setbacks and that’s why it’s so important to have this support system to keep you accountable during these hard times.

When setbacks come, one thing is to remind yourself that you are progressing whether you see that progress or not. Also, you’ll be so much happier if you detach yourself from outcomes and focus on the work and habits you’re developing during the process.

Life is too short to define yourself with weight, body fat percentage, etc.

I think measuring is fine, but I don’t believe that the scale is the best way to do that. The best ways to measure results are bloodworm (try Everly Well for at home convenient and affordable testing if you are too busy to make doctors appointments), Dexa Body scan or Bod Pod for body fat percentages, and improvements in fitness (i.e. doing the same workout 2-4 weeks apart to measure progress in time/efficiency/recovery)

The Future

I’d love to see myself still doing what I’m doing. I feel that the Fit2Fat2Fit brand could eventually become a household brand with many more seasons of Fit2Fat2Fit on television. I’m working on building Fit2Fat2Fit join up groups in some small areas across the nation. I’d love to have “an army” of Fit2Fat2Fit trainers that come from a place of empathy and caring first before helping their clients.

Who knows though…the sky is the limit!

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Drew Manning

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SnapChat: @fit2fat2fit

No Tummy Mommy | Trisha Enriquez

No Tummy Mommy | Trisha Enriquez

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This one is for the ladies with the babies. That’s right; I’m talking about all the mothers out there. Trisha Enriquez is helping mothers all over the world to get healthy and stay fit.  

“I started a small business that focuses on providing fitness and nutrition coaching for mothers – all done virtually – essentially helping women to be healthier and happier mamas,” Trisha says.

Inspiration

Having a baby is one of the world’s greatest gifts. Holding your little miracle for the first time not only makes everything you have endured in life so far worthwhile, but it can also spark you to want to go above and beyond from that point. Babies are truly inspiring and are also the world’s greatest supporters.

Inspired by the birth of her own child, Trisha dove deep into the world of fitness. While health and fitness has always been a part of Trisha’s life, having a child sparked an even deeper interest for Trisha. She not only wanted to keep herself fit, but she also wanted to begin to help others. Hence, “No Tummy Mommy” was born. Not only does Trisha get to train and advise moms all over the world and help them reach their fitness goals. She also gets to bring her daughter along for the ride too! “Having my daughter involved in the No Tummy Mommy brand makes the journey way more fun and rewarding,” Trisha exclaims.

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Motherhood

As I said earlier, motherhood is an amazing gift, but it definitely comes with a lot of changes. This even includes how you maintain your health and fitness. A lot of times when people hear about personal training for mothers, they assume it is just for mothers who have to previous background in fitness. That is completely wrong! Whether you have never been to a gym in your life or you were one of the top female body builders in the world, having a baby sort of resets any previous (or lack thereof) workout plans you have already established. You have to learn to adjust your workouts to the way your “mommy life” works now. “Motherhood has really changed how I stay fit and healthy. Of course, there is a lot of time management skills required, but it’s also a lot about our mindset. I schedule workouts in my calendar and stick to them like I would a meeting. Also, as a mother you are so tired most days so the last thing you want to do is work out; I also suggest recruiting another mommy friend who has the same goals in mind as you do. This helps so much,” Trisha advises.

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Mindset

Just as it is important to stay mentally strong as a mother, health and fitness require that same mentality. It’s not just enough to do the workouts and try a diet or two. If you really want to see results, you have to make it up in your mind that you can achieve them AND maintain them!

As a strong and entrepreneurial mother, Trish knows a thing or two about being mentally tough. She does her best to guide all of her clients in the same direction. Her number one rule when training? “The mind is everything. What we believe, we become. For someone starting out – if they truly believe they can make a change in their lifestyle, they will do it!” And she’s totally right! That’s why before starting any workout plans or diets or even hopping on the scale, Trisha always suggests one thing as the first steps to health and fitness. “Focus your energy on setting a plan for yourself (ie. Times you will work out, prep meals, recruit a friend, decide on a workout routine, etc). I believe that if you spend time up front planning and organizing how you are going to implement your routine, you will be that much more successful,” Trisha explains.

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What three pieces of fitness equipment should everyone have?

A skipping rope

A kettlebell

A yoga mat

In your opinion, what are the most overrated and underrated exercises?

The most overrated exercise is the bench press. The most underrated exercise is the pull up!

What are your go-to snacks when you’re on the run?

I love almonds or almond butter mixed in Greek yogurt!

What are your beliefs on performance diet like?    Do you prescribe to a particular philosophy on diet (example: Paleo, Gluten free, etc…)?

In my opinion, there is not one best diet because every person is different and each dietary protocol has its pros and cons.  Plus, something that worked great for one mother might not work as well for you. Ultimately it’s finding a nutrition routine that suits your individuality and of course, one that includes foods you will actually eat and enjoy.

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Trisha Enriquez

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Compound Effect leads to Big Gains | Christmas Abbott

Compound Effect leads to Big Gains | Christmas Abbott

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Christmas Abbott is a crossfit pro & fitness enthusiast that encourages others to use fitness as a means to turn their lives around. She does this through as many channels as she can find: she’s written books, started fitness programs, she tours, does motivational speaking, and nutrition consulting.

I’m using my personal turbulence I’ve experienced through life and applying it to the wellness and fitness industry. I want to help people wake up and realize that they have the opportunity to change their lives every day,” Christmas says.

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Start

Growing up Christmas had many challenges through life. By the age of 13, she was drinking, smoking and doing drugs. By 21, her habits lead to her doing meth and becoming an alcoholic. She didn’t really consider the damage she was doing to her body at the time. It wasn’t until she took a trip to Iraq as a civilian consultant that she had an epiphany. “I realized I was continuing to make bad decisions and continuing to put myself in compromising situations. I was going to end up killing myself because of the decisions I was making. I decided to make a better decision. I decided to quit smoking. I decided to work out and I discovered fitness and health and wellness. That became my new addiction,” Christmas explains.

The moment that Christmas realized she was capable of achieving a state of health; she started with the realization that she had positive power. She was able to commit herself to a 30 day regimen. For 20 minutes a day, three times a week, Christmas would work out on an elliptical. “This was like my gateway drug to fitness. It was a very subtle transition into fitness but by the third week, I noticed a difference in myself. It wasn’t necessarily physically fit, but I just felt better. I felt proud of myself for the first time in my life. That’s when I caught the bug of positive reinforcement,” Christmas says. Since then Christmas admits it’s still been a bit of a struggle. However through her transitioning she has gained self-worth and confidence. “I love myself fully and I want to enrich my life with positivity,” Christmas declares.

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Childhood

Christmas grew up in a poor household, however her parents loved her very much. Her mother named her Christmas Joy because she brought joy to her mom’s world when she was born.  Christmas’ father was the epitome of a biker. And the biker lifestyle that the family lived, while very exciting is what lead Christmas to picking up some of the habits that she felt was taking away from her life.

Of course, Christmas doesn’t blame her parents. They just didn’t know of a healthier way of living. “For me, when I saw that I had an option to change that, I felt more empowered,” Christmas says. However Christmas still remains very close to her family. “I wasn’t a product of a healthy lifestyle growing up. And I want people to know regardless of what upbringing you have, you can still change your future,” Christmas says.

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Obstacles

Christmas had to overcome a lot of obstacles in her journey to being as fit as she is now. For her, the hardest one was to find self-worth. “I had to believe that I was capable and had to believe that I was worth something more. Once we find ways to feel proud of ourselves, that’s when we get on a path to loving ourselves. As soon as I started to love myself, that’s when the opportunities starting presenting themselves,” Christmas says.

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Wellness Wheel

According to Christmas, the keys to living a happy, healthy lifestyle comes from within. “I tell people you have five fingers and you usually have five obligations that you can commit to before it becomes overwhelming. You have to take care of yourself.

Sleep well, eat well, exercise, and meditate.

All of this comes into play. You can be eating well and be stressed out at work and still gain weight. So when one thing is out of whack, it has a ripple effect. Living a perfectly balanced life is pretty much unheard of, but you can get pretty close to it when you create this balance. It is a mental fortitude of tenacity. When bad things happen, you can actually navigate through them in a faster and more efficient way,” Christmas says.

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Christmas Abbott

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Day by Day

Day by Day

Tinchy of @FrecklesInMyMind makes progress through habits and routine
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Twenty Eight year old fitness enthusiast and influencer Martina, affectionately known as ‘Tinchy’ by her friends and family is the personality behind @FrecklesinmyMind.  I talked with her about her fitness journey, her inspiration, and how she keeps motivated to strive for healthy goals.

How would you describe what it is that you do?

My aim is to show people that no matter how little free time they have on their hands, taking a half hour off your day to move and nourish your body will help them both mentally and physically. You take it day by day, a meal by meal, a workout by workout, and slowly, but steady change your lifestyle for the better.

When did you first start your fitness journey?

I “officially” started my fitness journey in July 2015, when I’ve also opened my instagram account to keep myself accountable and to find inspiration. Before that I tried going to the gym off and on, but never had the determination to really stick with it.

What was the impetus to get you started?  

It was getting sick all the time, my immunity was really low and I was under a lot of stress. I was lacking energy, felt anxious all the time, had trouble sleeping properly and felt like my days are passing and nothing was changing. Working out daily helped tremendously with all of that.

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Tell me about your childhood, is there anything about your childhood that you can link to your inspiration?

My parents always supported all my choices and let me do my own thing..even if it meant playing piano and practicing handball which was a nightmare for my piano teacher since I fractured my finger twice, LOL.   Growing up I’ve always had extracurricular activities and I’ve loved doing different things.

I have been active pretty much through all my childhood. I played handball through my elementary school and high school and when I went away to university, I’ve tried rowing and tennis. I love moving my body and when I stopped playing sports I felt like something was missing.  That’s something I found again which  through daily fitness, when I brought that back into my life.

Who do you consider the icons in the Health & Fitness space?

Well, if we are talking about instagram fitness community, I find Kayla Itsines a great role model that’s promoting a healthy lifestyle, positivity, and not promoting diets.  She teaches just nourishing your body with good food 🙂  

I also like Emily Skye because she shows all the good and bad and keeps it real.   I really like Kevin Hart who daily inspires people to just go and smash their workouts 🙂 Oh, and also makes you laugh a lot.

I think having positive role models is great, especially today, when so many print, tv and online media are pushing their own agendas without really thinking of the damage they are doing to young people growing up.  It takes a lot of time and effort to change the mindset that a scale is just a number that does not define your worth; that beauty and happiness comes from within; that you should workout and eat healthy because you love your body; and not because you hate it.

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Little by little, things are changing and more and more people are showing that a healthy sustainable fit life is doable by sharing their day-to-day lives on social media.  That in turn inspires other people, which I think it’s amazing.

What is your training regimen? 

I am following Kayla Itsines BBG program (bikini body guide).  

This means I do resistance training 3 times a week:

Monday is leg & cardio day, Wednesday is arms day, and Friday is either a full body or abdominal workout. Thursday and Thursdays are reserved for liss sessions (low intensity steady state) which for me is usually taking a 30-45 min fast paced walk.  However, since I’ve been doing BBG program for a year now, to change things up a little, this round I am not doing any liss sessions but mixing BBG resistance workouts with running 4-5 times per week.

I’m hoping to attend my first half marathon in the end of October, which makes me feel pretty excited.  I try to do my resistance training in the morning before work, and go running in the evening.  Even though it seems a lot, I make sure I have a rest day or two to let my body recover.  I’m also trying to incorporate more yoga, to help with recovery of my muscles.

What’s your beliefs on performance diet like?   

I believe that food should have good nutritional value and that you should pick wholesome foods instead of processed ones.  The food you eat should not make you sluggish or give you cravings which a lot of  junk food does.  Good food makes you feel good too.  Personally I do not follow any performance diets.  I try to listen my body and eat healthy.

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What are the obstacles that you see preventing people from being their healthiest?  

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford was so right about this!

To be honest, I believe it all comes down to the mindset.  Everyone has to start by wanting a change and then do your best to show up every day for yourself.  Make yourself a priority at least half an hour a day.  No one can make your life better if you do not put effort to make it better yourself.  Taking shortcuts is easy way and well we all do it, but putting an effort is something that actually makes a difference. You have to understand that you won’t feel motivated everyday and that’s why it is important to build up habits and be dedicated – so that you still do what you need to do even though you don’t really feel like it.

Changes can be scary because we are all creatures of habit. Even though we sometimes don’t like where we are in life, over the time we got used to it, and thus find a comfort in the known. Starting something new can be hard and people often give up before they’ve managed to create new habits for themselves.  It takes time, but once you do create new, good habits and feel their benefits you will not want to go back.

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I noticed that you wear some of the coolest fitness gear.  Can you tell me what you look for in fitness apparel?  Any anecdotes or advice there?

Thank you 🙂 Since I’ve made fitness a part of my daily life I feel like I’m spending all my time in workout clothes, LOL.  The comfort of the clothes is a priority to me.  If something irritates your skin during the workout or moves in a way it shouldn’t, it will bother you the whole time and distract you from your goals.

Apart from the functionality, it needs to look pretty too!  I love different designs and the fact that active wear has gotten so popular that there are plenty brands to choose from.  Most of my workout clothes end up being black or monochrome for practical reasons, but I love seeing colorful clothes too.  Also, I think one of the most important thing is to have sneakers which offer good support to your feet.

Anything else you would like to add?

Don’t be afraid of starting because you might fail.  Start and give it your all.

If you fall, pick yourself up again.  If you want a change, do not wait for the next monday, next month or a specific date.  Start now.  Every little change counts.  

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Find some activities you are passionate about and it won’t seem like a chore.  Not everyone likes cardio and not everyone likes lifting.  Just because someone else does it or just because something is popular and everyone else seems to enjoy it does not mean you will too.  It does not matter what anyone else thinks, they are not you.  So you do you and find what works for you.  Surround yourself with people who share your interests, who lift your spirits, and push you in the right direction.

And most importantly, believe in yourself.

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Tinchy @FrecklesInMyMind

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