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What is the #FitLeaders Movement?

Posted by on in Professional Development
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If you follow me on Twitter, you have probably seen me use the FitLeaders hashtag quite often. You may have searched the hashtag and come across a variety of posts by a lot of different people. This still may not give you a true idea about what the #FitLeaders movement is all about. This idea originated with Dr. Ryan B. Jackson in January of this year and gained significant traction ever since. He wrote a blog post titled "Empower Yourself! #FitLeaders" that highlights the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of being fit, as well as how it can positively impact your school.

Ryan and I met during a Saturday #LeadUpChat session and we have challenged each other ever since. The #FitLeaders movement includes educators from all walks of life with different fitness goals. We like to tag one another in our workout pics to increase accountability and raise the bar for each other. It has allowed us to build a community based on support, encouragement, and a genuine desire to see all of us become our best self.

Recently, I have found myself reflecting on my meaning of the #FitLeaders movement. If you look at the posts that include the hashtag, you will see a heavy focus on the physical fitness aspect. What is not immediately clear to an outsider is the impact that the physical fitness part has on one's mental and emotional fitness. If you have ever worked out, I can guarantee that you have benefitted from the release of endorphins that make you feel like you are on top of the world. Ever experienced "Runner's High"? I know I have and it is an amazing feeling! These endorphins can impact your mental and emotional fitness as well. Being fit is as much about your emotional and mental fitness as it is your physical fitness. Here is how you can take control of all three key components to build a better you!

Physical Fitness - This one is kind of a no-brainer, right? Work out and improve the way your body looks, feels, and functions. Seems simple enough, but here's the thing. So many us cannot get out of our heads and get out of our way when it comes to starting something. Let me explain something to you. I don't care if you are a professional athlete, are extremely overweight, or fall somewhere in-between. Everybody has to start somewhere. All of our starting points are different and focus on what our goals are. I run elite Spartan Races, but I was not always capable of doing this. Don't believe me? Check out these two posts about my Spartan Journey here and here. Stop psyching yourself out and get started somewhere. Go for a walk or a jog, go buy a workout series (there are so many, but I am incredibly partial to BeachBody products), sign up for a gym membership and talk with a trainer, or get involved yourself with #FitLeaders on Twitter (we will help you, I promise!). Bring the best you have on a regular basis and always look for opportunities to improve on the previous day. Do yourself a favor and remember there are ups and downs, every single day. Don't believe that? Check out the differences in times from two of my trail runs that were completed 3 days apart!

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Remember, every day and every workout is different! Some days we feel better than others!

 Mental Fitness - How are you keeping your brain fit? are you a reader of books and blogs? do you watch how-to videos and learn new skills?  Do you like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or other brain-teasers? Personally, I read a lot of blogs and listen to a lot of podcasts. I can say that I am not the largest consumer of books, but I challenge myself and my brain on a daily basis because of the content in the blogs and podcasts that I consume. Long commutes are perfect for podcasts and audiobooks. Are you a daily listener to morning radio shows? Give them a break and check out something different. I promise you that you won't miss a thing. There will always be Kardashian drama, issues around various professional sports, and DJs doing prank calls. Do you play a lot of Candy Crush on your down time or veg in front of the TV aimlessly? Check out some blogs and read up on things that apply to your area of expertise. Look, I love Candy Crush along with Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead (and a slew of other TV shows), but cut down on that time and improve your mental fitness.

Emotional Fitness - This is arguably the most important fitness that one can strive to meet. Your emotional fitness is a combination of your physical and mental fitness with other variables. It is incredibly difficult to establish a high level of emotional fitness if you are lacking in the areas of physical and mental fitness. As a life-long sufferer of ADHD, this has been one of the most difficult tasks for me to meet, but I have gotten better. One of the most effective methods to increase this is meditation. I learned about meditation through Tara Brach's interview on the Tim Ferriss podcast. After listening to that, I read her book (okay, listened to the audiobook), "Radical Acceptance". I now meditate for 12-15 minutes every morning since and it has done wonders for me. When I say wonders, what I mean to say is that I cannot function properly without meditating. If I don't meditate, those who know me can notice it very quickly. Sometimes, I can meditate and calm my mind during a run (just don't close your eyes!). By the way, I wrote this whole piece in my head during my slower run that I previously shared. I also carve out significant time for my family and the other things that matter to me in life (riding my motorcycle is a new hobby!). My family centers and balances me in ways that nothing else ever has. After almost 31 years on this planet, I can finally say that I am firmly planted on the path to emotional fitness.

Remember, there is not a pinnacle or a peak to any one of these 3 types of fitness. You can be LeBron James, but if he doesn't work out and put the effort in, he will no longer be the best basketball player on the planet (sorry Steph Curry fans). #FitLeaders recognize this and find ways to work on all three of these aspects daily. So let me urge you to join our movement and better yourself. The person you are right this second is a base, a starting point. Imagine where you may be in a year if you created the time to better yourself and focus on you. Doing this will lead to an improved you which will allow you to give more to your students, colleagues, and family! Leave a comment below and tell me how you plan on being a part of the #FitLeaders movement. Or drop some tweets including the hashtag #FitLeaders and share what you are doing and how you are doing it. We would love to hear from you! #FitLeaders unite!

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Take the step and join the #FitLeaders movement!

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Born and raised in Cumberland County, New Jersey, Sean not only has remained, but has continued to grow with his community. He now resides in the same county with his wife and their two young sons. Sean currently serves as an administrator at Camden’s Promise Charter School, where he focuses on the professional development of teachers and building various social-emotional skills with students. Graduating from Rutgers University with an undergraduate degree in Communication as well as a graduate degree from the University of Scranton in Educational Administration helped open the doors to what has now become nearly a decade long career in education.


 


 


 


As a result of connecting with people everyday of all ages, ethnicities, cultures and beliefs, Sean has learned how to listen and meet the individualized needs of different groups of people. In order to help organize parents and educators to come together in academic spaces, it has required him to search for innovative, functional, and inclusive ways to solve problems.


 


 


 


Despite Sean's childhood aspirations of one day becoming an attorney, he has since become an unwavering advocate for positive youth development and education. Growing up, Sean experienced difficulty financially and emotionally in an unstable household while also battling a sometimes crippling learning disability (ADHD). School became both a place of refuge and a source of trouble for Sean. If not for certain teachers and school faculty encouraging him as a young person, he would not have pursued higher education and would not have been able to impact countless students the way he does today.


 


 


 


Throughout his career as an educator in New Jersey, Sean has based every decision solely on what is best for youth and their futures. He has worked to create new, effective programs as well as supports for students and parents addressing social issues. Sean has demonstrated his student-first approach by never being afraid to privately and publicly question decisions that impact teachers, students, and the educational process. As a result, he has been able to create strong, lasting relationships across our state with the students, families, and communities that he has served.


 


 


 


As a leader in education, Sean has rooted his success in incorporating three major values that he applies to every facet of his life: honesty, integrity, and transparency. All great leaders exhibit honesty regardless of how difficult a situation may be. In these times, we need someone who will honor the trust of their constituents, despite possible backlash. Sean has displayed his commitment to integrity by maintaining a strong moral basis in all decisions, never being swayed by personal gain, and combating corruption wherever it exists. Transparency is also something that is not frequently witnessed in politics. Without it, it is easy for elected officials to lose touch with the people they serve. Having worked in education, Sean understands the power of collective responsibility while encouraging collaboration and the inclusion of diverse opinions to impact change. His unique background matched with his life experiences have allowed him to truly understand the struggles and needs of so many American people.


 


 


 


As the next United States Congressman from the state of New Jersey, Sean promises to apply the most effective policies to positively influence the collective growth of all New Jerseyans and Americans. He intends to only put the best interests of his constituents, state, and country first, regardless of how unpopular that may make him within the political machine. This is how we give politics, power, and our country back to the people. This is how we place our future first.

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Guest Saturday, 23 September 2017