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TLC Fit; Round one.

February 2, 2012

I was nervous. After last week I worried they’d be tentative about this first evening workout, but that fear was put to ease as they arrived. That’s the beautiful thing about this group of teens, they’ve already been through the worst. They have looked death in the eye and came out the other side. So a little fitness assessment, they turned it into opportunity.

Ain’t that the truth.

We began the evening with 20 minutes of cardio and that consisted of walking through the building. Boys on Andy’s team, girls with Leah, Katie and I (We have an equal number of boys and girls if you can believe that). We walked and everyone did really well, seeing the others in the hall turned into fun and we laughed so hard as we talked about why we were even doing this program. What was the motivation?

Each has their reasons but the theme of all of those reasons was this: I want to be a normal healthy kid again.

One of the girls has missed the assessment last week, so she went to the Physiology lab located in the University. She talked about how strange it was to walk down the halls of the hospital to a fitness assessment, after she had spent so much time there being sick. She said it was surreal. The smell of hand sanitizer gives her chills. She said she handled it well but it was still odd.

Imagine that. Just imagine that for a moment. You are 15 years old and for months on end you are in and out of this hospital receiving treatment after treatment. Throwing up for weeks on end. Losing your hair. Becoming so weak you can’t even stand. And your friends are choosing prom dresses. Your friends are applying to college and you are behind in your school work. Your teachers send assignments and tutors to try to  help you keep up but all you want is to sit in the classroom and be normal and not staring at these four walls of a hospital room with a revolving door of doctors, nurses and everyone else in the world.

What you would give to just be a normal kid.

She faced it with more courage than I realize a teenager has. And I have spent years taking care of kids who are sick.

We moved back into the gym to complete our strength training segment of the evening. Our chosen equipment this evening was resist-a-bands. Throughout this whole program we will be using things that you can have at home. I want to teach them that fitness is anywhere and a resist-a-band is one of the best pieces of equipment there is. It’s cheap, portable and heck, you can even use it as a sling shot (off the record)

We can't show them (research study) but we can show me. Joy.

They worked it. And I am not afraid to work them. There were groans, but there were no tears. There was no disappointment. Another beautiful thing about resist-a-bands is that you can work at your level. It can be made as easy or as difficult as you’d like it to be.

Each participant was also given a very interesting little device called a Fit Bit. (I got one too). This Fit Bit is a very small … thing….. that you wear all the time, night and day. It tracks your steps, it tracks how well you sleep. It even uploads itself when you are within 15 feet of your computer. We are all using it to track our daily activity and our sleep through the program. We will be connecting together online and setting fitness goals throughout the week so that TLC Fit Night isn’t the only night we are training. Using a device like this is a great tool to help us take a good look at how much activity we get during a daily basis.

At the end of the workout there were smiles. There was a sense of accomplishment. We gathered and talked about setting goals for the next week. We talked about motivation and what our “why” was for being here. I wan tot keep that “why” at the forefront. It’s so important.

This whole program is so important. Monday when I walked into the Y I walked past the LiveStrong program signs and I shook my head. “You missed someone” I thought to myself. “You missed the kids.” I just can’t get over it. I think it’s a big failure. But this is why we are here. to change that.

Many of you have asked how you can help. One of my former athletes Richard held a Horseshoe Tournament with all proceeds going to TLC. We’ve had several generous donations of $100 thanks to the swim challenge of Professional Triathlete and QT2 Coach Doug Maclean. Some of the donations have been anonymous. Thank you so much. To a bigger organization that $100 doesn’t go far, with TLC, it goes far. This is not a giant non for profit organization. It’s a mother who lost her daughter to Cancer 10 years ago, and a 34-year-old Cancer survivor. (Lauren and Leah). Leah works there on a grant that will run out in June. And she doesn’t worry about it. She’s vital to this whole program so we need to keep her there.

How can you help? How about ride a bike for an hour, for $20. Studio Move out in Mendon has chosen TLC as it’s charity this week to benefit from Cycling for Charity. $20 gets you a spinning bike for an hour. So you get to work out. It’s truly that easy. The 9am class is full. I will be spinning with Lauren at 10am and there are bikes open. Please come on down and spin with us. If you are not a cyclist why not split a bike with a friend and spin 30 min each? How about four of you split a bike and ride 15 min each?

To register just click here.

The picture of the T Shirt at the top stated this: attitude is the mother of luck. Think about that. How true it is. Think about your attitude each day, think about how it sets the tone. I see a lot of people who adopt the “Woe is me, poor me” attitude yet they have healthy and able bodies. If there was ever a group who I could justify a woe is me attitude, it’d be these kids. Look at what they have been through.

But they don’t. They want to get up and do. Their attitude is their deal maker when for others it is their deal breaker. One of the few benefits of being a Cancer survivor is this: you’ve seen the worst. You’ve stared at the bottom of a toilet enough times to make the promise that if you are given another change you will never, ever allow it to go to waste. You’ve waited through enough MRI’s and CT scans and waited for the results of the tests from the labs…… you understand what it is like to have your life hanging in the balance.

So woe is me. Doesn’t cut it here. My life sucks…. doesn’t stand a damn chance.

I love these kids. I love what they bring to the table. I love their hearts. I love their smiles. I am so honored to be a part of this. We are small, but we’ve got a giant bite. And we are here to take a bite back. Cancer took it out of them, and that fired them up.

Sorry Cancer, you lose this round.

Andy and I did a push up challenge, 38 pushups for my 38th birthday. I have to declare a redo. I don’t think I went low enough. In Yoga we do pushups with our arms very close and our elbows pointing to the back wall, so my regular pushup form seemed compromised. We will redo this next week.

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