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On Inspiration, Motivation and the Drive to Succeed

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At MyFitnessPal, we love to celebrate major milestones — from major weight loss to major non-scale victories — what our community accomplishes is no easy feat. Success is all around us, and it’s usually sparked by a pivotal moment. We’ve asked our Under Armour ambassadors to share their journeys, inspiration and driving forces. We hope this inspires you to share yours in the comments below.

“Do what makes you feel alive. Love your body. Play outside.”

Adinda, an obstacle course trainer, is inspired by her mother and Mother Nature. “The two mothers that have always supported me since Day 1. Without these two women, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.”

MOTIVATION

It comes as no surprise then that Adinda’s fire comes from the outdoors. “To wake up and have the possibility to discover what my body is capable of doing beyond what I thought possible and being proven wrong. Nothing is more motivating to me than to be active while having the opportunity to learn about different cultures and discovering different parts of the world.”

HER PIVOTAL MOMENT

Adinda hit rock bottom and wasn’t taking care of herself — not eating right, drinking too much and not getting enough sleep. Her sister introduced her to bikram yoga. She slowly adopted a healthy lifestyle once again. Then, a trip to Vietnam changed things. She had one beer and her body rejected it. “I started ordering fresh coconut water through the concierge, enough to last me, for what it would seem like, a whole month on a deserted island. I drank a glass of coconut water every half an hour in hope to detoxify the toxins in my body and rid of the water retention from the swelling. I prayed and drank and prayed and hoped.” Eventually she was OK. “This was the time that I realized that I needed to love my body. This was the beginning of @Saktidin. This is my story and the prologue that signifies where I am today.”

“I am enough.”

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Running coach and Run to the Finish blogger, Amanda looks inward for inspiration. “I’ve always been internally driven to seek out my best,” she says. “I don’t need to win a race, I just need to know that I showed up for myself in moments that were hard and I chose not to quit.”

MOTIVATION

She meets each day with wonder, “I’m excited to see what each new run will bring. Will it be a glorious sunrise? Will it be a run that I never want to end? Will it be a hot, humid, can’t breathe will-I-make-it-through run that leaves me smiling because I did?”

HER PIVOTAL MOMENT

When Amanda suffered her first real injury, she recalls, “It was the first time I discovered the power of training my mind, and that led to greater success in every area of my life. I dug into podcasts, mantras, affirmations and suddenly it was just an injury, not the end of the world.” As we know, those low points can teach us many things by uncovering weaknesses that become opportunities for greatness, “I know how to flow with the discomfort and always keep my eyes focused on finding the solution.”

“I will rise under pressure.”

For Chaley Rose, singer and actress on “Nashville,” her mother was her rock and source of inspiration. After a divorce, her mother went back to college to get her masters in journalism. Rose recalls, “I watched her, at the age of 40, hustle her way into her first on-air job. Everyone told her it was too late for her. It was impossible. But she never heard them. ‘No’ was subjective for her, and I learned that and have lived it myself.”

MOTIVATION

For Rose, her day-to-day motivating factor is simple: “There’s nothing more motivating than knowing that you can have your dreams if you’re willing to fight,” she says.

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HER PIVOTAL MOMENT

Rose’s own experience gave her the courage to try new things. “I think there are lots of pivotal moments along the way to success,” she says. After a bad experience with a production company in Atlanta, Chaley looked to open up her career to acting. “It was the right place at the right time with the right coach. I fell in love with it and decided to pursue an acting career from there. I am where I am now because of that Atlanta experience. Painful as it was I wouldn’t change it.”

Under Armour is honoring under-recognized feats of empowerment — elevating them to where they belong: Above gender roles. Above labels. Above convention. Above comparison. Get the full scoop on Misty Copeland and other athletes in the Unlike Any campaign.

“Treat everyday like an audition and every human you meet like they are going to be your boss one day.”

A dancer, Dani is inspired by bold people who are relentlessly pursuing their passion. She says, “People that inspire me today are the groundshakers, the ones who decide to pave their own path and way. Not waiting for a hand out and just taking risks and chances!”

MOTIVATION

So many different things motivate people, and Dani found hers in adversity. “The driving factor, honestly, is the people that doubt me, that whisper behind my back and question my abilities. I do it for the ones who ‘don’t understand,’” she says. “Then, the successes that happen along the way remind me what I set out to do is all worth it.”

HER PIVOTAL MOMENT

For some, pivotal moments come a bit more regularly. “I have had a ton of low moments in my career. Being a freelance professional dancer, you can get off of a four-year world tour performing in front of 80,000 people every night sharing the stage with one of the biggest artists in the world, then when it’s over, you wake up that next day in your bed unemployed. That repeats after every job, no matter how monumental it was, when it is over, it’s the ‘what’s next” game,’” shares Vitale. “There was one job where I auditioned for 16 straight hours not eating or drinking a thing, then the next day another 8 hours to find out I am in ‘serious consideration’ to attend a week of rehearsals before tour.” Ultimately, after being assured she got the part, she didn’t. “I didn’t leave my bed for a week. That launched me into wanting to prove to everyone that I can achieve more than just this tour. That I don’t need the title of ‘Hi I am Dani and I am dancing for …’ and that skyrocketed my versatility in dance and the ability to reinvent myself as an artist! Sure enough after not getting [the initial part], I did about six huge performances with her the following years.”

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“Don’t lose faith.”

Secret of DD blogger and influencer, Deddeh sees her mother as her role model. “My mother is my biggest inspiration, as an African mother, she had been through so much and she still managed to get on her feet and raise three children. Her strength and power inspire me.”

MOTIVATION

For Deddeh, being active and pursuing her passion keeps her motivated. “My yoga practice and my blog make me leap out of bed every day,” she says. “I can’t live without yoga, and I love writing and producing content to inspire people because their stories inspire me, too.”

HER PIVOTAL MOMENT

Embarking on her Black Mirror Project took her to a new level. “I was sick and tired of being held back because of my skin tone and I just wanted to do something about it. I decided to put myself out there and mirror two images to show the world that if we are given equal opportunity, black models can do just about the same as a white models.” This moment still resonates with her. “The world reacted to my story, it was unbelievable, and now it makes me want to do even more. I’m inspired to speak out and make more changes for myself and the future generation. It made me stronger.”

READ MORE > TRACKING TOWARD HEALTH & FITNESS GOALS THE MYFITNESSPAL WAY [INFOGRAPHIC]

“We practice courage by pushing our limits.”

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Cyclist and fitness vlogger, Kym is inspired by “the women who have come before me who have ignored the warnings and blazed their own trail,” she says. “I’ve been told countless times that it’s dangerous. I’ve been asked ‘wouldn’t I rather just stay home? Do something else?’”

MOTIVATION

Nonstop knows women are held to a different standard, but have to keep going and work a little harder, “while my male counterparts are just expected to show their grit.” Kym doesn’t let anything get her down. “I know that potential has yet to be reached. There’s more to learn and more to teach,” says Kym. Each day is “an opportunity to live my life to the fullest and to inspire others to do the same.”

“Fake it ’til you make it.”

Videographer Lucie Fink has her family to thank for inspiring her. “I grew up with parents who told me that if I worked hard enough for it, I could be anything I wanted to be. Each time I reach a new personal or professional milestone, it’s that energy and positivity that motivates me to keep on moving.”

MOTIVATION

Lucie is fueled by her close bond with family and her boyfriend. “These relationships nourish me and cause me to wake up every day with love, happiness and energy.”

HER PIVOTAL MOMENT

It wasn’t college, but it’s what came right after college. “I remember feeling like I wasn’t in the right place; I wasn’t doing what I loved, and because of that, I wasn’t flourishing and shining. That was when I started making art — for myself, for my family and for my portfolio.”

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“Be daring, be different, be impractical.”

Ambitious Kitchen blogger Monique Volz also looks within for inspiration. “I know it seems silly but there is no better investment you can make than believing in who you are. Chase your vision and dream every day no matter what, there’s always a way to make it happen. Over the course of your life you will transform into several different people, so just be who you are, be wild, practice self-care, and love yourself and those around you.”

MOTIVATION

For Monique, her work is her driving passion, “I love what I do and that most of the time it doesn’t feel like work. I’m proud that I have worked hard to become the woman I have become today,” she says. “I love getting up, getting a workout in and having ‘me’ time before I get in the kitchen and make recipes to help and inspire others to eat healthier. Inspiring other people is my success story.”

HER PIVOTAL MOMENT

After losing her father, Monique dealt with her grief by traveling and working out. This ultimately led her on the path she’s on now. “I found myself on a beach in Australia asking myself what I was going to do with my life and how I could become the person I was meant to be,” she remembers. “After I came home, I started cooking and baking as a therapy and to teach myself a new skill. Shortly thereafter, I launched my blog and worked endlessly doing what I love. If you love something, your passion and talent will shine through.”

“If life puts obstacles in your way, try always to find the positive side of it.”

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Brazilian model Paola is inspired and driven by gratitude. “I think that my biggest motivational factor is to enjoy life, because I really appreciate it,” she says. “Every day I wake up thinking about doing something new and always in a better way. This inspires me.”

MOTIVATION

Paola emphasizes the importance of staying positive and how it can

Exercise at Home

10 Moves That Feel Amazing for Tech Neck

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Spending hours every day looking down at your phone and laptop might get you caught up on work and social media, but it can be so tough on your neck and shoulders that it's prompted the rise of a new term: Tech neck.

The phrase describes that slight forward tilt to your head that becomes problematic when you're in that position for too long, according to Carol Mack, DPT, CSCS, a physical therapist and strength coach at CLE Sports PT & Performance in Cleveland. The neck muscles lengthen in the back, creating strain, while shortening in the front, causing your shoulders to round, creating a hunch or “lump” in the area where the top of the back meets the neck.

“That position, in particular, can cause decreased shoulder and neck mobility, sometimes to a significant degree,” she tells SELF. “At some point, range of motion can become limited, to the point where dynamic movement is challenging.”

If that happens, even a beneficial activity like strength training can exacerbate the issue, she adds, because the smaller range of motion will keep your shoulders rounded and your neck jutting forward. If you're doing work targeting muscles on the frontside of the body, like your chest or pectoral muscles, you could be worsening the strain on the upper back, neck, and shoulders.

Plus, no matter what your activity, you'll likely experience pain along with the stiffness and decreased mobility. In a 2019 study published in PLoS One, researchers found a strong association between time spent on a smartphone and duration and severity of neck pain. There can be a ripple effect as well, including more tension in the upper back, numbness in the hands, recurring headaches, and rotator cuff tendonitis, according to Mack.

One long-term fix is to change your positioning so your computer is at eye level, she suggests, and to be sure to take breaks frequently so you're not stuck in the same position for an extended period of time. As for devices like tablets and cell phones that you tend to hold in your lap or at your chest, ideally the best option is to sit in a chair or on a couch where you can rest your head on the back of it, and bring your phone or tablet up to eye level. If that's not feasible (or if you find yourself reverting to your initial, head-down position), pencil in regular move breaks to make sure you're changing up your position.

Those are all ways to prevent tech neck, but what about if it's already reared up? The good news is, there are some things you can do to alleviate the tightness and discomfort.

And stretching is a major one—the right stretches can feel amazing for easing that tension. Tech neck stretches can help in a variety of ways, such as by gently lengthening the muscles in the front of the neck or providing some relief for overstretched muscles in the back of the neck. Because your neck muscles also attach to those in your shoulders, chest, and upper back, stretching those related muscles can be beneficial, too.

Here are 10 stretches Mack suggests for getting back into alignment. Pick three to four, and start out by holding each for 30 seconds, though you can try to hold them for up to a minute for additional relief. (Of course, if you're experiencing shooting pain, have severe headaches you think are related to neck tension, or stretches like these aren't helping, be sure to see a physical therapist or doctor.)

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Yoga Exercises For Beginners

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The following article will discuss the different poses that beginners can practice. These include Cow Face, Fish Pose, and Plank Pose. You will also learn how to breathe through challenging poses like Utkatasana. These poses are perfect for beginners to practice opening the body and breathing through challenging positions. For more information, check out the article. And stay tuned for more articles about yoga poses for beginners! Enjoy! Here's a quick overview of the most popular poses.

Table of Contents

The following article will discuss the different poses that beginners can practice. These include Cow Face, Fish Pose, and Plank Pose. You will also learn how to breathe through challenging poses like Utkatasana. These poses are perfect for beginners to practice opening the body and breathing through challenging positions. For more information, check out the article. And stay tuned for more articles about yoga poses for beginners! Enjoy! Here's a quick overview of the most popular poses.

Fish Pose

If you have limited neck strength or mobility, you may need a head support while in the Fish Pose. A thick, folded blanket placed under the head will help keep it from collapsing and straining. Another option for a beginner is to keep the head upright and stretch the neck, not the shoulders. You can also modify the pose by lowering the chest and lifting the arms away from the body. Then, slowly lower the head.

Cow Face

If you have not tried Cow Face Yoga Exercises yet, now is a good time to do so. This pose stretches the shoulders and stimulates good posture. Especially good for people who spend much time sitting in front of a computer, Cow Face is a great way to release tension in your shoulders, upper back, and middle back. To begin this yoga exercise, start by bending your elbows. Next, extend your right arm and left elbow over your head. Your hands should be clasped together in between your shoulder blades.

Plank Pose

If you're looking for an easy yoga exercise for beginners, plank pose might be the right one for you. This pose works the entire body, not just your legs. As with any yoga exercise, plank pose requires a lot of focus and positive self-talk in order to succeed. In fact, a man who held the world record for the longest time in plank is Daniel Scali. He held the pose for nine hours, thirty minutes and one second in 2021. Even a minute in a plank can be hard, but the longer you hold it the more likely you are to become strong and fitter.

Utkatasana

This backbend poses gently stretches the spine and arms while the torso remains stable. It is a good yoga exercise for beginners because it requires a shift in weight from front to back. You also have to lift your chin and lengthen your ribcage, which are essential to achieve the correct alignment. Try this yoga exercise for beginners and you'll soon feel the benefits! Once you have mastered this yoga exercise, you can advance to more challenging versions of this classic pose.

Trikonasana

One of the most basic poses in yoga is the trikonasana. It can be a good warm-up exercise. It strengthens the chest, hips, and lower back. It can also relieve lower back pain. You should hold this posture for twenty to twenty-five seconds before releasing. This yoga exercise is beneficial for beginners and experienced yoga practitioners alike. To learn how to perform this pose, follow these instructions.

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8 Reasons to Try Indoor Rowing

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As outdoor workouts become relegated to the weekend and your body requires a reprieve from repeated long rides or runs, a fresh training method could become a welcome change to your training schedule. Enter: indoor rowing.

As the heir apparent to the reigning king of group fitness classes, indoor cycling, indoor rowing is poised to become the country’s newest workout obsession, as rowing studios continue to pop up throughout the country.

If you’re looking to supplement your training regime, consider this full-body workout. Here are eight reasons you should try indoor rowing:

1. It Burns a High Amount of Calories

Harvard Medical School states that a 155-pound person rowing at a vigorous pace can burn more than 600 calories per hour. This is on par with mountain and BMX biking.

2. Rowing Removes Muscular Failings

“Endurance runners and cyclists tend to have many muscular deficiencies that lead to repetitive stress injuries,” says Richard Butler, a UCanRow2 Concept2 indoor rowing coach at Mecka Fitness in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He believes rowing can offset this propensity. “When we row, we use more than 86% of our muscles. [It’s] tough to have deficient muscles using that many muscles.”

3. Rowing Circumvents Compensation

“While running and cycling, it is also very easy to become quad-dominant (overusing your anterior muscles),” says Dustin Hogue, interval studio director of Studio Three in Chicago. “Rowing counteracts this by engaging the posterior muscles of your body: the hamstrings, glutes and back. This helps avoid compensations.”

4. It Burns Fat

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In a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, which compared fat oxidation in rowing to cycling across a range of variables — including exercise intensity, mode and recruited muscle mass — rowing beat out cycling. This was specifically due to the greater recruitment of larger muscle mass on the ergometer.

5. It’s a Two-For-One Workout

Rowing works both the upper and lower extremities in synchronicity. “It’s one of the true full-body workouts,” says Butler. He says when done properly, in one continuous movement, athletes use their back, arms, legs and core.

READ MORE > SPINNING 101 AND THE ANATOMY OF A SPIN BIKE [INFOGRAPHIC]

6. There’s a Meditative Component

According to UCanRow2, an organization with a mission to bring rowing to people across the U.S., rowing indoors keeps the mind centered and helps relieve stress as you get into a rhythm with each stroke.  

7. Classes Teach You Proper Technique

Most people have either never rowed or row with incorrect, gawky posture — curtailing rowing’s proper returns. But participating in indoor rowing classes diminishes the inelegance and instructors help you perfect your position. “That awkward feeling of not knowing how to do a move is minimized,” says Butler.

8. It Decreases the Risk of Injuries

For those who recently suffered an injury and feel a little apprehensive getting back into high-impact sports (like running), but feel ready to get back into cardiovascular shape, rowing is a favorable alternative. “Running causes a great deal of stress on the leg joints, so rowing is perfect for avoiding injury while endurance training,” says Butler.

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As with any group fitness class, rowing classes vary by studio and instructor. “A typical rowing class at Studio Three pairs bursts of short, anaerobic exercises, with active recovery periods and weighted resistance training,” says Hogue. “Athletes perform a series, or distance or timed pushes on the rower along with multi-joint strength movements off of the rower.” At ROWFit by Mecka Fitness, Butler teaches authentic, crew rowing techniques to increase endurance and train all major muscles. At the popular Row House NYC in New York City instructors encourage participants to row in sync with each other, simulating a real crew team.  

Whatever class you choose, all indoor rowing classes focus on providing low-impact, high-energy workouts, helping you elevate your heart rate and building strength as a complement to any endurance training regime.    

If you’re interested in indoor rowing, you can find a certified instructor at UCanRow2 and even become certified yourself.  

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