How Coaching and Gymnastics Have Influenced My Mindset

I grew up and still am an athlete.  I’ve played tons of sports; baseball, lacrosse, tennis, track, skiing, volleyball – you name it.  When I was in pre-k, my mom was offered a job as a gymnastics instructor and took it.  At that point, I had already done gymnastics for a year or two, but my mom’s career influenced my elementary-school years to be spent in a gymnastics facility.  Once I was able to stay home alone without my parents, I stopped taking classes on a regular basis; however, my mom continued to coach and my sister became a competitive gymnast.  This may not be a surprise, but eventually I began coaching gymnastics myself.

By this time, I had learned a vast repertoire of skills.  On top of that, I can’t even estimate the number of gymnastics meets I’ve sat through.  I had developed an understanding and an eye for the technique and judging of the skills.  Through past training, countless observations, and learning how to coach skills I was unfamiliar with, I applied what I told my students to do to myself.  In my mind, the more skills I was able to do, the better and more effectively I could teach someone else.

Gymnastics coach with gymnasts at gymnastics competition
My Bronze IGC gymnastics team in the beginning of 2017.

This job enabled me to understand anything is possible if you put your mind to it.  Also, I learned that converting knowledge to action results in great rewards.  When I taught myself and executed a new skill based on my understanding of how to teach one, I would be flooded with accomplishment and pride.  Let’s be real, gymnastics is a scary-ass sport; you are literally throwing your body against gravity and doing things you probably shouldn’t . There’s a overwhelming amount of mental strength involved, so when you can overcome various fears, you learn what you are truly capable of.

Our minds are more fluid than we think.  In my opinion, if you want to be excel at gymnastics, you MUST have a stronger mind than body.  The same holds true for obtaining any goal.  In other words, if you break down the steps you must take to obtain a goal, you will have the building blocks on how to reach whatever it is you may desire.  From there, all you have to do is execute.

I think many of us expect everything to be perfect or accomplished instantly; I’m guilty of it too!  It’s up to us to take a step back and understand that great things do take time.  We’re going to accomplish everything we want to as long as we continue to work at it.  Looking back at my experiences so far, everything I haven’t excelled at have been things I didn’t allocate the proper amount of time and planning to be successful at.  If you want to succeed at something, you must put in the effort to define the goal, break it down, and execute.


 

For more inspiration, follow my health and fitness page on Instagram and Facebook!

Want a deeper look into my life, follow my personal Instagram page!

Danceworks Productions is More Than Just a Club

Starting college is like jumping off of a cliff into dark waters; you see the water but the water is a mystery. Is the water going to be fresh or salty? Is it going to be warm or cold? Is it deep or shallow? For me, I jumped in with my arms out and mind wide open. I hit the water and made a fantastic group of friends. From there, it’s been nothing but a deep, warm, fresh water lake. I’ve learned a lot about myself. However, I couldn’t have done this without becoming involved in Hofstra’s largest club on campus, Danceworks Productions.

844x1500.jpeg.5bbd1d16527d4a96a3da149e67503349.jpg
Me posing for a dance recital around the age of 7.

Fortunately, I had a mom who wanted me to do (almost) everything. She made me, my brother, and my sister do dance for at least one year. My brother dropped it after the first year, but I continued to learn how to dance. I dance for around five years (ages 4-9). It’s not that I lost interest in it, I actually was annoyed by another dancer in my hip-hop class and decided to stop. Although that was it for dance lessons for me, I never stopped dancing whenever I was listening to music.

859985_10151788729048065_486964082_o.jpg
Dancing at my high school’s Battle of the Classes in 2013.

My first semester of college was the shortest amount of time I ever learned so much about myself. I was thinking about changing my major and figuring out how I’m going to leave my mark at Hofstra. My lab partner was a dance minor and got me to go to the fall 2014 Danceworks show. I had an amazing time in the audience; in fact, I went to both shows. Watching the professionalism of the students and the energy I felt throughout planted the idea that I wanted to be up there someday.

Just before the auditions for the following semester’s show, my lab partner texted me to remind me. We met up and both went to the auditions. This audition was much different than a normal audition; everyone created a welcoming environment and it was an amazing time. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it into a piece that semester.  However, Danceworks does more than just dance – it is also a social and philanthropic club. I went to hang out with the club members at their off-campus house by myself for a social event. Every member welcomed me with open arms. This was the start to how the rest of my college experience was going to pan out.

 

12182458_10153099021946050_378784452415896650_o.jpg
Hanging out for one of the first times with Danceworks Productions!

I commuted my freshman year and I hated it. I loved everything about Hofstra, except for the fact that I had to drive 20-40 minutes one way each day. This prompted me to apply to be a residence assistant. I got through both rounds of interviews and was awaiting the email regarding the decision made. On February 24, 2015, I woke up for class with a Facebook message from one of the Danceworks members. The message read, “Hey Tom I was wondering if ud be interested in living in the DW house next year?” I explained how I would love to but have to figure out the finances and logistics of living there. She told me to just let her know as soon as I figure it out.

Danceworks has club meeting every Monday at 6:00 PM in the Student Center (room 142 to be exact). I had class until 5:55 PM, and on my way to the meeting, I had received an email informing me that I did not get the RA position. YES! I know – not a typical reaction to not getting something you interviewed and worked hard to get. The RA job would have given me free room and board, which I would have saved a boat-load of money. However, deep down, I really wanted to be living off campus. I entered room 142 and gave the girl who offered me the room in the house the thumbs up; she knew exactly why.

11194590_10153417201467189_8853246190821921701_o.jpg
The night I was inducted into Hofstra University Danceworks Productions’s executive board in 2015.

I continued going out with the club. I began to get to know many members and became an active member of the club. As the semester dwindled to an end, elections for executive board positions came around. At this point, I had decided on changing my major to marketing, so I figured I would run of the Publicity and Promotion chair. Luckily, I got elected which enabled me to become even more involved in the club. I served as the P&P chair for two years (my sophomore and junior years). My involvement in Danceworks has been nothing but positive and I am grateful for the experiences each member contributes to my college experience.  Because of that, I ran for and am now the President of Danceworks Productions at Hofstra University.

I couldn’t tell you where I would be right now if my lab partner was not a member of Danceworks and urged me to come to the shows back in 2014. I would not have the family of friends I do now, have had the opportunity to grow as a dance, and have the honor to part of such an amazing club.

12474034_985016494886182_3027174306253520902_o.jpg
Me featured in Kevin William’s Danceworks Productions piece in April 2016.

 

Follow my Instagram page!

 

Rainbow Sprinkles

OCD stands for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Honestly, I’m not diagnosed by a doctor, but I do show many signs of it and I feel like the best way to deal with it is to accept it.

Over the years, my OCD has gotten worse.  I’ve always liked things neat and organized.  With a cluttered thought process like mine, just the simple look of pens all facing the same way can ease my mind and make me not feel completely crazy for a second.

Once I started college, I began thinking for myself and being confident.  I continued to work for two years and finally got to where I wanted to be mentally.  Unfortunately, that work went to shit when I dated someone who used my kindness for personal gain.

Imagine you’re stacking quarters – one quarter per day.  For approximately 2 years/730 days/$182.50 in quarters, I stacked and stacked for him to come in and pull the bottom quarter out from day 1.  I spent the next four months gathering my quarters.

For those four months, I stopped doing everything that eased my OCD tendencies.  I kept my things together but I wasn’t itching to constantly make sure everything was in place.  I shut down as a person to build myself back up; I was holding the home button and power button on my life.  My life went black and then the brightness came back.  I realized that I wasn’t acting much on my anxious ticks of organizing my drawer or tearing my closet apart just to put it back in a more organized way.  Having this epiphany helped me get back on track.  I shortly bounced back from the collapse of my quarter tower.

So now imagine having a constant need to make things neat and organized.  I would describe my thoughts as a pile of rainbow sprinkles and I’m constantly sorting them by color.  I’m also going to throw in the fact that I’m blue-green/blue-red color blind.

It’s one of those piles that continues to get bigger.  Every fucking second it multiplies exponentially.  I can’t control it.  I’m always sorting through: am I making him happy enough?  Am I doing everything right?  Am I doing a good enough job as President of Danceworks?  I need to post about my workout today.  I hope I don’t fuck up.  How should I handle a communication issue?  I don’t wanna be overbearing.  Am I’m being too much?  Am I going to ruin something else again?  It’s just a constant domino of thoughts swirling around my head.  All day.  Everyday.

It wasn’t until recently when I felt like someone was beating me down that I realized that, besides my anxious ticks, I have to be around people to ease my mind.  Friends, acquaintances, strangers, whatever it may be.  The connections I make with people I know (or don’t know) make me feel full inside.  I’m glad I decided to run as President even though I was scared that I wasn’t ready for it.  I’m glad I have put myself in stressful situations with people I don’t know because now I know a handful of people that I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life.  I’m glad I care about everyone else around me just as much as I care about myself.  The people around me everyday get me through the jumble of rainbow sprinkles constantly being shuffled in my head.

How Beachbody Has Changed My Life Already

“So, Thomas, you remember Ms. Kennedy, right?  Well she lost all this weight and looks amazing and I’m going to be a coach like her.”  “Does she get paid for it?”  “Yeah!  Her friend just quit her full-time job because she started making more doing it than teaching.”  “How do I do that?  Ask her to sign me up too.”

This is a conversation I had with my sister right after she picked me up from the airport one day at the end of March and on April 4, 2017 I became a Beachbody coach.  To be blunt, I did it for the money and social media experience.

FullSizeRender 2.jpg

I’m a Marketing major at Hofstra University and I have fell in love with studying this.  I loved the creativity it entailed, as well as the analytics necessary to be successful.  At the time I became a Beachbody coach, I was taking a Digital Marketing class (which includes a heavy amount of social media).  I have never enjoyed a class more; I realized this is the section of Marketing that I want a career in.  When my sister planted the Beachbody seed, I couldn’t wait to apply what I’m learning in class and monetize that knowledge.

IMG_5886 2.JPG

I quickly set up a Facebook Business and Instagram Business page.  I worked hard to brand my pages with logos and cover photos using Canva – I spent my first month as a coach (all of April) creating an image for my coaching pages.  I thought that if my pages looked attractive, people would buy from me and I’d be able to sit back and just watch my bank account grow.  I didn’t take the training from my upline coach too seriously; I was so overwhelmed by the training pages and notifications from them that I just ignored it and went in with the mindset that “I can just sell this and do my own thing.”

I was completely wrong.

All of the members in the Beachbody training page that Christine Kennedy added me into were women.  This is not a problem whatsoever – it was actually amazing to see how motivated these women were (and still are) to help themselves and pass that onto others.  However, I felt that I couldn’t utilize the training I was getting because the target market for those coaches was completely different than mine, and that’s when I took it upon myself to figure it out on my own.

IMG_5870 2.JPG

Towards the end of May, I decided to buy Shakeology.  By this point, I figured out that I need to use the product to sell it.  I gained my first customer (my cousin) the day after I ordered Shakeology for myself.  Wow!  That worked faster than I thought it would.  I started drinking Shakeology everyday on June 1, 2017.  From there, I was able to get my mom and dad onboard as well.  This was awesome!  Now, the commission I received from my customers was paying for my Shakeology order.  Perfect!

WRONG.

Unfortunately, my customer gain plateaued and I’ve been pretty much stuck in the mud since.  For all of June, July, and August, I posted consistently on Instagram and shared those posts on Facebook.  I spent countless hours messaging people on Instagram to convince them to buy Shakeology to get the results I’ve already seen.  When I stopped seeing success as a coach but was still doing all of this work, I realized that I should start again from scratch and take it from there.

FullSizeRender.jpg

You may be wondering how Beachbody has changed my life besides the stress it put me through.  I basically wasted my whole summer trying to build a brand and gain an income through Beachbody.  Well, technically it wasn’t a waste because I took the time to learn how Facebook and Instagram’s algorithms work, and gained a following on both platforms.  I also started using Shakeology which steered my diet and fitness motivation in the right direction.  I discuss this more in my post Shake(ology) It Off.  What was I doing wrong?  I wasn’t listening to other successful coaches.

IMG_9492.JPG

What did I do?  I started listening to male Beachbody coaches on YouTube on my commute to and from work (I love listening to Caleb Thomas talk about how to be a Beachbody coach).  Because I felt like I could relate to these guys more, it put my thought process about my business on a different track and I have never been more motivated about something than ever before.  I was focused on the income and just getting, not focused on helping others and giving.  Because I’ve seen what Shakeology and the community that Beachbody provides, I have been able to focus on my health and fitness and I would love the opportunity to be your coach and do the exact same for you.

Copy of Tip Tom Shape (2).png

If you’d like to join my challenge group (a Facebook support group of my team members), Get Off Your A$$, feel free to email me at tiptomshape.tbb@gmail.com.  Simply provide your name, age, fitness and/or health goal(s), a link to your Facebook page, and a fun fact about yourself so I can get to know YOU better!


 

For more information on Shakeology, click here.

Also, check out my Instagram and Facebook pages!

 

Shake(ology) It Off

I have found more success with Shakeology than I have with any other protein powder or dietary action.  All it took was Christine Kennedy reaching out to me and my sister about becoming Beachbody coaches for me to try Shakeology and begin seeing the body I’ve always wanted.

The start of my Shakeology journey.
Day 1 of using Shakeology.

I started my journey on June 1, 2017.  The only thing I really knew about it was what Christine had posted on her social media pages.  I never thought she was heavy or overweight until I saw transformation pictures of her this past April (almost three full years since I’ve seen her last).  She has been using it for over two years now and she looks absolutely incredible!

College student holding Shakeology bag (a dense nutrition dietary supplement).
Holding my first bag of Shakeology.

So why would this work for me?  I am a fit college student who has always maintained a healthy physique.  I don’t need to really lose weight, I just wanted to trim down and gain some muscle.  To answer the question, it did exactly what I wanted for myself.

College student posing for a picture to show muscle growth in biceps and triceps.
About two weeks into using Shakeology.

One of the biggest changes I noticed right away – no more bloating.  I constantly look in the mirror to this day to see how much flatter my stomach looks.  For me, this has boosted my confidence so much that I am encouraged to go to the gym way more than ever before.  Once I started seeing a difference in my physique so quickly, I wanted to go the extra mile to see even more results.

Healthy and nutritious breakfast.  Eggs, spinach, onions, and red peppers.
My daily breakfast: eggs, spinach, onions, and red peppers.

Another change I noticed was that I changed my dietary habits.  Because Shakeology is a meal replacement, I was getting the nutrients I needed.  I’m guilty as hell about skipping a meal because of my busy lifestyle and Shakeology has saved me from doing so.  On top of that, I’ve noticed the shift in how healthy I eat.  Now, I usually only buy fruits, vegetables, eggs and some meat when I go to the supermarket.

My supermarket purchases.  Meats, onions, bananas, fruits, peppers, eggs.
A typical check-out at the supermarket.

To sum this all up, Shakeology has given me the mental and physical strength to have the body I’ve always worked towards.  I feel thinner in my waistline, I’ve gained so much more muscle, look way more toned than ever before, and I live a healthier lifestyle.  Because of this, I feel way better about myself and I am much happier!

As muscle workout to end my workout.
A little an exercise to always end my workouts.

Some people say money doesn’t buy happiness, but I think it does when you’re spending your money in the right places.

College student posing to show muscle growth after two months of using Shakeology.
Two full months into Shakeology and I see a huge difference in my muscle definition.

 

For more information on Shakeology, click here.

Also, check out my Instagram and Facebook pages!

South Africa (Day 1)

Typically, 5:45 am is not my favorite time to wake up.  I’m just completing three hours of sleep when my iPhone alarm goes off and I force my eyes open.  I stretch for a second and turn to see my packed suitcase just a few feet from the door.  This only means one thing… it’s travel day.

As I’m driving to my parent’s house, my boyfriend, Brandon, and I are pretty quiet.  First of all, it is 6:15 am.  Secondly, I don’t even know what to say.  There are so many thoughts going through my head.  What is Cape Town like?  How close am I going to get to a lion?  Ugh, a 14 hour flight followed by another two hour flight.  My mind rambles as much as it can for having only three hours of rest.

IMG_6297.JPG

“Have the bestest time ever!” my mom yells in my ear as I’m getting set to board the bus to depart for John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.  I hug and kiss her goodbye and tell her, “I love you.”  I do the same to Brandon and step on the bus to begin my adventure.

The hustle of JFK Airport starts to fuel my excitement.  Everyone is scattering to find where they have to check-in.  Everyone is rummaging through their bags for their boarding passes and passports.  Everyone is going somewhere different in this gigantic world.

IMG_6298.JPG

I double check that my ACIS Educational Tours luggage tag is fastened to my suitcase before putting it on the scale to be weighed.  Yes!  It’s not overweight!  I scurry over to Wendy Way, my travel guru and tour leader, after I’ve completely checked-in.  She tells me that the flight is delayed two hours.  Oh well, South Africa isn’t going anywhere.

The whole group successfully makes it through security and to the gate.  We have some time, so we disperse to find a snack before we embark on 17 hour expedition to Cape Town, South Africa.  As time creeps closer to boarding time, I feel the grip of excitement around my heart getting tighter and tighter.  It isn’t until the flight attendant says, “thank you, enjoy your flight,” after I hand her my boarding pass that I feel the relief in my chest – I’m on my way to South Africa!

FullSizeRender.jpg

With two flights down, one connection complete, and 17 hours since we took off from John F. Kennedy Airport, we have finally made it to Cape Town International Airport in Cape Town, South Africa.

IMG_6313.JPG

A huge weight is lifted from my shoulder as I see my suitcase turn the corner of the carousel.  I use all of the energy I have remaining after the long travel to pick it up and wheel it away from the crowd.  I open it, grab a change of clothes along with my contacts, and run to the bathroom.  After the change, I feel refreshed and recharged.  I’m ready to start exploring Cape Town, South Africa.

IMG_6346.JPG

Our first stop, Table Top Aerial cableway to the top of Table Top Mountain (one of the new seven wonders of the world).  Our whole group crowds into one car (34 people plus other adventurers trying to get to the top of Table Top Mountain).  The five minute journey embarks.  To my surprise, about 30 seconds into the trip, the floor begins to rotate!  As we climb up the 1,089 meter mountain, the car makes a 360 degree rotation.  My breathe is sucked out of me as we reach the top and I can see various mountains and waters surrounding the beautiful town of Cape Town.

IMG_6385.JPG

IMG_6360.JPG

IMG_6443.JPG

IMG_6399.JPG

I wish I could put the feeling of exploring Table Top Mountain into words better.  After breathing recycled air in the airplane for so many hours, my lungs open widely when I inhale as I looked out into the Atlantic Ocean.  My chest became lighter and I felt so small.

IMG_6455.JPG

After the ride to the bottom of the mountain and a short bus ride, we were finally at Meloncino.  YES!  A meal that wasn’t airplane food… finally.  My friend and I (we’re both 21 years old) shared a bottle of Pinotage with our incredible dinner.  I had Yellow Tail fish over rice.  Amazing.

IMG_6458.JPG

As dinner came to a close, I found my mind beginning to fog.  At this point, it had been many hours of restless flying and exploring.  I was beat.  We all piled back onto the bus and fought to stay awake until we arrived at the Sunsquare Cape Town Hotel.  We got our keys after a slight speed bump in rooming assignments and off to bed I went.  Until tomorrow, Cape Town, South Africa.

 


 

To see the highlight video of the day, click here!

Follow my Instagram page!

 

 

A Day In My Life

I’m trudging up Mt. Fuji making sure I don’t slip. As I transfer my weight from one foot to the other and I ascend closer to the top, my heart beats faster. I can’t tell if it’s the exercise or the air pressure dropping with each step. A gust of wind surprises me and takes my worries with it. I turn around and I’m instantly the only person in the world. I see nothing but the tops of clouds casting shade over the Tokyo outskirts. I feel invincible.

A blaring noise forces my eyelids open and I swing my right arm around myself to turn off my alarm. I no longer feel invincible, especially because I have 45 minutes until my finance midterm. I check my emails to see if any professor has canceled class for the day. Unfortunately none of them have but it was worth the shot. The comforter grabs me like it is telling me not to leave. My comforter doesn’t understand that I can’t spend my whole life in bed. Silly comforter. I manage to get up to prepare myself for the day ahead of me.

“What is the price of a bond if there is 10% interest compounded semi annually for the next bazillion years?” I didn’t even think bazillion was a real number; I thought it was used for hyperbolic situations only. I somehow make it through my finance midterm feeling better than I thought I would. I lightly jog to Au Bon Pain to grab a quick snack before my next class begins. I take a seat and notice my heart banging on the inside of my ribs. I take out my iPad and get my notes ready for LEGL 020.

“I’m going to end there because, frankly, I’m tired of talking. Have a good weekend and I’ll see you on Monday.” I love when my professor lets us out ten minutes early because it gives me some time to refill my water bottle and get another snack. I scarf down a chicken caesar wrap and I’m off to work.

“Coach Tom! You’re late!” “Veronica, I tell you every week that I am always going to be a little late to practice because it starts at 6 and my class doesn’t get out until 6. I wish I could teleport here.” I’ve coached gymnastics for almost seven and a half years now. Gymnastics has always fascinated me because of how much practice you need on one skill to perfect it. Every trick has specific requirements and judges can be brutal if they are not executed to the fullest. I’m also intrigued by how the sport is more mental than physical. Tumbling is relatively easy if you can clear your mind and just do. The biggest struggle I see with my gymnasts, as well as myself when I’m learning a new trick, is consciously knowing that your body is going to be thrown around in ways it isn’t meant to and you, yourself, has to be the one to actually just do it. Safety is huge and my first priority because, in reality, gymnastics is very dangerous. However, once you get past the fear, the possibilities are endless. It is an awarding feeling to see a young girl or boy’s reaction when they land a trick for the first time by themselves. I look at my girls as my younger sisters and want each one of them to succeed in everything they do.

“I’ll see you guys on Saturday!” I exclaim as I run out of the gym with my shoes on but untied. I jam to Kanye as I drive on the Northern State Parkway towards Hofstra University. It’s not always Kanye, but recently he’s been putting me in the mood for the upcoming two-hour rehearsal. My freshman year, I decided to start dancing again after my ten year hiatus from it. I now have the opportunity to dance every week for about 11 hours. When I’m dancing, I feel like I’m on top of Mt. Fuji again; my mind is clear of everything except for the choreography and music. Do you know what it’s like to win a scratch-off lottery ticket? I don’t mean winning back the $2 spent on it, but winning at least $100 from it. That’s the same feeling I get when my peers and I perform a piece perfectly. And doing it in front of an audience is like winning $1 million+ on a scratch-off, but the fact that I get to do it with the people that mean the most to me is priceless.

After rehearsal I usually get more food and then head home. I turn on Netflix or chill with some roommates to catch up on the craziness of each of our days. Going home to a house full of positivity and support prepares me for a brand new day packed with school, hard work, and laughter.

img_5702

I can’t say my life is perfect but the people in it are and I can’t complain about that.