By Houa “Manifesto” Vang, Staff Writer

When you think of summer, what comes to mind other than beach, sand, party, humidity, sun, grill out, and sunglasses? Oh yeah, summer bods! Many people’s summer goals focus on getting fit. Fitness is also important in everyday health. It is said that running five-to-ten minutes per day can help you live longer according to Journal of the American College of Cardiology. This three-part series will follow six dedicated sisters tracking their summer fitness goals. 

Introductions

Stephanie

Stephanie “BCBG” Soriano Casajuana

Stephanie “BCBG” Soriano Casajuana is from University of Georgia’s Iota class, fall of 2003. She currently lives in Marietta, Ga.. She moved back to the greater Atlanta area last year after living in  Ohio, Texas, and Illinois. She’s completed marathons and participated in Zumba, Les Mills, Insanity, and Crossfit. She will be competing in a bikini competition at the end of July. Her goal is to be less lean and to reverse her diet to get her metabolism ready for a bulking phase.

Myra “Slate” Tiu is from Orlando, Fla.. Her hobbies consist of reading, learning random facts, watching scary movies, and scrolling through Instagram fitness accounts and people’s progress/transformations. She has participated in lacrosse, weightlifting, rugby, army ROTC for a semester, and now she just does random days at the gym. Her summer goal is endurance and strength by going to the gym consistently.

Monica “IMPAᴎ*D” Yifan Zhong is a junior at the University of Delaware, pursuing a doctoral degree in physical therapy as an exercise science major. During her free time, she dances around to throwback music, goes for late night drives with the bass cranked up and windows down, works out, and seeks adventure with friends and family. Her summer goal is becoming healthier and stronger through strength training and cardio and growing confidence within herself.

Alyssa

Alyssa “Raamiah” Haselsteiner

Alyssa “Raamiah” Haselsteiner lives in Grand Rapids, Mich.. Her hobbies consist of meditation, drawing, and painting. She swam competitively from third grade until high school. Having type 1 diabetes, she needs to get her blood sugar under control, which can influence weight loss. Her goal is to become faster at running and stronger at lifting.

Jessica “Lynnea” Song is from Rockford, Ill.. She crossed in the fall of 2012. She likes reading, working out, and exploring (eating at new places). Her goals are gaining more confidence mentally and focusing on strength and endurance.

Jennifer “Salomé” Albesa chartered at the University of West Florida in the spring of 2010. She currently lives in Pensacola, Fla. and will be finishing her second master’s degree in social work this August. Her hobbies consist of going to concerts and shows, painting, traveling, eating, going to the beach, and recently, yoga and boxing. Her goal is to continue building more muscle, gaining endurance, and losing at least 30 pounds.


What is your fitness background?

Jessica

Jessica “Lynnea” Song

Casajuana: After having my last son, I tried to get back to doing Crossfit, but I just wasn’t feeling it. My husband’s cousin’s wife got into bodybuilding competitions. This intrigued me because her physique changed so drastically. I hired her coach to help me get into that kind of shape without wanting to compete. She introduced me to counting macronutrients and more bodybuilding focused workouts. I got into such good shape, that I kept getting asked if I would consider doing a competition. I finally said yes and competed in my first bodybuilding competition at the beginning of the year in the bikini division.

Song: Prior to this year, I was very dedicated to going to the gym and eating healthy. At the beginning of January, I found a personal training job and that’s where everything snowballed. It may sound strange, but when I picked up the personal training job, I stopped going to the gym for enjoyment. I was working three jobs.The jobs gave me a lot of stress, the training job in particular. There would be times I’d have to wake up at 6 a.m. to train one client, and then, go straight to my second job for seven hours (and sometimes the third job). Afterward, I would have to go back to the gym and train other clients. I was beginning to hate working out, and as a result, I started to overeat due to stress.


How do you plan to accomplish it and keep track of it?

Monica

Monica “IMPAᴎ*D” Yifan Zhong

Zhong: Going to the gym at least four to  five days each week, keeping a journal to record workouts and changes in body composition and PRs, and maybe join a boxing gym.

Casajuana: Leave macronutrient planning and training to her coach.

Tiu: Signed up for a wellness coaching that helps set up a plan and journaling diet and activity.

Albesa: Continue boxing and yoga and gradually increasing the number of days, eating better, monitoring sugar intake and processed food, and using a FitBit to track progress.

Steiner: Keep blood glucose on track, work out five to six days with cardio each day and at least three days of lifting, and journaling to help keep track and assess progress.

Song: Easing back to routine of things, no crash diet or over exercise, and using MyFitnessPal.


What do you want out of this summer fitness journey?

Myra

Myra “Slate” Tiu

Tiu: The main goal is for me to get back to the healthier me when I was playing sports. I’m hoping that from me sharing my journey with everyone will help me keep accountable and maybe spark something up in other people.

Zhong: I hope that my story might help others to realize that even if you are not physically inclined or athletically gifted, there are still many ways to be healthy and happy. My path to self-love and acceptance was an uphill battle because for the longest time I did not believe that I could accomplish things due to what I perceived as my inadequacies (my inability to do well in team sports). To me, becoming “fit” is more about the journey and more about trying each day to better yourself, to be more mindful of your choices, and to live more purposefully. I hope to pass on the message that it is okay to take things a day at a time, because progress is not achieved overnight and you can be strong in more ways than just a physical sense.

Jennifer

Jennifer “Salomé” Albesa

Albesa: The reason I started boxing was actually because my little is getting married in November, and I am one of her bridesmaids. I really wanted to feel better about the way I look, especially now that I have a chance to wear an ao dai and be in her wedding. I really want to change my mindset about fitness and not make it all about looking good for a wedding. Instead, I really want to work toward making it a part of my lifestyle. I definitely do not want to give up eating good food altogether, but I want to make sure I have some kind of balance and that I am really paying attention to self-care (this is where yoga especially comes in).

Song: Not only would I like support, but I hope to inspire and help others. I want to stay accountable to this and show that it can be done.

Haselsteiner: I want to feel strong and empowered. I think when I was a swimmer it really made me feel accomplished. I did get tired of the sport and was relieved to be done with it in high school, but now miss how happy exercise and results made me feel.


Follow their fitness journeys:

Jessica “Lynnea” Song, Instagram: @thejsong

Monica “IMPAᴎ*D” Yifan Zhong, Instagram: @monicazhong_

Stephanie “BCBG” Soriano Casajuana, Instagram: @onehardworkingmama; Blog: www.stephaniecasajuana.com

Alyssa “Raamiah” Haselsteiner, Instagram: @alyhasel


Featured Image: https://pixabay.com/photo-1975689/, via Pixabay.

Article Images: Special to The Jade Times

Sources: Iowa State University, (2014, July 28). Want to live longer? Go for a run, says Iowa State researcher. Retrieved from http://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2014/07/28/runningmortality.