Monthly Archives: October 2009

Belief + Practice = Passion

pDo you have IT? Do you want IT? How can you get  IT? What is IT?

The IT I am talking about is passion. Your passion can be about anything. Your passion can be your faith in God. Your passion can be about your children. Your passion could be about your job. But if you don’t think  you have passion, can you get it.

I believe that passion is inherent. With that being said, it may take us years to figure out what we are passionate for, but when we do – boy oh boy – look out!

I recently did an interview on a faith-based radio show where we were able to have a wonderful conversation about my job as a personal trainer and her job as a minister for God. One of the main things that we had in common was our passion, for our beliefs. We both believe that we were put on this Earth for a certain purpose and that we were doing what God had intended for us to do. That does not necessarily mean that our opinions are correct, and we were able to agree to disagree on certain topics.

One thing that was very apparent to me was how easily it was to speak, unscripted, for an hour about a topic that I have passion for. That topic, is fitness and wellness. When you “practice what you preach”, it makes what you say more believable to others. But, when you believe in what you are doing, your passion spills out without even trying. It is a beautiful thing.

Find your passion. Believe in yourself. Be an inspiration!

Amazing Stories

So I’ve written before about how I volunteer for the Des Moines Marathon and this is going to be more of that. The race was over the weekend and I saw and heard some amazing stories that I just had to share.

First, there was a man from Davenport who ran the marathon course not once, but twice. He was raising money for his football coach who was shot and killed. The group had a goal of 10K. He told the group if they doubled their fund raising efforts, he would double his run. The group raised over 21K and the runner got up early to start his run at 3 am so that he could finish the first run by the start time of the actual race at 8 am. He did it and then finished the second race in a little over 5 hours. I made sure I went up and told him what an inspiration he was.

Then there were the groups of men and women who started running to lose weight. They had inspirational stories of how their friends inspired them. They had stories of how their families stood beside them. They had the motivation to start and the dedication to keep going.

Then, there was the train. Yes, I said a train. We had 3 runners at the lead of the race and with 400 meters to go, a train crossed the race path. It was literally a sprint to the finish that was so exciting to watch.

We all have obstacles to overcome whether it is weight, death of a friend or a train. What makes the most difference is what we decide to do when faced with these obstacles and how we overcome them and endure!

Athletic or Athlete

chicmarathonWhat is an athlete? Who gets to make that call? Over the weekend, I ran my 5th marathon in Chicago. I must say, there were people that looked the “elite athlete” part and those that looked the “you’re seriously going to run a marathon” part. The difference between the two, at least in my mind, is only the time they finished. Some of us were born to run (I would not say that is me). The rest of us were born to set goals and reach them.

I saw Batman, Elvis, a banana, a man in pink crocs. I saw guy that had “DUDE” on the front of his shirt, so everyone yelled “WAY TO GO DUDE” (loved that one!). I saw young to old. I saw small and I saw big. But, you know what, they were all athletes. They all trained (at least we hope they did) and we all ran 26.2 miles. Some of us had a specific time in mind. For all of us, it was important to finish. I ran for a charity and for the boys with MD that will never be able to run. Others ran for a bad bet made, or to raise money for a different charity. The bottom line, WE ALL RAN. We are all ATHLETES.  We are all WINNERS.

Moral of the story, you don’t have to be ATHLETIC TO BE AN ATHLETE!

The Race

What motivates you to follow your dreams?

What fears could hinder your way?

When times get tough do you get going?

Or do you turn and run away?

The key to success is held within

If used correctly, can open any door.

When opportunity knocks, do you let it in?

Do you ponder and only want more?

I believe we have the power to manipulate,

The realm of our existence.

I believe we are born with the gifts to create

Our destiny with some persistance.

So what do you want in this life you’ve been given?

What actions will you put in place?

Is it inside you, are you that driven?

Are you ready to lead the race?


What are you passionate about? Is it a sport? Is it your kids? Is it a certain team? How do you show your passion?

One thing I am passionate about is running. One way I show my passion is by running and participating in races. Another way I show my passion is by volunteering on the race committee for the Des Moines Marathon. I came upon this by chance. A few years ago when I worked at a gym, I was approached by the race director and asked if I would be interested in forming my own training group made up of gym members and training them to run a full or half marathon. I accepted. I believe there were maybe 30 people or so who signed up to join the group to run with me. This group did wonderful things. They were like my kids and when they all achieved their goal and crossed the finish line, I couldn’t have been more proud!

Heather Brunk MarathonerAfter I led that group, the race director asked me to be part of the race committee. I have done so now the last 3 years. This is an amazing group of individuals who meet every month and donate their time for their love of running. Not only is the race good for the people who train to run in it, but it is good for the community. It is a showcase to show one’s passion for something. I call race weekend my “civic duty weekend” because I am there 10-12 hours a day at times. Every minute is worth it to me when I see the joy of the racers as they cross that finish line.

So find your passion, and pay it forward by volunteering to help support YOUR cause and your PASSION!

Shake your Groove Thing!

dancingUnaccustomed stimuli. Have you heard of that? Unaccustomed stimuli is an activity that you do rarely, may not be natural in nature, and one that gets your heart rate up. Some examples would be stepping up and down at a fast rate, doing jumping jacks, or hopping on one foot. Another form of unaccustomed stimuli, at least for thirty something and forty something women is dancing!!!

Let me explain. Recently I took a trip with some girlfriends. One of my friends who lives in California has a trainer. She told me how he is constantly on her about engaging her core. Well, we went dancing. While we were dancing I was talking to my friend about engaging her core. I had her do this by pulling her shoulders back, having a straight spine and squeezing her stomach while she was dancing. We also discussed ways we could work our legs. My legs were slightly squatted most of the night. I was constantly moving. I was constantly squeezing my stomach in (let’s face it, who doesn’t do that when they are out at a club). My heart rate was up. I was sweating. This was my unaccustomed stimuli. Not only was I dancing with my friends, I was burning calories and toning muscles at the same time.

So, for those of you who say they have no time for exercise, HEATHER SAYS, turn up the tunes and shake your groove thing around the house!! Shake it in the kitchen, shake it during commercials if you are watching t.v. at night, just shake it!! Your dancing (aka unaccustomed stimuli) just may be the jump start you need to get that metabolism raring!!

Sweat it out or rest?

snotsicksickSometimes we just don’t feel good. We may have a cold. We could have body aches. We could just be plain ole tired. But what do you do then? Do you go to a scheduled work out? Do you try to run when all you do is want to sleep? Many people who exercise avidly get a sense of guilt if they don’t do it. Not only do their bodies crave the activity, but their minds crave it also. So when you get sick, what are you going to do?

I’ll tell you what you should do, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! There is a reason you feel like that! Our bodies are very smart. They know if we have slept too much, exercised too hard, or just flat out run ourselves into the ground. We all try to fight through it or try to burn it out, at times, but this may not always be best. For instance, if you are running a fever, having a hard time breathing due to head or chest congestion, then your body says you should rest. Just as energize can boost our metabolism and make us feel better, it can also make us feel worse if our body is run down. Look at the long term benefits. Do I take a day or two off and rest, or do I try to work out and have a crappy work out because I have zero energy. I recommend you let your body have that rest it so needs and deserves! It is very hard for the Type A personalities like myself, but in the long run, your body will thank you two fold!