Shakira & Jennifer Lopez shined bright at NFL Super Bowl 2020 in Miami

Feb. 3, 2020 –Shakira and Jennifer Lopez were hotter than the summer heat in Vegas at The NFL’s Super Bowl LIV Halftime show. The two Latinas made headlines today with their saucy, sexy and salacious performance at Super Bowl LIV in Miami, Florida. Normally, I would not pick two pop stars to write about in a punk, metal, rock n roll zine like Rank & Revue – but our Editor is a huge football fan – and I’m a Latina, Lebanese girl and an artist that’s a huge fan of these two ladies. For decades, I’ve been following Shakira and J.Lo’s careers and mimicking their moves when I dance. I was addicted to watching Jennifer Lopez’s music videos before school in 8th grade. [I also danced to Michael Jackson, Lauryn Hill and Ace of Base in the mornings.]

At the end of the show, I really smiled from the heart when Shakira was in gold and J.Lo was wearing silver and they were holding hands, uplifting and complimenting each other, looking incredibly happy and vivacious. Clearly living out their dreams to the fullest. Silver and gold were colors of royalty, and I liked the way the girls ended the show together, hand in hand, rather than looking like a subtle competition for time and publicity. Each woman had their unique time to shine and relive the classic songs that made them famous. They showcased their unique dance styles. Then, the two sort of passed the baton onto a younger generation as Jennifer Lopez’s daughter, Emme Maribel Muñiz, sang at the end whilst her mother danced and Shakira played the drums. There was a wide range of ages and generations performing on stage, which also made me happy: to see beauty thriving at any age and how all women can be beautiful and powerful, especially in numbers, no matter your age. [Beyonce does a good job of showcasing black girl magic when she performs in masses, too!] So often, society is so shallow and we idolize the youth like Greek gods and demonize women past a certain age. Seeing these women excelling and rocking it at ages 43 and 50 gives hope to all ladies that we aren’t just getting older, we’re getting better and stronger with age, like scotch. Although I doubt either of these women imbibe alcohol with abs like that. Dios mio!

Most of the coverage has been positive, but there has been quite the uproar amongst viewers and alike regarding their provocative dancing and clothing. First, some of those NFL cheerleaders are wearing uniforms with a lot less coverage and a lot more makeup than what Shakira and J.Lo had on. And I’ve seen some of the cheerleader’s dance routines, which can be pretty risqué, even at college games. Truly, I don’t know why anyone that’s seen an NFL game is shocked by what they saw at Super Bowl 2020. Do you have to like it? No. But please don’t act surprised that sexuality has made its way into men’s professional football. We aren’t at church. Plus, male artists have performed shirtless at the Super Bowl, so, why the inequality and scrutiny towards female artists? Secondly, the NFL asked two Latina entertainers to perform the show. They didn’t ask a balloon artist, a magician or a group of older jazz players in suits. They asked Shakira and Jennifer Lopez to perform. And these two ladies brought the live entertainment.

At our best, Latinas are a passionate, sexual, tantalizing and evocative group of females with mystical powers. No one should be surprised that two super stars like Jennifer Lopez and Shakira turned heads and seduced the crowd with their beauty, style, athleticism and artistic talent. The photo provided by Pepsi promoting the show was a bombshell of sex appeal, clearly letting the audience know: this will be provocative, times two.

Furthermore, belly dancing is hard. I would know because I am a belly dancer and have performed on stage at nightclubs. What Shakira is doing is hard work and it’s more than just a few sexy hip thrusts: she’s showcasing cultural art, dance and music. She’s isolating parts of her body and her muscles to move each part, one by one, sometimes in a fluid and constant motion. I remember years ago, one of my gay guy friends sent me a video of Shakira coming down the pole in her video “Rabiosa” with Pitbull and said “this reminds me of you”. An ex of mine, got jealous about it, which was absurd. True, the pole dancing by J.Lo in Super Bowl 2020 was pushing it a bit, considering kids were watching this event, but that is also an extremely difficult dance form that requires strength. It’s not just for strippers, pole dancing is a great core exercise and can really make someone feel sexy and empowered. Even if you pole dance in private at home.

Ultimately, no matter where you stand on sexuality, it shouldn’t be a shock, especially since J.Lo was nominated for an award for her role in the film “Hustlers”. Which featured a dance routine with her on the pole wearing not very much at all. Believe me when I say, she toned it down for the Super Bowl. Mind you, I did notice there was a lot of spread eagles and close-ups of intimate lady parts and was rather graphic. [Remember in the film “Chicago” when Catherine Zeta-Jones says she caught her husband and her sister doing the spread eagle?] Either way, while I did notice that Shakira and J.Lo’s dance routines and their performances were dripping with sexuality and perhaps many didn’t appreciate the sex factor. Again, why are so many people shocked? This isn’t anything new for either entertainer or The National Football League.

Today, my boyfriend was playing sports radio and three men were talking about the Super Bowl Halftime show. Listening to three straight Southern men talk about the performance was amusing, cringe worthy, depressing and cliché. I love men’s sports talk! But this was quite silly to waste this much air-time on gossip. Instead of talking about the costumes, hair and makeup and the fantastic dancing or their successful careers; the focus was on the women’s sexiness, appearances and their ages. The men talked about how Shakira had an outer belly button and normally that’s not sexy, but she pulled it off. One guy talked about how Jennifer was too old to be dancing like that, and so was Shakira. Other men defended the ladies right to entertain, which I appreciated. Although I did understand some concerns from one man, speaking as a parent, because little girls are looking up to these women and we’re already under so much pressure to be sex objects. Sadly, us ladies are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. We get treated like sex objects no matter what. We are either too sexy, not sexy enough, too young or too old, too skinny or too fat. Too confident or too submissive. It’s always something. Aesthetically, we can’t please every man and it’s not our job to do so. It’s exhausting how women are always expected to smile and ‘be ladylike’ and never be too pushy or you’ll look like a bitch. It’s simply impossible for girls to please everyone. So, I think the message is clear and just like Rihanna and Madonna said, we should “shine bright like a diamond!” and be “unapologetically ourselves”. J.Lo and Shakira give so much back to the community, why didn’t the men talk about the fact Jennifer Lopez has an estimated net worth of $400 million and Shakira has an estimated net worth of $300 million. Hips don’t lie? How about numbers don’t lie. These women are two fiery powerhouses that know how to make money, create a brand and flourish in a man’s world.

The first thing I said to Steven Mark, my boyfriend, after we saw the Halftime show, “I loved their costumes! I want every single one for me!” Because anyone that adores fashion knows that J.Lo’s handmade Versace and Swarovski clothes were to die for! I wanted to do a photo shoot in it and I can just imagine all the people around the world about to mimic these iconic looks. Already, a local dance studio here in town is offering Super Bowl Half Time classes for dancers to replicate the routines. All in all, it was an unforgettable performance that reminded me of Las Vegas.

¡Gracias chicas! Your hard work has paid off. ¡Viva Latinas!

“There is a rose in Spanish Harlem
A red rose up in Spanish Harlem
It is a special one, it’s never seen the sun
It only comes out when the moon is on the run
And all the stars are gleaming
It’s growing in the street right up through the concrete
But soft and sweet and dreamin
g

There is a rose in Spanish Harlem
A red rose up in Spanish Harlem
With eyes as black as coal
That look down in my soul
And starts a fire there
And then I lose control
I have to beg your pardon
. I’m going to pick that rose
And watch her as she grows in my garden.”

– Ben E. King

Note: This story was originally published in Rank & Revue, 2020 issue

Bodybuilder Lisa Traugott stars in military-inspired show ‘American Grit’ on FOX

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Bikini bodybuilder Lisa Traugott. Photography provided by ‘American Grit’ on FOX.

Local Austinite, author and bikini bodybuilder, Lisa Traugott, was cast on FOX’s military-inspired show “American Grit”. The show made its grand debut two weeks ago and the third episode, “Moving Camp”, will air this Thursday on April 28, 2016 at 8 PM CST.

Prior to being cast for “American Grit” on FOX—Lisa Traugott wrote a book titled “She’s Losing it!”—a memoir about how she lost 50 pounds at the age of 38 by entering a bodybuilding competition. Over the course of two to three years, Traugott ascended from coming in dead last to the top three placings at bikini bodybuilding and sports model competitions. Sometimes competing against women half her age. (Traugott’s in her early 40’s.) Just last year Lisa won first place in the bikini contest at Texas State Naturals in 2015. And this weekend she will be competing at The Physique Showdown in Houston, TX on April 30, 2016 hosted by The Naturally Fit Federation.

Last year Lisa Traugott was selected as a cast member for “American Grit” and it was a new experience for most of the crew, a different kind of fitness-inspired TV show with a unique edge. Stated on the show’s official website, “FOX has ordered ‘American Grit’—a 10-episode competition series starring WWE Superstar John Cena. Produced by Leftfield Pictures—sixteen of the country’s toughest men and women are split into four teams as they work together to face a variety of military-grade and survival-themed challenges. Cena and an elite group of mentors from the nation’s most exclusive military units will push these civilians beyond their limits. The mentors, known as “The Cadre,” include Rorke Denver, Noah Galloway, Tawanda “Tee” Hanible and Nick “The Reaper” Irving. These real-life heroes who represent diverse backgrounds and top branches of the U.S. Armed Forces will impart their first-hand knowledge and experience to help the competitors work together as teams to surmount near impossible mental and physical challenges. ‘American Grit’ embodies the military ethos ‘no man left behind’ because only the first team to complete the challenges together is safe from elimination. Each episode will culminate in “The Circus,” a punishing, endurance-based obstacle course designed to break the weakest competitors. With up to a million dollars of prize money at stake, this is the ultimate test of strength, grit, the human spirit and most importantly, teamwork.”

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The day that FOX released “American Grit” onto television—Lisa Traugott spoke with Arts & Entertainment writer for Examiner, Nicolette Mallow, at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters waterfront to Lake Austin. The interview below includes anecdotes about Traugott’s journey to TV and the story that lead her to become a bikini bodybuilder.

Nicolette Mallow: Will you tell me about your background in bodybuilding and how you came to be on the show “American Grit”? What was the screening process to become a cast member was like? I’m curious to know how you discovered this show and what it required to make the cut.

Lisa Traugott: Going back to the start, last year in 2015 was a really tough time for me. My mother had advanced stage lung cancer and it was the same time my book was being released. Good and bad events happening at once; I was so stressed that I started gaining some of the weight back that I’d worked hard to lose. To keep myself grounded, I started with a new coach and entered The Arnold Classic, the second largest bodybuilding competition in the world. You have to be selected just to get in. At the time I was 41 and I was competing against women literally half my age. Plus, back then I had never won a competition, and not only had I never won, but I would always come in dead last. So even though I did not have an award-winning body, because I could write a really good cover letter. I was accepted… It was just such a weird time because my mother was in the hospital with pneumonia. And then the same day that her fever broke: I got a text saying that I was accepted into The Arnold. Right then I started jumping around the hospital room in excitement about the future competition. I recall my mother said to me in happiness, “That’s great! But what’s The Arnold?” It was so funny when she said that… But yeah, all the while she’s going through chemo and I am practicing my poses and lifting weights with my trainer, Robin Johnson Jr.. At the time I went to him and said, “The only thing I don’t want is that I just don’t want to come in dead last. I’ve set the bar really low for you as a trainer.” And Robin said to me, “No. That’s the bar that you’ve set for yourself. I have higher standards for you.”

NM: Wow. How did you feel when he said that?

LT: At that moment I realized that I was just afraid. Without meeting a single person, I had already decided that they were all better than me. So I had to kind of throw that mentality out the window. I ended up coming in 20th out of 38 contestants. Which was huge improvement compared to the rest. Plus, as I said before, this was an international competition against women half my age.

NM: Congratulations! That is huge improvement in regards to placement.

LT: Thank you. It was huge improvement. Five weeks later I did another bikini bodybuilding competition, a local show called the Texas Shredder. My mom said to me one day before the show that she had a dream, and in the dream I came in 3rd place at the competition. And it turned out that I did. I won 3rd place. It was nice because my mom got to see me win the award and hold the sword. Three weeks later she ended up passing away… It was just so intense because she died on May 4th and I gave her eulogy on Mother’s Day (May 10th). And then a week later I ran a Spartan Race with my kids. I used fitness to work through my grief and I kept competing and bodybuilding.

NM: That’s admirable you did something so healthy and empowering to get well and heal when it can be so easy for us to slip off into the deep and the dark during tough times. What happened next?

LT: Well thank you… During these competitions, I was blogging about all this and I started getting more readers. It started as something I did for fun. But then at the next show I placed third—and the show after that I placed second. Finally I had one month left. One month between the show I’d placed second and my last show to compete for the year 2015— I went hardcore and did 730 squats a day. How I was exercising and how hard I was training was a reflection of my focus and that I wanted to win.

NM: That is hardcore. So how did the final competition span out?

LT: It was down to me and one other girl, and I thought she had it. But when they declared my number it was so funny because the announcer said onto the mic, “Well, she might write ‘She’s Losing It!’ but she’s winning it tonight”.

NM: That was very clever of him. It’s also really impressive and inspiring how you won first place after coming in dead last with only a few years of experience.

LT: I was so happy! Soon after I placed first at Texas State Naturals, that’s when somebody from FOX called me.

NM: I see. So FOX sought you out for the show ‘American Grit’ and you didn’t initially apply? Obviously a lot of people were watching that competition.

LT: Yes. They told me they had been reading my blog and thought I was interesting and wanted me to audition for the show. When they told me it entailed military style endeavors I thought, “I’m not really qualified for this” and I wrote them saying I was not sure I was right for the role. But they encouraged me to apply and after speaking to a Producer. I sent in a video of my workout routine and my fitness story. Soon after I was flown out to LA and I realized that while I was there: 6,500 other people had auditioned. It blew my mind! In the end, I was one of sixteen cast members chosen for “American Grit”. From start-to-finish, it was an overwhelming, amazing experience that I will treasure for life.

NM: Which team were you cast for within the show? I read it was divided into four teams with four mentors (all Veterans), and it seems John Cena is sort of the head honcho of the reality show and directs all four teams? By the way, John Cena is a beast and I mean that as a compliment. I’ll bet it was fun to meet him and all the military personnel. I grew up with men in the military and the energy has become quite familiar to me over the decades.

LT: Yes, John Cena is such a wonderful person and I really enjoyed speaking with him. And yes, he is a beast! The teams were divided into four: two men and two women on each team. All teams lead by a military hero. My team leader was Noah Galloway, a retired Sergeant for the United States Army. Noah dropped out of college after 9/11 to join the military. During his second deployment, Sergeant Galloway was hit bit a roadside bomb and part of his left arm and most of his left leg were blown off and removed. Yet he still runs and stays fit and was even on the reality show “Dancing With The Stars”. Noah’s story is so inspiring and he really helped my crew and I throughout the process. He really focused on using fitness to deal with any personal problems. Noah was such a good, strong leader and he reminded us to stay humble. So that was sort of the mantra: stay humble… Noah also kept telling us to not focus on anybody or anything else, to keep our mind clear. He really knew that a lot of the struggle is mental, not physical. Noah helped us be the best we could be. He also told us not to pretend, to just be ourselves, and don’t change ourselves to be what we think someone else might want just cause we’re on TV. That helped me relax more given that I’d never been on a reality show before and didn’t know what to expect.

NM: Yes, being around such strong men and women, especially Veterans, would assist in keeping everyone mentally focused and determined… On a different note, let’s talk about the trailer of the show. When I saw it, I noticed that one moment when a woman collapses. Are you allowed to talk about that yet? Is she all right? What happened? I assume doctors were on the scene?

LT: Yes, she is O.K. and we were actually texting earlier. And yes, medical crew and an ambulance were always on site. Doctors were readily available. In the footage she’s taken to the hospital on the spot. What happened is they were jumping in-and-out of buckets of ice, dousing themselves in icewater during winter in the NW.

NM: Sounds almost as if the ice put her body in a state of shock. I can imagine that might happen due to intense and rapid changes in body temperature. I’m glad to hear all is well… Will you please tell me a bit about “She’s Losing It!” and what inspired you to make the blog and write the book?

LT: Aside from using fitness to heal my own life, part of the reason why I wanted to do this show and write a book and a blog. I kind of want to be like the “Rocky” for moms. I turn on the TV and it feels like nobody is fighting for middle-aged women or mothers. So I just wanted to let women know that I’m fighting for them. And that it’s O.K. to be scared and its O.K. to cry. It’s O.K. to feel like you’re not good enough. But to never give up and just take charge of your body and your life. Keep doing it, keep moving in the right direction and keep working. “She’s Losing It!” is like “Pumping Iron” only if Tina Fey played Arnold Schwarzenegger. Ultimately it’s like a “Rocky” story for moms who find the inherent humor in combining strength training with potty training.

NM: That’s very sweet and I know women have thanked you and will continue to thank you for sharing your empowering story. Any plans for the future? Will you write more books and continue to compete?

LT: Oh yes I have so much going on. I’ve got back-to-back competitions. I’m also going to be doing stand-up comedy. I have a thing where every year for my birthday: I scare myself. For my 38th birthday I entered a bodybuilding competition. For my 39th I jumped out of a plane. For my 40th I did pole dancing. And for my 41st I did a reality TV show. This year at 42 years, I am going to do stand up comedy for my birthday. In the end, it’s all so much fun. Also, after I wrote the book I suddenly had women writing me. The women expressed that they loved the memoir, but they were seeking more insights about diet, training rips, my routine and if I had a package for distribution or for sale. Recently I put all that together and it’s now on my website. I just finished filming it and basically it’s different from other programs because I go through the meal plans, exercise routines, a fitness library of exercies and then I have motivational videos. Talking about some of the things I was dealing with like self-sabotage, feeling vulnerable. Staying on track and what happens when you get off track, also I talk about how to deal with time management and having kids while getting fit. I write about how to deal with ‘mommy guilt’ and so I kind of cover all these different topics.

NM: Thank you for taking the time, today, to share your story. I look forward to learning from you.

For more information regarding bikini bodybuilder Lisa Traugott please visit her website at www.sheslosingit.com.

To watch previous episodes of “American Grit” on FOX, and to preview the cast or crew, please refer to www.fox.com/american-grit.

Note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com in April 2016.  

Naomi Whittel: Founder of Reserveage Nutrition has a vision for global wellness

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Naomi Whittel. Photography by Jack Plunkett.

Founder and CEO of Reserveage™ Nutrition, Naomi Whittel has dedicated her career to naturally beautify the world with a vision oriented around science, health and wellness. Whittel is a ‘nutritional navigator’ who travels the globe studying various cultures and ecosystems to discover the best standards in nutritional health. Launching her company with four products in March 2009—Reserveage™ Nutrition now offers an extensive list of products ranging from skin hydration, metabolism boosters, anti-aging, cardiovascular support, antioxidants, and much more. Naomi Whittel has received several prestigious awards for her role as a successful female entrepreneur, including the following: the Gold Stevie Winner as Female Executive of the Year and the Silver Stevie Winner as Female Entrepreneur of the Year. “Naomi Whittel is one of the nation’s leading female innovators in the natural products industry. With two decades of experience in developing and managing sustainable companies in the health and wellness sector, she is the founder and CEO of Reserveage Nutrition™ and two sister companies: ResVitale™ and ReBody™. Together these natural health supplement brands have earned over 30 industry awards in four years, and are recognized for their mission to produce life-changing products based on ground-breaking science.”

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Recently, Naomi Whittel assented to an interview with a local Arts & Entertainment Examiner, Nicolette Mallow, to talk entrepreneurship and becoming a CEO at the age of 23. Whittel also shared some helpful tips and insights related to wellness. The interview was held within the Press room at Prevention Magazine’s third annual R3 Summit held at ACL Live at The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas.

Nicolette Mallow: On stage, you spoke of age and numbers. You emphasized that a number doesn’t define us no matter how young or advanced in age. Listening to you talk about starting a company that went global and being the CEO at 23 years old is so inspiring to all female (or male) entrepreneurs. However, I also recall during the presentation you mentioned that sometimes in the past you hid the fact you were the CEO because you felt your age might cause others to not take you seriously… How did you overcome the fear of being the youngest? It’s important for us all to learn from our elders or those with the experience of time that exceeds our own. But I have often felt the same way as an artistic professional when I’m the youngest, and often the only female, in a group where everyone else is older. It can be hard to be taken seriously and it can feel discouraging… How did you break free of all that and succeed?

Naomi Whittel: Being a young entrepreneur can be difficult. In hindsight, I wish that I hadn’t always kept it a secret that I was the CEO. But it’s a learning process for everyone starting out. First off, in order to succeed you have to be willing to fail and to be bold. To take risks. Failure is a huge part of success, but so long as you hold fast to your purpose and sustain boldness in all you do. In due time your visions and dreams will transpire. It’s also imperative to have a voice and to be honest with yourself. To know your strengths and weaknesses… Not long ago, I was in a meeting with other entrepreneurs and we were discussing investments. We needed to raise money for something that day and it seemed daunting to the others. At first no one was willing to invest, but I saw no reason to not make a move and act. I was the first one, and the youngest, to offer up a check to invest. Once I made the first move, the others were interested in the investment and we raised the money that day. Boldness goes a long way… Once you harness your internal power and know how to use it in a healthy way. Once you find a vision and hold onto it: falling into success becomes natural.

NM: Speaking of healthy, in regards to nutrition and wellness, it can be daunting for those just starting out with a mission to achieve a better diet or a healthier lifestyle. There are thousands of books, recipes and products out there for people to try. Where to begin? What is your advice for anyone wanting to change their lifestyle and nutritional diet but they don’t know where to start?

NW: Yes there is a lot of information there. I would advise the first step to be the elimination of processed foods. Processed foods do not carry natural nutrients, or often any nutrients, and therefore the body is not getting anything vital or healthy from these processed foods. Processed foods can do more harm than good. Solely because processed foods often carry a lot of chemicals and damaging, artificial substances within them, too. People aren’t always aware that what they are eating isn’t actually food at all… I was fortunate to grow up in a home of science and chemistry with parents focused on a biodynamic, organic lifestyle. However, I want everyone to join me on the journey to wellness no matter how or when their journey begins.

NM: My last question is, for those of us who sustain an overall healthy diet, exercise, drink plenty of fluids, take nutritional supplements and hydrate our skin, hair and nails. For those of us who feel we are nearly doing it all. What is something else that we can do to improve our diet and overall wellness?

NW: Intermittent fasting is something even the pro’s can forget to do. Fasting periodically from 8 PM to NOON has amazing benefits on the body. Intermittent fasting has proven to control blood sugar and insulin. It can promote weight loss and reduce cholesterol levels. Intermittent fasting can even assist with cellular repair or inflammation in the body, reducing stress.

For more information regarding Naomi Whittel’s background story or to view and purchase products online, please visit www.reserveage.com.

Note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com in January 2016.

Celebrity personal trainer Larysa DiDio talks fitness, healing and Kung Fu

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Larysa DiDio. Photography by Jack Plunkett.

Celebrity personal trainer and writer Larysa DiDio was a featured fitness instructor at Prevention Magazine’s third annual R3 Summit. Sporting hot pink Nike shoes, athletic gear and a stylish braid: DiDio taught her groundbreaking workout, Fit in 10, that maximizes results in only 10 minutes a day. Afterward, DiDio consented to an interview in the Press room with local Arts & Entertainment Examiner, Nicolette Mallow, on Jan. 16, 2016 at ACL Live at The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas.

Nicolette Mallow: You’re a remarkable athlete and clearly you posses a strong, resilient body to be such a steadfast, successful and powerful instructor. However, when athletes (male or female) get injured. It can be very difficult, almost emasculating, to feel weak doing something that used to come naturally to our bodies. How do you handle injuries, or what advice to you give clients (athletes) when they are in the recovery process after an injury or surgery? How do you keep the mind focused on the end goal without overworking the body in the process, or feeling as if the body lost its physical power?

Larysa DiDio: Week-to-week progress is how I look at my fitness goals when I am injured. Being kind to ourselves as individuals is also an important factor. Talk to yourself positively—turn the negative into a positive—and the healing process goes a lot smoother. Mind over matter really is a huge part of fitness and staying focused. For instance, I’ve broken my ankles twice. The first time I was really annoyed and frustrated. And that did not help me heal any faster nor did it alleviate the pain. Later on, the second time around when I broke my ankle playing outside with my son. Even though I was not pleased to break a bone: I knew what to expect and I had a positive outlook. I knew that in time my ankle would heal and it wasn’t something that would last forever. The second break was a lot easier and the healing process was far less stressful or straining.

NM: For the beginners just starting out fitness classes with no prior athletic training, it can feel overwhelming and intimidating being around those with athletic skills. What is your advice?

LD: The gym should be a haven for everybody, especially beginners. For beginners, the gym is not a place of competition. It’s completely natural for a beginner to be afraid and there’s no shame in that. I advise those just beginning to enroll in fitness classes and work out in groups. That way everyone is in it together, learning the ropes and finding their strengths and weaknesses… When I started fitness classes as a kid, I watched Jane Fonda videos. I watched her videos so repeatedly the video would skip. Jane Fonda was a great teacher.

NM: Do you believe massage therapy is essential to the fitness lifestyle?

LD: Yes. Massage therapy is absolutely essential. And if people cannot afford massage therapy regularly than they should invest in a foam roller and explore foam rolling exercises. It applies the same kind of pressure and manifests the same results as massage therapy.

NM: Out of all the exercises you have mastered or explored. Do you have a favorite workout?

LD: Yes, I love learning Kung Fu. Martial arts has become my favorite workout! I love learning how to train with weaponry. I love Tai Chi. It’s not only logical so that I can and will defend myself if need be. But it’s very empowering and I love crossing the standard gender roles. It’s a great workout for men and women alike.

“Larysa DiDio is a celebrity personal trainer and fitness author. With over 20 years experience in helping celebrities, Olympians, professional athletes as well as moms, dads, and kids meet their health and fitness goals. Also, an accomplished writer of “Sneaky Fitness: How to Slip Exercise Into Your Kids Everyday”– Larysa has provided exciting articles and content for national and trade publications as well as blogs and websites. She’s currently an expert health and fitness contributor to Prevention Magazine, host of “The Perfect” online videos and host/co-creator of “Strogation” and “Fit in 10” Fitness DVD’s with Prevention Magazine. Larysa has appeared on Good Day NY, Better TV and CBS Morning segments to name a few and has been featured in over 50 national women’s magazine. Larysa spends time at schools, hospitals, wellness seminars, and on television motivating and inspiring others to live a healthy, active lifestyle.”

www.larysadidio.com

Note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com in January 2016.

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Dr. Travis Stork gets to the heart of the matter at Prevention’s R3 Summit

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Dr. Travis Stork speaking about heart disease at Prevention Magazine’s 3rd annual R3 Summit at ACL Live at The Moody Theater on Jan. 16, 2016. Photography by Jack Plunkett.

Dr. Travis Stork educated listeners about the human heart and how it operates at Prevention Magazine’s 3rd annual R3 Summit held at ACL Live at The Moody Theater on Jan. 16, 2016. Dr. Stork works in the emergency room and he seeks to advise people about the warning signs of heart malfunction and when to seek immediate medical attention. Joining him on stage was R3’s Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Jennifer Ashton, a Board-certified ob-gyn and fellow co-host of the Emmy®- Award–winning show “The Doctors”, ABC Chief Health Correspondent. Together, the two doctors delivered a compelling, interactive, playful and graphic presentation regarding heart disease and other medical miscellany.

Heart disease is the number one killer for both women and men. And Dr. Travis Stork says that too many people neglect the warning signs or the red flags of heart-related health problems due to factors such as lack of knowledge or lack of awareness. Sadly a lot of people are unaware of the symptoms or they unknowingly confuse a heart attack for something less severe like fatigue, numbness, indigestion or nausea. Resulting in a heart that goes untreated, sometimes until it’s too late. “Time is muscle” and Dr. Stork wants everyone to be aware of the facts.

Dr. Travis Stork is an Emmy®-nominated host of the award-winning talk show, ‘The Doctors’, and a board-certified emergency medicine physician. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Duke University as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and earned his M.D. with honors from the University of Virginia, being elected into the prestigious honor society of Alpha Omega Alpha for outstanding academic achievement. Based on his experiences in the ER, Dr. Stork is driven to teach people how to prevent illness before it happens. As a motivational speaker on the topic of health and wellness, Dr. Stork teaches people how to achieve optimal health by focusing on the 200-plus seemingly inconsequential health decisions people make throughout each day.”

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Prior to his presentation at Prevention Magazine’s R3 Summit—Nicolette Mallow, an Arts & Entertainment Examiner within Austin—interviewed Dr. Travis Stork in the Press room.

Nicolette Mallow: Working as an ER doctor, obviously you deal with a lot of blood and trauma. You have numerous patients in dire pain and distress, sometimes on the verge of life or death. How do you handle such high volumes of pressure and chaos on a daily basis and remain calm all the while to serve and heal your patients?

Dr. Travis Stork: Being an ER doctor is a lot like anything else. A learned skill. For instance, I am sure when you began writing and interviewing people that it made you nervous. You had doubts, fears and hesitations. Everything can be scary in the beginning. As an ER doctor, I felt all those emotions and fears in the beginning. But as time went by it became more and more of a routine and I overcame my fear. When you have a patient gushing or squirting out massive amounts of blood: you have to learn to overcome the fear, manage the stress and work under pressure.

NM: What is one aspect of being a doctor that Medical school could not prepare you for?

DTS: The healthcare system. It’s a beast. Nothing at school could’ve ever prepared me for that and it’s most definitely a huge problem that I was not prepared for. Fortunately doctors are becoming more vocal about our dysfunctional healthcare system and seek to improve the inadequacies.

NM: A veteran who served our country overseas as a Combat medic in the US Army during times of war once told me that the heart is the most important organ in our body. People often think it’s the brain, but he told me that the brain can die and yet the heart stays awake. Which is what happens when people go into a coma. Do you agree that the heart is our most imperative organ?

DTS: Yes; without a doubt the heart is the most crucial organ. Let’s say someone’s brain is damaged after a heart attack or the brain stops functioning. The result is not because the brain died or was damaged on its own without cause. It doesn’t just happen for no reason. When oxygen flow is cut off from the heart to the brain, tissue dies. The effect of such scar tissue is damage (sometimes permanent damage) to the brain. Our heart pumps out blood and oxygen that flows into every particle, cell and organ within the body.

For those unable to hear Dr. Travis Stork’s live presentation at the R3 Summit, there is plenty of information provided by online. Please refer to his videos “Signs of a Heart Attack” and what happens to the body during a “Heart Attack”.

Note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com in January 2016.

Prevention Magazine will host its 3rd annual award-winning R3 Summit in Austin

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R3 Summit event logo by Prevention Magazine.

R3 Summit is an award winning one-and-a-half daylong experiential event hosted by Prevention Magazine that provides women with the tools to take action when it comes to their health and happiness. Taking place at ACL Live at The Moody Theater on January 15-16, 2016; the term ‘R3’ represents the three focuses and the overall mission of this extraordinary event: Revive, Refresh, and Reinvent. Only two blocks away from the trails, bridges and waterfront of Lady Bird Lake (Town Lake), the venue is adjacent to the W Hotel within the heart of downtown in the 2nd Street District. Austin is a befitting city to host a sponsored event like this due to the locals and their love for fitness, wellness and beauty. The water also possesses a sense of tranquility, utopia and peacefulness.

Presently, tickets for Prevention’s R3 Summit are available for purchase online. Guests have the option of selecting a one-day or two-day pass and prices do vary. Limited VIP Tickets are also available and a gift bag valued at over $300 is included with a VIP purchase, as well as priority seating. Students can also find tickets on sale at a discount to accommodate the college budget.

The Celebratory Reception on the night of Friday, January 15th will feature live music and tapas from an inventive, multi-course dinner menu curated by Top Chef Masters alum, Chef Monica Pope. Bob Roth will also be speaking about how to harness your inner power to reach your full potential. “Bob Roth is one of the most experienced and sought-after meditation teachers in America. Over the past 40 years, Bob has taught Transcendental Meditation to many thousands of people and authored an authoritative book on the subject, fittingly entitled, Transcendental Meditation, which has been translated into 20 languages. Bob currently serves as the Executive Director of the David Lynch Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity which has brought meditation to over 500,000 inner-city youth in underserved schools in 35 countries, to veterans and their families who suffer from post-traumatic stress, and women and children who are survivors of domestic violence.”

The program of events hosted by R3 will also entail fitness and body sculpting classes, tastings and cooking demonstrations by top chefs, one-on-one beauty consultations, and wellness workshops. Additionally, all guests will be served a delicious breakfast, lunch and other tasty snacks on Saturday, January 16th. Attendees can also participate in free yoga all day. And all attendees will receive a custom-designed Prevention R3 reusable gift bag. Furthermore, main stage panel discussions will last from 9:30 A.M. to 4:45 P.M. on Saturday, January 16th.

There are numerous speakers included on the program and the full list can be found online. Doctors, physiologists, nutritionists, chefs, motivational speakers and artists of various sorts will be present at the event. A few of the confirmed speakers for the third annual R3 Summit include the following:

  • Joan Lunden – Keynote Speaker, award-winning journalist, bestselling author, health and wellness advocate, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, and a mom of seven children.
  • Dr. Travis Stork – Emmy®‐nominated host of the award-winning talk show, The Doctors, and a board-certified emergency medicine physician.
  • Lizzie Velasquez – motivational speaker, author and activist, A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story.
  • Chad Sarno – VP of Plant-Based Wellness for Rouxbe Online Culinary School.
  • Monica Pope – James Beard nominated Houston Chef and Restauranteur, Top Chef Masters.
  • Mary Joan Cunningham – health and wellness activist, creator of #ThrivewithMS and motivational speaker on ‘How to Rise Above Any Diagnosis’.

To purchase tickets online or obtain additional information pertaining to the schedule, speakers, sponsors and event times: please visit the official website at http://www.preventionr3summit.com.

“Prevention is the nation’s leading healthy lifestyle brand, with a U.S. magazine audience of 7.5 million readers, 34 million readers outside the U.S. and a top digital destination that has 6.5 million unique visitors each month, 15 million page views per month, and 4.3 million newsletter subscribers.”

Note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com in October 2015. 

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