SIP AND SNIFF THIS

23 10 2017

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3500 calories = 1 pound of Fat. Burn 500 calories a day more than you consume, you will lose about a pound a week. Increase you caloric burn and eat fewer calories. Sounds simple enough. Sorta like second grade math right.  So how is it that if you are smarter than a second grader you are not being wise enough to stop wasting your money buying diet products, powders, shakes and oils to lose weight and get healthy from “Karen” aka also known as Lindsay’s mom from school.  Maybe it’s “chick at the office” who friended you on social media. She invests money monthly in a  Shake program and posts before and after pictures of people’s success stories that she doesn’t know. They  are sent to her by the company and she has to post them and people comment “great job.” But they weren’t her clients. She has to post a certain amount of posts promoting the shakes in order to have the privilege to sell this product.  That’s why she’s hogging your feed all the time.  My very favorite is the friend who is now a Health Coach/Life Coach but last time I  spoke to her she couldn’t figure out her own life but she has now she took an on-line class on life and printed out a degree.  I not sure if she got a degree in Psychology or became a sommelier because if she’s not selling lotions, potions or oils she’s posting about wine. ” Thank god it’s “wine o’clock”, “Tonight forecast is 99% WINE” “You know what rhymes with Friday…Wine”  and “I can’t wait till the kids go to bed so I can pour myself some dinner.”

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I see  posts in my feed for “oils” and how wonderful and healthy they are for me and my children and my kitchen sink.  I see they have no chemicals and how safe they are for the environment. Is that gas guzzling SUV you’re driving mom safe for the environment. Does oils make hair dye? Hair spray?  Do you like parties?  Well apparently   women reach an age where getting out of the house becomes so vital that anything that sounds like a party is an excuse to put on your mom jeans, feed and bath the kids a little early and high tale it out to an “Oils Sniff and Sip” or maybe your party was called “Wine, Oils & Chocolate Pairings” or I like the one that was called “Hangover Rescues with Oils.”

 

I am a personal training aka ….. Therapist, Life Coach, the person people tend to vent to (we are like their hairdresser). I know what goes on at the party. Y’all are sitting around while Karen is peddling her oils telling you how you can lose weight by dabbing oil on your wrists  or dripping a drop in your sneakers before a run. You are drinking large goblets of  wine, eating and talking smack about the women who didn’t come to the party. They were smarter than a second grader and I know you really are too.

Now no one loses weight sniffing, drinking or dabbing oil on your wristlets before they workout. You lose weight by …….go up to the first line of this article.  Remember you are smarter than a second grader.  Wine is an alcoholic beverage. Some people think because it’s not “liquor”  it’s perfectly fine to have several glasses or a whole bottle.  Wine in moderation has been said to have some health benefits, but if you’re overweight, making your heart work extra hard for its age, clogging your arteries from a poor diet and lack of exercise , wine is not going to save you from heart disease or cardiac arrest.   And because wine is touted as beneficial to ones health, like dark chocolate women will tend to use this as an excuse to consume it.   Unfortunately  most women don’t drink wine in moderation. An average woman on a light drinking day, maybe while cooking dinner will drink an excess of 300 calories. That’s 2 glasses of wine or 1 large goblet.

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Now remember, you are smarter than a second grader.  Alcohol interferes with the brain and how it works. People make irrational decisions when drinking. They also make bad food choices often followed by  the  “I am so mad at myself for eating all that …” next day blues.    The long-term effects of drinking, here are a few:  fatty liver, high blood pressure, cirrhosis, problems with the pancreas and weak immune system and not to mention a list a cancers associated with excessive alcohol,  drinking doesn’t seem so whimsical.  People get caught up in the glitz and glamour of a glass of wine or a cocktail but alcohol is a drug killing 80,000 people a year. That’s not including drunk driving accidents. So just as alcohol and healthy seem odd in the same sentence, “Sip & Sniff” seems even more ridiculous.

As we drift into the final two months of the year you will be flooded with sales pitches, TV Ads and infomercials for all the diets and exercise plans that will be awaiting you and your New Years Resolution. If you are like most people you might be saying I’ll wait till the holiday’s are over to start. Why?  Scared to get on the scale? If the thought of stepping on a scale scares you now  imagine the fright January 1 of the new year or when you’re in your fifties and your metabolism really starts to slow, or when Bed Bath and Beyond doesn’t carry a scale that goes up to your poundage. Scary is being told you need to lose 50 pounds in order to have gastric bypass surgery which is needed in order for you to live another 5 years and you are only 53 years old.

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There is no tomorrow if you woke up today healthy. Thank your healthy stars and begin today.  There is no tomorrow if there is one second today you didn’t think about how you need to lose weight, how you shouldn’t have eaten something.  A scale usually tells us what most of us know already by the way our clothes fit.  It’s not going to bite you, it’s going to tell you how much you weigh. Naked or with your clothes on you can love it or hate it but it becomes a wake up call for most.  There’s a reason why you step on it at the doctors office…..because weight gain and weight loss in excess can signal a medical problem. I recommend to my clients stepping on the scale only once a week, Monday morning. Knowing this sometimes keeps them in check over the weekend so they don’t have a “weak“end. I have them text me a -1 (minus) or a +1 (plus) that’s it. I do sometimes get +2  and we talk about it when I see them.  But the client knows what happened. But Monday is the day to re-boot, re-start if need be.   No BS I tell them, just get back on track and not back on that scale till the following Monday.  Remember that fitness cannot be bought.  And a Registered Dietitian nutritionist is a food and nutrition expert who has met academic and professional requirements including: Earned a bachelor’s degree in this field. Make sure “Karen” has the proper degree before taking any health and nutritional advice. Would you let Karen operate on your heart? Would you let Karen give you her prescription heart meds. Well then don’t let her sell you anything that could affect you heart or your health.  With the increase of adults combining prescription and over-the-counter medications with supplements there has been a rise of serious side effects. You never want to take anything that can interact with your medication. Oils and natural supplements can reduce a drugs effectiveness as well as enhance it.  Be safe and be smart.

Remember you are way smarter than a second grader.

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This Workout is Brought to You by the Letter PEE

10 10 2016
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Excuse me while I step inside this room and put on my super hero cape.

I know what your saying. Pee, like peed your pants? Yep, like a piddle in your yoga pants or a leak in your running tights. Some young girl who is reading this is saying “Ewe Gross who does that?”  Just like I would have when I was young and had a perm, wore leg warmers, was queen of step aerobics.  A grapevine over the bench certainly would never have caused me to panic but after child birth came a new meaning to the phrase I laughed so hard I peed my pants.

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SUI, Stress urinary Incontinence or better known as “I just peed.” is a real problem and no laughing matter. I train a lot of women so I hear this often and when they say it we both usually laugh.  “I don’t like to jump a lot cause I’ll pee” is often heard. Well ladies you are far from alone. 1 out of every 3 women who have vaginal births have the same problem and even women who have never experienced child birth can have a weak bladder or weak pelvic floor muscles. Also as you age this muscle can weaken. The pelvic floor muscles control the urethra which is the bladders opening and this muscle like all muscles needs to stay strong.

Look at me, I am typing a blog but I bet you can’t tell I am also strengthening my pelvic muscles. That’s right I’m doing my kegal exercises. I’m not a giant leaker. Why? Because when I was pregnant the older women I worked with talked about this peeing problem  so much and they told me to do kegal exercises all the time.  I got so paranoid that for nine months I walked, drove, ate, worked and even peed doing my kegal exercises. Pee a little in the toilet and stop and pee a little and stop. I still do this.  I could break someones neck with my va-jay- jay by the time I gave birth but daughter number one and two decided to be C-Sections and didn’t take the route of the birth canal therefore not stretching out the scenery along the way.  Occasionally though I will forget to empty my bladder and start teaching a spin class and hello tight pelvic muscles ….do your job cause I cannot jump off this bike and leave my class hanging.

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Throughout my 15 years as a personal trainer I have suggested to my lovely ladies of leakage to insert a tampon. The pressure of the tampon can add pressure and  support the uterus and stop urinary incontinence. Some makers of tampons have gotten smart and now market basically a tampon for SUI. I also know a lot of gals wear a panty liner. But they all say it’s annoying, moves and is gross. Especially with workout clothes. So when I saw an ad for Pee-Proof undies called Icon I thought let’s give this panties a wiz.

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Loaded up on my usual cups of coffee and lot’s of water I put on my big girl panties by Icon, tighten my ponytail and began my workout which consisted of some treadmill running, jump rope, lot’s of squats with jumps, weight lifting and abdominal exercises. Most of the time when one of my client’s say’s “I’ve got to run to the bathroom I leaked” it’s during abs. So I made sure to hit the abs hard. The Icon panties have a built in absorbent liner and it was not bulky nor cumbersome. You could not see the panties through my tights and I normally go commando in my workout pants so this was great. The Icon pantie comes in a thong, bikini style and a high waist and are  $30 a pair.  While that might sound pricey to you, but unlike a panty liner you wash them and wear them again.  Pantie liners  are $3-$8 a box and tampons even more. I tested the black bikini in a size medium.  I should have gone with the small.  I also should have, knowing I was going to put these through the workout test and I get major *SWASS  should have ordered the thong style. I may not be a major leaker but I am a major sweater and wick away underwear wouldn’t help.  You can go on their web sight and check out the styles and their sizes.   Now I do not look as sexy and gorgeous as the models above in my Icon panties which is why there is no picture of me leaping across your screen in my panties but I am giving you an honest review of this product as I often am asked to promote things and most often say no. The icon pantie was really nice. Felt great. Looked nice and being someone who has worn bike shorts, I really felt nothing in crotch area. SUI is a serious problem for women so I do recommend these  panties cause nothing makes you feel less sexy than grabbing those old granny panties in the back of the panty drawer, oh you have them,  and sticking a piece of paper with a glue strip in the crotch. It’s reminds me of the mouse traps in my basement and that my friends is ewe.

Here is a link for $10 off your Icon order: $10 DISCOUNT ICON.COM

*SWASS noun. A contraction of the words sweat and ass. A non gender-specific term used to describe the sweat found around a person’s ass.  Better known as “sweaty ass” and “swamp ass”

“IF I CAN MAKE AT LEAST ONE PERSON SMILE, LAUGH  OR PEE THEIR PANTS  A LITTLE THAN I DID MY JOB FOR THE DAY.” Hope Nagy Personal Trainer

 

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READY, SET & GOOD TO GO. 6 weeks post op of my open heart surgery.

30 05 2015

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Hope Nagy, mom. A women who feels on most days alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild her… we have the technology. We have the capability to build… I mean bill her daily. Hope Nagy will be that woman. Poorer than she was before… but better, stronger, and faster…

Now wait a second. Did Steve Austin pay for his six million dollar body, or was he on Obama Care? Yes, 6 weeks post op. Time to rejoice in the fact that I have met my deductible!

If your caught in a lie deny, deny, deny. People think I am so brave. But I can’t lie. I am far from brave and would like to think the following thing didn’t occur, but it did. Barely able to speak, not even 24 hours after my surgery I called my still sleeping boyfriend at 6am in the morning to ask “What time are you coming to the hospital?” ‘Come now.” and “Please bring a gun so I can kill myself.” He laughed at me and said “You told me before surgery that you wanted me to bring you coffee from Starbucks with a little cream and 3 Splenda’s.

Now weeks later I am able to drive to Starbucks and get my own coffee. On a daily basis I am asked “hey how ya feelin?” I’m from Philly so that’s not a typo. People comment on how well I look, how fast I am recovering, and tell me how “amazing” I am. “Oh yes, soooo amazing” I chuckle at this. Why? Because I’m far from amazing. Mostly because the day after my surgery I thought, “If this was a race I would take a DNF right now.” In fact I said very clearly to my parents as I laid in my hospital bed the day after surgery “I don’t think I can do this.” I even cried to my dad. “Daddy how could you do this so many times? You’re so out of shape. Your amazing.”

Truth be told I was bogged down with the fear of the unknown ahead of me, and my road to recovery. I wanted time to speed up, to flash forward weeks and be out of the scary woods. Gotta get to that six week mark because that’s when my surgeon told me I would be “Good to go.” Tell a fitness freak that they are “good to go” and we go, we hesitate a little, we go, we go slower then we did before and then we wonder? Did I really lose this much strength and endurance in just a few weeks? Did atrophy take over? Beast mode on? Hmmmmm I guess I will listen to the doctors and just ease on back down the road. Except Miss I WON A PUSH-UP contest, once in my early forties can’t even do a real push up.  I’ll call them sucky, non-regulated, partial push-ups, because I just can’t seem to drop low without my chest feeling like it’s going to rip open and spill my guts on the gym floor.

Push-Up Queen For The Day

Push Up QUEEN FOR THE DAY

(most push-ups in a minute after ODDMAN Duathalon won a XL Men’s Mountain Bike Shirt)

Weighing in 5 pounds heavier then my pre surgery weigh-in, at six weeks I am mushier and have less definition. But I have a brand new aortic valve and root, and that’s so much more important. So who cares. I lost my six pack, gained some unwanted body fat and now have something that resembles a vagina in the crease near my armpit. I am at the six week mark. I think I am “good to go.” I am free to pick up the big kid weights now. Free to run, teach spin “on” the bike, jump rope, dead lift, and test out my new heart pumping equipment. Now a days when someone comes up to me while I’m working out and uses their hands to motion take it easy, slow it down sister…..I am free to shout “I’ve got clearance. I’m ok.” “Sorry, I can’t hear you. My music. I’m in the zone.” Feels great to be back to training because my pants feel tight and I can’t breathe …. and a damaged valve is not to blame. lol I can’t afford new clothes, I have bills, bills, bills to pay. Cue Destiny’s Child…….

Can you pay my bills?
Can you pay my telephone bills?
Do you pay my automo’ bills?

But hey I’m doing great. Ok, most of the time. I’m working hard for the money and taking care of business and workin’ overtime. And then BAM I have a moment. Because the reality is it isn’t easy as fishin’ and I’m not a musician. The reality is Girlfriend, no one has waved a magic wand over you and made you 100 percent recovered. You had major surgery 6 weeks ago. So sometimes I get a little reminder that I am not superwoman. Could be one of my horrible headaches or just feeling light headed. These moments trigger a fear that what if something isn’t right. For example just last week at the Home Depot while in the garden center, my blood pressure dropped suddenly really low. Without any forewarning I became dizzy and felt like I was walking on a slanted floor like in the old V8 commercials. Thanks to Miracle Grow and it’s foam granules I landed safely. “Ma’am can we call 911 for you.” “No I’m fine. I’m not drunk. Just need to sit for a minute” and sounding like an old Jewish woman from New York I said “It’s just my preshsha medicine.” But actually I thought I was having a stroke. When I told my cardiologist this she looked at me in a sincere yet cute funny way and asked “Did you ever have a stroke? Me “no” “Your pressure dropped.” And viola just like that I was taken off ALL meds. She told me to hydrate even more now that I’m back to being a sweaty mess and she strapped a holter monitor on me for 24 hours to record my heart rhythms. Yes, I was allowed to exercise with the monitor on, and yes I couldn’t shower, and yes I smelled, and yes the results came back fine, and YES I am medicine free!

I have to wait 9 weeks for my 6 week post op check up since Dr. Bavaria is pretty busy mending broken valves. I did not see him on game day since I was already sedated, but I know he was there by the lovely scar he left on my chest. Much better looking than the scar I had him draw on me in his office. (See picture) By his reaction apparently no one had asked him to do this before and the only marker available was a dry erase one. I am excited about my post operative appointment at The Hospital of the  University of Pennsylvania because I can’t wait to hear these words from the mouth of the wizard of Aortic Valve surgery …… YOU ARE GOOD TO GO.

Pre-Op Scar Drawing

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Some people wear their hearts on their sleeves. They exude kindness, and an aura flows around them full of warmth, generosity and humility. I on the other hand am not one to wear my heart on the outside for all to see. I keep it guarded like most who have been hurt in their past. It is there though and pretty big. For I would do anything for a friend. Judge a woMAN not by the amount of friends they have on Facebook, judge them by how long they have maintained their friendships. My best friends have seen my heart along with my tears and my fears. They are the people who know the girl they met thirty plus years ago with the thick glasses, braces and Sergio Valente jeans was ACTING brave leading up to surgery but was a nervous mess on the inside. Like the cowardly lion I feared not having courage, strength and the power to face this scary circumstance ahead of me. I feared for my children mostly. My two daughter’s are my life.  And my life  suddenly became more valuable when I thought of not being in their lives. So humble me will tell you I am not amazing. I am far from fearless. And even though my heart was seen on the outside in an operating room for a several hours on April 8th, 2015 it was securely placed back into it’s hiding place with some new parts and some good old courage. Sorry great wizard your services were not needed here.

And like Epicurus, a Greek Philosopher, once said,

You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”

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To read the beginning of my journey of my Aortic Valve and Aortic Aneurysm surgery read FIT, FIFTY & WTF go to https://hopenagy.wordpress.com/  and scroll to April 7, 2015.

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Certified Personal Trainer

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An organization whose purpose is to help women battling eating disorders, body image issues, lack of self worth and depression simply by accepting bodies of all shapes and sizes. http://www.movemeantfoundation.com/#home

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Oh Spinning Hurts Your Butt? No But’s about it, SPINNING Keeps My Heart STRONG!

9 05 2015
One month Post - op Open Heart Surgery. Smile Marley Momma is feeling good!

One month Post – op Open Heart Surgery. Smile Marley Momma is feeling good!

Teaching Spin for over 15 years I have heard a lot of reasons why people don’t Spin.  The most common reason is it hurts their butt, balls or vagina. I have watched the fittest people walk into Spin class thinking this is a no brainer, get their asses kicked and  walk out ready to puke and of course never come back and say “it hurt my butt.”  But Spinning doesn’t favor the fittest, thinnest or fastest. It’s works best like all exercise activities when you stay with it and don’t give up.  My best Spinners come in all shapes and sizes but guess what THEY COME!  Over 18 years ago I took my first Spin class in an actual closet with 7 Spin bikes. I had 10 pounds still to lose of my 60 pounds of weight I put on pregnant with my second kid.  I was  fit so I thought this is a stationary bike looks silly.  After class I walked out sweaty but trying to look cool got in my car and started to dry heave. I would have thrown up but back then I was stupid and didn’t eat breakfast.  I then dialed a friend and said “I just did the best class. It kicked my butt. I signed us up for tomorrow.”  The baby fat flew off in no time. Spinning burns an insane amount of calories.  I eventually became an instructor and a pretty good one at that. lol   I will never regret those days in the closet at Superfit Gym. I had two babies at home and I jumped out of bed to get to class by 6am to get my ass kicked by Joe or Steve. I made new friends who have turned into old friends.  Something as little as an exercise class became a large part of my life. I went happy or sad. It never let me down through good and bad times in my life. It taught me strength, dedication, determination and that it’s OK to fall off the bike but you have to get back on. Thank you SPINNING.COM and Johnny G. for all the years you  took my breath away, cleared my head and made my heart STRONG!  Thank you SPINNING.COM and Christine for sharing my story. (See below)

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As a fitness instructor or enthusiast, you’re an active person who “looks” healthy and in shape. But what happens when your body starts to slow down? Do you dismiss it as over training or burnout? For Hope Nagy, a Spinning® Instructor for nearly 15 years, she started feeling a shortness of breath, even during simple tasks. So she followed her instincts, which ended up saving her life.

It’s Just Stress

As a busy mother of two daughters, Hope lives an active lifestyle, so when her energy and breathing levels began to drop, she stopped teaching an early morning classes thinking that she was overtraining. While trying to cut back on her physical activity, she still knew that what she was feeling wasn’t normal when her energy levels didn’t pick up and her breathing became worse. When the doctors said she was “fine,” she didn’t feel relieved when they dismissed her health problems as just stress or menopause. But Hope couldn’t ignore her instincts. When she wasn’t dismissed for stress any longer, but rather because she “should speak to someone” inferring that she needed counseling, she knew that the lingering abnormal and sluggish feelings are more than stress pains and far from insanity. After switching doctors, Hope found out that she was born with a hereditary heart condition and had been living with a “defective aortic heart valve, putting other organs at risk and caused the heart to be extremely enlarged.” Had she been given a simple echo cardiogram, she would have discovered that this condition (along with a family history of heart problems) should not have been overlooked by her doctors, especially since all she needed from them was a referral to a cardiologist.

Pulling Back Is Not an Option

Me and my Bike are rained out
For most fitness instructors and enthusiasts, taking time away from exercising was not an easy task. “It would have been easier when I started to feel fatigued to skip workouts and lay around, [but] that’s not my personality,” Hope says. Instead of pulling back completely, she “reinforced her beliefs” in fitness and put her coaching and training skills to good use. Hope continued her training until the day before surgery. “I needed my heart to be its strongest, and to me, I was training for the biggest race in my life; open heart surgery.” With the advantage of leading a healthy lifestyle for many years, Hope walked into the hospital and, instead of taking the recommended 14 days -Hope was released from the hospital after only 5.

Battle Scars

When Hope arrived home and continued her recovery, she had to start adjusting to post-surgery life, which meant changing her wardrobe to hide the scars. The more revealing, sexier tops with plunging necklines and spaghetti straps were harder to wear because, as Hope says, “the scar isn’t so sexy.” But hiding the scars isn’t optional for Hope, people ask to see them anyway, so she is confident enough to show that battle scars do heal and that we can come back from any obstacle.

New Spinning® Classes

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Getting back to teaching her Spinning classes was one of Hope’s motivating factors for making a full recovery. “Nothing made me feel better than having my Spinning class text me for two weeks to say ‘OMG you need to get back here. We miss you yelling at us’,” Hope says. Although teaching Spinning classes gave Hope a rewarding and powerful workout for herself, she started to teach more off the bike after her surgery. She is also even more committed to the heart health of her riders, encouraging them to wear heart rate monitors and reminding them that “the heart muscle is more important than their exterior muscles.” Teaching off the bike has even helped her riders with their heart health as it will “increase at least 10 beats when walking towards them,” says Hope.

What’s Next for Hope Nagy?

Children, no matter their age, want their moms to live a long time. With Hope’s new tissue valve and aortic root, her life expectancy has significantly increased. And although she has to replace her valve every ten years, she has more incentive to “check off a few things on the bucket list.”

Subscribe to Hope’s blog and follow her journey

“Each year, more women die from heart disease than from breast cancer,” Hope says, so Hope advises women to put echo cardiograms on the wellness checklist in addition to a mammogram.

When your stress is dismissed as over training, menopause, or as simply psychological, remember to follow your instincts and be reluctant to dismiss problems so easily.

Did Spinning help you improve your recovery from a major life changing event or illness? We want to hear from you! Contact us at news@spinning.com, your story could be on our Community page!

For more success stories and workout tips, sign up for SPINNING.COM newsletter!

You can ride with Hope at Crunch Gym and other fitness centers in and around the Philadelphia area. To take a class with her or to inquire about a corporate ride for your company email hope@motivatehopestrength.com

 

 

Message her at hope@motivatehopestrength.com

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Children, no matter their age, want their moms to live a long time. With Hope’s new tissue valve and aortic root, her life expectancy has significantly increased. And although she has to replace her valve every ten years, she has more incentive to “check off a few things on the bucket list.”

Subscribe to Hope’s blog and follow her journey





Open My Heart Now Baby – Day 16 Post Op.

25 04 2015
DAY 16 POST OP Pumping little pink weights and getting the blood  flowing.

DAY 16 POST OP Pumping little pink weights and getting the blood flowing.

It’s been 16 day’s since my open heart surgery.  In these past  16 days I learned some things. That I have an amazing support system of friends and relatives, that I don’t like sitting in the back seat of the car and that Kevin Bacon has nothing on Dr. Bavaria when it comes to six degrees of separation.  It seems like everyday someone emails me or tells me that Dr. Bavaria did their father’s surgery, their mom mom’s valve replacement or they’ve worked with him, for him, or think he’s god. I think he’s god too.

DAY 1 -  Post op ICU hours after surgery. Today is the first time I have seen this picture. Wow

DAY 1 – Post op ICU hours after surgery. Today is the first time I have seen this photo.

It was kinda neat in an eerie and peculiar way to have a nurse stop by my room to tell me she watched my surgery and how 4 fellows, who are doctors doing their fellowship, pulled the wires that were holding my sternum closed while one fellow wired, sewed and glued me shut. Her words: “It was so cool. They literally leaned  back with their body weight and pulled on the wires while one fellow closed you up.”  I’d actually like to see my video. My post op report came in the mail today and I learned I was cross clamped for 160 minutes and on bypass for 217 minutes. Technically dead for a large part of my 6 hour surgery.  Body temperature lowered and then brought back to life by reconnecting my heart.  My father with his disposable flip phone took a picture of me in the ICU and sent it today.  My emotions vary looking at this picture, but mainly I’m thinking that I couldn’t imagine seeing one of my kids like this.  In the 16 days since surgery I’ve made some progress.   And although you would look at me and never know I just had major surgery I am dealing with  daily killer headaches, went  AFib two days ago and I get dizzy and light headed if I get up  too fast. I have noticed I am burping a lot but am totally blaming that on the pig valve, lol. I am not craving bacon, have not regained my love of coffee and peanut butter yet but chocolate still makes everything better.

Over the years I have often got asked while working out what I was training for? My response always was on the likes of “My next birthday”  but my usual response was “life”.  I just didn’t know I was actually training for open heart surgery. My abs made sitting up on day two without assistance easier, my thunder thighs from spinning made getting off the toilet easier and  my glutes from squatting made getting out of bed a tad less difficult.

I have eased back to work teaching spin off the bike, giving orders for TREAD & SHRED class and training a couple of clients who know I am not picking up their weights, demonstrating spiderman push-ups and by no means jumping rope with them.  I love, love, love  jumping rope.   I seriously cannot sit and watch any more daytime TV because it has convinced me that this is why America is full of overweight lazy people. Honestly all of my silly shows on Bravo that I am addicted to seem like rocket science compared to the amount of talk shows, Judge shows and game shows on TV.   I’ll take any Housewives shows over the annoying ladies on the View, Kathy Lee Gifford who gave me a migraine, and I will say it…… watching Kelly Ripa is like watching a puppet with a hand up its ass. Oh, and  “Let’s Make a Deal.” ….. How about” Let’s get a job”, “Let’s Volunteer”  or “let’s go workout.” ” I’ll take the box marked LIFE that Carol Merril is standing in  front of Monty.”

I have been told I look great.  People can’t believe I had open heart surgery, that I should be home resting, taking time off. I have even been told that I should look into going on disability. Are you serious?  Disability? What’s my disability?  I wake up everyday and I have a pulse, and I say “thank you.”  The only disability is a bad attitude and the belief that you are owed something in life.   I have a choice to make everyday…. to be mad about what I went through or to move forward and be happy that each day I am stronger than the day before. I am a lucky girl.  Hallelujah brother that my girls will come home from college in the next few weeks and will see me looking like their normal mom, tell me my scar is gross and ask me if we can we go to the mall.   If I have one thing to say is that life is good and yes I love Madonna.

Please follow my fitness blog and now my journey after open heart surgery. To read the original pre-op post Fit, Fifty & WTF go to hopenagy.wordpress.com and scroll to 4/7/2015

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Fit, Fifty & Feeling WTF ( Wonderful, Thankful & Freakin’ Relieved)

17 04 2015

FullSizeRender  Post Op Day 5 

Alive, thankful and on the road to recovery. Surgery took about 6 hours last Wednesday April 8th, 2015.  Exactly one week ago I laid in the ICU, opened my eyes, thought “thank god I’m alive” and then felt a two by four in my throat. The ventilator.  I’ve seen it on TV medical shows, heard other peoples stories of it, was told to be prepared for it and yet I still lost it.  Yes, if my arms weren’t strapped down I would have pulled it out of my mouth. “I can’t breathe” and the words are not coming out. The nurse standing on the other side of the large glass wall can’t hear me. “I can’t breathe”, banging my restricted arms and hands against the sides of the bed in a quick knocking like manner trying to get attention. “I can’t breathe, get this out of my throat.” All I hear is “Honey calm down, relax, it will be out in a few HOURS.”  And like I have also seen in scary movies, I am now playing the part of the person being lowered into the ground , dirt being shoveled on top of my grave…… I’m being buried alive.  But at this moment in my life it felt real and not like a movie. THIS is what I will remember most from my surgery, not the chest pain, headaches and nausea, but the ventilator freaking me out. Not that I didn’t expect to be awake, but I am sure many share with me this fear when having any kind of surgery where anesthesia is used.  Especially one where they tell you they are going to unplug your heart. Which is a great reason to get your ducks in a row, isn’t it?  My ducks were in a row, but unlike prior surgeries in my adult life this time I didn’t leave “the envelope” with letters addressed to my kids. I just couldn’t write them. Just the thought made me cry.  Instead, right before getting wheeled away to surgery I told my tatooed boyfriend “make sure they finish college and No Tattoos!”

I ended up not having a bicuspid valve but a badly deformed tricuspid valve. Option one: repair was out!  Option two: tissue valve was in. “Oink Oink”, I have a new pig valve.  The decision on which tissue valve the surgeon used, cow or pig, was based on what fit me best. Dr. Bavaria explained to my family that he prefered pig valves for athletes. I still think they are lying to me when they said he called me an athlete, lol.  Did he say gym rat, weekend warrior, daughter of parents who worked full time as a child and was told she can not play sports or she would have to find her own rides? Oh and no one tell my new friends on the Facebook group page  Bicuspid Aortic Valve Disease (BAVD) that I am now a poser.   The valve was a tri-leaflet. The leak in my valve was caused by a prolapsed leaflet and tears in the valve leaflets themselves, which are called fenestrations.   That was the result of the heart being enlarged and the blood trying to get out. Dr. Bavaria explained to my family that it was spraying like a hose in different directions.

I was was moved out of I.C.U. less than 24 hours after surgery to a room on Silver 10, one of the many cardiac floors at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.   I was told that I would wake up with things like that horrible ventilator, wires connected to the inside of my heart, drainage lines as long as knitting needles under my incision,  I.V. lines in both arms, and a line in my neck.  So like a puppy waiting for a treat, when a white coat appeared every day in my room  I knew something was coming out.  And one by one and day by day they did.  Ready to roll, I took to the hallways to walk and that is when I was immediatelt humbled. Heading towards me, moving faster than I was,  dressed in the same team uniform, white and blue gown, front pocket to hold a heart rate monitor, with wires dangling from everywhere,  I am passed by a 90 year old man. Really? WTF?  I give the typical head nod I use when a fellow mountain biker passes me and that’s when I notice….he’s cheating, he has a walker, that’s not legal!  Get his bib number!!!  Being the competitve person that I am, and hearing that he is on day 14 post op and I day 1 post op , I took a deep breath….and relaxed a little. I left the hospital on Monday, 5 days after my surgery with my new medal: a 10 inch scar down my chest with a bump at the top that looks like a nose of one of the presidents on Mount Rushmore. This I am being assured, will go down over time.   The absolute best feeling was coming home to my own house, taking a long hot shower, and crawling into my own bed. No more sounds of beeps and bells, and no one waking me up to check my vitals the second I doze off.  Other than dealing with some insane pressure headaches I am good. My daily walks around my neighborhood are getting a little longer each day. Breathing better each day. And getting my ball up higher and holding it longer each day on my spirometer. That same spirometer that I would wave in my dads face when I visited him after his heart surgeries. “Did you suck today Dad?” is now  “Hope did you suck today” Crazy how things change when we least expect it.  Crazy how hard that spiromoter is. FullSizeRender copy                                                                Being initiated into the Zipper club by my dad. 

Each morning we wake up and we have a choice to pick our attitude for the day.  It’s a daily decision we make. Am I going to be miserable or am I going to be motivated?  This surgery leaves me not in pain but with the joy of knowing how lucky I am to have the life that I do.  The gift of fitness is what allowed me to get to 51 without dying, and it is now giving me a much easier recovery.   And if anyone thought I didn’t shut up before about being heathy, then look out.  I am on fire.  Just the fact that the nurses told me the average person stays 14 days in the hospital for my surgery freaked me out. You make life altering choices each day and yet people take better care of their yards than their bodies. Yes I saw the eyes as I walked the halls of the hosital.  Looks of sympathy from visitors and from other patients. But what they didn’t know is one, don’t feel sorry for me, and two, I’m  looking at you thinking that you probably need my business card!  I’m in pain from not working out. I am dying that I can’t go lift and just sweat my ass off. The luxury of being able to workout I treasure daily as do so many other people. Just ask someone whose lost that opportunity.  It’s my life. It’s your life. It’s your choice.

I am up for air, breathing and look out, this gal is on fire……..but let me sit down for a second, I just got a little dizzy.

*The pre-op blog posted the day before my surgery FIT,FIFTY & WTF can be found at hopenagy.wordpress.com and scroll to prior post or at: https://hopenagy.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/fit-fifty-w-t-f/

 

Shout out to the N.A.’s, N.P’s, and the lovely gals on Silverstein 10 at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania who took care of me, listened to me complain “my head hurts” and my nurse Jenny from Utah who let me interagate her about her life and explain that people from Philly are not ALL angry we just look that way and by gosh gave me the biggest compliment of my life when she said “the other nurses think you’re in your thirties”.  “STFU Really?” Really!!!

IMG_8176Post op Day 6 – writting my lattest blog, having my Starbucks and staring at the piles of medical bills only these are pre surgery. 

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Fit, Fifty & W.T.F.

8 04 2015

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There’s that saying that goes when one door closes another one opens. Usually that door opens to bigger and brighter things. After 18 years of an ugly marriage followed by 6 years of an ugly divorce, complete with astronomical divorce lawyer bills I am finally able to come up for air. I am in my early fifties, fit and finally free of some very heavy baggage. But why am I still out of breath?

To me there is nothing more important in life than family, and certainly nothing more valuable than good health. As a personal trainer, fitness instructor, and workout devotee, I preach about health and fitness on a daily basis. I am passionate about it and, because I am that annoying fitness friend who works out all the time, posts fitness quotes on Facebook, likes to tell you what to and what not to eat and as you can see, also blogs about it. I don’t have a problem telling people they’re overweight, their diet sucks and that they are a heart attack waiting to happen. I take care of myself so you should too. Listen to me……I’m Ms. Know It All. My motto is: “take care of your heart and your heart will take care of you.” And my personal mission is to not end up with a bad heart like my dad and his dad.

Recently I said to a friend that I would love to see how healthy my heart is for a 51 year- old woman. I bet it’s like that of a 30 year old. I do a ton of cardio and eat well, I don’t drink alcohol or smoke, I take fish oil supplements and I eat only dark chocolate. In fact, I think I am looking pretty pretty good for 51. I think 50 is the new 40. Did I mention that I have been feeling a little fatigued for the last few years. I’ve been told it’s from stress, my divorce and most recently menopause. I just had another physical. I know my body something isn’t right. I am told I should schedule a routine colonoscopy because I’m 51. Huh? I don’t think the problem is up my ass. Why isn’t anyone listening to me? I know my body and know something isn’t right. I think I need a new doctor. Yippee I found a new doctor and bonus she’s close to my house. Double bonus she had a cancellation. I have an appointment with my new doctor. Ah, I think my new doctor needs her hearing checked………
What? A heart murmur.  I now have a new doctor and a cardiologist, both whom do not have hearing problems. Although the lips are moving and I am being told that I was born with a genetic heart valve defect, I hear nothing but the words “Open Heart Surgery.” I am pretty pretty sure they both must have made a mistake because I have worked way too hard to avoid any problems with my heart, and look at me damn-it I look pretty pretty good for 51. Plus I just opened a new door in my life, I just came up for air. Let me catch my breath please.

The fall of 1980 I saw my father at the age of 43 lay in a hospital bed post-op from a triple bypass surgery after suffering his first of many future heart attacks, followed by subsequent heart surgeries and heart procedures. Wearing his scar like a badge of honor, he would parade shirtless around our house in Northeast Philly to the sheer horror of my teenage friends and I. To this day a phone call in the middle of the night always means hearing my mom say “Daddy’s in the hospital.” Now at the age of 82 my father Morty has had way too many heart procedures to list. But it’s this medical technology that keeps him alive and on the golf course in sunny Florida. That and someone, upstairs must like him a lot and knew that I would need him around so we can compare our badges of honor, our open heart surgery scars.

I’ll admit I have never even heard of a Bicuspid Valve, BAVD or let alone a Thoracic Aneurysm but when I’m asked if I know who John Ritter was I say yes and that I never thought he was funny. I couldn’t begin to comprehend what the cardiologist was saying. I have two daughters who need me. I can’t have open heart surgery…that would be insane. I’m too young. That’s for old people, people who are out of shape, people who eat bad, drink, and smoke. It’s not for me—the high and mighty personal trainer, amazing Spin instructor and fitness nut. Come on—I have to do the Broad Street Run. I need to teach my Spin class. I have people to train and preaching to do about the importance of doing cardiovascular exercise to strengthen the heart. And I have a list of personal “to do’s” like hiking the Grand Canyon, doing the Leadville 100 mountain bike race, and running the Disney Princess half marathon with my daughter, in of course Micky Mouse ears. In other words I have LIFE to do and don’t have time for this crap. More importantly I need to work, make money. I am a single mom. I don’t have workman’s comp or a job with benefits. How will this happen? And why did this happen? And another thought…OMG I’m going to have a gross scar down my chest like my father! Breath Hope. Just breath.

As I sat waiting for Penn Medicine’s top Aorta Specialist Dr. Joseph Bavaria to see me I was convinced that he would say we’ll monitor you and check you again in 12 months. But when he entered the room with this god like presence I knew immediately that “see you in a year” wasn’t coming out of his mouth. Instead he said “ John Ritter died from what you have.” “Yes I’ve heard” I said. And as I sat there wearing a shirt with a giant pink heart that I wore on purpose, listening to Dr. Bavaria and his Assistant Kristen tell me that my heart was way too big for my body size and all about artificial valves, cow valves, pig valves, two days in intensive care, and a week in the hospital I suddenly felt more like a confused child and not the strong confident mom of steel I am. Sadly, as I put my coat on over the cute pink heart shirt the heart surgeon never even noticed nor chuckled at, I gather my things and drove back into the suburbs in silence. Rush hour traffic on the Schuykill Expressway for once in my life didn’t seem to bother me. I thought about my kids and that I now had to call my dad and tell him the secret I have kept from him for two months. “Daddy, I have a heart condition and I am having open heart surgery in April.” And in true form my father said “BULLSHIT, that doctor doesn’t know what he’s talking about. You were not born with a valve problem. It’s from too much god damn exercising”

Bicuspid aortic valve disease, or BAVD, is a congenital heart defect. Most people are born with a normal functioning tricuspid aortic valve. Some, like myself, are born with a bicuspid valve. A bicuspid aortic valve can be a serious heart valve disorder in which the valve only has two leaflets, or flaps, that control blood flow through the heart causing blood to regurgitate back into the heart rather than exit. It is a genetic mutation that occurs during pregnancy that causes the leaflets to fuse together. All of that causes the aorta to stretch and bulge and possibly cause an aneurysm. Oh yeah, I have one of those too that has to be repaired during my surgery. Some people are diagnosed at birth and therefore monitored as they age. Some like myself find out later in life that they were born with this valve disorder. To say I wasn’t prepared for the news that I had a life threatening heart condition would be an understatement. So I am beyond grateful and very fortunate that my new doctor, Dr. Hannah Chung heard the murmur and even more grateful that I didn’t cancel my appointment with Dr. Andrea Becker the cardiologist. Believe me I thought about cancelling.

On April 8th I will be sawed open through my sternum and have my bicuspid valve and aneurysm repaired or replaced. My surgeon, Dr. Joseph Bavaria will attempt to repair my valve rather. However if it cannot be repaired a replacement valve will be inserted.  At the old age of 51 I have no clogged arteries and one big strong heart so I am really hoping for a repair that hopefully would last for the rest of my life.  Tissue valves (cow or pig) only last roughly ten years when a person is active and therefore I could be facing open heart surgery again in ten years. I am praying for repair. I am not a candidate for a mechanical valve for other reasons. So, besides constantly thinking about my upcoming surgery and touching my left side of my chest all the time like Fred Sanford, I am cleaning my house like a nut, organizing my things and stocking up on diet ginger ale and soup. Plunging neckline shirts I once wore out whoring with my single girlfriends after my divorce have been dropped off at the good will box because something tells me that a 6” scar down my chest will not be so sexy. While I await my surgery I am restricted from doing anything that causes me to make a grunting sound like lifting heavy weights especially above my head. I am still training my clients, teaching spin and working out. I am training for the biggest race of my life – MY LIFE. I plan on walking into the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania on the morning of April 8th being one Fit Fifty-One year old Female and walking out a week later ready for my road to recovery and the opportunity to begin each day with a grateful heart.

Occasionally we hear a sad story about a kid playing football and dropping dead on the field, a basketball player collapsing on the court, a child who has a heart attack at recess. We find out they had an unknown heart condition and that had it been detected their lives could have been spared. Today there are national campaigns designed to stress the importance of early detection of heart conditions in youth which can lead to Sudden Cardiac Death.

Simon’s Fund is just one of the many organizations dedicated to raising awareness about the conditions that lead to sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes and children. Sudden cardiac arrest is the #1 killer of student athletes and cardiac arrest is the #1 killer of adults in the U.S.  As such, we should be checking the hearts of our children. Simon’s Funds latest success is the passage of The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act (HB1610) in Harrisburg, PA. Hundreds of childrens lives have been saved thanks to the screenings that have taken place in schools all around the country. Go to Simonsfund.org for more information.

I am fortunate that as active as I am I did not drop dead from my unknown heart condition. My bicuspid valve wouldn’t have been detected therefore not allowing my children to be tested for this genetic disorder. While most adults discover their unknown BAVD in their thirties when they begin to get out of breath more easily, my body learned to compensate for my hearts inadequacy. I always thought my racing heart during the first mile of a run was due to the stress of hating to run. I will be curious to see how I feel when I recover. Will I breathe better? Will my heart rate be the same when I workout? Will I not sweat as much? I know I have a tough road ahead of me but I am going into this mentally tough. Because guess what? I know my body and I am sure I will do pretty pretty well. T minus zero it’s race time.  Deep breath Hope.

 

Please follow along my journey as I recover the days, weeks and months to come.

Check out my post op blog Fit, Fifty & WTF – Feeling Wonderful, Thankful & freakin’Relieved

at: https://hopenagy.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/fit-fifty-feeling-wtf-wonderful-thankful-freakin-relieved/

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Hope Nagy Certified Personal Trainer

Pre-op testing day Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.  Feeling thankful in Philly.

Pre-op testing day Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Feeling thankful in Philly.

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