Not So YOUNG, a Little WILD and Valversary THREE.

12 04 2018

 

Each year as April 8th approaches I look forward to going to the hospital and taking tests.  My goal is to pass tests and  by pass the surgeon. And by that I do not mean not bypass surgery, I mean do not have a reason to see the surgeon.  By heart I have the day’s routine down. Quick Cat Scan and off to Ultra Sound. Let me give a shout out to Ben at Penn Medicine for the “extra touch” of music videos.  Seriously watching Coldplay and then turning my head to see the ultrasound monitor showing my valve open and closing to the beat of Adventure of a Lifetime was  paradise. Really was cool.

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Once my tests are complete, I sit in a room in my surgeons office.  And although I know I feel great and that I exercised and trained hard this year to make my heart my strongest muscle, I sit and stare at the door in hopes Dr. Bavaria does not walk in.  Seeing him in his blue blazer over his scrubs would mean something isn’t pumping right, or he’s about to tell me the words I fear to hear one day that  it’s getting close to valve replacement time.  Knowing that this day will come and my aortic valve will need to replaced again is what drives me to take care of myself.  I am determined to walk in and walk out upright.  (Tissue /bioprosthetic valves have an average lifespan of  10 to 20 years) 

But lucky for me, GOD the name I like to call my surgeon, did not enter the room. I passed my tests, hit the elevator button, hit Schuylkill Expressway  and of course hit the gym for a long sweaty heart-pumping workout.  Another year down and time to train again for the life I so appreciate.  Diet and Exercise… if a doctor could write it on a prescription pad it would be the most prescribed medicine. Because people love to medicate then prevent. Gym floor or hospital floor?  Why would anybody choose the later.  While I have learned that my genes and cells  have come preprogramed for me at birth and that although I might do my best to live a healthy life style, I can’t out run, out lift or out program what unfortunate I was dealt with. What I can do is to be  physically and mentally strong to deal with anything that should be thrown my way.   A healthy heart BEATS a sick one.   So I workout like my life depends on it, cause it does.

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THREE YEARS  AGO , 5 DAYS POST OPP PEDDLING FOR MY OWN HEART.

THIS YEAR I PEDDLED FOR LITTLE HEARTS AT THE PHILLY SPIN-IN

I couldn’t of thought of a better way to celebrate my 3 year Valversary than to be one of the instructors at the Philly Spin-In for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.   Words cannot begin to tell you how appreciative I was to be a part of this event to raise money, awareness and a cure for congenital heart defects. To hear the stories, see the signs, see all the teams spinning and feel the love for all the heart warriors is a day I’ll remember and one that makes me feel blessed. The fund will run till the end of April so please donate cause little hearts need to grow up to be big hearts. You can donate at: Philly Spin In

It’s been another heart full year.

Hope

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Hope’s Heart is Spinning at The PHILLY SPIN-IN

12 01 2018
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This is my cousin Scott. We are both members of the zipper club. A club neither of us chose to join but came with the Congenital Heart Defect membership we both received at birth. That’s the reality for many parents. One of every 120 children is born with congenital heart disease.Others are diagnosed with a heart condition during childhood, and some acquire heart disease as they grow. All told, there are millions of children living with some type of pediatric heart disease. That is why my heart is spinning and why I need your heart to spin too. 
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On Sunday March 11, 2018 I am so excited and proud to be one of the Spin instructors at this years Philly Spin-In for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia — a fun, high-energy, indoor cycling party to help children with heart disease. It truly is a big workout to help little hearts.  Like my cousin Scott who was born with a congenital heart defect known as TGA-Transposition of the great arteries Scott spent his first 17 days of his life at CHOP. Turning 14 years old next month Scott is a normal healthy active boy with no restrictions.  His parents are thankful for the amazing doctors, nurses and the whole team of professionals at the Cardiac Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
I am Spinning for a cause that couldn’t get any closer to my very own heart.
I was born with a CHD, a Bicuspid Aortic Valve and found out at age 50 when an aneurysm developed. But no parent should ever have to hear the words “Your child has congenital heart disease.”  That is why the Philly Spin- In is raising support for the Cardiac Center to make tomorrow’s breakthroughs possible at Children’s Hospital.
Please join me, other cycle instructors and hundreds of people for this amazing event to benefit Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
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RIDE/DONATE or DONATE 
Be on my team Hopeheartstrong  by making a donation and signing up to ride at this link:
As a team we need to raise $1000. The more we raise the more bikes we will have at the event. 
Or please DONATE.  You can make a donation to the event
Details on the Philly Spin-In at: PHILLY SPIN – IN
Philly Spin-In
Corporate Sponsorship info is also available on-line and by contacting
Amanda Calabrese
Associate Director, Peer to Peer Fundraising
3401 Civic Center Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19104
267-426-6477 ● f 267-426-6530
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While I am passionate about Health and Fitness and am a preacher of heart health even more so now after my open heart surgery, anyone who knows me well knows I am a Spinning lover! ( I am sure people who take my classes have other adjectives to describe me)  However, having been an instructor for almost 20 years I credit spinning and so did my doctors to the reason I made it to age 50 with a CHD.  Spinning gave me a strong healthy heart, a genetic defect gave me a bad valve.  On Sunday March 11th at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia I plan on spinning my heart out because I physically can! Because I am grateful for those that provided me the medical advances, technology and skills that keep my heart pumping. I hope that events like the Philly Spin – In forge new discoveries in cardiac care, bolster training programs, advocate for children in underserved communities, and quickly respond to new opportunities that may — one day — cure all children with pediatric heart disease. Please donate.
Thank you from my heart ❤  Hope
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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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Hope Nagy

Certified Personal Trainer

MotivateHopeStrength.com

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Proud to be an Ambassador for The Movement Foundations “DARE TO BARE

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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Hope Nagy- Certified Personal Trainer

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