CREATE an Active Lifestyle Let’s get to know the new curriculum!

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CREATE an Active LifestyleLets get to know the new curriculum!

Mirna Valerio runs an average of 25 miles per week, but at a weight of 250 pounds, she shatters expectations of what an athlete looks like. People always say to me, Anyone who runs as much as you do deserves to be skinny, she told Runners World. Of course, what they're really saying: If you do all this running, why are you still so fat? For several years, Valerio has chronicled the joys and challenges of running on her blog Fat Girl Running and inspired people of all shapes and sizes to not let the opinions of others keep them from pursuing activities they love. As one supporter recently wrote to her: "Mirna, you have no idea what you have done to inspire literally every woman, not just women of size, but every woman to get out there and accomplish and achieve."

Valerio started running in 2009, when her weight topped 300 pounds and she started having worrying chest pain. Her first mile on the treadmill took her almost 18 minutes, but she found she enjoyed running and devoted herself to regular workouts and improving her diet. Since then, shes run six marathons, two trail ultramarathons, and dozens of shorter races -- and she's currently in training for the Javelina Jundred, a 100K race in the Arizona desert at the end of the month. While she did lose some weight after she started running, she stabilized around the 250 pound mark -- but as long as she could still run, she didnt care. Others who saw her run, however, were often more incredulous: Serious running and being seriously fat just don't go together in people's minds, Valerio says. They don't think I'm for real, that I've earned the right to call myself a runner.

Although common wisdom says its impossible to be both fit and fat, Dr. Martha Gulati, director of the Women's Cardiovascular Health Program at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center asserts that while "weight will always influence a number of important health variables... compared to the effect of exercise, weight and BMI have been proven to be secondary. By far, physical activity and physical fitness has been shown to be the single most important factor in maintaining good health, regardless of one's body weight. Nevertheless, peoples attitudes are slow to catch up. If I didn't run, I wouldn't draw notice, Valerio points out. I'd just be one more obese black woman. And if I were thin, I'd just be one more number at the starting line. But I run a lot, and I'm still fat. Some people can't get their heads around that.

Valerio, who works as a Spanish teacher, choir director, and head coach of the cross-country team at the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School, a prep school in the mountains of North Georgia, explains that she started her blog in 2011 to help support other runners like her. "I'd go to races and hardly ever see anyone my size, she says. There were classifications like Athena. But that was for women 165 pounds and up. 165 pounds? They call that big? I wanted to encourage other big women runners, give them information, let them know they're not alone." And, she hopes to inspire people of all sizes to think more about what their body can do, not what it looks like. I'm pretty much in love with my body, she says. Sometimes I get disappointed or angry with it, but like any long-term, committed relationship, it usually comes right back to love and respect.

To read an in-depth profile about Mirna Valerio in Runners World, visit and you can check out her blog Fat Girl Running at

For several excellent young adult books tackling issues surrounding weight and confidence, check out 45 Pounds (More or Less) for age 12 and up ( and the new release Dumplin for age 13 and up (

For Mighty Girl stories that celebrate the joy of running, check out "My Favorite Run" for ages 3 to 8 (, the bilingual picture book We Are Girls Who Love to Run / Somos Chicas Y a Nosostras Nos Encanta Correr for ages 4 to 8 (, and The Running Dream for ages 12 and up (

For a diverse selection of body image-related books for children and teens focused on fostering a positive self-image, visit our Body Image section at

And, for a fun t-shirt for kids and adults that honors the strength of all Mighty Girls, check out the I'm not strong for a girl. I'm just strong. t-shirt at

Teaching TipsImportant information for NEASThe ProblemNumber of overweight / obese people outnumber people of normal weight.Nations children will have a shorter life span than their parents.Physical activity is extra and has to be fit in our busy schedules.We can do nothing about certain diseases just have to be dealt with.

It Is PossibleWe can do something about it!We can move a lot moreWalk to the storeTake the stairsPush-ups during commercials


PurposeHelp clients gain confidence and courage to become more physically active.Teach clients the basics of physical activity without spending a lot of money.Give clients experience and confidence to create family or personal physical activity routine.

ProcedurePhysical Activity lessons are to be taught in conjunction with CREATES lessons.Curriculum is to be taught as a series.Lessons are to be taught in order.Start by teaching one physical activity lesson from the lesson resources.

NEAs ResponsibilitiesUnderstand the concepts or habits by memory.Become an example of physical activity and consistency.Repeat concepts more than once.Ask for feedback as they practice frustrations, solutions etc.

NEAs ResponsibilitiesThe more clients participate, the more they feel invested in the class.Remember people need to start from where they are now.Be positive about smallest improvements.BE POSITIVE, ENCOURAGING, SENSITIVE

Table of ContentsPRE-ASSESSMENT (1 lesson)STRETCHING (3 lessons)BODY WEIGHT (3 lessons)AEROBICS (3 lessons)RESISTANCE TRAINING (3 lessons)STRENGTH TRAINING (3 lessons)CIRCUIT TRAINING (1 lesson)APPLIED LESSONS (3 lessons)POST-ASSESSMENT (1 lesson)Lesson Outlines1. Introduction2. Benefit of ____ [specific physical activity]3. CREATE a _____ [specific physical activity] routine 4. Practice (do)5. Incorporate into daily life6. Conclusion and assignment7. Update fitness plan/record and answer questions.8. Schedule/remind of next appointment/class.1. IntroductionReview A, B, CA. choose from lesson resources (back of book) and teach itJournalingMotivation, habit forming, setting goalsBody compositionHyrdation, etc., etc.B. Discuss necessity of physical activityC. Follow up on previous activities/assignments.

1. Introduction, part 2Include D, E, F, G as applicableD. physical activity vs exerciseE. Discuss importance of positive body imageF. Discuss components of maintaining physical activityG. Discuss how to track physical activity

2. Benefit of specific exerciseDynamic and static stretchingYogaBalanceHIITPlyometricsPilatesModerate intensity aerobicsHigh intensity aerobicsOther aerobic workoutsUpper body resistanceCore resistanceLower body resistanceUpper body strengthCore strengthLower body strengthCircuit trainingIncorporating at home or parkIncorporating at workForming habit with children

3. CREATE the routineA. equipment needed B. Steps (demonstrate how)4. Practice (do)A. write out goalB. planC. stretchD. perform 5-8 moves5. Incorporate into Daily LifeA. ClassB. SchoolC. WorkD. Personal Life6. Conclusion and AssignmentA. perform [exercises] at least 15-30 min a dayB. Track your physical activityC. Write in your journal how your body responds to [exercise]7. Update Fitness PlanAlso answer questions.

8. schedule/remind of next class/appointmentLets PRACTICE!


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