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Health Warrior: Ginny Kriz

Ginny Kriz is a rockstar of fitness to me. She has done pretty much every outdoor activity under the sun and has maintained a healthy, active lifestyle basically her whole life. I actually lived with Ginny for a few years... I was constantly motivated by her enthusiasm and energy. If she wasn't working or at home, she was on a bike ride, volunteering with Oregon's Search and Rescue, hiking, running, at the gym, you name it! She even hiked Southern Oregon's tallest mountain, Mount McLoughlin (it's a 10 mile hike with almost 4,000 ft of elevation gain), with me on my birthday one year! Not to mentioned the relays, cycling events, and constant playing with grandkids she does. And she does it all with such a positive, realistic and consistent attitude toward health. It seems ingrained in her to make dietary and exercise choices that will boost her quality of life for the long run! Read below what she shares with us about her healthy lifestyle. I promise, it's infectious!

1. Hey Ginny, thank you for being willing to share with us! Could you please start by telling us a little bit about yourself. Who are you and what do you do? Share with us glimpse of what prompted your journey in health and fitness?

My name is Ginny and I'm a 3rd grade teacher. I'm also a grandmother of 2.  Because I'm around children so much, it is important to be fit to be able to keep up with them. Also, I feel obligated to model a healthy lifestyle for my students. We encourage our children to eat healthy and exercise regularly so I practice what I preach. Before I became a teacher, I was a weight loss counselor for Nutrisystem, so living a healthy lifestyle has been my mantra for many years. When I was young I was into gymnastics and my mom once commented that she forgot what I looked like right side up.  :). Needless to say, I've been active all my life.

2. Can you share with us how you approach health and fitness? How has your journey evolved? What does healthy living look like for you? 

When I was younger, I ate whatever I wanted and it never affected my weight because I was always active. As I've aged, I realized that eating healthy is as important as physical fitness. I began following whatever fad came along, but I've reached a point where I just try to eat clean. I read food labels and only buy items that have real ingredients. I try to find organic products and go to farm stands to purchase local produce.

3. Can you share with us what you believe to be the most important part of a healthy lifestyle, a sort of non-negotiable? What influences the decisions you make with regard to living healthy?

Moving and being active is a non-negotiable. Not only is it healthy for my heart but it's

necessary for my mental health as well. Hiking, biking and running are my go-to exercises; I'll use the gym if I can't get out. I've been trying to get some weight work in as well. My whole family has high cholesterol but mine is low and I'm convinced it is because I exercise and eat well.

4. Please walk us through your typical morning routine - how do you set yourself up for a healthy day from the start? Do you have any tools or tips you could share with us to keep a healthy mindset each and every day? How do you steward and take care of your body on a regular basis? How does exercise fit into your life? What types of exercise do you include in a typical week?

I always eat breakfast, pack a healthy lunch and decide what my exercise will be after school.  Sadly, I've never been one to wake up early to go exercise (even though I know that is the best time) but I am able to stay motivated and work out in the evenings.

5. How do you set health and fitness goals for yourself? Do you measure them? If so, how often and with what tools (accountability, tracking, etc.)? What are some goals you are currently working on?

I am always setting fitness goals for myself. I like to participate in events such as organized bike rides, or backpacking trips and knowing that I'll be biking 60 miles or hiking 10 keeps me moving forward on my fitness. I use an app called Runkeeper that tracks my riding or walking so I can see how that day compared with others.

6. In your experience, what is the biggest barrier a person has to overcome in term is pursuing or moving forward with his/her health?

I think the biggest barrier is laziness.  It is so easy to fall into unhealthy habits. The IPad has really been a big distractor and if I let it, it will take up time that normally would be spent being outside and active. Health and fitness has to be a priority.

7. What's the best advice or inspiration you could give to someone continuing on or trying to push forward in his/her own health journey? A key takeaway you could share with us?

My best advice is to just start.  Start walking, start eating better, start doing something to begin the journey.  Slow but steady is the key to a healthy lifestyle.  I see people my age start everything at once and only last a few weeks.  Making changes in diet has to be a slow process or a person will be discouraged.  Starting out with workouts that are too hard or unrealistic has such negative impacts.  Change one thing; when that change is a habit, go to the next.  A lifetime of poor choices cannot be changed overnight, but it can be changed.  Just do it.

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