Friday, August 31, 2012

Salt: Good or Bad?

As with many of our food products today, salt also lies on a spectrum, refined versus whole, which will help deteremine its place in your life. The more refined (changed from its natural state when found in nature) a product is the more it lacks nutrients. Are you able to go out in nature and find it looking the same as you do when buying from the grocery store? If the answer is no it has been processed to some degree.

Salt is necessary for almost every body system to work, such as your nervous system, and to maintain the balance of sodium through out your body required for proper cellular function.  The amount an individual needs varies greatly. Salt is not “bad” or “good” but there are certainly better salts out there, ones that are full of all the minerals and trace elements your body requires.

Refined salt is mostly chemical sodium chloride, which is that pure white salt most of us know as “table salt”. This has been heated and most of the natural elements that our body needs have been removed.  All salt comes from the sea, so beware of labels reading simply “sea salt”. 

The key is to look at the color. Look for either Celtic sea salt, where you will notice a brown sandy color, or Himalayan salt which has a pinkish tinge to it. These are the best two options and where you will find a full spectrum of those minerals necessary for your body.

Foods such as eggs, seafood, all meats, kelp and other seaweeds, beets, turnips, and greens such as chard, spinach and parsley contain sodium, one of the major elements in salt.

Luckily more and more attention has been brought to whole salt versus refined salt so it is readily available at most grocery stores.  Look for pink or slightly brown and ditch the white stuff. Your body will thank you!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

An Evolution of Judgment on Barefoot Running

I start this blog with a preface. These are my personal thoughts on this topic and don’t necessarily represent that of Innovative Fitness ownership or staff.

Barefoot running is the latest fad in running and training. Yes, I am aware that we all “started” out as barefoot so maybe it shouldn't be labelled as a fad, but I am using that term anyway. My first reaction to the minimalist shoe movement was that I was against it. I was seeing people everyday with injuries due to their choice of using these barefoot shoes as their footwear and it drove me crazy.  I still think that for the VAST majority of the population, barefoot shoes are a bad idea, not because the principle behind the shoe is bad but because most people do not have the patience or follow-through necessary to train to use them properly.

Typically I was seeing people who would buy the shoes and then, immediately and with no "breaking-in" period, go running in them. Invariably, they would sustain a foot, ankle, knee, or back injury within a few weeks, decide that barefoot running was stupid, and promptly give it up. This is very typical of our society and its 'feast or famine' attitude towards basically everything. On the flip side of this, I was being bombarded by barefoot shoe enthusiasts who were screaming at everyone that we were “born to run” this way and, therefore, everyone should be "barefoot" all the time. "Barefoot", of course, meaning wearing some god-awful looking toe shoe things that look good on virtually nobody.

Now, as I was bristling against these two extremes, I formulated my opinion that I was against the movement and then moved on to other things. Until six months ago, that is, when one of my business partners and I were enjoying a glass of wine and discussing whatever came to us.  He suggested that I reconsider barefoot shoes as simply part of a training mode and not as a "be all and end all" to anything. First, let me say that I value my partner’s expertise and knowledge above almost anyone else's so, when it comes to injuries, I had to at least take pause and consider his advice.

Barely two days later another good friend of mine, who owns an outdoor apparel company, offered me a pair of Merrel Trail Gloves to see if I could better understand the trend. Maybe the universe was trying to give me a nudge? These particular shoes are a barefoot runner (not the toe kind) that fall into the atypical minimalist shoe category. It was this perfect storm of advice and gift that led me to open my mind again and give them a chance.

I started using the shoes. When I say, “started using”, I mean I first wore them for about 15 minutes while I was working with a client. The next day I wore them for 20 minutes and so on. Slowly, over the course of 2-3 months, I was able to work out in them, wear them for a few hours at a time with no problems. I began to realize that they can be a valuable training tool and gave me yet one more thing to add to my bag of tricks.

I am convinced that my original point about the majority of our population not having the patience to properly wear these shoes, let alone run in them, still stands. For me personally, though, it was a lesson in not railing against a trend for the sole sake of railing against faddish trends, but instead searching through the hype and garbage publicity surrounding yet another “revolutionary” product that was hitting the fitness industry and forming my own opinion based on research and personal experimentation.

My considered opinion, now, is as follows:
      1)   Barefoot/minimalist running shoes can be a good training tool when used properly.
      2)   Most people do not have the patience to break their feet in properly and, in order to not injure themselves, should not wear them.
      3)   Nobody should be running on concrete without "real" shoes on.  We may have been born to run, but we were not born to run on concrete!
      4)   Not everyone is built to wear minimalist shoes, but many people could benefit from them if they are used properly.

Now, after that has all been said, I fully understand that many people are serious pro barefoot runners and, to you, I say "Great and Enjoy". For those of you considering getting some of these "shoes", take my advice and approach it as a very slow and drawn out process in order to properly condition your feet, legs, knees, and entire body to run in a fashion that you have not done since you were a child regardless of some long ago ancestors who may or may not have lived without shoes.

          ~ Yoshia

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fall seven times, stand up eight. ~Japanese Proverb

On Friday, April 12th, 1850, George Bonniwell and 16 men packed up 6 wagons and left their Milwaukee homes with the intent of following their dream. 122 days later they reached their goal and made it to California in search for gold. What happened during those 122 days was enough to break any person’s spirit and cause for retreat, but George had a vision that he had to see to the end. Not all 16 men and 6 wagons made it to California, there were just too many obstacles to overcome, but through great patience and determination George was able to start living his dream.

Throughout history of civilization there are amazing stories of accomplishment where people were faced with insurmountable odds and still achieved their goal. Some of these accomplishments were based on acts of desperation and some were based on acts of personal advancement, in either case the common bond that made these acts special is the perseverance it took to reach the end goal.

Defined as the steady persistence in a course of action and purpose in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement, perseverance is our greatest tool in achievement. If we are to achieve we must accept the fact that we will face people and objects that will try and prevent us from reaching our vision, which is after we get past ourselves first. Perseverance is a trait that we hold internally and is fostered through our ability to cope with whatever adversity comes our way. In essence, our vision must be greater then our fear of failure.

When our fear of failure exceeds our will, we succumb to taking the easy way out, bow our heads, and turn the other way. When our fear of failure is confronted and accepted we allow ourselves to look beyond our current fear state and see what our potential is if we can just persevere long enough. The key in making sure that we have the ability to persevere is in our ability to make sure that we are facing the right direction when fear presents itself. If fear approaches and we are facing backwards, looking at the comforts we had before fear then we will head back to our perceived safety. If we keep our focus forward when fear approaches then all we have to do is follow our vision and walk through fear.

If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking. ~Buddhist Saying

Fear has the ability to knock us backwards; we have the ability to not let fear spin us around. George Bonniwell and his crew faced famine, rugged terrain, unforeseen elements, and thieves during their 122 day trip, all of which raised certain levels of fear. What kept them moving towards California was there willingness to always face forward, to look at a 6 mile day as 6 miles less they had to travel. I do not know the end story of George Bonniwell, I do not know if the Gold Rush made him a wealthy man, all I know is that he had a goal to make it to California and he did. George completed his vision.

What we can learn from George and all the others throughout history who have persevered is that our end goal is always in front of us and as long as we have the ability to face that direction, our success will come in time. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Congratulations to all the participants of the IronMan this past weekend in Penticton. As their day came to an end there would have been some emotional moments at that finish line.
With months and maybe an entire season devoted to training, to complete a goal no matter what size is something to celebrate about.
All those IronPeople are taking the day off and most likely the week but you may be surprised to know that some of those participants will be back behind the wheel of goal setting which includes training again within a couple weeks.
What’s a goal? Well laid out in the s.m.a.r.t. method, this will include:
So knowing this, we are looking to fit our goals within these parameters. This is sound advice to the beginner and intermediate players but as one sets and achieves goals, their comfort zone may be pushed away. As an example, someone who completes 4 or 5 Iron Man events may choose to complete an Ultra Man or another mind boggling distance event. For the rest of us we need to push ourselves outside our comfort zone within our reality. We may not have the time to put towards training for such an event. Hey, I hear kids keep you busy ;)
I believe the big question here is; what are you working towards? Using the s.m.a.r.t. method one could imagine that this technique could be used for personal and professional goals as well.

So it’s Monday of the last week in August. September is right around the corner and many look at this time of the season is the real New Year’s…
-summer holidays come to a close
-kids back to school
-routines are knocking on our doors again
How are you going to challenge yourself this next quarter? Go ahead and create 3 goals which support your; personal, professional and physical focuses with the s.m.a.r.t. method and unlock your success. Gain some self-esteem by completing a task that you planned and prepared for. Make them quick and easy to gain momentum as there are many tricks to this concept…if you are unsure where to begin, ask for help or hire someone who can provide the challenge.

Whatever your finish line is, get out there and grab it!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Where will I get my Calcium?

Calcium is only one of many important minerals, although we don’t often hear “where will I get my potassium”, do we?  This overly high concern for “getting enough calcium” likely comes from catchy commercials for milk and cheese, or what we read in magazines.

Lets begin with ways calcium is lost from our bodies, (stop the leak so to speak), before we worry about getting enough.

  • Caffeine: Coffee, pop, teas containing caffeine causes increased calcium lost
  • Refined Sugar: Usable calcium absorption decreases substantially when digested with sugar
  • Phosphorus: High levels can lead to leaching calcium from the bones to keep the proper ratio. High levels are found in meat, grains and pop.
  • Salt: Increases excretion of calcium
  • Fiber: Can affect mineral absorption
  • Vitamin D: Needed for bone formation

Some Myths to Keep in Mind!

  1. Milk is good for everyone: Milk is one of the top food allergens! Any one of the 25 proteins contained in milk may induce allergic reactions. Lactase is the enzyme need to breakdown the milk protein, and most of us stop manufacturing this enzyme early in life. Common symptoms of lactose intolerance are bloating, gas, and abdominal cramping or diarrhea.
  2. Dairy products prevent osteoporosis: During the process of pasteurization milk may lose up to 50% of its available calcium. In order for proper transportation and absorption fat, naturally found in milk before processing, is necessary. This means low fat or skim milk can make calcium unavailable.
  3. Calcium Supplements: You must work on the above factors (stop the leak) and then consider absorption rates. Here are some tips;
    1. Best absorbed calcium: Calcium citrate, Calcium gluconate, Calcium hydroxapetite
    2. Choose a formula of calcium combined with other minerals to keep the balance

Non-Dairy Sources for Calcium!

Compare these to 1 cup of whole cow’s milk, which contains 288 mg of calcium:

Nut Milk:
  • Made from 2 oz of sesame seeds and 2 oz of almonds yields 712mg calcium
  • Made from 2 oz of sesame seeds and 2 tbsp of  Barbados molasses yields 940mg calcium
  • Nut milk: Calcium has not been heated or cooked, highly absorbable, easily digested!!
  • Almonds, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, nut milk or butters
Vegetables ½ cup portions:
  • Lamb’s quarters (232mg), Collard greens (74mg), Turnip Greens (53mg), Kale (47mg)
  • Blackstrap (137mg), Barbados (49mg)

Beans and Rice: 1 cup portions (23mg-460mg)
  • Brown, Chickpeas, kidney, navy, pinto, soy and tofu (traditionally prepared!!), wild rice,

Seaweed: 3 ½ oz portions
  • Agar (54mg), Irish moss (72mg), Kelp (68mg), Wakame (150mg)

Take in a variety of fresh vegetables, whole grains, seeds and nuts, fresh fruits, low protein and low fat healthy diet for a healthy balanced intake of calcium and other essential minerals.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The growing need for compliance.

In an increasingly competitive work environment, the need for compliance has escalated into micro management proportions. We see the big, scandalous examples of corporate corruption where CEO’s have cooked the books, traders have defrauded their clients and of course the sub prime housing crisis but what we don’t like to see are our daily examples that can accumulate to have just as serious of an impact on the integrity of the small businesses we chose to represent.

There’s little argument that we are in the age of ‘big’. Everything has to be big and our ego’s seem to fall prey to trumping our 'big' talk. When we arrive at a workplace, it’s usually on the heels of presenting (talking) well during the interview / hiring process. Shortly after we’re hired, we instinctively look for the easier way, the work around, the path of least resistance and that’s where compliance follows up.

In the old days, compliance was welcomed with a boastful pride that we were about to be recognized for a job well done. Now, compliance is met with a how-dare-you indifference followed by the easiest two words  in the workplace dictionary ‘I quit’.

There is ample research to support the claim that North Americans represent the most unproductive workforce in the established nations. What we need to do is examine some of the factors that have led to the increased need for compliance and think about how we can move ourselves off that top 10 list.

  1. Distractions. Our daily routine is inundated with distractions. These distractions are intentionally designed to entice us to buy/use products of other companies. Imagine if we actually went to work and focused on the job we agreed to do for the period of time we agreed to do it without being distracted? Your manager / boss would not wake you up at 1am to ask how you thought Nancy from marketing was doing? Work is for work.
  2. Multi-tasking. Our favorite; being average at many things while mastering none. Multi-tasking is a high level management skill that requires years of training and practice to be done well. Sorry, but 19-25 straight from University probably don’t have the work-world related experience to multi-task effectively. This skill is developmental not inherent. We should focus on doing 1 thing and MASTERING it prior to moving onto another.
  3. Zero consequences. We seem to shift back & fourth from zero tolerance to zero consequence in an effort to find a realistic balance. The saying ‘give and inch and people will take a mile’ seems appropriate for this conversation as it’s more difficult to move someone on from doing a poor job now than ever (case in point the bad teacher example). Unfortunately, there needs to be tangible consequences if we want people to take us seriously. It's unfortunate we're not able to fulfill the agreements we've signed without having consequences, but again it's human nature.
  4. Watered down labor pool. Truthfully, there needs to be more diamonds in the rough. By that we refer to those people across any spectrum of careers that are passionate about what they do and do it well. The #1 demand of many organizations is good & great people. “We need good & great people”. There aught to be a University degree that deals with instructing how to be good & great vs the average jack of all trades pool that’s looking out for their interests.
  5. Lack of personal pride. We seem to be in the 'whatever-era'. Once upon a time there was something noble about coming through the door with the stainless steel lunchbox, greeting your wife and  children, and sitting down to a great meal as a family after reading the paper. It was simple but as it related to the industrial boom, it was effective. There’s no magic here. If we know our roles and execute them to our best abilities, it stands to reason we’re ALL going to prosper.
So now, after decades of progress we’re back to hierarchy & compliance mainly because obviously on mass, we may not have been ready, equipped or educated to manage the very latitude &  freedoms we sought.

 Are you part of the compliance problem or are you part of the compliance solution?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sipping on Some Morning Motivation!

Many of us find ourselves in motivational slumps that we have to work to get out of. Sometimes it’s like a continuous cycle where we are motivated for a period of time, fall out and then have to build things back up again. A good way to be continuously self-motivated is to implement and plan these simple 8 steps in your daily routine. 

Some Morning Motivational Steps to Stay Self-Motivated Throughout Your Day!

1. Start simple. Keep motivators around your work area & in your life – things that give you that initial spark to get going. When you have & incorporate motivating events, items, memories of experiences, etc. – it fuels you to be motivated on achieving or acquiring more.

2. Keep good company. Make more regular encounters with positive and motivated people. This could be as simple as chats with peers or a quick discussion with a friend who enjoys sharing & collaborating on ideas. You are a product of who you surround yourself with – you want to be motivated & great – surround yourself with those are the same.

3. Keep learning. Read and try to take in everything you can. The more you learn, the more confident you become in starting projects. The more confident you are, the more you are motivated to see something come to fruition!

4. Stay Positive. See the good in bad. When encountering obstacles, you want to be in the habit of finding what works to get over them. Those that remain motivated through obstacles are those who are eager to get to the solution as soon as possible.

5. Stop thinking. Just do. If you find motivation for a particular project lacking, try getting started on something else. Something trivial even, then you’ll develop the momentum to begin the more important stuff. However, don’t put off what you need to get done – we can’t procrastinate or avoid the things we enjoy less for the things that we love.

6. Know yourself. Keep notes on when your motivation sucks and when you feel like a superstar. There will be a pattern that, once you are aware of, you can work around and develop. And then avoid the situations, people, or events that take you off track (or put you back on track).

7. Track your progress. Keep a tally or a progress bar for ongoing projects. When you see something growing you will always want to nurture it. It’s the principle behind many financial savings books and should be the principle behind your goal setting. When people check items off their ‘to do’ lists – they are motivated to check more off!

8. Help others. Share your ideas and help friends get motivated. Seeing others do well will motivate you to do the same. Write about your success, share your experiences and then get feedback from those that are paying attention, being inspired, or are now motivated to do the same.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

I want to be toned...

So you want to be fit? Awesome, what exactly does that mean to you and what are you prepared to do to get there?

Over my career as a personal trainer I have been asked this plus how and what to do too many times to count. ‘Eat more, sleep more, remove stress, eat healthy fats and try to eat too many vegetables…’ only to hear, ‘oh, I can’t do that’, they’ll say, ‘is there another way?’

No, there is no way to be fit unless you provide your body what it needs. Plus you may have to remove some things from your reach permanently…yes, that includes staying up late, starving yourself and killing yourself with cardio…

I have come to understand that in some cases it is not actually someone’s fault that they have slipped towards a larger body fat percentage or that someone has developed a metabolic syndrome which is now effecting the way their body operates…now I’m not advocating the blame game and actually, now that you have read the above, you owe it to yourself to investigate these questions for yourself. If you don’t know how, hire someone who is certified and does….

As I sit in coffee shops reading or writing I am amazed how many people still order fat free and soy lattes. The fear of death is in them that consuming fat will kill them or make them add extra fat weight immediately. Get it through your head, we need healthy fats in our diet and we need a lot. Consuming lean meats, no healthy fat, ill-timed grains and carbs like fruits is not healthy. Sorry to burst your bubble. Starting your day with a small oat bar a skinny latte and a nice does of stress will send you straight to unhealthy town.

No I am not against yogurt for breakfast. It’s not my first pick for you but if it’s that or cereal then Ill pick the yogurt…just make sure it’s organic, full fat, plain greek yogurt. Not going to get into the facts about GMO foods but if you think you are beyond the reach of these bad boys think again. As many as one-fifth of all dairy cows in America are pumped with these hormones. These deadly drugs are banned in 27 countries but are allowed in most US cows. If you must consume dairy, please buy organic.

Here’s an additional thought, try living without dairy or grains for a bit and see how your body reacts…or get tested to find out exactly what your body reacts well or poorly to…since inflation is the body’s general reaction for everything, remove the inflammation and allow the body to run more efficiently. A trainer can always tell what someone ate over the weekend based on any inflammation on Monday morning. When you look in the mirror first thing; is your face puffy or blotchy from some poor choices?

This may seem like a rant but trust us, we want to help and we want you to be healthy. It’s our job to inform plus show you the path. It is up to you if you are willing to be the change you want to see and give that path a try.

richard alm

Friday, August 17, 2012

How can parents motivate their children to stay, or get active?

Some kids enjoy sports while others dread it. How can parents motivate their children to stay, or get active?

First and foremost, be a role model. Young children look to their parents to learn, especially young children. Have a plan and schedule in this time, as it is very easy to let time slip away. It can be as simple as family walks after dinner, before every one heads for the couch to watch TV or play video games on the computer. This can be a lot of fun if you have a family pet to walk. Make the evening event fun by setting goals while on the walk, such as the number of steps each of you take by using a pedometer, or pick a tree or a fire hydrant they have to sprint to, and you have just incorporated interval training!

Implement a way to track the family’s progress. Having a big calendar with all the children’s activities is a great place to place their activity goals. Use age appropriate markers such as stickers, or colorful magnets. It doesn’t hurt to have appropriate incentives either, specifically related to what your child’s interests are. For example if they are in to building things, perhaps they can pick out a model plane once they reach their goal, or they if they enjoy science they can go to Science World. Make a plan, schedule in the time so everyone is on board and follow through with goals and incentives.

If you have a sedentary child, who is not in to the typical team sports at school or is less than enthusiastic about activity take some time to explore what other avenues are out there for them. The Olympics is a great way to check out the variety of ways young people stay active such as judo, or table tennis. Take a look with your child at the pictures of young athletes that were at the Olympics, or take them to a local event such as a 10km, half marathon or a triathlon to show them what they can work towards. These events are extremely inspiring!

Take the time to plan activity for yourself as well as you children, and every one benefits.

More health and fitness tips for your kids, visit us on CTV:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pain in the Neck?

Many people spend their days glued to a computer screen and end up suffering from neck and upper back pain. There are some simple things that you can do to start alleviating this problem. The root of the problem is typically a rolled pectoral girdle, "forward shoulders", and this is caused by a muscle imbalance exacerbated by hours and hours of “hunching” over our computers. The combination of lengthened upper back muscles and shortened anterior chest and shoulder muscles causes us to hunch and allow our heads to push into a forward position. This puts a lot of strain on the muscles in our neck and shoulders.

Due to this postural position, our upper back and neck are constantly lengthened and under load (eccentrically loaded); they take the brunt of the strain. Our natural response to this strain is to stretch and rub the muscles that are in pain.  Contrary to the immediate relief that we may get, this can actually make the condition worse by lengthening the long muscles even more.

The quick and easy way to start combating this problem is by stretching and strengthening the right muscles. This routine of stretching and strengthening needs to be done throughout the day in order to have the desired result. Simply going to the gym for an hour a few times a week is not going to do enough to stop the 8+ hours a day of repetitive action.

The first step is to learn what we should actually be doing. The first and probably most important part of this routine is setting an alarm. Every hour you should have a reminder to get up and spend a couple of minutes stretching.

Door Stretch: Simply place your wrists and elbows on a door frame and lean through.

Wall Stretch: Grab a wall or door frame with both hands and push your hips away from you hands.

Bicep Wall Stretch: Place your hand on a wall with your fingers facing behind you. Open your body away from your hand, rotate your neck and slightly tilt you head.

Trapezius Stretch: Reach over your head and place your hand on the opposite side. Apply gentle pressure and reach away from your body with your opposite hand.

Wall Angels: Standing with your back against the wall. Place your elbows and wrists against the wall and slowly extend your hands as far over your head as you can without having your wrists or elbows leave the wall. Repeat this motion slowly 10-12 times.

These stretches can be performed 6-8 times per day for 30-45 seconds. They should not be performed if you have a special condition and need medical supervision for exercise.

Now that we know what to do the trick is to actually do it… set an alarm and get stretching.

If you are already going to the gym and/or getting plenty of physical activity, then part of this equation will be modifying your gym routine. If you sit all day and then go to the gym and exercise your chest, you are making the problem much worse. Lay off the bench press for a few months and focus on upper back strengthening. Generally speaking, you should focus on pull exercises and lay off anything that is in a push motion.

~ Yoshia

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The 3rd side of the coin.

Conflict in your life is not only an eventual reality... it is a neccessity. You are going to disagree with someone somewhere probably even today... and this can be a very good thing.

The thing about conflict, is that there are 3 levels of looking at it: i) your way, ii) the other person's way, and iii) (if you can enable yourself to do so) how an impartial observer would monitor the situation. Advice my dad gave me years ago, "there are always 3 sides to a story, my view, your view, and the truth".

In our hedonistic society, we often only consider our own opinion, or the concept of the world we have created based solely on our own experiences and biases. It takes a mature and wise person to consider anothers' point of view, and it takes an even more mature, even wiser person to consider that you may both be right... or wrong.

A perfect example is a former blog..... 2 navigators around the time of aristotle may be argueing over which country is closer to the 'end of the earth'; while Aristotle proposed that there is no end at all and that the world is flat.

One model of argumentative theory puts that a thesis compared to an antithesis with compromise leads to sythesis. This new thesis gets matched against a new antithesis and thus our view of the world evolves. Instead of Point A + Point B leads to new, improved Point A... considering the third side of the coin leads to new innovative approaches that may speed up A + B theory, or introduce direction of thinking C.

In any case before this becomes a purely hypothetical postulation with no practical application, just remember how you can use this approach today...

There is much more to right and wrong or me vs you in any conflict situation. Conflict leads to an opportunity for one or more people to abandon their biases and adapt a new point of view; or create one that has not even been considered. As one philosopher put it regarding letting go of our prejudices, "in order to learn anything, we must un-learn everything".

While that may be a bit extreme and impractical, just remember when you come into conflict, leave your baggage at the door and listen and consider A, B, and C before you respond 
Written by Stan Peake. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Worth Sharing.

It's a rarity that we share other articles on Swimupstream, however, after coming across the story below - one that many of you might have heard during the coverage of the London Olympics - it was only worth telling again. 
It starts with a guy by the name of Bryshon Nellum & his coach Ron Allice - and ends with the US flag bearer  being watched by his biggest of the many inspirational stories at these past Olympic Games that taught us so much!
Be inspired. Share the story. And go make your dreams come true.  

By Alyssa Roenigk |
LONDON -- Four years ago, few people believed Bryshon Nellum would become an Olympian. One man who did followed him here.
"His story has come full circle," said longtime University of Southern California track coach Ron Allice, who has been in the stands at Olympic Stadium for every race and medal ceremony featuring one of his athletes. "I'm so proud of what he's accomplished."
On paper, missing the 400-meter final by three one-hundredths of a second and winning a silver medal in the 4x400-meter relay might not look like much. But that's the thing about box scores -- they don't tell the story. And Nellum's is the kind from which movies are made.
[+] EnlargeNellum
Paul Gilham/Getty ImagesBryshon Nellum won a silver medal as part of the men's 4x400-meter relay team.
A two-sport standout at Long Beach Polytechnic High School in California, Nellum was a top-rated wide receiver in football and the 2007 Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year. He earned a scholarship to USC and began his freshman season in the fall of 2007. He was a star before he ever stepped foot on campus.
But on Halloween night the following year, his athletic career nearly came to an end. As Nellum was leaving an off-campus party, two men pulled up in a car and yelled out a gang slogan, then shot him three times in the legs he once joked were so valuable, he should have them insured. One bullet hit him in his left hamstring, one in his right quad and another in his left. Prosecutors called the shooting a case of mistaken identity; Allice believes the men, who were convicted in August 2011 of attempted murder and sentenced to 15 years each in prison, were motivated by jealousy.
No matter the reason, Nellum's injuries required three surgeries and as many years of intensive rehabilitation. Doctors told Nellum he would never again run at an elite level, but he believed his legs would one day carry him over an Olympic finish line. His coach believed, too, and was by his side every painful step of the way. Allice was there for Nellum's darkest, most painful days, so it seemed only fitting he would be there for his brightest.
"The setbacks and the obstacles and having to come back time and time again, that shows he is a very resilient young man. Watching him here, I feel like a proud dad," Allice said Saturday while navigating through the crowds in Olympic Park.
But it's not easy for a 72-year-old track coach to put aside recruiting calls and planning meetings and take off for two weeks in August. In his nearly 50 years of coaching at the high school and collegiate levels, Allice has sent more than 40 athletes to the Olympics (his first in 1964), yet he's never traveled to see them run in the Games. Until last week, he'd never been to Europe.
"I send them off and then I get back to work," Allice said. "I'm a coach. I don't have time for trips."
Before London, the 1984 Los Angeles Games were the only Olympics Allice attended, and that's because they came to him.
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Kirby Lee/Getty ImagesRon Allice has been coaching the men's and women's track teams at USC since 1995.
But this year was special. "I had two young athletes running the first two legs of that relay," Allice says of Nellum, who ran the anchor leg of the 4x400 in the semis and opening leg in the finals, and his USC teammate, Josh Mance, who ran the second leg. "I wanted to be there for them."
Allice also wanted to fulfill a promise he made to his wife, Sharlene, who passed away in June 2011 at the age of 72 after a three-year battle with cancer.
"Once our three kids were grown, Sharlene traveled with me to every track meet," Allice said. "It's been a very emotional year."
At the U.S. Olympic track trials in Oregon in June, Allice watched alone as Nellum and Mance made the U.S. team (Nellum ran a personal-best 44.8 seconds to finish third in the 400). Several hundred miles away, Allice's friends from his hometown of Long Beach, where he and Sharlene met as high school students and he spent the first 32 years of his coaching career, held a fundraiser to send him to London. When Allice arrived home in Los Angeles, they presented him with plane tickets, hotel reservations and event tickets to show their appreciation for a coach who has meant so much to their city.
Thanks to them, Allice was in Olympic Stadium on Aug. 5 to watch Nellum cross the finish line in a photo finish with Jonathan Borlee of Belgium in the semifinals of the 400. And he was there to congratulate and comfort his athlete, to remind him how far he'd come after Nellum realized he finished ninth and missed making the final by 0.02 seconds. Five days later, Allice watched again as Nellum and Mance ran the opening legs of the 400 relay and then walked the track draped in American flags after finishing second to the Bahamas.
Later that night, Nellum's teammates voted him the U.S. flag bearer for closing ceremonies, an accomplishment Allice calls the highlight of Nellum's career.
"To be chosen by your teammates means there is tremendous respect for what you've done and who you are," Allice said. "A lot of people did very, very well for track and field in the United States, and for him to be chosen, that's pretty significant."
Allice will return to the track Sunday night to watch Nellum carry out the flag in Olympic Stadium, his final act as a member of the 2012 Olympic team. But the moment Allice says will remain with him longest is watching Nellum run the individual 400, completing one lap of the track and an improbable journey.
"It was a very special day," Allice said. It was also his 50th wedding anniversary.