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Extraordinary Motivation: Dori's Passion for Fitness

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    NEWSLETTERS

    If you are a regular reader of Go Healthy NY, you are no doubt familiar with Dori Manela. Her column, “Dori’s Quest,” has been a staple on the blog and her stories are always inspiring. What you may not know is that Dori is quite an inspiration herself.

    Dori was just a regular girl with a blog. Then she found out she was sick and decided she would not let her illness hold her back from being healthy. She started running, discovered fitness classes and developed an obsession so healthy, it’s practically unhealthy! She’s found a way to marry her love of running and fitness with her passion for writing, and the current incarnation of Dori’s Shiny Blog was born.

    Dori transformed from just a regular girl with a blog into a fitness authority and internet sensation. She’s been featured on many other fitness blogs and was even the subject of a recent Microsoft Bing webisode.

    I reached out to Dori in hopes that her story might inspire you.


    Dori M.
    28, UES, New York City
    Social Media Manager
       
    What types of fitness are you into?
    Running, Refine Method, Core Fusion

    How’d you really start getting into fitness? Was there an obstacle you had to overcome?

    After three years of doctors and tests and medications for a chronic gastrointestinal illness that started out of nowhere, nothing was working and I was sent off to meet with a surgeon. I ended up meeting with two, and both recommended a really serious surgery – to have my entire colon removed.

    Before that appointment, I'd started dabbling with running. As I came to terms with being sick, I realized that running really helped me cope. Soon after, I signed up for my first half-marathon – the New York City Half-Marathon, which happened to take place on my 27th birthday – and then I fell in love with boutique fitness classes too. As I ran farther, got stronger and felt happier than I had in years, I realized I could not only get by without such an invasive surgery, but I could thrive without it.

    The decision not to have surgery – an operation that would have destroyed my life in certain ways -- was the best decision I ever made.

    What got you doing it?
    A combination of my love of Twitter and luck! I saw that Fred DeVito, the founder of Core Fusion, tweeted about teaching women who take the class four to five times a week and it showed. I responded, shocked, and said, “Four to five times a week??!” He invited me to take the class that much for a month, and document my experience on my blog. We called it the Core Fusion Challenge, got a bunch of other women to participate too, and it was a huge success. Now over a year and a half later, I can’t imagine NOT exercising at least 5 times a week!

    What keeps you doing it?
    The main thing that keeps me working out is that I truly love it. I love being strong and having muscles. I love people’s reactions when I say I just ran 14 miles. I love the “runner’s high” – which I feel after almost every workout. I love seeing my own improvements over time and doing things I didn’t think I would ever be able to.

    How do you keep it fun?
    I have the most fun when I exercise with friends – especially on a long run. The miles fly by when I have someone to run with, even if we are not even talking. I am also very into music when I work out. I choose certain class instructors based on their music selections, and I am always creating and sharing my race playlists!

    What advice do you have to help people stay on track?
    Don’t compare yourself to anyone else! No one cares how much or how little you can do in your class, or how many miles or how fast you can run. Sometimes friends will tell me they don’t want to work out with me because they don’t think they can do as much as I can, or they think I will judge them, or they think they will look bad struggling next to me. But when I am working out, I am so focused on myself that I never notice anyone around me. And I am struggling too! The point of a workout is that it is hard. My motivation and my goal is to have the best possible workout, and I can’t do that if I’m busy comparing myself to others.


    While comparing your workouts to others’ is a bad idea, comparing yourself to someone like Dori can be a good thing. It’s not about the specifics of the fitness accomplishments -- a distance run, a new speed record, or lifting twice your body weight on the bench press -- it’s about seeing how others are getting out there and make smarter, healthier decisions.

    Ben Waldman is a writer, advertising art director, social media consultant and marathoner. Born in Queens and raised in NJ, Ben now lives in Manhattan, and can be seen almost daily running along the Central Park Loop, along the rivers and through the streets. He is tightly connected to the New York fitness community through his blog and on Twitter.
     

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    Ben Waldman is a writer, advertising art director, social media consultant and marathoner. Born in Queens and raised in NJ, Ben now lives in Manhattan, and can be seen almost daily running along the Central Park Loop, along the rivers and through the streets. He is tightly connected to the New York fitness community through his blog and on Twitter.