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4 Key Things You Need For The Perfect 2016

These are essential get fit tips for the new year.

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At just 31 years old, Nadia Ruiz has achieved what many could only hope to achieve over the span of a lifetime. With an unrivaled tenacity, she has completed 122 marathons, frequently in the top of her age group or top overall women, 66 Boston Marathon qualifiers, 61 half marathons, 11 ultra marathons and 5 Ironmans.

At only the age of 12, her interest in fitness and overall health and wellness was awakened when she began to realize what her future could be like. Nadia began her fitness journey as a small girl in boxing. When she reached high school, she decided to run her first marathon as a freshman, and her father decided to run by her side. After 17 years of running together with her father, running has joined her family and encouraged her community more than she could have ever imagined. She continuously aims to challenge herself at all distances and terrain, sharing that the more pain she feels, the more she discovers about her character. Earning her Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, and teacher’s credential from UCLA at the age of 20, Nadia has been a high school biology educator, coach, and marketing consultant for 10 years. She shares her passion of fitness, health and education with her family and friends in hopes to continue to encourage others to seek their goals, because she feels that the greatest achievement in life is living your passion.

As we near new beginnings and fresh starts in 2016, Nadia will be kicking off her health and fitness goals with the New Year’s Race Doubleheader Challenge (a 10K and half marathon consecutively on the same night). Here are her get-fit tips for the New Year:

Motivation. You need to search and reflect deep inside why is it that you do what you do. If you can only find a superficial answer, you will find that you may lack motivation. However, once you find that deep powerful purpose, then nothing else matters. You don’t even need to share the purpose because it is only meaningful to you, but it is so powerful that it will drive you everyday. Every single day, remind yourself of this deep reason why you do what you do. You are not here to simply exist. You are here to be extraordinary. Everyone has the ability to find their inner extraordinary and they should. Living a life pursuing this purpose means you are driving towards your passion. When you reflect on your purpose, you will never run out of the drive to succeed. Your motivation becomes endless.

Related: How Running Traditions Help Motivate Us

Challenges/Self-Doubt.  Self-doubt is bound to set in, especially in times where we challenge ourselves. A game or a race is a test. It’s a test and celebration of ourselves. We can’t PR every time. To truly learn how to be a champion within yourself you have to learn how to fail. Reflect and accept your mistakes. That makes a champion every single time. Don’t create an excuse before, during, or after because it serves you no purpose. Instead, allow that reflection to fuel you for your next attempt that way the journey truly becomes your reward. The win, PR, or BQ then just becomes the icing on the cake.

Nutrition. Many endurance athletes have allowed themselves to justify that if I workout or race for this long then I can eat whatever I want. Essentially, yes in terms of the energy question, calorie out equals calorie in for weight not to fluctuate. However, what many have missed is why not make every calorie in be a nutritious one that will actually benefit your body other than just hit a craving. Hunger is physiological. Cravings are psychological. You may perform already at a great level with a particular malnourished diet, but imagine what your body can do if you were to give it every macro- and micro-nutrient it needs for vital health. If we demand more of our body, we should give more to it in the foods we eat. My philosophy is EVERYTHING you eat will either help or hurt you. In other words, food can either be your medicine or it can be your poison. You make the choice.

Related: 4 New Tips On Exercise And Nutrition

Rest/Taper. Complete rest, active rest and sleep are essential to allow your body to improve. Regardless if you have found yourself to be functional with minimal rest and sleep, functionality and peak performance are not the same thing. Listen to your body and rest when you should. Don’t run through injuries. Try to eliminate the things that distract you throughout your day especially in the evening and allow your body and mind to rest and visualize your plan and your goals. What’s more important: reaching your goals or knowing what’s going on the latest, hottest TV series? Your mind and body will thank you for the rest it needs.