‘Sedentary geek’ gets moving toward better health

Ten professionals and 10 teams are competing in the 2014 Get Fit Challenge, a spinoff of IB’s popular Fittest Executive Challenge. Who will earn the healthiest marks? Follow along on Facebook, and then find out at the In Business Expo & Conference on Oct. 22. This week, IB checks in with Lannia Stenz, executive director of Gilda’s Club, who is competing in the individual challenge.

When I was in high school, I was a typical geek: sedentary, played video games, read a great deal, loved board games, and generally surrounded myself with people who were like me. As someone who went to three different high schools in three different states, I forced myself to be more outgoing than I might be naturally by jumping into theater, speech, and debate.

Lannia Stenz

One summer I attended a weekend-long workshop put on by my high school speech coach. Throughout the weekend, I honed my public speaking skills and read a number of plays that could be translated into presentation pieces. We also had a presenter who made a real impression on me.

Rather than focusing on speaking ability, speed, and diction, the presenter focused on attitude. He told us that it would take more to succeed in speech than just memorizing our piece and practicing it repeatedly. He threw out phrases like “get it by the butt” to make the teenagers laugh. The idea was that if you just go through the motions, you set yourself up to fail. In order to succeed, you have to “get it by the butt” by being present in the moment, giving everything you’ve got, sharing a piece of yourself with the audience, and not letting setbacks sabotage you. He taught us that we can either give up or believe in the power of our own success and not fail for a preventable reason.

That year I took home quite a few speech trophies and medals. Many of the lessons stuck with me and later translated well into sound career advice. After college, I chose a nonprofit career that I could truly believe in so that I would feel good about giving my all every day. As a result of that decision and the energy I put into my work, I have grown both professionally and personally. I am blessed to find that my journey has led me to Gilda’s Club, where I am inspired every day by our mission of supporting families affected by cancer.

How does this translate to the In Business Get Fit Challenge?



Despite my career success, I remain a sedentary geek. I enjoy cerebral pursuits, and that “get it by the butt” mentality never translated to fitness for me. I have leisurely enjoyed ballroom dance classes, laughed while learning belly dance and Turkish folk dance, and very much enjoy swimming and boating. However, my tendency toward being a foodie and my inconsistency in activity has translated into obesity.

Through my work at Gilda’s Club, I have learned that obesity is a major risk factor for many kinds of cancer. So is a sedentary lifestyle. After losing my mother to cancer in 2012 (she was 68), I find myself paying a bit more attention to these facts. That is why I submitted my name for the Get Fit Challenge. I needed that push, that nudge, to get me off my butt and working toward better health. I believe the Get Fit Challenge is just what I needed to hold me accountable and help me get past my fears.

As of this writing, I have been actively working toward my goals for three weeks. My fitness partner, Monkey Bar Gym, has been amazing so far. With daily cardio homework and two intense Body Power classes each week that take me outside of my comfort zone, I have spent most of the last few weeks with sore muscles — some of which I didn’t even know I had. However, my trainers’ “can-do” attitude and willingness to meet me where I am physically has been incredibly encouraging. I feel like I finally have all the ingredients I need to succeed, and I am grateful.

As Monkey Bar founder Jon Hinds asked me during our first meeting, “What would badass Lannia do?” My earnest but laughing response today would be, “Get it by the butt.”

Meet all of the competitors here and see who wins at the In Business Expo & Conference

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