MICHELE MOULTON: Just one degree makes a world of difference

HEALTH AND FITNESS: That extra push can separate great from good

Michele Moulton

Michele Moulton

“At 211 degrees, water is hot.

“At 212 degrees, it boils.

“And with boiling water, comes steam.

“And with steam, you can power a train.”

Have you ever read this? A couple of weeks ago, I received a random text from my friend and new boss, Jamie Fernandez. This is what it said:

“Been thinking about one of my favorite books ‘212 – The Extra Degree.’ We all know that this is the boiling temperature for water, but what fascinates me is what happens from 211 to 212. You see with that 1 extra degree … water boils and produces steam. And man has found the ability to power the world with steam. You see at 211 water is just hot, but with that one little degree something magical happens. I think to when I ask people to run sprints, and they jog. Or they say that they eat clean but have that little cookie with their meal. That last degree is a skill … a skill you can learn … A skill you can get. Continue to push yourself in search of that extra degree, and I promise something magical will happen in your life … in your fitness. Now chew on that!”

Jamie is the owner of Impact Sports and Fitness in Cordele and Albany and is now my new boss. I took a leap of faith and stepped away from my 20-year career at the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts to become the head trainer at the new Impact Sports and Fitness located in Albany. Jamie is as passionate about his work at Impact as I have been about my athletes and the role I play in their lives. I see Jamie working with athletes in the gym, and he pushes them to that extra degree so they can see the difference in good and great. His job is to make magical things happen in the lives of others, and he often does.

When I read his text that night, I immediately thought of this article and told him that I wanted to share his thoughts with all of you because those words are so true. Just one extra degree can make all the difference in the world. It really all comes down to one thing — effort. Are you willing to give it all you’ve got?

I hope each of you took some time to watch the Sochi Olympic Games. I can’t think of a better example of how that extra degree can be so crucial. I really enjoyed watching the alpine skiing, and the men’s giant slalom was a big win for the USA. Ted Ligety won this event and took home the gold medal with a time of 1:21.08. Austria’s Marcel Hirscher came in fourth place with a time of 1:22.47 and went home with no medal. How far off was Hirscher’s time? 0.94 … less than 1 second!

Think about that. Marcel trained for four years for that moment and missed the podium by the narrowest of margins. A magical moment missed by less than 1 second!

A couple of years ago, my husband and I went to a bike race in Atlanta. The first event of the weekend was a 7-mile time trial. In my opinion, time trials are the hardest of all of the cycling disciplines. A time trial is a road bicycle race in which cyclists race alone against the clock.

Time trials are also referred to as “the race of truth,” as winning depends only on each rider’s strength and endurance, and not on help provided by teammates and others riding ahead and creating a draft. I missed the podium that day by 1 second! If I had just given that extra degree of effort,t I would have placed in the top three.

On the flip side, there are times that you may have given everything you have. You pushed yourself to 212 degrees and beyond, and it still wasn’t good enough. Guess what? That is life. You have to roll with the punches.

Sometimes we don’t meet our goals. Sometimes we don’t win. But at least you can feel accomplished in knowing that you put it all out there and didn’t hold back. Never feel defeated as long as you know you gave it your all.

Don’t be afraid to push yourself. Don’t be scared of that extra degree. Apply this to every aspect of your life … your job, your health, your family, your life. Is it scary at times? Yes! Look at me. I left my comfort zone of 20 years with the Department of Audits. I’m pushing myself that extra degree and facing the challenges of such a big change in my life with new-found energy.

Remember, it’s that one extra degree that can make all the difference.

Michele Moulton is a certified group fitness, boot camp and Spinning instructor with more than 23 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. She is the head trainer and lead instructor at Impact Sports and Fitness. She also is the mother of two boys, Austin and Harrison.