Thursday, December 31, 2009

Workout For The New Year

This might be a great way to start off the workout year.
Check out this 10-circuit weight workout from Men's Health magazine. It's based on the routine Andy Whitfield did for his upcoming debut in the Starz television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

I'll be taking a few days off to enjoy the holiday. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Water In The Winter - Part II

So, I've been getting a little teasing about water aerobics.

I know what you're thinking (not trying to be stereotypical here, but this is what I hear) - "That's so boring." "You're just working out with the old ladies." "How can that really be a challenging workout?"

Well, how do you know unless you've tried?

Absolutely, water aerobics may not have the animal impact or outdoors drive associated with a hard run or bike ride outdoors. But if you are recovering from injury, it's a great alternative. And if you're sore from a series of challenging, hard workouts; then water aerobics is the best way to maintain cardivascular stability while giving your muscles a break!

You don't burn as many calories with water aerobics as you would a run, but the benefits are still extremely beneficial.

Here are some links to a variety of posts that show the benefits of water aerobics --

And again, if you have access to an indoor pool, this is a great off-season exercise. You NEED to give it a shot!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Water In The Winter

So are you like a recent acquaintance of mine?

You're thinking about doing a triathlon. However, you're not sure how to start with training to swim. The good news is that if you have access to an indoor pool, the winter is a great time to bone up on your swimming.

For many people contemplating a triathlon, the swim is the most "bitter pill to swallow". Yet, I know some people - like the gentleman I was visiting with the other day - who swam competitively in high school and/or college and thought that may be the easiest component to adapt to.

If you're in the camp of where you think you can draw upon past experience to get you started on your swim training, this post is for you. Check out this swim plan for "newbie" aspiring triathletes at This piece by Gale Bernhardt is perhaps just right for someone who has some swimming experience, but is new to triathlon training.
I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season! I'm going to enjoy mine by taking a few days off from posting. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sleep In This Holiday Season!

How often do people tell you to "sleep in"!

Well, I'm telling you. While you're taking some extra days off this holiday season, take in some extra sleep. The correlation of good sleep and exercise contributing to a healthy lifestyle are huge.

Check out this post from to learn why

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Using Kettlebells

I hope I don't sound repetitious, but I've recently found a number of follow-ups to previous posts. And this one is no exception!

Recently, I wrote about a New York chef who regularly uses kettlebells in her fitness routines. Well, Kara at the Between The Miles blog posted some great follow up information on the use of kettleballs in exercise. Check it out at

This post includes a link to some YouTube workout demonstrations and some interesting comments. And who can resist the seasonality of kettlebells . . . it's the holidays . . . bells ringing . . . get it?

Actually, I share this primarily because I've had a number of workout friends comment to me that they would like to see us obtain kettlebells in our club. I'm hopeful we'll be able to work that out!

Holiday Treats To Avoid

It's time for that obligatory post about what you shouldn't eat at holiday time.

Most of us know what we should and shouldn't do to avoid additional holiday pounds. The simple common-sense approach of being smart and keeping up a limited exercise routine should help at least maintain a "zero or minimal gain".

No one should be denied their holiday favorites! We all have our vices whether they be cookies, fudge, pie, egg nog or some other creamy and rich treat. The trick is to enjoy them in MODERATION!

Here's a post from the for some other holiday eating strategies

Friday, December 18, 2009

More Holiday Training Tips

Boy, does this post from Jeff Galloway hit the mark for the holidays!

I’ve written many times about keeping up the fitness pace during travel and the holidays. Galloway really gets it right – don’t worry too much about enjoying some holiday treats and you can maintain your fitness by doing less instead of more!

He raises another great thought – pick quiet activities if you’re traveling to visit friends or family members. Our less-fitness-oriented cohorts tend to “sleep in” at holiday time, so don’t upset them. Check it out at

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Baseball Drill . . . For Indoors

It’s cold, but baseball is just around the corner.

If you’re a true baseball lover, you’re looking for indoor gym opportunities to get your kids “in the groove.” This post from the Baseball Drills and Coaching Tips blog illustrates a simple activity that should work indoors.

Check it out at This can be a fun, competitive drill, while allowing for evaluation of throwing ability.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Original SI Iron Man Story

On a very cold, snow-covered day, this brought a little sunshine into my world.

As a triathlete and an avid reader of Sports Illustrated, I was surprised I had never seen this story. However, running across the Tri-Daddy blog, I discovered this very interesting post --

It’s a link to a story written by Barry McDermott that first appeared in SI back in 1979 about an odd, fledgling event known as the Hawaii Iron Man. Take a peak as it is a truly enjoyable read.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fitness Gift Ideas

Well, Santa is coming to town. And that means you’d better remember the fitness guru on your Christmas list. Here are just a few ideas to get you started (because I know you haven’t done any shopping yet) –

Let’s assume that you’re on a budget in these times of economic belt-tightening. Here’s a series of gift ideas from Liz Neporent at and they are all under $40! Take a peak at

Now here’s an idea. What about the gift of training? I’m all about this gift concept. Here’s how you can purchase training from Triathlon Coach Joel Friel -

Maybe someone special in your life is looking for a new treadmill. Here are some tips from Christine Luff on this idea --

There’s a whole group of fitness-related gift ideas included in’s holiday gift guide at Runner’s World offers the same type of feature on its website at

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Check Out Personal Trainer Certification

Are you looking to hire a personal trainer? This post is for you.

I’ve written about this in the past, but I thought this post from Liz Neporent at was worth the read -- It’s very detailed.

Learn the recommended certifications you should be noting as you go to hire your personal trainer.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

More Winter Running Info

Last week, I shared a post on winter running tips. Perhaps getting out for a run this morning in the balmy 24-degree weather along Chicago’s North Shore served as inspiration to provide more information about running during this tough time of year.

Obviously, the weather changes are inspiring chatter about this topic on the blog front. Check out some winter motivation shared by readers of the Runner Dude blog at Sometime a little motivation from others helps get you into the spirit.

If you’re looking for more tips to help you get equipped to run in colder weather, check out this post written by Jennifer Fields at --

Sometimes we’re a little more motivated if we’re actually preparing for an upcoming event. Check out this post from Christine Luff at to help you find a holiday race event near you --

Maybe motivation to pick up some new gear will help you along. Check out this post at to learn how you might be able to find something new to wear -- We usually end up running a lot in the dark during winter, so make sure you can be seen.

Hopefully, this information will help give you the right push when the stiff wind that hits you in the face when you run out the door isn’t too warm!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Day In My Fitness Life

I’ve discovered there are some people who exist who are even sicker than me.

Hard to believe, but the folks who want to hear about my workout life I thought really may need to have a checkup. However, I’ve continued to hear requests about laying out what I typically do in my daily workout routines.

Well, here it goes. Love it or leave it. This is my little world.

Four to five days a week, I usually start at 3:45 to 4 a.m. with stretching and warm up for about 20 to 25 minutes. Then it’s off to run, swim, bike, lift weights or participate in a group fitness activity at my health club. Sometimes, I will do these activities at my gym and sometimes not. It just depends on what I have scheduled for the day. Prior to heading to my main activity, I have to stop at the local Kum and Go store for a quick jolt of coffee, the daily news and conversation with the “regulars” assembled at that time of day.

By 5:15 a.m., I’m generally fully engaged in the activity of the day. I may just do one activity, depending on the time that I have scheduled for the day. However, I might supplement my workout with some weights or other resistance exercise.

I try to have one pretty light day and one day of rest. Additionally, there may be days where I will do resistance exercises or swimming during my lunch hour. When I’m in full training mode, I may have some evening workouts planned too, but I try to minimize those with my family’s busy schedule.

That’s it! Pretty boring perhaps. However, I’ve found myself in a groove that serves me well, so I try to stick to it!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Preparing To Run In Cold Weather

Well, it’s Iowa and it’s starting to get cold. Looks like that first real blast of cold air will hit this week after a pretty mild fall.

Beyond that, I never miss an opportunity to share some good “Penguin” advice.

John “The Penguin” Bingham recently had a helpful post for those runners preparing to run in the cold weather. Since I’ve often had newby runner friends pose questions about what to wear in colder weather, I thought this may be helpful information to pass along.

The key to remember when running outdoors is that while it may be chilly at first, you warm up quickly with running. So, there’s no need to layer up excessively to a point where you risk overheating.

Take a look at John’s post --

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Take A Look At These Workouts

Okay, okay. I probably shouldn’t be checking out women’s health websites (or publicly admitting it anyway!), but I guess I’m guilty as charged.

One of my workout friends told me that has a great selection of workouts and it’s true! Just go to the site and click on “workouts” toward the middle right of the page.

You will have to register to get print versions of the workouts, but it’s a pretty simple process. I found some great routines on this site. Check it out.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Always Time For Fitness During Holidays

Seeing relatives you love, great meals, a Tiger victory over the Jayhawks. All great results from a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday.
So, when is there time for fitness between activities?

You know the feeling - you know you're packing away a lot of calories with the holiday feeding. You're feeling guilty because you'd like some time off, but you don't want to gain the "unnecessary holiday pounds." We can always use a little rest, but there's also an easy way to keep up with fitness if you're creative.

It only takes 30 to 60 minutes for a productive workout. You can do a circuit of push-ups, lunges, squats, planks and so forth in no time. All you need is a floor to develop a quick 25-minute routine featuring these exercises. How about a sidewalk? That's all you need for a 25 to 40-minute walk or run outdoors.

I was lucky that my brother and sister-in-law have a pool in the backyard of their fantastic home in the Houston area. So, I was able to do a 30-minute water run routine one morning.

Well, you get the point. There's always room for fitness - even if it's just for 30 to 60 minutes. All you need is a little creativity!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Men, Check Out What You're Missing

Okay, so I lied.

I said I wouldn't post any more over this holiday week, but I couldn't help myself following attendance at yoga and water aerobic classes over the past couple of days.

Attention, men! You need to check out what you're missing in group fitness. At my yoga class Monday evening, there was only one other male in attendance beyond myself. In my "aqua-mix" water aerobics class yesterday morning, I was the only male in attendance.

Group fitness classes offer that diversity in your routine that can help keep you injury-free. While I really enjoy the relaxation of yoga an the variety of water aerobics, there are many different classes available through your local health clubs. Take a minute to check it out.

Guys, don't be afraid. Jump on in - the water is great.

Hope everyone enjoys some time off this week!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Another Alternative Workout

As Thanksgiving inches closer, perhaps a story about a chef is appropriate.

The twist is this particular chef is serious about her workouts. Beth Wells, a California chef, uses kettle balls, heavy rope and other tools to do heavy workouts on her feet. Beth also prepares some mighty fine organic-based dishes. Probably not what you're planning to consume on Thanksgiving, but great stuff!

Check out the Wall Street Journal piece on Beth’s workouts -- Maybe some of these exercise make sense for you! Anything new is great to consider as the approaching cold limits our options for fitness activities.

I'm taking a break from the blog for the rest of the week to enjoy Thanksgiving and a celebration of my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary in Texas. I'm looking forward to the trip. Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Story Of A 14-Year-Old Seven Footer

This is a moving story about a 14-year-old boy who is 7’4”. Yes, that’s 7’4” and this is the story of Brenden Adams.

Check it out -- There’s an accompanying video on this post that really tells the story. This is one of those rare cases of “difficult-to-explain” health issues that have forced this young man through many hoops, yet he seems to tackle adversity fairly well.

It’s inspiring to note how he so badly wanted to play football, but faced many serious health limitations. He required surgery to be able to get a medical clearance to play, but still faces other problems as he plays. If you watch the video, you’ll see that he must play in jeans because there aren’t football pants big enough for the poor kid.

What is perhaps most gratifying about this story is hearing how the coach has worked Brenden into some plays.

We get so caught up in “winning” in our society, but it’s nice to note stories where just “doing the right thing” is applauded.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Keeping Up In The Tri Off-Season

What a great story about staying motivated in the off-season!

Triathlon Coach Kevin Koskella Offers a great perspective about how to use the off-season to rest and SLOW DOWN! He says there are some great activities that allow our bodies recovery, while offering opportunities for strength.

Swim drills, yoga and weight training are three examples to Koskella’s end. Personally, I couldn’t agree with him more. I’m signing up for a series of yoga classes. I’ve been a little “iffy” on yoga in the past, but I’m quickly finding that this is a fantastic low impact, high strength activity.

So, take a look at this post on and find out what works for you!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Wanna Hula Hoop?

I’ve only heard rumors about this until I actually saw it in our local newspaper.

People have actually developed “hula hoop” workouts. Well, it was in the newspaper, so it has to be true, right? Check out this article from the Des Moines Register --

Getting serious about this for a moment – yes, a hula hoop workout sounds a little silly, but think about all of the great muscles you exercise using the hoop. Abdominal, obliques, glutes, quads and then some are all getting good work with this exercise.

Alternative workouts have been a theme for me lately, so I’ll keep passing them along. Some things work well for some people. As we are more limited here in the Midwest as colder weather approaches, it’s sometimes good to explore some new indoor alternatives.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Attention “Coachaholics”

Are you one to consistently raise your hand when the call out is made for coaches of your children’s various athletic teams?

If you answered “yes”, then I think you will find this column from Phil Taylor in last week’s Sports Illustrated as entertaining as I did --

Those of us who regularly volunteer to coach youth sports in our communities all know one another. We know all of our compulsive tendencies toward helping our children advance in athletics. We all know our passion for the game.

However, this column reaches into how we find the balance in our lives between work and finding time to effectively accomplish all of this. While we all enjoy coaching, it is work and sometimes our real work gets confused in the midst of our more fun work. Enjoy the read!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Some New Workouts

I tried two things this week that I have never done in the past.

Monday night, I attended my first "hot yoga" class and Tuesday morning, I attended my first "aqua mix" (or water aerobics class). I very much enjoyed both.

Hot yoga is a form of yoga exercise where you do the routine in a room where the temperature has been highly elevated. We did our workout in a room Monday night that had been heated up to 104 degrees. This is not an easy workout. However, you will feel very relaxed and flexible at the conclusion of this routine. Remember, you'll sweat a lot, so bring a towel for your mat!

Aqua mix was also fun and different. Water aerobics are great for those folks on the mend from injury. You keep your heart rate elevated while you minimize impact on your body.

Okay, so you're thinking only women do these types of workouts - not true! More and more men are engaging in these types of activities. So, check out what you're missing and join the fun!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Running And Weight Loss

I’m often asked how one should start a running program to lose weight.

Well, I always offer my general thoughts based on the person’s physical condition. After a while, I may get a follow-up from a person telling me they’re not losing weight. I stumbled across some advice from a site titled that may offer some helpful direction -

While running is a great weight-loss activity, everyone is different. The muscle weight you gain may outweigh your fat loss. If you stay consistent with a running program over a period of time; however, it’s difficult NOT to lose weight.

Keep in mind my other advice if you’re looking to start a running program – take into consideration your physical condition. If you haven’t run or engaged in any meaningful physical fitness activity in a while, then you might consider “walking” before you run. Additionally, if you’re older than 40, a complete physical exam with your doctor may be in order.

I have a good friend who started running this summer. It's taken time, but she's really making progress with faster times and she's really looking great. Sometimes, we just have to be patient!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Concussions A Serious Threat To Youth Sports

Remember this – each of us has only one head, one brain. We need to take care.

We often don’t attach urgency to concussions, but we best start for the reasons stated above. While more precautions are taken to prevent head trauma, there is often still a rush to get youth athletes back on the field and this is serious stuff.

I’ll bet if you asked athletes like Troy Aikman and Steve Young if they would have chosen different routes given what they know now about the negative effects of concussions, you may get interesting answers. Which leads to the point of this post – if the professional athletic organizations like the NFL and MLB aren’t taking treatment of concussions more seriously, how can we expect youth programs to take proper care?

Remember young athletes need the appropriate time to heal from such injuries. Take a look at this post from Mark Hyman’s Youth Sports Parents blog at Mark’s book “Until It Hurts” outlines the issues associated with “pushing the envelope” in youth sports. Take a look and see for yourself.

Friday, November 6, 2009

NYC Marathon Wrapup

How exciting to have an American win the New York City Marathon!

I can remember when I first started distance running and Bill Rogers dominated the major marathons on our soil. Since that time, the pack leader face in these events has taken on a number of different colors – primarily Kenyan. Meb Keflezighi's victory last Sunday makes it great to bring the crown back to the red, white and blue.

As it’s great to see one of our own bring back the crown, it’s also satisfying to know that this race commands celebrity – celebrities and popularity from all directions of the world!

I digress. The bottom line of this post is that I just wanted to share a couple of links from about the NYC Marathon. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Take a look -- and

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Off-Season Tri Activities

Don't be like me!

Not winding down properly after my triathlon season led to a knee injury for me. So, take a look at this link from at to learn how to properly wind down, then gear back up for next season's events.

This link takes you to several articles that discuss rest, fall/winter cycling, running in the off-season, swimming workouts, spinning and many more activities.

With the amount of information provided here, you're bound to find something useful that will get you properly rested, prepared and motivated for your events next year!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Middle-Aged Women Can Lose Weight

There is hope for middle-aged women looking to lose weight.

A new study released by the Obesity Society at its annual convention in Washington, D.C. shows that women who stick to diet and exercise can easily lose up to 20 pounds. The study also indicates that a commitment to diet and exercise are keys to losing significant weight.

Read more about this study in the article by Nanci Hellmich of USA Today at -

The results of this study suggest it’s never too late to develop a plan for weight loss with dieting and/or exercise.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Watch Halloween Sweets

While it’s great to embrace holidays with sweet treats, keep in mind the calories and carbohydrates that exist in your typical Halloween fare.

Snickers bars are a Halloween favorite, but they come at a price. Check out this post from Bev Sklar at to learn some of the contents of some popular Halloween snacks, particularly Snickers --

Friday, October 30, 2009

Even At 80 Years Old, It's Not Too Late For Fitness

If you’re 80 years young or older, you should be reading this.

A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine indicates that even a small amount of physical activity can extend life by at least a few years for people in their mid- to late-80s. The study was conducted by health professionals in Israel. The results “clearly support the continued encouragement of physical activity, even among the oldest old.

“Indeed, it seems that it is never too late to start,” the article said.

Check out this article written by Associated Press medical writer Lindsey Tanner --

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Use TV To Work Out

If you find yourself getting bored to tears and unable to work out without some mental stimulation, maybe you should consider making better use of a television.

While TVs may seem boring to some, it can be a great source of distraction for those who are struggling with maintaining a program. There are many ways you can use a TV to help you in your training efforts.

If you belong to a health club, you should be able to plug some headphones in and watch a variety of programs as you exercise on a treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical and other cardio machines.

There are numerous videos available for workouts. Heck, now you can just look up FitTV on your television and off you go for a workout.

Check out this article from from It offers some great help in how you can do different exercises while you’re TV watching!

Monday, October 26, 2009

What A Day For Homecoming With Family!

Somehow I really can’t think of many things that are better than a beautiful fall day visiting your alma mater for a football game . . . and that’s just what we did this past weekend!

My wife, Betsy, and I both attended the University of Missouri and have been “die-hard” fans since childhood. So, that makes for a perfect marriage in many ways. This is especially true when both of our boys have grown to love our Missouri Tigers as well.

The weekend was special because as many Tiger games as our boys have attended in Kansas City, St. Louis, San Antonio and Ames – they had never seen them play at home at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri. With all of the sports activities our sons have on the weekends, we planned well in advance that this would be one homecoming the Hrdlicka Family would “come home to”.

After lunch with some old friends at my college place of work, Harpo’s; a tour of campus; a trip to the bookstore (appropriate “gear” is a “must” for my family) and hotel check-in, game time approached. Our pre-game meal came at Buffalo Wild Wings followed by a shuttle ride to Faurot Field. An older couple was ready to adopt my youngest son, Matthew, after the bus ride to the game. They were so excited to see him on the return trip to the hotel!

Well, as the scoreboard will tell you, the game was not as fun as our previous activities of the day. However, our on-field seats were exciting, as our pictures of All-Americans Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley will show. My 13-year-old son, Jay, (an aspiring college athlete himself) was quite enamored with “the scene” and immediately began texting pics to his buddies back home.

Following a long day, we returned to the hotel for some rest and the ensuing Sunday morning trip back to Des Moines. But of course, a detour for lunch with my in-laws in Kansas City was in order for the obligatory game breakdown and color commentary. My father-in-law is also a Tiger die-hard who doesn’t make any bones about how night games are unnecessary, but nevertheless wants all of the details.

It was a great trip with my great family and I can’t wait for the next visit to Columbia!

Friday, October 23, 2009

How About More Alternative Workouts?

Check out the advice of Harvard Medical School fellow Maria Mancini for keeping fit – Ultimate Frisbee and kickball.

In a recent article written by Jen Murphy in the Wall Street Journal, Mancini reveals her secrets for keeping fit. She joined an Ultimate Frisbee program to “trick” herself into working out while she was having fun. If you’ve ever played this game, you’ll realize quickly why she chooses it as a fun workout routine. It’s a high form or cardio exercise while having some fun!

Check out this article and learn Mancini’s tips for working out, dieting and music at --

We're off to homecoming at the University of Missouri, so we'll see you in a few days. Go Tigers!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Awesome To Volunteer At Des Moines Marathon

Well, if you can’t race, I figured out the next best thing.
Standing at the finish of the Des Moines Marathon Sunday awarding finishers their medals was definitely the next best experience.

What a joy to see the exhilaration and thrill of those finishing a half marathon or marathon for the first time. Perhaps even more rewarding was seeing friends and loved ones throw their arms around finishers for support. You never know the motivation as to why someone takes up an endurance race – a charity, a memorial or fundraiser for a family member or just the “I’m going to do this” excuse. Most people think you’re “crazy”. No matter the cause or the case, it was a privilege to witness the joy of these finishers and award them their medals.

The leaders cross the tape with their smokin’ hot times that most of us can only dream to achieve brought more excitement. Especially after the top marathon finishers had to wait nearly a minute for a train to pass just 400 yards in front of the finish! And there were those so over exhausted as they crossed the finish, you helped them to the medical tent for a little hydration.

However, it was probably best of all to greet friends as they finished. My friend Leah and I had been training for this event until I was injured. She also become injured, but forged onward. When I greeted her at the finish line, she was obviously looking for a friendly face. She gave me a great big hug and I told her, “You did it” – she had qualified for the Boston Marathon. Now, that’s a great moment to share!

Great weather, great moments and a great event! If I wasn’t so competitive, I would volunteer again. However, I hope I’ll be competing again next year.

Monday, October 19, 2009

World's Oldest Man Attributes Health To Good Diet

Funny thing about living to be 113 years old. It may just take common sense.

Walter Bruening of Great Falls, Montana recently turned 113. He says his long life can be attributed to good eating habits. In an article by Sydne George that appeared in the Great Falls Tribune, Bruening makes sense with his comments about healthy eating --

He controls his portions (pushing “back from the table,” he says), doesn’t eat at night, eats lots of fruit and drinks plenty of water.

Imagine that. These are pretty straightforward, no-nonsense eating strategies that can make healthy sense for everyone – even if you’re not yet 113 years old!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fun With Your Fitness Friends

If you’re thinking of starting up a fitness program, remember that it’s supposed to be FUN!

I had a great example of that last Saturday when several of my friends met that morning for coffee following our workouts. Being down with a knee injury, I was relegated to the “swim crew”, but the “run crew” got benefit of running in our first morning snowfall of the year.

Afterward, the teams hooked up at a local coffee hangout for a visit. I was home by 9:15 a.m. So, not only did I get a productive start to my day, I had a great visit with some of my good friends.

So, don’t forget to “have some fun” with your exercise program. You’ll learn to enjoy it and look forward to it more often!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What's The Hubbub About Lolo?

Lolo Jones. Olympic athlete. Naked. What’s the problem?

I’ll first admit that I am a true fan of this gracious athlete. However, any criticism of her recent nude pose in the ESPN magazine is unwarranted at best. If you take the time to review the entire piece, it’s a very tasteful spread of photos highlighting the amazing nude bodies of numerous elite athletes.

Can we all just be adults for crying out loud?

I listened to an interview with Lolo Thursday afternoon on a popular local sports radio program and she seemed very distraught over criticism she’d received for posing in this series of photos. Any critique of this woman for participation in this feature appears completely irrelevant to me.

When you look at the facts, I’m not seeing how this media coverage of a positive role model and Olympic athlete from our community isn’t a great thing.

If you know Lolo’s story, you know she’s nothing but class. Give it a rest and let this young woman be the great ambassador that she can be for our community. Check out this feature on for yourself --

Monday, October 12, 2009

Are Marathons A Form Of "Crash Diet"?

Most runners would not classify a marathon experience as a form of “crash diet”. But one journalist dares to make this argument.

Recently, I picked up a provocative “must read” by Wall Street Journal writer Kevin Helliker. He argues that the popularity of the “marathon movement” really hasn’t led to better health among participants. In his article, he discusses how many runners train and run the event, but later give up running due to injury or lack of interest. As a result, he says the exercise is not as beneficial as one might think.

While many runners would trip over their running shoes to argue against Helliker, he raises some valid points in his article. First and foremost, total fitness over the course of one’s life really is a marathon. Helliker gets it right when he says training for a single marathon can just be one “sprint” in this process.

I think Helliker is also trying to promote the message of “fitness in moderation”. Participation in a marathon or Ironman event isn’t a requirement for a healthy lifestyle. We can all realize the benefits of regular exercise without consistently putting our bodies through the ringer.

Check out the article and see what you think --

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Our Bodies Communicate In Odd Ways

While nursing the tendinitis in my knee, I think I’m learning that the body does communicate very clearly – but sometimes in ways we don’t like!

I should have figured this out last year when the same type of problem affected my right knee as I was training for triathlons and races. As it ended up, I had to forgo the tri events and stick to some running events later in the year.

This year, it appears the exact opposite is the case. Tendinitis in the opposite knee AFTER I completed a series of triathlons at the expense of skipping out on the some fall race events that I really enjoy. I think the point of what my body is telling me is – “Take it easy, Joe. One event at a time!”

Certainly, I’m desperate for my long run and bike workouts with my good friends. However, I’ve taken on some new activities that have given me some new opportunities to work out peacefully on my own and give my body a break. More swimming, rowing and handbiking activities are keeping me busy!

This post from serves as a reminder to us about the risks associated with “overtraining” --

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Try This 10-Minute Workout

Generally, I’m not a believer in the latest fad or trend that claims to offer instant fitness or weight loss.

That being said, many well-known figures have shared diet and workout secrets with the public leading to tremendous numbers of people successfully pursuing healthy living habits. This is not such a bad thing.

One of the latest tends that caught my eye is a 10-minute workout promoted by Peter Park, Lance Armstrong’s strength and conditioning coach.

This article from the Associated Press writer Megan K. Scott that appeared in the Vail Daily lays it all out -- Perhaps this approach makes sense for you.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Looking For Inspiration?

In search of a little inspiration?

If the story of Bonnie Richardson doesn't do it for you, I'm not sure what will.

Just check out Gary Smith’s recent article in Sports Illustrated about this high school track star from Texas --

With only an overgrown, weeded path around her school’s football field and facilities so old, there isn’t even a safe place for her to practice high jump, the young woman single-handedly won the Texas 1A team state track and field championship.

Read how this young athlete has overcome tremendous odds to become a local legend!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Shameless Plug For Des Moines Marathon

Have you registered?

If not, time is running out. The folks at the Des Moines Marathon have really worked hard to put together a great event this year.

So, take advantage of this year’s expo and programs. Having personally run this event and participated in its activities, I can tell you it’s a great event with a fabulous (and fast!) course.

The staff and volunteers have really pulled a coup this year with keynote speaker Jeff Galloway. He’s also putting on a three-hour running school Saturday for just $99. Space is limited.

I know, I know. This is without a doubt my shameless and homer-ridden endorsement of my town’s marathon event. However, to think that this event has grown from near collapse just a few short years ago to where it is today, it’s really impressive.

The Des Moines Marathon – or the half event – is special. So take a look at entering at today.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Feeling "Runner's Guilt"?

The runner’s conscience is much like that of the guilty Catholic schoolkid conscience. Any time you train and miss a family activity, you feel guilty. And when you miss a workout, you feel very guilty.

Trust me on this one – don’t miss family activities due to workouts. You can always work out at early morning times, noon times or evening times where you don’t interfere with family activities. You only have your spouse and children one-time around, so don’t miss out!

If you miss a workout, no sweat! I can tell you from experience that missing an occasional run workout is not going to kill your performance at the next race event. In fact, when we take time off, our bodies are often telling us we need rest and the rest is more helpful than a workout!

Check out this article from Christine Luff at that describes how to deal with the various “guilts” runners feel --

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Older Adults Gear Up For Fitness

Recently, I blogged about how it’s never too late to take up fitness activities. We’re learning more often that it is never too late to start taking better care of yourself through exercise.

More than ever, baby-boomers are discovering that fitness is more important to them in living healthier and more active lives. They are also discovering the mental health fitness is just as important to living a longer life.

Check out this article from Patt Johnson of the Des Moines Register for more info on this trend --

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fun Cheering/Volunteering At Race

I’ve written about how we athletes should take time to volunteer or (at least) cheer at events in which we don’t participate. I swallowed some of my own medicine yesterday . . . and it tasted pretty good!

With my recent knee problems, running in the 10-mile Capital Pursuit event didn’t seem like such a great idea. However, a number of my friends were running, so I hopped on my bike and rode along the route cheering and helping other runners.

After a few stops for cheers, applause and encouragement, a woman approached me and said, “My name is Theresa and I just want to thank you for the shout-outs.” Running into her at the end of the race and chatting, it was great to learn how much my encouragement efforts were appreciated.

Along the way I encountered a gentleman hunched over who appeared to be “dry heaving”. After asking if he needed assistance, he quickly bounced up and started running again. He turned his head and said, “I’ll be fine!” I kept an eye on him for about a mile and he looked to be true to his word.

The weather could not have been better. It was truly a fun way to feel as though I was still participating in an event in which I could unfortunately not compete.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Try A Spin Class For A Change

If you’ve been walking, running or dutifully performing another form of exercise, maybe you’re ready for a change of scenery as the weather turns cool. Try a spin class as a way to vary up your routine.

Spinning is a group fitness class where participants ride on stationary bikes to the cadence and directions offered by an instructor. You can do long and slow intervals, fast sprints, hills and other forms of exercise on the bike. There are a variety of benefits attached to the spin workout.

First, you might meet some like-minded training friends. I have really benefited from meeting new training “buddies”. I first met a variety of training buddies at my gym by attending spin classes.

Spinning is also easier on your body. Bike-related exercise involves less impact and less stress on your joints and muscles.

If you are looking to burn calories, spinning serves this purpose as well. Experienced “spinners” can burn up to 600 calories in an hour of spinning.

Finally, the workout is all your own. You can adjust your cadence and resistance to suit YOUR needs.

This post from Nicole Nichols at gives more helpful information about the benefits of spinning. Check it out at

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tips To Avoid Nighttime Eating

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the negative effects of nighttime eating. Alison Johnson recently wrote about some strategies to use against nighttime eating in the Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia).

Check out the article -- It features some great ideas about how you can busy yourself and psychologically eliminate bridges to eating prior to “night-night” time.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Check Out TO's Workout

You can say what you want about Terrell Owens, but the guy is a phenomenal athlete and he is CUT!

This article from the Wall Street Journal outlines TO’s workout habits that are to no surprise, pretty good! I find it interesting that most of what he does is very realistic. Besides the 10 scrambled egg whites and hiring a personal chef when his travel demands dictate as such (Of course, if I was making millions of dollars a year, I’d do the same thing!), his diet and activities are certainly not “super human”.

It’s interesting to see how Owens makes the use of bands for workouts to minimize stress, particularly when he’s on the road. He also reveals the importance of isolating various muscles with exercises.

Take a look at this article as I thought it was very revealing, yet human for such a high-profile athlete and there’s an accompanying video at

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Injuries Really Suck

After a great 14-mile run along an awesome new route last Saturday, I felt something happen to my knee.

I did finish up the run, but was very sore afterward throughout the rest of the day. Not sure what I did, but put the obligatory elevation, ice, heat and anti-inflammatory routine into gear. I’m not feeling sore now, but I hate to take any chances.

It’s hard sometimes to recognize that I’m not a 25-year-old any longer, but I am smart enough to know when my body is telling me to “take a step back.” Did a swim Sunday and I’ll try some more swimming along with elliptical and the stationary bike over the next few of days before risking any further running.

Hopefully, this is a minor setback as I was really looking forward to the Des Moines Marathon in October. However, if the situation doesn’t improve, I’ll visit the doctor and move into the appropriate treatment options. In the short term, this will prevent me from missing bigger and better events I’m considering for next year.

My point being this – when you’re an active 40-plus athlete, listen to your body. A temporary layoff to treat an injury is a much better alternative than risking your long-term goals for the short-term.