Saturday, May 30, 2009

Try The Boot Camp Workout On Carrots N Cake

When you’re looking for something different in your workout routine or you’re looking for something to do indoors, my “boot camp” workouts are always fun.

I recently had the opportunity to contribute to Tina Haupert’s blog as a guest. So, I wrote about my boot camp workouts. Take a peek and maybe there are some ideas that will appeal to you -

If nothing else, I highly recommend checking out Tina’s blog. She has great insights about food, dining, fitness and other lifestyle activities.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Trails Represent Great Fitness Opportunities

Our local newspaper, The Des Moines Register, recently published a piece I wrote about using trails for fitness activities. Take a look at it and I hope it has some meaning for you --

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Keep Children Active This Summer

If you have teens/tweens staying home this summer, it’s a challenge keeping them busy. Why not look into summer fitness?

Megan K. Scott of the Associated Press recently wrote of the issues associated with keeping “stay-at-home” teens occupied when school lets out insert -- Certainly, there are a variety of program-type options available through camps, classes or part-time employment. But don’t forget summer fitness.

If your teen is active in a sport, maintaining fitness in the summer months can be invaluable. Staying in shape while school is out will definitely offer an “edge” in fall athletic endeavors.

If you belong to a health club, chances are teen fitness programs are available. All you have to do is ask. Most YMCAs have a variety of youth fitness programs for all skill levels. Check with your teens’ school coaches to see if they recommend any programs.

Another option is taking a lifesaving course. If your child is a swimmer and interested in pursuing employment as a lifeguard, this is a perfect summer-time activity found at most YMCAs.

Don’t forget about involving your child in some of your own fitness activities. This sets a great example leading toward fitness being a priority in their lives and it will help them with their own athletic pursuits. Summer is a great time to set these activities in motion.

Check out for more ideas about keeping your children productively busy this summer!

Monday, May 25, 2009

High School Girl Pitcher

This is a fun little post from Mark Hyman’s site about a high school girl who is a pretty successful pitcher. Check it out --

Unusual to see this, but the post includes a CBS News piece that chronicles the story of Marti Sementelli, of Burbank, California.
I thought all of my "baseball comrades" would enjoy this!
Speaking of "baseball comrades", we met many of them in Kansas City this weekend at the USSSA Super NIT. My 13-year-old son Jay's team, the West Des Moines Mariners, made it to the Elite Eight this morning, but lost to the Oklahoma Bearcats. It was a GREAT weekend of baseball and fun. We were thrilled to be the only team from Iowa represented in the championship bracket - congrats, Mariners!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Try Resistance Bands For A Workout

If you’re looking for something different in your resistance training, try resistance bands.

These are easy to use tools to help compliment your training activities in way that is easier on your body than weights. While you may be engaged in a consistent weight training program, resistance bands can add a “recovery” component to weight training.

You can do so many things with resistance bands and they are affordable and convenient.

Resistance bands are really great for recovering from injury. When recovering from injury, you can consult with a physical therapist about what exercises you can do with a band to help rehabilitate from injury.
Here are some videos from showing you ways to use resistance bands for fitness activities -- However, just type up resistance bands on Google and a whole host of products and workouts can be found immediately.

Leaving for a big baseball tournament in Kansas City this morning, so we'll be back next week. Have a great holiday weekend!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Short, High-Intensity Swim Workout

One of my training friends made me laugh out loud today. She suggested a short, high-intensity swim workout that sounded really good for later this week. But there was a familiar ring to it that I couldn’t ignore.

Sure enough, I had read about the same exact workout just a day ago in website. It goes like this --

800 TT (i.e. time trial, or 100-percent effort)
200 easy/recovery
200 TT
200 easy/recovery
100 TT
Simple, but it gets you going!

Here's a link to the article where I read about this workout out from Matt Fitzgerald of Triathlete magazine -- This website is perhaps the most comprehensive Internet resource I have seen on triathlon training. While a lot of information exists about triathlon training, it's still not as prevalent as information about training for other endeavors. Spend some time on this site and you’re likely to find some great training tips just like this one!

Taking a minute for a personal plug, I’m writing a lot about triathlon training as this is my current focus. I started training for the Hy-Vee Triathlon back in January and I’m excited about how my program has progressed. If you’re considering an Olympic triathlon in the Midwest this year, I highly recommend the Hy-Vee event. The folks there really know how to do it right. You have to believe it will be a great event when the chief executive of the company competes! Take a look at

I’ll try to get another post in this week, but I’m traveling a lot late into the weekend for a baseball tournament with my sons. Otherwise, have a great holiday weekend!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Keeping Your Players’ Attention

If you’re coaching baseball, you may be at that point in the season where it’s a little tough to keep everyone’s attention.

When everyone is excited about the prospects of a new season, it’s a little easier for kids to listen and effectively pay attention. Every practice should feature some “how to” and “team talk”. So, here’s “how to” keep focus and attention.

First, always stress the rule of “when someone is talking, everyone else is listening”. This is one of my key rules. The rule applies to coaches too . . . if a player offers a comment or question, coaches listen too.

Then, make sure to have “how to” time that involves a little action. Use examples that involve the players and use players to show proper technique. This will help keep them more involved.

Cut your losses. Remember, if you’re dealing with a young age group, you’ll have to keep “team talk” time relative to what’s reasonable for the age group’s attention span.

Finally, make sure you’re covering the fun and the positive. Always start “team talk” with a recognition of those who performed beyond the ordinary in the previous game. Stickers on helmets, game balls, Big League Chew are always good rewards for this type of performance. If you really want to get creative, print up some jerseys players wear at practice after superior performance that have labels like “Terminator”, “Big Stick” or “The Wizard”. You can make up your own terms and criteria.

Here’s a post from that offers more on keeping your players’ attention --

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Motivation To Run

I don’t really need much motivation myself to run and lose weight. However, I know sometimes we all need SOME motivation.

Heck, that’s the main reason I write this blog. My hope is that I encourage more people to take up running and/or other fitness activities for a healthier lifestyle.

I’ve regularly written about how running is an easy, inexpensive way to take up a fitness activity. However, I ran across this article that made more justification for taking up running as a fitness activity -- Check it out.

Unfortunately, I need to take a break from posting through the weekend. I’m helping organize a youth baseball tournament as a fundraising effort this weekend (and I need a little time to train too!). See you all next week!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fitness With Your Children

There’s nothing wrong with teaching your children the value of fitness.

My sons will tell you about the times they helped Daddy “cross-train” for marathon training as we road bikes, pulled wagons and did long “walks in the woods”.

Dividing parental responsibilities between spouses to maintain fitness activities is great. But take time to involve your children in your fitness efforts. Ride bikes, push strollers running or walking, go for long walks or attach the trailer to the bike. Your children will perceive exercise to be an important thing because they see their parents do it.

It’s nice too when your children get older and you can actually work out productively together! Working to coach my sons and educating them about my physical fitness activities has definitely made them more health conscious.

This post from Jennifer Forker of the Associated Press offers some great tips on parental fitness activities --

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Little Exercise Isn’t Worth It . . . NONSENSE!

Please don’t tell me you’re one of these people who can’t exercise very much, “So, it’s just not worth it.”

One piece of advice . . . don’t ever tell me that. Because if you do, you’ll have to listen to me telling you about the many things you can do during the course of the day that can make a difference in your overall health. At the end of the day, some exercise is better than NO exercise.

Consider this . . . there are numerous studies that show moderate physical activity at the least decreases your risk for heart disease and stroke. Even moderate physical activity at a rate of 30 minutes four to five times per week can help you lose weight.

Now this may be the point where you tell me that you don’t have 30 minutes during the day to exercise. If that’s the case, do you have three 10-minute segments where you can exercise during the day? Here’s where you need to make productive use of your time. Make time to take a few 10-minute walks or jogs. What about walking the stairs for 10 to 15 minutes at a time during your work breaks? If you have a few favorite television programs, you can jump rope or do other exercises as you watch like pushups or situps.

Try to blend in more cardiovascular exercise like walking or running with some resistance training at first. The more intense the cardio activity, the more calories you will burn.

Here are a couple of posts from WebMD with some good advice. This first article offers the proper rationale behind how brief workouts can be healthy for you -- This second post from WebMD offers a 30-minute workout that’s pretty easy to do when you’re ready --

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Reducing Triathlon Training Costs

Training for a triathlon can be expensive.

If you’re just getting started in the sport, certain items can be more costly than some of the other events in which you may have participated. Entry fees are substantially more than a running event, but there’s more overhead involved in putting on a triathlon. Additionally, cycling and swimming equipment with bikes and wetsuits can be pricey.

However, don’t let cost be an excuse for lack of participation. If you can get involved in a local training group, there’s a tremendous wealth of people willing to loan or sell used gear. Personally, I’d rather let someone use gear that I have to participate as opposed to someone not participating at all.

Additionally, there's a great market for the sale of used equipment via the web.

For more great information on tips to cheapen your triathlon experience, this post by Jesse Stensland on offers some great advice in that direction -- .

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Taking Care AFTER The Workout

Many of us think when our workout is complete, we’re done, finished, adios! Not the case.

Are you taking time to care for your body after your workout? Think of it this way – when you work out, you tear your body down in a variety of ways. Several steps should be taken to allow your body to recover and ultimately come back stronger and faster.

Ask yourself the following questions --

Are you cooling down? Take time finish your workout with walking or light pace of the exercise you were doing. Most importantly, this brings your heart rate back down to a manageable rate.

Are you hydrating? This is a recovery tool you nee DURING the workout too, particularly if you’re engaged in a cardio workout lasting more than an hour. Your body needs water during and after your workout to keep you on pace!

Are you fueling back up? Take time to feed your body with the carbohydrates and proteins it needs following a healthy workout. Fruit, yogurt, oatmeal or a healthy recovery bar are great sources of help in this area.

Did you stretch? Make sure to stretch AFTER the workout too. This helps prevent muscles and joints from getting tight to a point where injuries can and will occur (especially if you’re over the age of 35).

This post at helps put these activities into perspective --

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Spinning Is Great For Biking

So let’s assume for a minute you want to get into biking. There’s a great indoor exercise that can get you started – spinning.

Spinning is the new “stationary bike” exercise. An instructor leads a class of “spinners” with multiple stationary bikes doing a variety of exercises on the bikes. You can do fast pace sprints, hills and other types of tempo routines based on how you set the resistance level. The classes are usually set to music and sometimes visual enhancements.

The best part of spinning, or biking for that matter, is that it is a low-impact cardio exercise with a level of intensity that suits your needs. It serves as a great cross-training activity if you’re a runner. As I mentioned earlier, if you’re just getting into biking, this is a great way to check it out prior to investing a lot in a bike.

If you’re an experienced biker who hasn’t experienced spinning, check it out as an alternative on days when weather or schedule conflicts prevent an outdoor ride. Check out this post from Liz Neporent and Nancy Chiocchi from iVillage at