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 --