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.