Finding Island Yoga

...As I write, one more week until I compete in the National Senior Games. I will compete in every event I qualified in at state – the 100, 200, 400 and 1,500 meters. I believe there is much more risk of injury than in endurance running and racing, which I have also done extensively. I’ve placed in 54 5K races for my age group since 2006. I did my first marathon in 2010. In my final weeks of training for nationals, I’ve really been pushing the limits at the track, one of the only tracks in our area, Manatee High. The track is not rubber, like so many high school tracks are around the country. Manatee used to have rubber, but opted for the cheaper asphalt composite when it was time to replace the previous track. My daughter, who ran NCAA track at the University of Southern California, tells me that in some states, it is against the law to have anything other than a rubber track so that injuries are avoided. That whole liability thing – it’s actually cheaper for the districts to prevent injury than pay for them. Imagine that. I’ve offered to fundraise to get the $70,000 rubber track back. No takers. I’ve tried to avoid shin splints, which is the most common injury from running too much on hard surfaces. But this week, a video crew showed up to record my final training sessions. And of course, I went all out. As a result, I’ve sought out all of the yoga classes I can find on the Island. Stretching is one way to avoid injury....

Summertime & the Living is Easy

...My husband and I love the Island in the summer. We venture out to restaurants and enjoy the laid-back lifestyle as the snowbirds allegedly enjoy their northern climes. Although, if any of you have friends or relatives up North and have been tracking this for decades like I have, you know that for the past few weeks, the temperatures here are 20 degrees cooler here than in the upper 49! To watch the news, you would think that all of Colorado was burning. I was a little concerned as my book tour continued to be speaking and doing book signings at Colorado’s VegFest in Golden, just outside Denver. The nearest fire was 100 miles away, and with the rain I brought, the remaining big fires were doused. The week before, I had spoken at five Whole Foods in four days in the Miami area. Before that, I was the headline speaker at vegetarian festivals in New Orleans, Hartford, New York, Boston, Seattle, Toronto and many more. My book came out just over a year ago, and what a year it has been. If you had told me two years ago that I would be doing this, I wouldn’t have believed you. In Denver, as is usually the case, my publisher took me to the finest vegetarian restaurants. I posted photos of what I ate on my book facebook page, and immediately 10 people chimed in saying that was their favorite restaurant in Denver too. Later, I posted the question on my facebook page, “What is your most favorite vegan (nothing made with animals) movie that you would recommend to...
Fitness and food on a dime. Or Two.

Fitness and food on a dime. Or Two.

...Keeping fit doesn’t have to be expensive. I once had a student in a cooking class who lost 120 pounds in 8 months never counting a calorie, ever being hungry and she loved the vegan food. She couldn’t work out because she had multiple myeloma, one of the more fatal forms of cancer. It is a kind of bone cancer and her bones were very fragile from the start. (Why don’t more docs recommend a vegan diet for weight loss??) While it is possible to lose weight on a vegan diet without exercising, my experience as a personal trainer, running coach and runner is that exercising can really help fast track weight loss. In these tought economic times, exercising on a budget can be a challenge. Here are some ideas. If you belong to a gym, inquire about existing fitness center discounts. Some of the biggest gym membership deals come from corporate accounts. Many companies, even small ones, make deals with local gyms. Insurance companies also often offer discounts or some, like Humana, even pay for entire gym memberships. Companies understand that healthy employees cost a lot less in insurance claims and have less absenteeism. Another option is part-time gym memberships. If you have a flexible schedule and are willing to avoid the peak times of early mornings and evenings, you might find full gym access at a fraction of the cost. In Florida, it’s common to find discounts during the non-peak season when snowbirds are not here. A home gym is another possibility. When I moved to Florida, I couldn’t take my gym with me and sold it...

Resolving to Resolve in the New Year

...During a recent radio interview, the host who was a doctor told me that he didn’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I said that yes it is true, you have to have a lifestyle change to accomplish true change to lose weight or whatever it is that you want to “resolve.” Yet, it is human nature to “sin,” with holiday cookies, cakes and other tempting foods that rear their beautiful heads during holidays. Holidays permeate most religions this time of year, as a part of our ancestors’ needing help coping with the darkening days of winter. The lights, food and festivities are all part of altering our crabby mood that increases with decreasing sunlight. Research has shown that most weight gains happen during this time, although the weight is typically not more than 5 pounds. However, these 5 pounds represent the toughest kind of weight gain to remove. It is this constant lifelong yo-yo struggle with human nature that prompts fitness clubs like the one I work at to offer the best deals of the year now on memberships and training. As an Aerobics and Fitness Association of America certified trainer, I go over goals for the New Year and work on designing a fitness program that would be appropriate. AFAA has a “Biggest Loser” program now affiliated with star AFAA trainer, Jillian. I prefer a “Biggest Winner” program for my clients. For many, it is not about weight lost, but muscle or balance gained and maintained. Balance is probably the biggest area of exercise my clients focus on. As fat converts to muscle, the scale may not move....