Physical Funness for the Motion Starved

Fit more fun into your fitness while exploring the outdoors.

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Taking the plunge


In late December of 2015 I was asked to write a “guest post” for Save The Bay, an organization that works to protect, restore and celebrate San Francisco Bay. My “topic,” how has the bay played a part in my life as a trainer.

Save The Bay (SF)…

I have always loved the water. Growing up in San Diego, I spent time most every day at the beach. Going to the beach is what we did.

When I moved to San Francisco, I missed the beach. Sure, we have Baker Beach and Ocean Beach, but it’s not the same. It’s cold and windy; folks just don’t go hang out at the beach. It’s not what we do here. Sadly, I had lost my connection to the water.

Over the years, I found ways to enjoy the waters of San Francisco without freezing my butt off. I would run along Crissy Field or ride my bike up the hills of the Marin Headlands just so I could look at the water; it made me feel connected, proud. I especially liked the days when the water was calm, striped with currents and vessel traffic. Riding my bike over the Golden Gate Bridge as an enormous freighter passed beneath me was thrilling.

Gazing at the Bay was nice and certainly helped to satisfy my craving for the water, but something was missing—I was just a spectator.

Taking the plunge…

Then one day a few years back, I received an invitation that would change everything. A friend invited me to join him for a swim in the Bay. “No wet suit, they’re frowned upon,” he said. I didn’t want to go, I was afraid, but figured I’d better dig deep and go… “Okay I’ll do it!” I said.

The water at Aquatic Park was cold—very, very cold and seemed wild and scary. The second I fully submerged myself in the Bay, my heart rate went through the roof and I couldn’t breathe. I was sure I was going to die, but miraculously, I didn’t. My heart rate eventually went down, and I realized that I was swimming in San Francisco Bay, sans wet suit! I was really swimming in the Bay! The water was shocking, like cool silk on my skin. Turning on my back, the sky was bright blue, dotted with puffy white clouds. It was exhilarating. Cold, yes, but absolutely exhilarating.

Ever since that first swim, the Bay has wedged itself deeply into my soul. I am no longer a spectator—I have grown into a full-fledged participant in all that our Bay has to offer. I swim a couple times a week and have inspired others to join me so that they, too, could experience the water’s cool embrace. I also glide across the currents of the Bay with my crew as we row vintage wooden boats while being chased by playful harbor seals. I cannot describe the joy I feel when their smooth, round heads and huge, black eyes pop up just next to my oar. Lines of pelicans soar by, and remind me how lucky I am to be out there. Just seeing the animals and natural beauty of the Bay makes my heart swell with love for this special place that is our home.

How has the Bay inspired my workouts, my clients, and me?

San Francisco Bay is a vast, ever-changing element. It can be wild, thrilling and cold, but it’s special: there’s only one San Francisco Bay. Even on its crankiest days it is a magical, inspiring backdrop for a workout of any kind—mental or physical.

People often ask me why I don’t work in a gym. I tell them because there are no wild parrots, pelicans or blue heron at the gym. There are “treadmill bunnies,” but you’ll never see fluffy brow bunnies hop past. At a gym, you’ll never experience the magnificence of a pod of whales coasting by, or inhale eucalyptus-scented air after your run, or discover puddles to jump in.

As for my favorite Bay locations to workout, I like to take advantage of the views from above—especially the Marin Headlands. Your reward for ascending all of those rugged hills: the best views and the best workout ever. Lands End is the best place to workout during whale migration season. It’s hard to stay focused though; you won’t want to take your eyes off the whales. I also really enjoy the Presidio; it’s become a lovely place to workout or just be—whether you’re running, riding a bike, or walking, there’s something very meditative about being amongst all the trees.

Life-changing love…

My love affair with the Bay has changed my life. Not only has it taught me to go beyond what I thought was physically possible (or sane!), but the Bay has also rewarded me with great friendships and an appreciation for all that is connected with it. I have gotten up-close and personal with harbor seals and sea lions, and I have met some wonderful, caring people. And, while I hope to never meet a great white shark, I know they are out there and I will do my best to respect their home and do all I can to keep it healthy.

My advice? Hike up into the headlands and gaze at the Bay. Dip a toe in the water. Or better still, be brave and take a quick, cold, exhilarating dip. Our greatest reward for living in the San Francisco Bay Area is our Bay. Submerge yourself in all of its glory.

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Missing a toenail and proud of it!

Yikes! Where's your toenail?

Yikes! Where’s your toenail?

Bruising the space between a toenail and toe is very common among runners. We’re talking about a blood blister often referred to as “runner’s toe” or “black toe.” I think of it as nasty toe, and it’s been a fact of my life for years. In fact, I hadn’t really thought much about it lately until I saw a post on Facebook about a pooch named Hooteeny. While looking for adventure one day, Hooteeny jumped from a second story window, lost his toenail and then, like any good runner, happily went about his adventure. That impressed me.

So why do so many runners lose their toenails? The biggest culprit is poor fitting shoes. When running for long periods of time, if that toe is rubbing up against the front of your shoe, bruising can occur. Running downhill and running in hot weather (downhill causes trauma, warm temps make the feet swell) can increase the odds of injuring a toenail or two. Other causes are trauma to the toes like jumping from a second story window or stumping your toe on a rock.

To prevent bruised toenails, make sure that you’re wearing the correct running shoe size (at least 1/2 size bigger than your street size), and keep your foot as dry as possible by wearing good wicking socks, not cotton ones.

If you have a bruised toenail, no worries. It will fall off with a new nail trailing right behind. The experts say to leave it alone, as long as the pain is manageable. The damaged part of the nail is gradually pushed off, and a new nail will replace it. Don’t force the old nail off – it will fall off on its own. If at any point you notice redness and infection, see a doctor. Personally, I cut mine off so it doesn’t snag on stuff and rip off like in the case of Hooteeny. My way is by no means doctor approved and it’s gross but it’s the truth.

If you’re concerned about having a pretty pedicure, I’ve read about people who use nail polish directly on the skin as the nail comes in, or glue the nail that fell off to your new nail that is coming in. Personally I think that’s even nastier than no toenail at all. My suggestion, embrace your battle wound with pride and let nature run its course.

This post was inspired by Hooteeny, the K9 Escapologist.

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Reema & CJ take August Client of the Month!

Reema & CJ

Reema & CJ

Please send a big ol’… HEY NOW! HOLLA HOLLA!!! To Reema and CJ, Motion Starved’s August Clients of the Month!

In less than two months Reema has managed to notably increase her race speed, strengthen her entire body and say bye-bye to pain from a previous injury.

CJ on the other hand has learned that you don’t have to huff and puff to get yourself up a hill, she’s gained calorie burning, luscious looking muscle mass and increased her planking time from :15 to a full :60. The best part of CJ’s progress… she’s realized that a strong core and the ability to master the plank comes in handy not only while working out, but on the play ground of life!

Thanks for all your hard work and positive attitudes ladies! You make a gal proud!

(A special thanks to Athleta SF for supplying them with fashionable prizes.)


Team Motion Starved to scale the BofA!

By this time tomorrow Team Motion Starved will have climbed their way to the top of The Bank of America Building in San Francisco. We’ll be participating in The American Lung Associations, Fight for Air Climb. Sound tough? Not for us! We’ve trained hard and we’re ready to scale the tallest “climbable” building in our fair city.

At 52 flights, or 1,197 steps, this will be a piece of cake for our well-trained climbing machines.  Why are we doing this? Because we can!

Meet Team Motion Starved’s Stair Climbers…



Zumi-Kazumi: ZK is a self proclaimed Nut. When asked if she actually likes exercise ZK reported, “I hate exercising. I wish having cocktails had the same effect as exercising.” ZK’s favorite way to climb stairs is two at a time. If you do the math, she’ll only be climbing 598.5 steps tomorrow. See you at the top KZ!



Super-Susan: SS and her cute little bob haircut have attended just about every single Saturday Stair Climbing Workout I’ve conducted. Rain or shine, in sickness and in health, SS comes to class and proudly works at her own pace. She never complains and when I’m not looking she even pushes the pace a bit. It’s my guess that SS will surpass her own expectations at this event.

Climbing-Kooka: CK is a workout monster! Often doing two workouts a day she’s completely transformed her body and mind in a little under 2 years. When asked if she actually likes exercising, CK reported, “No, I actually don’t like exercising, I love it! Sweating makes me feel alive.” That’s a winning attitude if you ask me.





This is me, Kelley: CK gave me an alias but I’m too humble to use it. It made me seem tough and strong. I am pretty tough and strong but don’t tell anyone. I’m the leader of Team Motion Starved. I’m the one who yells at the team to run faster and watch their form while I myself trundle along behind.

And there you have it. Now you know who you’re dealing with as Team Motion Starved scales the BofA. Wish us well and stay tuned for our post-race report.


p.s. For fun read my post-race report from two years ago. It’ll give you an idea of what we’re in for. “Do not  crawl on the stairs.”


Power to the She and Me?

Zen and a 10lb med ball

Back in October I received a message suggesting that I apply for a local athletic wear sponsorship program. The message mentioned that… “This would be perfect for you.  Every year we have one sponsored athlete who inspires our business and our customers. As a Sponsored Athlete, you would be our stores spokesperson, the person who embodies our spirit and leads an active, healthy lifestyle.  Applications are due by the end of the week.” 

Well… I’d known about the program but never thought in a million years that I had a chance. So, like we all do way too often… I blew it off. That is until I received the above message. At that point I figured it was a “sign” and had no choice but to launch into hyper-mode.

Magically with the support of my wing-woman I managed to pull together a meaty presentation that included a 10-question application. Question #1 was, “Tell us your Story.” Yikes, I thought. When you’ve been around as long as I have your story tends to be kind of long. This might take a while…

If you’ve been paying attention you’ll know whether I got the sponsorship or not. The rest of you will have to wait to find out. For now I thought I’d share question #1, My Story.

#1 – Tell us your story. How did your athletic Journey begin, and how has it evolved? What athletic and life events have shaped who you are as a person? What inspires your commitment to your sport?

On June 1st 1997, I completed my first 100-mile bike ride. At the time I weighed nearly 220 lbs. I signed up for the event with The Leukemia Society’s Team in Training program because my friend Michelle was convinced, “we’d lose tons of weight and meet hot guys.”

Unfortunately, all the “hot guys” rode much faster and saw us as nothing more than something to navigate around. And, since Michelle and I lived on a diet of French fries and red wine, neither of us lost more than a few pounds. In the end we both managed to survive the event, Michelle was simply happy to be finished, but for me, this is where my story truly begins.

After that first century ride, I was hooked on cycling. I learned that you didn’t have to be a skinny-minny to ride a bike well. In the years that followed I went on to coach cyclists for TNT and was later appointed Assistant Head Coach for the NorCal TNT program. It was coaching for TNT that gave me the opportunity to witness just how unbelievably inspiring it is to watch an unlikely athlete, a regular, everyday person reach their goal. Most everyone I worked with struggled to ride a bicycle up the smallest hill at first, often so frustrated they were brought to tears. It was heart breaking. For me it was seeing the excitement and pride on those participants’ faces as they crossed the finish line that often brought tears to my eyes.

In 2002, I was talked into trying bike racing. At 42 years old and 163 pounds, I entered my very first race. Older and at least 40 lbs. heavier than anyone else in the field, miraculously I managed to win the race. Frankly, I was shocked as the race was a hill climb from Stinson Beach up to the top of Mt. Tam. Me, the heavy girl with the big legs won an uphill bike race. Astonishing! After that race, I raced my bicycle for various local teams until finally starting my own team. I officially retired as an “elite” cyclist in 2006. After that first race I went on to take 1st place in just one other event, although I enjoyed years of successful top 10 finishes.

These events have led me to where I am today. I’ve seen for myself that you really can do anything you set your mind to, no matter who you are or what you look like. Today my life is dedicated to encouraging the unlikely athlete to step outside of her comfort zone and go for it.

Personally, I am not currently committed to any one sport. I love to run, ride, practice yoga and taking the occasional swim in freezing Aquatic Park. My commitment is to being the best I can be at whatever sport I am participating in on any given moment. My inspiration comes from my current clients and the memory of those TNT days. I am inspired by everyone I’ve helped, seeing the joy in their eyes when they discover that they really can do anything.


Client of the Month

Ever notice how some of the best things happen by accident? I like to call them Happy Accidents.

Shira & Zack representing!

Shira & Zack representing!

That’s what this whole Client of the Month thing is, a Happy Accident. You see, it all started in October when Shira reported that she had lost enough weight to fit into the custom Giants World Series jacket that her daughter had given her.  Shira worked really hard, was consistent with her workouts and lost the weight just in time for the World Series. She was so happy and I was so proud of her I just had to make a special mention of her success. So, Shira became the very first Motion Starved, Client of the Month.

Don't mess with Marty

Then there was Marty. Marty, definitely gives me a run for my money (or his money rather). Since Marty has an appreciation for my creative ways, each time I meet with Marty I’m forced to dig deep into my wizardly reserves. Marty, on the other hand is receptive to anything I toss his way, even when it’s a 10lb med ball, in the mud, in the pouring rain. For that, I wanted to give him a special shout-out.  Marty then became the Client of the Month for November.

And then all hell broke loose. Dr. B started working extra, extra hard in an effort to steal away Marty’s title. Marty then went into over-drive to hang onto his coveted title. Clients from every direction wanted to know how one becomes Client of the Month. Most everyone began working harder. All I had to say was…“The Client of the Month doesn’t whine!” Magically all whining ceased and sweat started flying! Ack I thought… why didn’t I think of this earlier? This was a happy accident.

With that said, it is now time to award the Client of the Month for December 2012…

DB says..."I love doin' dips!"

DB says…”I love doin’ dips!”

I Kelley, hereby award Dr. Barbara Rinkoff Client of the Month for December 2012. Dr. B has earned this award because of the monumental change in her attitude toward working out. Her enthusiasm radiates and burns brightly with every tricept dip she takes. Keep up the great work DB! I’m proud of you!

And since I’m on a roll…

Susan's happy to be done with her workout!

Susan’s happy to be done with her workout!

I would like to award Susan Chang The Client of The Year for 2012. Susan has attended just about every single Saturday Stair Climbing Workout I’ve conducted, rain or shine, in sickness and in health. Susan comes to class and proudly works at her own pace. She never complains and when I’m not looking she even pushes the pace a bit. For that, I would like to recognize her dedication and spirit. You go girl!

And finally… Happy New Year to all, and to all, a 2013 filled with wonder and joy! I look forward to a year filled with good spirited competition, good times and good friends…

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The Paradigm Shift (a testimonial)

DB doin' dips

DB doin’ dips

This is Dr Barbara, aka DB. DB is my chiropractor and I am her trainer. DB has been snapping my bones back into place for years but it wasn’t until this last February that DB finally succumb to my magical ways and came out for a sweat with me.

At first DB and I worked out just one day a week at 9:30 in the morning. We would meet at a park on the top of a hill. Each day I watched as DB dragged her fleece clad body up the hill seeming to dread what she was about to endure.

Aside from the initial dragging up the hill, DB was always excited to workout and happy once she started moving. DB especially likes to get competitive, often with me and even herself. It’s fun to watch and to participate in (especially when she tries to sprint me).

Now, DB and I work out two days a week and she even manages to get herself to our workouts by 8:15 am! Just the other day DB informed me that she felt as though there had been a “paradigm shift.” She confess that until recently she really didn’t like working out but now…  something had changed. “I really look forward to working out” she said. Frankly, when DB said this I was happy to hear it, but focused on keeping her moving before she changed her mind.

While DB has always been very appreciative of me and often sends me new clients, I was especially touched by a text message she sent the other day.

“Hey Kelley.  Just wanted to tell you that you rock!!! I really appreciate your encouragement and support and positive attitude.  This paradigm shift in me is amazing and I totally attribute it to you!!!! So thank you!!!! You’re the best!”

Ah… shucks DB!