Physical Funness for the Motion Starved

Fit more fun into your fitness while exploring the outdoors.


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.

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When the going gets tough, the tough turn to cookie dough.*


Those of you who have been following Motion Starved for a while will remember The GP-2011 Project. GP is a friend of mine who agreed to be my Guinea Pig (GP) for a few months last year. GP was asked to follow all the advice I posted on this site in an effort to see if in fact, my advice was actually beneficial. If you would like to read more about GP-2011 and our experiment I will list the relative posts at the bottom of this page. I can say however, that our mission was successful.

With that… I have asked GP to send us a little guest post relative to her life today. Here is what GP-2011 has to say about stress (which she knows a shitload about!)

GP-2011, Guest Post – for Motion Starved…

When the going gets tough, the tough turn to cookie dough.*
*And other bad ways to deal with stress.

When was the last time you were totally stressed out? Yesterday? Last week? Maybe you’re a great big ball of stress right now, grinding your teeth as you stare at your computer. Stress is a fact of modern life—you can’t avoid it. Sometimes the stress isn’t quite so major: Your computer crashes—and you haven’t backed it up, in, oh, a year. You race back to your car to find the Parking Nazi scrawling a ticket. Or you forgot to attend an important meeting at work. But sometimes stress is a big deal: Your “routine” visit to your doctor turns out to be not quite “routine.” Your partner loses his/her job. Or your child is in trouble at school.

When life slaps you in the face, it wallops your whole body. In fact, when it comes to your health, stress—big or small—is downright dangerous. Stress can cause serious sleep problems, fatigue, stomach upsets, headaches, anxiety, irritability, weight loss, weight gain, hair loss (yikes!) and feelings of sadness or loneliness. Over time, your blood pressure rises, your heart rate increases, your immune system takes a hit, glucose floods your bloodstream and your digestive functions suffer, all of which can lead to chronic illness.

You can’t avoid life’s ups and downs. But it’s how you deal with stress that can make all the difference.

Bad Ways to Deal with Stress:

  • Make a big batch of chocolate chip cookies and eat the dough—salmonella be damned.
  • Drink a whole bottle of Chianti. Alone.
  • Hole up in bed for a few days watching a Real Housewives marathon.
  • Invite your new best friends Ben & Jerry over for the 3rd night in a row instead of meeting up with real friends.
  • Pretend everything’s ok and cry into your pillow.
  • Watch QVC from 2:00-3:30 a.m. and order stuff you don’t need like a Slap-Chop, or limited edition Snuggie.
  • Get a dramatic new haircut. (Trust me, this is never a good idea.)
  • Having more Chianti and posting messages on your ex’s Facebook page.

These are the things I used to do to deal with stress. The ‘old me’ would run straight to the fridge to find comfort—“Hello, Ben? Jerry? You in there?” But the ‘new me’ knows that there are better ways to deal with stress than cookie dough and Chianti. When life slaps you in the face, hit back. Hard. Instead of curling up into a ball clutching a bag of potato chips, lace up your sneakers and get a sweat going. Eliminate all that anxiety from your system by moving your body.

According to our friends at the Mayo Clinic, one of the easiest and most effective ways to combat the negative effects of stress is to exercise. It only took me 40-something years to figure this out for myself, but it works. Simply moving your body kick starts the process of beating back stress. Whether you go for a hike with a good friend, hit the gym, play a game of tennis, go for a run, or even take a walk around the neighborhood, you’ll be doing your body—and mind—a huge favor.

Here’s all the good a little exercise can do for you:

  • Pumps up those feel-good endorphins
  • Pumps up those feel-good endorphins
  • Boosts your mood
  • Makes you feel more confident and in control of your life
  • Improves your sleep
  • Enhances your sex life (!)
  • Helps you relax
  • Improves your overall health
  • Keeps your immune system in tip-top shape
  • Helps you focus on something other than your problems

Better still, if you can find a way to make exercise a habit, the next time life slaps you in the face, you’ll be able to shake off the stress that much easier. What ever you do, when the going gets tough, don’t turn to cookie dough to make yourself feel better. When that button from your too-tight jeans goes flying across the room, and you’ve busted out of your pants on a date, you’ll feel even more stressed out. Not that this has ever happened to me, or anything…

P.s. If you want to learn more about GP, here you go…
“Meet GP”
“GP has an Admirer!”
“If Jerry has time to workout…”


Motion Starved is 1 year old today!

One year ago today I launched Motion Starved. It started with my friend Skinny Scott giving me a blog for my birthday in November of 2010. See, I’d been talking about using a blog format rather than the standard website to promote my business and share my knowledge, but I never expected to have one handed to me all set up and ready to go. “Yikes” I thought, “now I really have to get my shit together!”

So then it began, I started coughing up words of wisdom in a massive effort to feed and inspire the motion starved soul in all of us.

If you’ve been reading this past year you’ll be familiar with the people who have contributed to the success of Motion Starved. Bear with me as I take a moment to thank them now.

To Scott, words cannot express how thankful I am for all that you do for me, every day. I’m touched and deeply honored to be your friend. When I’m rich I’ll build you a special town just for Vegans.

To Michelle (aka GP-2011). Thank you for letting me practice on you, for all your creative genius, your support and mostly for all the times you’ve enthusiastically followed me into the depths of potential imprisonment.

To Dawn for being the best friend I never actually met, for your daily challenges, encouragement, advise and your infectious positive spirit. I so look forward to drinking wine with you on the moon.

To Pen & Mo for keeping me in check and for always pushing me, for your support, and mostly for appreciating that life is all about the stories. Without you I’d have far fewer really good ones! Long live the AB’s.

To Dora, your comments keep me on my toes and your support is appreciated more than you can know. Mostly, thank you for being brave enough to call me out when I make a really bad spelling error. The world thanks you for that!

To the rest of you, I say THANK YOU for following and friending, for reading and for working out with me! I am incredibly thankful and greatly appreciate your spending time with me. Without you I would have no purpose and God forbid might have to get another dreadful advertising job.

So there you have it. I’ll stop here and invite you to review “The Annual Report” that WordPress put together for me. It details how Motion Starved did and what it did during 2011. It’s actually very interesting and kind of funny, although I learned that the post most viewed was the one about having a crooked butt crack. Not sure how I feel about that.

Happy New Year my friends!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Praise for my peeps

When you’re a kid in school you get a report card that tells you (and your parents) how you’re doing in class. Report cards are also good for the teacher because they tell us how well we’re getting through to our students. Remember, whether you’re a good student or a challenging one, it is the teachers’ job to insure that you succeed.

It’s the same with trainers. It’s our job to make sure that you reach your goal. It’s not so easy sometimes to motivate people and keep them on the track to success, but nun-the-less; it’s our duty and commitment to you when we take you on as clients. It’s too bad that trainers don’t give report cards, I wish we could. It might help with some folks, but then again it might piss some off.

Anyway, I’ve decided to give props to two of my clients today. This doesn’t mean that the rest of you don’t deserve props. It just means that these two get gold stars (remember those?).

First, Diana; Diana has been working out two days a week with me consistently for 10 months. As of last month Diana has lost 17 pounds, gained a ton of definition and ran her first 5K foot race in July. Diana’s race time was just over 24 minutes (an excellent time). My favorite part of all this is remembering that when Diana first came to me she refused to do more than about 10 crunches and after 5 minutes of running she’d stop, bend over and gasp to catch her breath. Now, Diana asks me to push her harder and actually asked me to bring out her nemesis, The Jump Rope. Diana has surpassed her weight loss goal and is motivated by her quick 5k time. With that, her new goal is to compete in the Warrior Dash Obstacle Race in a few weeks, something that has astounded her friends and family. According to Diana, “The best part of all this is that I now love to get dressed. Getting dressed is fun because everything fits, or is too big.”

Now, Nick; I met Nick years ago but he and I just started working together in June. Nick lives in The Napa Valley so we don’t see each other more than once a week at best. However, Nick and I chat almost daily about his training and the workouts I send him via email. Nick is about to run his first half marathon at the end of this month. Nick came to me for guidance because, years ago he registered to run a full marathon but never made it past the first few weeks of training do to an injury brought on by training too hard before his body was ready. Nick is a 45+ single father who works on his feet, around 5 star Napa food all day long. It’s a physically exhausting life that promotes poor eating, sleeping and fitness habits. Since June Nick has lost 24 pounds and is more than ready to run his half marathon. Nicks goal is to run the race in under 2 hours and I’m absolutely certain he can do that. When I asked Nick if he felt that his training had been hard to manage, he said, “Actually, it’s been pretty painless. All I have to do is focus on what you have me do and that’s simple.”

As I write this I can’t help but feel extremely proud. When I started this life as a trainer I never thought about how I would feel when my people reached their goals and did well. It never occurred to me. I was too concerned with what to do with them, how to get them to do what I said and most of all, how to keep them from getting injured. Watching Diana and Nick and GP-2011 and all the others that leave my workouts feeling great I feel truly blessed and thankful to be able to work with these people. People who were not so dedicated at first, and now look where they are…

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I don’t wanna freak you out but…

Lets see some skin!

Do you realize that if The World doesn’t come to an end on Saturday as some believe it will, then there will be only 33 days left until the first day of summer? I’m just sayin’, if you want to shape up before you’re forced to wear a swimsuit and show some skin you might want to get started. You wouldn’t wait until race day to start training would you? You wouldn’t get very far if you did.

I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m here to help you make positive chances to your lives, be it through your food choices, exercise routine or mental state (more positively referred to as “emotional well-being”). I don’t know how many of you are choosing to take my advice, but I would guess that not enough of you are. This assumption is based on the fact that I continue to hear things like “Ugh, I really need to get back into exercising.” And, “I feel like shit, I need to do something…”

Let me tell you that I understand, it’s hard. In fact it is very hard to take that first step but once you start rolling it does become easier. I promise.

With that I leave you for the weekend with a gentile suggestion that you seriously think about what you’re willing to commit to, to make changes in your life. Think about it and come up with a firm plan. If you need inspiration or suggestions let me know and I’ll send you some. After all that’s why I’m here…

Enjoy your weekend; we’ll talk on Monday.

P.s. Remember GP-2011? I apologize for not giving you an update on her progress earlier but GP has been very busy with all her mom, daughter, wife and work duties so I’ve not seen her. However, I’m happy to report that GP-2011 has reached her goal of loosing some weight, toning up and feeling comfortable in a two-piece swimsuit for her trip to Hawaii next week. GP says…“I feel good, my abs are really strong, they just have a little tuft of fat covering them. I actually look pretty good in my new two-piece.” Unfortunately GP has not sent me a photo of her in her new suit so I can’t share it with you. Obviously she knows I’ll post it so you can’t blame her, no matter how good she looks.

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Anytime is a good time for exercise

It's all exercise!

The point is to get exercise; it doesn’t matter where you are.

GP-2011 admitted today, “I’ve been a BAD GP. Still doing my work outs, and been pretty good about sticking to my limited wine during the week, but totally off the rails with my food. I love to chow!” While this is not the best possible news, I’m happy to hear that GP is exercising. Exercise keeps your metabolism running high; it flushes the body of toxins and keeps your heart beating. Eat badly, but never stop moving.

Short on time, or just lazy? Try this 10-Minute Go-To Workout.

Warm up – Slowly rotate your foot 10 times in each direction. Shrug your shoulders and swing your arms (open close, open close).

Leg Swings – Hold onto something. Swing right leg 20x’s from right to left across the front of your body then switch legs. Now, swing each leg from front to back. Stand straight engage your core and swing your leg up as high as your hip. 20x’s each leg.

Jumping Jacks – 1 minute

Push Ups – Any style you can muster. Do as many as you can in 30 seconds.

Triceps Dip – Place your butt on the edge of a bench/chair or desk, place your palms on the edge just next to your butt. Feet hips width apart, bend the elbows, slide off the chair, dip down so that elbows are bent at 90 degrees and then all the way back up. Do as many as you can in 30 seconds.

Jumping Jacks –1 minute

Wall Squat – 1 minute. Sit in a chair position (with no chair!), with your back against a wall and your hands palms-up, resting on your knees. Keep your heels directly below your knees and at a 90-degree angle; your shoulders should be rolled back, and the back of your head should be against the wall. Keep your face relaxed, and breathe.

Plank – 1 minute. Get into a push-up position with your elbows and toes on the floor, while pushing the area between your shoulders toward the ceiling and keeping your stomach pulled in toward the lower back. Keep your butt tight and your eyes looking at the floor.

Jumping Jacks – 1 minute

Stretch – 2 minutes

Extra credit – Add more abdominal reps (any style), do this entire circuit once or twice more, or stretch for another 3 minutes.

Print this out – Take it with you when you travel. Do it in the morning before work. If you want more ideas, for God sake – ASK ME!


Random bits

Happy Friday!  I know some of you are pretty happy the week is over. I hope the weekend serves you well and you find yourself rested and recovered in time for Monday (or, is that a stupid thing to say?).

Today I’m sharing some tips from my friends.

  • Drink your water – Marathon Louie thought he was “all that” by doing a nice tempo training run and then attempting what he assumed would be an easy spin class. Unfortunately with all the training ML lost track of his hydration level. With that, the double workout proved too much for the lean, fit gent. Post “spin” Louis spun himself right onto the floor and awoke to find himself sprawled out and surrounded by some very nice EMT’s. His advise. Drink up!
  • Wash your stuff – Skinny Scott wanted me to remind everyone to wash their fruits and veggies. Even the ones that you plan to peel. It’s not just about obvious dirt, it’s about all the nasty stuff that gets on there from all the different folks handling it.  Mr. Skinny found himself with a case of “The HoneyMustards” after eating a mango that he peeled but must have picked up some fungi from the cutting board. Best way to wash your stuff is to run lots of water over it. Just to be safe, Skinny suggests washing the pre-washed lettuces that comes in a bag. Need I say more?
  • Sleepy? – Nancy The Guit wondered why she was tired all the time.  She was sleeping well at night, eating right, getting plenty of vitamins and her hormones were in check but she still felt sleepy all day.  What’s up with that, she thought so she asked her Doc and found that she was taking twice the recommend dosage of melatonin.  She’s now cut back and behold, she’s not tired anymore. Watch your dosage, take the recommended 3 mg at most and when you wake in the morning turn on a bright light to trigger your body to stop making it’s own melatonin. More is not better!
  • GP-2011 says “lube your business” – Body Glide is for beginners, too. There’s nothing like getting ass-burn, or chafed cheeks from a vigorous workout. Anywhere you sweat and have a little friction is prime real estate for chafing—arm pits, thighs, butt cheeks. GP recommends body glide, Vaseline, A&D ointment—she’s even used her kids’ diaper creams—use whatever you’ve got, but the body glide is greaseless, easy to roll on, and doesn’t smell like baby powder. Better lube your business, or you might feel the burn—and not just in your muscles.

Learn from their mistakes, I’ll see you on Monday. Next week I’ll come clean and let you have a look at my abs.  We’ll see if all those crunches from my ab challenge did me any good. Stay tuned…

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If Jerry has time to work out…

Here we are at the end of another week. This week I’ve tried to inspire you to push your limits, take care of your soul and to eat right. Actually, I do that every week in different ways. I hope you’ve taken note and been inspired in some way.

Today I have The Guinea Pig 2011 Report. GP has graduated from window licking strangers to rubbing elbows with The Governor. Here’s the week in GP’s words.

Sad to say, but GP has been on a bender. I’ve rediscovered the joys of chocolate and wine. Blame it on Valentine’s bounty or pure greed, I don’t know, but I’ve been strapping on my feed bag and the corkscrew has been permanently attached to my hand the last couple of days. I spent the morning robbing the kids’ Valentine’s candy – the shame!!

However, I’m still being good about doing my crunches (I hope to one day replace the jiggle with some definition) and working up a sweat at the gym. Even dragged the GP family for a long, sweaty hike in the canyon. I even pulled a code yellow, though I was careful to hide behind a redwood tree.

To recommit myself to the road of health, I replaced the battery in my heart rate monitor today so I can be sure I’m cranking up the old ticker properly.

As for my close encounter of the gubernatorial kind, I am still tickled by seeing our gov working out. Maybe he was balancing the state budget in his head while he was balancing on the bosu ball, or finding ways to trim the fat in Sacramento while keeping trim around his middle, I will never know because I was too star-struck to say anything to him (despite being close enough to confirm that those eyebrows are real). If the gov has time to work out, then I have no excuse.

There you have it. GP is trucking along just like the rest of us, doing her personal best every day and not worrying about how many workouts she misses or stolen chocolate she eats. GP is creating her own unique success story!

Have a great 3 day weekend. I’ll be back here on Tuesday, until then follow me on Twitter. It’s kind o’ fun!

Play nice…

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GP has an admirer!

GP workin' up a sweat

The Guinea Pig 2011 Report ­­– Saturday, February 5th 2011. GP goes to the gym to spin on the stationary bike for a while. GP chooses a bike right next to the fan, as the weather in Oakland is unseasonably warm today.  The fan and the bike happen to be right next to the street level picture window.

As GP gets rolling she notices a man pressing his face against the window, swirling his tong and licking the glass. In extreme horror GP does her best to ignore the man and continue her workout. Eventually the man went away and GP was able to relax and sweat in private.  While the man was clearly “off “ mentally, GP could do nothing more than take his gesture as a complement.  It seems that as of Saturday, GP has managed to “shift 5 pounds of body weight.” All this without having to change her life much at all. Since the beginning of January this year, GP has regularly cut back on her wine consumption, is working out for an hour, 4 days a week and is making better food choices. GP is still indulging in the occasional brownie or chocolate chip cookie and is still having her vino a few times a week. GP confesses that some weeks she does better than others but is consistently making small, comfortable changes to her lifestyle.

In the end, GP was surprised to see that she was able to lose weight and feel better without having to make huge sacrifices. GP is even making an effort to take part in my Ab Challenge. She’s chosen to do 100 core specific reps, two days per week. That’s what she feels comfortable sustaining. Now that GP and the window licking stranger are noticing some changes in her physic, GP in encouraged to take things up a notch.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I’m really proud of you GP! Take no prisoners!

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Are your running shoes your friend?



The Guinea Pig 2011 Report – In case you forgot we’re following GP through the suggestions I make here on this blog. Last week I reported that GP was working on Post Holiday Detox. She’s drinking more water and eating much more fiber. GP is now feeling lighter and far less toxic.

Once GP began feeling lighter on her feet she plugged in her iPod and took things up a notch.  Rather than her usual 20-minute moderately paced trot on the treadmill, GP hit the incline button. In her own words here’s GP’s report…

Felt good Saturday after our adventure (Kelley took me into the woods for some circuit style activities using tree trunks and sticks) but did nothing yesterday, so I went to the gym today to do some intervals on the treadmill. I was looking forward to it since my ass was dragging and I had some work to do and my brain wasn’t working.

Warmed up for a bit then turned it on nice and easy–did some of your Trundling* work on an easy incline of about 1.5. I was feeling pretty good, so I did a short higher speed trundle (like 5.3mph). When I got tuckered out, I slowed it down, and cranked up the incline and did some fast walking until I was ready to trundle some more. I repeated this process for about 40 minutes (give or take my spazz outs when I dropped my ear buds or accidentally hit the stop button.)

To my great dismay, during the last 10 mins or so, my left hip started bugging me again. I go back and forth on whether it’s muscular or joint-related. I went and stretched for a while, did some balance work and core exercises, it was ok for a bit, but had some discomfort/pain by the time I got home. Just when I was starting to not totally HATE running. GP is not discouraged though. I will carry on!

Since GP is having some discomfort I have suggested that she revisit her posture as noted in my The anklebone is connected to the knee bone post. I am confident that some adjustments in her posture will make a difference and at the very least are a good place to start. The issue that GP did not mention, is that prior this workout she suffered a bad blister on her left foot which would affect how she runs. My suggestion was to discard her old running shoes and invest in some fresh footwear.

Here are the things GP was armed with before she went shoe shopping.

  • First – you need new shoes if you can see compression wrinkles in your midsole, a good rule of thumb is that your running shoes are good for 350 – 500 miles. Obviously this depends on how you run and how heavy you are. If your shoes give you blisters than they don’t fit properly.
  • Think about – where you want to run in your shoes. On the trail or on the road.
  • Go to a running shoe store where the staff knows about running. You need to deal with someone who knows about running shoes specifically and be ready to try on a few pairs of shoes.
  • Here’s how your running shoes should fit – Wiggle Room = You should have about a thumb’s width of room between the end of your longest toe and the front of the shoe. Hold It = Look for a secure, comfortable fit through the midfoot. Imagine a hand gently holding your foot in place. The Heel Deal = There should be little or no slipping at the heel.

GP now has new running shoes and is feeling better about her running. We’ll check in with her next week to see how her hip feels and if she’s taken on Kelley’s ab challenge, in Holding Kelley accountable.

Stay tuned…

* “Trundle” is a Kelleyism referring to a moderately paced jog.