Physical Funness for the Motion Starved

Fit more fun into your fitness while exploring the outdoors.


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Taking the plunge

SaveTheBay

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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Easy burning!

The cold & laughter, a good combo

Yes, apparently fidgeting can help you burn up to 350 calories a day. This, according to research done by the Mayo Clinic. Think about it, have you ever seen a fat hyper person? I can’t say that I have but maybe they exist.

Since I find fidgeting annoying I’ve found a few other ways to burn extra calories you may not have considered.

Laughing – 15 minutes of laughter can burn up to 40 calories. If you laugh for 15 minutes a day you could lose 4 pounds in a year. How easy is that?

Stand Up – Standing up burns 50% more calories than sitting down. So, by standing while talking on the phone, working at your computer or reading the paper, a 155-pound person can burn as many as 50 more calories per hour. Pace while you talk and you can burn another 35 to 40 calories per hour.

The cold is your friend – You burn more calories when it’s cold. Not only does your body have to work harder to warm itself, in cold weather we tend to wear heavy clothing. The more weight you carry around the harder you body has to work, hence the additional calorie expenditure. So bundle up and go for a walk, run, ride, in the cold air. Research claims you’ll burn up to 7% more calories.

So, by my calculations if I were to go for an hour walk in the cold with a funny friend I could burn an additional 173 calories. Hummmm…


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If you aren’t climbing you’re descending

Mosaic Staircase, Inner Sunset, SF

I hate to be the one to point this out but the holidays are right around the corner and with that come parties and food and a zillion reasons not to workout.

In an effort to keep you moving and looking fab in your holiday attire I’ll be holding Stair Climbing Workouts every Saturday @ 9am, beginning this week through Saturday 12/17.

The beauty of climbing stairs is no matter your pace you always get a fantastic cardio and booty-boosting workout. These workouts will include core and stretching exercises as well as interval stair climbing. Participants are encouraged to climb at their own pace but will be urged to push themselves. Walkers as well as runners are welcome.

The price for 7, one-hour workouts is $35 paid in advance, the drop-in rate is $10 per workout. Be advised that taking advantage of the “paid in advance” rate is not only economical, paying in advance encourages one to workout on those days when getting out of bed is extra hard. We workout rain or shine!

Each Saturday we’ll climb a different set of stairs visiting all parts of San Francisco. I will post, and email the schedule once I have a group assembled.

This weekend’s workout will commence: 11/5/2011 – 9am sharp, @ Lyon and Broadway. We’ll be kicking off the season on the famous Lyon Street Stairs.

If you can’t manage getting to my scheduled workouts you can still get your climb on! No matter where you live or what time you workout I’m certain you can find some stairs to climb. If you need ideas or inspiration there are books, websites and even apps for your phone that can help. For those of you here in San Francisco I recommend, the book; Stairway Walks in San Francisco by Adah Bakalinsky or the iPhone app SF Stairways (it’s a little buggy but it’s only 99 cents.) it even tells you how much cab fare is back to your house should you need a lift home.

No excuses, it’s time to start climbing off those cocktails and cookies! Contact me if you would like to join our Stair Climbing Workouts here in SF.


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Stoked to be in the water – Jeff Clark

Okay so I must admit I get all hot and bothered when the conversation turns to surfing and surfers. See, I grew up in San Diego just blocks from the beach. Until the day I turned 20 and moved north, I basically spent every day of my life on the beach. Yep, I was a “surfer chick,” or wanabe. I never did get the hang of surfing but I was excellent at posing on the beach with my long, sun-bleached hair waiting for my yummy, bronzed surfer-boyfriend to come in. Oh…those were the days.

So, when my friend Cindy sent an email asking for volunteers to try paddleboarding at the famed Mavericks (Mavericks is surfer HQ here on the NorCal coast), I jumped at the opportunity like a shark after a hunk of meat.

Rather than rambling on about our adventure I’ll simply let you see for yourself how the day transpired. It’s pretty tame, there were no massive waves and no surfer boys (aside from the world-renowned Jeff Clark!) but there were lots of really nice people and we had a fantastic time.

Rule #1 if you don’t want your shades to sink when you fall off the board, put them on a leash. I was too cheap to buy a leash so I did a little MacGyver work.

                 

Ever try to squeeze into one of these things? Kind of gross if you ask me.

At this point we’re done with our paddle. That’s Cindy on the left, me, Cassandra our fantastic teacher and Diana in the sexy little top.

You get extra points if you can do a downward dog sans falling in the drink.

So there you have it. A nice relaxing way to spend a sunny day. We saw stingrays and a few harbor seals popped their heads up to have a little chuckle (do you think seals can laugh? Seriously, can they?) I can’t say that I got a workout paddleboarding but that’s mostly because I was too focused on staying on the board. According to Cassandra there are things you can to do work a little harder. Next time I’ll be braver and head for where the big waves and the surfer boys are (yea right!).

As they say at the beach…  It was pretty bitchen! Thanks gals for an awesome day.

P.s. If you want to check out paddleboarding at Mavericks, call Cassandra. She was really great and the prices are super reasonable!


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Bloody buzzing pests!

Mosquito!

I’m kinda over it. Normally they don’t bother me so much but this year there seem to be more mosquitoes than usual. Maybe I’m just in their hood more often these days. Either way, they bug me when I’m trying to sleep and they bug my clients when I’m leading a workout. Enough already you nasty buzzers!

Rather than sitting around itching I decided to look into mosquito matters a little. Here’s what I found beyond the usual; they carry disease, live in puddles, come out at dusk and dawn and suck your blood:

  • There are 170 species of mosquito in North America. Each is very different from the other, and not one product will work on every species. Great!
  • Mosquitoes don’t see very well, but they zoom in on you like a heat-seeking missile. Mosquitoes locate you by scent, and heat. From 100 feet away mosquitoes can smell your scent, especially the carbon dioxide (CO2) you exhale. Interesting! Guess that’s why they seem to find you faster when you’re working out.
  • Females live from 3-100 days, males 10-20 and they stay within one mile of their breeding sight. Only the females bite (suck your blood). Hum…
  • Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a tablespoon of water. Damn!
  • Apparently our only escape from the nasty buzzers is to stay away from even a drop of water and drown ourselves in insect repellent. Please don’t use smokers or sprays as those products kill other, beneficial critters as well as pollute the environment!

Since we’re talking mosquito the responsible thing would be to mention this:

Mosquitoes and West Nile – West Nile Virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and spread by migrating birds. Disease in humans is rare, but its consequences can be severe. If you develop an illness with high fever, headache, stiff neck, confusion, or muscle weakness, see your doctor immediately.

Anyway, I learned a few things in this research but mostly I feel better for having done more than just be bugged about the buzzing and biting. I’m not a fan of repellents so I’ll just have to keep my eyes open for the pests and squish ‘em when I can. Good to know they don’t’ see well. That’s makes me feel kinda empowered!


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Move and learn this month

Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks!

Gwad, it’s already September! Soon it’ll be cookie-eating season, the rain will be back and because of all those cookies and our fear of melting in the cold wet air our fancy holiday attire might not fit. Ugh….what ever will we do?

Well, you can be sure I’ll come up with some ideas to keep us looking svelte, your task is to take my advice.

As you know, September is the month students return to school. With that, I suggest we follow tradition and learn something new ourselves. At least get some culture as we exercise and make an effort to learn, and experience something new.

Here are a few ways you can move, learn and experience all at the same time:

Parking Day — Ever hear of it? PARK(ing) Day is an annual, worldwide event that invites citizens everywhere to transform metered parking spots into temporary parks for the public good. The idea is to promote the need for more open space within our cities. It’s creative, green and inspiring, get a map and go for a walk or cycle to check ‘em out. Parking day is Friday, September 16th.

Presidio Habitats — If you’re in The Bay Area you need to check out the Presidio Habitats walk. It goes away at the end of September so this is your last chance. What is it? – It’s an art exhibition celebrating the wild Presidio. 25 pieces of sculpture are scattered around the Presidio mixed in with the plants and wild life. It’s very cool and a great way to get some exercise along with a little culture and history mixed in. Get a map and go!

Look up — Generally as we walk around we see only what’s at eye level. When was the last time you stopped and looked up? We’re missing the best parts of old buildings by not looking up. The top of a building is like the decoration on the top of a cake. An Architects’ signature is the top of his building. The next time you’re walking around, make an effort to look up, not just once but often. You’ll be amazed at all the beauty up there.

That should get you started. I hope you get the idea, move and learn is your challenge. Have at it!

Happy 3-day weekend!


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Do U have what it takes 2B a Warrior?


Last month my friend Dawn participated in her first Warrior Dash. What’s a Warrior Dash? According to their website it’s a, mud-crawling, fire-leaping, extreme run from hell. It’s a fierce running series held on the most challenging and rugged terrain across the globe. Warriors conquer extreme obstacles, push their limits and then celebrate (with beer and “gargantuan” roasted turkey legs). Sounds like hella fun if you ask me! Dawn thought so too, which is why she and her friend Tiffany donned their old running shoes (you did wear old shoes right Dawn?) and bucked up for what sounds like a death deifying challenge.

Rather than foolishly attempting to explain Dawns’ race I ask you watch the short video above. It’s taken via a GoPro video camera that her husband Mark Brent strapped to her chest. Thanks to Mark (and Dawn) you get to experience the whole event at high speed. It looks really fun!

In the end Dawn had a great time. She says, “It was a little scary leaping over roaring fire, but EMT’s were close by, just incase…” She adds “The most challenging part was trying to untie our mud-caked shoe laces afterwards, all in all, what better way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon – got a great workout, caught up with an old friend, and got to share it with you all!  Oh, and the bonus – free body mud!”

Watch Dawns’ video! After that, you might actually consider signing up for an event like this yourself. They’re held all over the country. There’s one scheduled for the Bay Area in late October, which I’ll be participating in (can’t let Dawn have all the fun!). Let me know if you want to join the fun, we’ll be training for this event in all my classes starting next week!

P.s. Thanks for sharing your experience with us Dawn! You’re an inspiration! Wish you were here…

P.s.s. If you live in Seattle, check Dawn out. She’s at The Exercise Space. I can vouch for her, she has great taste in friends.

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