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‘Working In Working Out Stories’

Get on The Bus


Faith Nelson gets up before 5am to drive a school bus for special needs high school students. She’s also the single mom of three kids of her own. “I’m a deeply curious person,” she says, “attempting to live my life in a way that leaves no room for regret.”

That sort of courage didn’t always apply to physical feats. “I was as far from athletic as you could get as a kid. I had asthma and it made me nervous about running around too much.” It wasn’t until she was twenty-one and pregnant with her second child that Faith started learning the value of exercise.

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The Right Excuses

“You get what you give,” is Kelly Newell’s life philosophy. “I strive to put out positive energy to my work, my family, my friends, and strangers. I hope that folks will feel better about themselves having interacted with me.”

As Director of Conference Management at Washington State University, Kelly interacts with a lot of fortunate folks. She’s also working on her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration…and referees volleyball for USAV and Pac-10 competitions. But her top priority is spending time with her twin four year olds and husband.

“For most people in my situation, working out would be the last thing on their list.” But Kelly knows that fitness makes the rest possible. “You have to make excuses why you CAN fit in a workout, not why you CAN’T. For instance saying ‘Well, I have 45 minutes between my meeting and my class tonight—I’ll run over to the stadium and do stairs for 30 minutes and still have time to change’ instead of ‘Well, I only have 45 minutes. That’s hardly enough time to break a sweat, so I’ll just hang out and surf Facebook.’ It’s all about the message you give yourself.”

Start small and use whatever “free” time you have, Kelly advises. “I wasn’t always fit. I started by walking twenty minutes at lunch time.” She eventually realized. “I’m never busy at 5:30 am—so there are no excuses at that hour. And it starts a day of great habits: biking to work, walking to the store with the kids instead of driving, and so on.”

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High Priority

Pat Seitz is serious about working in her workout. She has to be. This single mother of two teenagers spends nine hours a day as a career counselor and doesn’t have much time to fool around. And her current situation is even an improvement over the past, when her schedule also included younger children, attending college, and caring for her chronically ill ex-husband. “Exercise has been my glue, mentally and physically, and I have fit it in under all circumstances and times of day because it is a PRIORITY.”

Pat keeps that commitment interesting by participating in at least one organized marathon or bike race per year. “So I have a goal in mind,” she says, “I don’t need motivation, it’s just fun to be part of the organized event.” She also claims she doesn’t need to train…well, not exactly:

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The Doctor Is In

When her sister recommended that we interview Maria Chansky for this column, she told us: “Maria is a Superwoman in every sense of the word—strong, healthy, caring, intelligent, and committed to making the world a better place.” It turns out she wasn’t exaggerating.

A family physician in rural Colorado, Maria has spent time working with Maori patients in a New Zealand clinic and with underserved communities on the Navajo Nation. She’s volunteered in post-Katrina New Orleans and established a free clinic at her local soup kitchen. To top it off, this social justice warrior has recently both scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro and completed a master’s degree in medical anthropology.

Somehow, Maria manages to integrate everyday fitness and more challenging activities—including triathlons, backpacking in the Grand Canyon, and biking the 100-mile White Rim trail in Moab—into a life of ten-hour work days and volunteering.

“It can be difficult to work all day and then find the time and energy to exercise all night,” she says. In part, it requires knowing yourself. “I’m not much of a morning person, so it’s difficult for me to exercise in the morning.” So she’s developed an after-work regimen that combines fitness and family: “I’ll walk about 4 miles or bike 15 miles depending on how much time I have. On the weekends I try to do longer adventures, such as backpacking and taking longer mountain bike rides… My husband is very fit and active, so exercising together is a good way to motivate each other and also to spend quality time together.”

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Moving Your Workout Outside

Spring is here which means warmer weather is right around the corner for us. Time to move your workout from the dreary four walls of a gym to the outdoors! Here are some basic tips from our very own fitness guru Trista Wotochek (from our Colorado Springs Store) to help get you started. Getting started: 1. Decide on what you’d like to spend your spring/summer doing—Have you always wanted to start running, biking, or swimming? How about one of those crazy boot camps you keep hearing about? Have a little heart-to-heart with yourself and identify what is truly piquing your interest right now. Then, simply put, START doing it. 2. Get the right shoes—Wearing the kicks that suit your feet and your activity can make all the difference in enjoying your workout all season long. Find the trail runners, cross trainers, or road runners perfect for your precious feet. Your feet are the first point of contact with the ground and the impact goes up your entire body from there. Getting it right from the bottom up is important and can help keep you injury free and strong for the entire season. 3. Find a workout buddy—It doesn’t have to be your BFF….just find a gal pal who loves to be outside soaking in the fresh air and vitamin D, just like you. The benefits are endless: support, accountability, motivation, and let’s not forget all the emotional benefits of having some good ol’ fashion girl-talk in our routines. Who knows, you may even want to check out a local 5K, 10K, or triathlon together. Set a goal, and get a move on. Who says we have to do it all, all alone, all the time? Nobody! 4. Pick your outdoor workout time…and guard it fiercely!—With the season changing and days getting longer, you may have to re-visit your schedule and come up with a new, consistent workout time. If you have a new workout buddy, get with him/her and write your workout time in your schedule just like all your other appointments. If something comes up and competes for your workout time—and it always does!—you can say, “Sorry, I already have something in my schedule at that time, can we look at another day/time?” Beat the heat: 1. Time your workouts—Exercise in the morning or evening — when it's likely to be cooler outdoors — rather than the middle of the day. If possible, exercise in the shade or in a pool. 2. Drink plenty of water—Your body's ability to regulate its core temperature depends on adequate rehydration. Drink plenty of water while you're exercising outside, even if you don't feel thirsty. This will help you sweat and cool down. In drier climates it’s hard to notice you are actually sweating because it evaporates instantly. Don’t be deceived, you are losing water even if you don’t see it or feel it. If you're planning to exercise intensely or for longer than one hour, consider a sports drink that will replace the electrolytes (sodium, chloride and potassium) you lose through sweating. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol, which actually promote fluid loss. 3. Wear proper clothing—Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that breathes and wicks the sweat away (promotes sweat evaporation). Avoid dark colors, which can absorb the heat. A lightweight hat can help protect your skin and limit your exposure to the sun. 4. Take it slow at first—Especially if you are used to exercising indoors or in cooler weather. As your body adapts to the heat, gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts. If you have a medical condition or take medication, ask your doctor if you need to take additional precautions. 5. Wear sweat proof sunscreen—A sunburn can decreases your body's ability to cool itself and your workout will feel much more difficult and even discouraging. Keep your skin healthy and cool. 6. Have a backup plan—If you're concerned about the heat or inclement weather, stay indoors. Work out at the gym, pop in your favorite workout DVD, or climb stairs inside an air-conditioned building. About Trista Wotochek Trista is a graduate from the National Personal Training Institute and a nationally certified personal trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. She is also a certified Yoga instructor and a certified Health and Holistic Wellness Coach. Trista runs a women-only boot camp in Colorado Springs and is also available for one-on-one private training.