Monday, March 10, 2003

Fit City volunteers start to sweat it


Biggest exercise challenge: Finding the time

By Peggy O'Farrell
The Cincinnati Enquirer

So, Cincinnati: Are you sweating yet?

Our Fit City volunteers are.

Tracy L. Russell is familiar with the treadmill and exercise bicycle.

Jim and Helen Fox are practicing tae bo in the family room.

Charlie Nunnelley Jr. is all pumped up.

And Tom Quinlan is braving the cold and snow to go running.

As part of the Enquirer's year-long Fit City project, our Fit City Five has wrapped up its first month of workouts with personal trainers arranged through the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati. Everyone's seeing results. They're reporting the same challenge, too: finding the time to get in their workouts.

5 pounds lost

Russell, a Navy veteran who wanted to get back to basic training after years of sitting at a desk, hits the Powel Crosley YMCA every Monday and Thursday to work with trainer Brad Kinkema.

"I'm trying to find that third day," she says.

The 41-year-old College Hill woman has cut back on snacking and is trying to make more healthful food choices. She's dropped more than 5 pounds since starting the Fit City project.

At the gym, she's using the treadmill for 30 minutes and the exercise bicycle for 15 and doing strength training.

"I want to try the elliptical machine and a couple of aerobics (classes). I'll just march my way to fitness."

Home workouts

The Foxes are having trouble finding time to get to their gym - the Blue Ash Y - regularly together, but they work out at home in Mason.

"We aren't able to coordinate every workout simultaneously, but we occasionally go jogging together and we occasionally do workout tapes together," Jim Fox, 51, says.

Helen Fox, 43, is discovering the joys of power stretching in a beginners Pilates class.

"I'm really liking it. It's very strengthening. And they promised me that after 10 classes, I'm going to feel better," she says.

Jim has committed to working out for at least half an hour every day. Helen tries to get in an hour a day.

"The challenges aren't within the workouts themselves," he said. "The challenges are more finding the time when you've got two kids who are very active, and Helen and I are very active as well. Sometimes I find that half-hour right after work and sometimes it's not until right before I go to bed."

He tries to run about 3 miles a day when he can't make it to the Y. "My knees don't like me to go much more than that," he says.

At the Y, trainer Becky Hayes (center, top right) has shown the Foxes how to use most of the cardio equipment, and they're learning to use the strength-training machines.

Jim has lost about 5 pounds and "my pants fit a lot better," he says.

Helen hasn't seen a weight loss yet, "but exercise is becoming part of my expectation for the day. I call that progress," she says. She alternates among Pilates, running and doing exercise tapes.

More, shorter sessions

Nunnelley, 26, of Mount Lookout is concentrating on weight training with trainer Ken Sand at the Blue Ash Y.

"I'm doing the entire body: the arms, the legs, the chest, the abs, the back," Nunnelley says.

And that's part of his challenge: A whole-body workout eats up 11/2 to two hours. Nunnelley is working to switch from working out three days a week to four, and trimming time in the gym to about 40 minutes.

He also runs regularly, and tries to log a mile or two at a time.

Nunnelley's progress is measured in pounds - more of them, to be precise.

"The weight I'm lifting is getting heavier every time I go in," he says.

Learning new things

Quinlan, 55, of Hebron is running farther and staying healthy. He's working on stretching, strength and flexibility with Angela Starke at the Tri-City Y in Florence. Quinlan is working out with a fitness ball for the first time, in addition to running on his own.

The fitness ball is "working muscles I never knew I had," he says.

Quinlan has improved his time and distance on his daily runs. He now logs 30 to 35 miles a week.

"With three days a week at the gym, that's plenty for this old man," he jokes.

He's signed up to run the Flying Pig Marathon in May, and hopes to qualify for the Boston Marathon.




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