Monday, July 21, 2003

Going for the goal

Our fitness volunteers keep their eyes on the prize of looking and feeling better

By Shauna Scott Rhone
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Helen Fox does Pilates.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
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Deciding to take on a lifestyle change like participating in the Fit City program was the easy part. Learning how to turn goals into steppingstones instead of land mines is hard.

Our five Fit City volunteers all set goals when they began the program. Jim and Helen Fox wanted to increase their workout minutes. Navy veteran Tracy Russell longed to return to combat-ready fitness. Workout regular Tom Quinlan just wanted to sharpen his athletic acumen. (Charlie Nunnelly Jr., who wanted to build "abs of steel," was unavailable for this month's roundup.)

Now in their seventh month of retraining their lives, how are the Fit City flexers doing?

Jim Fox, 51, Mason

Progress: "I've held the running to three miles max to reduce the impact on my knees, and I do more crosstraining. I tend to average a half-hour to 45-minute workouts, although many days I'll do even more. I still manage to fit it in either before work or after."

In his planner: One of his new goals is to run a 5K race in 25 minutes or less. "I'm running one at the end of August (Stony 5K in Mason). I only run one or two races a year."

He also plans to increase his crosstraining regimen. "It has made a big difference."

Sound bite: "Just being involved with Fit City, I've been able to set more goals than if I just did it haphazardly."

Fox also credits his wife, Helen, with helping him stay on track. "We talk about it every day. Just having someone who's supportive, it does help to have someone who understands what you're doing. It is a release to enjoy a few minutes of solitude, and she supports that."

Tracy Russell, 42, College Hill

Progress: "I'm not real close to my goal, but close enough. I'm exercising more: three days a week at the gym (at Powel Crosley YMCA) or just around the house. I'm still working on improving my eating habits. That's been the hardest goal to make."

In her planner: Russell confesses to skipping some meals during vacation because of the hot weather. But now she's back to three meals a day with small snacks every four or five hours.

Sound bite: Russell's also found a new friend: the elliptical machine at the Y. "I love it! I've already moved up to level three, and I find I perspire more when I'm on it, so I know it's working for me. In fact, I'm thinking about buying one" so she won't have to wait for her turn at the Y.

Helen Fox 43, of Mason

Progress: "I still do an hour a day. I do like it, but don't have time to go always. For me to keep my goals, I have to have different classes, no set routine." She attends the step and sculpt, lengthen and strengthen, Pilates and floor exercise classes at the Blue Ash YMCA.

In her planner: "For the second half of the year, I want to concentrate on better food habits, eating better." She also wants to learn how to incorporate more swimming into her routine.

Sound bite: Fox agrees with her husband, Jim, that sharing Fit City is fun. "We really do check with each other every day. We often go to the gym together. We are celebrating the fact that we both look a little better" as they've gone through the program.

"My kids said, 'Mom, you're going to keep doing this after the program's over, right?' They are very much supportive of what we're doing."

Tom Quinlan, 55, Hebron

Progress: Quinlan, a runner, now logs 30-35 miles a week. In March, he ran the Humana Heart Mini-Marathon on a friendly wager and finished in the top 10 percent of his age group.

"I also ran in the Flying Pig Marathon to see if I could qualify for the Boston Marathon," which he ran in 1997. His time was 3:39, which qualified him for Boston but he decided not to attend.

"I met my goal," says Quinlan, who's been running for 25 years.

In his planner: His next goal is to complete the Little Miami Triathlon in October. Teams canoe six miles, run six miles and finish with an 18-mile bike ride. "I do it to stay healthy and keep my blood pressure and cholesterol down." He also wants to increase his time on the greens at Traditions Country Club in Burlington.

Sound bite: "Have a goal and do it. I just don't take it all real serious. Something has to be dangling in front of you to get you going, and running's it for me."


Going for the goal
Setting short-term goals makes progress more possible
'Toughing out' illness delays recovery
Fit bits
Fitness calendar

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