Athlete Profile: Meet Jen Green - Full of Life!

Stay-at-home mom Jen Green lost 41 pounds in 12 weeks, becoming the first woman to win a local "Biggest Loser"-style competition in its five-year history. In the nine months since winning Green's lost more weight all while encouraging others via her blog Setting You Free.
Green's currently training for a fall marathon and is thinking of training for a triathlon.

Two teams of five adults met several times a week as part of The Gazette Healthy Challenge. The men and women worked out with trainers three times a week for an hour and weighed in at a local hospital once a week.

"The first thing we did was go to the hospital to get our "vitals" checked," says Green. "They did our weight, BMI, blood pressure, and our measurements. Our weight was checked every week, but the blood pressure, BMI, and measurements were done at the end."

Team challenges included:
- a five mile run
- a cooking challenge
- an obstacle course challenge (run 1 mile carrying his/her weight loss in pounds, answer 5 nutrition questions and then swim 1 length)
- and a soccer team challenge (kick a goal against the Washington Freedom (girls soccer) team mascot.

"My favorite was the soccer challenge as I scored the winning goal," says Green. "I also liked the cooking challenge because we worked with real chefs in preparing a healthy meal." Green's team won all of the challenges, but lost the overall competition because the other team lost a higher percentage of weight.

Green's whole lifestyle has changed as a result of this opportunity. "We're eating healthier, getting exercise and feeling so positive and full of energy," says Green. "I'm happy."

She's also more comfortable using the gym equipment at her fitness club. "I had a gym membership for two years prior and just was intimidated," she says. And Green's grateful for her personal trainer and friend Benny Dorsey, her personal trainer during the competition.

Being the best at losing brought Green many prizes: yoga, dayspa, whitening kits, health club membership, mall certificate, hotel & airfare to Florida, grocery store certificate and more!
Other fun perks include her TV and newspaper ad helping promote the 2010 competition. See the ad here.

And thanks to her new strength and fitness she's confident she can complete the October marathon she's training for and even a triathlon one day, she says.

"Emotionally, I feel like I have been given a second chance at life," says Green. "I feel stronger inside and out. I am making better decisions in all aspects of my life because I am more confident. I feel like I deserve to be treated fairly... and have even disassociated myself with "friends" who were not really my friend. I feel like I deserve happiness."

Green's choices have influenced her husband and kids too. "My kids see me go run and they want to run with me," she says. And Green and her husband Lyle are doing sessions with the Personal Trainer together and daily sessions of P90X. "It's awesome," she says.

1. First, record EVERYTHING you eat for 1 week. And don't cheat... cause you are only cheating yourself!
2. Examine that food journal and you will be surprised. Maybe even take it to a nutritionist (most health insurances cover this).
3. Find a plan that works for you. I eat more protein, less carbs and A LOT more veggies.
4. Drink more water!!!!! I drink 90 - 100 ozs a day. Most of the time we think we are hungry and we are really just thirsty. If I think I am hungry, I drink a glass of water and wait 5 minutes... if I am still hungry, I eat.
5. Eat LESS more Often. Don't deprive yourself... just eat smaller portions.
6. Start an exercise program. Maybe just walk to your mailbox and back. The next day, walk to the next mail box and back. Before you know it, you will be walking miles. Then maybe start running (if you body allows it) a little. A gym membership is NOT essential to losing weight.
7. Find someone to do it with you. This was one of my failures before. I had no one to pick me up when I fell. The competition gave me that support and now... I am supporting others. It doesn't have to be someone who is overweight (it can be though). Find a healthy friend and ask if they want to help you... they probably will consider it a compliment if you are serious. If it is someone that is over weight, set ground rules. Find out what each other's triggers are. Set goals.

Questions for You:
- Please take a moment to encourage Jen and thank her for sharing her story.
- Which team challenge sounds most fun to you?
- What makes you successful in your fitness journey?

photo: submitted by Green. The photo was taken seconds after hearing that she'd won, beating a guy by .1%!

The Crazy Football Move & Help from Jessi Stensland

This winter I've enjoyed attending Dustin Maher’s Fit Fun Bootcamps. We do a mix of hi-intensity intervals with weights, core work and cardio. A few times this winter we did a simple looking exercise that I had trouble with.

You roll on your back in a football and next go into a standing jump. (The woman in this NBC15 news clip with Dustin demonstrates the exercise “jump up-roll back-jump up.”)

To modify I could use my hands to help move from sitting to standing, but I still had issues. It was a little easier if I could cross my legs. I was thinking about the individual movements involved in this exercise and I thought of Jessi Stensland & MovementU. So I asked for help!
Sara: What MovementU principles or performance exercises would you apply to help me improve? I have tight hips and very tight Achilles tendons.

Jessi Stensland:
Great question Sara!!
I watched the video and then proceeded to do the exercise myself, since its not one I normally do. I did it, but it definitely took some body awareness as to what was going to get me through that motion properly. No matter what movement you want to do, whether the Jump Up-Roll Back-Jump Up or a proper running stride or pedal stroke, the same principles are going to help you perform the movement more efficiently and powerfully. We talk about all of this at MovementU. Here’s how I would apply it in this case.

In a nutshell:
1. Self-massage ‘tight’ soft-tissue (muscles, tendons, etc) to increase mobility of your joints.
2. Stabilize your spine with your abs.
3. Use your glutes.

You mentioned tight hips and Achilles tendons.
Before you even begin to move, you’ll want to do a bit of self-myofascial release (in other words, self-massage) to get the blood flowing and loosen up the tissues surrounding the joints. This way you’ll increase the range of motion in your hips before you even move. This can be done with a foam roller (TP Therapy’s new GRID is killer!) Take a couple of minutes (or more) rolling out some of the soft-tissue attached to your hips. Depending on how much time you have, roll out any/all of your lower back, glutes, quads, hamstrings, IT Band and even abdominals (I sometimes use my own hands for this.) Also, for your Achilles tendon, be sure to roll out your calf muscles as well. We review self-massage techniques in the recovery session at MovementU.

To increase the mobility in your spine a bit more, get on all fours and actively flex and extend your spine 5-6 times. The flexibility through your spine will affect your ability to get your body mass in the proper position over your feet, so that you can then push up strongly to reach the standing position.

Next, your ability to keep your spine stabilized is key. At MovementU we talk about this extensively. You want your abdominal muscles active throughout the movement. You’ll have a lot better control of the other parts of your body and get the most out of your muscular strength if you are able to do this.

A great way to train this is to practice maintaining a neutral spine throughout all of your movements both in life and training. To doing so, you must turn on your abdominals and you keep your back extensors relaxed. Here is a great article that explains neutral spine:
Activate and strengthen your abdominals in the proper movement patterns during glute bridges, lunges and squat patterns (using single and double leg and varying depths…going as deep as you can while maintaining neutral spine.)

Once you stablize your spine in the movement, you’re going to want to rely on your prime movers, your glutes, to get you from that seated position to standing, and ultimately jumping. Your ability to use your glutes is key. Its another hot topic throughout the day at MovementU. You’ll want to make sure they’re working for you by activating them with those same exercises: the glute bridge, lunge-in-place or squat. The lunge is a great way to increase hip mobility and help you use your glutes at all ranges of motion, like you’re trying to do in this movement.

Tying it all together…to perform the Jump Up-Roll Back-Jump Up:

  1. First, momentum and some abdominal strength will get your body into the first position. Your core abdominal muscles should be strongly engaged throughout the entire motion.
  2. Next you’ll stabilize with the glutes as you start pushing through the heels, and continue using your glute strength, while still engaging your abdominals, as you roll from your heel to your midfoot and finally through your toes to perform the jump.
  3. Ultimately your joint mobility, abdominal strength and glute strength will be the key players. Learn lots more about them all at MovementU!!

    Jessi Stensland is a professional endurance athlete and movement specialist. See class schedules at Watch this short video to get a sense of what MovementU is like.

Questions for You:
1- Can you do the crazy football move?
2- Do you practice neutral spine?
3- What would you like to know more about from this post?

Thanks Jessi!! I can't wait to attend MovementU next weekend!

Meet Renee: A Winter Triathlete!

Athlete Profile: Meet Renee “Kippie” Friedkin
— a Winter Triathlete

She didn’t own XC skis and she’d never biked on snow, but that didn’t stop Renee “Kippie” Friedkin from signing up for the New England Winter Triathlon series.
With a fitness base built from running 20-25 miles/week, her goal for the first event, a duathlon, was to finish and to not hurt anyone, herself or other athletes. She'd learned about the series via and was hoping learning winter sports would help her love and appreciate winter more!
Getting started was simple, she took her bike in for a tune-up and changed the tire pressure. "Biking in the snow doesn't really require much in terms of accessories but you just have to learn to let the bike lead you in the snow and not fight to control it," says Friedkin. She was also able to rent XC skis.

The events included:
Jan 10 - Weston Winter Duathlon, Weston Ski Track, Weston, Mass.
4K trail run, 6K XC ski, 4K trail run
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done so far,” says Renee Friedkin after finishing the Weston Winter Duathlon. It was probably most difficult for a few reasons:
- the temps were below zero for the first time here,
- the snow was soft and deep to run in, so 2.5 miles felt like forever and the second 2.5 miles at the end was painful.

The XC ski portion was about 3 miles and had a big hill to climb each of the three laps. “I think if I can improve this part of my race I could take a lot of time off my finishing time,” says Friedkin.
Being new to skiing, Friedkin thinks she expended too much energy trying to get the skate down and that she has a lot to learn here. “I actually did well at the marathon skate, but most people don’t use that because it’s slower,” she says. “For short distances it would be good but not for hills or speed.”

“Anyways, overall I’m very proud I finished and not even last!” she says. “It definitely wasn’t easy in the extreme cold and deep snow, my knees took a pounding.” Her strong fitness base helped her survive and recover quickly post-race.

Friedkin hopes to learn more about skating, biking and running in the snow. “I was blown away with how hard running in the snow was, it was like running on sand in the conditions we had,” she says.

Jan 24 – Gunstock Winter Triathlon, Gunstock Mountain, Gilford, N.H.
short course: 4K trail run, 3.5K mountain bike, 3K XC ski

Her next event, the Gunstock Winter Triathlon, was definitely more challenging she says, mostly due to the inclines. “It was nearly ALL uphill!” she says. The short course was 4K trail run, 3.5K mountain bike and 3K XC ski.

This time the temperature was mild, in the 20s and the snow was soft and deep. “Running was tough, biking impossible (I pushed my bike 80 percent as did even the expert bikers) and the XC was really hard for me since I just got comfortable with the XC skate technique,” says Friedkin.

Armed with new gear (Yak Trax from her husband) and tactics from the clinic the day prior, she felt prepared for the most part. “However, next time I look at a course map, I need to look at elevation!” she says. “I have even been practicing hills in my runs now and skiing more uphill.” But, she’s also run into some overuse injuries and is icing her legs daily.

She also learned the hard way that “you need to remember to drink either between events or along the way, and eat!” Even with a bit of dizziness, Friedkin took 3rd place overall female in the short course and first in her age group (1:41:44)! Well done Renee!

Feb 6 – Massachusetts Winter Triathlon, Weston Ski Track, Weston, Mass.
5K trail run, 7.5K mountain bike, 6K XC ski

Still battling knee pain, Friedkin questioned weather racing the next event was the best choice. “I still wanted so badly to get to do the course,” she says. “I know it and it’s flat for the most part.” Friedkin spent a week trying to rest and recover prior to the race.

During the run, Friedkin’s knees felt heavy and stiff. The bike portion started off well, but by the second of three loops, she felt minor pain in her other knee in the same trouble spot. Her concern grew on the third loop and the pain intensified and so she skipped the XC portion of the course.

“I was proud of myself for doing the right thing,” she says. “At the time though I was so conflicted and I cried like a little baby because I felt like a quitter.” A DNF is never fun or easy even when it’s the wise choice.

The next day Friedkin setup an appointment with a sports medicine doctor.
Knee: 1 vs. Renee: 0.

Feb 21 – King Pine Winter Triathlon, King Pine, Madison, N.H.
4K trail run, 7.5K mountain bike, 5.5K XC ski

Friedkin’s MRI showed she had a sprained MCL. The doctor gave her the OK to train and race, but to avoid some exercises, she says.

“To be honest, if I baby it, it gets worse and if I don’t, it still feels sore,” she says.
And good or bad knees, her last event the Gunstock Winter Triathlon was cancelled due to poor/dangerous conditions wrapping up Friedkin’s first winter triathlon series.
But she'll be back next winter, hopefully with her own skis as well. "I'm also getting ready to train for a summer tri starting in May," she says. She's adding swimming into her training routine which will be new for her.
Best to you in your summer season Renee!

Questions for You:
- Have you tried a winter triathlon? If yes, what drew you in to your first event?
- If not, what of the disciplines looks most fun?

Photos by Renee Kippie Friedkin from the Gunstock Winter Tri. Thanks Renee for sharing your experience becoming a winter triathlete!!

Truitt (8yrs) Talks Trek

This week our son Truitt toured the Trek Factory with his classroom. Only one parent got to chaperone per four classes -- and it wasn't me. Maybe next time!

His brothers and I walked to school pickup this afternoon and on the way home Truitt told me about today's field trip to Waterloo, Wis. to visit Trek Bicycles. I told him I might write about it here on IronMakeover.

The conversation went like this:

T: Mom did you know Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France 7x?
Me: Yes.
T: And when he was retired some other guy won.

While on tour Truitt got to hold a bike frame. "It was extremely light," he says. The Waterloo factory just makes the frames and then the frames go to Whitewater, Wis., where wheels and handlebars are put on, he says.

T: They use really sticky glue on the bike. Your finger could get stuck to it.

Truitt liked the conveyor belt that frames hung underneath. "There was a net under the conveyor belt so if the frame fell it goes down the net and slides," he says.

He says they break the bikes to find the weak spots and the bikes also go through eye inspection and testing. Each frame takes about eight hours to make, he says.

Truitt and his classmates had to wear safety glasses while on the tour. Sometimes it was noisy on the tour. He says the workers "probably work 22 hours a day so they have 2 hours at home and that'd be it."

The group was only allowed on the first level, he says. "You're not allowed on the secret stairs unless you have a pass. Sort of like Coca-Cola--they have a secret recipe and they can't tell you either."

He ended our interview he, "This is Truitt signing off."

From reading Trek's web site I also learned:
- They encourage commuting and have a dedicated commuter room with indoor bike parking and full locker rooms. If you ride 12+ miles to work Trek buys you breakfast or lunch, cool.
- Trek provides loaner bikes for employees needing to run errands or pick up lunch, cool.

Questions for You:

- Have you taken a factory tour?
- What's the coolest field trip you took as a kid?

photo by me: of Truitt riding his nonTrek bike.

A Subtropical SUGOI Splash!

I'm back from a week in Naples, Fla., visiting my parents. (Photo taken by me at Sugden Regional Park.)
**Thanks Mom & Dad!!!**
The kids and I spent most days swimming, biking, walking/running and taking it easy. The boys were thrilled to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse each morning (we don't have cable at home). So while they watched Disney I'd sneak out and run two laps around the association's loop.

But I left the laptop at home... and therefore have fallen behind on some great posts in the works.
Please forgive me Renee, Jessi, Jen & Brenda!!

So, for now, I give you an underwater photo shoot with my oldest son (8) and I. So much fun!!
Left: I tried to get the disposable camera half under water, I was surprised I caught him in the air. Right: We think his hair looks like a pineapple or something... thoughts?

Left: my new pink goggles. I have huge goggle fit issues.
Right: My new SUGOI Turbo Swim racer which I purchased about a month ago. I really like the design and fit of the suit. My torso is long, so not all suits work. I think it's the straps, they look like an elastic headband and the give they provide help the suit settle down & fit properly.
And the last highly-skilled underwater move from our mom-son photo shoot is called...
The Pig Nose!!!

Questions for You:
- What's trickiest in terms of fit? Goggles? Swimsuit? Jeans?
- What move/trick would you do?