The Historic Germantown 8K is a flat, fast, certified, and chip timed race in beautiful Germantown, Ohio on the first Saturday in August. Located just southwest of Dayton, Ohio, Germantown is a small and historic town founded in the early 1800s. The race begins and ends at Veterans Memorial Park and takes runners alongside the river, right through the historic covered bridge (built in 1872), and finishes by blazing through the lovely downtown that has been added into the National Historic Register.All runners will receive a Tech Tee, custom finisher medal, and a lot of great food at the finish. There are cash prizes for the top 3 runners and handmade in the USA wooden awards for all overall and age group winners three deep. The event also has a 1K kids’ fun run with dog tag medals for all children who finish!
The Crossroads 5K is a flat, fast, certified, and chip timed race in Vandalia Ohio on the second Saturday in June. Located just minutes north of Downtown Dayton, Vandalia is extremely accessible and perfect for an early summer showdown. All runners will receive a Tech Tee, custom finisher medal, and a lot of great food at the finish. There are cash prizes for the top 3 runners and handmade in the USA wooden awards for all overall and age group winners three deep. The event also has a 1M kids’ fun run with dog tag medals for all children who finish!
A National Physique Committee bodybuilding, fitness, figure, bikini and physique athlete event.
CHECK-IN: 5-8PM -FRIDAY 6/1/18 AT THE CROWNE PLAZA. (33 E FIFTH ST, Dayton, OH 45402)
SATURDAY: Meeting : 9AM | Pre-Judging: 10AM | Finals: 6P AT THE DAYTON CONVENTION CENTER (22 E FIFTH ST, Dayton, OH 45402)
GUEST POSER: IFBB Pro Joey Decaminada
ELIGIBILITY: All contestants must currently hold a 2018 National Physique Committee Card, or must purchase one (for $125, payable to National Physique Committee) during registration.
ENTRY FEE: $100 each division entered if postmarked by May 25th, or $125 for each division entered after that date; First Crossover is an additional $25 and any additional crossover is an additional $25. Make checks payable to Julie Davies and send to P.O. Box 51, Lewis Center, OH 43035.
MUSIC: Each contestant must furnish a pre-set cassette tape or CD with only their music recorded. Music must not exceed 70 seconds for bodybuilding and 2 minutes for fitness. There will NOT be a 60 second presentation during prejudging. Music will be collected Friday June 1st.
TICKETS: $12 for pre-judging and $25 for finals. Trainers pass $50. Tickets may be purchased the day of or by contacting Julie Davies at: [email protected] or call 614-619-5630. Make checks payable to Julie Davies.
TRAVEL: Host hotel is the Crowne Plaza, 33 E. Fifth St., Dayton OH 45402. Call 937-224-0800 for more information.
MAKEUP & HAIR: Makeup and Hair artists are available for those women who are interested. You may call or text Tiffany Shoup at (740)815-3684 to set up an appointment for makeup and Brittany Roebuck for a hair appt. at (614) 377-2551 or email at [email protected].
My wife and I recently watched Jessica Jones, the extraordinary television series on Netflix. The show is weighty, dark, funny, thought-provoking, and fun. I’d read commentary about the female-driven superhero series from people I respect, and the show did not disappoint.
Once we finished Jessica Jones, we couldn’t help but watch another Marvel property on Netflix, Daredevil. If you’re counting that’s roughly 28 hours of television that we binge-watched in a manner of a few weeks. Great for keeping up with the zeitgeist and relaxing.
Terrible for almost everything else.
According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey (based on 2014 data and released in July 2015), Americans watched television for an average of almost three hours per day. There were weekend days during our Marvel/Netflix binge-watching extravaganza during which we exceeded this average.
Probably the excuse I hear from people who don’t work out and don’t cook at home is lack of time. You see where I’m going with this television thing, right?
The only way to think about health and wellness is this: if you’re not exercising at all and not cooking most of your meals at home, then you have no time to watch television.
If you care at all about your lifelong health and quality of life, then you should construct your daily calendar along these priorities (in this order).
1.) Sleep — Block off 7 to 8 hours
2.) Nutrition — Schedule your grocery trips and build in time for food prep and cleanup.
3.) Exercise — When, where, and how will you be working out?
If you listed your top five priorities based on where you spend your time and what you do most consistently, what would that list look like? For many of the people I coach, initially that list looks something like this:
3.) Social media/online time
4.) Eating out
Candidly, I don’t often attack people’s television habits head on. I tiptoe my way toward the topic, even when I know right away that the person I’m coaching is watching hours of television. I’m wary because hearing that one watches too much television feels like the worst kind of judgmental and condescending rebuke. That’s a recipe for shame—not exactly the kind of relationship I like to have with my clients.
And yet I cannot escape the truth. The amount of television you’re currently watching might actually be detrimental to your health. Those few weeks of binge-watching decreased the amount I cooked, decreased the amount of sleep that I got, and decreased my level of readiness for work.
The difficult thing for someone trying to balance a healthy lifestyle with living a textured existence is we’ve never been in an era with more interesting choices on television. Very good television, like good literature, has the capacity to make us more empathetic, thoughtful souls. That’s not a bad thing. So I’m not here to tell you to give up television completely. But here are some guidelines you can use to make sure that your TV-watching habits don’t interfere with your health.
1.) Cut the cord: Getting rid of your 200+ channels will go a long way toward helping you eliminate the mindless flipping of channels that can suck away an evening better spent cooking, talking, and having sex. You’ll have to be more intentional about your TV-watching choices (by paying specifically for shows on services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu), which is exactly what you’re after. Cut away the fat.
2.) Don’t binge: Shows like Mad Men, Jessica Jones, and Breaking Bad demand binge-watching. Establish a rule for yourself or your house that you’ll never watch more than one show in a row. That way you can grab an hour in front of the television to unwind without losing hours of your life.
3.) Quality over quantity: Empty TV calories like terrible mid-season NBA basketball and HGTV reruns featuring wealthy people complaining about the backsplash in $500,000 homes are the equivalent of drinking Kool-Aid for lunch. Your time is better spent elsewhere (I promise).
- If you have a team, then watch your team. Check out the Bengals’ game on Sunday, but don’t watch the 1 o’clock, 4 o’clock, and 8 o’clock games.
- If you like using television to unwind, choose a show and watch it. But don’t binge, and don’t just turn on HGTV and let some house-flipping show lull you into a drone-like consumeristic sugar coma.
The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times do what they do well, which is report the news on a range of political, economic, international, and social topics. But most newspapers fail consistently to accurately report about fitness. The New York Times–my go-to news source–does a particularly poor job of informing without confusing when it comes to fitness because of its reliance upon academic studies to drive so much of its reporting. My guess is that most people turn to the Times not because they’re interested in the latest science, but because they’re trying to get fit. So we ought to judge the paper’s reporting on the efficacy of the advice offered.
On the face of it, randomized control trials are the lifeblood of learning. Some people consider RCT’s the gold standard of clinical research because their design allows for a control group against which to study a hypothesis. But fitness isn’t something that’s studied to the same degree as say, cancer, so it make sense to view the most recent studies as one tiny blip on a long continuum of developing knowledge.
I’d go so far as to argue that strength coaches working with athletes usually figure things out in the field first before academia confirms a finding. The former governor of California, also known as Arnold Schwarzenegger, is widely considered the greatest bodybuilder ever to walk the planet. He developed his training methods in the late-60s and early 70s, well before exercise science had developed into the sophisticated academic discipline it is today. But researchers have found evidence that his methods, once derided as “bro science,” had a basis in real science whether he knew it at that time or not. All Schwarzenegger knew is that his methods worked in his own lab. The gym. I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge here that some of his success came from real labs. He’s an admitted steroid user. The fact remains that Arnold’s methods for building muscle worked and have been confirmed by modern fitness experts.
Think about it this way. There are thousands of coaches and trainers out there who’ve been actually helping people get fit for many years. While they aren’t academics, the best coaches and trainers are in business to get results either for their sports team or their individual clients. The real world is their laboratory and wins, losses, injury rates, and body composition outcomes are their results.
What the New York Times and other mainstream news outlets typically do is cite a very recent study to proclaim one thing or another that may or may not prove to be true over the course of several years. To take but one recent example, the Times Wellblog suggested in a post just before Thanksgiving that a study supported the idea of counting every single bite of food one takes as a mechanism for losing weight. Here’s the lede:
“Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season are famously ruinous to waistlines. But a new study suggests that we might be able to fend off weight gain and even drop a few pounds in the coming weeks by taking note of every time we put teeth to food or drink.”
The blog does point out that this strategy worked as a weight loss strategy only for those who were able to stick with it, but that’s a bit like saying that only the only people who get stronger lifting weights are those who stick with it. It’s just not very helpful advice. The point with fitness writing ought to be to not only point out what works, but also what is sustainable, realistic, and practical.
Imagine if the Times took the same approach to reporting foreign policy that it does to writing about fitness. Its reporters, rather than developing sources among policymakers and on the ground in dangerous places like Syria would simply dial up academics and talk to them about the Assad regime. Understand what I’m saying here—there’s a place for this sort of thing. There are some really fantastic international relations and security experts in academia who by definition have the time and the resources to do excellent deep dives into complex topics. But for following events on the ground, a well-written and useful story compiles sources from a number of different disciplines, perspectives, and experiences.
Health and fitness are far from the frivolous topics one might think they are given the news coverage surrounding them. My advice to fitness bloggers at mainstream news sites is to get out of the newsroom and visit some well-regarded gyms and strength coaches. For those of you reading who aren’t journalists? Go directly to the source to get your information: find good people with proven track records and read what they write. You’ll save yourself some wasted time reading about the latest randomized control trial.
If you’re thinking that 2016 is your year to get fit, think about investigating some of the following resources. These are all people who’ve had to prove their results with clients, competitors, and athletes.
Resources for General Strength:
Resources for Competitive Strength:
Local Gyms for Competitive and General Strength:
Dayton Strength and Conditioning (Disclosure: I’m a member there and team up with DSC coaches on occasional projects.)
Resources for Nutrition:
Precision Nutrition (Disclosure: I received my nutrition coaching certification from PN but don’t receive any sort of remuneration from them. I just happen to really love their approach to nutrition coaching.)
I moved back to the Dayton area in April this year, and I admit the transition was not without trepidation. I grew up in Huber Heights, studied political science at Ohio State, and with the exception of a two-year stint back in the area during 2003-2005, I’ve lived most of my adult life in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Los Angeles. It’s safe to say I’m a bit of a big city guy.
Like others that I’ve met who’ve left and come back, I’m here to be closer to family. But since I’ve spent so much of my adult life away from Dayton, I’ve come back as a bit of an outsider. I’m discovering the city as one would any “new” place. This outsider’s status, coupled with a personal training career that I hadn’t even contemplated the last time I lived here, is inspiring in me a feeling I didn’t anticipate back in April.
Gratitude, and not simply because I’m closer to family.
Gratitude for the Dayton community itself. I’m not enjoying myself “despite being in Dayton,” but because of it.
You know by now my approach to fitness is that health and wellness are inextricably linked to the rest of our lives. I want my clients to learn how to pay attention to what matters most in their lives. I don’t want my clients (or readers) to obsess about fitness, but to see it as an avenue toward healthier, more vibrant, more connected living. This sort of life in Dayton includes things like exploring challenging independent movies, creative new art galleries, empowered understanding of our own sensuality, and venerable hometown institutions.
It’s easy, isn’t it, to ignore these things. We get so locked into our jobs, responsibilities, and commutes that we forget to see what is around us. I’ve been working with a remote client to build “mindful” lunches into her weekly routine. We came up with the concept together after realizing that she often works straight through lunch, picking at food here and there but never stopping to enjoy. She took her first mindful lunch last week, and you know what she found?
Quiet. Peace. Strategic thinking. When she gave herself permission to slow down, unplug, and pay attention to what she was eating, I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that she found inspiration.
Dayton’s pace is undeniably slower than New York’s, but with maturity, experience, and more than a few stumbles under my belt, I feel better equipped now to enjoy what my hometown has to offer. Now when I travel to New York (or wherever) I find myself bringing a bit more of Dayton with me.
If you’re gathering with family tomorrow, I hope you’ll take a few moments to contemplate the community we live in. I hope you’ll make it a point in the coming weeks to shop local, buy someone you love a surprise cupcake, or take an interesting yoga class. You want to be healthy? It’s not just about diet, exercise, and sleep–although all three of those things are important. You also need to feel inspired, connected, and stimulated. I’m proud to call myself a Daytonian, but from a health and wellness perspective I’m proud to live in a city in which I know my clients can become the best possible version of themselves.
There’s a gulf between what serious fitness coaches want for people and what people want from fitness coaches.
A good coach wants to help make someone stronger, more mobile, and better conditioned.
People want to lose weight.
A good coach builds a program progressively, often leaving something in the tank so a client can continue without injury and with proper recovery.
People want to hire someone to “kick their butt.”
A good coach wants to teach you how to eat well for the rest of your life.
People just want a diet to follow.
A good coach wants you to strengthen your trunk.
People just want to be able to see their abs.
The difficulty for fitness professionals who want to be the best is that they have to compete with Instagram fitness celebrities posing in booty shorts, Facebook entrepreneurs hawking pyramid-schemey supplements and “cleanses,” and ripped guys at the local gym who are great at training their own bodies but less competent when it comes to working with a 45-year-old mother of three who works full time and has a commute.
And the challenge for consumers is that few people have the time and energy to sift through the noise to get to the signal. So today I want to give you some basic categories you can research when looking for a personal trainer.
1.) Certification: A national certification doesn’t guarantee competence, but it does show a modicum of interest in professional development. This is a VERY low bar.
2.) Equipment: This is a somewhat controversial assertion, but I would argue that the more a trainer uses machines in their work with the general public then the less they probably know about biomechanics—and that’s not a good thing. Run far away from the coach who tells you that they want to “start” you off on machines and then progress to free weights. If you’re not learning how to move, then you’re missing out on half the benefit of working with a coach.
3.) Professionalism: You should never see your trainer’s cell phone during a session. Never. They should be ready for you before you arrive, and they ought to have a plan for your session that builds upon previous sessions and toward future ones. If they can’t answer simple questions about how what you’re doing fits into a larger plan then they’re making it up as they go along.
4.) Focus: I’ve been the personal trainer who’s doing the job to support another career aspiration. And you know what? I wasn’t very good or very focused then. You want a coach whose livelihood depends upon and whose life is fitness. The focused coach is constantly reading, evaluating her own technique, and adding new tools.
5.) They’re willing to say “I don’t know”: A funny thing happens the more experience one gains in fitness—an increased willingness to admit when something is new or foreign or beyond one’s previous experience. The number of times I’ve referred people to other professionals (psychotherapists, physical therapists, certified dietitians, etc.) has increased proportionally with my years of experience. Think about your own work experience. Don’t you trust the people more who are willing to say “I don’t know”? Yeah, me too.
If you don’t ask these questions or pay attention to these cues, you might just find yourself working with a “fitness professional” who views you like an ATM, dumping cash into their pockets week after week irrespective of your progress. They’ll be more than happy to help you “lose weight” before your friend’s wedding with some diet plan they cribbed from the Internet.
The truth is, there ought to be a gulf between what you want and what your coach wants. He knows more about fitness than you do, and so he has a better idea of what’s appropriate, achievable, and sustainable. Whenever I find myself getting a little frustrated by the gulf, I remind myself of this fact: all good coaches are good teachers and view themselves as such. Use the five categories I’ve given you above to help find the right teacher for you.
When I say “fitness writing” to you, what usually comes to mind? For many people it’s the glossy magazines in the grocery checkout featuring sexy abs, impossible tiny bikini bottoms, and provocative poses.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. The smartest, strongest people I know in the fitness game hardly ever read those magazines. That’s not to belittle the glossies or dismiss their function: I’ll grab the ten sexy tips men’s magazine for a long flight just like anyone else. But The general point is that busy people with complicated jobs or lives don’t have time to seek out a broader range of information, so they rely on those periodicals. Allow me then to introduce you to a broader range of information.
I’ve compiled a list of the people whose material I find myself most often sharing with clients or using for my own fitness. My hope is that the list isn’t quite what you’re expecting. Sure, you’ll find some exercise tips, but you’ll also find the intersection of economics and food, empathy, and elite-level powerlifting. Try following some of these experts on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and see if the way you think about health and fitness doesn’t evolve. Everyone on this list has made me a better coach through the sheer quantity of free, concise, and thoughtful material they’ve given to the public.
For the record, none of these people could pick me out of a lineup, and I’ve never met any of them. But their public personas at least are helpful, practical, and sometimes even a little soulful.
Kelly McGonigal — McGonigal’s 2013 TED Talk called “How to make stress your friend” dramatically shifted the way I coach my clients. The basic premise behind her research and talk is that how we think about stress can alter its impact on our lives. She emphasizes the positive effect of empathy and caring for others on our own lives and health, and makes a strong claim that “the harmful effects of stress on your health are not inevitable.”
Jen Sinkler — What distinguishes Sinkler from a lot of the fitness crowd is not just her national-level rugby experience, her competitive powerlifting experience, or even the fact that she’s helped puncture the stereotypes of what a sexy woman is “supposed” to look like. What distinguishes Sinkler from the rest of the crowd is that she can write her ass off. Sinkler’s approach to fitness is inclusive, fun, and when the time is right–intense. Not a bad combination.
Roberto Ferdman — Ferdman writes about food, culture, and economics for the Washington Post in a way that elevates the discussion surrounding the latest health studies beyond banal attempts at provocation. When he writes about studies—such as in two really fantastic articles about poverty and nutrition here and here—he adds context, nuance, and reporting. You know, journalism. He’s not a “fitness writer,” but if you care about public policy’s impact on health you ought to be reading him.
Juggernaut Training Systems — This is where I go when I want to learn how to get stronger. The view I have of my own lane of the road is that I help translate information from guys like Juggernaut founder Chad Wesley Smith—whose carnival-like Instagram feed regularly features him squatting 800 pounds, bench pressing 500 pounds, and deadlifting well over 700 pounds—to regular folks like teachers and lawyers. I borrow heavily from his programming to fuel my own workouts and my efficacy as a coach grew exponentially the day I discovered his material online. If you want to know strong, get to know Juggernaut. You might not get to a 700-pound deadlift, but you can use his training principles nonetheless.
Tony Gentilcore — Like Sinkler, Gentilcore is a strong writer and strong coach with a background in athletic performance. His website regularly features a roundup of solid fitness material he calls “Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work.” His online persona is helpful, detail-oriented, and serious without any of the brotastic bravado you might expect from someone as accomplished and physically strong as he is.
I’ve worked as a personal trainer and fitness coach all across this country, from New York to Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. As I return to my roots in the Dayton area, I’ll be using this space to write about health, wellness, and lifestyle with an eye toward the practical, the sustainable, and the efficient. Probably the most important thing that I’ve learned over the last ten years in an exploding industry is that health and fitness have become needlessly complicated for busy people. My goal in my work and in this space is to fix that.
So let’s get started.
If you’re the average American—meaning, you don’t eat the right combination of foods, you don’t get enough exercise, and you’re overweight—then you should start your fitness journey as simply as possible.
What to Put in Your Face: Vegetables and Water
When it comes to healthy body composition, your goal is to find nutrient dense foods as opposed to calorie dense foods. Vegetables are nutrient dense foods packed with things like vitamins and minerals but not calories. They also are full of fiber, which has been shown to play an important role in everything from immune health to digestion. Chances are if you fill half your plate with vegetables at every meal (yes, including breakfast) and eat slowly, you’ll have a built-in portion control.
The rest of your plate should be a combination of a good, lean source of protein like chicken if you’re a meat eater or beans if you’re not; a healthy fat like olive oil or avocado; and a small amount of a starchy carbohydrate like rice, potatoes, or bread (if you must).
And of course, like your grandmama said, drink more water. It will help with proper body function and it will help you avoid mindless consumption of things like soda. If you’re struggling to drink enough, try this: fill a glass of water and put it by your bedside table. When you wake up in the morning drink the entire glass.
What to do with Your Body: Lift, Walk, Love
Many people mistakenly believe that they need to run, bike, jog, dance, or somehow cardio their way to a better body. They buy Fitbits and sign up for brutal bootcamps and hire trainers to kick their butts like they see on reality television. They do all of these things because they believe the goal with exercise is pain and sweat. But if you’re a busy person with limited time, your primary goal with exercise ought to be to build as much muscle mass as possible.
Why? Simply put, the more muscle mass you have, the higher the rate of your calorie burning while at rest. People say they want to lose weight, but more often they’re really looking to be leaner. They want to look good naked as opposed to only looking good with their clothes on (the dreaded “skinny fat” aesthetic). Looking good naked requires muscle.
If you’re doing weight-bearing exercise twice a week then you’re already giving yourself a fighting chance of having the body you want. But cardiovascular fitness also is important, so you should try to walk—preferably outside, and preferably with a loved one—several times a week. Outside because it’s more interesting and you’ll get valuable vitamin D from the sun exposure. With a loved one because strong social ties and stress reduction are important foundations for lifelong fitness.
Living a healthy lifestyle isn’t complicated, but that’s not the same thing as easy. Incorporating these simple changes into one’s life is difficult enough. Don’t distract yourself with gadgets, juice cleanses, and diets. Sustainability and efficiency are built upon a foundation of the basics.