Posts Tagged fitness

Amy’s Abs

Amy Serfass looks very fit

I mentioned yesterday a young woman I met at the Tough Mudder who stood out with her red hair and teal-colored top. Amy Serfass is a fitness trainer who is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the Australian Institute of Fitness. “My specialty is women and weight loss, specifically running boot camps for women.” Visit her web site here .

I found this fabulous photo of her on facebook, where her friend Megan said, “you could prob hold those rocks up in the background with your abs.” Hopefully she will write an article describing her activities and fitness routines. Sure looks like a lot is working just fine…

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My 15 Minutes Of Fitness Fame On Reddit

Yesterday my son posted a paragraph on the reddit fitness site (200,000 followers) talking about how I did some exercise 330 days in a row as a challenge to be disciplined and to also keep a little bit more toned than doing nothing at all. Well it really caught on and was voted right to the top for most of the day. He also had some links to this irasabs site, so the traffic numbers were blown way off the charts: almost 25 times the average number of daily visitors. Even today the traffic was six times normal.

But in addition to 729 points, compared to 270 for today’s highest-valued thread, there were 140 comments. My son was proud and amused by them. I certainly was laughing at some of the responses. So here are a few to add some giggles to your day as well. And contrary to what some of the people suggested, I am not on any steroids or other drugs to bulk up…

I hope to be like you when I’m 50+.

Dang, I hope I look like you when I get to 30.

I never was into older men…. but damn you’re the exception

Ira you are an inspiration and a mad cat.

If I am 70 and look like that I will dress like an African Bushman and tell everyone to deal with it.

Your father is in better shape than a lot of men my age (22). Good for him, that’s amazing.

This is pretty awesome. So much of the aging process happens because people stop engaging in physical activity.

mein godt your dad is a beast, mine is in perma bulk mode with fat-beetus and a large amount of heart problems associated with bulking for more than 25 years.

It’s kinda sad that’s probably the best our bodies would look when they’re that age. I don’t wanna get old.

I’m sorry but someone doesn’t look like that at 71 without some help.

My first thought as well. People always assume it’s an insult even though his dedication is awesome either way. People (are) denying the likely reality that he is on gear (slang for steroids), but even if he is there’s nothing wrong with that.

At his age he could easily get prescribed testosterone from a physician too. Anti-ageing clinics everywhere.

Your dad is a very inspirational character, thanks for sharing his legend!!! (“story” seemed unworthy :p)

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Daily Exercise At 96

A friend’s mother died recently at age 96, so I read her obituary in the local paper. In her 20’s she was a club tennis champion, and she played golf as well. Had a hole-in-one. But what really impressed me was that “she exercised watching Jack LaLanne from 1951 until he went off the air and worked out every day until several days before she died.”

Wow! She’s 96 and still exercising every day. I can’t wait to find out what she was doing. She sure must have been healthy and fit to be doing anything physical at 96. Maybe it shows the value of being active and fit. We can all learn from her…

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J. Roundtree Loses 200 Pounds

He lost 200 pounds in 19 months

Here is a really inspiring story about a kid who weighed 405 and finally decided to lose some weight. I always wonder what clicks to get someone to overcome their inertia—whether weight loss, healthy living, starting a new career—and choose a new routine. His father had died of a heart attack, but that didn’t prevent the son from gaining all that weight.

J. Roundtree, 21, from Lancaster, Ohio, lost 200 pounds in 19 months in order to join the Army, the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette reports. In November, he will begin basic training at Ft. Benning in Georgia, and he eventually wants to become a police officer.

So how’d he go from 405 pounds to 205? Roundtree started with P90X and then stuck to a strict 1,500 calorie-a-day diet and adopted an active lifestyle—spending his time jogging, playing basketball, swimming and using home workout DVDs. When hand and foot injuries threatened to hinder his progress, Roundtree persevered.

“There’s going to be days where you’re like, ‘Oh I don’t want to do it’, but you gotta keep doing it,” Roundtree told the station.

As a child, Roundtree played football, baseball and basketball, but eventually picked up video games as a hobby and began to gain weight due to lack of exercise. He went on to play in gaming tournaments when he was in high school.

Roundtree comes from a family of servicemen and women. His father, mother, and sister all served in the Army, according to the news outlet. But while he always had his sights set on serving himself, Roundtree found his poor health seemed to pose an insurmountable problem.

“I never would have imagined that he would do that,” Roundtree’s mother explained. “But when J. sets his mind to something, don’t tell him he can’t do it…because he’ll prove you wrong.”

And this attitude is exactly what has led him to where he is today. “I want to be better than I was today,” he said. “I wanna look the best I can. I wanna feel the best I can. I wanna run the farthest or the fastest.”

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Your Genes/DNA May Be Why You Like Exercise

I recently bumped into two articles (excerpted below) referring to studies that correlate exercise and fitness to your genetic makeup. One suggests that some people have genes that cause them to respond positively to exercise and its results—increased heart rate, sweating, feelings of exertion. The other article says that some people can do the same workouts as others, but not have the same physical or fitness results. This also is attributed to genes you have or don’t. What a bitch! You do all that work, and it doesn’t show more muscles? Hard for me to believe.

But if you can just get past that initial resistance, there is hope for anyone.

…even the sedentary among us can build up a physiological desire to exercise, just by sticking to a consistent routine.

“When you ask these people, did you like it the first time, they’ll say God no, it was awful, I was nauseous, I was sore for four days–they’ll tell you all kinds of horror stories,” says Geralyn Coopersmith of Equinox Fitness. “And if somehow they were able to push through the initial period, invariably they’ll tell you, oh my God, I can’t imagine my life without it.”

…The way that exercise affects your mood during and immediately after a workout is perhaps the most crucial predictor of whether or not you’re likely to keep doing it.

“Two people might feel the exact same pain running up a steep hill. One of them says, this is horrible, I don’t want to do this. The other one says, I’m building so much muscle, I’m so excited to be working this hard, I can tell my body’s getting stronger,” says Dr. Angela Bryan. “So it’s the interpretation of those physiological responses that seems to be pretty important in terms of how people view their exercise behavior.”

“People who exercise, by and large, they talk about doing it because they enjoy it. It’s not, ‘I’m doing this so I won’t get cancer in 50 years,’” she says. “That’s why we’re looking at some of the underlying genetic and physiological variables that might be associated with that intrinsic motivation. Because if we could figure out who’s got more of it and who’s got less of it, then we can potentially develop different interventions for those kinds of people.”

…Scientists long have known that when any given group of people faithfully follows the same aerobic workout routine, some increase their cardio-respiratory fitness substantially, while an unfortunate few seem to get no benefits at all. But what, beyond the fundamental unfairness of life, makes one person’s body receptive to exercise and another’s resistant? According to the new study, which will soon be published in The Journal of Applied Physiology, part of the answer may depend on the state of specific genes.

Dr. Claude Bouchard and his colleagues used a tightly controlled exercise intervention on nearly 500 subjects over the course of five months. They discovered that the extent to which their subjects did or did not become more fit was significantly determined by exactly 21 tiny variations on snippets of their DNA…

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Peter Houldin Tells How He Lost 130 Pounds and Became a Marathon Runner!



Peter Houldin in 2008

Peter Houldin in 2008

Growing up, I always carried a few extra pounds, but never considered myself obese. In high school, I played football, basketball, and golf and was in decent enough shape.

Not until I reached college did the weight start pouring on. In the fall of 1992, I entered my freshman year of college and probably weighed 210 pounds and wore a 38-waist pant. I had a large frame and am six feet tall, so wasn’t overly worried. Certainly didn’t feel fat.

Over the next few years—probably due to too little exercise and too much cafeteria food, pizza, and cheap beer—the weight slowly–ok quickly–started to pile on. By junior year, I weighed 284 pounds and was squeezing into a 44 pant. I had gained 74 pounds in 2½ years!

Peter Houldin in 1994 at 284 pounds

Peter Houldin in 1994 at 284 pounds

Peter Houldin in 1990's before weight loss

Peter Houldin in 1990's before weight loss

While I was having a great time putting on the weight and playing collegiate golf, my studies took a back seat. Over the holiday break of my junior term, I received a letter from the academic dean suggesting I stay home for a semester and prove that I wanted to be in his school.

As it turns out, that was one of the better letters I ever received. I took it as a challenge. I enrolled in a local state college and spent the spring semester working hard at both school and on my weight. Not only did I excel in school, but by the summer, I had dropped a ton of weight.

To be honest, the first pounds were the easiest ones to lose. Given I had put the weight on so quickly, fortunately, it came off equally as quick. That’s not to say I wasn’t diligent about it. I took stock of the habits that caused the weight gain, namely, fast food, pizza, beer, and zero exercises. I decided to do just the opposite. I began a cardio regimen and went back to the basics with regards to food. I ate very boring and plain foods – turkey, mustard, and whole wheat sandwiches. Chicken and veggies for dinner, and eliminated alcohol and snacks.

When I returned to my original school the following fall, I had taken off 60 pounds. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Obamas Promote Healthy Eating and Fitness, But the President’s Abs Need Work!

Here is a view of the President’s abs. You can see he needs a lot of work:

Obama abs need work

Obama abs need work

These are excerpts from a June 16th column by Maureen Dowd in The New York Times:

…He (President Barack Obama) clearly feels strongly about nutrition and fat. The child who looks a little chubby in that famous picture of himself with his long-lost father in Hawaii grew up to be extremely careful about eating and drinking in a healthy way.

The willowy commander in chief urges out-of-shape and overweight aides to go to his Chicago trainer who now works part-time at the White House — and even offers to treat especially recalcitrant cases.

On a date night this spring with Michelle at the Georgetown restaurant Citronelle, the president showed how calorie-conscious he was when, over a three-hour meal, he managed the impossible feat of nibbling only one French fry. “He wants to stay skinny, you know?” chef Michel Richard mischievously told “Extra” afterward. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Importance of Fitness When Seeking Happiness

I want to refer you to a terrific NY Times article (
that is based on an Atlantic magazine essay (

It has to do with following 250+ Harvard College men over 70 years to find out who led happy lives and what might have been the sources of that happiness.

Here are two excerpts from the Atlantic Essay that are big determinants:

1. That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.”
2. What allows people to work, and love, as they grow old? By the time the Grant Study men had entered retirement, Vaillant, who had then been following them for a quarter century, had identified seven major factors that predict healthy aging, both physically and psychologically.

Employing mature adaptations (see below) was one. The others were education, stable marriage, not smoking, not abusing alcohol, some exercise, and healthy weight. Of the 106 Harvard men who had five or six of these factors in their favor at age 50, half ended up at 80 as what Vaillant called “happy-well” and only 7.5 percent as “sad-sick.” Meanwhile, of the men who had three or fewer of the health factors at age 50, none ended up “happy-well” at 80. Even if they had been in adequate physical shape at 50, the men who had three or fewer protective factors were three times as likely to be dead at 80 as those with four or more factors. Read the rest of this entry »

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