Tag Archives: hiking

Fabulous Adventure Vacations with Just Enough R&R


There are three kinds of people in the world: those who take a vacation to totally relax. They go to place like Hawaii and Mexico to stay at an all inclusive resort to golf or spend time in the spa. A vacation is a way to get away from the world.

Then there are those who see a vacation as an adventure. It’s a chance to hike a mountain pass, to camp on the ridge and see the sunrise. A vacation is a chance to breath deep as they plunge into new experiences and to see what their bodies can do.

Then there are people like me who want a little bit of both. I want a good hike in the morning, followed by an amazing meal of local cuisine. I don’t mind getting up for sunrise as long as there is a cup of tea and a comfortable bed waiting for me at the end of the day. I want to get away from my every day, but I still want to experience what the world has to offer.  If that describes you too, I’ve got some great ideas for a fit adventure followed by a little R&R.


Hood to Coast Relay: Here’s your chance to see that amazing sunrise! This 198-mile relay race takes you from Mount Hood to Seaside, Oregon. It’s the longest relay foot race in the world, starting early on Friday morning and lasting well into Saturday. Stay the night at the Shilo Inn in Seaside after the race to rest up, have a good meal, and catch the shuttle service back to Portland on Sunday. (more…)

11 Hikes You Must Take This Summer

best hikes

Some people hike all year, and some of us are fair-weather hikers. Regardless of what type of hiker you consider yourself to be, it is undoubtedly time to lace up the boots. If you are planning a trip to a new part of the country, or if you are simply tired of the same ‘ole hikes in your area, we come bearing gifts! We’ve rounded up some of the best hikes in the country

Before you get going however, make sure you are well prepared.

  • A hiking backpack with a hip belt so you are not carrying all of the weight in your shoulders. Plus, it provides a place to carry your gear.
  • Water is a must! So are snacks like trail mix, granola bars, fresh fruit, and protein bars.
  • Insect repellant if you are prone to bug bites.
  • Hiking boots are arguably the most important piece of hiking equipment. You need well-fitting boots that can take on the terrain and keep your feet dry and secure.
  • Layer your clothing with light pieces that can easily be removed when it’s hot, put back on when it’s cold, or stored in your pack.


Pacific Northwest

>> Ramona Falls Hike, Mt. Hood, Oregon

The Ramona Falls Hike is a seven-mile loop, round trip. Though the hike is described as “moderate,” it is not necessarily recommended for families because of the bridge crossing the Sandy River. The beautiful hike is a Mount Hood favorite, however. People love the relatively easy- to-navigate trail, the short distance out of Portland, and of course, the gorgeous Ramona Falls.

>> Mount Finlayson Trail, San Juans, Washington

The gorgeous Mount Finlayson Trail is one of the best hikes in Washington State. The trail is nearly four-miles round trip and offers gorgeous views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Olympic Mountains, the the beautiful Puget Sound. There are plenty of trail heads and paths to take along the hike, so have fun exploring!

>> Oyster Dome, Chuckanut, Washington

The Oyster Dome hike is a nearly seven-mile hike, round trip, though the whole time you will be eager to get to the top. From the top, Oyster Dome is one of the most gorgeous views in the world. Enjoy both the Lummi and Orcas Islands from afar and the beautiful Samish Bay below. The hike can be family friendly, but watch out for the very unforgiving ledges. (more…)

The Hottest Fitness Trends to Rock Your Body in 2015


Each year the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) surveys its membership of fitness professionals (myself included) to identify the top trends in fitness. The 2015 list was recently published with, in my opinion, only a few surprises.

What did surprise me on this list? Outdoor activities are #12! I see and hear a lot about running in fitness circles, but not much else. Most popular classes and activities take place in some sort of gym, be it a commercial one or the budget home gym you created in the spare bedroom. I would love to see more people get off the spin bike and on the bike path. Hiking is a new love of mine and, unlike the treadmill, it does wonders for your body and soul. Boot camps are last on the ACSM list at #20. They are still very popular in the Midwest so I am curious what group fitness trend will be taking their place. What are you seeing where you live?

Agree or disagree, here are five “big” fitness trends you can look forward to in the coming year.

1. Body weight training and High Intensity Interval Training came in #1 and #2, respectively, on the ACSM list. This worries me for two reasons. One, the high rate of injury that goes along with beginners starting at too high of intensity as well as over-training, and two, the level of burnout that often follows. I think body weight exercises are great. They can be some of the most challenging exercises you can do, but if proper form isn’t developed before adding the explosive intensity of popular programs like Insanity or P90X you may be asking for trouble.

Trend tip: Perfect your form on squats, push-ups and other body weight exercises slowly before adding weight or plyometrics. 

7 Awesome Reasons Denver Residents Look and Feel So Good

I’ve lived in Denver for one month now, and by the end of the first week it was clear to me why Colorado as a state and Denver as a city own the top of the healthiest lists. From activity to fresh air and an attitude that supports wellness, how could anyone not feel their best here?

Year after year, Colorado remains at the top of the list for healthiest states. The CDC’s map of obesity trends starts in 1985, and it wasn’t until 1990 that Colorado even showed up for having less than 10 percent of its population qualify as obese. The most current map is from 2012 and puts Colorado as one of only nine states with an obesity population under 25 percent. Fitness and hiking clothes seem to be The Official Denver Outfit, as everyone at brunch, the park, the grocery store, and the office seem to be dressed down and ready to move!

While there are no doubt more, these are seven killer reasons that Denver residents look and feel so darn good!

denver bikes
Very Bicycle Friendly. I’m confident I’ve seen more bicycles in the last four weeks than I’ve seen in the last four years. Whether for commutes, fun, or exercise, bicycles own the roads in Denver. As recent as 2011, bicycle commuters were 2.4 percent of Denver’s population, a number up 183% since 1990. Bike racks and lanes exist everywhere, making it a no-brainer for cyclists to get out and ride to work, to the grocery store, or just out for fun. B-Cycle has 83 rental stations and 700 bikes throughout the city, making it pretty impossible not to bike.

chipotle sofritas
Vegetarian Food Abounds. You can throw a stone and find vegetarian and even vegan dining options. Bonnie Brae makes a titillating homemade vegan ice cream, Native Foods has a mock fast food menu that will knock your socks off, and the locally-based Chipotle even puts sofritas (organic tofu braised with chilis and spices) on the menu. Every restaurant we’ve visited (and there have been a lot!) has hearty vegetarian options that even the most carnivorous will consider noshing on. The Goodness Truck roams around near Ft. Collins serving their grilled brie sandwich — to die! And all around the area you can dine at farm to table events. (more…)

I Tried It: Snowshoeing

If you want to get a heart-pumping cardio workout while enjoying a beautiful, snowy, and peaceful landscape, give snowshoeing a try. My love for hiking got me interested in snowshoeing initially—even with the best hiking boots, it’s not always easy to get around when the ground is covered in snow. With snowshoes I’ve easily walked on several feet of snow! Best of all snowshoeing is an easy activity to master activity for people of all ages and fitness levels—you can stroll at a slow pace or even run on snowshoes! It’s one of my favorite ways to get outside in the colder months.


Here are a few tips for anyone interested in trying snowshoeing:

What to Expect:
One of the really great things about snowshoeing is that it’s extremely easy to learn and you don’t need to take lessons. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. That being said, it will take probably take you few steps to get used to the feeling of wearing snowshoes and how they will affect your stride. Snowshoes can feel a little bulky at first and you may have to walk a little different than usual. The good news is that unlike some other winter sports, the learning curve is fairly minimal and it’s easy to pick up within a matter of moments. (more…)

Work it Off: Biscuits and Gravy

When I have visitors to my (new) hometown of Portland, Oregon, they all want to go on the same sort of sightseeing tour—one that focuses on all of the delicious food available. So when my friend Beth arrived last week from Colorado I had all of my hot spots queued up: Pok Pok for its Asian Wings, Salt and Straw for its Salted Caramel Ice Cream, and Olympic Provisions for its killer brunch. But of all of the indulgences we shared, the one I was most worried about burning off was a large plate of biscuits and gravy from Portland’s J&M Cafe.

biscuits and gravy

I did some searching online and found a big range for the calorie count in a serving of biscuits and gravy—estimates were anywhere between 200 and 530 calories. Judging from the flakiness of the biscuits, the size of the serving, and the sausage that was blended into the thick gravy, I’m going to guess the plate I ate was packed with about 450 calories. Eek!

Just how does one burn off a meal of that size? I grabbed a calculator—and the American College of Sports Medicine’s Compendium of Physical Activities—to find out. Here are three ways I could have burned off a 450 calorie breakfast of biscuits and gravy:


Fire Up Your Glutes with an Incline Interval Workout for the Treadmill

Out of all of the cardio machines that I have to choose from at the gym, the treadmill is usually the last one that I would choose. It’s not that I dislike walking or running – I actually kind of like it – but to me, walking or running indoors can get extremely boring. There’s something about the other machines (like the elliptical and stairmill) that just seem to hold my interest more and make my workout more enjoyable. That being said, I know that running on a treadmill can provide a great cardiovascular workout.

I almost always run outdoors and my surface of choice is definitely dirt. Unfortunately, because of weather and other factors, that’s not always possible. Recently, I decided to give the treadmill another chance, with a different approach this time.


I’m an avid hiker and walking up an incline is often a big part of my hikes. Hiking can be a great cardiovascular and fat-burning workout because it tones your lower body and (depending on the trail) can alternate between high and low intensity.

I tried utilizing the treadmill to get the same benefits of a hike by adjusting the incline and speed during a thirty minute period, which would offer the same type of interval training that I naturally get while hiking. Walking at an incline burns more calories than walking on a level surface because your body has to work much harder to push itself uphill. You’ll definitely feel your heart pumping faster as the incline percentage increases, and it will drop as you come back down to level ground. (more…)

Wear the Part: How Your Wardrobe Can Really Affect Your Workout

It might not be something that you spend too much time thinking about, but the clothing and shoes that you wear while exercising can have a pretty significant effect on how successful your workout is. Everything from what you wear on your head to your feet (and everywhere in between) plays a part in how comfortable you are at the gym, on the trails, or wherever your workout happens to be that day.

Here’s four tips to help you dress the part and have your clothing work for you when you exercise:


1. Choose clothing that is suited for the activity that you’re doing.

Wearing clothing that’s fun yet practical (and that you feel good in!) can make a huge difference in your attitude! If you’re feeling uncomfortable in what you’re wearing or constantly tugging and pulling on your clothing, you’ll be far less likely to enjoy your workout.


Consider which type of top and bottom you’ll be most comfortable in. If you are blessed to have thighs that don’t rub together, running shorts might be what you prefer. If you’re not so lucky (and experience that ever-so-fun chafing effect), consider tight fitting long shorts or capri pants that provide a bit of compression and support.

Stationary Bike / Indoor Cycling

Make sure that your pants are not loose-fitting as they can get caught in the pedals.


Wear clothing that’s comfortable and is not too tight or constrictive on the body in any way.

Strength Training

Consider the muscle groups that you’ll be training. I like to wear shorts when I work out my legs and tops that show off my shoulders or back when working those muscle groups. Being able to see the part of your body that you’re training might give you a bit more motivation (and help show off the results!). (more…)

The Fit Family Fall Bucket List: 13 Ways to Eat and Play This Season

The calendar has officially declared that fall has arrived, even if the weather is slow to get on board. This cooler season isn’t unlike summer in that it is full of wonderful ways for you and your family to stay active and healthy.

Here are thirteen fun things you can do with your loved ones. We encourage you to try one activity for each week of Autumn.

pumpkin patch

1. Play at the Pumpkin Patch.

The pumpkin patch is a great way to get off the couch and get some fresh air. Most patches have hay rack rides, petting zoos, and even playgrounds. Get the most out of your time, challenge your kids to find the oddest sized pumpkin, or get some exercise by searching the far end of the patch. There’s lots of fun to be had by all.


2. Eat Pumpkin!

While you’re at the patch, don’t forget to grab a few baking pumpkins. The big guys are great for jack-o’-lanterns, but don’t taste the best. The smaller sizes are great for more than pie. Try roasting a pumpkin and serving it with a little salt, or add it to your favorite chili recipe. In fact we have 11 more ideas for cooking with this gourd.

butternut squash fries

3. You Butternut Forget the Squash!

Whether you’re at the pumpkin patch or at your grocery store, don’t forget about the other delicious plants growing on the vine. Fall welcomes the season for winter squashes like butternut or acorn. The shapes are fun and the flavors are delicious. Experiment with new tastes with Butternut Squash Fries or Roasted Acorn Squash Salad. (more…)

Hiking Everest and 450 Miles Across Spain Helps Kay Cherryholmes Find Her Way to Health

By Kay Cherryholmes

One day I googled myself and I was caught off guard by a blog link that had me tagged as one of his Top 10 Most Inspiring Athletes of 2010! I had met the guy while hiking and considered him a dear friend. At first I smiled; feeling like I had somehow been a positive in his eyes, then almost immediately it read that he met me while hiking in Nepal to base camp of Mt. Everest and that my BMI was that of a mack truck!

everest kay

Instantly real tears fell. Not tears of his writing, but tears of truth about my struggle to achieve fitness. Who was I kidding? Mostly myself it seems. I grew up a competitive gymnast. I was always on a scale and measured my success based on a number that ranged between 114 and 119.

Fast forward from age 14 to age 44 and I had been married, divorced, raised two children as a single mom, and was completely disconnected from the fitness I knew as a young adult. My mind, however, continued to crave challenges, even in a 230-pound body. For all the struggle that it took to walk up into the Himalayan mountains 80 pounds overweight,it never began to stop me. He wrote that it was my perseverance that got me on his Top 10 Athlete list.

I always describe myself from the shoulders up as a ‘Michael Phelps type‘ and from my shoulders down more of a ‘John Belushi type’. I am part extreme athlete, part party girl. Too much brie and wine and not enough cardio.

After more than a decade of athletic events where I have fought with the struggle of weight in competition I decided that my next adventure would be a 450-mile walk across Northern Spain; the Camino de Santiago. It is a spiritual pilgrimage that took me through the heart of many regions in Spain. Once again I would carry the extra weight on my body and an additional 30-pound backpack with all the necessary gear I would need in my 40 days of hiking.

camino santiago

I wanted to remove myself from all of the excuses at home that get between me and a stronger, more fit body. I left behind the wine, cheese, friends, family, dishes, laundry, job, dog, television and my comfy new couch. They’d all become specks of home reality in my rear view mirror as I landed on Spanish soil. I would be forced in to my own mind and body for hundreds of miles and countless days. I wanted answers and to be accountable to myself. I would have no other choice but to face the dragons in my head, that for decades have defined my mindset and impacted my choices. (more…)