As an East Coaster, I’ve always dreaded winter. But when my ski- and snowboard-loving husband and I moved to Colorado this past year—a state known for some of the best ski resorts in the world—I decided it was time to give winter a fair shot. Skiing seemed like one way to have fun and burn some calories so I signed up for a Women’s Program at a local resort.
My expectations were pretty low. I’d skied once before and the experience left me a little fearful and my first day of lessons was no different. I had a hard time and just felt out of control. If I hadn’t paid for the 6-week program up front, I probably wouldn’t have gone back. But I did go back, and that’s when things clicked. I’m still skiing—and improving.
And I’m even having fun! If you’re thinking about trying downhill skiing, here are some things to keep in mind:
What to Expect:
It may take a while to figure out the basics of skiing and feel comfortable. The mechanics of skiing are based upon some very simple concepts, but they might be hard to grasp. If you don’t “get it” right away just keep trying and eventually you will! (There are a few people that pick it up incredibly fast, but they are not in the majority.)
Portland is a little like New York City in the sense that almost everyone here has some sort of passion project. Maybe they work full-time but are super passionate about sewing, or writing poetry, or teaching fitness classes. Or, in the case of my friend Jeff, maybe they’re trying to get a start-up food company off the ground.
Jeff is the co-creator of Bogg’s Trail Butter, a concoction he dreamed up while biking across the country: Essentially, he decided to blend his trail mixes to make them easier to carry. Fast forward a few years and he’s well on his way to creating a nut butter empire with flavors like Mountaineer Maple and Expedition Espresso. These nut butters are delicious but they’re also full of protein, fiber, fat, and carbs—basically all you need to keep going in the outdoors for a run, bike, ride, or trip to the mountain.
I took one of the squeezable pouches on a ski trip this past weekend and was really psyched to see how easy it was to eat, even with gloves on—you literally just squeeze and go—and also how full I felt afterward. After a few tablespoons I was fueled up for about 90 minutes of play. (Of course I ate some more on the ride home—but, after all, this blend is full of the ingredients needed for fueling a workout and for recovery.)
So guys…there are only a few days left of the Winter Olympics 2014. Let’s do a check-in of the most interesting bits and pieces to come from the games!
1. Lolo Jones and her bobsledding team placed eleventh in the first of the bobsledding races. The duo bobsledding team, however, is in first place as of today. Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams set a new record at the Sochi bobsled course, finishing at 57.26 during their first heat.
We look to professional athletes as the pinnacle of health and fitness. In many cases, however, that’s far from the truth. Professional athletes are a prime example of how someone can appear fit and healthy without either one being true.
We want to celebrate the athletes that who made the effort to lose unhealthy pounds or do more to be truly fit. In the long run, a healthy lifestyle is more beneficial than a pro sports career, and we think it’s great these athletes make the commitment to health and fitness.
As a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Denver Broncos, Steve Atwater was in peak physical condition. That changed after he retired and put on weight. Now, he has lost 21 pounds with Retrofit. He says his biggest hurdle to losing weight was his mind. “I knew I had a problem, especially when it came to large, multiple servings. I couldn’t resist. I knew I needed more discipline.” After joining Retrofit, he said the changes that led to weight loss were fairly easy. “It didn’t seem like I had done anything major. It didn’t really feel like dieting because I just made small adjustments.”
For the people of Portland, OR, this past Friday was a snow day. We received 5 or so inches of snow—more than has fallen on the city in the past several years—which effectively shut down schools, businesses, transportation, and more. However here’s a sad truth: Freelancers don’t get snow days. We’re like the postal service: Rain, snow, sleet, flu… we’re prepared to stamp our timecards and get the job done. And there was a job to be done: The Biggest Loser season 15 grand finale had taken place earlier in the week and our site was still flooded with traffic from people interested in hearing what the trainers had to say about the whole debacle. To make the day a little sweeter I decided to start my morning with a cinnamon roll. Not a monstrous Cinnabon-style treat. Just a small pastry from a neighborhood bakery.
My neighbors might be skiing around the block (seriously) and sledding down their sloped driveways, but I was enjoying a little of the white stuff (frosting!) too. (more…)
Opening ceremonies for the 2014 Olympics are on Friday, February 7th, but the games officially begin tonight, on the 6th, and run all the way through the 23rd. Are you ready? (Olympic freestyle mogul skier Heather McPhie is!)
In the U.S., NBC is the official broadcaster of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. (They were also the network to watch for the 2012 Summer Games and will be the host all the way through 2020, thanks to an almost $4.4 billion contract.) NBC will offer live and tape-delayed coverage of events on television via NBC, MSNBC, NBC Sports, CNBC, and its other channels. The network will also stream all events online and via the NBC Sports Live Extra app. All of this means that you are in for a lot of sports!
If someone told you how much their body ached after a day of skiing, you’d probably never want to click into a pair of bindings and hit the slopes. Do not fret. Pain and agony are not the only words you need to describe the first day of your ski vacation. With a little bit of preparation and maintenance, freedom from post-ski day soreness can be yours.
The following are a few yoga-inspired tips and techniques that will help sharpen your fitness edge and get your body tuned up for some downhill fun.
Just say no to quivering quads
At least six weeks before a ski vacation, take every opportunity you can to strengthen your quadriceps. Perform wall sits, yoga chair pose, warrior lunges, and horse stance squats as often as you can, intermittently throughout the day. There is no need to try and fit a full yoga class into your already busy schedule. A little bit of time spent here and there will suffice. Just be sure and do it, or you will suffer the consequences of tired legs too early in the ski day. (more…)
Many people will be hitting the ski slopes over President’s Day weekend, and lift lines will continue to grow through spring break and beyond. The air may be thin at the top of the lift but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to breathe. In fact, Anne Anderson, a certified ski instructor from Mohawk Mountain in Connecticut, takes advantage of the fresh mountain air by teaching her skiers breathing and meditation practices as part of her lesson plan.
Snowga, a combination of the two words ‘snow’ and ‘yoga’ is the latest hybrid yoga class to hit the slopes. A blend of yoga and skiing, Snowga helps to improve your downhill skiing skills by incorporating yoga poses, breath work, and meditation. Created by Anderson, Snowga also helps skiers face their fears of the mountain and stay calm and relaxed on difficult terrain. “Yoga has a natural benefit of healing. It calms the mind and body and is a true compliment to snow sports education,” Anderson told Fox News in a recent interview.
Anderson is not the only skier who practices yoga on and off the slopes. U.S. Ski Team freestyle mogul skier Heather McPhie adds a little yoga to the days she skis. “It is so helpful in keeping my body more physically prepared and is a wonderful pause in my day where I get away from everything else and just center,” McPhie also explained in her interview with Fox News.
After a full day of snowboarding, skiing or snowshoeing the muscles of the hips can shorten and tighten. Flexible, open hips are a must for winter athletes. Without them performance may decrease while the risk of injury increases.
The following hip opening yoga poses are a must for keeping the lower body healthy and limber.
Warrior I and Crescent Lunge for the Hip Flexors
The psoas muscles, located along the front crease of the hips, are the powerful muscles that give winter athletes control, stability and strength. When they are tight, the low back suffers and as a result, injury can occur.
Yoga poses that stretch the psoas muscles are warrior one and crescent lunge. Similar to a runner’s lunge, these poses extend the front of the hip, giving those mighty hip flexors a dose of elasticity. For best results, be sure to tuck your tailbone under slightly.
There is nothing worse than spending the rest of your glorious ski vacation in bed because your legs are too sore to do anything else. You want to keep skiing, to do a little shopping or go out dancing after a day on the slopes, but that is just not going to happen if you are out of shape. The black diamond advanced moguls, blue intermediate groomed runs or green beginner bunny slopes will get the best of you if you do not prepare ahead of time.
Whether you are a hot shot on the hill or you just want to look hot in your brand new ski outfit, the following yoga pose and its equivalent rating of intensity will help keep you on your feet.