Surprisingly are 1) mostly in cold regions of the country and unsurprisingly 2) correlated with income, wealth, and innovation. Richard Florida explains:
The fittest metro in America is Minneapolis-St. Paul, according to the annualAmerican Fitness Index™ (AFI), just released by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The Twin Cities finished third last year; this year they pushed perennial winner Washington, DC into second place. Their winning rank reflects the cities’ relatively low (and rapidly-diminishing) smoking rate, their above-average percentage of regular exercisers, moderate-to-low rates of obesity, asthma, diabetes, and other chronic concerns, and rising share of farmers’ markets (indicative of a trend towards healthier dining). Boston takes the bronze, with Portland, Oregon fourth and Denver in fifth place. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Oklahoma City ranks as America’s least fit metro, followed by Louisville, Memphis, Birmingham, and Detroit.
Many people think fitness is better in warmer locations. Not so much. Each of the top five metros is pretty chilly, and the top ranked Twin Cities are among the coldest locations in the United States–certainly compared to warm and sunny LA, which languishes in 41st place. Our analysis found no correlation between fitness and January temp and a negative correlation between fitness and July temperature (-.49).
From The Biggest Loser to Oprah’s documented struggles with her weight, fitness is a signal obsession of American popular culture. We suffer from no dearth of health, fitness, and nutritional experts; celebrities, politicians, and even first ladies exhort us to eat better, exercise more, and get fit. But we need to face up to the fact that healthy or unhealthy lifestyles are not simply the result of good or bad individual decisions. They are inextricably tied up with the nature and structure of our culture and society. America’s increasingly uneven geography of fitness is perhaps the most visible symbol of its fundamental economic and class divide.
P90X is really catching on with ESPN personalities. I knew Jim Rome was down with the X routine. Now some more are in the mix and bringing it!
We don’t want to underestimate Americans’ ability to buy things they don’t use, but bike sales were up 9 percent this quarter. There was an even bigger jump — 29 percent — in sales of road bikes, implying that people are using their new vehicles to commute. … The federal government has invested $2 billion in bike lanes over the last two years, and several cities have instituted bike share programs or expanded bike lane networks (New York City added more than 50 miles).
I will be doing it today. Here is a bit from BeachBody on why guys should do it as well.
I have found that I can’t function safely if I miss this workout for a few weeks. My neck tightens up and gets sore really quick.
“P90X: 6:30am en la manana.” – S.G.
I love pull ups. The secret is out. I love the challenge of getting my 200 lb body up and over a bar with different hand grips. P90X has brought on this new adoration for me.
The pull-up, a great compound exercise (one that works many muscle groups at once), does not seem to be a very popular exercise at corporate gyms. Go to any gym today (especially palace-type gyms – i.e. L.A Fitness) and you will find a handful of pull-up bars that are not at all bars. They branch out with little handles that make it difficult to grip and seem to de-fang this grueling, timeless exercise.
I am a member of Gold’s Gym and was even surprised that one I visited did not have a legit pull-up bar. Gold’s, to me, has always been a good mainline-type gym that strips down the glamor and focuses on the fundamentals (lots of DBs, good balance with machines, good environment in general to be serious and not at all representing a resort atmosphere). The closest pull-up bar was a Smith Machine cranked to the top (and this requires you to bend your knees so to not drag your feet).
All in all, pull-up bars sometimes are hard to come by. And to think it’s just a bar.
Paul Ryan and other House of Representatives are bringing it:
To achieve that second set of goals, a group gathers most days around two televisions in the House gym to follow a series of DVD workout routines known to late-night infomercial fans as P90X, the “most extreme home fitness training program.”
As have thousands of insomniac former couch potatoes, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and a crew of young Republicans have taken to the P90X workout routines with an ideological intensity. For the lawmakers, it’s a get-tough fitness dogma that mirrors their promises to pump up job growth and chisel away flabby federal programs.
They may think like Gingrich and Reagan, but “we want to look like Tony,” says P90X devotee Rep. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.).
As for House Speaker John Boehner:
Mr. Boehner, a smoker and neat freak, vacuums, takes early-morning walks and rides his bicycle around monuments.
On my agenda:
- Wake up at 9:30am (4 hours later than I do Monday through Friday). Check.
- Eat cold pizza and drink milk for breakfast. Check.
- Catch up on world events for an hour and a half on my laptop. Check.
- Hope to go out back and let off a few shells from my shotgun (Don’t worry, I am not in York. I am in the remote woods.)
It’s been a glorious morning. My body is exhausted from the grind of teaching and P90X. My body also is begging me to stretch and do Yoga.
Here is some of what I am thinking about this morning:
- More than half of Americans believe same-sex marriage should be legal.
- Laughable examples of conservative bigotry and hypocrisy.
- The Internet’s power to either empower or censor citizens.
- How happiness is grasped as we age.
- Your Sunday dose of Glenn Beck’s attacks on American churches.
- Finally, a neat piece of artwork courtesy of Will Varner:
I shot over and joined in on my Gold’s Gym H.I.I.T. (high intensity interval training) class. I knew that H.I.I.T. was similar to Plyometrics so I thought I’d give it a whirl. Now that I look back, I believe this class gave me a whirl. Here was the workout.
Note(s): today was the 46th birthday of a lady in our class. To wish her a happy birthday, our whole workout revolved around sets of 46 reps, 46 seconds, or in times divisible by 46. What a joy! Also, at the end of sets 1 & 2, we all did jumping jacks until the last person finished their set and then we did a set of jumping backs all together for 30 seconds.
Stretch, ride on stationary bike for 5~ minutes then 2-3 minutes standing up ride on the bike.
46 air squats
46 step lunges (23 each leg)
46 push ups
46 step lunges
46 push ups
46 air squats
At this point, any water I have sipped on feels as if it is about to come up and out of me. I haven’t felt like this since my novice swim team days.
-We did two sets of these. The first set was for 46 seconds and the second for 1:32. The kicker was that instead of doing them normally we placed hand towels under our feet. We did this on a wood finished floor so we were sliding and getting no breaks. We modified by going down from our hands to our forearms.
A variation of push ups that I don’t have a name for.
We would start standing up straight, bend over to place our hands on the floor, let our hands walk down to get us into the plank position (keeping our feet planted in the original position) then doing a push up. Finally, push yourself all the way back up. I emphasized keeping my legs straight and not bending my knees and this felt like a frontal deltoid attack.
We did this for three sets: 46 seconds, 1:32, and 2:30.
If you have flexible hip flexors or have gymnastics experience, lucky you. You can probably do this without using your hands.
Lie and Stand dumbbell exercise (I know there is a proper name for this but I can’t recall it.
It goes like this. You lie down with one arm in the air with a dumbbell in hand. The leg on the same side of the arm in the air is bent. The other leg is flat. Your goal is to keep your eyes on the DB at all times. You slowly stand up, working one leg up, using the other arm for support, and stand up fully, eyes on the DB. Then you work your way back down to the start position with eyes still on the DB. Do 15-20 or so reps per arm.
A nice, short run down on the front man of p90x:
Beyond the compelling marketing, there are two reasons why P90X is so popular. First, Horton is the perfect front man. At 5´10* and 180 pounds with 9 percent body fat, he is genuinely ripped. He says he can consecutively do 110 pushups, 80 dips, 35 pullups, and eight 260-pound lat pulls. Plus, he can hold a handstand for a minute and even do a backflip off a wall. To prove it, he often drops to the floor and pumps out a few reps of whatever exercise he’s talking about. His motto, which he wears on the back of his shirt, is “Bring It!” Along with the brawn, he has a full head of hair and—even under the harsh QVC makeup lights—no telltale signs of any nips or tucks. And, to the delight of the housedress set, he’s not married.
But second, and most important, P90X—unlike the garbage heap of other “miracle” infomercial products—can deliver results. That’s because it’s built on such proven fitness principles as consistency, intensity, and variety, and you don’t need special gadgets—just a pullup bar and dumbbells (or resistance bands). Simply pop a disc into your DVD player, move the couch out of the way, and follow along with Tony and his gang. In fact, Horton’s critics claim there’s nothing new in his workouts; if you do anything 6 days a week for 90 days, you’ll lose weight and build muscle at any age.
Horton says with a shrug, “You can’t reinvent the pushup. Plyometrics has been around forever, yoga has been around for even longer, and Kenpo karate is nothing I invented…but the sequence, the pace, and the variety of my workouts is something that never existed before. P90X is hard. But do your best and forget the rest. If you’re in trouble, hit the pause button. If you can’t do this move, here are two ways to modify it. I just want you to show up, man. That’s all I want you to do.”
Its working for me. I have just about a week left in my cycle. Tony truly is a machine. I may start posting some quotes from him.
(Pictured above: a car spotted in Las Vegas – found on P90X’s Facebook page.)
That was really fast!
Thanksgiving weekend is just about a wrap and I wanted to log some thoughts and reflections.
MJ and I arrived Thursday just after 3pm. It was a messy Thanksgiving day; the roads had ice on the edges and slush in some parts. It was a neat experience driving north and seeing more and more of the land covered in snow and or the branches frozen over with ice.
Each of our nights were spent sinking our teeth into spectacular meals. Thanksgiving’s meal was succulent and every aspect of it was delicious. The turkey was so soft yet thick at the same time. Friday’s dinner was a fish fry. Saturday’s was white and red pizza with salad. Each breakfast was at this new spot we tried out that had amazingly soft, tasty, and flaky biscuits. We also acquired a can of peanuts, had some delicious h’orderves before dinner, some drinks, and enjoyed unscheduled naps. In certain moments when we ate, I tried to focus on my feasting:
The practice of feasting with food is about learning to experience fully the extraordinary gift of this life and respond with gratitude.When you take a bite of food just pay attention to the sensation and pleasure that the food activates on your palate. Remember that God gave you taste buds for the main purpose of pleasure and enjoyment. Attend to that taste and sensation closely, don’t swallow too quickly.
In Thanksgivings of yore for our family, we all stayed in one room and sat around watching TV or reading. Much of it was individual. I also was not married back then either. This year had us in the main lobby a great deal of the time.
I didn’t get around to taking a picture of our spot but it had the rug as seen in the right side picture with a great fire around the clock. The lighting was dim but still possessed a welcoming aura. There were plenty of chairs and sofas and the huge rug allowed for us to sit on it with King Louie and all gather for fireside chats. This aspect of the trip – being together, talking, playing with Lou, meeting new friends, drinking complimentary Starbucks coffee, planning the next activities – all mostly took place in this warm, welcoming spot. Unfortunately, this hotel will stop allowing pets as of July 2011.
The trip reminded me of my past and where I came from. It was a nice break from our routine days. The weather was quite cold and I loved that I was able to wear my scarf. Time working out with my brother was enjoyable. Exercising with a Navy seaman is fun and a joy to watch (we did these – 90 push ups total). Looking back, MJ and I didn’t spend much time on the computer or watching TV. Reading time was limited, too. The library was great to go to; free wireless, free Atlantic and Nation magazines for the taking, and books galore were all at our fingertips.
I sit now in Huntingdon in a leather chair that has me sinking into a relaxed state. I am thankful for another day of break (I never had Monday’s off growing up; we didn’t live in hunting country). This cold weather mixed with holiday tunes, warm clothes, and the anticipation of holiday cookies and candles is all too much to fit into a short month.
Anywho, this swim workout is epic.
Sample Warm Up:
5 minutes goggle adjustment.
5 minutes “stretching.”
2 minutes arm circles.
Repeat if necessary until water looks warmer.
It’s important to play mind games with everyone else in your lane. You don’t want other lap swimmers to know your speed or practice strategy; mix it up. Swim no longer than 13 yards at a time. Throw in mid-pool leg stretches and flip turns to throw off anyone tagging behind you, studying your stroke, or drafting close behind. Your stroke should resemble “freestyle” but don’t give away anything.
Sample Actual Warm up:
175 yards freestyle w/ midpool flip turns.
25 yard lane-line pull on back.
3 strokes butterfly, then walk back to the wall slowly and purposefully (think: a Wes Anderson movie), so everyone knows the person doing the sophisticated butterfly stroke was you, what you look like, and how easy it was for you to do said 3 strokes with very little actual warm-up.
Hat tip: Mike
Enjoy this tasty treat by the grossly overweight Rush Limbaugh.
New reports are surfacing and say that his passing could of been because of high temperatures in the area as well as fatigue from his exercising.
I never swam against Fran but I always heard of he, Maddie, and the rest of his families amazing feats in the pool. He graduated from Germantown Academy High School, just 10 minutes from my high school.
The tentative reports say that he died of a heart attack while doing an open swim in the United Arab Emirates.
This is really shocking and rather strange; a man died from a heart attack while competing in the same triathlon as me this past June. Is there some sort of medical connection?
To lose 120 lbs in one year is insane. The feats he completed were impressive. I hope he stays happy no matter how heavy he is.