Time to Shape Up
As a new year rolls around again, people make the same predictable resolutions to improve their health and fitness. Just as predictably, their vows rarely stick. However, if you need inspiration to remain true to your exercise-and-diet regimen, look to these five fit metro Detroiters. Each offers advice that carries real weight.
Rosalind Reed, 56,
Detroit, lawyer and poet
Routine: Run 10 miles daily — rain, shine, sleet, or snow — sometimes a few extra miles in the summer. “You have those days when you feel like you can run forever. I’ve been doing it for at least 30 years.” Weights in the gym after running. When possible, yoga in the morning.
Getting/staying on track: “You accommodate your workout schedule just like you accommodate anything else.” You make time to eat, sleep, and exercise. “Nothing gets me off track; I run on Christmas, Thanksgiving, and if I go on vacation.” There’s always something you can do, push-ups, dips, and chin-ups. “You can always fashion a workout time with whatever you have on hand.”
Cheat thrills: Potato chips.
Why the obesity crisis: “Some people are overweight, but they’re still starving. Their body is begging for the nutrition they’re not getting when they eat fast food and pile on a lot of unhealthy carbs. Some kids think vegetables come out of the freezer.”
Advice: Eat lots of vegetables. Eat what’s locally grown and sourced. “Every morning I have a fresh-fruit smoothie with citrus juice, banana, organic blueberries, and raspberries, as well as organic yogurt and protein powder. For lunch, a big vegetable salad with bean soup and an early dinner consisting of steamed vegetables.”
David Altman, 45,
Heart attack: “The heart attack was 10 years ago, just after my 35th birthday. I was running then, too, up to 40 miles a week and planning to try a marathon. I was in good shape at the time. I have no risk factors. No family history of heart disease. Never smoked.”
Recovery: “I have since continued to exercise, but am not running quite as much due to knee and hip pain. I still get up at 5 a.m. four days a week and work out five-six days a week. I run about 15 miles a week, and bike twice a week, averaging about 25 miles a ride.”
Equipment: Stationary bike, elliptical trainer, stair machine, some weights, but very low resistance. “After a [heart attack], they tell you to limit weights.”
Food: “My diet has never changed. I am not a big eater and have always watched my calorie input. I love junk food, and joke that I work out for cheeseburgers. So I’ll eat a yogurt for breakfast every day, snack on rice cakes, and pig out on a bone-in rib-eye, as long as my weight is constant and my pants fit. I don’t eat a lot of sweets.”
Cheat thrills: “When I do want something sugary, I eat dry cereals, especially Cookie Crisp. “
Gear: “The iPod is the single greatest innovation in workout equipment. Without playlists, life was harder.”
If you were fitness czar: “I’d ask people to look honestly at themselves in the mirror and ask if they’re really doing what they need to do to make themselves feel good about themselves. We need to teach our kids that they’re responsible for their own bodies. They need to see adults doing the right things, to have an example to follow. I don’t agree with going overboard on a healthy lifestyle, and think it’s unrealistic not to succumb to the great temptations around us. We should emphasize discipline and balance.”
Kevin McManamon, 54, Birmingham,
interior designer, Kevin McManamon Designs
Gear: “My absolute No. 1 workout accessory/tool is the world’s greatest personal trainer: Lee Mitchell. I’ve been with him for four years, and he’s just awesome.”
Staying on track: “Traveling, without a doubt, really puts the regular workout schedule on the back burner. I try to use hotel gyms, but they can be pretty deadly. In Los Angeles, I like Crunch, and in New York, Equinox. I’m in L.A. every month, and the weather is so nice, so I recently started running again.”
Groceries: Protein shakes, at least two daily. “Doritos are my guilty pleasure, but they never come home with me.”
Cheat thrills: French fries and the steak tartare at Café Via in Birmingham.
Why the obesity crisis: Television and processed foods.
If you were fitness czar: “Get kids away from the television and computer games. Mandatory school sports programs aimed at giving young people a base to build on for a lifetime for staying active. Force fast-food manufacturers to produce healthier products. Educate the public on what to eat and when to eat.”
Maria DePonio, 30, Sterling Heights,
new mother, I.T. analyst, Ford Motor Co.
Routine: Four days a week (30 to 60 minutes, on average) run/walk two miles on home treadmill, stepper with DVDs or, for variety, routines on Comcast on Demand. “I enjoy taking classes most, but that can be somewhat challenging with a baby, working part time, cooking, and cleaning. I try to take at least one class a week, generally kickboxing or interval training. “Of course, I love to go walking with my son when the weather is nice.”
Getting/staying on track: “I’m a very disciplined person. I’d say my biggest weakness would be snacking at parties and holiday gatherings. I don’t get too down on myself, though, because I know it’s a temporary treat. I try to just get in an extra workout that week to offset it a bit. I am a firm believer that one night of snacking isn’t going to throw off my diet completely, just like one day of working out isn’t going to whip me into shape. I try not to take anything too seriously.”
Cheat thrills: A glass of wine with dinner and a little sweet treat afterward.
Why the obesity crisis: Busy lives.
Advice: “If I plan meals for the week, I eat much healthier. I don’t hit the vending machine at work for an afternoon snack if I bring a couple of pieces of fruit with me. When I cook, I try to make enough for two meals and freeze one, so that when I have a busy day I just have to pop something in the oven. That way, I can avoid eating out as much and have control of the ingredients in the food I am eating.”
Post pregnancy: “[The weight] actually came off more quickly than I anticipated. I attribute much of that to working out throughout my pregnancy, up until about a week before I had my son. I didn’t overindulge during my pregnancy and maintained a healthy weight. I slowly started to regain my activity levels after about four weeks of recovery.”
Florine Mark, 70-something,
Farmington Hills, The WW Group Inc.
Challenges: “I was 50 pounds overweight all of my life. I lost 50 pounds nine times with diet doctors. I had five children before I was 25. I never sat down to eat a meal; I was a big ice-cream eater.”
Lifestyle change: “I went to Weight Watchers 30 years ago. I knew I had to do something; I couldn’t take pills anymore. I heard about Weight Watchers and went to New York [the only location at the time]. I went to class, and in four months, lost 40 pounds. Founder Jean Nidetch said, ‘Why don’t you take this back to Detroit?’ That’s how I started my career.”
Workout: Daily. Half-hour of bicycle, treadmill, or elliptical (or switching off with 15 minutes on one, 15 on another). On some days, an hour or more walking five to six miles. Tennis on Sundays.
Inspiration: “My own book, Talk to the Mirror. I wrote it when my husband, who was a doctor, was dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease.”
Travel: Ask to stay on the sixth or seventh floor of the hotel and then take the stairs.
Advice: Take it one day at a time.
Groceries: Fruits and vegetables galore. Wash red and green peppers, carrots, celery, and cherry tomatoes the night before. Buy organics, if possible.