Thursday, February 26, 2009

Training Barbara - Week 2

Thank you for all of your emails and comments! We are having a blast working out with Barbara, and she is definitely hangin' with the program! But we'll let her give you the 411... (Also, we included some sexy shots of ourselves doing the exercises so you can try it at home or the gym if you want to feel the burn.)

In Barbara's Words -
Week one is complete and I am feeling GREAT! Training with Mieke and Ez was huge fun (hard work) and a great time (they showed no mercy!) with lots of laughs (pain)!! It was awesome! Had a brief interruption with being sick, but overcame and pushed hard in the end. I was a bit sore at the end of the week, but found myself smiling and strangely revitalized over every muscle ache. I am also amazed at how the floor work has raised my awareness of my own body - its balance, its unbalance, its strength. My knee/leg is holding up well!
I love this challenge and all of the positive energy surrounding it! Though admittedly, I can't seem to separate the energy from working out from the excitement of the goal! SKIING!

The Workout, Week 2 -

Tuesday
30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise on the elliptical - (increase of 2 minutes from Week 1)
8 Minutes Gradual Warm-up
22 Minutes at 70-80% Maximum Heartrate
5 Minutes Cooldown


Floorwork - 2 Sets of 8-10 reps each exercise (or per side)
Legs and Lower Body
  • Reverse Crossover Lunges
  • Step-Downs - Front
  • Bosu (or balance board) Squats
  • Side-to-Side Slide
Core Work
  • Medicine Ball Crunches
  • Plank Knee-Lift
  • Side Plank (instead of reps we hold for 10 seconds each side)
Cooldown - Stretches for hamstrings, quads, hips and calves.

Thursday
30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise -
8 Minutes Gradual Warm-up
22 Minutes at
70-80% Maximum Heartrate
5 Minutes Cooldown

Floorwork - 3 Sets of 8-10 reps of each exercise (or per side)
Legs and Lower Body
  • Reverse Crossover Lunges
  • Step-Downs - Front
  • Bosu (or balance board) Squats
  • Side-to-Side Slide
Cooldown - Stretches for hamstrings, quads, hips and calves.

Saturday - Action Day!
Barbara goes to Philly with friends! The hotel has a gym so - gym workout including cardio and floorwork. Also, lots of walking around, laughing, pillowfights and general silliness. One arm curls OK too!

Sunday - Back to business, and by now Barbara will be craving it.
30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise -
8 Minutes Gradual Warm-up
22 Minutes at
70-80% Maximum Heartrate
5 Minutes Cooldown

Floorwork - 3 Sets of 8-10 reps of each exercise (or per side)
Core Work
  • Medicine Ball Crunches
  • Plank Knee-Lift
  • Side Plank
Cooldown - Stretches for abs, low-back, hamstrings, quads, hips and calves.


**NOTE:
If you are thinking about trying any of these exercises or workouts and you have any questions about whether or not they would be right for you, please email us (liefstyle@gmail.com) or check with your doctor or physical therapist before beginning.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Backpack Goodbye

I don't exactly remember when this backpack came into my life. I probably was not the one buying it but certainly the one claiming it to be mine.
It served me reliably and well for more than 15 years.
The Lowe Alpine Contour Runner was the best for everything I have done in the past 15 years.
Rollerblading, going to the beach, biking, skiing in the Alps, rock climbing in Southern France and moving to New York.
My backpack has now succumbed to the stresses of a backpack life.
A brand new fancy Deuter has entered my life to join me in the next adventure.
The Lowe Alpine backpack stays in the closet, retired.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Training Barbara - Week 1

The Story - The winter of 2008/9 was all about skiing for us. We saw that this was a moment in our lives when we needed to go for it. Early on, even before the first snowfall, we realized that training our bodies - with our minds focused on the slopes - was going to be the key to having fun all winter long. And it has been. We've enjoyed our weeknights in the gym almost as much as our Saturdays of heaven on the slopes.

Now, let's talk about Barbara.

We're super psyched to go skiing with our friend Barbara, but her last time on the slopes resulted in a serious injury. In one month Barbara will make her first turns with us since the injury, and we hope that by sharing the workouts that have benefited us so much, we can help Barbara find her love for skiing again.
The Goal - To improve, to the point of ski readiness, Barbara's endurance, strength and balance/proprioception. To ski injury free and to ski fun!
The Plan - 4 weeks of ski-focused training. 3 to 4 weekly workouts of gradually increasing intensity comprised of cardiovascular and strength/balance/flexibility exercises. Daily stretching that becomes habitual.

The Workout, Week 1 -
Tuesday
28 minutes of cardiovascular exercise - (we are putting Barbara on the elliptical, but this could also be running, biking, swimming or rowing.) 8 Minutes Gradual Warm-up, 20 Minutes at 70-80% Maximum Heartrate, 5 Minutes Cooldown.

Floorwork - 2 Sets of 8-10 reps each exercise (or per side)
Legs and Lower Body
  • Step-Ups - Front
  • Bosu (or balance board) Squats
  • One-Legged Bridge
Core Work
  • Exercise Ball Crunches
  • Exercise Ball Side Crunches
  • Slow Motion Exercise Ball Back Extensions
Cooldown - Stretches for hamstrings, quads, hips and calves.

Thursday
28 minutes of cardiovascular exercise - 8 Minutes Gradual Warm-up, 20 Minutes at 70% Maximum Heartrate, 5 Minutes Cooldown.

Floorwork - 3 Sets of 8-10 reps of each exercise (or per side)
Legs and Lower Body
  • Step-Ups - Front and Side
  • Bosu (or balance board) Squats
  • One-Legged Bridge
Cooldown - Stretches for hamstrings, quads, hips and calves.

Saturday - Action Day!
Hiking, Biking, Running outside, Swimming, Yoga Class, Long Ass Walk, etc... Just get out and do something! The goal is to have fun and build endurance and dynamic muscle strength with longer periods of activity.

Sunday - If previous day was hard core, then this day can be a lighter day at lower intensity.
28 minutes of cardiovascular exercise - 8 Minutes Gradual Warm-up, 20 Minutes at 70% Maximum Heartrate, 5 Minutes Cooldown.

Floorwork - 3 Sets of 8-10 reps of each exercise (or per side)
Core Work
  • Exercise Ball Crunches
  • Exercise Ball Side Crunches
  • Slow Motion Exercise Ball Back Extensions
Cooldown - Stretches for abs, low-back, hamstrings, quads, hips and calves.

In Barbara's Words - Wow. This is amazing! Day one is here, and I woke up completely excited (as i have been since Mieke and Ezra told me about their idea)! I am starry eyed at the idea of hitting the slopes again - and what better way to achieve that goal than to be preparing with two wonderful friends! It will make the hard work much more fun. I am even looking forward to the pain and soreness of tomorrow as a marker of one step closer to skiing.

**NOTE: If you are thinking about trying any of these exercises or workouts and you have any questions about whether or not they would be right for you, please email us (liefstyle@gmail.com) or check with your doctor or physical therapist before beginning.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Owning Your Own Gear

This is more the story of our first true double black diamond day at Hunter than it is about the skis and poles and boots that come home with us now when we leave the mountain. Mieke and I skied Annapurna, arguably the steepest top-to-bottom run at Hunter, which only opened for the first time last week and whose name had the effect it no doubt was intended to have - it scared the crap out of me. Annapurna and Claire's Way are on Hunter West, a mysterious area across the top of the mountain, from which the only descent is in the black. We arrived at the Mountan early, on the bus as usual, but this time we simply went into the base lodge, pulled on our gear and went right to the chairs. We got out there probably 20-30 minutes earlier than we normally would. Mieke proposed "just skiing" for the first few runs to take advantage of the conditions, which appeared to be good. Off the top we arced down Hellgate and Eisenhower Drive on a surface that neither of us could believe. Hellgate, aptly named, a normally scraped-bare ice sheet that is the main artery feeding into the two great lower mountain black runs, Racer's Edge and Eisenhower, had a plush surface of grippy corduroy on which no wrong turns could be made. My "new" used K2's felt great. Stronger and better skis than the rentals. They were my own skis, and I felt at home on them. Mieke's Atomic c-9's cut into anything, and she was ripping. We were both blown away; our confidence soaring; our sense of adventure piqued. On the lift back up I mentioned Hunter West - this was a chance to conquer the fearsome Yeti and taste alpine glory. Mieke was thinking the same thing. Let's hit Claire's Way, a sweet name for a steep run. Claire sounded like a nice girl, how could she hurt us. We went for it. There was only one other skier on the run. The surface was grippy and fun. We both launched right into our turns. No hesitation, no moment of truth, no belly full of fear. It was awesome. I had Mieke in my sights for the entire run. Seeing her making turns below me, and me making turns in near-fluid succession was exhilarating. We hit the bottom of the run and we were hooting! We just skied our first double black together on the mountain, and we enjoyed the hell out of it! We jumped on the old chair for the ride back up. Annapurna was calling us. At the top there was a big scary sign in the middle of the trail to Annapurna - Expert Skier? ...You Better Be! Extremely Steep and Variable Terrain. Only skiers with properly tuned gear should attempt this run. Watch for falling skiers. We hesitated. Maybe Annapurna was harder than Claire's. Then I noticed that we had skied right by the same sign at the top of Claire's without noticing it. Mieke said: "Let's go for it."
We went for it. Alone, just the two of us, we poled across the beautiful and quiet mountain top on a narrow path, and then the terrain grew steeper. We made our turns. The terrain got steeper. We made our turns. The terrain got steeper. There was a hell wind howling up the across the trail. Mieke led the way in. I dove into the particulate blast, and I became a warrior. It's on baby! We turned and turned and turned and slid a bit and turned and then it was over. On the run out to the lift - pure exhilaration. Wow! We did it! And we did it in style! Check it off the list. Fear conquered!
The rest of the day was fantastic. We skied Racer's Edge for the first time, the only lower mountain double black. They'd been blowing snow on it all morning, and it was deep and powdery and fun as hell. We revisited Upper K-27, a run that nearly gave me the runs the first time we tried it, and it seemed easy and fun. To bring it back to the gear, those extra 20-30 minutes on the mountain were the gateway to an experience (a mountain) we'd never known. A peaceful, uncrowded, pristine white carpeted heaven for which we were finally prepared.

Here's the Favorites:
Food - Thinly Sliced Boiled Ham and Swiss with Balade Butter and Ghent Mustard on Whole Wheat made the perfect apres-ski recharger. Also, sometimes it takes a cold frosty beverage to warm you up - Saranac Pale Ale. Always drink the local beer when you are in the mountains!
Exercise - Double Black Diamonds. As much as you can handle. Make sure you stretch the quads before the drive home.
Gear - Mieke's Scott Snowdog Mittens with attached liner glove kept her hands warm all day even past the point when my hands started to freeze. EZ is still obsessed with his used K2 Apache X skis.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Watershed - Campaign for 1000

Join us in reducing the amount of plastic in our landfills and oceans. Whenever possible, we are now using extended-life, refillable water bottles instead of purchasing bottled water. Think of this: if you use 2 bottles per day x 7 days x 52 weeks that amounts to 728 bottles per year. We were actually using more than that. We calculate that between the two of us we used about 2500 per year. That is a huge amount of bottles!

This post marks the beginning of our Watershed - Campaign for 1000. Our goal is for 1000 people to join us. If we achieve this goal it could mean that anywhere from 700,000-1,000,000 bottles per year do not enter our landfills and oceans. End to end that is a string of bottles 100 miles (160 Km) long.

If you would like to participate, here is what you must do - commit to use a high-quality, reusable beverage bottle instead of purchasing water (and whenever possible other beverages) in disposable plastic bottles. Please email us your first and last name at liefstyle@gmail.com when you have begun and we will add it to the list below.

Some Helpful Suggestions:
- Make sure your bottle is high quality and does not leach chemicals or petroleum byproducts into your water or beverage. One brand that we really love is SIGG. Another great brand is Nalgene. We've heard that Primus makes a great stainless steel bottle, but we have not tried it yet. Whatever you buy, make sure that they are BPA Free.
- Purchase a home water filtration system. This can be as simple as a Brita pitcher. Fill your bottle from it. Before you know it, it will be second nature.
- You may want to have a few different bottles and some different sizes for the members of your family and for different uses - gym, work, purse, hiking, skiing, travel, etc.

Here's the List - Be the Next
1)Mieke Nanes
2)Ezra Nanes
3)Kyu Kim
4)Stan Vermeulen
5)Geert alias Jos Vermeulen
6)Julie Van Der Hooft-Vermeulen
7)Nina Goldrich
8)Ian Goldrich
9)Molly Goldrich
10)Barbara Amstutz
11)Kitty Joe Ste-Marie
12)Luke Gebb
13)Sibyl Anthierens
14)RB
15)Dave Marston
16)Nimmi Kalla
17)Saskia Verlinde
18)Ilia Verlinde
19)Susan Mandel
20)Alice Nanes
21)Marc Nanes
22)Jacqueline Yaokam
23)Anne Lorenzetti
24)Adam Naddelman
25)Dana Naddelman
26)Susan Levinson
27)Annie Bouillon
28)Geert Haeck
29)Michelle Cruz
30)Helene Lees
31)Sarah Levinson
32)Haley Slosberg
33)Noah Slosberg
34)Evi Pipers
35)James Yaker
36)Kricken Yaker
37)Sheldon Kawer
38)Tamara Kluger Jacobson
39)Els Haeck-Dendooven
40)Jurgen Dendooven
41)Loïc Dendooven
42)Thibo Dendooven
43)Allison Klein
44)Paul Hunter
45)Christina Hunter
46)Amy Ahlstrom
47)Allyson Ahlstrom
48)Anika Ahlstrom
49)Nicole Giordano
50)Alison Logrieco