Tomorrow is a big day for U.S. swimmer Janet Evans. The 40-year-old mother of two will come out of retirement after 15 years and try to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games. We caught up with Evans before the trials to talk about her training thus far and most importantly, why she’s hopping back up on the starting block again.
Why have you decided to get back in the pool after all these years off from competitive swimming?
I decided to retire after the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. At that time I was 24, I had done everything I thought I wanted to do and I was ready for something new. I took time to travel the world, get married, have two beautiful children and enjoy my family. But a few years ago, I realized that I had put swimming on the back burner, and because it is a part of who I am, I wanted to bring it back to do something for myself. My family is everything to me, but I think it’s important for all moms to follow their passions, and I’m lucky enough to have a family that supports me in doing so.
What have you missed the most about competing?
I really missed the team camaraderie, and the passion and the thrill of the competition. It was such a big part of my life and personality when I was growing up, and I enjoyed being around people who shared that similar passion.
Anything you missed the least?
The lack of sleep! It wasn’t bad in my 20s when I could come home after practice and head to bed, but now I want to hang out with my family, make dinner and help the kids with their homework. I love it all and I love being busy, but I am definitely sleepy most of the time!
Written by Lisa Turner, editorial intern
Goals. Everyone’s got one (or three!) and no two are ever the same. Maybe you’ve always wanted to finish a half-marathon or maybe you’re looking to nail fifty push-ups at the gym–and if you happen to catch the eye of your Monday night gym crush, even better! Whatever yours is, there’s nothing like that feeling you get once you’ve reached it. It’s proof of all the hard work you’ve put in, so brag about it a little! This week we checked in with our Twitter followers to see what fitness milestone they’re most proud of. Check out some of their impressive achievements to get a little inspiration for your next goal.
@laura267n: Running a half-marathon, twice!
@theamotinada: Losing 50 pounds by simply introducing myself to a healthy, active lifestyle!
@mntnbnd: I have two moments that are my proudest: Doing 22 pull-ups in the gym (today!) and my first place female finish in a 5K.
@RxBethOntheRun: Finishing the NYC Half-Marathon in March, my first half!
@TreeStand_Wife: I ran and completed my first 5K a couple weeks ago.
@stretchjean: Running a 5K in under 30 minutes.
@mixtapemusings: I ran a half-marathon last year. I won’t take the tag off my shoes as it is a constant motivator.
Now you tell us: What’s your proudest fitness milestone?
More from FITNESS: 9 Steps to Reach Any Goal
Here at FITNESS, we’re all about empowering women to embrace their strength and have a kick butt attitude. And while much of that comes from a healthy lifestyle, our foundation was built with the help of our parents. So in celebration of Father’s Day this weekend, we got some advice from father and gold medal Paralympian Casey Tibbs, who is the first active-military member to compete in a Paralympic Games after losing most of his right leg in a motorcycle accident. He’s now gearing up for the London Olympics this summer, but got the chance to tell us what his father and grandfather taught him, and what he hopes to pass on to his kids.
In the spirit of Father’s Day this weekend, what is some advice from your father and grandfather that has helped you in your racing career and life?
Growing up, my grandfather used to always tell me a story of a coyote chasing a jackrabbit. The only thing the coyote could eat to live was the rabbit. So whenever times get tough for me, my grandfather would say, “Never quit chasing the rabbit.” This advice has been a huge inspiration to me throughout my life; it has helped me get through the hardships of my accident and pushed me to become an accomplished Paralympian, naval officer and father.
Now being a father yourself, what are three pieces of advice you want your kids to carry with them?
I always want them to know that no matter what you do in life you should always strive to be the best at it. Second, I want them to always do the right thing, even if it’s hard. Last, I want them to get as much education as they can so they can do what they love.
Written by Lisa Turner, editorial intern
Nothing against Mom, but sometimes dads can show us how to do a lot of stuff that they might forget. They share their knowledge about baseball statistics, the proper way to sweep the patio and how to perfect a potato pancake (my father’s specialty!). But dads do a lot more than just teach us how to compete with the boys–they protect us from the bad guys, set a good example and build us up to be the great women we are today. In honor of Father’s Day this Sunday, we asked our Twitter followers what sport or skill their dads taught them.
@she_is_geeky: My father taught me how to properly use a credit card: Pay off the balance every month and only spend what you can pay for.
@UBTiffany: Several sports and perseverance!
@RxBethOnTheRun: My dad taught me how to throw a football! A mean spiral and NOT like a girl!
@ehaley68: Ice-skating! He even built us a rink in the backyard.
@jaredrose0331: To never quit.
@ElizabethAFloyd: My dad used to bike to work, now I do too. It’s not a “sport” but he set a good example for my brother and I.
@ChristieGriffin: Mine taught me my first karate move…a judo leg sweep! Then my Mom insisted I show her it. Sorry, Mom!
Now tell us: What has your dad taught you?
Running outside comes with tons of perks, but one of the best is being able to bring your dog along. They’re the perfect exercise companion because there’s no skipping out on a workout when you see that excited grin and wagging tail. Now that temps and humidity levels have risen, here are some things to consider in order to keep your dog happy and prevent heat exhaustion.
- Ease into training: If you’ve never taken Spike out running before, ease into it, especially if he’s overweight. Start off with 10-minute workouts that include running and walking to not only build his endurance, but also to get him used to running alongside you on a leash, or to train him to run freely in the woods without running away. Gradually increase the duration of the workouts to prevent pushing him too hard too soon. Remember — dogs can suffer from heat stroke and injuries, too.
- Check the weather: It’s no fun to exercise on a 95 degree day with 80 percent humidity — for either one of you. Check the weather the night before and be flexible with your workout time, choosing cooler times of the day to get your run in. Your dog may be really sad and whine when you shut the door, but if it’s way too hot, it’s best to leave him at home in the air conditioning.
- Consider the surface: Asphalt and concrete can be too hot for furry feet, and rocks and gravel may cause cuts, so stick to dirt roads or sandy trails. After the run, check your dog’s pads for cracking or other injuries.
Keep reading for more safety tips when it comes to running with your dog in the heat.
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It’s always been important to get girls involved in sports (thanks, Title IX!) but according to The Women’s Sports Foundation it’s more important now than ever: If a girl doesn’t participate in sports by the time she is 10 years old, there is only a 25 percent chance that she’ll be involved in some sort of physical activity by the time she is 25. In this previous study the foundation also found that girls who do play sports are more likely to go further in their careers, schooling and pursue non-traditional jobs like science, law and medicine. By staying active during adolescence and young adulthood they are 20 percent less likely to develop breast cancer later in life.
That’s why Playtex Sport has donated $150,000 to The Women’s Sport Foundation to further their work in getting girls involved in physical activity and sports. And you can help too! By visiting the Playtex Sport Facebook page you can pledge your support of the mission with one click, while also getting tips to improve your own workouts, coupons to Playtex tampons and motivational wisdom from athletes like Jessica Mendoza, softball player and two-time Olympic medalist, Leslie Osborne, World Cup soccer medalist and more. So start clicking! And then take your little sister/cousin/niece outside and get them running around!
Imagine eating an entire pizza and then going for a 3-mile jog. You’d feel pretty gross, right? Though that’s a drastic example, it’s no secret that what we eat is directly related to how our bodies feel, especially when exercising. To help you get the most out of your next sweat session FITNESS advisory board member and author of The Flexitarian Diet Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D. shared the best snacks to eat before, during and after your workouts on behalf of Vita Coco Coconut Water to keep your energy levels high and recovery time low.
- Raisins: Blatner says that studies show raisins works just as well as sports gels at providing pre-exercise muscle fuel. Aim for two tablespoons right before you head out.
- Green Tea: Research suggests that the compounds in green tea called catechins may help burn more fat while you exercise. Plus, the caffeine in green tea will help you shake your sluggishness and is much healthier than chugging a soda.
- Vita Coco Coconut Water: Perfect for casual fitness buffs or hardcore exercisers, coconut water hydrates just as well as a sports drink. It contains all the good stuff, like carbohydrates, electrolytes and potassium that your body needs when you exercise and none of the bad stuff, like loads of sugar and artificial sweeteners.
- Water: On days you work out 30 minutes or less water should be your main hydrator. Blatner suggests doing the weight test to make sure you’re drinking enough fluids during your workouts. Weigh yourself before and after you exercise, the goal is to not have any change, since weight loss is a sign that you’re not drinking enough. If you do see your weight drop, drink an extra 16 to 24 ounces for each pound lost.
- Tart Cherries: Studies show cherries may decrease muscle soreness and inflammation. Eat a cup of unsweetened frozen fruit or 100 percent juice.
- Green Smoothie: Latest research shows a healthy compound called nitrate in leafy green veggies helps muscles work more efficiently. In a blender, puree a cup of leafy greens, like spinach, 8 ounces of low-fat milk and 1/2 cup frozen berries to recover faster.
More from FITNESS: The Top 7 Foods for Runners
#140Wednesdays: If You Could Give Your 16-Year-Old Self One Piece of Advice, What Would You Tell Her?
Remember when you colored your hair pink with a highlighter, got into a screaming fight with your sister over lip gloss and declared to never speak to your parents again for making you get a summer job? You probably thought the world would end, and if you’re reading this then you know that it in fact did not. They say everything happens for a reason, but looking back at our younger selves we can’t help but cringe over some of the choices we made in our teen years. Read below to see what our Twitter followers would tell their 16-year-old selves and post your tidbit of advice below. And if you haven’t seen it already, watch this video to ingrain it in your head to wear SPF this summer. (Warning: It’s a tearjerker!)
@thinmydreams: That cheeseburger and poutine are going to catch up with you when your metabolism slows.
@wishandwhimsy: Life gets better. High school doesn’t define you. Keep being you.
@AbigailLimHo: Love yourself. Believe that you’re beautiful. Don’t let other people destroy your self-esteem.
@enthusiasticrun: Don’t take life too seriously, be nice to everyone, and watch what you post on the Internet!
@she_is_geeky: Drink more water, wear sunblock, join a sport, exercise more!
@angeladecenzo: Keep up that jogging habit, it’s great stress relief!
@sensibleflutist: Life gets better and the world doesn’t revolve around you.
@theamotinada: Break up with him.
Now tell us: What piece of advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Indoor cycling classes are an amazing cardio workout, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll walk away frustrated, or, even worse — injured. Compared to other group fitness classes, indoor cardio cycling is also a little harder to pick up on when trying it for the first time. After getting the lowdown on what to expect from your first class, follow these rules on things you should never do in an indoor cycling class.
- Arrive to class late: As a rule, be on time for any fitness class, but more so if you plan on riding. Since there is a cap on the amount of bikes in a class, most gyms require students to register ahead of time (either online or using a sign-up sheet). A few minutes before or after class starts, instructors often release unclaimed bikes to those on the waiting list. Show up late, and chances are the bike you registered for will be taken, or, if you didn’t sign up at all, the class will be full.
- Hop on the bike as-is: This is definitely not a one-size-fits-all scenario — the person who was on the bike previously may have a good 10 inches on you. To avoid injury and ensure a comfortable ride, adjust the bike to suit your body. You’ll also want to make sure the handlebars and seat are firmly secure to avoid any wobbling during class. Watch this video to learn the proper way to set up an indoor cycling bike.
Keep reading to find out three more things you should never do during an indoor cycling class.
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Just a few more months until the 2012 Olympic Games kick off! While we’re anxiously awaiting the Opening Ceremony, athletes are already gearing up to compete with the best of the best all over the world. And though we may not be able to claim a gold medal this year, a girl can still dream! If you were heading to London this summer, what sport would you compete in? Read below to see what our Twitter followers had to say–no previous skills required!
@PipersRun: I would compete in women’s soccer for Canada!
@Lucille_Roberts: Olympic Zumba! (Wishful thinking.)
@Philly_Terrier: Since marathon napping isn’t an event, I’d go archery or boxing. If I had the skill I’d be a gymnast, though.
@kmstoc3: I’d compete in track and field, specifically the triple jump and 100-meter hurdles!
@itssmilenaa13: Beach volleyball!
@sandiegosmom: Fantasy: Gymnastics. Reality: Pin-trading.