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7th l a Annu

Austin’s Fittest Dogs Issue

Ran over, left for dead, until someone saved him. Read about George’s amazing story and 10 other of his K-9 companions on page 43.

April 2015

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REAL. WORLD. STRENGTH. Come see how you match up in a workout that challenges “real world strength!”. Strongman training has become a very popular method of training because of how well it develops total body strength and pushes the body to new heights. While most exercises in a gym are stationary and performed in a well-fixated position, Strongman Training challenges the body to find strength and stability using awkward and unique implements. Whether it is pulling a sled by rope, flipping a tire weighing hundreds of pounds, or carrying heavy objects for distance, Strongman Training can help you find strength you didn’t even know you had.



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April 2015

Features + Cover Stories

43 Austin’s Starting on page

Fittest Dogs

30 The New Eating Disorder

Adopting a healthy diet is one thing. Obsessing over it is another. 6 • au st i nf Itm agazi ne.c om • 04.2 015

38 Training for Total Victory

American Ninja Warrior is more than just a TV show. It’s a way of life.

59 Spring Shoe Review

Out of these 20 new shoes, one is sure to suit your fit and style

88 Partner Pilates

Double your fitness by doubling up the fun with these challenging poses

cover and contents photography by Brian Fitzsimmons

These pups beat out a field of more than 100 dogs to be named the fittest in the city


April 2015

Departments + In Every Issue

In Every Issue 10

From the Publisher


From Our Readers




On the Web


Fit Focus


36 Call Your Own Fouls Finding the perfect pickup game in Austin

78 What’s In the Water: Part II Scary animals and plants you should be aware of

A zesty dish sweetly suited for spring



Tempeh Triangles

22 Dig. Plant. Repeat. You’ve made your bed. Now it’s time to sow in it. 26 How to Feed a Hungry Family Three healthy meal-prep strategies to bring back dinner (and save your sanity) 28 Coconut Oil vs. Olive Oil The two smoke it out to see who reigns supreme


34 Paw Power These therapy dogs bring more than just friendship to those they meet 8 • au st i nf Itm agazi ne.c om • 04.2 015

66 What’s New to Austin Stores and studios for fitnessminded folk 68 Can You Swing It? Find out what The Texas Kettlebell Academy is bringing to Austin this May 72 Bike Tech: What The Pros Ride Gear up to hit the mountain bike trails this spring


74 Blood Lab Basics: Part III Help your health by learning how to interpret a blood test 76 Pet Health Tips Six tips to help your dog be healthier

82 Crit Racing: Part II One amateur bike rider finds her base in training for a Crit race at the Driveway Series

84 Sink or Swim Early age instruction can set you (and your child) up for aquatic success 86 Reaching for Home Your excuse to not roll out your yoga mat just got a whole lot harder to pull off 90 Streamline Your Stride Challenge your lateral strength and leg stability with these exercises


Healthy Bits


Events Calendar


Rides & Races



photography by Ben Kuhns


20 Orange Glazed



How Much Do We Love Thee?

n our line of work, nothing is more important than the quality of our content and the best measure of that is how our readers respond each month. We welcome your feedback and take it seriously. We examine our metrics and pay attention to our pick-up rates. And we obsess over bringing you the best, most interesting, entertaining, and educational information possible. We are blessed to live in such a diverse and robust city where great content can be found all around us; we just have to open our creative eyes and minds to find it. Each year when we plan our editorial calendar, we carefully review our prior issues—how they were received and what changes we may need to make. This is especially important in those issues that appear once every year because of their popularity. One of those A-listers and mainstay’s is this month’s Austin’s Fittest Dogs issue. Now I know we Austinites love our dogs. The AFM office is routinely overrun by all manner of breeds stopping by to network with the team. But every now and then I question if you readers still want to go to the trouble of submitting pictures and stories about your dogs. “It’s a lot of work,” I tell my team. “Are we sure readers really like doing it?” Of course, they denounce my doubts, reiterating how much fun it is to read stories about people’s pets and gawk over all the cool images that stream into our inboxes. Being the shrewd, data-driven publisher that I am, I look to the volume of entries we receive for the AFM Fittest Dogs contest to indicate reader interest level in the issue. In the past, we’ve seen an overwhelmingly positive response from readers—not to mention my team’s obvious bias and personal attraction to all things canine. Nevertheless, I eventually come around to asking how many folks really go the distance to submit their “doggy stories.” This year, after an appropriate drum roll, I learned we had more than 100 entries in our contest—the most submissions in our history. How cool is that! And so, back by popular demand, I am delighted to bring you another highly anticipated Austin’s Fittest Dogs issue. Get ready to overuse the word “cute,” smile until your cheek bones hurt, and read until you’ve convinced yourself—if you haven’t already—that you need a dog of your own. Man’s best friend is more than just what meets the eye, though. More important than what a dog can or cannot do, what truly defines them is their character. Nowhere is this fact better demonstrated than in this issue’s article on the training of therapy dogs. Another story not to miss in this issue is the feature on the history of the American Ninja Warrior competition and TV show. Make no bones about it: this issue is packed with content we hope you savor and enjoy. Thanks for picking up Austin Fit! Have a wonderful April and don’t forget to register online for the AFM FITTEST coming up on May 30. Keep Austin Fit,

Lou Earle, Publisher, CEO 10 • au sti nf Itm agazi ne. c o m • 04.2 015

Publisher/CEO Louis M. Earle COO & Associate Publisher Alex Earle Managing eDITOR April Cumming Creative Director Weston Carls Director of Marketing & Communications Carrie Crowe Senior Advertising Consultant Betty Davis Advertising Consultant Brittany Summerford Associate Digital Coordinator Gretchen Goswitz Operations Assistant Leila Noone Writers Carrie Barrett, Joanne Blackerby, Mercedes Cordero, Andrea Fisher, Gretchen Goswitz, Tori Jarzabkowski, J. Jody Kelly, Liana Mauro, Payson McElveen, Amy Neuzil, Leila Noone, Diane Vives, Deanna Wolfe Editorial Interns Mercedes Cordero, Kimberley Carmona Design Intern Emma Canela General Inquiries Advertising Inquiries Submissions Event Listings Subscriptions 2201 N. Lamar Blvd., Ste. 220 Austin, TX 78705 p 512.407.8383 f 512.407.8393 Austin Fit Magazine assumes no responsibility for the content of articles or advertisements, in that the views expressed therein may not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or any magazine employee or contributor. This publication and all of its contents are copyrighted. Austin Fit Magazine is the assumed name of its publisher, Louis M. Earle, who has no interest in the business of Denis Calabrese who operates an exercise program under the assumed name of Austin Fit, which trains individuals to improve their jogging or running skills to participate in marathons. The views, opinions and other representations published in Austin Fit Magazine are not those of Austin Fit or any of its directors, officers, employees or agents.

Please recycle this magazine

photography by Dennis Burnett

Publisher’s Letter

From Our Readers FEEL THE FAST Fresh Foam Zante offers a quick, incredibly smooth heel to toe transition. Learn more at

How do you #KeepAustinFit? We want you to show us! Tag AFM in your social media post with @AustinFit or #KeepAustinFit and you could be featured in the magazine. This month, photos by @fytme, @yoga_dave, @rachelfranknbeans, @jessclarkie, @ivcaanek, and @hiitfitatx made the list. What We’re Looking For

Show us how you keep Austin fit by capturing your fitness moments—doing a handstand at an historic Austin landmark, SUPing around Lady Bird Lake, or working out with your children when you find time around the house. However you keep fit, we look forward to seeing what you can do!

©2 ©20 ©201 ©2 20 01 015 New N w Ba Ne Balanc Balanc lan la an anc a n eA Atth hle hlet le etic e c Sh hoe, hoe oe, oe o e, Inc Inc. In c

AFM wants to hear from you! Letters should be addressed to Letters to the Editor, AFM, 2201 N. Lamar Blvd., Suite 220, Austin, TX, 78705. Email address is All letters should include the writer’s name, address (email included), and daytime phone number. We are unable to acknowledge or return unpublished letters. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. 12 • au st infI tmaga z m • 04 .2015

©201 ©20 © ©2 20 015 N Ne ew B Balanc anc an nc nce A Atthl hlet hle h le ettic c Shoe, Shoe ho hoe, ho oe, oe e IInc In nc nc.


Fresh Foam gets fast with the Fresh Foam Zante. Data-driven design and intelligent geometries combine to create a light, fast ride. THIS IS #FRESHFOAM. THIS IS #RUNNOVATION.

Contributors Thank you to AFM’s contributors who make this magazine a worthy source of health and fitness information in Austin.

Heather A. Herrick, M.S. Herrick holds a master’s degree in botany and wetland ecology from Texas A&M University. She has worked on a sea turtle conservation project in El Salvador as well as many wetland water quality monitoring programs. Herrick has lived in Austin for seven years and loves Austin’s fit, outdoorsy feel. She has finished over 40 triathlons—including 2 Ironmans. While she may not be the fastest triathlete, she tries hard to have the most fun. Herrick served as a Team Leader for Tri Zones Training for many years and enjoys helping new triathletes overcome fear of open water swimming. She also enjoys gardening, camping, SCUBA diving, and spending time with her husband Jeff and her chocolate Labrador Katie.

Kristen Turner Kristen Turner is an Austin athlete, coach, mother, and a rookie yogini. She and her husband Nate were named one of Austin Fit’s fittest couples in 2011 and both operate Sport Speed Austin, a sports performance training program for athletes of all ages. Turner is a former college swimmer, age group world champion triathlete, and Ironman veteran. She currently works as a counselor, swim and cross-country coach, bootcamp instructor, and is a mother of three. Yoga has become an important tool to help her juggle the many aspects of her busy life.

Mark Henricks Mark Henricks is an Austin freelance journalist who has reported on sports, fitness, health and other topics for Men’s Health, Muscle & Fitness, American Way, and many other publications. Between deadlines, he has played countless pickup basketball games in city parks and suburban gyms across America and has always been amazed and fascinated by the unique atmosphere of pickup sports. With his first article for Austin Fit, he hopes to encourage readers to locate or organize pickup games in their favorite sport so they can experience the special rewards that come from saying, “I got next.”

Jennifer Fisher When athlete, healthy cooking coach, and food blogger (, Jennifer Fisher isn’t training for her next race or preparing healthy meals for a busy family that includes three hungry teen boys, she is looking for her next adventure. Memorable past ones have included running in the torch relay for the XIX Olympics and battling it off with oven mitts (and losing) for a $1 million prize in the 42nd Annual Pillsbury Bake Off. @thefitfork

Nicholas Vaughan D.V.M., C.C.R.P. Dr. Nicholas Vaughan is a long time resident of Austin and a graduate of the University of Texas and Louisiana State University. Vaughan is certified in rehab and sports medicine, and is a veterinarian at Austin Corner Vet in Austin. He also serves on multiple veterinary school advisory councils and is a consultant for numerous pet nutrition companies. Vaughan can’t get enough of the healthy lifestyle that’s accessible in Austin and has traveled enough to know that Austin is the premier scene for clean, healthy living. He is an avid reader, yogi, music buff, father, college sports fanatic, mountain biker, and friend of the Austin Fit Magazine way of life.

14 • au sti nf Itm agazi ne. c o m • 04.2 015

Write for AFM Letters should include the writer’s name, address (email included), and daytime phone number as well as a short description (250 word max) of the article premise. Send to Story Ideas, AFM, 2201 N. Lamar Blvd., Suite 220, Austin, TX, 78705. Email address is editors@ austinfitmagazine. com . Response

time may vary greatly due to publishing dates. Detailed submission guidelines will be provided by AFM as appropriate.

Submit FitFocus Photos Photos must be original artwork submitted in 300 dpi. Include credited photographer’s name, title of photo, and location in an email with the photo attachment. Email photos to fitfocus@ austinfitmagazine. com . Images

published in Austin Fit Magazine become the property of AFM.

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On the Web What our readers like

Confession: "I was Orthorexic"

Most Popular Tweets @AustinFit


We're more than just a monthly publication. Join us online and on our social networks to see the additional awesomeness we're up to.

Orthorexia, defined as “a fixation on righteous eating” is the subject of this month’s FUEL section article “Orthorexia: The New Eating Disorder.” Read about AFM contributing writer Lauryn Lax's personal struggle with orthorexia and how she overcame the disorder on our website,

Behind the Scenes: Interview AFM writer Kristen Turner sat down to talk with the co-founder and lead instructor of, Lauren Janes, for this issue’s piece on the rise of online yoga classes. Trust us: This video will have you breathing easier


Workout Video

C h e c k o u t A F M W e e k ly f o r New Stories

People, Profiles, & News



Subscribe at

16 • au sti nf Itm agazi ne. c o m • 04.2 015

photography by Brian Fitzsimmons

Improve your running stride by following along to this video as personal trainer and our TRAIN section writer, Diane Vives, coaches you through lateral strengthening lunges and leg squats at ONNIT Academy.

the indoor gym for outdoor people... that dogs love!

F it Fo c u s Endurance Audi Sport Team Joest #1 Loïc Duval on the front straight (just exiting T20) at Circuit of The Americas Photography by Kurt Bradley

18 • aust i nfItmagazi ne. com • 04. 2 0 1 5

Send your active lifestyle photos to FitFocus@ for a chance to be published. Guidelines are provided in our Fit Focus photo album on AustinFitMagazine


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Orange Glazed Tempeh Triangles By The Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts What You Need

How to Make It (Yields 2)

8 ounces of organic tempeh

1. Use a small saucepan to steam tempeh for 10 minutes.

2 teaspoons organic tamari or shoyu
 1 1⁄2 teaspoons mirin
 2 teaspoons agave nectar
 1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
 1 tablespoon organic ginger, freshly grated on microplane zester 1 tablespoon of kuzu, dissolved in 1⁄4 cup of cool water
 2 tablespoons organic, extra virgin olive oil
 Fresh limejuice Fresh cilantro leaves (for garnish)

20 • au sti nf Itm agazi ne. c o m • 04.2 015

2. In a small bowl, mix together orange juice, tamari, mirin, agave nectar, and ground coriander. Squeeze freshly grated ginger into mixture. Set aside. 3. When tempeh is cooled, cut into 4 squares. Then cut each square on the diagonal. Heat olive oil in large frying pan over high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the tempeh and fry for 5 minutes, or until golden. Turn triangles over and cook the other side until golden. 4. Pour juice mixture (or glaze) into pan. Heat to a simmer, then turn heat to low. Add kuzu and mix well until glaze goes from cloudy to clear. 
 5. Serve with any extra sauce drizzled on top. Squeeze fresh limejuice over triangles and garnish with cilantro.

photography by Natural Epicurean

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In the Garden with Gretchen

You’ve made your bed. Now it’s time to sow in it.

Dig. Plant. Repeat. Soil

Once you’ve built your raised garden bed (follow instructions in March issue or on our website), find some newspaper or cardboard to use as a liner. Use this to cover the bottom of the bed to prevent weeds from growing and taking over your garden. This is where it starts getting fun. Fill your bed with soil. Woohoo! Oh, just me? Then, add compost to break up the clay particles and add micronutrients back into the soil. Now it’s a party! The ideal ratio: two inches of compost to mix with the top six inches of soil. Easily combine the two by using a turning fork. Just stick the fork in the mixture and—you guessed it—make a turning motion.

22 • au sti nf Itm agazi ne.c om • 04.2 015


Now we’re ready to talk plants. Are you going to buy transplants or grow everything from seeds? Maybe you want your garden to contain both. Regardless, verify that everything you’re planting is in season. Luckily we (and when I say we I mean gardening goddess and SFC Teaching Garden Coordinator, Ellen Orabone) have taken out some of the thinking for you by creating a list of spring vegetables suited to survive in the Texas climate. Plants are a lot like people in that we all fall somewhere on the socialization spectrum. Some of us enjoy being surrounded by others and some of us would be much happier left in the comfort of our own company. An often-overlooked factor when planning out a garden is companion placement. Believe it or not, you can’t just plant your veggies all willy-nilly and expect them to thrive. Certain vegetables and herbs can’t be too close to each other or else they’ll start fighting for the same nutrients. First lesson: Place your onions next to your strawberries. They will share nutrients and the combined plant smells will confuse and deter pests. (To see a chart that shows you how everything should be oriented, head to Google and search “companion planting.”)


Decide if you are going to start from seeds or transplants. Whichever way you choose, anticipate eventually moving the plants to a larger pot or container so their roots can continue to grow. Once your seedlings or transplants have outgrown their homes and are ready to be moved to bigger and better garden

photography by Brian Fitzsimmons


n the March issue, we put our gardening gloves on and gave our green thumbs a workout by building a raised garden bed. It only took an hour to assemble and now we’re ready to plan out our spring garden. There are so many amazing fruits, vegetables, and herbs you can grow in the spring—it’s enough to inspire those on the fence about getting their hands dirty to start digging. As Austin becomes more urban (cue single tear), more and more people are deprived of a backyard in which to build a raised garden bed. Not wanting anyone to miss out on the joys of gardening, I will discuss a few suitable small-space planting options to help you and your seedlings have a fruitful (pun intended) spring season.

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In the Garden with Gretchen beds, first things first: don’t forget to detangle. Gently pop or pull the transplant out of its container, shake off the dirt, and lightly pull the roots apart. No need to fret if some of them break. Just make sure not all of them break or detach from the plant. This detangling process lets your transplant know it’s a big boy (or girl) and the time has come for it to get growing in a real garden bed. If I were to compare raising plants to parenting, then this is the part where you send them off to college hoping that they will come out on the other side as contributing members of society. When you place transplants in the ground, don’t make the mistake of pressing down on the soil. Compacting the soil around your plant will make it more difficult for your veggies to grow. Plenty of vegetables will transplant well, but I strongly suggest starting all of your root crops—in fact, anything that grows quickly—from seed.

Small Space Gardening

I remember when, back in elementary school, I first learned about the lifecycle of a plant through a demonstration on remedial gardening. Using milk cartons and egg trays, we planted lima beans. In a short amount of time—and with very little attention—new beans sprouted. My point: gardening in your home can still be that simple. Whether you’re working with a balcony off your apartment or trying your hand at indoor gardening, sunlight consideration is a must. If the space you decide to start your garden in doesn’t get at least three hours of solid sunlight per day (preferably facing south), your plants (and you) are likely to be discouraged and disappointed.


having trouble deciding what to plant because they’re so versatile. They can grow indoors in low light or thrive outdoors in your garden bed. Most herbs require very little work to get started, and you’ll find that as they grow, so does their sensually-pleasing aroma. Early April is the perfect time to start planting your summer herbs. Here’s a rundown of our favorites: Cilantro — Incredibly resilient and can grow with as little as two hours of light each day. One of the few herbs that would be fine to plant from seeds. Basil — Trim often to keep plants bushy. Prefers protected sun, welldrained soils, and raised beds. However, a pot planter is best for this herb. Harvest when flowering begins. Parsley — Plant in early spring in full sun. Germinates very slowly, so your best bet is to buy it as a transplant. Rosemary — Similar to cacti and other succulents, this hardy herb can be grown simply by taking one sprig or branch from an existing plant and sticking it in the ground. Lavender — The soothing aroma and visual appeal of this herb will have you dreaming of pillow sachets in no time. Plant the Provence lavender varietal as a transplant in full sun.

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*Note: Most herbs will grow tall and it may be difficult to know when they’ll stop growing. Lavender excluded, keep an eye out for any flowering on your herbs (also known as “bolting”). This is your plant’s way of telling you its lifecycle is coming to an end. Trim flowers as you see them bloom. afm

Herbs are a fantastic option if you’re

Plants that don’t mind minimal sun (as little as 2 hours; as much as 8 hours)

Lettuce Spinach Arugula Radicchio Cabbage Kale Chives

Plants that need more sun (as little as 4 hours; as much as 8 hours)

Potatoes Beets Carrots Turnips

04.2015 • au stinfI tmaga z m • 25

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How to Healthfully Feed a Hungry Family By Jennifer Fisher, blogger at

26 • au sti nf Itm agazi ne. c o m • 04.2 015

Three meal-prep strategies to bring back dinner (and save your sanity).


eeding your family a healthy dinner every night should be relatively easy—that is, in a perfect world. But mix in obstacles like two working parents, a headspinning array of extracurricular activities, an excess of distracting food choices, and perhaps even a limited food budget and the simple task suddenly seems like a Herculean endeavor. With three alwayshungry teen boys at home and leading the hectic life described above, it’s tempting to hit the drive-thru for dinner after a day of long meetings, kids sports practices, and finishing my own workouts. But a quick-fix of fast food does very little to refuel our bodies with the quality nutrients needed to support growth, improve muscle recovery, increase brain function, and fight disease. For the benefit of our bodies (and my sanity), I’ve developed three strategies that take the worry and weariness out of putting a wholesome dinner on the table day-in and day-out. While these meal strategies require a bit of advance planning, the small time allotment spent up front pays off with healthy, delicious dividends in the end—not to mention you’ll have more free time to take a postdinner walk or bike ride with the family and catch up on the day’s adventures.

Strategy #1

Restock Healthy Pantry Staples (once a month)

It’s a snap to make healthy dinners—even spur-of-the-moment snacks and meals—when the pantry shelves are filled with a variety of good-for-you foods. A peek inside my pantry reveals a diverse group of healthy whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat spaghetti, faro and more. I’ve found I can make old dinner recipes more exciting by subbing in some of these more unusual ingredients. Plus, whole grains are much healthier than “enriched” products since the hull of the grain is left intact—preserving fiber along with vitamin and mineral content. Other items stocked on my shelves include canned beans, herbs and spices, heart-healthy oils, nuts and dried fruits. Pair any combination of these pantry staples with a lean protein and fresh produce and you’ve got a creative, timesaving dinner on your hands.

Strategy #3

Strategy #2

Giant Batch Grilling and Slow Cooking (once a week)

When it comes to preparing lean protein, I rely on a slow cooker or grill to make 7–10 pounds at once. We obviously don’t eat that much meat in one sitting, but I use these “leftovers by design” in the remainder of the week’s recipes. Any scraps left uneaten are packaged up into single portions and frozen for a jump-start on breakfast tacos and scrambled eggs on crazy mornings. Initially, cooking giant batches of meat may seem like a chore meant for a seasoned cafeteria professional, but after one or two goes at it, you’ll swear by the convenience, time savings and other economies of scale it provides you—like saving money from buying meat in bulk. For slow cooking in big batches, you’ll want to find a slow cooker that has a minimum 10–12-quart capacity (or larger if you can find one). A beef chuck shoulder roast—the classic “post roast”—is a no-fail cut. The roast is also surprisingly lean and any excess fat can be skimmed off the top of the cooking liquid. Other lean protein choices that work well with the slow cooking method include boneless, skinless chicken breasts and pork sirloin roasts. In warm weather months, I crank up the grill and prepare a week’s worth of protein while relaxing on the patio. Beef sirloin steaks are a very versatile choice for the grill as are chicken breasts and meatier fish that hold together well (like salmon). Rotate through a variety of marinades and dry rubs, and you’ll never get bored.

Pick-Up Fresh Produce and Refrigerator Basics

(twice a week)

Even with all this meal planning, I still swing by the market a couple times a week to pick-up fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and other perishables. Instead of arriving without a plan and ending up with a cart full of junk though, my mission is to quickly seek out whole foods that can round out our meals. Eggs, milk (dairy and almond), and plain Greek yogurt are always on my list, but choosing vibrant, vitamin-packed produce is the highlight of my trips. With half of my plate dedicated to fresh fruits and vegetables, my first stop is always the produce section to replenish spring mix lettuce, tomatoes, kale, cauliflower, sweet potatoes and other favorites. In order to maximize freshness (and my budget), I target the seasonal produce that’s on sale. Knowing I have already prepped lean proteins and have healthy pantry staples back at home, there’s no excuse for me not to whip up a quick and healthy family meal. afm

04 .2015 • au stinfI tmaga z i n e . c o m • 27


Coconut Oil vs. Olive Oil By Deanna Wolfe, M.S., R.D.N., L.D.

Dr. Oz recently proclaimed coconut oil—specifically virgin coconut oil—as having “superpowers” and health enthusiasts everywhere are touting it as the healthiest new oil to use in cooking. But what about olive oil, the staple of the Mediterranean diet, with its lengthy list of health benefits? Let’s take a look at how these two oils stack up. Basics Coconut oil is the edible oil extracted from the meat of matured coconuts. Many virgin coconut oils on the market today are produced by first drying out the fresh coconut meat and later pressing the oil out of the coconut. Olive oil is produced by crushing the whole olive (including the stone) into a paste and then extracting the oil from it. Extra-virgin olive oil is extracted during the first pressing of olives.

Nutrition and Health Benefits Coconut oil and olive oil both contain 120 calories and 14 grams of fat per tablespoon, with both oils containing zero arteryclogging trans-fats. The difference between the two is in the percentage of saturated versus unsaturated fats. Coconut oil is made up mostly of saturated fats, while olive oil is predominantly 28 • au sti nf Itm agazi ne. c o m • 04.2 015

made up of monounsaturated fats. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat intake to less than 7 percent of total daily calorie consumption, as it raises the level of cholesterol in your blood. However, even though coconut oil is high in saturated fat, about half of the saturated fat is lauric acid—a medium-chain triglyceride—which may improve levels of HDL (or “good” cholesterol) and help build and maintain the body’s immune system. Also, preliminary studies show that medium-chain triglycerides may be more easily digested and converted to energy in the body (great for athletes). However, more research in this area still needs to be done. Extra virgin olive oil is high in healthy monounsaturated fats which can lower total cholesterol levels as well as LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. The polyphenols found in olive oil function as antioxidants and may help lower the risk of several types of cancer and improve blood pressure. Additionally, new research shows benefits of improved cognitive function, specifically associated with aging, with the consumption of 2–3 tablespoons of olive oil per day.

Cooking and Uses When cooking with oils, it’s Oil


important to know the smoke point of the oil. When oils break down beyond their smoke point, their molecular structure changes and harmful free radicals are produced. The smoke point of unrefined virgin coconut oil is 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The smoke point of extra virgin olive oil is 320 degrees. Therefore, unrefined virgin coconut oil has a higher smoke point than extra virgin olive oil. Different olive oils can have different smoke points depending on how refined they are, which is why some olive oil products may list their smoke point closer to 410 degrees. To test an oil’s smoke point on your own, heat your oil in a pan and take note of when it starts to emit smoke—this is the oil’s smoke point. Make sure you use the oil before this happens. Both olive and coconut oils should be avoided when using high-heat cooking techniques like frying. Olive oil is best used for salad dressings, making pesto or hummus, drizzling over vegetables before serving, and for quick sautéing. Coconut oil is great for stir-frying, sautéing, baking (it’s a great substitute for butter), drizzling over oatmeal, or even using as a skin moisturizer.

What to Look For The quality of the oil makes all the difference. For coconut oil, look for unrefined, organic, Total Fat

Saturated Fats

virgin, or extra-virgin. Read the ingredient list to look for these keywords as it’s not always clarified on the front of the jar. Trader Joe’s has a great organic virgin coconut oil and so does the 365 brand at Whole Foods. Other great brands include Nutiva and Artisana. For olive oil, look for “extra virgin” on the label, which signifies it has undergone less processing. Also look for a dark glass bottle to lessen the exposure to light—a factor that can destroy the flavor.

My Pick Olive Oil. This is due to the fact that there are many large, randomized control studies done on olive oil and comparatively fewer studies have been done on coconut oil. A few studies show the saturated fats in coconut oil may be less damaging than other saturated fats, but we are still unsure. Use olive oil with dishes that are cold or cooked quickly and coconut oil for dishes that may need to be baked. There’s research that proves both coconut and olive oil have great health benefits when consumed in moderation, so remember to use all oils sparingly, as they are still high in fat and calories. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can supply just as many, if not more, antioxidants and health benefits. afm

Monounsaturated fats

Polyunsaturated fats

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Extra Virgin Olive Oil


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Orthorexia: The New Eating Disorder Adopting a healthy diet is one thing. Obsessing over it is another. By Tori Jarzabkowski

“Are you sure there’s nothing else I can do?” one of my clients asked me, her eyes filling with tears. I hesitated. I knew how hard it would be for her to hear what I had to say. Here was a client that, at first glance, embodied eating standards that dietitian’s dream up for their patients. In other words, my client was by all accounts a highly motivated and intelligent individual who would no doubt comply with any dietary recommendations I made for her. Unlike many of the people that hire me for nutritional 30 • au sti nf Itm agazi ne. c o m • 04.2 015

counseling, the problem with this client wasn’t what she was eating. As I reviewed her food logs, where she had meticulously recorded every bite that passed her lips, I could find no fault in the all-organic, local, and free range fare I saw listed. Nor was it the quantity of food on the list that bothered me. While she could have stood to eat a little more, it was a far cry from a starvation-like diet. What was wrong was her extreme preoccupation with eating healthy foods. As we sat and talked, she began to list her

K Karen Knight D.D.S.

self-imposed “food rules”: no sugar, no dairy, no soy, no gluten, no alcohol, no caffeine, no nightshade vegetables, and nothing processed or packaged—ever. She only shopped at a certain grocery store, and confessed to skipping social gatherings where they didn’t have food she felt was “clean” enough to eat. While she claimed she was restricting these foods in pursuit of optimal health, it seemed as though her diet was leading her in another direction. She was on a path headed toward food fears and eating anxieties. Sadly, this wasn’t the first time I had seen a client who appeared to be obsessed with eating healthy. Deep down, I knew it wouldn’t be the last. The behaviors my client was displaying were behaviors alarmingly similar to those who suffer from a new type of disordered eating called orthorexia. Orthorexia—which literally translates into “a fixation on ‘righteous’ eating”—is more than just wanting to eat healthy. But how do you differentiate between someone who is careful to eat healthy versus someone that takes healthy eating to the extreme? And which side of the spectrum was my client on? The problem lies in diagnostic criteria of orthorexia. Unlike other eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, orthorexia does not appear in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), and there is a lack of research to help define what orthorexia is and what it isn’t. Further more, many people struggle to see the problem itself. After all, how can it be a bad thing to want to eat healthy in a world where most of us don’t? Are we stigmatizing healthy eaters by labeling those who care about what they eat as orthorexics? These unanswered questions remain controversial in the health and nutrition fields, and are being hotly debated by both experts and the public at large. For arguments sake, many will point to so-called “workaholics” or those that experience exercise addiction as evidence that it’s possible to take a seemingly healthy behavior and turn it into an all-consuming obsession. More evidence that orthorexia can be dangerous comes from those who claim to suffer from the disorder. A quick Internet search on the term “orthorexia” yields numerous testimonials, support groups, and treatment information.

In my quest for more information, I stumbled across many other orthorexia articles, some of which included criteria for recognizing the disorder if you or a loved one has orthorexia. My curiosity piqued, I read through the list and asked myself to answer each of the questions. “Do you obsessively read labels?” Well, I thought, yes. Of course I do, I’m a dietitian. I also teach other people how to read labels. Shrugging that one off, I moved on to the next. “Do you spend an excessive amount of income on healthy foods?” I laughed to myself. Define “excessive,” I thought. I certainly spend more than a lot of my friends and family do on health foods, but then again, nutrition is a top priority to me. I’d much rather spend more on what I believe to be high quality food than things other people spend money on, such as clothes, movies, or eating out. I skimmed over the rest of the questions, which ranged from, “Do you train like an elite athlete?” to “Do you find yourself constantly talking about your diet to others?” For each question asked, I found there was more than one way to interpret it. To some people, I could be considered orthorexic. The thought of being labeled as such stunned me into silence. As for my client, she broke down in tears—tears of fear that her diet wasn’t healthy enough—before I could tell her that nothing was wrong. “I am so sick of worrying about what to eat!” she confessed to me. “It’s all I think about,” she said, covering her face with her hands. I nodded and she continued, concluding on her own that she knew she needed to stop obsessing over everything she ate—that it wasn’t her diet that was problematic, but her. When it comes to healthy eating, I am and will remain to be a proud advocate for better nutrition. However, I think most of us can agree that there’s a thin line between passion and obsession, and the criteria for each differs among us all. Passion toward healthy eating starts to become a problem when it negatively interferes with one’s quality of life. Whether it interferes physically, mentally, emotionally, or socially. Eating well can be an extremely positive experience, but it’s equally imperative to strike a unique and healthy eating balance that suits you and leads you away from the extreme. afm

04.2015 • au stinfI tmaga z m • 31

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FAQ By Carrie Barrett

Guidance for working out Life’s conundrums

If, hypothetically speaking, my dog swipes a mini Snickers bar from the open bag sitting next to me as I binge watch House of Cards, should I be worried? First things first. Once you find the energy to get off the couch between episodes, march that bag of Snickers to the trashcan and throw it away. Beside the fact that the resulting sugar coma could impede viewing of later episodes, you can at least binge on something a little healthier so as to not make an even bigger dent in the cushion. Eat snacks with some protein and fiber to give your body a little satiety and fuel for the next season. Instead of Snickers, eat some nuts. Or snack on hummus and veggies, but leave the Costco-sized bag of tortilla chips on the shelf. And while you're up preparing a healthier snack, grab a treat for your fur baby that won't leave them in the throws of illness. (If your dog does ingest an entire bag of Snickers, please hit pause on Netflix and head directly to your vet. If it's only one bar, at least be prepared to give your pooch an extra long walk and keep a close eye on their behavior.) Last but not least, turn your marathon into a fitness contest. Instead of the more popular drinking games, create a HoC burpee game. Anytime one of the characters does something shady, you have to do five burpees. You'll be buff and up-to-date on the newly released Season 3 in no time!

Is it appropriate to not wear any underwear when working out? Does it differ for men and women? The debate between wearing or not wearing underwear while working out is similar to arguing over your favorite type of pizza. Cheese or pepperoni? Thin crust or deep dish? While some choices may be a little healthier in the long run, it always comes down to personal preference and comfort. And let’s face it: comfort is king. Many dermatologists recommend wearing workout attire that already has “wicking” lining built in. In fact, most running shorts come equipped with a light lining designed to capture moisture and protect the bits in both men and women. When it comes to wearing yoga pants or capris though, a lot of women prefer to go commando because they don't want a visible panty line. Many female-friendly companies have already caught on to this no-underwear concept and now design their workout attire to be more “sweat and visible friendly.” Word of caution: Avoid wearing cotton underwear while working out. Cotton absorbs moisture, making clothes wet, heavy, and less breathable. Many cotton briefs even have lining and stitching that can cause chafing and other irritating issues in the nether regions. Ever seen photos of cotton T-shirt clad male runners sporting bloody nipples at the end of a long race? Yeah. It's disgusting. Now imagine that same issue down in the precious parts. You catch my drift, right? Or should I say draft? Whether you decide to go commando or wear loose-fitting and moisture-wicking underwear, shower as quickly as you can post-workout. One thing we can all agree on is how bad body odor makes both men and women less desirable. #justsayin

Do you have a health-care question that needs addressing? Submit your healthy conundrums to (please include your name, email address, and phone number with your question). 32 • au sti nf Itm agazi ne.c om • 04.2 015

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Transformational recoveries, smiling faces, and full hearts are just a few of the things these therapy dogs bring to those they meet

Paw Power

34 • au sti nf Itm agazi ne. c o m • 04.2 015


photography by Travis Perkins

By Mercedes Cordero

ogs have been man’s best friend for centuries. Always bringing joy to their owners and love and light to those people—both familiar and foreign faces—who need it most in their life. That love and light, mixed in with a lot of help and hope, is exactly what therapy dogs bring with them on every volunteer visit they make. For as many dog breeds that exist in the world, there are just as many unique abilities, talents, and personalities to match. There are hunting dogs, search and rescue dogs, and dogs that assist the blind, deaf, and physically challenged. One thing they all have in common though is the special bond created with their human counterparts. It is undeniable and unconditional; a connection that contributes to the mental and emotional health of both members involved. According to a study published in the American Journal of Critical Care, a person holding or petting an animal lowers blood pressure, releases strain and tension, and helps draw a person out from loneliness and depression. Interacting with therapy dogs can have a similar affect—releasing various neurotransmitters like oxytocin, dopamine, and cortisol; those chemicals in the brain that make us humans happy. These neurotransmitters are linked with bonding and the decrease of immunosuppressants associated with stress. Like most dogs, therapy dogs give affection and comfort to people, but they differ in that they are trained to bring that healing energy to those dealing with disabilities in retirement homes, nursing homes, hospitals, and schools. Mike Pizinger, owner of two Labrador Retrievers, Amstel and Shiner, has logged more than 400 visits over the course of five years to different sites around town. Amstel has been a therapy dog since 2009, volunteering at the Rawson Saunders School—the only full-curriculum school in Austin geared exclusively toward educating students with dyslexia. “They have a reading program [at the school] where just me and my dog are paired up with a student. Amstel will sit next to the student as they read and it helps calm them down so they don’t feel so self-conscious about their reading skills,” said Pizinger. By reading to a dog instead of a person, it helps the children relax and focus more—encouraging them to build self-confidence by taking away their fear of not reading well. There are high standards that come with the territory of being a therapy dog. Just a couple of the training require-

which dogs are cutout to be therapy dogs after taking them through a stress and behavioral test. “That’s typically where I can evaluate them and see if they have the skills before moving on,” Mann said. Heidi Armstrong is the owner of Bella, a Rhodesian Ridgeback. The duo has been volunteering since 2004 and Armstrong says what keeps them going is the bridge—the bond—that develops between patient and pet. “To see someone who hasn’t spoken a word in six weeks look at the dog and look safe and happy enough to start speaking is touching to me. It’s pretty magical,” Armstrong said of their therapy visits. Bella is one of a very small group of dogs in the United States that has earned the highest honor for a therapy dog— THDD (Therapy Dog Distinguished)—from the American Kennel Club. In order to receive this honor, the dog and handler must have accumulated more than 400 lifetime visits. So far, Bella has racked up almost 600 visits. The two volunteer once a month at the Fort Hood Army Base in Killeen. While there, Bella gets to interact with soldiers suffering from PostTraumatic Stress Disorder. Once, Armstrong was assigned to work on a soldier who was pointed out to her as “that tough guy over there.” The soldier was walking underneath a grouping of old growth oak trees. When Bella visits with a patient at St. David’s Rehabilitation Hospital. Bella and Armstrong approached him, he took a few steps back. them to real-life situations that training He was hesitant of them and didn’t want in a classroom can’t replicate. to be near the dog. Over the course of the Along with on-site training, the dogs next hour, Armstrong—with Bella sitting and owners have take home assignments by her side—learned the soldier was that help work on their temperament apprehensive at first because a dog had and behavioral skills including normal attacked his brother as a child. It wasn’t commands like “sit” and “stay.” This allong before he was petting and playing lows them to work on and strengthen with Bella. “The occupational therapist weaknesses before progressing to the [at the base] told me later that the soldier next stage of the program. had been in therapy for eight weeks and Paul Mann has been a dog trainer for had yet to speak more than six words,” eleven years and teaches all types of dogs Armstrong said. and instructs all types of owners. Mann, Ever since the 1070’s, dogs have been who received his bachelor’s degree in walking right along side humans—as a psychology, wanted to help people and hunter, a protector, and a helping hand. chose to focus his attention on the special While it’s expected for dog trainers relationship that exists between canines and owners to feel a sense of pride and and humans. “The most rewarding thing gratification in their pet’s therapy visits, [about therapy training] is being able to the dogs are the ones the people want to help both people and dogs [at the same see—the ones with whom they share a time],” Mann said. “Being on-site and special bond. No matter their age, when seeing the huge smiles from the patients a person sees a therapy dog like Amstel, when they are with the dogs—that’s what Shiner, or Bella enter the room, all they makes everything worthwhile.” really see is a best friend. afm During his orientation classes, he knows ments include a temperament test (essentially testing to see if the dog has the personality suitable for all types of environments) as well as an obedient skills test. Amstel and Shiner have both received their AKC Canine Good Citizen title—a 10-step, gold standard achievement for good dog behavior. At Divine Canines, a local therapy dog training program, pups must go through a five-week training session before they are allowed to test for certification. During this time, they are taught to behave well around other dogs and how to effectively use their enhanced sense of sight, smell, and hearing. One of the first training challenges: tennis balls. “Most dogs think tennis balls are for playing, so we have to train them to not go after them when they see them on walkers,” said Max Woodfin, executive director of Divine Canines. Allowing the dogs and their owners to train on-site exposes

04 .2015 • au stinfI tmaga z i n e . c o m • 35


Call Your Own Fouls By Mark Henricks

Basketball One of Austin’s longest-lived pickup basketball games has gone on at the Town Lake YMCA at lunchtime for—depending on who’s telling the story—either several years or several decades. Membership Director Laura Clarke says it’s been happening Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for all four years she’s been working at the downtown location. “We have a full size court that normally runs two half court games,” said Clarke. “So we typically have anywhere from 40 to 70 players.” One downside: the pickup game is only open to Y members.

Soccer Zilker Park hosts multiple pickup soccer 36 • au sti nf Itm agazi ne. c o m • 04.2 015

games on the weekends, including one organized a couple years ago on Meetup. com. Michelle Dunn, a University of Texas student who took over as organizer of the South Austin Soccer meetup last year, says 20 or so players of all ages and abilities meet at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday just south of Barton Springs Road near the canoe rentals and play for about two hours. The game is free and open to all. “Even though it’s an informal meetup, people have been stepping up to make it more formal,” Dunn said. “One guy volunteered to buy about 20 penny jerseys to make the games more formal.”

Beach Volleyball While many Austin city parks sport beach volleyball courts, pickup games are nonetheless hard to find. “It’s hit or miss,” said Adam Johnson, the head professional at Austin Volleyball Academy. Johnson hopes to remedy that situation starting in May with an every other Friday series of beach volleyball junior games. The court location is still being worked out. Pickup volleyball games are good training—even for the serious players, Johnson, a Beach Volleyball Hall of Famer, said. “For juniors, it’s a good way to play with other girls or guys they might not have asked to play with before.”

Street Hockey Street hockey was something Dan Skemp seriously missed when he moved to Austin from Vancouver in 2001. After one or two pickup games he was involved in fizzled out, he organized his own group through a smartphone app and the website. Between 15 and 20 players now meet twice a week at Tomlinson Park in Cedar Park to play the sport. The no-hitting game welcomes both men and women, as well as the merely curious. “We have lots of extra sticks and we have people come up and play for the night just to see if they like it,” Skemp said. From softball to flag football, there are many other free pickup games going on around town. To find one, quiz likeminded friends, scan bulletin boards at sports retailers, and search Meetup, Facebook and other social media channels. Sports-specific web resources like often post pickup games. If you can’t find one, consider starting your own. After playing two games with the Circle C group of basketball players, I’ve gotten a quick refresher in the sport’s requirements for stamina. And if there’s one thing I learned from my many years of playing pickup basketball, it’s the wisdom of calling it a day before you’re completely exhausted. So I say my goodbyes, slap a few hands, and promise to try to make it another time. Whether I am there or not, the game will go on. Pickup may be informal, but that doesn’t mean it’s unreliable. Richard Rafferty says his driveway has been played on when the temperature skyrockets to 108 degrees in the shade as well as when the temperature dips into the 20s. “We’ve been playing for more than 10 years, and we’ve only missed playing on a weekend three or four times,” he said. afm

photography by Brian Fitzsimmons

“You got next,” Richard Rafferty tells me. I’m standing in his driveway with five other men, about to start the next round in a pickup basketball game that’s been going on since 2001—the year he installed a hoop on his extra-wide Circle C driveway. Rafferty, a lanky veterinarian with an accurate outside shot, explains the rules. Then somebody says “ball in,” and the game is on. Pickup games in many different sport disciplines abound all over Austin, offering amateurs informal opportunities to be on a team without the cost and commitment of joining an organized league. With the Super Bowl over and March Madness settled down, a pickup game might be the perfect solution if you still have the urge to compete. All you need to know is when and where the game is taking place, and have enough self-confidence to show up and introduce yourself.







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Training for Total Victory For competitors, American Ninja Warrior is more than just a TV show. It’s a way of life. By Leila Noone


photography by Brian Fitzsimmons; special thanks to BAM Academy


ith sights set high on hitting the buzzer on top of the recreated Mt. Midoriyama in Las Vegas, competitors on NBC’s hit television show American Ninja Warrior are aiming to accomplish Kanzenseiha— or “total victory” in Japanese. American Ninja Warrior is rooted in Japan. It started out as a Japanese television show, Sasuke, with a similar format—including a four-stage obstacle course that got progressively harder. When NBC brought the concept to America in 2009, it quickly became the hit reality show and athletic competition it is today. To compete, contestants must submit a video showcasing their skills and personality in addition to filling out a questionnaire that allows the TV show to share their story. If a contestant is selected, they get invited to compete in one of five regions across the U.S., with finals culminating in Las Vegas. Competitors all have a common goal: to beat stage four and achieve total victory. To date, no American has beaten the course. One of the interview questions competitors are asked to answer in the application process is what

hitting the buzzer on top of Mt. Midoriyama would mean to them. Answers are as diverse as their athletic backgrounds. Now in it’s seventh season, the American Ninja Warrior competition has developed into way more than just a television show. For many, it’s a lifestyle. Backyards and garages have been transformed into obstacle courses and Ninja Warrior training facilities can now be found nationwide; housing obstacles like the Warped Wall, Salmon Ladder, and Quad Steps. For athletes looking to try out new obstacles, Ninja Warrior competitions are held year-round across the country, giving anyone a chance to train with ANW veterans. Many veteran competitors are seen as celebrities in the eyes of their followers and fans, and have had to shape their life around the show during the off-season. Sam Sann has always loved building things—whether that be a sense of community or obstacles. Sann is the owner of Iron Sports gym in Houston, the largest and most comprehensive obstacle training facility in the country. Each week, he brings in record numbers of students interested in training for American Ninja Warrior. A Las Vegas finalist on 04 .2015 • au stinfI tmaga z i n e . c o m • 39




the show, Sann came to the United States after four long years of running and hiding during the Cambodian Communist Revolution. After escaping to the U.S., he and his family decided to settle down in Houston. Known to many as “the survivor,” he is one of the most creative and entertaining characters to watch on American Ninja Warrior. People come from all over the nation to train at Iron Sports. “It’s like a family here at the gym. Everyone is working on the same goal, thinking ‘maybe one day I can get on the show,’” Sann said. “American Ninja Warrior has inspired a lot of people, but at the same time [Iron Sports gym has] created a community outside of the television show that people live for. It’s fun to train when you have a group of 40 people trying out obstacles. You can feel the energy. We all support each other.” Like so many other competitors, Sann aspires toward Kanzenseiha. Even when he’s not competing, Ninja Warrior still influences his life. He lives to inspire others to set goals, dream big, and train hard. “The best advice I give to people is to respect one another. We are one unit. We can’t survive in this world by ourselves,” Sann said. Abel Gonzales is also no stranger to overcoming obstacles. At the age of 23, he was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and was told he would end up in a wheelchair. Seven years later, he quit his job at an oil refinery, drove seven hours, and waited in line for five days to try out for American Ninja Warrior. Today, he is one of the top competitors on the show. Now a publicly recognized face, he spends his days training, giving motivational speeches, and inspiring others with his #WeAreAbel hashtag campaign. He has even opened his own training facility in Edinburg, Texas called Ground Zero Gym. It’s a place where aspiring ninjas are invited to play, train, and find a sense of community. One thing the American Ninja Warrior TV show gives competitors like Sann and Gonzales is visibility. Being on the 40 • au st infI tmaga z m • 04 .2015

show enabled Gonzales to create his #WeAreAble platform, which opened the door for him to share his story and inspire others to live their dreams. “When people see me at the gym or on TV going fluidly and easily through the obstacles, they sometimes say things to me like, ‘Oh I could never do that because I’ve had a serious injury,’ or ‘It’s because you’re so young [that you can do that]. Just wait until you get older.’” Then I tell them my story about how I’ve had a dislocation in my left shoulder that left me with partial tears in my bicep, tricep, and shoulder; that I once couldn’t move without taking pain killers every day; that I have broken over four bones in my body; and that I have an incurable autoimmune disease. When I Abel Gonzales tell them I’m 31 years old hand-walks and in the best shape of his way my life, they are in awe,” through an obstable Gonzales said. course. “We are all able to overcome obstacles and make life whatever we choose,” he added. More often than not, what brings us to something is not what keeps us there. In Gonzales’ case, he initially wanted to win the competition so he could use the $500,000 prize money to make a better life for him and his brothers. That goal has since changed. “I feel a responsibility now to help motivate people to do right and to live a positive life. I know there is a lifelong—an everlasting—worthiness in inspiring others. I want to be remembered for the greatness I leave behind. For the change I influence,” he said. Today, Ninja Warrior gyms continue to sprout up in almost every state and entries to competition events are heavily sought after. What started out as a reality TV show for some is now a lifestyle for others. It’s a way for contestants to build community, help inspire others, and find a gateway into more forms of movement and fitness. While their athletic backgrounds may differ, all competitors are united by the same quest: To hit the buzzer on top of Mt. Midoriyama in Las Vegas and achieve total victory. afm Read a bonus Q&A with Abel on our website

photography by Brian Fitzsimmons





I 4



Austin’s Fittest Dogs These pups put their paws in the ring and beat out a field of more than 100 dogs to be named the fittest in the city

04 .2015 • au stinfI tmaga z m •


Exuding playfulness and purpose, these dogs are more than just pets—they’re partners. They’re the ones panting right alongside their owners, sharing in their sweat and success. Embodying persistent strength and inspirational grace, they’re the dogs with that eager, ready-foradventure look in their eyes. The extra mile is never crowded, and these 11 uniquely fit pups are always down to go the distance. Stories by

April Cumming p h o t o g r ap h y b y

Brian Fitzsimmons

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George Oscar Bluth Unconditional love. It’s one thing we can all agree on when it comes to why we love dogs. And George Oscar Bluth, a 4-year-old black lab with an insurmountable love for life, is no different than any other dog. There’s just one condition: he’s in a wheelchair. George was just a few months old when, as a feral dog roaming the streets of San Antonio, he was hit and run over by a car. With his spine twisted in half, knee broken, and lacerations left on the underside of his body, it was a miracle when—less than a year later—he was saved from being put down. In fact, it was a miracle someone found him, picked him up, and took him to a veterinary hospital in the first place. One of the many people who first gave this severely injured black lab a chance—who believed in him from the moment the two first met—is George’s owner, Christopher Summers. What began as a fostering partnership with Austin Pets Alive more than three years ago soon turned into a lifelong friendship. This May marks the one-year anniversary since Summers officially adopted George. The two are easy to spot on the Lady Bird Lake trail. Whether this black lab happens to breeze past you in his size 1 tennis shoes or is spotted chasing after the ducks near Lou Neff Point, you’ll know it’s George by the blue wheelchair. It’s the only one with a handmade sign hanging from the back that says, “Run with Joy!” “Little George can out-sprint just about anyone,” Summers said about their trail outings, adding that George runs best when he’s showing off for “the ladies”—human or canine. There’s nothing like going for a swim after a sweaty run, and this lab can dog paddle with the best of them. All he has to do is put on his pair

On One Condition

of leg braces and his bright yellow life vest, grab his Frisbee, and he’s set. “He swims like a fish and loves every second of it,” Summers said. In the few years the two have known each other, Summers has housetrained George and taught him all of his commands—both exercises that took some extra time. “He’s taught me patience,” Summers said of his friend as he wrapped a towel around the wet, 50-pound furball post-swim. All this exercise and movement keeps George constantly stimulated; so much so that, with the help of physical therapy, he’s slowly starting to regain feeling in his legs. When not busy keeping George occupied outside, Summers can be found working from home as George naps on one of his two inside beds—one for the day, one for the night—or plays with his favorite toy: a 3-foot tall, stuffed, white teddy bear. People’s love for this dog isn’t just unconditional; it’s uncontainable. One thing George has that not many other dogs have is his own Facebook fan page. At last check, he had 248 followers—a fan base that stretches from Oregon to South Carolina and from Michigan to El Paso. He’s also had a song dedicated to him on YouTube and received a UPS care package of “pup-cakes” from a fan for his birthday last year. Whether seen jogging around the trail, sprinting across the finish line of an Austin area 5K, or swimming in the free side of Barton Springs, this black lab with the bumper sticker is an inspiration and unspoken message of motivation to everyone he meets. “To George, there are no strangers. Just unmet fans,” Summers said.


M i ss P o p u la r

Stefanie Orrange had just finished up her sophomore year at TCU when her and Joey, a now 3 and a half year old Rhodesian Ridgeback, were thrown into each other’s life. Orrange found the pup abandoned in Trinity Park in Fort Worth when she was just 8 weeks old. “It was really sad. She looked so pitiful,” Orrange said, reflecting on that day. “She weighed about 8 pounds and had these massive ears. That’s why I named her Joey—because she looked like a baby kangaroo.” By the end of that day, Orrange knew she would be keeping the baby Ridgeback. “I like to say we rescued each other because, since that day, there has been no turning back.” Before they moved back to Austin, Joey served as a guard dog and protector at the junior’s sorority house. Orrange became accustomed to Joey being more popular around campus than she was. “At parties, people would always ask me if I was Joey’s mom,” she said. They’ve been living in Austin for two years now. Joey adopts the quick, fierce speed of an Olympic sprinter and the endurance of a lion when she runs. With her lean, chestnut brown body, a tail that will knock you out, and an unquenchable hunger for adventure, Joey joins Orrange on 6-mile runs through the hills of North Austin. “Running is Joey’s favorite activity in the entire world,” Orrange said, adding that running with her is the best part of each day. “I never considered myself a runner before meeting Joey, but she is always pushing me to my limits, and now I have an insane love for running,” Orrange said. The duo never times themselves when they hit the trail, and don’t know how far they are going until they get there. They completed their first half marathon this past Valentine’s Day weekend—the longest distance the two had ever run together—without even having to train for it. “We just woke up one morning and were like, ‘We’re going to run the half marathon.’ By the end, Joey was ready to keep going,” Orrange said, laughing. “She never quits or gives up.” The race was so much easier for Orrange than the half marathon she had done by herself five years ago. “I trained for that one, and I suffered through it. This one was different. It was really fun,” Orrange said. One of the things she admires most about her canine companion,

her best friend, is her almond brown eyes lined with effortless, thick black eyeliner. “It’s the kind women dream of when they wake up,” Orrange said. When Joey gets excited or starts playing with other dogs, a dark, brownish-red line starts to run down her spine—a line Ridgebacks are recognized and beloved for. On the weekends, the two will often make the trip out to Lake LBJ to join the rest of Orrange’s family and their respective dogs. Joey loves swimming in the water, jumping off the boat with her fur-coated friends, and sun bathing on the dock. “She has the speed of a Greyhound, but she loves sunbathing like Ridgebacks. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do,” Orrange said. Running is their true getaway though; a time where nothing else matters besides sticking together and matching each other stride for stride. “When I can look at the end of the leash and see Joey’s face with a big smile, a little slobber drizzled on her nose, and her tongue hanging out, I know we’re doing something right,” Orrange said. 04 .2015 • au stinfI tmaga z i n e . c o m • 45


A G o o d K i n d Of C r a z y

This 6-year-old black lab had a tumultuous start to life. Born with a birth defect on his back right foot, he was placed in the San Marcos animal shelter, given up on by a guy who wanted another dog as well as a family who thought he was too crazy, and then placed back in the San Marcos animal shelter. When Sean Glenn—who volunteers with the Austin Police Department, Travis County Search and Rescue, Alamo Area Search and Rescue, and Texas Search and Rescue—saw him, he decided to adopt him on the spot. “I got him out [of the shelter] because what we look for [in search and rescue] is a good kind of crazy,” Glenn said of his buddy, Max. The lab’s birth defect made his back foot toe look like a gnarled tree root. “It was up and twisted and you could see he had trouble jumping and putting weight on it,” Glenn said. One of the first things he did for Max was have the defect—the pain—removed. The two train and search in all types of conditions—in the summer heat and the drizzly winter cold; through heavy, dense vegetation and up and down rocky cliff faces. “He’s outside every day of the year,” Glenn said. He admits there’s no real cadence to this volunteer, part-time job. “You might not get a call for six months, and then you’ll get three a month for two months straight,” Glenn said. There’s often a sad, bittersweet component to the job too—when they discover a body rather than recover one. With a dog’s sense of smell being ten times better than that of his human counterpart, Max is able to help solve cold cases like homicides and suicides, as well as assist in victim recovery after floods and drowning’s. “It’s amazing to watch them work,” Glenn said of search and rescue dogs. Together, Glenn and Max can search up to 100 acres in a day—a

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task that takes the duo several hours to complete. That’s several hours of focus, commitment, and unheralded displays of athleticism. The duo’s most wanted reward after a full day in the field: to make a successful recovery. Max’s most wanted reward: his ball. This canine’s endurance is so strong that he’ll swim all the way out to one of the buoys in Lake Austin to catch his ball—bringing it back only to want it thrown out in the water again. “He’ll take a swim over a hike any day,” Glenn said. Max’s training, however, involves going on long hikes at special spots around town. He also exercises by walking on a water treadmill and performing sets of pushups on a balance ball to work his core and thighs. Dedicated, focused, and sweet: these are the words Glenn said best describe his search and rescue partner. He tackles obstacles with raw abandon—you know, the kind an Apple store employee might expect to see if they ran a 75 percent off sale on iPhone’s. “Ready to work?” Glenn rhetorically asks Max. It’s a gorgeous, bluebird day at the Walsh Boat Landing in West Austin. With a big, side body pat, the eager-to-go pup shoots off like a horizontal firecracker— in search of a scent Glenn has hidden. It’s a windy day and the smell is floating around. Max darts around—running in wide circles, his direction changing with each sniff of his nose. Four minutes later, tail wagging and respiratory rate picking up, he’s jumping up on a wall inside one of the bathrooms. Max barks—the signal that’s he’s found the scent. Sure enough, Glenn has tucked the sample smell high and out-of sight in the bathroom ceiling. Job well done, Glenn pulls out an orange and turquoise colored ball from his pocket for Max to have. The duo plans to continue answering any and all search and rescue calls; to keep being that good kind of crazy. His nickname might be Mad Max, but according to Glenn he’s actually a really sweet, goofy dog. “He was bred for a purpose, and whether that’s fetching a bird or doing detection work, he’s fulfilling that purpose,” Glenn said.


T h e D e e r W h i sp e r e r

Not many dogs can claim to have tackled a full size deer on their own. Then again Lady, a 2-year-old Rotterman, is no ordinary dog. For starters, she works at Healing Horse Ranch, a 20-acre horse rescue and rehabilitation operation in Dripping Springs. “She loves the horses. Sometimes a little too much,” owner Katie Gibson said. “There’s one horse in particular she plays with. They both chase each other around in the pasture. It’s hilarious to watch. They play just like dogs do,” Gibson said. From the moment Gibson and her husband wake up in the morning to the moment they lie down at night, Lady is ready to go. “She’s a ball of energy,” Gibson said, adding that out of the three other dogs that work on the ranch, Lady is by far the most energetic. She runs around all day with Gibson. “She has to stay busy or else she just goes crazy. She’s so smart and athletic; always wanting something to do.” With that personality and work ethic, applying ranch hands have some heavy some competition. Gibson’s ranch is responsible for working with the equines, training them, getting them healthy, and then adopting them out as show horses. Lady often likes to tag along on long rides with the ranch’s 12 horses. “We take her trail riding quite a bit. We’ve taken her up to 8 miles, and she’s still not tired. She’s a lean running machine who never wears out,” Gibson said. With her thick black coat, the only time of year when Lady’s energy level starts to wane is in summer. All it takes to recover though is a quick roll around in the creek that runs through the property, and she’s good to go again. Riding students keep Lady busy by doing agility drills with her after their lessons and playing countless games of fetch. “Since we ride jumping horses, students have taught her how to go over the jumps,” Gibson said. Lady’s highest cleared jump on record: 4 feet. As the youngest dog on the ranch, she also goes by the nickname “Little Bear.” But she’s anything but little. Weighing in at 120 pounds, she’s a solid brick of muscle. As playful as Lady is though, Gibson admits she’s really just a big baby. Attention and love are her top priorities and she’ll do anything for a scratch behind the ear or rub on the face. “She just closes her eyes and falls asleep when you do that,” Gibson said. Back to Lady’s claim-to-fame tackle; she was able to get pretty close to the deer before it noticed her and took off running. “I think she was just trying to play with it. You know, she wasn’t trying to kill it. She’s a big dog though, so when she tackled it she just about scared the deer to death,” Gibson said, adding that Lady has also brought her a few birds and squirrels in the past. “You know, really great presents,” Gibson said. “Lady will be like, ‘Look what I brought you. What do you want me to do with it?’” At the end of a long work day, this little bear of a Rotterman’s favorite place to be is underneath her mom’s feet. Preferably with her stuffed toy duck and a good rawhide bone to go to town on.

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T h e E n e r g e t i c I n st i g at o r

Jennifer Guernica had been in want of a dog who could run long distances with her when she laid eyes on the now 4-year-old German Wirehaired Pointer, Ferguson, at a local rescue. “I loved his fuzzy hair, his different colors, and his personality,” Guernica said. It’s hard not to be entranced by Ferguson when you first make eye contact. An amber orange sunburst spreads the same way milk pours into a cup of coffee, beautifully contrasting against his dark brown complexion. His handsomeness doesn’t stop him from getting his face dirty though. On a recent overcast afternoon at Zilker, he didn’t hesitate to spark the adventurous spirit in a few other dogs as he dashed through—and occasionally hunkered down in—a big, muddy rain puddle. Wirehaired Pointers are known for being active dogs that need a lot of stimulation, and Ferguson is no different. “He will go any speed, in any distance, in any weather,” Guernica said. “I’ve taken him up to 12 miles and he doesn’t miss a beat.” He’s the perfect running companion for Guernica, a marathoner, and her husband, Wayne, a triathlete. In the off chance Ferguson isn’t out on the trails, this endlessly energetic canine enjoys chasing birds and squirrels in the backyard. “He hasn’t caught any yet, but that only fuels his fire. He is determined to get one,” Guernica said. Ferguson is a living example of the motto, “Work hard. Play hard.” When he returns home from a run, he’ll

scurry to get a tennis ball or tuffie (marketed as an “indestructible” toy for dogs) to play with and quickly destroy. He’s chewed through so many tennis balls that his parents have resorted to buying them by the bucket at Costco. “He’ll shred a tennis ball while I take a shower,” Guernica said of their routine, hypothesizing that his destructive tendency toward toys is possibly a way for him to release extra adrenaline. “It doesn’t seem like there’s ever a day when he loses all his energy,” Guernica added. Ferguson often spends his Sunday mornings sleeping in and cuddling with his mom and dad before they go get coffee together at Austin Java. (His parents make sure to order him a few strips of bacon.) With his mom being a vegetarian, this Wirehaired Pointer has developed a palate for healthier fare too; often eating leftover slices of tomato and zucchini or carrots and green beans. In the summer months, he loves commanding attention from passerby as he commandeers his dad’s boat through Lake Austin and plays hour-long games of fetch in his special cove across from Hula Hut. His favorite activity will always be doing anything his owners are. “He loves to be with his family,” Guernica said, turning her head to see Wayne waving a tennis ball in the air—trying ardently to entice Ferguson out of his staked claim in the middle of the rain puddle.


S o c i al i t e o n t h e M o v e

If you’re going to distract Gretel or even attempt to restrain her from running alongside her mom, you best prepare yourself for a mouthful. This 8-year-old Schnauzer with gray and brownish-black, wiry hair won’t let you get away with separating her from her owner and best friend Barbara Fellman. And the reverse statement is also true. The duo is well established in the Austin fitness scene; so much so that the two are often recognized along the Lady Bird Lake trail as though they were celebrities. People stop mid-run, stooping down to pet Gretel as they talk with Barbara. Or they simply wave in passing to say hello. “People always smile when they see her on the trail,” Fellman said.

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T h e T r a i l T r e n d s e tt e r

Riding comfortably in the doggie trailer attached behind her owners bicycle, Nina sits like a regal princess ready for her next adventure. This 4-year-old Chow Chow’s cinnamon-spice and lioness-like fur is complimented by her deep-set almond eyes and a stylish orange and yellow sunflower attached to her collar. Her bluish-black tongue drops just beneath the boundary line of her lips—waiting for her next treat. From afar, Nina appears somewhat like an illusion. Is she a dog? A bear cub? A teddy bear come to life? Nina has accomplished so much in the three years since she was adopted by her owner, Sarah Herman. From her humble beginnings living at a Chow rescue in San Antonio to frolicking freely around the grounds at Northwest Park in North Austin, Nina has come a long way. She is now more social than hesitant upon first introductions with people and their pets and now proudly sports a majestic mane—a far cry from the trimmed locks she had at the Chow rescue. (It took over a year to grow out her coat to where it is today.) Originally bred in northern China, where Chow Chow’s are referred to as Songshi Quan, or "puffy-lion dogs,” the bearlike Nina oozes a celebrity, diva-like personality. On past hiking trips her owners have taken her on, they’ve been stopped mid-trek by people asking if to have a picture taken with her. “She sometimes causes quite the scene when we’re out and about,” Herman said with a laugh. “But she always obliges for her fans.” In 2014, Nina passed her Canine Good Citizen test—a goal Herman wanted her pup to achieve since she used to be so apprehensive around people. Nina has also achieved success in nose work training and air training—where she was instructed to find her owners in a wooded area using only her nose. Herman’s next goal for her Chow Chow: to focus more on agility training. While hot dogs are a top reward treat contender throughout train-

The demands attached to continuously appeasing and satisfying her admirers and friends takes some upkeep, and Gretel has an un-zipable Ziploc bag stuffed with hairbrushes to prove it. “She loves the attention, but she’s always tired by the time she gets home,” Fellman said of her popular pup. On top of the at-times overwhelming onslaught of attention, Gretel makes sure to attend a variety of cross-training activities around town with her mom. From getting her asana on at Luke’s Locker’s Sunday morning yoga class to fitting in evening core classes at Jack & Adam’s—joining in the group warmup run and letting her mom tackle the more human-honed exercises like squats, lunges,

ing, Nina’s all-time favorite treat—and proof that she’s a true Austinite at heart—is P. Terry’s. She audibly starts panting as soon as they pull up to the famous burger chain’s drive-thru window—cognizant of the fact that a biscuit is coming her way. Over the years, Chow’s have developed a notorious reputation for being standoffish and not people friendly, but that couldn’t be less true for Nina. Although she had a “ruff” start in life, she breaks all the stereotypes associated with Chows. Nina loves the outdoors and being athletic—making sure to get in a 3-mile walk everyday—and is always ready in a moment’s notice for her next adventure. When Herman and her husband took a road trip to Michigan to visit family members last year, it was the first time Nina had ever experienced snow. Both owners were pleasantly surprised with her reaction to the powder. “She loved it. She was zooming around and pausing to let the snow fall on her fur. She lived for that day,” said Herman. While Nina enjoys her fair share of road trips, she is also fond of joining Herman’s husband on short errand runs around town. “They are best buds,” Herman said, adding that somehow the two always manage to end up at their favorite store, Lowes. If Nina were to have an online dating profile, it would most likely read something like this: Sassy beauty queen. Enjoys sunbathing on the beach (minus the sand), camping by the fire in Marfa, and commandeering my owner’s kayaks on Lady Bird Lake.

and burpees—she’s quite possibly the fittest Schnauzer-slash-socialite in the city. Gretel doesn’t let the fame go to her head though. Sporting a red bandana accented with a custom-made, wooden candy necklace collar (, she’s often seen cheering on sweaty race participants from the sidelines of fun runs and marathons held around town. When it’s time to put in some sweat of her own, she’ll hop in the car and head to a CrossFit class or bootcamp workout with her mom. No matter the duo’s busy schedule, they make sure to show up for Tuesday track and Thursday hill workouts with Al’s Ship of Fools, a free running group in Austin. On

those nights, Gretel gets to release energy by exercising her legs as well as her vocal chords. “When she gets excited, she’ll bark at the group as they’re doing drills,” Fellman said. It’s a common tendency that triggers the Ship of Fools leader and coach, Al Cumming, to shout out “Way to coach, menace!” This Schnauzer’s favorite workout of the week comes bright and early on Saturday mornings when she joins the group for their weekly long run. While she could easily keep an 8-minute mile pace, Fellman said, Gretel chooses to slow down in order to keep close to her mom and soak in the conversation— letting the runners know with a bark or two when they can pick up the pace. 04 .2015 • au stinfI tmaga z i n e . c o m • 49


A F i g h t i n g M ac h i n e

On first meeting, it’s hard not to like Footyboots—his name; his face with its slight appearance of French arrogance. And it’s hard for Footyboots not to like you. That is, until you try to pull his neon orange, light-up Frisbee out of his mouth. “For him, it’s not about giving it back. It’s about wrestling,” says Footyboots’ owner, Tom Cripps. And it there’s one thing this French Bulldog knows he’s good at, it’s fighting back. Shortly after Hurricane Sandy swept the eastern seaboard in October 2012, Footyboots contracted a bacterial disease called leptospirosis that shut down his kidneys and liver. He spent the next three weeks in the hospital— two of which were spent in an oxygen chamber. He went through six rounds of emergency dialysis and lost 40 percent of his body weight. The posthospital recovery process took 6 months, but the only sign you’ll see of his life-threatening ordeal today is a couple inches of scar tissue on his right hind leg. Cripps and his wife first met Footboots in Brooklyn in January 2008. “We thought he’d be a good apartment dog when we were living in New York,” Cripps said. But the couple soon realized the amount of uncontainable energy they had signed up for. “Don’t be fooled by this guy,” Cripps said, casting a quick glance down at the panting pup before they hit the Greenbelt for a morning trail run. “He’s a machine.”

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Footyboots often accompanies his dad on ultramarathon training runs—logging anywhere from 5 to 10 miles on local trails. While small in size, this French Bulldog is strong in stature. His gait, more like a hobble, is something one might expect to see from the release of a rabbit wind up toy—simultaneously lifting both his back and front legs off the ground as he runs. Despite this, he manages to match his owner stride for stride— jumping over logs and brush where need be. Cripps recalled a proud moment he once shared with his canine son on the trail. Footyboots had seen a rabbit and, true to form, went to chase after it. This time though, he actually caught it. “Somehow, he managed to flip the rabbit onto it’s back. He just kept barking at it,” Cripps said. When the rabbit realized it wasn’t going to be Footyboots’ dinner, it scurried back into the brush. It was the perfect scenario for Cripps. “My dog caught a rabbit and I didn’t even have to deal with a dead critter.”

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T h e P ac e D o g

There’s a longstanding stereotype associated with Dobermans. Our mental image characterizes them as a police or guard dog frothing ferociously at the mouth—a common misconception that the breed is all bark and all bite. The minute you meet Pica (pronounced pee-ka), a 3 and a half year old Doberman with a pointy face and floppy ears, any preconceived stereotypes slip away. Her coat, a color mix between red and black, shines like the women’s hair you see shimmering on Pantene shampoo commercials. Pica’s owner, Tom Moorman, attributes her radiance to the raw food diet she’s on. A typical dinner consists of a few steak-size slabs of high collagen beef paired with organic broccoli and carrots—better than most humans can expect to find placed before them on a weeknight. The meal keeps her fast and lean, Moorman said. So it’s no wonder when Moorman tells you how Pica runs 20 to 25 miles per week with him; the duo averaging a 6:40 mile pace. The Doberman breed was originally developed in the 1890’s by German tax collector, Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann. His goal: to create a breed that would ideally protect him during his door-to-door collections. Moorman’s nickname for his fast best friend: Pica the Pace Dog. She could maintain a 6-minute mile pace if he let her, Moorman said, as Pica stood calmly and patiently by his side. The only thing that affects her distance is the weather. When it’s above 75 degrees outside, she’ll run for an average of 4 miles, but when winter weather hits, she shoots for closer to 12 miles. Pica is fast and playful without losing her alertness and intrinsic intensity. Asked if she had any favorite toys, Moorman said it’s typically something she’s not supposed to have, adding that she likes to be sneaky with his 14-month-old daughter’s baby toys. A couple of things this sweetheart of a Doberman’s not too fond of: swimming in open water and Australian Shepherds. Her head jerks up just at the mention of the two.

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Worth the Weight

Basil the herb is known to be sweet, and this 9-year-old Löwchen is no different. Standing just under one-foot tall and weighing 14 pounds, this outgoing little dog might seem tiny in size, but she’s the equivalent of Superwoman in spirit. Wearing a bright yellow harness hugged securely around her small body, she can pull 85 times her weight in a cart—once pulling a record 1,390 pounds. This energetic dog, a three-time weight champion, has won seven national titles for weight pull, water rescue, packing, and drafting. During competitions, she commonly goes up against Greyhounds and Russell mixes— dogs also in her weight class. While her white, leg-warmer like cuffs fluffed up around her legs say otherwise, appearances aren’t always what meets the eye. This löwchen is accustomed to winning the Most Weight Pulled award in competi-

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tion. Every now and then, she stays sharp by challenging her strength against dogs in higher weight classes—usually pulling the title of Highest Percentage Weight Pulled out from under their furry paws. It’s understandable, with all these accomplishments, that Basil is a bit of a perfectionist. If she doesn’t do something right in training, she knows it and will make sure she goes back and does it correctly. There’s nothing special or formal about Basil’s training, though she’s just talented, says handler Jenny Chen. There’s no special diet, either; Basil is fed normal dog food for her weight type. When she was born, she was the size of a tennis ball. By the time she was eight weeks old, this girl was competing against dogs that had gone through formal water rescue training. For a dog to compete in

weight pull, they have to be 18 months. So Basil waited. She spent 6 months competing in weight pull, retiring at the young age of two after realizing she didn’t have any other competitors to dominate. Outside the realm of the competitive world, Basil is a curious dog who likes going on adventures, jumping, and receiving attention and affection from people. She’s so energetic that her owners, Dana and Joe Concannon, have nicknamed her “the energizer bunny.” She tries to keep her eccentric energy incheck by running on the treadmill in her free time and showing off her skills—performing tricks and jumps for her fans. When visiting dog parks around town, Basil enjoys joining her new friends in a frantic game of chase—often jumping into strangers’ laps to take a break and share in some love.


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T h e M o u n ta i n B i k e B u d d y

There’s nothing about this 2-year-old Border Collie that’s not to love. With a white stripe running down her otherwise black nose and her front legs sporting Dalmatian-like spots, this certified service dog accompanies her owner, Briana Stringer, almost everywhere— from everyday social situations to the aisles of the local grocery store. “I chose her because I knew she could keep up,” Stringer said. When not working on perfecting Camber’s agility training drills—most recently practicing jumps over Stringer’s overturned bike—they love taking advantage of the outdoors in and around Austin. The duo leads an active lifestyle by hiking, camping, swimming, kayaking on Lake Travis, and going on trail runs around Lady Bird Lake. Stringer is one of the ever-diminishing few who was actually born and raised in this city. She first became interested in training dogs more than 15 years ago through her volunteer work at the Town Lake Animal Shelter. While there, she saw dogs brought in because of bad behaviors that Stringer believed could have easily been fixed. After receiving her certification, Stringer started her own dog training and behavioral school, Sublime Canines, in 2003. Her workplace: any dog-friendly spot around Austin. “This is my office,” Stringer says, stretching her arms up 56 • au sti nf Itm agazi ne. c o m • 04.2 015

to the trees shading the lakeside trail on a recent outing to Red Bud Isle. A pack of dogs passes by, and Camber starts to follow them. But then she decides to stop. Showing impressive restraint, she turns her head back in Stringer’s direction, as if to ask what her mom’s thoughts are on the situation. “I’ve taught her to keep an eye on me, so it’s not me keeping an eye on her,” Stringer said. Camber has also been trained to treat everything like a toy. Wave a stick in front of this Border Collie, and her facial expression quickly morphs from happy and carefree to seriously intense like a wolf. One piece of advice Stringer shares with dog owners on the first day of training is to teach them like they’re your friend, not your subordinate. Most importantly, Camber is Stringer’s go-to mountain biking buddy. The duo loves hitting up the trails around the Greenbelt, Walnut Creek, and Rocky Hill Ranch; often out riding for at least a couple of hours—covering 8 to 10 miles. “She'll run right alongside me as I ride. And just when I think I might have flown down a hill too fast, I look back and there she is—right by my side,” Stringer said. “She’s my best friend. She’s the best dog a girl could ever have.” afm

©2014 New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc.


With the Fresh Foam Boracay, data-driven design and intelligent geometries combine to create a smooth, continuous ride every time. Itm agazi ne. c o m • 04.2 015 IS #RUNNOVATION. 58 • au sti THIS ISnf #FRESHFOAM. THIS

p r e s e n t s

2015 Spring

SHOE Review Motion Stabilizing • Performance • Neutral

The only constant in the sporting goods industry is that it’s not static. While new brands continue to appear, their chances of success have not been great. That said, the odds of success have never been better than they are now, as running specialty stores are gravitating to many of the smaller brands. The reason? Big sporting goods chains want to carry the best shoes that have been vetted by the running specialty stores, and most of the top brands have complied. So, to give customers something special, many running specialty stores have begun carrying shoes from less well-known brands. Of course, that’s what we’ve promoted in these reviews for more than 17 years: The more shoe choices you have, the better your chances of finding one to fit your feet and needs. This spring review features both established stalwarts and some fresh new creations, with innovation and industry best practices thrown into the mix. Categories continue to be refined and address the ever-present need for shoes to meet biomechanical needs, hold up to the forces exerted when running, and optimize a shoe’s performance via shape geometries. Use this guide as a starting point and, if possible, make your first stop a running specialty store to find the best running shoes for you. Keep running, friends.

Cregg Weinmann

Running Shoe Reviewer for the Running Network, LLC 04 .2015 • au stinfI tmaga z i n e . c o m • 59

2015 Shoe Review

Motion Stabalizing

ASICS GT-2000 3

RENOVATION Spring 2015



Brooks Ravenna 6

Motion Stabilizing Spring 2015



Hoka One One Constant



New Balance 860 v5

The 2000 series has been a cornerstone in the ASICS running line because of its effectiveness for a wide variety of runners. Round 3 is an update that builds on the strengths of Round 2, while refining its components. The upper features new, lateral no-sew overlays, with stitched medial overlays that provide support while reducing the weight of the shoe. The addition of the Heel Clutch system (adopted from the Kayano) better secures the rearfoot. The midsole employs the same geometry, but the cushioning of the shoe is plusher, thanks to added Gel in the heel and adjustments to the two foam layers of the Fluid Ride system. The stability remains the same, as the medial second-density foam (Dynamic DuoMax) shores up the shoe effectively. The outersole has the usual adjustment—­here the toe is filled medially, the shank is beefier, and the Guidance line is straighter—all in an effort to subtly stabilize the gait while maintaining both durability and ride. The upshot is that the GT-2000 3 will please fans of the shoe. Its ride, fit, and value earned it our award as Best Renovation. The Ravenna has been a successful franchise for the Brooks line, evidenced by earning a few awards in its time, thanks to its solid focus on stability and cushioning. Round 6 has a flashier new look and the chops to back it up. The upper is open mesh, supported by welded overlays, with synthetic leather at the toe to give it shape. A ghilley lace loop at the saddle continually adjusts the midfoot, effectively securing the foot into the heel, where new linings and foam have a much smoother feel than before. The midsole is two-density BioMogo DNA, Brook’s proprietary foam, which has a smooth, cushy feel while avoiding the mushy ride that can accompany cushioning. The outersole is full-contact rubber (carbon in the rearfoot, blown rubber in the forefoot) that makes good on the stability that comes with the extra surface. The combination of fit, ride, and great price earned the Ravenna 6 our award for Best Shoe in the Motion Stabilizing category. Hoka has a number of shoes that focus on maxing out the cushioning—the brand’s main focus. The Constant is a new shoe to the Hoka line and slots in as a motion stabilizing shoe. The upper is closed mesh, supported by welded suede overlays, that shapes the toebox, locks down the midfoot, and reinforces the eyestays. The tongue is asymmetrical, wrapping from the medial (inside) side to support the midfoot, and a TPU clip anchors the heel. The midsole is a combination of EVA and RMAT foam. A unique stabilizing second density of the RMAT pushes into the arch, while the rocker geometry and flare of the forefoot stabilize the foot at the late stage of the gait. The outersole is a full-contact design. A ring of rubber around the perimeter opens on the lateral side, and toughened EVA and RMAT fill the open areas. The Constant brings cushioning and stability to recovery days with more focus than Hoka has brought before.   

Now in its fifth iteration, the 860 remains the moderate stability shoe of the New Balance line, here with good updates from top to bottom. The closed mesh upper has welded overlays in the forefoot and a strip of synthetic leather shaping the toe. The midfoot is anchored by a lace/strap in the saddle, and stitched rearfoot overlays secure the heel. A new asymmetrical heel counter bolsters the medial side without overbuilding the entire heel. The midsole continues with the two-layer setup introduced in Version 4, but with new tooling that offers better flexibility and contouring. The outersole is Ndurance carbon in the heel and blown rubber up front, each contributing its strength: durability and cushion. The improvements point to better performance, which is good news to New Balance fans and another choice for runners in need of more fit options.



Saucony Hurricane ISO



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The Hurricane is the most vaunted shoe in Saucony’s running lineup; its update brings changes, some big and some minor. The upper is an open mesh with welded overlays. More significant, however, is the new ISO fit system: a saddle of fingers that wrap the midfoot and adjust as the foot moves to offer a better fit than previous versions. The midsole has new geometry. It still features an 8mm heel-to-toe drop, but with a more substantial crashpad and a taller stack height for more cushioning. The outersole is little changed, but two things have been addressed. First, the medial heel outersole has added rubber beneath the second density of the midsole for stability. Second, the medial forefoot has a release groove at the first metatarsal for better flexibility at toe-off. These changes have increased the performance feel of the shoe. With its fit, ride, and stability, the Hurricane ISO has been upgraded from a very good shoe to an even better one.

“Fits well overall, nice fit on the heel. Feels true to size. Pretty cushy, better for long runs than for short, fast training.” Updates the GT-2000 2 Sizes: Men 6–14,15,16,17 (B,D,2E,4E); Women 5–13 (2A,B,D,2E) Weight: 12.0 oz. (men’s 11); 9.8 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with mild to moderate overpronation

“Nice secure fit, does a good job of hugging the foot with a smooth interior. Stable feel and good cushiness to the ride.” Updates the Ravenna 5 Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15 (D,2E); Women 5–12 (B,D) Weight: 12.9 oz. (men’s 11); 10.5 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with mild to moderate overpronation

“Good snug fit, but with enough room up front. Gives good support and has a great feel. Really provides nice cushioning while still feeling stable and responsive.” New Shoe Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15; Women 5–11 Weight: 11.5 oz. (men’s 11); 9.3 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: low- to medium-arched feet with mild to moderate overpronation

“Felt secure all around. Room for my toes and the heel was well supported. Solid shoe for plenty of training.” Updates the 860 v4 Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15,16 (B,D,2E,4E); Women 5–12,13 (2A,B,D,2E) Weight: 11.7 oz. (men’s 11); 9.4 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with mild to moderate overpronation

“Love the new fit! Nice and secure, flexes well, stable. I have been really impressed with this update.” Updates the Hurricane 16 Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15 (D,2E); Women 5–12 (B,D) Weight: 11.9 oz. (men’s 11); 9.8 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with mild to moderate overpronation

LONGHORN RUN 04•11•2015 #LHR2015


10K at 8AM | 5K at 8:20AM

Benefiting the UT Student Government and Recreational Sports Excellence Funds.

2015 Shoe Review


adidas adizero Tempo 7 Boost



The Tempo has been a reliable Performance shoe choice: It’s great for faster running with a touch of stability. The addition of Boost foam in this version is welcome news and constitutes a step up. The upper is completely redone: now open minimesh with traditional synthetic suede overlays and a new saddle design to anchor the midfoot. The tongue, employing a stretchy fabric, is gusseted to prevent it from slipping side to side. The midsole is full-length Boost foam topped by a layer of EVA that’s thin on the lateral side, but forms an enclosed medial forefoot (called Stableframe) to stabilize the foot. The outersole is full-length Continental® rubber that’s thin, flexible, and durable. The sum of these parts equals another effective execution of the Boost technology and another versatile option for runners in need of solutions.

Ampla is a new brand, perhaps a catalyst for something different, as they’ve introduced a new technology. The upper is a closed micromesh, supported by welded overlays, that is close-fitting like a racing shoe. The midsole is two layers: a softer layer near the foot and a very firm layer near the ground. The technological shift—and the visual difference in the shoe—resides between the layers, where a carbon fiber shank sports a flange that protrudes below the sole, appearing to hang toward the ground. When running, the shank’s stiffness keeps the foot lined up while the angle of the sole acts as a proprioceptive cue to move the foot strike to the sweet spot. Internally, the carbon fiber extends to the big toe to encourage an efficient toe-off. The outersole is tough carbon rubber at both the heel and toe, and softer rubber where the flange contacts the ground. While the effect is a faster feel, the shoe is really designed for neuromuscular training. The label on its tongue says it all: “Stop not running right.”

Ampla Fly



With shoes designed to accommodate the 33 joints in the foot, the 33 series has been the most nimble of the ASICS running lines. The new 33 FA features the latest version of the Fluid Axis geometry first introduced in the Gel Lyte 33. Here it features a 4mm offset from heel to toe. The upper is open mesh with soft, sueded overlays that are welded for a smooth interior. The structure is minimal. The midsole is two layers: a Solyte cradle near the ground and a new compound, AmpliFoam, that sits atop the cradle near the foot. While the AmpliFoam’s cushioning has been superior, it needs more structure, hence the cradle. The outersole is AHAR, ASICS’ abrasion-resistant rubber compound, which spreads over the shoe in pod-like segments. The rest of the sole is toughened foam. The outcome is a shoe that’s excellent for faster running, strengthening, and even as a regular training shoe to rotate into your routine.




“Fits snug, but roomier than expected. The Boost midsole has a lively feel to it. Comfortable on my long or fast runs. Definitely a well-designed shoe.” Updates the adizero Tempo 6 Sizes: Men 7.5–13,14; Women 5–12 Weight: 11.8 oz. (men’s 11); 9.7 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to mild overpronation

“Snug overall, like a racer. The midfoot is stiff and holds my foot in a forward position that feels fast. Running in it seems to train the foot so it can improve my running.” New Shoe Sizes: Men 7–13,14; Women 6–11 Weight: 11.6 oz. (men’s 11); 9.7 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild overpronation

“It has a very flexible and comfortable upper. I like the way the shoe flexes and moves with my foot. The flexibility of the toebox makes it very comfortable, almost slipper-like.” New Shoe Sizes: Men: 7–13,14,15; Women: 5–12 Weight: 10.4 oz. (men’s size 11); 8.5 oz. (women’s size 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, PU Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics, for fasterpaced runs

At one time the Launch was nearly squeezed from Brooks’ line, but its attributes earned it a second chance. The Launch 2 is wholly new, its name and purpose the only constants. The upper is open mesh, supported by welded overlays, and a synthetic leather toe bumper shapes the toebox. The interior is smooth, thanks to Lycra linings in the heel and tongue areas. With its visually appealing, vibrant colors, the two-tone mesh also allows the forefoot plenty of space, while snugging the midfoot securely. The midsole is Brooks’ DNA, so it’s wellcushioned without mushiness, protective yet responsive enough for faster running. The full-contact outersole is a combination of carbon rubber in the heel and blown rubber in the forefoot. The Launch 2 is an effective training shoe that’s light enough for faster running, yet durable enough for the long haul.

Brooks Launch 2



“Great snug fit from the heel to the arch, with a wide toebox, I love it! Good cushioning, but it runs plenty fast. I trained in it on all kinds of runs, and even a few races as well.” Updates the Launch Sizes: Men 8–13,14,15; Women 6–11,12 Weight: 11.0 oz. (men’s 11); 9.0 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild overpronation

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante

Performance Spring 2015



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New Balance has been pushing the innovation envelope with its Fresh Foam; the new Zante falls on the lighter and faster end of the spectrum. The upper is an open minimesh, with welded overlays, stitching kept to a minimum to do the job in the least restrictive way. The saddle is fashioned from a stiffer mesh, with minimal structure in the heel so it’s almost nonexistent. The lacing eyelets have been decoupled to both better secure and move with the foot, and the tongue is gusseted to keep it in place. The midsole is 6mm geometry, combining cushioning and structure into the midsole where needed. The outersole is fullcontact, with low-profile, hexagonal lugs molded for traction in the forefoot and contact in the heel. The blending of performance, cushioning, and economical price earned the Fresh Foam Zante our award for Best Shoe in the Performance category.

“Fits like a racer, and is light enough to be a race shoe, but cushy enough to be a day-today trainer. It has been a great performer, and has a key spot in my shoe lineup.” New Shoe Sizes: Men 7–13,14; Women 5–11,12 Weight: 8.6 oz. (men’s 11); 7.0 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild overpronation

The Distance is Newton’s lightest training shoe—what they describe as a speed trainer. Round 4 retains the geometry established across the line with the various Point of Pressure platforms; here it’s the POP1 configuration. The upper features different meshes in the forefoot and rearfoot, employing the same open mesh as the whole Version 3, but here only in the rearfoot. The vamp and tongue feature a new, closed mesh with less give to it, welded overlays, and a small toe bumper giving shape and a little structure to the forefoot. The midsole features the same 2mm geometry, cushioning, and performance as before. The outersole is also unchanged: rubber over the lugs and toe, the rear section just toughened foam. What results is an effective update, keeping what worked and nudging the progress forward with some upgrades.

Newton Distance IV



Saucony has introduced a variety of effective performance shoes. The Breakthru is the first to feature the 8mm geometry of many of its mainline training shoes. The upper is a closed mesh with both traditional and welded overlays, and tailored for a good fit for a broad range of feet. The midsole is a blend of wellcushioned EVA and a full-length of Powergrid that adds snappiness to the ride, extending its effective range in the process. The mostly segmented outersole is lightened by the “missing” segments. The effectiveness of the shoe can be summed up this way: good durability and a smooth ride at a reasonable price.

Saucony Breakthru

“Good, roomy toebox, and they fit true to size. The heel counter is stiff and supportive. The lugs are noticeable until a few miles into the runs, but they do work.” Updates the Distance III Sizes: Men 6–13,14,15; Women 5–12 Weight: 8.4 oz. (men’s 11); 6.7 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics “Nice, roomy forefoot with a no-nonsense heel and midfoot fit. Not super cushioned, but they can really handle the mileage— and they don’t weigh a lot either.” New Shoe Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15; Women 5–12 Weight: 10.2 oz. (men’s 11); 8.2 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board



Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to mild overpronation

Saucony Zealot ISO

NEW SHOE Spring 2015



The Zealot is the third of three shoes equipped with Saucony’s ISO technology, which is designed to provide a more secure fit. The Zealot is for faster running, while its brethren are for cushioning and for stability. The upper is closed mesh with welded overlays, and the strap-like ISO fingers adapt as the foot moves. The tongue is gusseted to allow the upper to conform to the foot without the tongue slipping from side to side, contributing to the excellent fit. The midsole is fairly firm, leaning toward the responsive end of the cushioning spectrum, rather than cushy, although it’s flexible enough to avoid a stiff feel. The outersole is segmented, which contributes to the shoe’s flexibilty. The traction is good, as is the sole’s durability. Its blend of clever design, responsive cushioning, and adaptable fit earned the Zealot our Best New Shoe award.

“The sheath-like construction is snug, and the eyelets on the lacing system are separate, allowing variable adjustment along the length of the foot, which makes for a good fit. Very nice on road and dirt. The tread pattern suits all types of running.” New Shoe Sizes: Men 7–13,14; Women 5–12 Weight: 11.8 oz. (men’s 11); 9.7 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to mild overpronation

Skechers has overcome some barriers with its serious approach to performance, and it’s been enhanced by the successes of its signature athletes. The GoRun 4 makes a quantum leap without abandoning its genetic roots, always a dilemma when updating a shoe. The upper is a step forward, with closed mesh, sublimated graphics, and welded overlays that contribute to an improved fit and updated look. The midsole features the same 4mm geometry, with a new midsole shaping that offers a better ride, while the midfoot’s new second density results in a better feel. The outersole is still largely toughened foam (the small round rubber buttons remain in the heel and forefoot), and the midfoot features larger rubber pods that have improved durability. These changes have upped the game of the GoRun, significantly improving what was an already good shoe.

Skechers GoRun 4



“The stretchy upper flexes well with the foot, snugs up pretty well, and has enough support. The ride is pretty smooth and fast, worked well for my faster running. It has been a good shoe to reach for in my rotation, for a ‘kick up the pace’ run.” Updates the GoRun 3 Sizes: Men 6.5–13,14; Women 6–11 Weight: 10.1 oz. (men’s 11); 8.0 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, finished fabric Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics for fasterpaced runs

NEUTRAL adidas Supernova Glide Boost 7

Neutral Spring 2015



The Supernova Glide 6 Boost proved to be a versatile, durable, and practical use of the new Boost technology. It maintains the effective chassis while turning its focus on the upper. The new upper has two aims: aesthetics (which are nice, but don’t affect performance) and fit. The new fit is effective, especially in the women’s shoe; the uppers in the male and female versions are different. In both, the stretch mesh flexes well and is also breathable without feeling too breezy in cool conditions. Minor tweaks to the overlays and saddle also do their parts in enhancing the fit. The effective midsole is unchanged: Boost foam topped with EVA to spread and stabilize the bounce. The outersole is the thin layer of tough Continental® rubber over the length of the full-contact bottom that has been so effective for grip and durability. The ride, durability, and value earned the Supernova Glide Boost 7 our Best Shoe award for Neutral shoes.

“The best thing about the fit is you don’t even notice it—hugs your foot perfectly. The cushioning is fantastic, my best shoe.” Updates the Supernova Glide 6 Boost Sizes: Men 6.5–13,14,15; Women 5–12 Weight: 11.8 oz. (men’s 11); 9.7 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics

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2015 Shoe Review

Mizuno Waverider 18



New Balance Boracay



On Cloudster



Saucony Triumph ISO



Under Armour Speedform Gemini



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With any shoe, the goal is to please as many runners as possible. Consumer concerns about Round 17 have informed effective changes to Round 18. The upper construction has returned to a former technique, and the fit is better tailored in the midfoot: snug in the arch/instep with plenty of toe room. The midsole is firm but fairly flexible in the forefoot. A new polyurethane insole softens the feel a bit, but the firm ride is noticeable. Increased toe spring both allows the foot to roll better through the gait and gives the shoe a more responsive feel. The outersole is unchanged. X-10 rubber in the heel and bevelled pods on the lateral forefoot smooth the transition. Overall, the shoe is a few grams heavier, but the fit, ride, and feel are more familiar to the franchise, so fans who didn’t love the 17 may recognize much in this version. Recent converts should also be pleased. 

The Fresh Foam Boracay is the update to the Fresh Foam 980, a combination of a new foam formulation and application of geometries by New Balance. This round focuses on nudging each area forward to arrive at a better product overall. The upper (an open mesh in Round 1), is now a closed but breathable airmesh that’s supported by a thin framework of welded overlays. The toe is surprisingly well-supported even without a toecap, the eyestays feature self-adjusting eyelets, and the neoprene tongue and foam ankle collar provide a plush, interior feel. The Fresh Foam midsole features the same 4mm geometry. The sidewall cells have been altered to stabilize the shoe medially, while the lateral side cushions and directs the foot. This is possible, in part, because the one-piece, full-contact outersole (which is unchanged) allows the gait’s path to be chosen by the foot as the sole flexes to accommodate. The fit and ride have been elevated a notch, and while not for everybody, fans and future fans will find a lot to like.

The Cloudster was introduced as the third model for On, a durable, high-mileage shoe with basic credentials. Round 2 keeps the chassis, while adding some zing to the rest of the shoe. The upper is closed mesh in the rearfoot, and stitching reinforces the heel counter and midfoot. The forefoot is a unique, four-way stretch fabric that adjusts with the foot without squeezing or irritation. The midsole is compression-molded EVA foam, with 7mm geometry—fairly firm— but it acts more as a platform for the “clouds” (the outersole lugs). The Cloud technology of the outersole provides the unique ride here; it varies with each runner’s stride, as the clouds compress and grip the teeth of the interior surfaces. The addition of the stretch upper, combined with the proven midsole/outersole setup has succeeded in providing a responsive shoe that can manage high mileage with ease. 

The Triumph is Saucony’s flagship neutral shoe, so it’s fitting that it’s the model to debut its new ISO-fit technology. The upper is wide open mesh that’s supported by welded overlays, but the central focus is on the ISO-fit system, independent plastic fingers that replace the eyestay and flex with the foot to hold the midfoot firmly, though without discomfort. The tongue is gusseted to keep it from slipping sideways and causing irritation. The taller midsole has an additional 3mm of cushioning in the stack height without affecting heel-to-toe drop, which holds steady at 8mm. The full-contact outersole is a combination of carbon rubber in the heel and blown rubber in the forefoot. That’s similar to the previous version, but with additional release grooves to provide the foot with more freedom to flex at toe-off. The success of the update will be judged at the cash register, but the technical accomplishment has been, yes, a triumph.

The new Gemini builds on Under Armour’s growing collection of shoes with molded textile uppers. This one is aimed at the runner who looks for deluxe cushioning. The upper is (very) open mesh and supported by welded overlays at the sides of the vamp that secure it to the heel. A thermoplastic toe bumper shapes the toe and gives the outersole an anchor point. In the back is an external thermoplastic heel counter. The midsole is charged foam, wellcushioned with two resilient densities that combine to provide a responsive ride. The outersole is full-contact—carbon rubber heel, blown rubber in the high-wear portions—and open areas along the length are exposed, toughened foam. The form fit is snug, so some runners may want to size up a half-size or more. The bounce, fit, and responsiveness make the Speedform Gemini a new shoe that’s worth serious consideration.

“Fit was good: roomy in the toes, snug heel, no friction problems. The ride was very firm, but the cushioning was pretty good. The shoe rolls well with the foot.” Updates the Waverider 17 Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15,16; Women 6–12 Weight: 10.9 oz. (men’s 11); 8.8 oz. (women’s 8)  Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted Recommended for: medium- to higharched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild overpronation “Really comfortable shoe to put on. It fits well—snug where needed, roomy where needed. The run is very smooth and lively for a cushion shoe.” Updates the Fresh Foam 980 Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15,16 (D,2E,4E); Women 5–11,12 (B,D) Weight: 10.5 oz. (men’s 11); 8.5 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to higharched feet with neutral biomechanics to mild overpronation “Feels light on the foot, lighter than it actually is. The fit is very accommodating, the stretch of the forefoot never restricts the foot, just supports it. They were great for my longest runs—really held up well.” Updates the Cloudster Sizes: Men 8–12,13,14; Women 6–12  Weight: 12.4 oz. (men’s 11); 10.0 oz. (women’s 8)  Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to very mild overpronation “A sheath-like fit was great, even without the ISO-fit, but the flex with the foot made them even better. The ride was cushy enough that they became my mileage monsters.” Updates the Triumph 11 Sizes: Men 7–13,14,15; Women 5–12     Weight: 11.4 oz. (men’s 11); 9.3 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: Strobel slip-lasted, EVA Strobel board Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics to mild overpronation

“They fit OK, but seem to run a little small. The cushioning is better than I’ve tried with Under Armour, I think they have it pretty well dialed-in. It was a good shoe, but I think it will probably get better.” New Shoe Sizes: Men 7–13,14; Women 5–10,11   Weight: 11.0 oz. (men’s 11); 8.9 oz. (women’s 8) Shape: semicurved Construction: molded slip-lasted Recommended for: medium- to high-arched feet with neutral biomechanics

©2014 New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc.

photography by Brian Fitzsimmons


Fresh Foam gets fast with the Fresh Foam Zante. Data-driven design and intelligent geometries combine to create a light, fast ride. THIS IS #FRESHFOAM. THIS IS #RUNNOVATION. 04.2015 • au stinfI tmaga z m • 65


New to Austin Studios and stores for fitness-minded folks

2324 South Lamar Boulevard; A Sanskrit and Pali-derived word, “Sukha” means sweetness, bliss, and ease. And that’s exactly what co-owner Mark Herron and co-owner and director of Sukha Yoga, Erinn Lewis, hope yogis and yoga newbies alike find when they roll out their mat inside the South Austin studio. The 2,517 square-foot space consists of two studios, a vibrantly colorful and sparkly retail lounge, and locker rooms. If there’s one thing Austinites love more than yoga, it’s new ways and styles in which to practice. The Sukha Yoga studio offers students exactly that as it’s the only yoga operation in Austin with instructors teaching nationally recognized Lotus FLOW™ and Lotus FLY™ classes meant to bring added challenges your traditional practice. Other focal class offerings include Sukha Flow, Sukha Yin, and Sukha Surrender. For those students looking to transform their practice both on and off the mat, Sukha also offer a 200-hour teacher training program. An eye-catching question on the studio’s website might just be the selling point to propel you off the couch and onto your yoga mat. “Tell me,” the quote says. “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

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photography by Mark Herron

Sukha Yoga

Live More Austin

Rabbit Food Grocery

2210 1st Street Suite #M; This independently run grocery store is vegan heaven. While the doors are now open at the first brick and mortar location, Rabbit Food Grocery has been around since 2008 when owners and longtime vegans Jessica Morris and Gabriel Figueroa first founded the store as a pop-up shop. The grocery store’s claim to fame: all their products are 100 percent vegan. The owners pride themselves on selling environmentally friendly goods that cause no harm to animals or people. Among the offerings of cruelty-free vegan products the store stocks are vegan snacks like organic lemon, vanilla, and chocolate macaroons. They also have pantry staples like vegan ketchup, body care products, household items like vegan-themed coffee mugs, as well as clothing items and pet food. Bonus: You don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home to give this grocery store a try. The store has an online market for fans both near and far away in search of their favorite vegan goods.

Austin Simply Fit

2906 South Bagdad Road Suite 300; The Cedar Park and Leander area is now home to Austin Simply Fit’s third location. The studio, located 25 miles northwest of Austin, opened in late March and will provide people in the area with a worldclass strength training facility. Members will have access to 10 experienced personal trainers as well as a 5,100 square foot state-of-the-art fitness studio. Founder Mark Rogers, a world-class powerlifter and fitness trainer, opened the first location on Burnet Road in 2010. Austin Simply Fit’s methodology focuses on high intensity 30-minute workouts that, Rogers says, are proven to be more effective than low intensity 60-minute workouts. The studio offers one-on-one sessions with personal trainers, as well as small group classes and powerlifting programs.

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ucked away in a small studio off Burnet Road, the Texas Kettlebell Academy is a close-knit community of athletes and fitness enthusiasts committed to the art of competitive Kettlebell Sport training. Aaron Vyvial, owner, master level coach, and self-described “kettle nerd,” is the founder of the internationally recognized kettlebell gym. Vyvial has trained with the best, including the legendary Russian kettlebell champ, Sergey Nikolaevic Mishin. Vyvial, along with fitness instructor and coach Jessica Gorman, leads one of four competitive Kettlebell Sport teams in Austin. Teaming up nationally and internationally with like-minded kettlebell athletes and coaches, Vyvial and Gorman will be bringing the Texas Kettlebell Open Championship to Austin this May. The Texas Kettlebell Academy is a simple, unassuming training space. The central training room features five custommade square training platforms, each providing a suspended floor for lifting and training. Traditional kettlebells—all the exact same size—line the walls. They are differentiated only

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by weight and color. Vyvial explains that the equal sizing of the bells empower clients while training since people aren't intimidated by moving from one weight to another. It is only the lifting experience that is different. Vyvial's passion for movement is evident; his words themselves are brought to life by movement and he can’t help but demonstrate the exercises as he talks about them. Vyvial said he is equally proud and humble of the years he has devoted to developing the craft of Girevoy Sport. Kettlebell Sport, or Girevoy Sport (GS), found its early beginnings in rural Russian farmer's markets when farmers would gather at the end of the day to show off their strength and prowess by swinging and juggling the weights used on the marketplace scales. Today, Girevoy Sport (GS) focuses on an intensive and challenging power and endurance skill. The GS athlete is required to lift a sub-maximal load as many times as possible in ten minutes. Athletes train for months, sometimes even years, to compete in regional, national, and international events.

top photo by Brian Fitzsimmons; performed by Jessica Gorman and Aaron Vyvial

The Texas Kettlebell Academy is bringing the International Championships to Austin this May By Joanne Blackerby, A.C.E.-P.T., A.C.E. A.H.F.S.

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The Three Traditional Lifts Despite all of the possible variations of kettlebell exercises, there are three traditional lifts in true Girevoy Sport:

Snatch: A single kettlebell is swung using one hand from between the knees to above the head in a single motion. Jerk: Two kettlebells are grasped in each arm at shoulder level and stabilized in the 'rack position,’ then are jerked above the head. Long Jerk (or Long Cycle): Two kettlebells are cleaned from knee level to shoulder level, then jerked above the head. *** In competition the lifts are traditionally combined in two events: The Biathlon: Performing a set of jerks for ten minutes, followed by a set of snatches for ten minutes. The Long Cycle: Performing a set of long jerks (clean and jerk) for ten minutes. The highlight of the Texas Kettlebell Open Championships in May will be that— for the first time—women will be allowed to compete in the traditional events with two kettlebells, just like the men. “In classic European GS competition, women could only compete in the Snatch event and only with one hand,” Vyvial said. “There was a lack of scientific study on the effects of female training. There were

questions about what would happen to a woman's body if she had two kettlebells resting on her stomach.” This remains the international standard for competition in Europe and Russia—only men can lift two kettlebells in competition. Kettlebell training has been gaining momentum and popularity in the United States, with kettlebell classes and training groups common in many gyms and fitness studios. Kettlebells are designed to be comfortable and used in high intensity endurance lifting training. There are no fancy workout regimens. By its nature, kettlebell training integrates the whole body. The only way to improve is to keep working at the basics. By focusing on the same exercises consistently, clients are able to see and feel real change in their fitness. As you get stronger, your strength and endurance incrementally improves. “Kettlebell Sport makes you truly superhuman because it seems impossible,” Vyvial said. “The only way to get through the sets is just to relax and breathe. It transforms you into a superhuman; you do things you never thought possible.” Gorman agreed, adding that the sport gives you a chance to focus on one thing and doing that one thing really well. “How often do we get that opportunity in life?” she asked rhetorically. Whether you choose to compete or watch in awe at this year’s championships, how you master the craft of Kettlebell Sport is uniquely up to you. afm

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Mountain Bike Tech

Yeti ASR C Frame Yeti has a cross-country race heritage few can boast, carrying riders such as John Tomac and Juli Furtado to many of their iconic victories. In more recent years, Yeti has focused on the gravity side of racing. That is, until now. The all-new Yeti ASR C is a featherweight XC race machine, with a touch of enduro-inspired geometry to make sure it descends just as fast as it climbs.

What The Pros Ride

If this sunny, spring weather isn’t enough to inspire you to hit the trails on two wheels, this sick new gear sure will.

Fizik Saddles Fizik has a unique approach to creating saddles, optimizing design based on a rider’s individual flexibility and riding style. As such, the Competitive Cyclist riders were given a choice of which saddles to use, based on their personal preferences.

By Payson McElveen


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SRAM XX1 Drivetrain SRAM’s revolutionary 1x11 drivetrain has brought incredible simplicity and effectiveness to a part of the bike that is often the most complicated. With a large rear cassette that offers a broad range of gears, SRAM has eliminated the need for a front derailleur altogether.

all over the country, our team will target the biggest cross-country, marathon, and stage race events throughout North America in addition to competing at select international races. With the mountain bike season switching into high gear, let’s take a sneak peek at some of the equipment team Competitive Cyclist will be piloting this year.

photography by Ben Kuhns

ack in 2007, I did my first mountain bike race on a rocky, muddy course just outside of Fredericksburg, Texas. I finished many minutes behind the winner, but that didn’t matter. I was hooked. After a season of getting beat soundly every weekend, I spent the fall training, training, and—on the side—doing some more training. I was 14 years old when I decided I wanted to be a pro mountain bike racer. Eight years later, and that dream hasn’t faltered for a second. In 2012, I earned my pro license and signed my first paid contract. Since then, I’ve steadily progressed as a racer and have competed all over the world with the U.S. National team. I enjoy the ride this sport takes me on more and more every year. The 2015 season will be my fourth professional racing season, and I’m excited to have signed a contract with Competitive Cyclist, an all-new mountain bike team that has strong ties to Austin. Comprised of five riders from

The Team

RaceFace Cockpit Race Face is a Vancouver, Canada-based company with a long heritage of racing. The team will be utilizing carbon fiber Race Face handlebars, stems, and seat posts.

Fox Float CTD Rear Shock and 32 Float Fork Fox suspension has long been considered the smoothest and most precise in the industry. Competitive Cyclist riders will get to choose between 120 and 100 mm of travel in the front, and either “Trail Adjust” or “Remote” lockouts for on-the-trail adjustments.

Magura MT8 Brakes In keeping with the trend of reliable yet lightweight componentry, the team will be running Magura’s lightest hydraulic disc brakes, the MT8s.

Despite none of the team’s sponsors being based in Austin, the Competitive Cyclist team will have strong ties to the Live Music Capital of the World. Although home for me is now in Durango, Colorado, I will always consider myself an Austinite, and enjoy its mild winter temperatures during early season training. Tristan Uhl will also be a team member, and is widely considered Austin’s best all-around cyclist. Even rider and manager Jason Sager called Austin home for many years and remains a well-known and respected name in the Austin cycling community. Ellen Noble, hailing from Kennebunkport, Maine, most recently made her mark in the cycling world by winning the U23 cyclocross National Championship in Zilker Park in January of this year. Justin Lindine of Ogden, Utah, also found success in the frigid mud of Zilker Park, winning the Singlespeed National Championships.

Payson McElveen, 22, has been a member of the U.S. National team for the past five seasons, won the best young rider jersey and Stage 4 at the 2014 TransSylvania Epic, and placed 6th at the 2014 US Cup #1.

Tristan Uhl, 26, won Stage 2 of the 2014 BC Bike Race and finished 3rd overall. He also won the Gila Monster stage of Tour of the Gila in 2014, and finished 10th in the pro XC Mountain Bike National Championships in 2013.

Hit the Trail Hands Free

Vittoria Tires Vittoria (formerly Geax) has a wide range of new tread patterns for 2015, all designed to find the perfect balance of speed and traction for whatever the trail conditions might be. Competitive Cyclist riders will be riding the Peyote, Barzo, and several other tires throughout the year, including the prototype Mezcal III.

Reynolds BlackLabel 29 XC/ Chris King ISO Wheels In a sport where having light equipment is vital to winning races, the constantly rotating weight of the wheels is of utmost importance. Competitive Cyclist will be running the featherweight Reynolds BlackLabel carbon fiber rims laced to Chris King ISO hubs, resulting in some of the most responsive wheels on the circuit.

When Austin’s new hands-free ordinance went into effect, banning the use of electronic hand-held devices while operating a car or bicycle, cyclists were left wondering how they could commute to unknown areas of town without the help of GPS. AFM’s creative director, Weston Carls, tested a hands-free device called Rokform, which comes with a phone case, bike mount, and a car mount (sold separately) to easily transition from one transportation mode to another hands-free. What he loved most about the hands-free device? “It was easy to install on my bike and there are a lot of accessories that can be added—like a battery case for those really long rides where you're using an activity tracker. There are also different bike mounts to fit all kinds of bikes,” Carls said. What he was a little bummed about? “When the phone was mounted on my bike, it covered up my cycle computer. But I guess I could just use my phone to track my progress.” *Keep an eye out on AFM’s social media accounts for a Rockform giveaway later this month. 04 .2015 • au stinfI tmaga z i n e . c o m • 73


Part III: Blood Lab

You’re in-charge of your body. Help your health by learning how to read a blood test. By Amy Neuzil, N.D. at People’s RX

In the quest to become a fitter, healthier, more vibrant, and more in-charge of your health individual, it is vital that you understand the basics about the labs your doctor routinely orders. We all want to be able to spot problems before they actually become problems, but it’s more the rule rather than the exception that doctors today have an average of seven minutes to spend in an office visit. Only the best ones will take the time to tell you that a particular number is creeping up toward abnormal. Typically if a number is normal, it’s normal; it has to get overtly out of range before you ever hear about it. In my past two articles, we’ve discussed the Complete Blood Count as well as the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel. Those are the most likely tests to be ordered routinely year after year. There are, however, a few tests that are commonly ordered that don’t fall within those two groupings. These include screening tests for thyroid, Vitamin D levels, and hemoglobin A1C. All of these tests are vital to your health, and it’s important to understand not only what normal conditions look like, but optimal.

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Medicine in Motion Martha Pyron, MD

Family and Sports Medicine ~ Concussion Management ~ Rehabilitation ~ Nutrition ~ Personal Training

Thyroid Stimulating Hormone As you may deduce from the name, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, or TSH, is not actually from the thyroid, but it stimulates the thyroid to produce hormones. Because the human body is cleverly designed to function on feedback loops, this is the most commonly used screening tool for thyroid function. If your actual thyroid hormones get too low, then TSH increases— thereby telling your thyroid to make more of the thyroid hormones. If your thyroid hormones get too high, then TSH falls. A high TSH indicates that your thyroid is sluggish or even under-functioning (as in hypothyroid). TSH that is too low might indicate that your thyroid is over-producing. The normal range is 0.4–4.0 milli-international Units per Liter (mIU/L). This is a reasonably broad range for many people, as symptoms start far before they fall outside of the “normal” range. Optimal levels indicate the range where most people feel best, have the most energy, and have adequate metabolism. Generally this is between 1.0–2.0 mIU/L. Many people will experience low thyroid symptoms when they are outside of the optimal range but within normal—important information to know if your doctor isn’t reporting it to you.

Vitamin D Vitamin D seems to be the golden child of modern medical research. It has been implicated in everything from fighting cancer and depression to predicting survival rates with heart disease and outcomes in Alzheimer’s. Clearly, Vitamin D is vital to our health and unfortunately overlooked within the medical system for a long time. Studies have shown that the majority of adults in North America are Vitamin D deficient and so more and more doctors are testing these levels as a part of their routine blood work. Most lab tests indicate that the normal range for Vitamin D is anywhere from 30–80 ng/mL; obviously a very broad range. The Mayo Clinic goes one step further to say that <10 ng/ mL is a severe deficiency; 10–25 ng/mL is a moderate deficiency; 25–80 ng/mL is optimum levels; and >80 ng/ mL runs the risk of toxicity. The difference between 25 ng/mL and 80 ng/mL is still significantly broad and many practitioners lean toward an optimal range being between 50–80 ng/ mL instead. Hemoglobin A1C In Part II of the March issue, I discussed glucose at length simply because it is one of the health numbers that, for most people, is entirely under their control. By working

to keep it optimal, some of the most deadly diseases in the world can be prevented. Hemoglobin A1C is actually another, longer-term measure of blood sugars, or glucose. Glucose literally tests the sugars in your blood stream the moment the blood was drawn—it gives a very brief window into the whole picture. Hemoglobin A1C, or A1C for short, measures what percentage of the hemoglobin in your blood is “glycosylated,” or bound to sugar. A Hemoglobin A1C test actually provides a longerterm view of blood sugars and gives a good indication of how your average sugar levels have been for approximately the last six weeks. The normal range for A1C is between 4.5 and 6 percent. According to the Mayo Clinic, an A1C of 5 percent means your average blood sugar for past last six weeks was 97 mg/dL. (Normal glucose only goes up to 100 mg/sL, so that blood sugar level is beginning to creep toward the high end of the normal range.) An A1C higher than 6.5 percent on two separate occasions is diagnostic for diabetes. Results between 5.7 and 6.4 percent are considered prediabetes. Again, optimal is something else entirely; generally considered to be between 4.5–5.3 percent.

It’s empowering to know your own blood test numbers so you have the capability to change them before they reach the pre-diabetes stage. In regards to health, more knowledge means more chances to change for the better. Knowing the basics about your own blood work and striving to get into the optimal ranges can help to keep you fit, healthier, vibrant, and more in-charge of your health in the long run. afm 04.2015 • au stinfI tmaga z m • 75

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Six Tips to a Healthier Dog By Nicholas Vaughan D.V.M., C.C.R.P.


uch is changing about our city, but a few things will never change about living here. Like, for example, how it’s in your best interest to be in possession of a yoga mat, a pair of running shoes, a pair of cowboy boots, and a pet. It’s common knowledge that pets provide us with many health benefits. In fact, it’s almost malpractice if your family doctor doesn’t prescribe a visit to the animal shelter once a week to scratch some furry ears. Lucky for Austin, many of the residents seem to appreciate the health benefits of sharing a home with a pet, making it one of Men’s Health magazine’s Top 20 Cities to Raise a Dog. Given a bird’s eye view of the Lady Bird Lake trail, you would see a perfect smattering of strollers, bright yoga pants, tattooed arms and legs, and leashes galore. It seems every other person on the trail is either walking a dog or being walked by their dog. When we usually get our first pet, for better or worse we base a lot of what we know about animals on what our parents taught us. For further knowledge, we rely on veterinarians, breeders, and perhaps a few books. As a veterinarian, it has been my experience that we sometimes get so busy teaching dog owners about vaccines and preventative medicine that we overlook sports medicine and how to best incorporate the practice into your healthy lifestyle. Let’s talk about some basics.

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Take it slow to build endurance. Too often we grab our dog, strap on a collar, and yell “Mush!” Our pooch seems to like it and who are we to judge? It goes without saying that dogs are eager to please. Forget about lactic acid build-up or muscle cramps, they live to make you happy. Reward their enthusiasm by taking it slow, and allowing your friend to build lung capacity and stamina much like you did when you started out.

Leashtrain your dog.

Almost every client I work with believes their dog is leash trained. And I believe them. Until I see the owner get dragged through the dirt or even do the dragging themselves. The “lead” is an important communication tool that not only keeps your pet safe and near your side but also instills trust. Some of my favorite videos to introduce leash training are free on YouTube. Just search for Zak George and head to Zilker to start brushing up on his effective “lead training” drills.

Respect the architecture of anatomy.

Size does not always matter, but form and function do. Understand your dog’s breed and determine if they are built for short sprints, agility, slow endurance runs, or gentle walks. Basset hounds like to jaunt and a Chihuahua likes short distance scrambles. Even though a Great Dane is massive, they would much rather chase something in a circle over and over and leave the distance runs to a pointer or retriever-type dog.

Post-exercise massages and stretching.

We treat our dogs like one of the family, but sometimes we forget to take it to the next level. Dogs that rush to exercise quickly can form adhesions and develop improper gait. It’s important to massage your dog after long hikes, runs, and swims. Work around the hip area and along the back. When you get experienced, ask your vet where the psoas muscle is located and slowly help your dog stretch this out to reduce hip and lower back pain.

Know at what age to push your dog to longer limits.

It’s common for me to see puppies running full sprint around Austin’s many trails. This can have long term damaging effects on joint maturation and bone growth. Everyone knows the rule of thumb that a human year is close to seven years for a canine. But in that first year of a dog’s life, it is more like 14 human years. It is in the first year where dogs progress through sexual maturation and develop adult bones. Too much high pressure running can injure growth plates and lead to arthritis. Do your pup a favor and keep the distance short until one year of age.

Proper diet is important. This is a Pandora’s box of a topic since there are so many opinions on brands, raw versus kibble, and ingredients in general. It is always smart to discuss food brands with your vet, but an AAFCO food label on the bag is a good place to start. Ingredients are important, but don't forget that some by-products such as viscera and glandular organs are where the most nutrients and vitamins are hidden. No matter what you feed, feed them less rather than more. Lean feeding has been proven to extend a dog’s life by up to two years. afm 04.2015 • au stinfI tmaga z m • 77

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What’s in the Water: Part II

Myth Busting Scary Animals and Plants By Heather A. Herrick and J. Jody Kelly

In the March issue of Austin Fit, we discussed the worst water-borne infections people could catch from swimming in local lakes. We also explained how rare they are and gave tips on how to avoid them altogether. This month, we turn our focus to more common, but less dangerous, animals and plants living in the water, and how to deal with them. Next month we’ll review half a dozen local bodies of water where swimmers can practice.

Animals Three animals cause concern to local swimmers, but fatalities in the Austin area range from unheard-of to non-existent. These animals present more of an annoyance than a danger. First Scary Animal: Snakes Swimmers shouldn’t fear snakes as much as they do. Water moccasins, also called cottonmouths, are the only venomous snakes encountered in U.S. waters, and sightings are fairly rare. While most non-poisonous snakes have narrow heads indistinguishable from their necks, cottonmouths can be identified by their large, triangular heads. They can vary in color from black to light brown or even olive green. Some have bands of different colors, while others don’t. So color isn’t a good identifier. These are solitary creatures that never mass into a writhing ball, despite the myth of water skiers falling into water moccasin nests and dying of snakebites—a tall tale dates back to the 1950s in Florida. The tale also appears in North Toward Home (1967) by Willie Morris, and irks readers or viewers of Lonesome Dove (1989), Larry McMurtry’s novel and TV miniseries. Contrary to popular belief, cottonmouths don’t nest or congregate in a ball. They give birth to live youngsters before leaving them to fend for themselves. The rare swimmer who suffers from a snakebite will usually survive. For all types of venomous snakes in the U.S., there 78 • au sti nf Itm agazi ne.c om • 04.2 015

are an average of five deaths per year—or one death per 2,795 bites. That’s an annual death rate of .18 percent. Swimmers will be safest if they swim in a group and splash around in a normal fashion. The commotion will scare away any nearby cottonmouths. Cool fact: Cottonmouths got their common name from the white appearance inside their mouth. Second Scary Animal: Turtles The scariest thing about turtles is that while they’re swimming, their heads resemble snake heads. If one pops to the surface nearby, it may frighten you until you realize it’s not a snake. Since turtles can bite, you should take evasive action by splashing around and swimming away. In the water though, it is more common for snapping turtles to leave instead of attack. Red-eared sliders are the most common turtle in Austin area waters, but many other species are also present. Third Scary Animal: Leeches You’ve probably only seen leeches only in movies. Texas leeches don’t resemble the large, brown blobs clinging to Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen or to the four boys in Stand

by Me. Ours are very small, greenish animals that look like tiny plants. They don’t cause diseases, and it’s easy to brush them off your skin when you get out of the water. You can also sprinkle ordinary salt on them to make sure they let go. Not many bodies of water in the Austin area are known to contain leeches.

Plants There are two plants that cause the most problems for local swimmers—one invasive and one native. Neither have been known to reach out and kill a swimmer, and no plant, despite sensational tales, can pull a swimmer under. However, a swimmer can sometimes become so entangled in weeds that he or she panics and can’t make their way out. In this case, it’s possible to get tired, sink, and drown.

headline from an article written in 2003. While hydrilla crowds out native vegetation and reduces fish populations, it doesn’t kill people. The best way to reduce hydrilla is to introduce sterile grass carp into the lake while lowering the water level annually so the weed dies. Second Scary Plant: Fanwort This native species is beneficial to local waterways because it increases oxygen levels, provides shelter and food for many aquatic animals, and helps to prevent the spread of hydrilla. It can look beautiful when the flat lilypad-like leaves fan out on the water’s surface and tiny white flowers bloom. However, it often looks bad in lakes around Austin because it collects trash and other debris. Overheard every year after the Capitol of Texas and TriRock Austin triathlons are complaints like, “I’m never swimming in that nasty water again.” The water is actually as clean as that in any local lake, but trash accumulates when people inappropriately discard plastic bottles and coffee cups. Swimming through a patch of fanwort is similar to swimming through hydrilla, although fanwort is not scratchy and generally not as thick as hydrilla.

First Scary Plant: Hydrilla This invasive species has come close to taking over several local lakes. It’s quite troublesome to swimmers because it scratches, though hardly ever breaks, the skin, and often grows in thick clumps. It’s possible to swim through a big patch of hydrilla, but the experience isn’t pleasant. Julie Wolf, a Lago Vista resident and Ironman, hates swimming in thick vegetation so much that she avoids lakes known to contain hydrilla and fanwort. When she does have to swim in such a lake, she wears a wetsuit or a rashguard to minimize the scratchiness of the plants. Wolf said her "key to survival" is to keep her legs as high as possible and take shallow strokes. She detours around vegetation if she sees it and always swims with a safety kayaker in open water. Hydrilla has a bad reputation in part because of misleading headlines, such as CBS’ “Attack of the Killer Weeds”

Most animals and plants in our local waterways are not dangerous, so there’s no need to fear an encounter. However, a little caution is always prudent. Open water swimming season will begin soon, so we hope you’ll swim with confidence knowing a little more about what’s in the water. afm 04.2015 • au stinfI tmaga z m • 79

Healthy Bits The science behind health and wellness

Can Treadmills Predict Mortality?

photo by

Cardiologists from John Hopkins University have created a formula that can estimate a person’s risk of dying over the next decade. The researchers analyzed data taken from more than 58,000 heart stress tests and found that a person’s ability—or level of difficulty—to exercise on a treadmill at an increased speed and incline can help predict the percentile risk of their chance of dying over the next decade. Part of the formula uses the peak heart rate that is reached during intense exercise as well as using MET’s—or Maximum Exercise Testing—to see how a person tolerates physical exertion. The testing of study participants was successful in translating basic treadmill performance measures into a fitness-related mortality risk score.

# Keep A u st i n F i t

Twitter is a Smoker’s New Saving Grace Those who engage in conversation on Twitter while trying to quit smoking are more likely to stop, according to a new study released by the Journal of Medical Internet Research. Tweet2Quit, a Twitterbased intervention targeted at those looking to quit smoking, tested the theory out by assigning two separate, 20-person groups to communicate with each other over Twitter for 100 days. Participants received a free supply of nicotine patches as well as an unlimited amount of automated text messages. Subjects were required to tweet to their group once a day about their progress—a virtual version of a support group for the smokers. While the automated text messages encouraged conversation, there were no physicians contributing to the messages like there was on Twitter. By receiving support from other people who also wanted to quit smoking, participants were able to successfully kick their smoking habit by using Twitter.

Sunshine Proven to Prevent Diabetes We all know that Vitamin D helps absorb calcium and maintain muscle and bone health, yet there are millions of people who don’t receive enough vitamin D due to their lack of sunshine exposure. According to a new study released by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, people who lack healthy concentrations of Vitamin D are more likely to suffer from diabetes—regardless of their weight. The 80 • au sti nf Itm agazi ne. c o m • 04.2 015

study observed people of varying body-mass indexes; some already had diabetes and some did not. Subjects who were obese, but did not have glucose metabolism disorders, were found to have higher levels of Vitamin D than their diabetic counterparts. Subjects with a low BMI that had diabetes were shown to be lacking proper amounts of Vitamin D in their system.


Crit Racing: Part II

By Carrie Barrett

All About That Base I t’s been one month since I kicked off my cycling training plan to prepare for this year’s Crit, or Criterium, races at the Driveway Series and I just have one question: What in the world was I thinking when I made this commitment? As mentioned before, I’ve raced triathlons for many years and have done several adventure cycling trips. Never though have I had the gumption to toe the line with 30 to 50 other women at the same time, start at an all-out effort, and try to sustain that mental and physical energy for 30 minutes straight as I speed around corners and turns. It sounds exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time. My first month of training was “all about that base,” and in a turn of events, I switched primarily to cycling as my training mode in order to get as much time in the saddle as possible. I went from virtually zero cycling a week up to 150 miles per week this past month in order to build my aerobic cycling fitness—necessary since cycling uses a different set of muscle groups from running or swimming. That's five days of cycling per week; definitely a new concept for a girl who is used to spreading love to her other sports. I made a commitment to train the best I can and I'm trusting Coach Chris Toriggino from Athlete Architecture to do what he does best—get athletes to the start and finish line in the best shape possible. Because of our dreary and wet winter and my long work hours, I did most of my January rides on one of two indoor trainers. At home, I have a Computrainer that allows me to hook my own bike to this Cadillac of trainers via a trainer tire and ride various courses and elevation profiles against a powered flywheel of resistance. When

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Coach Carrie’s 12-Week Crit Training Plan Week 5 Monday/ Rest Day — Strength and/or Flexibility Training Tuesday/ 3 miles easy

the course gets harder, you feel the resistance on the flywheel and make your necessary gear changes. At work, I have my Specialized Women Amira ( attached to the all-new Wahoo Kickr Trainers ( These are the latest and greatest indoor trainers that allow you to remove your rear wheel and hook up to an existing 11-speed chain cassette on the trainer. No more ruining trainer tires! And it provides a more fluid and realistic feeling when you start and stop. There have been a few times when I've had to hunker down on that trainer for more than 3 hours at a time—the mind can go to some strange places when you're pedaling away and not going anywhere. In my mind, I've cycled the Pacific Coast Highway, climbed Alpe d'Huez and summited Everest all from the trainer room!

Pros of Trainer Riding

While it can be hard to stay engaged, it’s also incredibly effective and efficient. If you have to hold a certain heart rate or wattage, the trainer is superb at dialing in and being there. There are no cars, no stoplights, no traffic, and no one yelling at you to, “Go buy a car like everyone else!”

Cons of Trainer Riding

It’s not “real riding.” I definitely feel my fitness level increasing daily, but I have yet to experience the practical sessions of pack riding that are imperative to crit racing. With my targeted date of racing in May quickly approaching, I plan to take part in as many skills clinics as I can. All of the pedaling in the world won’t help if I don't know the practical ins and outs of crit racing.

Wednesday/ 4 miles fartlek ( include 10 x :30 fast/1:00 recovery) Thursday/ Rest or X-Train Friday/ 3 miles easy Saturday/ Rest or X-Train Sunday/ Long Run: 3 miles (advanced runners can increase long run distance up to 6 miles)

Measuring Progress

One of the best ways to measure real progress on a trainer bike is to take an FTP, or Functional Threshold Power Test. An FTP test is a snapshot of your fitness at any given time. According to, it’s the power (measured in watts) that you could theoretically maintain for about an hour. Cutting through a bunch of bike-geek speak, your FTP tells you how hard you can go for approximately an hour of all-outeffort riding. Shorter rides should be able to endure slightly higher efforts and longer rides should be done at a percentage below that magic number. When I first started training in January, my FTP was 160 watts. Just 30 days later, my new FTP was 198 watts. To me, that number is a substantial change showing just how much my training is paying off. It’s a huge increase for me; one I thought I would never see. Now all I need is to get out on the roads and test it a little. Another thing I did this month was get a Body Geometry Fit on my bike to make sure it fits me appropriately. Comfort is king on the bike and if I'm going to be racing at an all-out effort, I need to be as comfortable as possible in the positions I put my body through. Skot at Bicycle Sport Shop spent hours making sure my bike was in the best fit for my body geometry. We tweaked pedals, cleats, and handlebars to make sure I felt the best I could feel on two wheels. Fortunately, the Driveway Series is open and accommodating to beginners and experts alike. They are wanting to grow the sport, especially in the Women’s division, and I hope I'm one of many people who can carry the torch for a new audience of cyclists. For those who are daring, brave, and excited enough to try something new and help grow the sport. afm

Week 6 Monday/ Rest Day — Strength and/or Flexibility Training Tuesday/ 3–4 miles easy Wednesday/ Hills: 6 x 1:00 Thursday/ Rest or X-Train Friday/ 3 miles easy Saturday/ Rest or X-Train Sunday/ Long Run: 5 miles (advanced runners can increase long run distance up to 7 miles)

Week 7 Monday/ Rest Day — Strength and/or Flexibility Training Tuesday/ 3–4 miles easy Wednesday/ 4 miles fartlek ( include 10 x :30 fast/1:00 recovery) Thursday/ Rest or X-Train Friday/ 3 miles easy Saturday/ Rest or X-Train Sunday/ Long Run: 5 miles (advanced runners can increase long run distance up to 7 miles) Fartlek Runs = Speed play makes you a stronger, efficient and faster runner. Fartlek runs incorporate short burts of timed speed work. Warm up for at least 10 minutes before starting the speed work. The fast portions should be an 8-9 on a scale of 1-10 effort. Allow plenty of recovery time after each fast session. Download the full training plan at by searching “Coach Carrie‘s 12-Week Crit Training Plan”. 04 .2015 • au stinfI tmaga z i n e . c o m • 83


Sink or Swim Early age instruction can set you (and your child) up for aquatic success. By Andrea Fisher “All mammals can swim. It’s a fact!” Or so said my high school science teacher back in the early 80s. Skip a few years down the road and my friend suggested a road trip to San Marcos to see Ralph the Swimming Pig. Recalling the words of wisdom from my former science teacher, I quickly barked back, “A pig would already know how to swim. It’s nothing amazing to see.” I firmly believed that all mammals already innately knew how to swim, and spending hours out of my day to watch a pig splash around was the last thing that I wanted to do. The reality is that all mammals do not innately know how to swim. Giraffes, porcupines, and apes sure don’t know how. Humans are not born with the knowledge of how to swim, although they can be taught how. While humans are the only mammals with the ability to learn a wide variety of swim strokes, to say we innately know how to swim is false. Growing up with a pool close by for my whole life, I always took for granted my ability to swim and be comfortable in the water. At the early age of three, and after taking multiple swim lessons, I was able to float on my back, dive underwater, and get myself out on the side of the pool. Because of my early instruction, I had learned all four swim strokes by the age of four. All this early instruction paved the way for my future aquatic endeavors—everything from my first job as a lifeguard to being a member of the USA National Swim Team, racing as a professional triathlete to teaching swim lessons, becoming the head coach for multiple swim teams to working at my current job as an Aquatics Manager for the JCC Austin. I was very fortunate in that my parents supported and facilitated my aquatic resume. They understood how important it was for me to learn how to swim at an early age, and empowered me to build and strengthen that skill. My parents are the minority. Most of society lacks the forethought they had and needs to educate itself on the importance of learning to swim at a young age. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury or

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death for children 4 years old and younger, and it’s the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury or death for all Americans. The number one action people can take to help reduce the risk of drowning is to enroll children in proper swim lessons at an early age, and create a strong foundation for a lifetime. The first thing a good swim instructor will teach a child is how to be swim-safe and learn how to save themselves in a possible drowning scenario. Within this basic first skill, the child learns proper body and head position in the water, ultimately setting the stage for learning proper stroke mechanics in all four strokes, including freestyle. On a regular basis, I see adult clients who were never taught these basic principles for swimming. They may say they are able to swim, but their form demonstrates a lack of understanding for the basics. I would venture to say that 90 percent of all adults I work with require at least two to three weeks of professional instruction on body and head position before I am able to work on their actual stroke mechanics. Once I am able to get their body positioning correct and relaxed, a whole new world of ability shines through with learning new strokes and proper technique. Not only are they comfortable in the water, but their enjoyment of the activity is enhanced and they are finally able to build better fitness from an aquatic workout. One piece of advice I give to parents and adult swimmers is to enlist in high quality swim lessons as soon as possible. It will not only help adults in their own safety, but enable a child to be safer in the water; forming the foundation for unlimited potential with their swimming endeavors. I never did get a chance to go see Ralph the Swimming Pig in person, and his performances are now a part of San Marcos history. I wonder if he still recreationally swims laps somewhere and what shape his swimming form is in? If you happen to share a lane with him someday, do me a favor and let me know. afm

Healthy Kids Day

Saturday, April 25


Burnet: 512 756 6180 Cedar Park: 512 250 9622 Hutto: 512 846 2360 Round Rock: 512 246 9622

From Health Screenings to Safety Demonstrations, Summer Program Registrations, Games, Activities, Prizes and more -- this event has everything to keep the entire family active and fit this summer and beyond.

10:00am â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 2:00pm FREE ADMISSION


JB Hager Classic 105.3






Reaching for Home

Your excuse to not roll out your yoga mat just got a whole lot harder to pull off. By Kristen Turner


ach year, I renew my goal to make yoga a part of my exercise routine. As a cardiohead and linear athlete (participating in running, swimming, and cycling), the discipline of attending a yoga class in the unfamiliar “Zen zone” has always eluded me. I have read countless stories about the tremendous benefits yoga can have for an endurance or power athlete. Benefits like injury prevention, improved joint mobility, increased power, quicker muscle repair, mental endurance, and enhanced breath control. However, when I start to consider carving out time to drive to the yoga studio and plunk down money for a class, I often end up lacing up my tennis shoes and going for a run instead. With yoga studios popping up in every suburban shopping complex and downtown block in Austin, there is clearly no lack of available classes. Yet, for many individuals, the most convenient place to develop a consistent—and comfortable—yoga

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practice is in the privacy of their own home. While nothing can replace a pulsating room of bodies, the mingling of sweat vapors, the patchwork of colorful mats, and the communal inhale and exhale of breath, a home yoga practice has plenty of it’s own benefits to offer. This year, I decided to stick to my resolution and discovered yoga at home was exactly what I needed to finally work the practice into my routine. The convenience of being at home, having the ability to pick the duration of a class, as well as the opportunity to master poses at my own pace finally helped me turn my good intentions into reality. In my quest to find the best home yoga practice, I met with two local teachers—both yoga enthusiasts who have expanded their instruction to the virtual studio. While both of these instructors espouse the importance of attending live yoga classes, they have created an alternative and engaging way to bring yoga into a home environment. Lauran Janes, co-founder and instructor for YogaStudio9. com (The Yoga Life Project), created an Austin-based online resource with more than 100 different yoga class offerings—each taught by local instructors, with each class lasting anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes. The Yoga Life Project’s mission is to reveal how the practice of yoga can directly influence emotional well-being, physical strength, and mental stability off the mat. Practicing yoga, Janes said, is a method of improving our ability to gracefully navigate the ebb and flow of life. The project approaches yoga from a standpoint of transforming people’s lives from the inside out; a means of better understanding and healing emotions; a way to nourish minds and hearts. The website touts a holistic approach for each individual yogi and teaches various classes: Beginner’s, Vinyasa, Tao, Prenatal, Restorative Yoga, and more. Also offered on the site are numerous interviews with practitioners, scientists, psychologists, academics, and philosophers that reveal yoga’s role in personal transformation and how the practice can help humans healthfully navigate the stresses of modern day life. Talking topics include “Yoga and Parenting,” “Yoga and Personal Transformation,” and “Yoga and Feminine Beauty.” All authentic dialogues intended to provide powerful messages of hope and inspiration to others. Janes, who also instructs yoga classes non-virtually at Pure Austin, said that many athletes mistakenly approach yoga with an “athlete’s mentality” of pushing harder, being competitive, and wanting to make the practice a cardio workout. “I love athletes because their level of conditioning is so admirable. But most athletes try to ask their breath to keep up with the body,” Janes said. “Yoga teaches them to do the exact opposite—to guide the body around their breath. It teaches athletes to find the cadence [in their breathing], and let the body be steered by it.”

Abby Lentz, another Austinite visionary and yoga enthusiast, set out on a mission a decade ago to introduce yoga to overweight and obese individuals. Her goal: to teach love of self and body. She felt there was a lack of welcoming yoga classes around town for those carrying extra weight, so she decided to start her own virtual studio. Lentz viewed the misconstrued image of yoga being only for those with pretzel-thin bodies as a deterrent; a social construct keeping many overweight individuals from receiving the benefits of yoga. So Lentz adapted her yoga practice to fit those with larger bodies and started her website, the slogan for which reads “Yoga For The Body You Have Today.” Over the years, Lentz has gained national media attention for her innovative practice and local classes, DVDs, and YouTube videos teaching her adapted version of the practice, which has now expanded to include yoga teacher certification—training other instructors to bring the heavy weight yoga practice to their studios. Lentz’s underlying philosophy for the practice is founded on three A’s: awareness of body, acceptance of body, and affection for the body. The benefits of yoga are now accessible to overweight individuals through an intentional combination of pose pairing, the use of props to help with alignment and reach, and pacing that is slow. “No matter how you look, you can learn to do yoga and learn to love yourself,” Lentz said. “Self-love is the most important aspect [of yoga]. You can’t have any lasting change if you don’t love yourself first.”

Bringing Your Practice Home By integrating online classes into your fitness routine, you can access all the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of yoga without having to leave home. While there is no substitute for an in-person yoga studio experience with other students, virtual studios can add convenience and variety to any yoga practice. afm 04.2015 • au stinfI tmaga z m • 87


Partner Pilates

Double your fitness by doubling up the fun.


ooking for something new to do to breathe life back into your fitness routine? As a Pilates instructor, I’m all about finding unique activities and ways to incorporate spontaneity into physical activity. Any fitness experiment that replaces boredom with fun is welcome in my book, so grab your girlfriend or boyfriend, your bestie, or your workout buddy for some exercises that look and feel a lot like play. Partnering up for your Pilates session not only adds variety to your routine but it’s also a great way to make some of your exercises harder. Since there’s no way to use momentum when your attention and focus is on supporting each other, you have no choice but to engage those deeper stabilization muscles. Friend-ilates, or partner Pilates, can also help strengthen your bond with one another outside of the

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studio—boosting communication and trust, bringing a sense of play into a relationship, and helping one another lean into the feeling of “letting go”—one of the biggest hurdles since you’re trusting your partner to support you while you work to maintain balance through challenging movements and positions. The following exercises all use two people—one person acting as the base and the other as the balancer. Note: Only attempt the exercises below if neither partner is injured or has any physical limitations. As always, listen to your body and if something doesn’t feel right, stop. Pre-workout tip: If both of you are about the same size, take turns being the base. However, if one of you is significantly larger than the other, play it safe and let the larger person act as the base throughout the poses.

Elephant/Handstand Prep For this exercise, whoever has more hamstring and back flexibility will serve as the base. Starting Position: With the base in a downward dog position, allow the balancer to place their feet on the base’s sacrum and their hands on the floor. This will create an “L” shape between bodies. Option 1: Hold and breathe. Option 2: Partners simultaneously lift one leg and pulse it up 20 times for a little booty work. Option 3: Partners simultaneously lift one leg and perform push-ups. (Pushups can also be performed without leg lifted.) Option 4: The balancing partner lifts up one leg up at a time, kicking into a full handstand.

photography by Brian Fitzsimmons; performed by David Moore, John Arrow, Natalie Yerkovich, Liana Mauro

By Liana Mauro

Supported Bridge Starting Position: Base will lie supine (with back lying on the floor) with their feet on the balancer’s sacrum. Option 1: Top person can hang and enjoy the open feeling of a supported bridge. Option 2: Bottom person can bend and straighten their legs for legwork while top person continues to hang. Option 3: Top person can lift and lower legs—great for lower abdominal work. This can also be done while performing crunches with the upper body. Option 4: Top person can roll up to Teaser then roll back down to a hanging bridge. Option 5: Top person can reach back to grab their feet for a full backbend.

Floating Rocker Starting Position: Base lies supine with legs straight up and places feet on partner’s hip flexors. The balancing partner will begin by extending out in a straight line, with arms reaching straight back, and from there can progress to reaching behind to grab onto feet and lift up into a Rocker position.

Supported Plank Series Anyone who is familiar with the workouts at Mauro Pilates knows we love planks! All variations are both challenging and incredibly functional and all work the entire body. What’s not to love? Starting Position: Base gets into a full plank position and balancing partner places hands on heels and feet on shoulder blades. Option 1: Base lifts one leg as the top person bends their arm to help it lift. Top person can also lift the opposite leg from the arm that bends. Option 2: For an extra upper body blast, partners can alternate push-ups or do pushups at the same time.

Duo Shell Stretch: This is a nice place to practice being both the base and the balancer as these positions are very supportive of one another. This is a great pose to finish off your practice. Starting Position: Base goes into child’s pose (sitting on heels, fold from your hips, letting top half of body press into upper thighs, touching your head to the mat). The balancing partner then rests their sacrum on the base’s shoulder blades and lies back into a backbend. Take deep breaths and enjoy. 04 .2015 • au stinfI tmaga z i n e . c o m • 89


Cross Training for Quicker Legs

Challenge your lateral strength and leg stability to streamline your running

by Diane Vives, M.S., C.S.C.S., N.S.C.A.-C.P.T., F.M.S.


f we were to analyze our body movement in regard to running, we would notice a forward motion in one direction. Running is mainly a lower body exercise, using the legs with a little help from the upper body for counter balance. It is often overlooked in training that, to have great force production in forward motion, we must first be able to guide that movement with great lateral stability in the frontal plane. In order to generate power through each and every step, and for the entire body to contribute to that power, we must have a good connection through the core. Another thing that makes lower body power and running truly efficient is the ability to achieve triple flexion and extension of the ankle, knee, and hip with good stability (i.e. motor control) to drive that movement and those generated forces in the intended direction. The following exercises will help enhance your running mechanics and add to your ability to generate faster, stronger steps in the most streamline direction needed. (Great for supplementing your training if you are preparing to compete in the AFM Fittest on May 30!)

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Lunge and Overhead Press with Steel Mace

Purpose: This movement combines a lower body movement in a narrow base with mechanics and strength needed in running. An additional benefit: using the steel mace with an asymmetrical, one-sided load challenges the stability laterally in the frontal plane. Controlling the offset weight will translate into better and more efficient forward movement. Movement: • Start by standing tall with the steel mace at the chest. • Step out into the lunge with feet hip-width apart while maintaining an upright torso. Simultaneously press the weight directly overhead using full extension of the arms. • Make sure to establish a stable base of support with the feet while in the lunge position, and then push off the heel of the front foot to return to the start position. • Be sure not to let the offset weight pull you out of balance or create a lateral shift in the torso or upper body. The objective is to feel the lateral force but maintain control to resist it.

Leg Drive with Core Activation

Purpose: One of the key aspects of any locomotion movement—whether walking, running, skipping, or changing direction—is that it requires alternating control of each leg. This is why the ability to have a strong, single leg stance is important. By activating your core to control the pelvis, one leg can flex into leg drive position with power while the opposite leg extends with power. If there is not good timing and sequence when the core or torso activates to create stability, then it makes it difficult for the lower body to express the leg drive. Movement: • Start by standing tall and holding a band with arms extended and palms down. The band should be anchored at eye-level or above. • The timing of each movement is important. First, pull down with the arms to engage the core. • Then, as fast as you can control (which may not be “fast” at all for some), drive the knee to waist level using triple flexion of the ankle, knee, and hip. photography by Brian Fitzsimmons performed by Jena Mays at DeFranco's Gym at The Onnit Academy

• Pause to establish control and stability at the top and then return the leg back to the start position. Then, release the arms by returning them to start. • This sequence of movements is important to trigger core activation more reflexively to establish forceful leg drive on each step. • So, to start: Pull down, engage core, then drive the leg up. To return: Extend leg, release arms, and stand tall to finish. 04 .2015 • au stinfI tmaga z i n e . c o m • 91


Single Leg Squat on Box

Purpose: Lowering the body using its own weight is a great way to challenge strength, balance, and stability on a single leg. You can easily start with a partial squat and work your way into a full squat as you become stronger. Squatting on the box allows the free leg to remain more neutral to the body as it hangs to the side rather than having to hold it flexed out in front of the body. As the body learns this simple yet challenging movement, it is critical to follow good form and aim to improve form and technique on every repetition.

• Once you reach your end range of controlled movement, push through the heel to engage your strong, backside muscles to extend the leg and return to standing tall. • Avoid any caving inward of the knee. The ankle, knee, and hip of the squatting leg should always be vertically aligned all the way down and all the way back to standing.

Want a guided look at these movements?

For a more detailed look in action, check out the workout video on 92 • au sti nf Itm agazi ne.c om • 04.2 015

photography by Brian Fitzsimmons

Movement: • Start in a single leg stance on a 12-inch to 18-inch box or step standing tall and eyes forward. Opposite leg should be off to the side to clear the box on descent. • Lower your body by flexing ankle, knee and hip on the leg that is planted on the box and sit back into a squat like your reaching for an imaginary chair behind you. Only go as far as you can while still maintaining balance and control.

“I’ve never seen so much change, so fast, in my life.”


re Befo



c e n t r a l at h l e t e .c o m 512.507.6450

Photos by Joshua David Curtis

los t 7% bo dy fat, 5 lbs, 5 inche s, and droppe d a dre ss size in the firs t 7 weeks


Events Featured Spring Hoedown and 5K Garden Gallop Submit your event online at

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Residential Mortgage Loan Originator

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Anyone can learn to play! Hockey Leagues for Youth and Adult, Beginner–Advanced Instructional Hockey Classes for Youth and Adult. NORTHCROSS MALL 2525 West Anderson Lane | 512.252.8500 WWW.CHAPARRALICE.COM

April 4 Spring Hoedown and 5K Garden Gallop Lace up your running shoes for and head out to Johnson's Backyard Garden for their first annual Spring Hoedown. Work up a healthy appetite in the morning with a 5K run, and reward yourself after with a farm-to-table buffet bbq and veggies buffet. After you’ve had time to relax and rest, swap your tennis shoes for a pair of boots, grab a partner, and join in the barn dance. The day long event will take place at the garden’s 200-acre River Road Farm. April 10–11 Trail Building at McKinney Roughs If you haven’t had a chance to explore the trails at McKinney Roughs Nature Park yet, now is your chance. Spectrum Trail Racing will be hosting a family-friendly, community trail building event at the park. Spectrum Trail Racing partners with Rogue Running to host long distance trail races all around Austin, including at McKinney Roughs. Spectrum 94 • au st infI tmaga z m • 04 .2015

will cover park entrance and camping fees for all volunteers and will provide a nighttime astronomy lesson as well as free fireside storytelling and campfire s’mores. Wake up early on Saturday morning for a group run and free breakfast tacos before getting started on a day of trail work duty. Did we mention the word free enough? Good, just checking. April 12 Statesman Capitol 10K Everything is bigger in Texas and the Capitol 10K is no exception. Entering its 38th year, the Capitol 10K is one of the nation’s most popular fun runs—drawing more than 10,000 runners from different states and running backgrounds. Taking place in the heart of Austin, the race route will pass through the downtown area as well as local neighborhoods. You don’t have to be a seasoned runner to partake in the race. Whether you decide to run, watch, cheer, or volunteer, the Capitol 10K is an event you don’t want to miss.

photography by Johnson's Backyard Garden

Sports and Outdoors

Food and Drinks April 11 The Superhero and Villain Wine Tour Who is you alter ego? Is it the brave superhero or the vengeful villain? At this wine touring event, be whoever you dreamed of being as a kid with the added adult perk of getting to taste different wines. The only main requirement to be part of this tour: you must dress up as your favorite superhero or villain. The winery tour, followed by a private Italian dinner, will make stops at three hill country vineyards. You never know when you will be called upon to save the world. It’s best to have a glass of wine in one hand when you are. April 24-26 Austin Food and Wine Festival Revel in a weekend filled with more than 40 culinary demos—as well as beer, wine, and cocktail tasting—in one of the hottest culinary cities around. The festival will host top chefs, winemakers, and sommeliers from around Austin and the nation. Sample some of the best food your tastebuds may ever touch, enjoy hands-on demos, and watch as skilled chefs do all the weekend cooking for you. Whether you’re looking for a couple’s getaway or a girl’s retreat, this festival is sure to leave your stomach satisfied.

Megan Mullally (also known as characters Ron and Tammy from the 7-season running TV show Parks and Recreation) are bringing their witty talents and blunt humor to the Paramount Theater. Throughout the night, the two entertainers will expose the salacious details of their fiery union through the use of songs and comedy sketches. It’s sure to be an evening you won’t soon forget. http://bit. ly/1GTwMtu April 19 Neil Diamond in Concert Catch Grammy-Award winning rock and pop singer/songwriter Neil Diamond as he makes a pit stop at the Frank Erwin Center as part of his 2015 tour. Sing and dance along as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member performs songs form his newest studio album, “Melody Road,” and plays many of his cherished classics. April 25 Sunset Valley ArtFest Be inspired by the amazing works of art on display at the Tony Burger Center. Artists from all around the Austin area will be showing off their various talents in art forms such as oil painting, homemade jewelry, and woodwork. The event will feature live music from local bands as well as delicious food offerings. The free art festival attracts around 6,000 visitors each year. Lifestyle

April 25 The 21st Annual Louisiana Swap Thing & Crawfish Festival Can’t find the time to break away for a trip down to the Louisiana coast? Day dream no more; Austin is bringing Louisiana to you. Now in its 21st year, the Louisiana Swamp Thing and Crawfish Festival entices and encourages you to taste all the Louisiana cuisine you’ve ever dreamed of trying— including jambalaya and alligator. Over 7,000 pounds of crawfish awaits those partaking in the festival as well as 10 live Louisiana Cajun, Brass, Zydeco, and Blues bands that will be taking the stage throughout the day. A bounce house, slides, and face painters will be on hand to entertain those kids (and kids at heart) in attendance and over 25 arts and crafts vendors from the Austin area will be selling their creations. event/louisiana-swamp-thing-crawfish-festival Arts April 17 Summer of 69: No Apostrophe Acclaimed comedians, hilariously popular TV duo, and real-life couple Nick Offerman and


TRADE-IN PROGRAM makes it easy to get the bike you want.

April 11–18 Citizen Gardener 56 Don’t shy away from the idea of starting your own garden. Embrace it. This Citizen Gardener 56 class, hosted by the St. Louis Farm Committee, will teach you all about how to grow organic foods. Learn useful tips on how to help your garden bloom to its full potential at the event. This 3-part intro to gardening series will provide you with more information on what you need to start and maintain a healthy garden as well as cover topics like composting. April 25 Get Growing: Growing Herbs Flavor is what makes a savory dish standout. And what makes meals more memorable than the herbs that go into them? This 2-part class will teach you how to grow and properly harvest your own herbs year-round in addition to showing you how to best cook with them. When dinner party guests can’t stop talking about that one dish you served, you’ll know the secret ingredient. Whether you choose to indulge them in that secret is entirely up to you. 04.2015 • au stinfI tmaga z m • 95


Rides & Races APRIL April 1 April Fools Day 5K San Antonio, TX • runsignup. com/Race/TX/SanAntonio/ AprilFoolsDay5kRunWalk April 4 ASH Dash 5K Bunny Run Austin, TX • Hells Hills 50-Mile/50K/25K/10K Rocky Hill Ranch, Smithville, TX Tour de Castroville 60-Mile/30Mile Bike & 10K/5K Run San Antonio, TX • tourdecastroville Garden Gallop 5K Austin, TX • hoedown Thrill of the Hill 5K Liberty Hill, TX • April 11 Longhorn Run 10K/2-Mile Run Austin, TX • Shape Diva Dash 5K Obstacle Run Austin, TX • Burnet Bluebonnet 10K/5K Burnet, TX • TX/Burnet/31stAnnualBluebonnetF estival Blue Bell Fun Run 10K/5K Brenham, TX • Muddy Mayhem Run 8K San Antonio, TX Outlaw Half Marathon/5K Fredericksburg, TX Wild Woman Weekend 10K/5K Blanco, TX • wildwoman

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Run to the Sun 90-Mile Relay/2K Enchanted Rock State Park, Fredericksburg, TX• beyondbatten. org/run-to-the-sun-relay

Bluebonnet XTERRA 15K/5K Trail Run Burnet, TX • view.asp?id=47

TNT Toughest in Texas 50K/25Mile/10-Mile/5-Mile Trail Run Waco, TX • events/49

HITS Triathlon Series – Half & Full Marble Falls, TX

XTERRA Bluebonnet Off Road Triathlon Burnet, TX • May

April 12 Statesman Capitol 10,000 Austin, TX • April 18 Dell Children’s Medical Center 5K Austin, TX • runsignup. com/Race/TX/Austin/ DellChildrensMedicalCenter5K Vern’s No Frills 5K Georgetown, TX Fiesta Especial Royalty Run 5K San Antonio, TX • fiestaespecial. com/5k-and-1mile-run.html Color in Action 10K Katy, TX • Earth Day 5K San Antonio, TX • April 19 Austin Boxer Rescue 5K–9 Round Rock, TX • Mud Factor Obstacle Run 5K Dripping Springs, TX April 25 Barton Springs Pool Treeathlon Barton Springs, Austin, TX asp?EVID=292 Poppy 5K Georgetown, TX Wimberley 4-Mile Run Wimberley, TX •

Wildflower 10K/5K Fredericksburg, TX wellness-center/wildflower-run/ The Human Race 5K/Adventure Relay Race Waco, TX • Color in Action 5K Katy, TX • April 26 HITS Triathlon Series – Sprint and Olympic Marble Falls, TX The Biggest Loser HalfMarathon/5K Round Rock, TX Woof Walk and Wrun 5K Georgetown, TX Rogue Trail Series – The Tangle 30K Johnson City, TX HITS Triathlon Series – Sprint and Olympic Marble Falls, TX • hitstriathlonseries. com/marble-falls-tx Texas Wine Series HalfMarathon/5K Flat Creek Estate, Marble Falls, TX The Biggest Loser Half Marathon/5K Round Rock, TX

May 2 Because We Foster Care 5K San Antonio, TX • Gladiator Rock ‘N Run – San Antonio Floresville, TX gladiatorrocknrun. com/event_May_2_2015.html Nocturnal Lands 5K Austin, TX • austin-texas-2015/ PurpleStride Austin Austin, TX • Saints and Sinner After Dark Hutto, TX • Pandora’s Box of Rox Burnet, TX • May 3 Front Porch Days 5K Kyle, TX • Kyle/FrontPorchDays5K10K? The Rookie Triathlon Austin, TX • Tough Mudder 10-Mile Obstacle Run Smithville, Texas • toughmudder. com/content/2015-central-texas Sunshine Run 10K/5K Austin, TX • Travis Country 5K Run Austin, TX • Mobile Loaves and Fishes 5K Cedar Park, TX • Sunshine Run 10K/5K (and Fastest Dog 5K) Austin, TX •

Phone. Gels. ID. Cash.

May 9 Ants in your Pants 5K Pflugerville, TX •

5K Pfun Run Pflugerville, TX index.aspx?NID=1159

Color Vibe 5K San Antonio, TX • thecolorvibe. com/sanantonio.php

Rockin’ R Toobin’ Triathlon Gruene, TX • redemptionrp. com/RockinRTri

March of Dimes Austin Run for Babies Round Rock, TX • runsignup. com/Race/TX/SanAntonio/13th AnnualJonsRunStroll

May 23 Run to Hear Pflugerville, TX • runtohear. org/?page_id=1748

Spa Girl Tri San Antonio, TX • spagirltri. com/spa-girl-tri-san-antonio Spartan Super 8-Mile Mud Run (1st Weekend) Burnet, TX • Texas Flower Country Women’s 10K/5K Fredericksburg, TX May 10 Spartan Sprint 3-Mile Mud Run (1st Weekend) Burnet, TX • May 13 Dam Mile Race Georgetown, TX May 15 Brew Mile Run Circuit of the Americas, Austin, TX • May 16 The Color Run 5K Austin, TX • events/ Spartan Sprint 3-Mile Mud Run (2nd Weekend) Burnet, TX • Vern’s No Frills 5K Georgetown, TX May 17 Spartan Super 8-Mile Mud Run (2nd Weekend) Burnet, TX •

Luling Country Fair 5K Luling, TX • lulingcountryfair. org/5k-run/ Police and Firefighters Memorial 5K San Antonio, TX • May 24 American Hero 25K Run/ Relay and 5K San Antonio, TX event-details/


Carry all of your race day essentials!

June 6 Dog Days of Summer 5K San Antonio, TX • carreraraces. com/dogdays5k.asp June 7 Skeese Greets Iron Girl Triathlon Austin, TX • pages/Info.html June 11 Maudie’s Moonlight Margarita Run 5K Austin, TX • June 13 The Fit Foodie 5K Austin, TX • runsignup. com/Race/TX/Austin/ FitFoodieAustinTX XTERRA Muleshoe Off Road Triathlon Spicewood, TX • June 14 XTERRA Muleshoe 16K/6K Trail Runs Spicewood, TX •

Autism Speaks 8K Run Austin, TX • registration May 25 Lifetime CapTex Triathlon Austin, TX •

June 20 Dos Rios Splash and Dash 5K New Braunfels, TX • bit. ly/1GkTJ8R

May 27 Capital of Texas Triathlon Austin, TX •

Vern’s No Frills 5K Georgetown, TX

May 30 Fight For Air Climb – Frost Bank Tower Austin, TX •

June 21 Lake Pflugerville Triathlon Pflugerville, TX •

Austin Wicked Wine Run 5K Spicewood, TX •

June 26 Midsummer Night’s Dream – Women’s 5K Run San Antonio, TX •

Rogue Trail Series – The Ranch 30K/10K Austin, TX • roguetrailseries. com/ranch/

June 27 Keep Austin Weird 5K Austin, TX

Texas 4000 Atlas Ride Cedar Park, TX •

Capt'n Karl's Trail Series – 60K/30K/10K Johnson City, TX

04.2015 • au stinfI tmaga z m • 97

The Official Race Belt of the


Tell us about it! Give us a shout at @AustinFit. We'd love to hear about your experience!

Cedar Bark Park Call your canine friends and tell them to jump in the car. You’re headed on an adventure to a place—a paradise—where dogs can roam free.

98 • au sti nf Itm agazi ne. c o m • 04.2 015

Thanks to Teddy Bear Carls, our 2-year-old Havanese mix, for reviewing this month’s dog park. Tag along on his adventures at #teddybearcarls on Instagram.

photography by Weston Carls


ocated 25 miles northwest of Austin, Cedar Bark Park is a fenced-in, 5-acre park where dogs can run, swim, play, and sniff around sans leash. The entrance to the park is marked by a giant, circular cement paw print—letting both humans and their canine counterparts know they’ve entered a dog sanctuary. A quick look around and you’ll see dogs of every size, breed, and color jumping in, around, and out of things. The park is separated into two fenced-off sections to segregate small and large dogs and compacted dirt covers most of the grounds—a soft surface area for those playful, sweaty paws to land. The area is like an outdoor spa for dogs in that it offers many amenities to ensure your time spent there is effortless. Benches, drinking fountains, pet waste stations, and dog showers abound to make sure both the park and your pup stay spotless. A dip (or Olympic-like dive) into the wooden pier-rimmed dog pond will cool off your canine during the hot summer months, and a focal water fountain feature in the center of the pond makes for a classy touch. While the water may be the first feature to grab your furry friend’s attention, there are other points of interest in the park to keep your dog entertained. Seesaws scattered around the grounds encourage your pup to practice his or her balancing skills; huge tunnels invite your dog and his new canine pals to play a quick pick-up game of tag; and ramps positioned sporadically throughout the space simulate small hills for your four legged friend to try and summit. The best part about this park is possibly the fact that it’s divided into two different sections to make sure your dog stays safe and has fun. Dogs under 30 pounds can play with friends of his or her own size, while bigger dogs over 30 pounds have their own section of the park to wrestle and romp around in. The dog pond portion of the park is for big dogs, but open to pups of any size who are friendly and adventurous. Forget the dog toys in your rush to leave the house? No worries. The park provides its own balls and Frisbees for your fluff baby to play with to their heart’s content. If you’re on a mission to make your dog feel spoiled and—let’s be honest—exhausted, the Cedar Bark Park is worth the trip. Both of you are sure to leave happy—knowing you now have a new place to get outside, meet new people and pups, and play. That rearview mirror glance to catch fido napping in the back seat never felt so rewarding.

Get lucky in a VW Beetle color for illustration purposes only, and no, it does not come with a pile of gold inside...

You will count your lucky stars you came in to purchase a vehicle at Hewlett Volkswagen in Georgetown. We have the top rated customer service in Central Texas, a huge inventory of options, and free green beer. Ok, there will be no beer at our dealership. But we do have the best car buying experience from here to Ireland. True story.

Isn’t it time you came out to play?

There’s a whole lot to love about the 2015 Subaru Forester.® The spacious interior. The capability. The Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive with 32 mpg.* Plus, it has the highest possible small SUV safety rating from IIHS. Put it all together, and it’s a vehicle you will always be able to depend on. Love. It’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru.

Subaru and Forester are registered trademarks. *EPA-estimated hwy fuel economy for 2015 Subaru Forester 2.5i CVT models. Actual mileage may vary. †MSRP excludes destination and delivery charges, tax, title, and registration fees. Retailer sets actual price. 2015 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited shown has an MSRP of $28,095. **Purchase or lease any new (previously untitled) Subaru and receive a complimentary factory scheduled maintenance plan for 2 years or 24,000 miles (whichever comes first.) See Subaru Added Security Maintenance Plan for intervals, coverages, and limitations. Customer must take delivery before 12-31-2015 and reside within the promotional area. At participating dealers only. See dealer for program details and eligibility. Subaru and Forester are registered trademarks.

April 2015 - 7th Annual AFM Fittest Dogs  

These pups beat out a field of more than 100 dogs to be named the fittest in the city. Training for Total Victory: American Ninja Warrior is...

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