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JUNE 2014


116 lbs


122 lbs


67 lbs


231 lbs

BIggest loser

Fargo Edition


meet the



ummer is finally in full swing (and so is baseball season! — pun intended). It seemed like the cloudiness of May would never end, but at the same time, I think May only lasted a week. Time flies. Usually I gauge the beginning of summer by my first baseball game of the season or first trip out on a boat. I have yet to get out on the water, but nevertheless I’m embracing the heat radiating off that strange yellow orb in the sky we hardly saw all of last month.

Madalyn Laske


elcome to June, readers! I, for one, can’t believe it’s already here. I’ve officially gotten my first sunburn of the season (I’m a redhead, okay?) and the Fargo Marathon has come and gone. I’ve lounged in the sunshine, danced in the rain and gone for a three hour bike ride, so June is off to a pretty good start. Then again, I have yet to attend my first cook-out of the season, so summer hasn’t actually begun in my book… So, who will come if I host a healthy cook-out? OK, thankfully I know at least a few people who would come — and

Meagan Pittelko

Speaking of running, this month we chatted with some inspirational men and women about what it takes to be a big loser. OK, a big weight loser that is. Collectively, these four have lost 536 lbs. Yes, you read that correctly. The best part about my job is my renewed finding that people are amazing, and I certainly found that with these Biggest Losers. Get motivated to drop those love handles and check out our cover story this month.

I hope you are excited to dive into this month’s issue. I know Meg and I enjoyed working on it!

Madalyn Laske

By now we hope your legs have recovered from the Fargo Marathon. Thanks to everyone who participated and made the tenth annual event one that will be hard to forget.

We also featured Taylor Hager and her journey through competitive weight lifting. I was fortunate enough to catch her in between reps to talk about her impromptu success with weight lifting.She explained what it’s like training at the Olympic Training Site in Marquette, Mich.

they’re all featured in this month’s cover story (did you see what I did there?). We got to talk to some of the area’s “Biggest Losers,” which inspired and amazed me and, ultimately, made me feel like getting my butt back to the gym. Whether you want to lose 231 pounds like Sara Johnson or just gain muscle this summer, this issue is packed with tips on how to achieve your weight loss goals. Start eating right (hit up one of the many Farmers’ Markets in town!) and get some form of daily exercise, whether it’s spending a couple hours in your garden or going for a multimile run. As the saying goes, “No matter how slow you are, you’re still lapping the people on the couch.” This month, we’ve also put together a list of parks in the area so you can enjoy the weather and spend some time outdoors with the people you love. Grab your kids and head to a playground. Take your significant other on a picnic. Play a round of disc golf with a group of friends. However you choose to spend your summer, get away from technology for a while and do something outside. Leave your phones at home and enjoy the beauty around you. Deal? As F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

Meagan Pittelko 2

Stride • June 2014

Stride is published 12 times a year and is free. Copies are available at over 1,000 Fargo-Moorhead locations and digitally at

JUNE 2014 Publisher

Spotlight Media LLC. President/Founder

Mike Dragosavich Editorial Director

Andrew Jason

Associate Editors

Meagan Pittelko, Madalyn Laske Graphic Design

Sarah Geiger, Paige Mauch Research/Contributors

Meagan Pittelko, Madalyn Laske, Gwendolyn Hoberg, Julie Garden-Robinson, Alexis Klemetson Copy Editors

Andrew Jason, Lisa Marchand, Meagan Pittelko, Madalyn Laske, Scott Eickschen

Spotlight Media General Manager

Brent Tehven

Sales Manager

Paul Hoefer


Tracy Nicholson, Paul Bougie Circulation Manager

Codey Bernier Administration

Erika Olson

Web Developer

Nick Schommer Photography

J. Alan Paul Photography, Ben Gumeringer, Heidi Jaeger, Paul Flessland Delivery

Chris Larson, George Stack, Matt Johnson



CONTACT 502 1st Ave N Ste 100 Fargo,ND 58102 701-478-7768

Stride Magazine is published by Spotlight Media LLC. Copyright 2014 Stride Magazine & All Rights Reserved. No parts of this periodical may be reproduced without written permission of Stride Magazine & Stride Magazine & will not be held responsible for any errors or omissions found in the magazine or on Spotlight Media LLC., accepts no liability for the accuracy of statements made by the advertisers.


e h t t e e m


Every month, Spotlight Media brings you Stride, Fargo Monthly, Bison Illustrated and Design & Living Magazine. Here are the people who make these wonderful mags.





















Stride • June 2014





To learn more about the team at Spotlight Media and our four magazines, go to spotlightmedia



Biggest Loser


Brains and Brawn


Gwen Hoberg hits the gym to try “manly” workouts in honor of National Men’s Health Week this month. She logs her experience and encourages women to step out of their normal weight lifting routines.


Eat Smart NDSU professor and nutrition specialist Julie Garden-Robinson discusses the importance of keeping you and your children’s diets healthy this summer. She provides tips, tricks and treats to try.


Events Calendar Summer is here! Get your family out and about using the handy-dandy events calendar we compiled for you.

No Offseason

Charity of the Month


Recycle, Reuse, Redistribute. If someone needs it, HERO finds a way to provide it. These words make up the backbone of HERO, the nonprofit organization we highlighted this month.


Parks Galore

Enjoy this photo collage – starring you and everyone you know from the Fargo Marathon! We hope your legs have recovered from those 26.2 miles by now.


Biggest Loser These men and women may have lost weight, but they’ve gained confidence. We chatted with some inspirational men and women about how they were able to drop the pounds and change their lives in the process.


Get Involved Email with your story ideas. Check out for additional stories. Find us on Facebook by going to


Stride • June 2014

No Offseason Fargo native Taylor Hager has gone from graphic design artist to competitive weight lifter. Hager, who is participating at a national level this fall, clues us in on what it takes to train as a student-athlete at an Olympic training site.

There are over 150 parks in the local Fargo/Moorhead/West Fargo area. Find your next favorite picnic spot, frolf course or dog park with our help.


Spotted at the Marathon

Ashley’s June Step Into Summer Workout Ashley Sornsin, group fitness instructor, leads us through a challenging stair workout. These intervals and exercises are sure to jump-start your day.


be a man

National Men’s Health Week is June 9-15 this year. The purpose of the week, according to is “to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.” When I learned about this campaign, though, a twist to the concept occurred to me.


have promoted the health benefits of weightlifting for many years, but there are a few weightlifting moves I have never tried because they’re perceived as manly, in that they build muscles typically associated with a masculine physique: trapezius, neck, calves, forearms. I don’t know any women who wish their calves were more bulging or their neck looked more ripped. If you’re a woman who does, more power to you, but it’s not a look I’m after myself.

Nevertheless, the discovery of Men’s Health Week was my catalyst for an experiment in gender-bending. What would it be like to do these “manly” moves? To find out, I set off to the gym one recent evening with two male friends, both longtime weightlifters, for a workout of shrugs, calf raises, wrist raises and neck lifts. (A few people whose insight I had sought on this experiment told me the dead lift, a lower back exercise, was the manliest exercise they could think of. I rarely see women do these, it’s true, but I am already one who does.) Shrugs were up first. They’re pretty simple—just a shoulder shrug, only with a weighted bar in your hands. I was able to do 10 reps with one “cheating” rep using momentum at the end, by which point my grip strength was giving out in addition to my trapezius strength. My notes from


Stride • June 2014


Gwen hoberg


My Gender-Bending Gym Experiment

Gwen has been a weightlifter for almost 10 years and lives in Moorhead. She is also an editor, writer and classical musician.

the evening don’t mince words: “I don’t like these.” It’s just as well, since strong traps aren’t all that functional on a daily basis compared to strong legs or a strong lower back, and large traps are among the greatest contributors to a masculine appearance. Next were calf raises. I stood at the Smith machine with my heels hanging off a short platform, and did two sets of repetitions with 70 pounds weighting me down at the shoulders. I felt neutral about this exercise. I could feel the burn in my calves, but it was a more pleasant pain, if that makes sense, than the shrugs had produced. Still, I don’t perceive a need for these in my normal strength training regimen. I moved on to wrist raises to work my forearm muscles. Sitting at a preacher curl bench and grasping a 45-pound bar with my palms down, I attempted a set of this move that’s like a slow-motion flick of the wrist. I could barely do one repetition, so I switched to a palms-up grip, which enabled me to do a set of eight. Then I experimented with a few sets of single-wrist raises with free weights. I discovered that my left wrist and forearm are significantly weaker than my right side—no surprise, given that I’m right-handed. Beyond that, this wasn’t a revelatory exercise. Like the calf raises, I didn’t hate these, but I didn’t particularly like them, either.

At this point, one friend suggested that I try out the farmer’s walk, a manly-seeming move he had just remembered. The idea is to mimic a farmer carrying pails of milk: you pick up about the heaviest free weights you can and walk something like 30 paces out from the weight rack and 30 paces back. I was up for anything, so I selected two 50-pounders and did the 60 paces. I wish I had thought to take my ring off, as it was really cutting into my finger by the end. Apart from that, I quite liked this exercise, and plan to add it to one of my weight routines. It will help me develop more forearm and hand strength to make pull-ups a bit easier. The final exercise was neck raises. I wanted to try these with a strap that wraps around your head with a chain hanging down to support a weight—it hints at a torture device, but definitely looks manly—but my gym didn’t have this type of strap. So my friends helped me improvise a neck-strengthening move. I lay flat on my back on a bench, my head hanging completely off the edge. With a sweatshirt over my forehead to cushion a 10-pound weight, I tilted my head back and forth to work the neck muscles. This one was hard; I did several fewer reps than I thought I’d be able to. It also made me feel ridiculous, mainly because I couldn’t see with the sweatshirt covering my face. But I did a second set anyway, for the sake of the experiment. A little later into the evening, my neck felt the most fatigued of all the muscles I had worked.

Ranking of exercises Least Manly Calf raises Farmer’s walk (with wrist raises in the middle) Shrugs (“pretty manly” range) Neck raises at most manly Most Manly But the note I feel it’s important to end with is this: If you’re a woman, don’t hesitate to try exercises that seem like they’re only for men, and if you’re a man, don’t shun “girly” exercises. In the same way that I discovered the farmer’s walk, you might discover something to add to your own repertoire of exercises. It certainly won’t hurt to try.

eat smart


milk breaks this summer

Garden-Robinson Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D.

Julie is a professor and Food and Nutrition Specialist with the NDSU Extension Service.

“I’ll have chocolate milk,” my elementary-

and vitamin D. These nutrients often are lacking in the diets of children and adults.

My daughter nearly always opts for chocolate milk, even when fancy kids’ fruit punch drinks with colorful little umbrellas are on the menu. Chocolate milk has become my child’s favorite restaurant “treat” because we always have gallons of white milk in our fridge at home.

Studies have shown that flavored milks are a way to get growing kids to drink more milk. If schools remove chocolate milk as a choice, overall milk consumption decreases.

age daughter usually says when we go to restaurants.

She loves the taste of chocolate milk. I appreciate the nutritional value. Like white milk, chocolate milk has nine essential nutrients, including calcium, potassium

Athletes may want to take advantage of chocolate milk as a means of quenching thirst and refueling muscles. Chocolate milk has the near-perfect combination of protein and carbohydrate to refuel muscle glycogen, the storage form of glucose, after a workout.

We All Need Bone-building Calcium and Vitamin D School’s out and regular “milk breaks” are over. With different schedules and less structured days, kids’ eating habits can become a little delinquent from the gold-star standard. Dairy breaks are a good idea for adults to boost calcium intake, too. If you like coffee, consider whitening it with milk. You also could try a yogurt-and-fruit break or a cheese-and-cracker break. Children with allergies to milk must avoid milk but they still need a calcium source for strong bones, teeth and for a variety of other functions. Be sure to check the Nutrition Facts label to learn about the calcium and vitamin D in various foods and beverages. Children ages 9 to 13 need 1,300



Stride • June 2014


take regular

milligrams of calcium daily, while most adults need 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily. Here’s a quick tip. On the nutrition label, calcium is listed as a percentage (30 percent of the Daily Value for a cup of milk, for example). Simply add a zero to that number to learn the number of milligrams (300 milligrams in our example). Dairy foods also may help with weight management, according to researchers. In a six-month study, two groups of people consumed the same amount of calories, but one group ate three or four servings of dairy products as part of their diet. The high-dairy group lost

24 pounds, significantly more than the low-dairy group, and they lost more weight in the abdominal area. In other words, eat dairy foods, trim calories and get more exercise if your goal is to lose a “spare tire.” As the weather warms, kids of all ages may opt for soda pop and other sweetened beverages instead of milk as their preferred form of refreshment. This cuts calcium intake and fills them up with empty calories, which can lead to weight gain. Drinking more milk, however, can crowd out sweetened beverages. University of Iowa researchers surveyed the parents of 645 children. They found that kids as young as 2 who drank more milk were less likely to drink many sweetened beverages.

eat smart

try these tips


Drink milk with meals. Aim for at least three daily servings of milk and other dairy foods. Have water with snacks and save sweetened beverages for occasional treats.

Here are some tips to help keep you and your family ahead of the curve when it comes to nutrition practices:


Eat meals as a family as often as possible. Kids who eat with their families have a healthier overall diet, and they consume more calcium-rich milk and fewer sweetened soft drinks.


Try some new dairy-based recipes this summer. Sprinkle cheese on eggs, top baked potatoes with nonfat yogurt and chives and experiment with refreshing smoothie recipes. Try Greek yogurt as a protein-rich snack.

For more information about nutrition and fitness, check out or see the Prairie Fare blog at


Chocolate Bananarama

Milk Mixer

4 c. fat-free milk 1 (4-ounce) package chocolate instant pudding 1 medium banana, cut into chunks 6 ice cubes Place ingredients in a blender. Cover and blend for one minute or until smooth. Pour into four glasses. Serve immediately.


nutrition facts Makes four servings. Each serving has 200 calories 0.5 gram (g) of fat 9 g of protein 41 g of carbohydrate 460 milligrams (mg) of sodium 300 mg of calcium

Have fruit on the side!


Stride • June 2014



family Community Events Calendar

Community Play Day

Trout Fest

Xcel Energy will be sponsoring a free play day. The day will involve fun outdoor games as well as take home crafts. Adult supervision is required and daycares are welcome.

Come learn about fly fishing, casting, entomology, conservation and much more as you explore Woodhaven Pond. Awards will be given following the fishing derby. This is a catch and release event for ages 15 and under.

Rheault Farm 2902 25th St. S, Fargo

June 5 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Share a Story This year’s Share a Story will feature Jim Henson’s Sid the Science Kid. Come and enjoy stories from music, dance and performances by community members. Free books and free food will be provided for this free event. Rheault Farm 2902 25th St. S, Fargo

June 7 10:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Sherlock Mystery Channel your inner Sherlock Holmes to solve the mystery and catch the killer. After, there will be tea and a 221B photo opportunity. All are welcome and costumes are encouraged. Fargo Public Library - Main 102 3rd St. N, Fargo

June 7 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Classical Music Festival Steve Straruch will be emceeing this outside concert. Performances will include the FM Symphony, FM Kicks Big Band, FM Chamber Chorale, Lake Agassiz Concert Band and Penny and Pals. In case of inclement weather, the festival will be moved to Fargo South High School. Rheault Farm 2902 25th St. S, Fargo


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June 8 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Woodhaven North Park and Fishing Pond 4406 44th Ave. S, Fargo

June 9 5:30 p.m.

Teddy Bear Parade Come walk around Island Park with your favorite Teddy Bear. Participation is free but be sure to bring a canned food item for the Great Plains Food Bank. After the parade, the park will be filled with educational booths and carnival games. Dike West 310 4th St. S, Fargo

June 13 10:30 a.m.

Wild West Jamboree Come out for a good ol’ time at this westernthemed event. The day will include music, pony rides, carriage rides, gunnny sack races, barrel car rides, a petting zoo, roping demos, face painting and other games. Rendezvous Park 1055 32nd Ave. NW, West Fargo

June 18 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Skateboarding Day It’s the annual Skateboarding Day at Dike West. Come and enjoy music, free food and pop while celebrating the day. Dike West 310 4th St. S, Fargo

June 21 4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Red River Zoo Camps

Movie Night

All camps include activities, crafts and animal encounters.

Come out to Island Park right when the sun sets to enjoy a movie, free Pepsi and popcorn. Island Park 302 7th St. S, Fargo

June 23 9:30 p.m.

Critter Camp: Amazing Animals Learn about red pandas, wolves, prairie dogs, river otters, cranes and snakes at this week long camp. For ages 4 - 6. June 9-13

Morning and Afternoon Sessions

Watermelon Festival Take a bite out of summer with lots of free activities and watermelon. There will be inflatable games, face painting and plenty of watermelon. Gooseberry Park - Large Shelter 100 22nd Ave. S, Moorhead

Explorer Camp Come learn how birds fly, how reptiles control their body heat and why mammals’ teeth are perfect for them. This camp is for grades 1 -3.

June 26 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.

June 16-20

King Arthur’s Quest

Discovery Camp: Zoorific Zookeeping This camp will walk campers through what it takes to be a zoo keeper. Campers will learn about food preparation, veterinary care and animal enrichment. For grades 4 -6.

The Missoula Children's Theatre will be making a stop in Fargo this month. The troupe brings everything from the set to the costumes, they just won't have a cast. The show will be put on by the children of Fargo. Cost is $5 for adults, $3 for ages 6 -12 and children 5 and under get in for free. Liberty Middle School 801 36th Ave. E, West Fargo

Morning and Afternoon Sessions

June 23-27

Morning and Afternoon Sessions

Register by phone 701-277- 9240 Or online

June 27 2 p.m. & 4:30 p.m.

Red River Zoo 4255 23rd Ave. S, Fargo

For more information on events happening in the Fargo-Moorhead community, check out these sites.

Fargo Monthly

Fargo Library

Fargo Parks

Moorhead Library


West Fargo Parks

Barnes and Noble

All outdoor public pools in Fargo-Moorhead open

Moorhead Parks

June 2.

Yunker Farm



of the

Charity Month HERO

Healthcare Equipment Recycling Organization

Recycle, Reuse, Redistribute. If someone needs it, HERO finds a way to provide it. By Alexis Klemetson Photos by Paul Flessland


ecycle, reuse and redistribute are some of HERO Communications Director Anne Lindstrom’s favorite words. HERO, Healthcare Equipment Recycling Organization, specializes in the redistribution of medical supplies. Lindstrom said, “We try to recycle and reuse, redistribute – use the re-word as much as we possibly can.” Last year alone, HERO managed to keep about 160,000 pounds of medical supplies out of local landfills. “(We) collect usable medical supplies that would otherwise end up in landfills from local hospitals or agencies or even just individuals that come through our door,” Lindstrom said, “and then we redistribute all those supplies to people in need.” Lindstrom said HERO collects everything from Band-Aids and gauze pads to hospital beds, wheelchairs and x-ray machines. The organization takes these donations from area hospitals as well as individuals in the


Stride • June 2014

area. Donations end up in many places; one is the HERO store front. “Everything on our shelves is about 20 percent of the price you would find it retail,” Lindstrom said. This allows individuals in need the opportunity to receive more costly medical supplies. HERO relies on the community not only for donations but also for volunteers. “Our volunteers are our backbone; we always say we are a volunteer-based organization,” Lindstrom said. “Last year, we had nearly $80,000 in value that our volunteers provided.” This past year alone, the help of volunteers allowed the organization to serve 3,000 local individuals and organizations and provide supplies for 50 medical missions. “No one is ever turned away,” Lindstrom said.

HERO’s New Ride

HERO just got its first truck. “The purpose of the HERO Mobile Unit is so that we can serve the rural communities a little better. We hope to launch it by June 1st,” Lindstrom said.

We’ll Take It

There has been a recent influx of wheelchairs in the warehouse. “Wheels of the World donated a bunch of wheelchairs,” Lindstrom said. “They called us and asked if we could use them and we said, ‘Of course.’”

Promise for Haiti

Each year, HERO works with an FM medical group that makes a trip to Haiti. The group is called Promise for Haiti and they perform surgeries and leave the hospital with enough supplies to last until the next year’s trip.

Information Name Healthcare Equipment Recycling Organization

Established 2005

Location 5012 53rd St. S, Fargo


Phone Number 701-212-1921


Parks with Frolf Courses Disc golf - in other words, frolfing - has been gaining followers for years, and shows no signs of slowing down. If you’re in the mood for some leisurely (or competitive!) frolfing, check out one of the FM Area’s frolf courses.

Parks Being outside after a long, harsh winter is (literally) a much-needed breath of fresh air. The FM Area has a multitude of parks available to the community — from frolf courses to the perfect picnic area, there’s a spot to fit every summer need.

By Meagan Pittelko

Iwen Park 1209 52nd Ave. S, Fargo Oak Grove Park 170 Maple St. N, Fargo Trollwood Park 3664 Elm St. N, Fargo Woodlawn Park 400 Woodlawn Dr, Moorhead Rendezvous Park 1055 32nd Ave. W, West Fargo

Dog Parks Want to take your pup for a walk but sick of circling the same culde-sac? There are a number of dog parks in the area for you to take your pet to play if you need a change of scenery.

Brandt Crossing Dog Park 5009 33rd Ave. N, Fargo Dike East 100 2nd St. S, Fargo Yunker Farm Park and Dog Park 1201 28th Ave. N, Fargo Village West Park with Dog Park 4415 9th Ave. Circle S, Fargo Moorhead Dog Park 2600 15th Ave. N, Moorhead


Stride • June 2014

community Parks with Campgrounds If it’s time for some s’mores (and, let’s be honest, when isn’t it time for s’mores?), head to one of the area campgrounds for a weekend or a one night getaway.

Buffalo River State Park 565 155th St. S, Glyndon, MN Lindenwood Campground 1955 Roger Maris Dr, Fargo

Playground Parks Get your kids (and yourself) detached from technology this summer and make it a goal to check out as many new playgrounds as possible. From swing sets to teeter-totters, you’re bound to have a good time.

Horace Mann Park 1025 3rd St. N, Fargo Rendezvous Park 1055 32nd Ave. W, West Fargo Rheault Farms 2902 25th St. SW, Fargo


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Picnic Parks One of the best things about summer is summer weather that goes hand-in-hand with picnic season. If you’d prefer to sit at an actual table for your picnic, there are plenty of parks in the area with designated picnic areas.

Alm Park 1300 Elm St. S, Moorhead Elephant/Percy Godwin Park 100 19th Ave. N, Fargo Friendship Park 360 27th Ave. N, Fargo Gooseberry Mound Park 100 22nd Ave. S, Moorhead

Parks with Pools Despite the cold weather the other 9(ish) months of the year, summer does in fact hit Fargo-Moorhead — sometimes, with a vengeance. Pools in the area are a great way to cool down and have some fun on a hot day.

Davies Recreational Pool 7150 25th St. S, Fargo Island Park Pool 616 1st Ave. S, Fargo Madison Pool 1040 29th St. N, Fargo Northside Recreational Pool 801 17th Ave. S, Fargo

Southwest Recreational Pool 1840 15th Ave. S, Fargo Moorhead Municipal Pool 800 19th St. S, Moorhead Herb Tintes Park 131 6th Ave. E, West Fargo Shady Wood Park with splash pad 3545 4th St. E, West Fargo

biggest loser

Jeremy Lost

116 lbs


67 lbs



Stride • June 2014



231 lbs

BIggest Loser Mick Lost

122 lbs

Fargo Edition

Weight loss is, by all accounts, not easy. This month, Stride found some of FargoMoorhead’s most inspiring weight loss stories and we’re sharing their tips and tricks with you. Not only will they teach you some important things about healthy weight loss, but their stories will definitely encourage you to get to the gym. By Meagan Pittelko and Madalyn Laske Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography


biggest loser

ser Biggest Lo ’s y e ll a V e of th

sara Johnson eight w t s e i v a He 389 lbs ht loss Net weig 231 lbs



Stride • June 2014


fter years of weight gain despite an active lifestyle, Sara Johnson was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

“I was put on more and more medications but I was still gaining enormous quantities of weight all at once,” Johnson said. “I was working out with a trainer and I was staying very active, but I simply could not lose weight.” After dozens of frustrating medical visits and medications to normalize her insulin production and metabolism, Johnson was told that there were pre-cancerous cells in her uterus due to the PCOS. At age 34, she had a full hysterectomy and, eventually, after plateauing at a net weight loss of 100 pounds, Johnson underwent a form of gastric bypass surgery in July of 2013. Since then, she has run multiple races, but the recovery wasn’t easy. “After I finally got the go-ahead to work out, I did,” she said. “I started off walking to the end of the block and back, which turned into two blocks and four blocks.” Now, Johnson has lost over 230 pounds through a healthy diet and exercise regimen. “I worked my butt off, and I will always have to work my butt off because of the PCOS,” she said. “I have a lot of things that I need to be around for my son for because he is high-functioning autistic. He’s the only one I have, and he’s my little angel.” Although her case is unique, Johnson understands the weight loss battle better than most. “You make an appointment to go to the doctor. You make an appointment to go to the dentist,” she said. “So, make an appointment with yourself to spend time on you.”

sara’s Three Tips To Remember: 1. Just start somewhere. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel; you just have to look through the clouds to see it. 2. Try not to get ahead of yourself. 3. Take time to find balance and then do things that keep you in balance.

biggest loser

Mick Pytlik eight w t s e i v a He 375 lbs ht loss Net weig 122 lbs



Stride • June 2014


n September 2013, Mike Pytlik found himself in the ER gripped by the fear that he might be having a heart attack. After being triaged, Pytlik learned that he had not had a heart attack; however, that didn’t lessen the emotional blow.

“The emotion of it hit me and I was like, ‘Holy crap. This is real.’ It was scary,” Pytlik said. “It was, as they say, a proverbial two-by-four to the forehead. It may not have connected squarely, but I saw it swinging.”

Let’s enjoy a Sunday drive without the drive.

After that night, Pytlik connected with a primary care doctor for the first time in a couple of decades. He was put on medication to manage his extremely high blood pressure and realized that it was time to lose weight. He began to lose weight immediately and later became part of a weight loss program at Sanford. He has lost over 120 pounds. “I credit a lot of what I’ve been able to do to my exercise physiologist and dietician at Sanford,” he said. “I can’t imagine trying to do this without the support of my family — my actual family and my work family — and the program.” Every time he weighs in and leaves the program, he texts his family members and e-mails his parents with the news. “When I think about that support,” he said, “it keeps me motivated.” He has changed his lifestyle completely and says that, a year ago, he never would have thought he’d be losing this much weight — let alone, that it would be fun. “There’s some effort that goes into it, obviously,” he said. “But it really hasn’t been hard. Part of that is a mindset change and part of that is motivation.”

“The thought that hit me in the ER last fall was that I don’t want my daughters, when they have kids, to have to say, ‘You would’ve really liked your grandpa.’ Because I wasn’t sure I was going to be here at that point.”


Life after cars.

Sunday Sunday July July13 14 & Sunday Sunday August August24 25 Noon—5pm. Free for everyone. A walking, biking, blading, running, we-don’t-always-need-to-be-driving event in downtown Fargo/Moorhead.

biggest loser

Jeremy Genz eight w t s e i v a He 266 lbs ht loss Net weig 116 lbs



Stride • June 2014


hen Jeremy Genz lost just over 100 pounds, he took a photo with his 103- pound friend. “I told her, ‘When I lose you, we’re going to take a picture together,’” Genz said.

Diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma when he was 5 years old, Genz struggled with the ups and downs of weight gain his entire life due to his weak thyroid. “I was having to work twice as hard to try to lose the same amount of weight,” he said. His life changed on December 21, 2012 when he endured gastric bypass surgery. Instead of letting the surgery do all of the work, he jumped at the chance to partake in physical activity once his doctor gave him the go-ahead. “I was at the gym five days a week,” Genz said. “I wasn’t just going to let the surgery do the work because there are people behind me that are supporting me. I need to put my effort in. They’re caring so much. I need to care as well.” According to Genz, one of the hardest parts of the process is getting motivated. “They only can do it when they’re ready,” he said. “I had to feel ready. I was on a one-way ticket to a heart attack by 40.” Two years and 116 pounds later, the 37-year-old crossed the first item of his “to-do” list off by running the Fargo Half-Marathon in May, and he currently teaches RIPPED, a group fitness class at Family Wellness in south Fargo. “That’s one of the biggest things,” Genz said. “Being able to do the things that I was once able to do. I wanted to be able to run again.”

“I still have one pair of pants that I kept. When I put them on, they literally fell down. I was given a second chance with myself and my body and I didn’t want to screw it up. That’s how I kept that mentality.”

biggest loser

monte Gehrtz eight w t s e i v a He 272 lbs ht loss Net weig 67 lbs



Stride • June 2014


onte Gehrtz works out at least four days a week and teaches multiple classes, including the cardio-intensive RIPPED. He started his weight loss journey even more intensely, though.

“For a while,” Gehrtz said, “I quit drinking, ate clean, cut out starches and ate minimal sweets. I worked out every day. People started telling me that I was too thin.” Instead of continuing to restrict himself, Gehrtz decided that he should start eating and drinking normally again. “I’m not trying to be a bodybuilder,” he said. “I’m just trying to be a healthy person.” Now, he says that he’s a firm believer in just eating healthier and working out on a regular basis. His advice? Don’t limit yourself and don’t latch on to fad diets. “It’s more about having a network of people that hold you accountable,” Gehrtz said. “Plus, knowing that your excuses are only what you want them to be.” Whether you want to look like a bodybuilder or simply lose those love handles, Gehrtz said that the most important thing is deciding exactly what you want out of your own weight loss journey. “You need to know your body and get motivation from other people,” he said. “And if you don’t know where to start, a class is a great place.”

Monte’s Three Tips To Remember: 1. Find and form a workout network. 2. Hang on to your willpower. 3. Know yourself and what you need.

American Gold Gymnastics

biggest loser

tips pros

from the


auringer, who has lost about 130 pounds herself, said that it’s important to approach weight loss slowly.

she said. “There will be bumps in the road and you need to be prepared for that mentally.”

“I started to incorporate foods into my diet and have found an eating plan that works for my lifestyle as I slowly inch my way towards my weight-loss goals,” Lauringer said. “But figuring out a plan and where to start can be very difficult.”

Likewise, Irwin said that the biggest mistake people make is thinking that they’re going to be able to make a quick fix.

She said that it’s important to be realistic about the goals you make and the foods you may decide to give up in the process. “I’m not going to eat an apple while you’re eating a brownie. That’s just not realistic,” Lauringer said. “Find a healthier recipe to satisfy the craving.” Making little life changes at a time is the most important part, according to Lauringer. Even if you don’t see changes at first, she said that it’s important to keep trying. “It’s not always downhill and easy,”

Health coach Emily Lauringer and personal trainer Kyler Irwin weigh in (no pun intended) on some key tips to weight loss. By Meagan Pittelko

“If you are trying to make any drastic weight loss or muscle gain, it has to be a lifestyle change,” he said. “You aren’t going to lose 30 pounds in one day. You might even go back a few steps here and there, and that’s okay.” Irwin said that setting and achieving goals is one of the main keys to successful weight loss and that it’s important to remember that everyone’s goals should be unique. “Keep things in perspective,” he said. “Staying motivated is a very individualized thing. Some people are easily motivated with just a few words while others need more — especially if it feels impossible.”



Stride • June 2014


e v i t a e r C Most of the Marathon

All of you Fargo Marathon runners are crazy, but we picked out some favorites we spotted throughout the weekend. Keep your eyes open for someone you know... Photos by Paul Flessland and Ben Gumeringer


Stride • June 2014

DOWNTOWN FARGO | (701) 232-2491



Stride • June 2014

Taylor Hager has traded in her soccer cleats for dumbbells but kept her work ethic and attention to technique. We chatted with the recent college graduate in between reps to find out what it takes to train at an Olympic Training Site.

No Offseason By Madalyn Laske | Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography



nd what anyone else yo be d an e ov ab is at n ai “The intensity we tr ere is no offweek.” Th n. so ea fs of no is e er ound. Th does and it’s all year ar soccer you are so focused on those small movements and are very precise.”


argo native Hager went to Northern Michigan University for soccer, but veered off two years ago to compete in weight lifting at the Olympic Training Site located in Marquette, Mich. Her journey continues through the summer, culminating at University Nationals in September. Based on her final results from last year, she anticipates to place in the top 8 by the time the meet rolls around, yet she chalks her success up to “the right place, at the right time, with the right people.” Add in a dash of hard work with a sprinkle of dedication and Hager finds herself with a degree in graphic design and no escape from her high school nickname, “thunder thighs.” It turns out that nickname is all too familiar to weight lifters everywhere. “Our coach told us ‘You might as well not even buy jeans because they aren’t going to fit by next month,” Hager said. Although the nickname followed her through high school, Hager never thought she would be competing nationally, let alone participating in competitive weight lifting at all, considering soccer was her first love. “I always knew that I was strong… but I never thought that I’d get to where I am, this fast especially,” said the 21-year-old. However, just like they say, you never forget your first love. Hager’s success in weight lifting stems from the fundamentals she learned in soccer. “One of the things my weight lifting coach was interested in is my technicality and how easily I picked up on the technique and small movements,” Hager said. “He said it’s because in


Stride • June 2014

Unlike powerlifting, Olympic lifting focuses intensely on the techniques of weight lifting. “Powerlifting is all strength, you could be stupid strong and be really good at it,” Hager said. “But Olympic lifting is all about the technique of it. If your pull (of the bar) is slightly off or if one leg is slightly longer than the other it makes a difference.” Powerlifting primarily focuses on squat, dead lift and bench press movements as opposed to the snatch and full clean and jerk movements of Olympic lifting. In addition to hard work paving the way for Hager, a stroke of luck influenced her future as well. Not every college offers a competitive weight lifting team, and even fewer offer an Olympic training site. She not only jumped head first into weight lifting, but into Olympic styled training. “Everyone else is so strong around me,” Hager said. “The intensity we train at is above and beyond what anyone else does and it’s all year around. There is no offseason. There is no offweek.” Even though she has found success through this unique sport, Hager says if she can do it, anyone can. “Especially being from a small area sometimes people think small,” she said. “If you want something you can get it… I wasn’t just given that. I worked for it. You have to motivate yourself and get out there and do it.”

Did You Know? To qualify for University Nationals, they total a lifter’s snatch with his or her clean and jerk weight. Hager’s combined weight total is 135 kilos (about 286 pounds). She needed 110 kilos to qualify. University Nationals are in Albuquerque, N.M. If she does well there, Hager moves on to the American Open meet.



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Ashley’s june Workout STEP INTO R SUMME

warm -up Walk up and down the stairs x2


he month of June marks the beginning of summer and after a long and cold winter, we are all ready to get outdoors. Outdoor workouts are my favorite, and stair running happens to top the list. Nothing compares to being outdoors – enjoying the much anticipated warm weather, sunshine, fresh air and, of course, working up a sweat. Stair running is an amazing cardio workout, and due to the nature of the workout, the intervals create major calorie burn. Climbing and running up the stairs causes your heart rate to rise quickly. Then, as you walk down the stairs, your heart rate drops and recovers a little. Stair running is a form of HIIT (high intensity interval training). HIIT is the perfect workout when you are short on time and want to burn a ton of calories. Stairs, steps and bleachers are all very effective tools for a killer cardio workout, but it doesn’t stop with cardio. A full body workout is possible anywhere, even on the stairs, so this month I’ll show you how to use the stairs to your advantage and get a lower as well as an upper body workout. These intervals and exercises are the perfect combination to jump-start your body into fat-burning mode. This month, take your workout outside, enjoy the fresh air and get your sweat on! *Remember to check with your doctor before starting any new fitness program.

round 1 42

20 reps

Targets: quads, glutes, hamstrings Step forward with your right leg, bending your back knee down so both leg angles are 90 degrees. Push off the front leg, through the heel and bring your left leg forward. Continue traveling forward.

Stride • June 2014

Next, we begin the work! •Complete one “Round of Stairs,” which is four times running up and walking down the stairs. • After completing the stairs, complete 20 reps of the exercise listed. • Continue to the next round of stairs, followed by the exercise listed. • Do this for all five rounds.

By Ashley Sornsin Photos by Ben Gumeringer

Walking Lunges

work -out

20 reps

Targets: chest, shoulders, back, arms Place your hands in front of you on the ground about shoulder width apart. Position your feet onto the step. Lower your chest by bending your elbows, push back up and return to the start.

round 4 Tricep Dips

20 reps

Targets: arms and shoulders Grip the edge of the step with heels of your hands. Lower body until your elbows are bent to 90 degrees. Keep your shoulders down, away from your ears and push yourself back up.

round 3 Mountain Climbers

20 reps

Targets: hip flexors, hamstrings, abs Place your hands in front of you on the step. Bring right knee in towards the chest, quickly switch feet in the air, bring left foot in to the chest and right foot back.)

round 5

round 2

Decline Pushups

Step Jumps

20 reps

Targets: glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves Stand in front of the step, jump up landing with both feet onto the step, using your arms to help propel you up. Jump back down and return to the start.



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Stride June 2014  

Prepare to be inspired as we bring you the story of four individuals who have lost a combined total of more than 500 pounds. We also explore...

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