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Blue Marsh

A Lake for All Seasons |

Life After Silver


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Blue Marsh A Lake for All Seasons


Making Fitness Fun Will Keep you Moving and Motivated




Life After Silver

Protecting Hair

On the Fly

Olympic Swimmer Kristy Kowal Enjoys LIfe in Berks

From Summer Sun is Key to Keeping it Healthy and Strong

Fishing Rejuvenates the Body and Mind


Berks Fitness Calendar


Motivational Words from the Editor Caroline Hill ................................................. 4 Training Swimming Instructor is Key Advocate for Sport that Offers Lifelong Fitness ............ 13 Seasonal Advice Recreation on the Water ........................................................................ 14 Safety Tips Staying Safe on the Water .................................................................................... 15 Doctor's Column Dermatologist Encourages Protecting Your Skin from Summer Sun ...... 16 Staying Fit Pilates ..................................................................................................................... 21

24 The Gear Girls Go To A Running Start, West Reading .................................................... 23 Health & Nutrition Welcome to the Raw Food Revolution ............................................... 26 Local Athlete Profile Dr. Sandy Becker ........................................................................... 28 The Rhythms of Nature ..................................................................................................................

Fitness Berks


motivational words from the editor

Welcome to the summer edition of Fitness Berks. SUMMER 12

Publisher Tracy Hoffmann Niemczyk Hoffmann Group, Inc. Editor: Caroline Hill Creative: Megan Zettlemoyer Advertising: Tom Plasket Web site:

For many of us, summer is a favorite season. With longer days and warm temperatures, we tend to feel more energetic and more active than during other times of the year. One of my favorite places in Berks County is Blue Marsh Lake. My first experience there was learning to water ski . . . many years ago. Since then I’ve utilized the facility in so many ways. I ride my horse, walk my dog, run and bike the 32-plus miles of trails. I ran the Pagoda Pacer’s Blues Cruise 50K race that’s held every October. I cross country ski there, as well as kayak. I am entirely at home there, and not a week goes by that I don’t

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I often hear people refer to their “bucket” lists, filled with places they want to visit or

© 2012 Fitness Berks

people from doing the things they dream about. In my case, a fear of the water prevents

All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced; mechanically, electronically, or by any other means, including photo copying without written permission of the publisher. v

me from signing up for a triathlon. Reading the story in this issue about Sandy Becker, a

enjoy this beautiful resource. goals they want to accomplish. Fear, apprehension and lack of confidence will stop many

local athlete, however, I realized that my fear is just a psychological barrier. Sandy’s story is an inspiring journey of struggles and accomplishments, many of which she has been able to overcome in order to achieve some important goals. We all have these struggles within us, but we also have the means to overcome them. I hope you get inspired as much as I was, and find your own fitness journey. See you out there! Caroline Hill ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, SCW Certified Personal Trainer

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Fitness Events in Berks All events below are open to the public. Some events may require registration, and some may have recommendations or requirements for participant fitness and skill levels. Events are posted under associated organizations. For more information about posted events contact the respective organization or surf the web.


Saturday, July 21

Wednesday, July 4

 Freshburst 5 Mile Run/5k Walk Lititz, PA 8:00 AM

Saturday, July 7

 Dash & Dip 5k Run/Walk and 1 Mile Family Fun Run Quakertown, PA 8:00 AM(1 Mille), 8:30 AM(5k)

 Celebration 5k Run Norristown, PA 8:30 AM  5k Run for Sight Southhampton, PA 9:00 AM

 Hey I Know You 5k Run Macungie, PA 8:30 AM

 World Gym 2012 Firecracker 5-Miler Shillington,PA 9:15 AM

 Running of the Bears 5k Boyertown, PA 8:00 AM

Sunday, July 8

 Double Trouble 15k & 30k Trail Runs Morgantown, PA 9:00 AM  ACS Bike-a-Thon Buena, NJ  JBN Bicycle Race Bethlehem, PA 8:30 AM

Tuesday, July 10

 Trottin’ Tim’s Tuesday Evening 5k Series Race #4 Birdsboro, PA 6:45 PM

Saturday, July 14

 Run Big or Run Home 5k Run & Kids Fun Run Doylestown, PA 8:30 AM  Reigning Fire 5k Run/Walk Mount Joy, PA 8:00 AM  Jinge in July 5k Reading, PA 8:30 AM

Sunday, July 15

 J og ‘n Hog Yardley, PA (Shady Brook Farm) 8:30 AM  S teelman Open Water Swim Quakertown, PA

Thursday, July 19

 Thirsty Thursday Evening 5k Series Race #4 Reading, PA (Trooper Thorns) 6:45 PM

 Bald Bear Triathlon (Sprint Distance) Macungie, PA (Bear Creek Mountain Resort) 7:30 AM  Paddling Skills Workshop Blue Marsh Lake - Stilling Basin Cost $15 Pre-reg by 7/13 to 610.374.2944 1:00-4:00 PM

Sunday, July 22  Run for Taylor 5k Hamburg, PA 9:00 AM

Tuesday, July 24

 Tuesday in the Park 5k Evening Series Race #3 Pottstown, PA 7:00 PM

Saturday, July 28

 Meerland Shuffle 5k Cross Country Race Elverson, PA 8:30 AM  Summer Fun Fest 5k Run, 2.5 Mile Walk & Kids Fun Run Boyertown, PA 8:30 AM  Weekend Warrior Triathlon & 4-Person Relay Shillington,PA 9:15 AM

 Berks County Bicycle Club - * All rides are for riders with some experience. ** New riders should not participate in races 20+ miles long or at high speeds.

Sunday, August 5

 Grings Mill Run 5k & 10k Races & 1/2 Mile Kids Run Reading, PA 9:00 AM

Friday, August 10

 Paddle Up the Tulpehocken Blue Marsh Lake - near Sheidy Boat Ramp Cost $10 Pre-reg by 8/3 to 610.376.6337 3:00 PM

Saturday, August 11  7 Miles at 7 PM Allentown, PA 7:00 PM

Sunday, August 12

 “Half-Wit Half” Marathon 13.1 Miles Reading, PA 9:00 AM  Steelman Triathlon Quakertown, PA

Tuesday, August 14

 SportsFest 5k & 2k Kids Fun Run Allentown, PA 8:00 AM

Monday, July 30


 Trottin’ Tim’s Tuesday Evening 5k Series Race #5 Birdsboro, PA 6:45 PM

Wednesday, August 15  Dash & Splash 5k Hatfield, PA 7:00 PM

Thursday, August 16

 Thirsty Thursday Evening 5k Series Race #5 Pretzel City Sports Reading, PA (Trooper Thorns) 6:45 PM

Saturday, August 18

 Palmer 5k Run and 1 Mile Fun Walk Easton, PA 9:00 AM

Sunday, August 19

 Run4Sam’12 4 Mile and 10k Runs Reading, PA 9:30 AM

 C overed Bridge Metric Lancaster, PA 7:30 AM

Tuesday, August 21

 Tuesday in the Park 5k Evening Series Race #4 Pottstown, PA 7:00 PM

Sunday, August 26

 Perk Up Half Marathon Pennsburg, PA 8:00 AM  Keystone State Triathlon Lewisberry, PA (Gifford Pinchot State Park) 8:00 AM


Saturday, September 2  “Labor Pain” 12 Hour Endurance Trail Run Reading, PA 7:30 AM

Friday, September 7

Tuesday, September 11

 Trottin’ Tim’s Tuesday Evening 5k Series Race #6 Birdsboro, PA 6:45 PM

Thursday, September 20  Thirsty Thursday Evening 5k Series Race #6 Reading, PA (Trooper Thorns) 6:45 PM

Saturday, September 22  St. Ignatius 5k and 1/2 Mile Walk Kids Fun Run Yardley, PA 8:30 AM

Tuesday, September 25

 Weaver’s Bike Shop Wildlands Challenge Adventure Race Bernville, PA 9:00 AM

Saturday, September 29  Bruiser Memorial 5k Run & Sarge Memorial 1 Mile Fun Walk Allentown, PA 9:00 AM

 Bird-In-Hand 5k and Kids Fun Run Bird-In-Hand, PA 6:30 PM

 Tim Lambert BSA Memorial 10k Run & 5k Run/Walk Easton, PA 10:00 AM(5k), 10:30(10k)

Saturday, September 8

 Michael Wise 5k & 1/2 Mile Kids Run Reading, PA 10:00 AM

 Dublin Borough 5k Run and 1 Mile Fun Run Dublin, PA 9:00 AM

 ChesapeakeMan Ultra Distance Triathlon Cambridge, MD

 Y102 Yes I Can 5k Reading, PA (Grings Mill) 9:30 AM(.5 Mile), 10:00 AM (5k)

 Ironman 70.3 Pocono Mountains Stroudsburg, PA

 Firefighter 5k Run/Walk Mt. Wolf, PA 8:15 AM(1 Mile), 9:00 AM (5k)

Sunday, September 30

 Amish Country Bike Tour Dover, DE 8:00 AM

Sunday, September 9

 Shoofly Classic Invitational Ride Oley, PA

Monday, September 10  Pet Supplies Plus Doggie Dash & Walk Reading, PA (Nolde Forest) 9:15 AM

 Breakaway Sports -  Pretzel City Sports -  Trimax Endurance Sports -  Lehigh Wheelmen Association -  Endurance Multisport Club -  Berks Co. Parks and Rec. -

Fitness Berks


Blue Marsh A Lake for All Seasons By Caroline Hill, with Jeff Piscanio, Blue Marsh Park Ranger

Summer is the perfect time for water activities, getting into shape and being outside. And, the place in Berks County to pursue all of those endeavors is Blue Marsh Lake. Blue Marsh Lake and its surrounding trails are suitable for almost any fitness

the trails for monthly training exercise, and in the process have graded and

activity. The diversity of the terrain caters to everything from beginner

improved the trail surfaces.

mountain biking to the most advanced. The lake itself, with 1,147 acres of surface, has no wake zones, which is perfect for kayakers and paddle boarders, yet offers plenty of space for those that want to increase the pace and do some water skiing or jet skiing.

The Blue Marsh trail connects with the Berks County Union Canal trail via a connector trail from the Stilling Basin to the Reber’s Bridge area. This 1.8-mile trail was developed through a partnership between the Corps of Engineers and the Berks County Parks Department. This connector trail is also part of the

“We offer a little bit of something for everybody,” said Jeff Piscanio, a Blue

Schuylkill River Trail, which will eventually extend the entire length of the river

Marsh park ranger.

from Pottsville in Schuylkill County to Philadelphia – a distance of 130 miles.

A 29.7-mile trail system encircles the lake, which was constructed

Blue Marsh features three boat ramps: Dry Brooks, State Hill and Sheidy.

between 1974 and 1979 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and located

The Sheidy boat ramp is operated by the PA Fish and Boat Commission, and

approximately six miles northwest of Reading. The trails are open to all

all boats launched from there must meet state launching regulations. Many

non-motorized use, such as hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.

kayakers have found the small tributary on Peacock Road as a place to enter

They take users through various habitat types, ranging from open fields to

the lake. There are several areas for parking, with easy access to the trails. One

mature forest. Surfaces vary from mowed grass to compacted soil, and gravel to

of the larger lots is the Church Road Bernville lot, which allows access to the

abandoned roads, with terrain varying from wide open spaces to single track

water as well as trails on the front side and back side of the lake and back side

through the forest. About 6,200 acres are the property of the Army Corps of

of the old ski slope. A small lot on Lake Road gives access to Skinner’s Loop.

Engineers, and approximately 2,900 acres are designated as State Game Lands.

The State Hill Boat Launch (fees charged) offers access to the Squirrel Run

Area volunteers, such as scouting groups, school groups, civic groups and

Nature Trail, in addition to the water.

community service workers have helped construct the trails over a period

There are many recreational opportunities at Blue Marsh Lake in addition to

of years with Corps of Engineers employees. Local Army Reserve units use

the multi-use trail. Most of the lands are open to public hunting, and the trails

Fitness Berks


Blue Marsh Quick Facts • 38 Miles of shoreline • 36 Miles of trails • 1,147 acres of water to fish or boat • • facebook: are popular for walking, running and dog walking. Wildlife and bird watching are popular activities, especially during the fall hawk migration. The lake is used for many different trail events throughout the year, including trail marathons, team trail challenges, mountain bike races and volunteer trail days such as National Trails Day and National Public Lands Day events. There are 29 caches (geocaching) locations at Blue Marsh, which is known as one of the best single track mountain bike trails in the country. Blue Marsh Lake and its surrounding trails and recreational areas are Berks County treasures. Check out the website or stop at the ranger station for a list of activities to get started.

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Making Fitness Fun will Keep You Moving and Motivated By Stacy Brown and the Sunshine Wellness Team

If you began a fitness program in early spring, chances are that you might be getting a little bored by now, or just ready to try something new. Here are a few quick tips to help keep you moving and motivated as we move into the hottest months of the year. Mix it up! Individuals often join a gym, repeat the same workout on the same pieces of equipment year after year, and wonder why they aren’t seeing changes in their bodies. If you are working out, try something different – join a dance class or try a new group training format. Purchase a fitness magazine or make an appointment with a certified personal trainer who will create a personalized workout plan. Find a Partner! If you’re having trouble sticking to your workouts, find a workout partner.There is success in numbers! Surround yourself with a great support system that will help you become more accountable and encourage you on the days that you don’t feel like working out. Keep it fun! Always remember that exercise should be fun. You are participating in an activity that is “life giving.”The days are gone in which you feel like you’re dying, sick or being yelled at. Exercise isn’t about punishment, but about doing something good for yourself that will enhance your energy and productivity in every area of life. Think outside the box! Try bowling, ballroom dancing or indoor rock climbing. Any activity that gets you on your feet and out of the house is worth pursuing.We expend an average of 500 to 800 fewer calories than we did a few decades ago because of our sedentary lifestyles.We believe that all you have to do is start moving more in your life, thereby eliminating the need to spend hours in the gym every week! A great way to do this is to find a lifetime activity that you enjoy! Nix the excuses and, as Nike says, “Just Do It!” Exercising regularly, eating well and taking the time to relax and nourish your body will make you feel happier. It will give you greater stamina and mental toughness, and make you a clearer, stronger thinker. It will make you more patient and loving.There are 168 hours in a week. Surely each and every one of us, regardless of our hectic schedules, can carve out three to five of them to care for our bodies. Stacy Brown is the owner of Sunshine Wellness Resources, LLC, West Reading. Fitness Berks



r Life


K y o t s w i

After Silver

By Susan Shelly

Olympic Swimmer Kristy Kowal Enjoys Life in Berks County as a Teacher, Volunteer Coach Kristy Kowal realized an almost lifelong dream when she was just 21, winning a silver medal in the 200-meter breaststroke at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. She continued as a competitive swimmer for four more years after the Olympics, retiring from the sport in 2004 – two days after she turned 26.

Coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games from London begins Friday, July 27 on NBC Sports. With approximately 5,000 hours of coverage across all platforms, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Find the complete schedule of coverage at

The Olympic trials meet is the most intense, high-pressure thing you can imagine — Kristy Kowal

Now 33, Kowal, who lives in Spring Township, has returned to the pool – this time as a volunteer coach and director of swim clinics.

Kowal’s Olympic aspirations first became apparent when she was about eight years old when she watched televised Olympic swimming.

A third-grade teacher at Whitfield “I remember thinking that was the Elementary School, Kowal lends her aquatic coolest thing in the whole world,” Kowal expertise to Wilson High School’s girls swim recalled. “I wasn’t a good swimmer at all team under the direction of Tom Houck, then, but I told my parents I was going to head coach. While she loves working with swim in the Olympics.” young swimmers, her decision to get back Fast forward to her junior year at to the pool was not an easy one. Wilson, when Kowal, who by this “I stayed away from the sport for almost six time had qualified as a member of the years after I retired because I just wasn’t United States Swimming Team, took ready to see a pool,” Kowal said during a second place in the U.S. nationals in recent interview with Fitness Berks. “Then breaststroke. he (Houck) literally called me out and “That was the first time I really thought I asked if I was ready to give back to the might have a shot at the Games,” Kowal sport that had given so much to me.” said. “I started to believe then that In addition to helping with the Wilson team, Kowal works with swimmers during the summer at the Green Valley Country Club. And, she participates in weekend clinics with the Mutual of Omaha Breakout! Swim Clinic, a program that matches young swimmers with Olympians to inspire and motivate a new generation of stars.

maybe it really could happen.” Qualifying for the Olympics, however, is not an easy task. Although Kowal’s swimming career was taking off – she broke a national high school record during a district meet while swimming for Wilson – her Olympic dreams remained elusive when she failed to qualify for the 1996 games.

“The Olympic trials meet is the most intense, high-pressure thing you can imagine,” Kowal said. “You have to be number one or number two in your race on the night of your race. You can be a winner for 364 days, but if you have a bad day on the day of your race, you’re not going to swim in the Olympics.”

Setting Her Sights on the 2000 Games Discouraged, but still determined, Kowal kept working. By this time she was swimming for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, a team she helped lead to three straight NCAA championships. And, in 1998 she became the first American woman to win the World Championship title in the 100-meter breaststroke. With the 2000 Olympic trials approaching, Kowal devoted everything she had to swimming. By the time the trials rolled around in August in Indianapolis, Kowal could only hope that she was ready. “I just remember being so nervous,” she said. “I was terrified.” Kowal missed qualifying for the 100-meter breaststroke by one onehundredth of a second in her first round of trials. The second time, however, she did it – qualifying to compete in the 200-meter race. “It was everything I’d hoped and worked so hard for, right at that moment,” Kowal remembered. “It was just such a relief.” When it was time to travel to Sydney in September, Kowal was ready to swim. Shortly after winning the silver medal, she recalled the days leading up to her race during an interview with I tried to stay very relaxed for the few days leading up to my event. I spent time with my parents who always help me remain calm. I cheered for my teammates, and thanks to the cell phone I was given, I talked to my friends at Fitness Berks


was the perfect way to transition from swimming to teaching. “I’m glad I had education as my major,” she said. “It was a great and easy transition into the real world.”

I realized that it is not about the color of medal you win, it is about the experience — Kristy Kowal

home. Right before the race I listened Amanda Beard, who won third, was just to music on my headphones. When I’m as happy as the both of us. waiting in the Ready Room, I usually am Kowal’s Second Love – Teaching still singing the last song that I heard. Kowal retired from swimming in October This time it was NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye.” 2004, the same year she was named I sat there singing and dancing to myself. as a captain of the U.S. national team in I didn’t want the pressure to get to me. the World Championships. She tried out As hard as she tried to remain calm, again for the 2004 Olympics, but missed Kowal recalled being extremely nervous qualifying by one spot. At that point, she prior to her race. Her commitment and knew that she was ready to step away years and years of hard work paid off, from the sport. however, as she finished just behind “I’d been swimming for 22 years of my Hungarian swimmer Agnes Koács for the life. I just knew I was ready to get away silver medal. from the pool,” she said. After winning, she told how She took off a year to follow her brother, she felt while waiting on the platform to Keith Kowal, who was a standout receive her medal. volleyball player at Penn State. On the platform, I was thinking that this “He had traveled all around and followed is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever me, and now I had a chance to done. I found my parents in the crowd. reciprocate,” she said. They were holding up a big sign that said Kowal, who had graduated from the “Go KK.” I realized that it is not about the University of Georgia with an education color of medal you win, it is about the degree, also started substitute teaching. experience. I think I was just as happy Being in the classroom in that capacity as the girl who won the gold, and I think

12 Fitness Berks

She was hired by the Wilson School District as a full time teacher in 2005, and has enjoyed her work tremendously. Immersing herself in teaching, she said, helped her to leave competitive swimming behind – with no regrets. “My job as a teacher does not allow for a comeback,” she said. “And, that has helped me to make that transition.” Kowal enjoys traveling during her summers off from teaching, and hopes to continue exploring the world. She plans to continue to teach, and does not rule out the possibility of getting more involved with coaching. “We’ll see what happens,” she said. “I love teaching, and I see myself doing that for a while. But other than that, who knows? Life has been good. I’ll just wait to see what else it brings.” Editor’s Note: In addition to winning the silver medal in 2000, Kowal is a twotime World Champion in the 100-meter breaststroke and the 400 medley relay. She has won numerous international swimming medals and has broken eight American records during her career. Kowal also was the first American woman to win the World Championship title in the 100-meter breaststroke. In April, Kowal was inducted into the University of Georgia’s Circle of Honor for her accomplishments. You can watch video of the induction sports/c-swim/spec-rel/041612aaa.html

Swimming Instructor is Key Advocate for Sport that Offers Lifelong Fitness By Jennifer Seale

Swimming is an excellent way to combat the heat of summer, but the benefits of swimming go way beyond the sport’s cooling effects. Local swim expert and educator, Cindy Schaeffer, M. Ed., has more than 40 years of experience in the aquatics field. She shared her extensive knowledge about swimming and how everyone can benefit from this life-long sport. “The biggest benefit of swimming is how truly accommodating it is for everybody and every body,” Schaeffer said. “People of all ages can enjoy this activity, no matter what their level of ability.” Swimming employs all the major muscle groups, making it an excellent sport for total body fitness. It increases cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance without creating stress on the body.

“It builds confidence, lessens fear and is an activity that people can continue to participate in as they get older,” Schaeffer said. Schaeffer instructs students of all levels and abilities using the Red Cross Learn to Swim Program. The program spans six levels, beginning with water exploration and primary skills building to more advanced skills of stroke development and proficiency. Schaeffer, who is also a elementary physical education teacher in the Conrad Weiser School District, is a strong advocate for teaching children the benefits of fitness while they are young. “Developing good habits in children is paramount for their success in the future.” says Schaeffer. “Children involved with fitness early on are more likely to engage in other physical activities when they grow older.

Swimming is a perfect introduction to fitness. Small children have not Sharon Heck, 46, of developed a fear of the Aquatics Instructor/Trainer, Cindy Schaeffer, M.Ed, assists student and grandson, Collin Woods, during a Water water. Their bodies are Sinking Spring, is Safety Class at Body Zone relaxed, which makes an avid runner and swimming much easier. tennis player who has Children learn, early, that fitness is fun.” also started swimming. She initially took lessons at Body Zone to become more proficient and comfortable in the water. The leveled classes are not just for beginners, said Schaeffer,

“Swimming has given me the opportunity to experience a total body workout without the risk of injury,” she said. And, for athletes like Heck, the low-impact, maximum benefit workout of swimming is an excellent cross-training element of a regular routine. Schaeffer strongly believes that everyone should learn to swim, which, in addition to reducing the risk of drowning, carries other benefits.

but also for people looking to feel confident in the water with their children, lose weight or accomplish athletic goals. Classes are open to all ages and abilities. If you don’t know how to swim, learn. Be proactive with your children and sign them up too. Swimming is a fun, multigenerational activity that is available to everyone. So what are you waiting for… jump in!! Fitness Berks


Recreation On the Water By Susan Shelly

How many of us pass by – or over – the Schuylkill River on an almost daily basis, rarely, if ever, taking the time to appreciate it and all that it provides? The river provides a venue for a variety of recreational activities.

You can learn the locations of the Schuylkill River access points and find estimates of how long it will take you to get from one point to another on a water trail map issued by the Schuylkill River Heritage Area organization.

Today, the river and its banks serve as important recreational areas for residents who live in the communities along them and visitors. The multi-use Schuylkill River Trail, projected to cover the entire nearly 130-mile length of the river when completed, is used for biking, running, walking, rollerblading and other activities. Near Philadelphia, the trail is a popular commuting path for some workers.

The organization oversees the Schuylkill River Heritage Area, a designation that celebrates the history and culture of the Schuylkill River region and its people. The river received this designation from the U.S. Congress in 2000. It is intended to revitalize and restore the region through preservation, education, recreation, community revitalization and tourism. Based in Pottstown, the organization plans events and activities, oversees operations and serves as a watchdog for the river and surrounding areas.

For those who prefer to be on or in the Schuylkill River instead of along its banks, there are ample opportunities for boating, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, tubing and swimming. If you’ve never experienced a sense of adventure on the open waters you may wish to go with the flow and paddle America’s “Hidden River”, discovering a world of fun, adventure, education, and excitement. The Schuylkill River is Pennsylvania’s first designated “Scenic River,” a great getaway river, yet close to everything...its banks are virtually untouched by development. Gorgeous wilderness-like scenery and the pleasures of paddling on the river make this a great family and group activity, and a local and affordable vacation option. You may want to look at some great options with Reading RiverTribe. The gang at Reading RiverTribe will shuttle you to your drop off point (2.5 Miles for Tubes and Rafts or 7 Miles up River for Kayaks and Canoes) and you float back to where you started. Most trips last about 2 or 3 hours. From smooth flowing water river trips to class II whitewater rapids, anyone can enjoy a great day on the River! Corey Rhodes is the owner of Reading River Tribe, a company located at 545 Canal Street in Reading that rents kayaks, canoes and tubes for outings and river float trips.

About Bike Schuylkill Bikes can be borrowed at no cost as part of the Bike Schuylkill program. You must be at least 16 years old and able to show a driver’s license or other valid, state ID. The bikes are available at the following locations: • Bike Schuylkill-Hamburg: State Street Cycles, 695 State St., Hamburg. More information at 610-562-1550 or Hours: Wed., Thurs., Fri. 10am-6pm; Sat. 10am-5pm. • Bike Schuylkill-Pottstown:Tri-County Bicycles, 256 High St., Pottstown. More information at 484-941-6000 or Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10am-6pm; Sat 10am-5pm. Bikes also available at Schuylkill River Heritage Area offices, located near the Schuylkill River Trail at 140 College Drive, Pottstown. Contact at 484-945-0200 or Hours: M-F 8:30-3:30. • Bike Schuylkill-Phoenixville: Phoenix Cycles, 165 Bridge Street, Phoenixville. More information at 610-933-2210 or Hours:Tues.-Fri. 11am-7pm; Sat. 10am-5pm; Sun 12-4pm.

The Schuylkill River, Rhodes said, is an underused resource, and a wonderful place to disconnect from daily concerns and reconnect with family and friends. “It’s all about being outside and being together,” Rhodes said. “The more you get on the river, the more you discover about it, and the more you care about it. We’ve got this phenomenal resource in our back yard. I just think we ought to use it.” Public access points are located along the Schuylkill River and around Blue Marsh lake.The access points, which meet the standards of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission are publicly owned and maintained.

14 Fitness Berks 610.898.0505

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River Resources You can find out more about the Schuylkill River Trail and the Schuylkill River Trail Council at Learn more about the Schuylkill River Heritage Area and access river maps at The site contains information about activities, history and cultural aspects of the river. Rent canoes, kayaks or tubes from Reading River Tribe, 545 Canal St., Reading. Contact and get more information at 610-675-8322 or at

Schuylkill River Outdoors facilitates tubing and rafting trips and provides equipment. Located in Monocacy, between Birdsboro and Douglassville, the company can be reached at 610-582-RAFT. Its website is at The Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center, located near the Philadelphia Museum of Art, offers information to visitors about how water affects their daily lives and how they affect water systems. Built in 1812 to pump water out of the Schuylkill River for residents of Philadelphia, the center contains informative interactive exhibits.You can learn more at or by calling 215-685-0723.

Staying Safe on the Water – Some Tips from an Expert By Christin Kelley

Fitness Berks sat down with former whitewater tour guide Bryan Moll to get the scoop on what will keep you safe in the water this summer. Whether you’re rafting, kayaking, paddle boarding or boating, here are some water safety essentials to get you set before you get wet. Safety rules for in all types of water: - Know how to swim - Use a life jacket - Have a whistle - Check weather conditions and forecasts before you head out for the day - Wear or take along layers – synthetic clothes are best - Use sunscreen - Make sure you have plenty of water for drinking - If heading for whitewater, take a swiftwater rescue course - Never go out on the water alone

- Know where you’re going and what to expect there - Don’t ever stand up in a vessel in moving water - Look out for others on the water - Arrange for a buddy system or check in system while on the water - Consider a helmet and a throw bag when doing whitewater Area spots to hit for getting wet –n – wild: - Blue Marsh Lake, Berks County - Locust Lake, Schuylkill County - Raystown Lake, Huntingdon County * In early June 2012, Moll was credited with saving another kayaker on the Schuylkill River

Dermatologist Encourages Protecting Your Skin from Summer Sun By Harriet Comite, MD FAAD

Whether you’re hiking, gardening, lounging poolside, or simply attending a neighborhood block party, the most vital piece of professional advice I can give you is this. Don’t leave the house without the season’s most important accessory – sun protection. Sun damages skin of all types, but fair-skinned individuals with light hair and eyes, and those with a family history of skin cancer, are especially susceptible. To prevent sun damage, know your ABC’s: Avoid – Stay away from the sun. Find shade. Be outdoors when the sun is less damaging, before 10 AM or after 3 PM. Block – Use a broad-spectrum physical sunblock, SPF 30 or higher, containing micronized Zinc or Titanium that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Re-apply sun block after swimming, sweating or wiping down with a towel. Sun block should be used EVERY DAY, even cloudy ones. Sunblock should be used wherever skin is exposed. Don’t forget your lips, ears, neck, hands and the tops of your feet. Cover Up – Wear sun-protective clothing, such as a vented long sleeve shirt and hat with a wide brim. Sunglasses with UVA and UVB protective lenses are also vitally important to reduce the risk of cataracts. Tanning beds are not an alternative, as they’re thought to be even more dangerous than sun exposure. Indoor tanning has been associated with a significant increase in the risk of squamous cell cancers and malignant melanoma, which can be fatal.

Though preventable, sunburn is common. Sunburn is damage from the sun’s invisible ultraviolet UVB rays, and causes basal cell cancers. The symptoms of severe sunburn are redness, swelling, pain, blisters, fever, chills and weakness, with dry, itchy and peeling skin after the burn. Most sunburns are first degree burns and affect only the outer layer of skin. The sun can, however, cause more painful second degree burns, damaging deeper layers of skin and nerve endings. Taking an aspirin before leaving the house is an effective component of prevention. If you get sunburned, stay out of the sun completely, apply cool compresses to the sunburned area and use aspirin to reduce long-term damage. For discomfort, spray a refrigerated topical moisturizer, and apply moisturizers. Avoid all products that contain Benadryl or Benzocaine, because of the possibility of irritation or allergic reaction. If blisters are present, DO NOT break them open, as infection can occur. Most blisters (less than one inch) heal on their own. Do not bandage blisters, unless clothing is irritating them. For the outdoorsy person, poisonous plants –such as poison ivy, oak and sumac, are dangerous, troublesome, and common in this region. Learn what these plants look like and avoid them. Springtime and early summer, when the leaves are most tender, are the easiest times of the year to come in contact with the poisons, but exposure at any time of the year is possible. If you even suspect that you may have had contact with a poisonous plant, wash your skin thoroughly with plenty of soap and water. Remove all clothing and launder immediately. If a rash develops, over-the-counter treatments, including calamine lotion and antihistamines, may be effective to treat itching. For severe cases, consult with your doctor. Harriet Comite is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and owner of Advanced Skin Care in Wyomissing.


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Protecting Hair from Summer Sun is Key to Keeping it Healthy and Strong Most of us love being outdoors during the summer. We enjoy

participating in all of our favorite activities during these long, warm days; running, swimming, kayaking, hiking or just strolling in the sunshine. While these activities might be great for our moods and our bodies, they can wreak havoc on our hair. Hair is affected by temperature, sunlight, humidity and the activities we enjoy, and special attention should be paid to hair during the summer months, especially if you’re in and


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out of the pool frequently, or spend considerable amounts of time at the beach.

Debbie Meas, owner of Hair On The Avenue in Sinking Spring offered some tips for keeping your hair looking great this summer. “The sun is one of the biggest factors for hair during the summer,” Meas said. “Your hair can be damaged by the sun, just like your skin, but your skin is constantly regenerating itself. It takes a while for hair damaged by the sun to recover.”

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, the saying goes, and that might just apply to summer hair care.You can keep your hair from frying in the sun by using a hair product containing a UV shield. Think of it as sunblock for your hair.You also could use a lightweight, leave-in conditioner that will protect your hair. Wind, salt and chlorine also can be damaging to hair. Wind can dry out hair and increase static electricity, while salt and chlorine can result in dryness, split ends and fading of hair color. Avoid chlorine and salt buildup by using a gentle, but deep clarifying shampoo at least once or twice a week. Lifeguards have known for a long time that wetting your hair with non-salt water before swimming in the ocean or a chlorinated pool helps to keep salt and chlorine from permeating the hair cuticle and causing hair to break and become brittle. If your hair does lose its luster due to summer conditions, there are some excellent products for getting it back vvinto shape. Meas said that Hair On The Avenue carries a variety of products, but her personal favorites are Redken products, particularly the Redken color-extend shampoo and conditioner. The conditioner, called the Color Extend After -Sun Mask, instantly detangles and revitalizes sun damaged hair, as it works to replenish moisture and repair the hair. “We’ve had great success with these products,” Meas said. “Our guests really like them, and we sell a lot of them, especially at this time of year. I think that everyone wants to make sure they have what they need for the summer, both at home and when they go on vacation.”

Power Play By Christin Kelley, photo by Melanie Linder

Getting all the energy you need when training for any endurance sport is a tricky task. Stocking up on pre-made, pre-packaged over-produced protein concoctions is an option, but, thanks to Melanie Bare of Fields and French Hens Organic Farm Bakery, it’s not the only way to go any more. Berks County athletes now can turn to a powerful and, are you ready for this – gluten free, dairy free, vegan, sugar free alternative – protein bar! Melanie’s Mountain Biker Protein Bar has been trail tested and mileage approved to keep you on the move when the going gets tough and then tougher. The best part? These protein bars are fresh out of the oven and truly taste as good as they sound. Not only are they packed with a big protein punch to keep you going, they’re made with organic gluten-free oats, flax, brown rice protein and dried fruit. Stop by at see Melanie at the Fairgrounds Farmer’s Market Thursday through Saturday to pick up your weekend supply! She’s super knowledgeable and has a knack for packing her baked goods with only good-for-you ingredients.You can also email her at Happy Trails!

When styling your hair this summer, keep it simple, Meas advised. Braids and long waves are popular this summer, as are upswept styles. Air dry your hair as much as possible, and use cool water when rinsing to help close the cuticle and protect your hair color. “Summer is a time to relax,” she said. “Find good products that will keep your hair healthy, protect it from the sun and enjoy yourself. Summer doesn’t last forever.”

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Our focus is you! We welcome you to unwind in our relaxing professional environment that is truly focused on you. Your complete image and total satisfaction is our goal. We offer a no-tipping environment that ensures a stress free experience that will bring you back for more. You are the reason we are in business and you will continue to be our top priority.

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LIKE NO PLACE ELSE Savor our kitchen's brilliant grilling recipes for USDA Prime Steak and the freshest catch of the day. Our chef's unique flare is a pleasure not to be missed. The bar, of course, is stocked with more than 80 beers from all around the world. And the Guinness is always tapped to the strict specifications of Arthur Guinness Himself.

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T E N T imE R E c ipiE N T

REcipiENT EighT coNsEcuTivE YEaRs

What Exactly is Pilates, and Why is it Good for You? By Lisa C. Priebe While Pilates has increased greatly in popularity during the past decade, many people still don’t understand this method of exercise, and how beneficial it can be for athletes, dancers and others who simply want to be strong and in shape. Pilates was developed during the 1920s by Joseph Pilates, a German who was interred in England at the outbreak of World War I. While in the internment camp, he maintained his physical condition by developing floor exercises that formed the basis for Pilates mat work.

Originally used as a rehabilitation program for prisoners of war, the exercise program was eventually recognized as a valuable means of developing strength for a wider population. The Pilates system emphasizes core strength, flexibility and awareness, and is beneficial to many, including athletes, dancers, older people and those in various stages of physical rehabilitation. Pilates works through six principles: centering, control, flow, breath, precision and concentration. Movements are deliberate and precise, resulting in increased strength in the core muscles, which are the deep, internal muscles of the back and abdomen. The six principles form the philosophical foundations of this form of exercise.

“The Pilates method of body conditioning develops the body uniformly, corrects posture, restores vitality, invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit,� he wrote. There are different Pilates methods. Sally Allen, who takes private instruction once a week and participates in classes twice a week, practices Fletcher Pilates. The exercise routine is varied in order to challenge Allen and improve her overall flexibility. Also a tennis player, Allen, of Wyomissing, uses the Pilates training to help strengthen her swing, and increase stability

and balance in her shoulders to help her avoid injuries that are common to tennis players. Pilates also helps golfers by lengthening the postural muscles in the spine. Because golfers swing only in one direction, one side of the spine often becomes weak and tight. Pilates teaches left and right rotation and opens up both sides of the body, protecting the athlete from the customary strain associated with the game. This form of exercise is also beneficial to runners, walkers, water sport enthusiasts, hikers and cyclists. Lisa C. Priebe, PMA-CPT, is the owner of Lisa p Pilates, Wyomissing.

In his book, Return to Life, Joseph Pilates wrote of the benefits of the exercise. Fitness Berks


On the F ly:

Fishing Rejuvenates the Body and Mind

By Joe McGinley

In today’s fast paced society, times of relaxation and reflection are increasingly precious. We seek an escape from our hectic schedules and busy daily lives.

which can be very therapeutic. But for anyone, spending a quiet morning or evening on the water is a great stress reliever, which most of us could use in today’s world.

For some, fly fishing provides that escape and provides a time to rejuvenate the body and mind.

Pennsylvania is one of the country’s most productive fly fishing states, with regard to numbers of quality water to fish and anglers per state. And, Berks County is a major contributor to the state’s healthy fly fishing heritage. The Tulpehocken Creek, situated just minutes from downtown Reading, is one of the states most productive trout fisheries.

Fly fishing means takes on different forms for different people. For some, it’s an addiction and a passion that takes them all over the world in search of that next great catch. To others, it’s simply time well spent on a beautiful piece of water close to home – a chance to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Whether you’re an avid angler or the occasional fly fisher, the sport can provide years of outdoor exercise and enjoyment! Many anglers incorporate fly fishing into other outdoor activities. Hiking to a high mountain stream in search of native brook trout is a popular past time for many Pennsylvania fly fishers. Locally, we can hike or bike the miles of local trails along Blue Marsh Reservoir or the Schuylkill River, where anglers can stop and fish for panfish and bass. Fly fishing provides mental health benefits as well as physical, and some organizations use fly fishing as a rehabilitation tool. Project Healing Waters, for example, is a non-profit that teaches wounded veterans to fly fish. Many of the veterans have no physical disabilities; rather they suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder. Fly fishing gives these individuals a mental release,

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The “Tully,” as it’s affectionately called, is a tailwater trout stream generated from water coming out of Blue Marsh Reservoir. It’s got a 3.2-mile stretch designated as Special Regulations, Artificial Lures Only, which is a fly fisherman’s paradise. The stretch has hundreds of trout per mile, and healthy numbers of aquatic insects with which the trout to gorge themselves year round. Berks County also boosts a multitude of other excellent trout and bass fisheries including: Hay Creek, Manatawny Creek, Antietam Lake, French Creek State Park, Blue Marsh Reservoir and the Schuylkill River. The next time that life catches up with you, why not try picking up a fly fishing rod and heading outside? Chances are that you’ll be glad you did. Joe McGinley is the Internet Manager at TCO Fly Shop,West Lawn.

The Gear Girls Go To: A Running Start 705 Penn Avenue, West Reading, PA 19611 610.320.9097 | ABOUT: If run-bike-swim is your thing, A Running Start can get you outfitted from head to toe in gear that will take you all the way to a triathlon. The Gear Girls stopped by and chatted with Dee Koutsourais-Ganster, assistant manager, to get the scoop on what you need to give a tri a try. Here’s where to go and what to get to tackle a tri! What You Need - Since you’ll be running, biking and swimming, you’ll need three types of gear. Luckily, a lot of gear can do double or triple duty, depending on your preferences. GEAR: For Running Good Shoes - A custom fitted pair of sneakers is the key to a good race. The folks at Running Start have the knowledge and experience to get you in the right shoe, which will make all the difference during training and racing. Because you need to be able to easily and quickly slip in and out of your running shoes, Dee suggests investing in a pair of Yanks to replace your laces. Yanks she explains, allow you to simply slip into your shoe with no tying involved; perfect for the fast pace of a triathalon. Dee also suggests getting a pair of compression socks, which are available at A Running Start starting at $10.99, to keep your feet dry, happy and healthy while they pound the pavement.

For Swimming: Your swimming gear will depend on what time of year you are training and racing. For colder climates, a wet suit is the way to go. Try local shop, ScubaVenture for all of your wetsuit needs. Typically, Dee explained, your wet-suit goes over your Tri uniform, but it really depends on the preference of the athlete. Training suits are also available at A Running Start and are perfect for your daily swimming practice. With a variety of brands to choose from, the training suit will cost between $40 and $80. Barracuda goggles are the most popular option at A Running Start for your basic and best fit, boasting no movement or fogging. A swim cap is also essential to keep everything streamlined and secure, and Dee recommends a latex cap as it is easiest to pull on and off quickly. Swim caps start at $5. Good to Go: Here’s a list of the extras that every racer should have on hand for when the going, and the training, get tough:

Wicking Material Gear - Dee explains it is very important to wear high moisture wicking apparel – not only for the running portion, but throughout the entire tri. This goes for tops, bottoms and everything in between. Dee explained that, “High wicking apparel will help keep an athlete dry and help prevent against chaffing, but more importantly, it helps to wick the sweat away from the skin so that the body can regulate body temperature.”

• A  Watch. Run/Bike/Swim Multi Sport Watch (you can ugrade watch to include the heart rate monitor and/or bike mount

Race Number Belt - It is important to have your race number visible at all times. Due to gear changes throughout the race, a race number belt is the best option for keeping your number accessible and visible. The belt is worn at your hip, with the number attached to it. There are also race number belts that have loop holes for energy gels so that you can carry your fuel with you.

• Energy Gels

For Biking: Tri-tank - A tri-tank is the most common piece of equipment, which can be worn under your wet suit or serve as your primary swimming and running top. For women, this tank is extremely fitted, with a built in bra and zipper. A Running Start carries a variety of tri-tanks for men and women, ranging from $60 to $80. Women also have the option of choosing a racing bra, depending on preference, which can also be worn beneath a wet suit.

• Clip in bike shoes (Can be found at JB Mountain Bikes, Spokes or Weaver’s) • Body Glide anti-chaffing stick • Fuel Belt • Hydration belts or hand held bottles for training • Grid Foam Roller for self-massages post workouts xoxo,

The Gear Girls

Christin Kelly and Caroline Hill

Racing shorts - Which can also be worn during the running portion, boast a padded seat just like biking shorts. These are available for between $60 and $70, and also can be layered beneath your wetsuit when you reach the swimming portion of your race. Your tri top and bottoms will have lots of room to pack extra energy gels and aid and will have extreme wicking capability, the perfect combination to keep you going.

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The Rhythms of Nature by Pam Guido

As the summer solstice ushers us into warmer months, we are once again drawn outwardly to celebrate the light and the abundance of beauty revealed by nature. Like the natural world, our internal body rhythms mirror the cyclical seasonal changes. The activities we engage in, the foods we eat and even the colors we choose to adorn ourselves with reflect these different seasonal vibrations and have a direct impact on our physical, mental and emotional state of being. When we are aligned with this innate pulse of nature, we are naturally drawn to a more balanced state where we experience greater health and well-being. Learning to attune more intuitively to the physical body and more subtle bodies of the mind and internal systems is what we refer to as “yoga. “ The multiple facets of our practice help us to recognize the interconnectedness of all parts of our self. When our physical body is habitually

out of alignment or in a weakened state we experience a quality of dis-ease that affects our mental and emotional state of being as well. When we are agitated or worried our ability to focus and concentrate is diminished and tension inevitably builds in the physical body creating deeply ingrained holding patterns. While nature instinctively seeks balance for the purpose of its own survival, it is a different matter for us. With the distractions of the mind and the freedom to make choices, (so free in fact that we can choose to misalign) we are often out of alignment with the body’s natural impulse to seek balance. When cultivated through practice however, we gain access to the body’s innate wisdom. Over time this manifests as our thoughts, words, actions and the choices we make in all areas of our life. Our inner state is naturally drawn to nature’s rhythmic pulse to carry us through the peaks and valleys of our life with greater ease and joy. Grounded in the seat of equanimity, yoga helps us bring balance to everything we do in life to live healthy and vibrantly. Pam Guido is the owner of Shri Yoga and Wellness Center in Wyomissing.

Spokes offers and stocks the area's largest selection of bikes from all your favorite brands and carries a full line of fitness equipment. Tune ups

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Welcome to the Green Smoothie,

forefront of the Raw Food Revolution

You may have seen the Green Smoothie --- a perfect blend of raw green vegetables and fruits that’s becoming increasingly popular among various populations of people who are looking to maintain or optimize their health in a delicious way. The Smoothie, you see, is a raw food -- that is, fresh whole food that has not refined, chemically processed, denatured or heated above 118F, leaving it’s nutritional content preserved. By consuming organic foods in their natural uncooked state we receive all the vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and enzymes Mother Nature intended. When we cook our foods we can lose approximately 70 percent of these essential nutrients. Green Smoothies are the perfect way of receiving all of what you need. Green Smoothies are a blend of raw green vegetables and fruits. Blending breaks down the greens to the point of digestion allowing our body to assimilate and utilize all the chlorophyll, minerals and proteins greens have to offer, as opposed to only 30% being usable when we chew greens with our teeth.

vegetable teriyaki stirred - not fried with pineapple skewer

green smoothie, before blending

Beginner Blueberry Smoothie Makes 1-2 servings Good for kids or anyone afraid of the green color! 1 cup blueberries 1 banana 2 cups spinach 1 cup filtered water or nut milk. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree.

26 Fitness Berks

Green Smoothies are the best way to start your day because they are gentler on your digestive system. They are detoxing, loaded with fiber and replenish the vitamins and minerals you lost during your sleep. Green Smoothies are also hydrating, and helping us with that pesky morning sluggishness, while combating dry skin and false hunger that can occur when we don’t consume enough water. Increased energy, mental clarity and glowing skin are some other side effects of Green Smoothies. And, they are anti-aging. So, go on. Take a chance. Join the Green Smoothie movement. Try replacing your regular breakfast with the “green fast food,” and enjoy the difference you see. Some recipes, including one for the Original Green Smoothie are provided. Feel free to add or substitute your favorite seasonal vegetables for those listed.

green smoothie

The Original Green Smoothie Makes 2 servings 1 banana 1 apple cored 4 kale leaves, chopped or 2 cups spinach 3 romaine leaves 1 cucumber or 1 stalk celery, diced 1 peeled lemon with seeds 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger. 1 cup filtered water or coconut water. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree.

Raw Foods Movement Gaining Traction as People Recognize Health Benefits The raw foods movement is gaining attention as people in Berks County and across the country discover the benefits associated with it. Raw foods, sometimes called living foods, are those that are not heated to a temperature of greater than 118 degrees Fahrenheit. They generally contain a lot of enzymes, which is important to good health, especially as we age. And, a raw foods diet provides maximum vitamins, minerals and fiber, all in a form that is easily absorbed by the body. A raw foods diet is very alkaline, as opposed to acidic, which also is considered optimal for health. Raw foodists are generally defined as those whose diets are made up of 75 percent or more of living and raw foods. Most are vegans, meaning they eat no foods containing any animal products, and organically grown foods are essential. Raw foodists eat vegetables and fruits, sea vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains and other non-processed foods, often soaking them in water to soften them before consuming. Many also focus on “super foods,” which include sea vegetables, goji berries (a berry sometimes called a wolfberry), cacao (raw chocolate) and Udo’s oil blend, which contains Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. While some nutritionists feel that a raw foods diet is too restrictive and may make it difficult to get all the nutrients you need, proponents say that it’s entirely possible to get plenty of

live minestrone soup

nutrients from raw foods, as long as you understand what you’re eating and concentrating on nutrient-rich ingredients. After all, they say, the raw foods method of eating is hardly new. People have been eating raw foods for as long as they’ve been eating. For more information about raw foods and the raw foods movement, check out the following websites: Living and Raw Foods at Raw Food Life at The Raw Food World at Raw Food Diet Review at Fruit, Sprouts or Juice? Fruitarian – Someone who consumes mostly fruits Sproutarian - Someone who consumes mostly sprouts Juicearian - Someone who consumes mostly freshly pressed or squeezed juice

blueberry, spinach and red maca smoothie

Savory Green Soup Makes 3-4 servings 2 cups filtered water 3 cups spinach or kale chopped and stems removed 3 cloves garlic 3 Roma tomatoes 1 avocado

variety of delicious raw food, makes a great lunch

1 small red pepper, finely chopped ½ cucumber, chopped 2 tablespoons lime juice 1 pinch sea salt 1 pinch cayenne pepper

Blend and process until smooth. Add the avocado and continue blending until smooth. Garnish with the diced red pepper and freshly ground black pepper. Fitness Berks


Local Athlete Profile

By Jennifer Seale

Dr. Sandy Becker

Age: 62 Occupation: Retired Math Teacher and Director of Technology, Governor Mifflin School District Hometown: Cumru Township Dr. Sandy Becker, Cumru Township, has an enthusiasm for wellness that can only be described as “gusto.” At 62, she has a fitness plan that would rival that of a professional athlete and she recently competed in her first triathlon, Body Zone’s 3rd Annual Indoor Tri. Sandy’s fitness journey got off to a rocky start. Six years ago, a fall left her wheelchair bound for 12 weeks, just 39 days before her retirement. “I fell and injured both ankles.The doctors assured me I would walk again, but it might be with a cane,” Sandy recalled. “I was not accepting of a cane. During my rehab, I decided that a cane was not my destiny. It was a challenge to overcome odds, but I did.” Sandy not only achieved her goal but continued her road to wellness by joining a gym. “It was difficult coming into the gym atmosphere as an older person, but my personal trainer, Lisa Leayman, was very supportive,” she said. I began with a basic fitness routine. As my strength grew, so did my curiosity to try new things. ” Leayman meets with Sandy three times a week at Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex in Wyomissing. She commented on Sandy’s positive attitude toward achieving and maintaining fitness.

“Sandy’s attitude about fitness is one of positivity,” said Leayman. “She truly understands that working out on a consistent basis is beneficial to her health, well-being and mental attitude.” Sandy’s workouts average between an hour and two hours a day. Her program includes TRX, circuit training, cycling, swimming and even cardio kickboxing. “I don’t take any day for granted,” Sandy said. “I have a strict schedule that helps me stay focused on my goals.” Sandy is familiar with the rewards of dedication and commitment. She worked for nearly 36 years in the Governor Mifflin School District as both a math teacher and Director of Technology. “I’ve worked hard in my life,” Sandy said. “Exercise is no different. Setting goals and working toward them is what life is about.” Sandy’s most recent accomplishment was training for and completing Body Zone’s Indoor triathlon this past February. “The triathlon was a personal triumph,” said Sandy, who had reservations about signing up. “I didn’t consider myself an athlete. I didn’t think I could do it. But, my trainer encouraged me to try and coached me all the way through. ” The triathlon, a combination of swimming, biking and running will test the will and determination of any competitor. Sandy agreed. “The triathlon tested my limits. I learned so much about myself in the process… like how far I could really push myself and what I was really capable of.” Sandy’s schedule includes not only the physical components of her wellness program but the mental and spiritual aspects as well. “My workouts are one component,” she says. “I am also deeply committed to my family, my church and my community.” Sandy is the President Elect of Berks County Association of School Retirees and serves in the visitation ministries at her church. And, she participates in two golf leagues. “Golf is my new passion,” she said. “I absolutely love it!” Sandy’s inspiring journey is proof that age does not define ability, and that retirement can be an opportunity for rediscovering oneself. Consistency and determination, as she has demonstrated, bring great rewards. “I’ve never felt better or stronger,” Sandy said. “I’ve found my bliss and my bliss is fitness.” Dr. Sandy Becker, left, uses the TRX Suspension System during one of her workouts with personal trainer, Lisa Leayman.

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Fitness Berks Summer 2012  

The sole purpose and goal of this magazine is to promote and encourage a healthy and fit lifestyle by sharing the many great opportunities a...