Category Archives: Activity

LET THE SKIS DO THE TURNING !

By Marty Heckleman, Mr. SkiTips

From SkiTips.com

All the new shaped skis are designed to turn when you put them on their edges and apply some pressure to the skis. Thus to turn these skis, all you need to do is roll your feet and ankles in the direction that you want to turn. By varying the amount of edging and the amount of pressure that you apply to the skis, you can determine how sharp a turn you make. The more the skis are edged and the harder you press on the skis, the tighter will be the radius of the turn (that is, a sharper turn). Conversely, the less the skis are edged, i.e., the flatter the skis, and the less hard that you press, the turn will have a larger radius (a bigger turn).

These two variables, ‘edging’ and ‘pressure’ are essentially what put you in control of your skis, so it would be useful to consciously play around with different combinations while practicing turns and noting what happens each time.

Skiing Exercise:

Turning the skis uphill to a stop

Here is a good exercise to start with to get the feeling of how easily your skis will turn when you roll your feet and ankles.

32C

On an easy intermediate slope, stand with your skis on a shallow traverse track. Be in a good traverse position with your skis spaced apart and very slightly edged (Picture 32C).

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Start to traverse across the slope and gather some speed (pictures 32D).

32E

When you are ready to turn, simply roll your feet and ankles up the hill and hold the ski edges gripping in the snow (picture 32E).

The skis will turn up the hill to a stop (picture 32F).

32F

Repeat the same exercise and this time, when you roll your feet and ankles, hold them for a count of three and then roll them back to their original traverse position and glide again. Then roll them up the hill again. Try to notice how the skis turn when you roll your feet and ankles.

Special Tip: Don’t try to turn the skis by turning your feet in the direction of the turn! Be patient and try to feel yourself ‘riding’ on the edges of the skis as they turn. (The skis turn when you put them on their edges because of their shape and design).

ABOUT Martin Heckelman
Martin Heckelman is the author of the books “The New Guide to Skiing,” “The Hamlyn Guide to Skiing,” and “Step by Step Skiing Skills,” as well as the “SkiTips” video and DVD series, available on his site SkiTips.com, and the “SkiTips” Apps series.  Martin is based in Val d’Isere, France, one of the world’s finest ski resorts.

Meet Skiiers on Zenergo

Zenergo is a free activities-focused social manager for active adults networking through their real-life interests. On Zenergo you can create activities, groups and events around Skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports, as well as other sports and fitness activities, and health, social, group, family, civic, and hobbyist activities. Please visit the site at http://www.zenergo.com to learn how more about how Zenergo can Activate Your Life.

Getting Started as a Youth Soccer Coach

By Kory Barrett

From Soccer For Coaches 

Congratulations on volunteering as a youth soccer coach! Though you may be a bit nervous at first and unsure of what you’ve gotten yourself into, you’ll soon find it to be an incredibly fun and rewarding experience.

The first thing to do is relax, take a deep breath, and tell yourself you can become a great soccer coach. This site is here to help, and this section is where to start. The links to the left will guide you through the following:

I. Coaching Philosophy – Keep the critical goals in mind: for your kids to have fun, develop their soccer skills, and want to come back next season! Everything else will fall in place if you keep your focus on these three goals.

II. Suggested Equipment – As a coach there are a few things you’ll need to run effective practices. Here is a list of items I recommend, along with links of where you can purchase them. Note – I am not trying to sell you anything, and am proud to offer all the information on this site completely for free. However, if you purchase these items by clicking on the links you’ll find, I do get a “commission” from the vendor. This is an easy way for you to help support this website, which I greatly appreciate!

III. Organizing the Season – By planning ahead and taking a little time to organize yourself and your team before that first practice, you’ll give yourself a huge boost towards a successful season. This page helps identify what you need to do first.

IV. Running Practices – Practice can be the toughest part of your job, but with a bit of forethought, they are a lot of fun for everyone. Here you’ll find the issues to consider, as well as a “structure” or “itinerary” for your practices that works really well.

V. Game Day – The culmination of your and your players’ hard work. Game Day is a ton of fun, but there are some things for you to consider. Find these explained here.

Already you may be feeling a bit more at ease by breaking down your task at hand into these five easy sections. Coaching does take a little time to get used to, but after reading the pages listed above, you’ll soon find yourself feeling really confident.

ABOUT
Kory Barrett, licensed coach (NSCAA and U.S. Soccer), currently coaching U11, U9, and U4 teams.

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ZENERGO FOR YOUTH COACHES

Zenergo is a free activities-focused social manager for active adults networking through their real-life interests. On Zenergo you can create activities, groups and events around Soccer and other sports and fitness activities — as well as health, social, group, family, civic, and hobbyist activities.

Zenergo’s Group and Event features, with full privacy levels and the ability to create subgroups, make it a good place to organize teams and leagues, have coach discussions, and manage relations with team parents.  Please visit the site at http://www.zenergo.com to learn more. Zenergo is free to use.

Amazing Camping Tips & Tricks

 

From Famly Tent Camping.com

Want to make the next camping trip really enjoyable and impress your camp mates with your incredible knowledge of outdoor tricks? Here are some amazing snippets of useful tips that will make them wonder how you acquired such information. Everything from starting a fire easily to cleaning a sooty pot. A warning though;.you have to swear to keep these things secret. Like a magician, you never reveal your sources.

  • Get a campfire started easily by preparing at home. An old egg carton and dryer lint is all you need. Stuff the egg carton full of dryer lint and carry it with you to your campsite. Place it under some dry boughs,light it and presto.
  • Rub liquid soap on the outside of pots and pans. The black soot will come right off after cooking over an open fire.
  • Keep the bottom of your pots that you use over the open fire clean by wrapping them in tinfoil.
  • Spray flies, wasps or bees with hairspray and watch them head for cover
  • Spray your garbage and trash with ammonia to keep animals away.
  • Sleep naked in your sleeping bag. It will reflect your body heat back to you.
  • Use baking soda to rid your clothes and hands of cooking odors so the bears won’t smell food on you.
  •  Take some warmth from the campfire or stove to bed. Keep a pot of hot water simmering on the campfire and when you turn in fill up water bottles and place them in your sleeping bag.
  • Buy orange juice in plastic bags and freeze it so it can be used instead of ice in the cooler. Then,when it thaws out you have refreshing cold juice for later.
  • Take a headlamp, instead of a flashlight,so your hands are free.
  •  When finished eating an orange, wipe exposed skin with the inside of the peel. Insects will stay far away from you.
  • To cut down on cooking time of baked potatoes, start the potatoes in your microwave and bake till half done before you leave. Wrap them in aluminum foil and toss in the cooler until you need them.
  • Old shower curtains make great ground tarps to pitch your tent on.
  • Waterproof matches by dipping them in nail polish.
  • Waterproof matches by dipping in melted paraffin.
  • Keep your waterproof matches in old prescription bottles.
  • To Dry wet socks, sleep with them around your middle. Your body heat during the night and your warm sleeping bag will dry them by morning.
  • Whenever you go hiking always have a watch, a whistle, a cell phone, a flashlight and a knife with you in case of emergency.
  • Bottles with sticky contents (corn syrup, honey, maple syrup) can get harder to open so before using the bottle for the first time, wipe the threads with a light coating of cooking oil. The lid will never stick and won’t be difficult to open or you can wrap a small bit of plastic over the bottle opening after you open it.
  • To keep warmer at night wear a hat to sleep in. You lose 80% of your heat heat through your head.
  • Use glow sticks for a bit of soft light at night.
  • To hang a lantern, get those lightweight metal rods that are used for hanging plants and stick them in the ground.
  • Boil water in a plastic drink bottle-yes plastic Make sure its completely filled and the stopper is off and place it on the grill over the fire. It won’t melt.
  • Make toast with a stick. Find a branch with a Y-fork in it,cut it to a length that is safe to use from the fire, and place your slice of bread on it. Hold it over the fire but not directly in the fire and make golden brown toast.

By now you have really impressed everyone and they’ll surely invite you next time.

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Camping with ZENERGO

Zenergo is a free activities-focused social manager for active adults networking through their real-life interests. On Zenergo you can create activities, groups and events around such outdoor activities as Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, and Skiing — as well as health, social, group, family, civic, and hobbyist activities. Please visit the site at http://www.zenergo.com to learn how more about how Zenergo can Activate Your Life.

How to Start Bird Watching So That You Keep Bird Watching

By Mike Bergin

From “10,000 Birds — Birding, nature, conservaton, and the wide, wide world.

Northern Gannet - Photo by Mike Bergin

Bird watching sounds simple, but for the beginner it’s anything but. Even the most barren habitat shelters enough stealthy, confusing, downright frustrating species to scare off newbies. Birding is exciting and fulfilling enough to sustain a lifetime of interest; but like anything else in life, first impressions are everything. Here are three simple steps to starting bird watching the right way

1. Consult the Calendar

Timing is everything. Unlike most outdoor activities, birding can be a year-round pursuit, but you’ve got to be attuned to the various seasons. If you look for ducks in summer or warblers in winter, you’re very likely to be disappointed. Figure out your quarry before you step out and you’ll have a better chance of finding what you seek.

In the United States, the best bird action pretty much follows this pattern, although your mileage may vary:

  • WINTER – waterfowl, owls, species from colder climes.
  • SPRING – migrants, particularly songbirds.
  • EARLY SUMMER – local breeders.
  • LATE SUMMER – shorebirds.
  • FALL – migrants, particularly raptors and songbirds.

Of course, your calendar may look a bit or a bunch different based on your latitude or longitude. The concept of observing the right birds in season, however, should hold true wherever you find yourself. Every season presents its specialty species in the full flower of their availability, diversity, and beauty.

BONUS TIP: The worst season in which to embark on your career in birding is probably early summer, that hot and humid period between spring and fall migration. Unless you’re a big fan of your local breeding birds, you’ll find that this is the most boring time of the birding year.

Caribbean Dove - Photo by Mike Bergin

2. Go Where the Birders Are

Notice how I didn’t say to go where the birds are. Get serious… birds are everywhere. No, if you want to see the right birds, go where the birders are.

The season should offer enough clues to figure out where avian enthusiasts are gathering. For example, in September on the northeast coast of the United States, you’ll find birders congregating at the shore for the last vestiges of shorebird season, hanging around migrant traps to pick up southbound songbirds, or situated atop mountains to partake in some quality hawkwatch action. Other times of year, you might comb old-growth forests or wetlands or landfills. Look for the folks decked out in earth-toned clothes and high-end optics and once you find them, don’t let go.

The ideal way to connect with bird watchers is to contact your local Audubon chapter or birding club. You may not realize it, but there is an excellent chance that some group in your area has a full slate of organized birding excursions open to non-members. Do yourself a favor and sign up for one of these trips. Not only will you get on the good birds and locate the right habitat, you’ll undoubtedly meet some very kind, very smart individuals. And, as a bonus, the trip leader will probably have an extra pair of binoculars on hand.

White Crowned Sparrow - Photo by Mike Bergin

3. Pay Attention

This final step may be the toughest for those of you who have a hard time coping with inexperience. Only the ignorant expect to hit a hole in one first time out on the links or to throw all strikes as a beginner bowler. Bird watching has a surprisingly steep learning curve. You’ll enjoy your earliest experiences of birding best if you allow the pros to do the heavy lifting for you:

  • Let them find the birds and, more important, identify the birds for you.
  • Be open to their descriptions of field marks, behavior, and habitat.
  • Marvel at how an experienced birder seems to conjure amazing new birds from the very air.
  • Look, listen, and learn.
  • Don’t pretend you know more than you do, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Getting started in bird watching is really as simple as this. If you have even the slightest predilection for nature or outdoor activities, but haven’t yet given birding a go, I challenge you to actually try these three steps for yourself. Once you experience a truly great avian display under the right conditions, be it a stream of raptors winging towards their wintering grounds, a thunderous flock of thousands of cranes, or a fall-out of jewel-toned songbirds where the warblers seem, for a brief time, to absolutely drip from the trees, you’ll be hooked!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Bergin may be a leading authority in the field of college preparation, but he spends an awful lot of time focused on nature! Mike is the founder of the birding blog site 10,000 Birds and of the Nature Blog Network.

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BIRDING ACTIVITIES ON ZENERGO

Zenergo is a free activities-focused social manager for active adults networking through their real-life interests. On Zenergo you can create activities, groups and events around Bird Watching. Please visit the site at http://www.zenergo.com to learn how more about how Zenergo can Activate Your Life.

An Easier Way to Manage Your Running Group

By Mac McCarthy, Zenergo 

Runners in Marathon

Photo by Margan Zajdowicz

Coordinating your running group and keeping track of schedules and members  can get complicated. Emails, phone calls, text messages – and perhaps multiple bookmarks to group sites, picture sites, and each member’s calendar to update.

And things still get lost in the shuffle!

Try this, for a one-stop shop: a new site, Zenergo (pronounced ZEN-ergo) , a “Social Manager” that helps you keep your social and activity life organized, and all in one place.

Zenergo focuses on activities, not chatter — they’ve got 300 of them, including every kind of sport, hobby, craft, and social activity — and of course they have there’s a  Running/Jogging Activity.

The main advantage is that everything is in one spot — the Running/Jogging Activity; you can set up your running Group — it’s free — and running Events (also free). There’s  a calendar for each activity, shared among those you’ve friended on that activity — and a calendar shared among group members.

Zenergo has photo sharing, and also document sharing, like for signup sheets. And of course a chat ‘wall’ — but only for discussions among your activity friends or your activity group — about that group  or activity — not a general chat steam of everything and everybody!

You can bring your whole group on board — sign-up is free and simple. You can also recruit more members if you like — Use Zenergo to find other Zenergo members in your neighborhood who are interested in finding running partners or groups.

Here is an example of what you see when you’re looking for a running partner — they can check off details of their interests, so you know you’re both on the same  page, interests-wise.

An Example of a Zenergo Member's Running/Jogging Activity Page

It’s worth a try! — Free, easy to sign up, no spam, as private as you want to make it (each activity, group, and event has privacy levels right there when you set them up, not hidden somewhere). Take a look!

See you on Zenergo!

How To Taste Beer Like a Beer Judge

By Paul Marshall 

The more you know, the more you enjoy…

You don’t have to be a beer snob to increase your enjoyment of beer. But a lot of work went into creating that frothy beverage with a history that dates back 10,000 year. A little knowledge can help you get the full enjoyment of the glass of whatever kind of beer you drink.Under the Reinheitsgebot, or German Beer Purity Law, beer should consist only of barley, hops, water, and yeast. German Wheat beers were somehow a tolerated exception. Craft brewers occasionally use rye as well. Many of the large brewers increase their profits by using corn or rice as a barley substitute.

Beer can be divided up into two categories: Ales, and Lagers. Ales are created with top-fermenting yeast at higher temperature while Lagers are made at a cooler temperature with a bottom-fermenting yeast that is a step-brother of the ale yeast.

Lagers ferment slowly in a cold environment, producing a delicate beer with the sweetness of the malted barley balanced by the slight bitterness and herbal spiciness of hops. Ales ferment faster, producing a beer that is bolder; it also expresses the sweet and bitter characters of malted barley and hops, but with fl

avors that are fruity and spicy, derived from esters that are a product of the ale fermentation.

Judges evaluate beers using the following categories: Appearance, Aroma, Taste, Body or Mouth Feel, and Aftertaste. First I will go through Appearance and Aroma, using the examples of three general beer styles: Light Pilsner (Lager), India Pale Ale (IPA), and Dry Stout (Ale). I will then talk about Taste, Body and Aftertaste; these involve the best part of the beer experience: drinking it!

A beer’s appearance (with the exception of wheat beers and some others) should be clear, even i

f the beer is too dark to see through. (Your cell phone can double as a small flashlight behind the glass.) The beer should have good carbonation, with fine bubbles and a long-lasting head. A light Pilsner should be the color of straw or gold. An IPA can range from a gold to amber in shade. A Stout should be dark, almost black, but can have some reddish hues as well.

Aroma is possibly my favorite quality in beer. It can be damaged by heat, light, and age. Certain smells can tip you off that a beer may not be quite right. If your beer smells like a skunk, it means that the bottled beer has been exposed to light. If your beer smells like cardboard, it is oxidized. This can be the result of age or exposure to heat or multiple temperature changes. If your beer smells like butter or butterscotch, then it has Diacetyl due to incomplete fermentation. A beer that smells like

cooked corn has residual Dimethyl Sulfide (DMS). (A major brewery in the US makes their beer with perceptible DMS. They do it on purpose, it is part of their recognizable smell and taste.) These are the most common aromatic flaws in beer; there are others, but they should not be common in professional beers.

Enough about the

bad smells, now for the good aromas. Aroma in beer is a product of the ingredients and the fermentation. In a beer, you can smell the hops and malted barley, and the results of the fermentation process. For example, a Light Pilsner should have a slightly spicy floral smell from the hops, and a slight bready sweetness from the malt. An IPA should have some sweet malt character that is often toasty, bready, or can have a slight toffee or

caramel smell if it an English-style IPA. These sweeter aromas are counterbalanced by spicy, citrusy, floral aromas from the hops. Generally, English IPAs tend to emphasize the aromas of the barley, while American IPAs favor higher hopping rates showcasing the hops. The dark roasted grains in Stouts can give this beer a coffee or chocolate aromas.

The flavor of a beer should be a balance between the sweetness of the malted barley versus grassy, fruity bitterness from the hops. Depending on the beer styles, this can range from very sweet to very dry and bitter, but the hops and malted barley should both be present. Body and Mouth Feel refer to the texture of the beer based on its density, carbonation, and ‘warmth’ due to the level of alcohol. Aftertaste is the

final experience of the beer: Was the final taste sweet, dry, bitter? Did you want more?

A Pilsner should balance the bready sweetness of the malted barley, and the spicy citrus character of the hops. The beer should be very clean, crisp, and fresh. It should have a light to light-medium body, with effervescence. The finish or aftertaste should be an expression of the sweetness of the malt, balanced with a crisp dry minerality.

An IPA will be hoppier than a Pilsner, but this bitterness from the hops will be counterbalanced by sweetness from the malted barley. Common flavors are of caramel, toffee bread, and fruit. The beer should be medium in body, lower carbonation than a Pilsner, and with a higher presence of alcohol. The aftertaste should be a balance of the grains and the hop bitterness, with more emphasis on the Barley in an English IPA, and more on the hops in an American IPA. Dry Stouts will have the roasted flavors of coffee along with chocolate and dried fr
In describing Pilsners, IPAs, and Stouts, I am using generalizations. While Pilsners are  much more specific in style, IPAs and Stouts come in many different styles. But rather than reading a boring article about drinking beer–wouldn’t you rather have one? I know I would.uit. They are generally low in carbonation, but the best have a creamy texture, and like a Pilsner will have a dry minerality, but with a roasted-coffee-chocolate finish.

Cheers!

PS For more good information about judging beer, go to the Beer Judge Certification Program at http://www.BJCP.org  .

About the Author

Paul Marshall is, among other things, a professional beer judge, a member of the Celebrator Beer News Tasting Panel, and Co-Founder of the wine-appreciation group The Pompous Twits. 

Join Zenergo for Beer Appreciation!

Zenergo is your new activities-oriented social manager — find others in your area who enjoy exploring the worlds of beer as much as you do, let others know of your exact interests:

CLICK TO VIEW!

Form a beer-appreciation group on Zenergo — it’s easy, and it’s free. Manage your group calendar, post and share snapshots of your beer adventures, store your beer scorecards — it’s all here on Zenergo. And find local beer events for your group to attend.

CLICK TO VIEW!

Tips for Boating With Rover (or Kitty)

From CaptainWiki.com  Doggie

Two-legged sailors are definitely in the majority, but the four-legged (or more) variety shouldn’t be forgotten.

I’m talking about boating with pets of course. For those that share a passion for both boating and being a pet owner, it would be unthinkable to try to separate the two. So here are a few thoughts on how to make both Rover and Rover’s owner happy boaters.

* Pets aren’t totally different from owners, in that we both like being surrounded by familiar and favorite items. So, bring a few of your pet’s favorite toys, sleeping gear, and food to the boat. Be sure to establish a special place on the boat that belongs to your pet, to help them feel as if they belong.

* Set up a safe area outside of the boat where your pet can go when they don’t need to be on the boat, or if the water is a bit rough and they would feel more comfortable being off the boat.

* A small shelf for your pet’s food dish is a good idea. Elevate it a little off the cabin floor to avoid stubbed toes, and place a lid around the edge to keep the food where it belongs.

* If your cat’s a little clumsy, and there’s a chance she could go overboard, she’ll need a way to help her get back into the boat. Hanging a piece of carpet over the side should give them something to claw into and climb back on board.

* If your puppy is getting a little odorous on that extended cruise, there are a couple of ways to clean him up. A dingy full of rain water makes a great impromptu bathing tub. Waterless shampoo, grooming powder, or even baking soda sprinkled over their fur and brushed in, will make do when the rainy season has passed you by.

* Pet toileting while boating provides some interesting challenges. Cats with a litter box have a definite advantage over dogs in this category. Just make sure the litter box gets a very frequent cleaning. Apparently some smaller dogs can be trained to use a litter box. That’s got to be kinda funny to see. One rather creative boater suggested using a doormat sized piece of that fake plastic grass for your dog. Simply rinse overboard after use. If all this fails, of course there’s always the “pee dingy express” for a quick ride to shore.

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Bring Your Boat and Your Pets On Board Zenergo!

One great thing about Zenergo.com, the Web site that acts as your social activities manager, is that you can do so many things with it, all in one place.

Boat lovers and pet partners alike can track their activities on the Zenergo Calendar, post pictures and documents, and chat with fellow enthusiasts. You can find others who share your passion for the water — and find those specifically who want to bring their pets on board. Find groups for sailors, or for pet owners, or for the combination — or start your own group — it’s easy. Use the Events feature to invite people over, or to join others. Everything is in one spot on Zenergo — and everything can be specified in as much detail as you need. Here’s an example of the Boating interests checklist on Zenergo:

You can be really specific, or keep it wide open, it’s your choice.

Likewise, here is the interests checklist for the Pets Activity:

Zgo Blog-Pets Interest page

We have 300+ such activities covering everything from hobbies to crafts, sports of every kind to social activities from poker to winetasting and beer appreciation — from travel to community service, parenting and painting. Find activity partners, groups, and events, or just keep your own social activity life under control, with Zenergo.

Go to Zenergo and give it a try! It’s free and easy to sign up — look around, try a few activities, enjoy!

Have you taken your pet on board? How has it worked out? share in ‘comments’.

How Do I Start a Fitness Program?

By Mac McCarthy, Zenergo.com

When you’re young, still in school, you might be involved in sports or otherwise getting a lot of exercise. Then one fine day you realize you’ve spentthe last few years sitting at a desk, hunched over, working all day — and not getting any exercise at all. You feel out of shape, flabby, tired, run down. Sitting around has ‘deconditioned’ your body–and it shows.

So you decide: It’s time to get back into shape!

Or maybe you never have been in shape, but now it’s time to finally start doing something about getting healthier. We all know the health risks — heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more — that can develop due to a lack of exercise. And you don’t need to look overweight to have a higher percentage of fat in your body than is good for you.

Starting a fitness program will be the best thing you’ve done for yourself.

But how do you get started?

Matt Larkin and Jorge Aguirre, certified fitness trainers, post in front of Overtime Fitness gym wall logo

Matt Larkin and Jorge Aguirre, certified fitness trainers, pose in the Overtime Fitness gym.

We asked that question of four professional trainers, Jorge Aguirre and Matt Larkin, certified fitness trainers, an Julie Yokoshima, Fitness Director at Overtime Fitness in Mountain View, California, and Carlos Melara, an independent personal trainer who runs his own fitness business, “Love the Burn Fitness.” Here’s what they told us.

* Join a Fitness Group

Find a local fitness group, or get together with friends, to help keep you on track. (You’ll find the Fitness activity on Zenergo.com, which will help you find people in your area who share your interest in getting and staying fit, as well as finding local fitness groups and fitness centers.) Friends can help keep you motivated as you get started, and you can learn from their experience.

* Take Group Fitness Classes

Change it up to keep it interesting: Incorporate one or two group classes a week — such as spinning, step-and-sculpt, butts-and-guts, fitness boot camp, cardio kickboxing, yoga.

* Learn from Books, DVDs, and YouTube

There is a lot of information out there on getting and staying fit: books and DVDs, of course, as well as videos on YouTube.

* Change It Up

Keep it fun by changing it up — take two different kinds of group classes per week — to keep you motivated. Your class instructor is also a great resource for questions or tips in developing your own fitness program.

* Join a Gym

If you have the discipline, you can take advantage of your local gym’s facilities.

* Get a Personal Trainer

The benefits can include tailoring a regime specific to your needs and helping deal with any special issues you may have, and motivating you to keep at it — having regular appointments with your personal trainer is a great incentive to keep on your program. (You can reduce your training cost by getting one or more friends and booking training sessions together.)

* Pay Attention to The Fitness Trifecta

You must make sure you create a fitness program for yourself that balances what Jorge calls “the Trifecta: CardioStrength Training — and Nutrition.”

Carlos Melara, independent trainer, "Love the Burn Fitness"

Carlos Melara, independent trainer, "Love the Burn Fitness," trains his clients at Overtime Fitness.

You can’t just put all your focus into one of them, says Carlos. “With just one, at some point your body will peak; you need to keep up on all three to get the most out of your fitness program.”

“Guys often focus too much on strength,” said Jorge, “and don’t pay enough attention to cardio, or neglect their nutrition. You’ve got to have all three things going. I tell my clients, if you skip any one, you won’t achieve the results you want. You can work out really hard but don’t pay attention to good nutrition, and you could end up being one of those guys who have big upper-body muscles, but then they also have big guts — because they’re focusing too much on the strength training and not doing cardio workouts, and not watching their diets.”

Women, on the other hand, focus too much on nutrition and not enough on strength training. “They want to focus on their butts and their legs and their waist, but they don’t want to do their upper bodies because they think they’ll get ugly muscles. They don’t quite get that they aren’t likely to bulk up like men because they don’t have the testosterone. But if they neglect their strength training, they’ll lose calcium from their bones over time. So they have to pay attention to all three elements just like the men do.”

* Patience!

Sometimes people starting out are impatient: They want to get fit now, lose weight right away, build muscle overnight. But fitness takes time — fitness is a lifestyle, and a journey, not a quick fix.

* Develop new habits

Developing new habits is critical to your success in sticking with your fitness program. Fitness is a process, something that should be a requirement that is built into your schedule. Just as going to work is not an option — going for your workout should not be an option either.

“The hardest part is getting to the gym door,” explains Carlos. “Once you’re inside the gym, you have a good time. So you have to work fitness training into your schedule, get to the gym door.”

Fitness is a way of life, not just a one-time thing. It’s not something with a start point and an end point — it’s something you want to be doing for the rest of your life. So you have to set goals along the way. It’s not, ‘OK, I’ve lost the 20 pounds, now I’m done.’ No — Create a new goal; or, ‘I love where I’m at with my weight — now I want to stay there, and here’s my program to do that.’ ”

“Anybody can do this,” insists Carlos. “It’s just the desire. You can do this — focus on your goals of health, fitness, and feeling good about yourself.”

Julie Yokoshima, Fitness Director at Overtime Fitness

Julie Yokoshima is Fitness Director at Overtime Fitness

* Set realistic goals

Losing a certain amount of weight in this particular period, for example; or training for a 5K run or a philanthropic walk. This can give you a sense of achievement that is highly motivating.

* Don’t obsess over the weight scale!

Fitness is about more than just losing weight. When you get regular, healthy exercise, you build muscle mass in addition to losing fat — you may not actually see lower numbers on the scale — but your clothes will fit better, that stomach won’t protrude as much, you won’t feel as fatigued as before, you’ll start feeling better. That’s the goal — the numbers on the scale are just a byproduct of patience application of your new good habits.

* Beware of Fads

People get caught up in fitness fads — but you’re better off focusing on the basics.  “As professional trainers, we check out the latest fitness ideas and innovations,” says Matt, “to see where there may be some value, some ideas we can add to our programs. But it’s easy to get caught up in some fad that’s actually going to damage you. And maybe cost you money in buying training materials and nutrition goods. Be careful!”

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Jorge Aguirre and Matt Larkin, Certified Fitness Trainers, and Julie Yokoshima, Fitness Director, can be reached at Overtime Fitness, http://OverTimeFitness.com, 1525 North Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View, CA 94043. Carlos Melara, Independent Personal Trainer and Nutritional Consultant, can be reached at LuvTheBurnFitness@gmail.com
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How Zenergo Can Help Your Fitness Program!

Think of Zenergo as the social manager for your fitness program.

Zenergo is an online service focusing on activities — you can find others to work with, trainers and fitness clubs to help, formal and informal groups to join. If you have a group or a fitness program or offer fitness services, Zenergo is a great place to find people most interested in your specific offerings.

Zenergo covers a wide range of activities. In the general category of fitness, you will find Fitness & Workouts, as well as Running, Walking, Bodybuilding, Weight Training, Yoga and Tai Chi, and much more. Each activity lets you specify your interests — as shown in this screen capture of part of the ‘Fitness and Workout Activity Profile.’

Zgo Activity-Fitness-Profile

You should join Zenergo today — it’s free, and it’s easy — and look for some of the activities you enjoy most — then look for others who share your passion for that activity, interest, hobby, or art or craft — as well as related groups and events. Calendars, picture-posting features, document storage, and group and event invitations form a complete system for managing your social — and fitness — life! Try it!

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Have you had success with your fitness program? Share your top fitness tip in ‘Comments.’

How To Hold A Great Reunion!

By Mac McCarthy, Zenergo.com 

Whether you’re holding it for your family, for your high school or college class, for your event alumni, for a company a military unit, reunions can be very special events that bring back great memories, reunite friends of the past, and acknowledge the contributions and successes of colleagues.

But a great reunion takes a lot of planning and hard work to get it right. Here is an outline of key steps you’ll need to take, and things to consider.

(And Zenergo’s group, event, calendar, and photo sharing features can be there to help!)

Start One Year Before the Likely Date

You’ll need the time for several reasons. The venue where you’re holding the event needs advance notice, and you want to get your bid in before someone else grabs the best weekends. Planning takes time; so does gathering together the list of all the potential attendees. And those coming to the reunion from far away will appreciate the extra time.

A weekend in the late summer or early fall is generally considered the best time for class, business, and unit reunions.

Assemble a Reunion Committee.

Ideally, you’ll pull together a team of people willing to do the work, meet deadlines, and keep everyone informed.  extra mile to make sure the reunion is a success. Appoint one person to set up conferences and set up meeting agendas. Appoint a second person to oversee the finances.

Set up a reunion Group on Zenergo.com. 

This will serve as communications central for the Reunion Committee. Here you have your committee contact info, your documents and photos, and reunion calendar so you can set goals for each step.

Set up Subcommittees.

Zenergo lets you set up “SubGroups” which can serve as your subcommittees – you will need a subcommittee in charge of finding and booking the venue and deciding on the date, a subcommittee to locate all the people you want to invite, a subcommittee to decide on entertainment, events, and activities; and a finance subcommittee to make the tough decisions about what to spend and what to charge.

Invite your Guests.

You can set up a reunion Event under your reunion Group on Zenergo. Import your guest contact list, then send out your invites. Guests will be able to RSVP, and you can let them post pictures and documents, and chat among themselves.

Meet with your reunion committee members regularly.

Monthly is good initially, when you’re getting everything set up and need to make sure it’s working smoothly. Meetings can be face to face, or over the Web or by conference call.

Decide on a budget.

This can take some deep thinking. What are your costs? This depends on the venue, and the cost of the dinner and other activities. How much do you need to charge to cover expenses, and how will your guests react when they find out how much tickets cost? Bear in mind  guests may have added expenses to get to the venue and book hotel rooms. Now is the time to determine if it’s all affordable.

Consider holding one or more fundraisers during the year before the reunion, to help cover some of the costs and make the reunion tickets more affordable. Check to see if the alumni group of your school, or the company or organization or unit are willing to pitch in — they might want to host the reunion at their facility, which can greatly reduce your expenses.

You can maintain planning documents and budgets on your Zenergo reunion group’s site, for sharing among the committee members; taking advantage of Zenergo’s privacy controls.

Plan activities or a theme — fun ones, and

Photographed by and copyright of David Corby

 memorable ones.

Reunions can be as simple as a dinner, or as elaborate as a weekend retreat complete with a full schedule of activities. Here are possible elements to make yours a memorable and engaging event.

  • Have key people give speeches; it sets the tone for the evening.
  • Invite a special or surprise guest: a favorite teacher; a classmate or colleague who’s now  a celebrity.
  • Give tribute to those who have passed away.
  • Run a slideshow at the side of the room, and solicit photo contributions.
  • Dancing can be fun; plan the kind of music your guests will enjoy.
  • Take the reunion guests on a trip to visit the old school or base or headquarters or other key location. Or take the group to a local winery, or a historical site. Or to an activity such as rock climbing, hiking, a bike ride, or sailing.
  • But leave the most time for free socializing; that’s the real reason you are all here.
  • In addition to dinner, your reunion can include a picnic, games day, or a sports night.
  • Collect yearbooks to display at the event — not just your graduation year, but for several years earlier as well. Plan to create your own Reunion memory book, assembling pictures from the reunion plus pictures of mementos, and essays or memories from the attendees. Publish using one of the custom-publishing sites.

On the day of your reunion make sure all your guests are properly registered.

That means you’ll need to assign a workgroup to man the check-in table, and consolidate the information afterwards.

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what is your best (or worst!) reunion memory? share!

Some Back-to-School Tips for Parents

By Mac McCarthy, Zenergo
(Parent of twin girls)

Here are some tips for parents to make sure you haven’t forgotten or overlooked anything, as your kids head off to school.

(If your kids are returning to school, these tips can still be useful — it’s an opportunity to be a little more organized than you were last year!)

Get Ready

Buy sturdy backpacks, they get a lot of abuse.

Don’t overbuy school supplies. Buy the smaller size at first to save space and weight in the schoolbag. You can always adjust as the year goes on. You’ll miss out on some back-to-school sales, but you’ll also miss out on buying in volume only to find out you got the wrong kind of notebooks or pens.

Create a homework center.

Have a special box at home where your child can place forms from school, so they don’t get overlooked.

Film canisters make good change purses for the school lunchbox.

Label everything.

Be ready the night before – make lunches and snacks and refrigerate; pack backpacks; check first-day needs and requirements; plan the school week; talk to your student. Lay out clothes.

Pack that backpack as light as you can — it should not be more than 10-20% of your child’s weight.

Go to bed and get up at school hours for several days ahead.

Check with the school for signup dates for sports and social club.

If your child has medical concerns, meet with the school nurse.

Arrange for after-school daycare!

Decide on school-day rules – TV times, homework times, bath time, bed time during school week. Then enforce them.

Make a school calendar to hang on the wall, fill in events and school vacation days — make sure your children check it regularly — and you do so too. This calendar will help ensure that you pay attention to school activities and can stay involved.

Getting to school.

Decide on the best route to school.

Walking: Be aware of the busiest routes and intersections; walk with other parents and kids if you can; use this opportunity to teach pedestrian safety to your kids. Biking: Safe biking is a critical new skill you must teach your youngster, and planning the route is important: Bike to school with your child in the week before school starts, so you can both familiarize yourselves with the route and its potential issues.

Driving: When school starts, quiet streets nearest the school will become busier, and traffic jams at the school drop-off points are common — and also dangerous! Be extra careful maneuvering into and out of the drop-off spot — you don’t want to have a fender-bender the first week back to school!

Taking the school bus: Have you got the bus schedule in hand? Talk to your child about bus safety: Stay seated, no wandering around while the bus is moving, use the seat belt if there is one. And look around when exiting the school bus, don’t just dash out the door and out into the street!

 One More Tip: Join Zenergo

Zenergo is your social manager, and a great place to connect with other parents, to organize and manage the many activities of the parent with school-age children, and to post pictures and share useful documents. Zenergo can make a big difference in helping you stay a step ahead of school-year chaos!

Example: The Parenting Activity Interest checklist

example: The Single-Parenting Activity Interest checklist:

The Kids Activities Interest checklist:

The Education Activity Interest checklist: