Fit: Let’s Review: A Look Back at 2008 Fit Tips

City RunnerWHY IS OUR TUMMY sore? It’s still recovering from learning the “super crunch” from Mike Everts, owner of FIT (1633 Q St. NW, 202-255-7814,, back in April. Remember? You lie flat on the ground, extend your arms above your head, then pike up so you can clap your feet and hands together in midair. Mastering a set of those would make for a fine New Year’s resolution. But if you’re looking for other ideas to make 2009 healthier and hotter, we’re happy to jog your memory about what we’ve covered over the past year — from budget-saving training to Montel Williamsfavorite diet tip to a happy hour that won’t give you a hangover.

1. The Runaround
The best way to see a town isn’t from a touristy trolley — it’s on your own two feet. City Running Tours (which operates a D.C. tour, as well as similar ones in other major U.S. cities — see pairs travelers with guides who are willing to go just your speed, whether that’s a jog/walk or a flat-out sprint. And while you’re on the run, they point out landmarks, recommend places to eat and even take photos, so you’ll have proof of what an active adventurer you are.

2. Rope Learns
Bored — or burned — by rope climbing? Instead, wrap your thick string around a pole and then pull it toward you hand over hand. Or, have someone else hold the other end, stabilize yourself in a squat and prepare for war: Both of you can whip your ends repeatedly to try to flick the rope out of the other’s grip. Those are just some of the ideas behind the Battling Ropes System, which is taught at several area Bally Total Fitness locations.

Healthy Food3. A Good Sport
Your chances of becoming a female Olympic gymnast start to plummet if you haven’t given it a try by, oh, age 6. But with four years to go until the next summer games, there are a few sports you could master in time for the next round of trials. How about rowing? Many of the top folks (including local star Jamie Schroeder) didn’t even get in a boat until college, and you can practice indoors on an ergometer virtually anywhere.

4. Home Improvement
Even workout DVD goddess Kathy Smith knows it can be hard to focus on an exercise DVD in your living room. That’s why she advocates finding ways to “create a little ritual.” Shut out all distractions, make it convenient — and promise yourself a reward for sticking to the program. Her pick? A manicure.

5. It Takes Two
Personal training seem too pricey? Make it a two-fer. Duets, personal training for two people instead of one, are gaining popularity with folks looking for a bargain without losing personal attention. Plus, if you pick the right buddy, he/she will push you harder than if you’d showed up alone — a little competition can go a long way.

6. Child’s Play
Even if you’re too old to believe in Santa Claus, it’s never too late for some kids’ games. Hopscotch, jump rope and four square don’t have an age limit. And just because you’re having fun doesn’t mean you aren’t burning calories. At Mind the Mat Pilates (2214 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, 703-683-2228,, you might even find yourself crab walking. It’s “great for strengthening the back and opening the hip flexors,” explains co-founder Megan Bellamy Brown.

7. Rear View
Most of us won’t be appearing on “America’s Got Talent,” like the D.C. Cowboys, the gay, western dance act. But the exercise guidance they got from trainer Kevin M. Norris (1311 S St. NW, 202-352-7875, is applicable to anyone strolling along 17th Street: “Hello, they’re going to be looking at your asses. So I [taught them] Bulgarian split squats — that’s a form of lunge. Two of the best butt builders are the lunge and squat.”

Pageant Walter Lewis Training8. Juice Rocks
Going green isn’t just about being eco-friendly, it can make over your diet, too. Talk show host/author Montel Williams grabs everything with an emerald hue from the produce aisle at the grocery store, with the exception of broccoli and asparagus (digestion and smell issues, apparently). “Spinach, kale, collard greens — it’s all going in my juicer and in my mouth,” he told us. The result: A whole lot more veggies in his stomach and less space for junk.

9. Lend Me Your Ears
It’s hard to be on pins and needles about acupuncture when you’re getting it at “happy hour.” That’s what they call the group sessions at Silver Spring’s Heron Wellness ($30, 10723-B Columbia Pike, 301-754-3730, Although no drink specials are involved, you’ll definitely leave with a buzz from the feeling of getting pricked in several spots on your ears.

10. Mall Makeover
Don’t have the bucks to join a gym? The next best thing may be The Mall. That’s where Miss D.C. International got ready for the “fitness” portion of the competition with the help of trainer Walter Lewis of Awesome Physique ( Copy her routine and you’ll be ready to compete, too: Run the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial, grab on the nearby handrails to do pullups and use the trees planted along the Reflecting Pool as markers (think along the lines of walking lunges for five trees, then side squats for two).

Photos by iStock, courtesy Miss D.C. International

Posted By Vicky Hallett at 12:00 AM on December 30, 2008



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1 thought on “Fit: Let’s Review: A Look Back at 2008 Fit Tips”

  1. I hired Walter as a personal trainer 1 year ago and have never been so happy with my fitness level in my life. He motivates me and pushes me when I need to be pushed. Simply awesome and i’m grateful for his help!

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