Check out Triathlon Camps and Clinics in the Local Area

The following are some kid triathlon camps and programs that are offered in the Washington DC and outlying area:

–          JRU Coaching will be holding a Camp for Kids (C4K) clinic in Leesburg, Virginia to kick off their summer USAT sponsored TriCamp4Kids. The clinics will be held in February, March, and April. More info can be found on their website at


–          Achieve Kids Tri, Inc. is a non-profit organization, operating in Washington DC, that helps under-privileged and at-risk youth enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle. They will be holding camps at three locations July 18- July 27. A major component of the ACHIEVE program is to expose kids to the many benefits that come from participation in endurance sports. For more info visit their website at


–          The Columbia Youth Triathlon Camp is specifically designed for youth ages 7-14 years old who want learn how to do a triathlon. Kids will learn everything they need to know to complete a KIDS Triathlon and have FUN doing it! The camp will take place in July and more information and be found at


–         And of course….. Moms Who TRI, out of Burke, Virginia conducts a unique, ongoing program that offers triathlon and running specific skill techniques, basic safety issues, workouts for swimming, biking, and running, and works towards safely competing in age appropriate races. For more info check out  


If anyone knows of any others please let me know so we can post them! Hears to happier and healthier kids!

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Ancient Fitness Secrets

January is the hallmark month of weekend warriors. It is the a month of pledges, promises and possibilities. It’s the month of commitment, causes and conviction. It’s the month of gyms, joggers and jumping jacks. January necessarily beckons every American adult to set their sights on lofty goals and new achievements. What do you think is the top resolution for 2013?

You probably don’t need to call a friend or use a lifeline. You guessed it, it’s to get fit, according to the Washington Post.  It’s an admirable goal. You can count yourself exceptional if you actually follow through, that according to Time magazine online. 

I wonder what makes the difference between successful strategies and failing philosophies when it comes to getting fit? Could it be motivation? I won’t pretend to know what motivates you. There are dozens of articles with lists of 50 suggestions, 25 solutions, 12 scenarios and a half dozen secrets to achieving your fitness goals. But certainly, finding the key to your stick-to-it-iveness is what will work.

As we closed the chapter of 2012, I read through the Christmas story one more time. But this time, the familiar story brought new questions to mind. I wonder, have New Year’s resolutions always been a practice of forward thinking, successful people? Did Mary ever worry about her waistline? Did Joseph ever measure his biceps? I doubt it, but there’s no doubt this couple was fit, healthy and strong. What was their method?

The road from Nazareth to Bethlehem was no 5K. And with being pregnant before the journey started, Mary hardly had time to train. Despite the hazy, glowing portraits, there is no mention of Mary ever riding a donkey. No, the path that Mary and Joseph probably traveled was 80-90 miles, on foot.

Then, consider this: After Christ’s birth they traveled from Nazareth to Egypt and later back again.
Although only five trips are mentioned, Jesus himself likely made the trek from Jerusalem to Galilee nine times. Each trip was approximately 68 miles walking distance. *

New Year’s resolutions can seem daunting. That’s why most of us last until March before shrugging our shoulders in resignation. This year, instead of making big promises, paying big bucks for gym memberships or setting your sights on a marathon, what if you just said you’d walk more?

Do you think that’s doable? An achievable goal maintained is much more profitable than a daunting goal forfeited.

* Source: The Official Website of Arthur Blessitt and Yahoo Answers

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You are NOT Invincible!

What do you think is the most common misconception about exercise? Now, this answer isn’t scientific, but it is based on personal experience and observation.

I would argue that the most common misconception is that more is always better.

It’s this little lie that has led to countless injuries. Which, coincidently, force the participant to workout less for an extended period of time. So, my next gift to you this Christmas season is some tips on avoiding exercise related injuries.

First off…Know your body.

Are you predisposed to knee problems? Did you sustain a shoulder injury in high school? My mom remembers doing a handspring in high school and landing on her neck. Although she fortunately got up and walked away, to this day she has upper back pain. She needs to be aware of that when she begins a new activity.

Picking on my parents here, my dad has had the cartilage removed from both of his knees. Lateral movements like those involved in basketball and racquetball are not good choices for him.

Second…Are you from Mars or Venus?

It has nothing to do with a superior sex, but come on, admit it, we’re different. I confess to once feeling challenged to bench as much as the guy next to me. He was only in his second set, so luckily, my stupidity didn’t kill me. But I did drop the bar on my chest.

Women are generally more flexible than men. Gymnasts aside, most men won’t perform as well in yoga or Pilates, as women will.

Interestingly, some studies show that women are more susceptible to injury during their menstrual cycle. So, be extra careful during that time of the month.

Third…Be willing to ask for help. 

Hint, hint. Bootcamp is a great idea. Working out in a group gives you some accountability. A good friend of mine was anxious to get back to running after an injury. If not for her running partner pointing out that she was limping, she might have done too much too soon and really exacerbated her injury.

Also, at Moms Who TRI, trainer, Kristen Hench has a BA in sports medicine. Having a trainer who can offer solutions and alternatives when a certain activity is not good for you, is invaluable.

Next…Grow up. 

Or don’t. The possibility of injury is related to your age. As a rule, youth should not engage in heavy weight training, it’s not conducive to the maturation of their bones. On the other hand, the older you get, the more important resistance exercise is for the protection of your bones and prevention of osteoporosis.

Older individuals should not participate in high impact sports, simply because broken bones and other injuries take much longer to heal.

Fifth…Warm up. 

Who among us hasn’t been tempted to skip the warm up? It seems so pointless, like a waste of time. Shouldn’t we just get going? NO! Even if you’re short on time, do not skip the warm up. If you want to tear a muscle or sprain something, go right ahead full steam into an intense workout.

Muscles are like a rubber band. A good article on this can be found here:

The cold rubber band is the classic example of what a muscle is like prior to activity.  We need to heat the rubber band, or muscle, prior to activity.

Sixth…Back to our original concept… more isn’t always better… don’t overdo it. 

Don’t take it from me,

Rest and recovery in sports is just as important as training. Without allowing the body to recuperate, you compromise performance. Make it a priority to prevent injuries through rest and recovery. You sacrifice form when muscles are tired, and you are more prone to injury.

Everything needs rest, you are no exception. Cars overheat. Your laptop overheats. Things wear out and break. Lightbulbs burn out. So, do yourself a favor, if you don’t want to overheat, break or burn out… sometimes you just need a rest!


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Don’t Do Your Workout In the Kitchen!

I’m willing to bet that you’d rather put in a good, sweaty workout than join the crazy kitchen marathon that always ensues around the holidays. There are races to be run down supermarket isles, heavy lifting with shopping bags, too much work, too little rest and then more pounds to show for it! How does that work? At least with a quick bootcamp you can shed the extra pounds!

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from my little sisters. But this awesome tip from my baby sister, Rachelle, has to be one of the best. Before I share it, let me also tell you that Rachelle is the founding artist of WeavingSunshine.chelle

Rachelle and her husband both work full-time. Living in Dallas, she will spend half of her life stuck in traffic. She’s expecting and she has a fun puppy. She has far too many things to be wasting time in the kitchen. So last week, she decided to put in 5 hours in the kitchen one Sunday, so that she could reap the benefits of many a restful weeknight in the future. The recipes she used make more than enough for 2 people, so they will enjoy at least two dinners from every meal.

I found this set of recipes and the grocery list, courtesy of another group of sisters. I hope this saves you oodles of time and energy both during the holiday season and in the midst of many future busy, delightful days of life!

Six Sisters’ Stuff


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The Fifteen Minute Rule, No Excuses

My husband calls them ankle-biters. Those dastardly little things that gobble up all your spare time and linger on your to-do list. Those nagging commitments that require more time than you have to give. So often they end up procrastinated into eternity.

Am I singing your song? If that isn’t your jingle all year round, it certainly is the anthem of the holidays. Too much to do, too many people, too little sleep, too many presents, too many plans, too many finals, too many cookies, too much food, too little exercise, too much, too much, too much. I feel overwhelmed just thinking about it.

Enter the 15 minute rule. I first read about this in my writer’s magazine. When an article or story seems too daunting and writer’s block has built a mansion and taken up residence right in front of you, it’s time to implement the 15 minute rule. This is simply setting a timer for 15 minutes and telling yourself that you are only promising to work on this project for 15 minutes. After that, all bets are off. After that, you just might get up and go take a bubble bath. After that, finished or not, you have the option to quit and walk away. Anyone can do anything for 15 minutes. Right?

This little trick worked so well! Somehow, removing the pressure of “I will sit here until I finish this,” gave my creativity wings. Instead of waiting for that beep to end my misery, I barely heard my timer ring. And 15 minutes everyday, quickly resulted in a finished product!

I just spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my wonderful 3 sisters, their husbands, daughter and my parents. Around the dinner table one night, my brilliant doctor sister gave credit to a mentor for helping her pass a critical exam. “She told me to set the timer for 20 minutes. After that, no matter how much I had done, I could quit. It worked!”

Don’t spend too much time trying to figure it out. It’s the human psyche that responds to the pressure of limited time and the relief of an end in sight. So how does this apply to you, to your fitness and to the holidays?

Less is more!

Instead of wondering how you’re going to manage getting in hour long workouts while you’re visiting family, simply promise to do  15 minutes of intense exercise everyday.

I recently practiced this principle in my own workouts. While in Missouri with my family, I told myself that I would only get up early enough to workout 20-30 minutes everyday. Getting up 30 minutes early wasn’t hard. The workouts were over before I knew it and it was enough to boost my energy, my mood and inspire me to eat healthily on vacation.

Why not try it? You can do anything for 15 minutes. 

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Winterizing Your Health

In spite of all the glorious aspects of autumn, it heralds an end to (un-bundled) hiking, water skiing, swimming and a myriad of other fun ways to sneak activity in our lives. Usually, more of our time is spent indoors with quieter hobbies. We shift our focus to look forward to once-a-year favorite foods, hot chocolate, good books by a fireplace and board games with friends. So what happens to your exercise routine? Can you maintain progress toward your health goals even in the face of chilly obstacles?

When I was a kid, my parents’ boat was the favorite summer pastime. As September slipped over the horizon, we begged to get in one more trip to the lake before Daddy winterized the boat.

In the marine world, winterizing a boat is the single most important maintenance duty. If it is done correctly, winterizing simplifies getting going again in the summer. It greatly extends the life of the boat and its engine by protecting its components during winter hibernation.

Our bodies are intricate machines. It makes sense that caring for them, especially in the slower seasons of life, will lengthen our lives, prevent injuries and keep us on track for toward our health goals.

So how do you winterize your body?

1. Establish a new routine.
Don’t expect to be able to keep the same pace that you did all summer. That doesn’t mean take it easy! It just means you might have to get creative in order to squeeze in workouts around the holidays, snow storms, etc. Find a couple workouts you can do without any equipment. Write them out and stuff them in  your suitcase when traveling. Find a couple workouts you can do in 16 minutes – try using the Tabata protocol.

2. Invest in a good pair of mittens and a good beanie cap.
Everyone has their preferences, but I tried everything before I found what I think is the best solution to miserably cold runs. A fleece lined beanie cap can make me start to steam, even in the coldest weather. Mittens keep your fingers tucked in close to each other, snug as bugs in a rug. And purchase some Hot Hands – those things are like magic!

3. Layer, layer, layer!

4. Find a couple workout DVDs that you enjoy.
Sometimes it’s nice to know just exactly how long your workout is going to take. Especially when you know that the rest of the house will be waking soon, or others are waiting on you to do something.

5. Throw a make-over party!
     Ask your friends about their healthy versions of your favorite holiday dishes. If no one has any, challenge them all to Google one, test it and share the results. Delicious, easy versions of nearly every recipe are out there! Check out Hungry Girl, Chocolate Covered Katie,  Skinny Taste and Eating Well. 

I’m sure there are other obstacles to winter workouts, but I’m just as sure there are solutions to every single one of them. What are your plans for a healthy winter and happy holiday season?

Boat winterization facts: Article Source:

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On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

What’s the one thing you never have enough of? What’s the one thing that if you had more of it, you’d do more of everything else you don’t do enough of? Good guess, it’s TIME.

At the risk of alienating another audience, I’m going out on a limb to suggest that moms probably have the least discretionary time of any people group. One of the first things to go in a tight schedule is exercise. It seems selfish, expendable and subjective, not to mention tiring, painful and difficult.

For years researchers have vacillated on their exercise recommendations. First it was long and slow – an hour a day at least. Then, it was fast and furious for as long as you can go. We idolized marathoners, triathletes and gym-rats. For a while we were told that long nature walks would do the trick. “Just take the stairs, or park far from your destination.”

What do you have to do to lose weight? What do you need to do for a healthy heart? Does anyone know?

A new study out of Denmark offers a promising perspective.

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have shown that 30 minutes of daily training provide an equally effective loss of weight and body mass as 60 minutes. Their results have just been published in the American Journal of Physiology.

The study analyzed a group  of “average Joes.” These were sixty, 40-something men who were relatively healthy but still overweight. The study revealed counterintuitive information. Half of the group was instructed to exercise an hour a day, everyday for three months. The other half only worked out for 30 minutes. Neither group killed themselves. In fact, they were simply told to exercise to the point of breaking a light sweat. Three days per week they increased the intensity.

Google Images

At the end of three months, the 30 minute group had lost more weight than the hour-long exercisers! Both groups lost about the same body mass.

There are a number of different theories about these results. A leading suggestion is that the group who only exercised for 30 minutes had more reserve energy to spend being active throughout the rest of the day. Additionally, 30 minutes seems so doable. It is much easier to get motivated for half an hour of exercise than for a full hour.

So what does this mean for you, Busy Mom? It means no more excuses! It also means, quit beating yourself up if you’re not doing long runs training for a marathon. Quit thinking you’ll never reach your goals with your limited time. Quit thinking you’re slacking off and just make the absolute most of that sweat session!

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Sleeping Beauty?

As fall approaches, the school bells toll and your summer schedule hits the fan. Hopefully, in a short matter of time your family will establish new bedtimes, homework routines, exercise plans and regular date nights. Wishful thinking, right?

Often the first thing to go when life gets hectic is a good night’s sleep. If you’re really disciplined, you can tuck the kids in right on time, even if the sun is still poking its head over the horizon. But more than likely, as their sleepy heads hit the pillow, you’ll traipse purposefully back to the kitchen or the computer to clean up the dishes or bang out a few quick emails (or check Facebook).

Tomorrow morning, if you’re really disciplined, you’ll pop out of bed without hitting snooze and squeeze in a quick fitness DVD before the kids wake up and before the sun stretches its glowing arms. Most adults can cling to this type of routine for several weeks and the real warriors can do it indefinitely. But is that smart?

It’s not really news that our bodies crave 7-8 hours of sleep each night. It’s just not practical. However, did you realize that your waist line might be suffering? You might be dragging your body out of bed and into the gym and sabotaging your goals over night.

In an article for WebMD, Mark Mahowald, MD, director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Hennepin County said, “On average, we need about 7.5 hours of quality sleep per night. If you are getting this already, another half hour will not help you lose 10 pound, but if you are a five-hour sleeper and start to sleep for seven hours a night, you will start dropping weight.”

So what are you going to do? What real steps can you take to increase your time under covers? You set big weight loss and health goals. You’ll do anything to reach them, right? What about getting a little more sleep?

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By The Numbers: REST

I am writing this post tongue-in-cheek and mostly because I need to hear it myself.


I’ve we’ve seen in previous weeks, there are numerous numbers (pun intended) associated with health, weight loss, exercise, food consumption, etc. But there’s an insidious number that most of us with one track minds prefer to avoid. REST.

Whether you’ve set your sights on rapid weight loss, improved fitness, a personal record in a specific race or distance, a certain size dress or anything else, you have a number in mind. Once you know that goal, if you’re self-motivated it’s hard to see anything else. We understand that work = results. Nothing comes easy and we can never achieve our goals without pressing hard toward them.

So why skip a day? Isn’t that wasted time? Couldn’t that time be better used sweating? How can rest possibly be productive? In fact, in more arenas than fitness we often see rest as laziness. Guilty as charged.

True confessions, I recently started a new workout program that listed today, Day 3, as a day of moderate cardio and stretching. Ummm…I failed. I chose to do one of my go-to killer cardio workouts. You know the kind, the type of workout that you have a love-hate relationship with?

So what’s wrong with pushing hard, harder and as hard as you can – all the time? Over training will sneak up on you. When you get caught in the trap of over training, you are no longer headed toward progressing gains and faster success. Your immune system will begin to suffer, muscles become more susceptible to damage and emotionally your enjoyment of sport and exercise will begin to decline. When these factors and others compound, your progress can start a steep decline.
Suddenly, you may find yourself on the couch recovering from your bad choice of ignoring your body’s need to rest, instead of plowing through one more workout.
So, is there a magic number for rest? What’s the perfect proportion of work to rest? Sadly there is no such thing, but there are a couple principles.
1. when strength training, don’t work the same muscle groups two days in a row
2. if you do full-body strength workouts, put a day of cardio, stretching, yoga or Pilates between weight training days
3. take one day off (completely off) each week – you may still participate in active rest (take the dog for a walk, play with your kids, take a fun  bike ride
4. Listen to your body (don’t be a wimp, but…) if you’re especially sore, take a day of rest
5. there are several typical work/rest patterns that veteran athletes employ: 2 days one, 1 day off; alternate days between strength and cardio; take the weekends off, and too many others to list
So. I promise to be more attentive to my body and realistic about my goals and the right, healthy way to reach them. Will you?
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Healthy Equations Pt. 2

Years ago, I tried the Body-for-Life ™ program. One of the components of this approach to diet and exercise is a “free day.” Basically, you eat healthily, within boundaries, six days per week and on the seventh, let loose. If I had read the fine print (figuratively speaking) and I wonder how many people do) I would have understood that Mr. Phillips was not suggesting a weekly binge.

I remember one particular Saturday when my little sister was visiting me. She didn’t say anything, but her bulging eyes should have clued me in that I was out of control.

Even then, I was a dedicated exerciser. I hit the gym or went running nearly every single day. That morning, we went to the donut shop and I had a couple treats that I hadn’t had since childhood. Next, we stopped at a gas station and I filled up with a 24 oz. sugar-laden, French vanilla cappuccino. When she suggested McDonald’s for lunch, I snagged more than my share of her fries, salving my conscience because I didn’t order anything of my own. That night, near Christmas, we joined a potluck thrown by my church. Since all week long I avoided sugar like the plague, and it was Saturday, my free day, I ate 10 or more cookies, tried every cake there, slurped down mint hot chocolate and went home miserably sick to my stomach.

But, I popped up the next day and went for a run. Case closed, Body-for-Life™ was working for me. Crazy.

Allowing yourself to completely lose control and mindfulness of your food intake is never good. But relaxing the Nazi-like, self-imposed standards is.

Which brings me to the 80/20 rule. Just like the 90/10 rule, this isn’t heavily researched and documented, but it is proven by the experience of myriad individuals.

Basically, the rule states that if you follow a clean diet regimen 80% of the time, the other 20%  is for relaxing and enjoying your favorite, less-than-healthy foods. 

Whether you are maintaining, or trying to lose weight, in fact, even if you are working to gain weight, this standard is safe and effective. Twenty-percent equals about 4 of your 21 weekly meals.

That’s a relief isn’t it? That’s doable, right?

So chill out a little, or get a grip. Which side of the equation do you land on? What action do you need to take? Remember, that this rule applies to an active individual. Like I said last week, 90% of your progress hinges on your diet, but you need that 10% (exercise) to reach 100% of your goals.

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