I had the good fortune to tour the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center in Aurora, CO. The amazing and beautiful Pam Bard ( she’s on the board), kindly introduced me to their visionary leader, James O. Hill, the Executive Director.
Sidenote: Pam was one of the founders of the Bard Center for Entrepreneurship where I served as Executive Director, soon to be the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship. Forbes link: scroll halfway for story.
You might not think that an academic research center would be open to the public, but that is precisely what the Health and Wellness Center is. There is a state of the art onsite fitness center (open to the public) which electronically tracks your workouts. There are a host of wellness professionals – acupuncturists, aestheticians, dermatologists, massage therapists, nutritionists, personal trainers, and biofeedback specialists – there to offer their services. There is a Human Performance lab designed to improve the athletic performance of Olympic level athletes, which is also open to mere mortals. The local consumer can schedule a training session, a cooking class or a body composition analysis. I wish I lived closer, as I’d definitely be a regular.
In this vein, there were a few fitness articles that caught my eye this week. Molly Galbraith wrote an amazingly raw and real article on body image, (perceived fatness), and fitness. If you have ever looked in the mirror and not liked what you saw, read this. If you have a friend or significant other who is, to you, beautiful, but that isn’t what she sees in the mirror, please read this. I have been her. I have known women like her. This may help you understand, even a little.
And ever and always, these days I come back to Precision Nutrition – real food, with sustainable, incremental changes. You cannot out exercise a bad diet. Believe me. I have tried. This week they had a great article on how to fix a broken diet. They have free courses, for men and women, if you are not sure that you want to invest in one of their expanded programs.
If you have been reading me for a while (say since 2004), you know I started my fitness journey with Body for Life, completing 3 consecutive 12 week challenges (example after 24 weeks). I still think that it is an awesome program; I just got mind-numbingly bored of protein shakes and nutrition bars. As a novice fitness enthusiast and healthy eater, it was great place to start. Then I started running. A lot. For the last few years, I have been practicing hot yoga about 5 or 6 days a week (currently at iLiv Yoga). I am hooked on hot. As one of my teachers likes to say, “The mind likes to create problems.” In hot yoga, the temperature is a real problem the mind can focus on; it is really bloody (my teacher has more colorful language) hot. And, for 90 minutes, it is the singular problem the mind will focus on. Simply awesome. I still run/walk 10 to 30 miles a week but need to add back a weight lifting program if I want to change my body composition. For now, I find Precision Nutrition, even loosely followed, keeps me on track for maintenance. There are many of what I consider to be sound nutrition programs out there – Paleo, Zone, Whole9, South Beach, Mediterranean, Body for Life, even Intermittent Fasting, or Aktins and Dukan after their induction phases – for me it’s about what I can sustain and also makes my body feel great (ok and look good, darnit). What works for you?