13 Fit lessons we learned in 2013

December 31, 2013

It’s quite possible that the only memory you’ve retained from the past year involves exercising to “Blurred Lines.” (It was great until you actually listened to the song’s lyrics and dropped a weight on your foot, right?) Kick Robin Thicke out of your head and stuff your noggin with recaps of these Fit stories instead. Joanna Rohrback is sexier anyway.

(Teddy Wolff/For Express)
(Teddy Wolff/For Express)
woolpic

1. There’s No Better Gym Than D.C.
Roam Fitness (roamfitnessdc.com) has an address in Glover Park. But whenever possible, the gym sends its clients away from its front door. Roam’s OutRun classes combine a 5K with strength training stations and a healthy dose of exploration. The concept is similar to another business launched in 2013: Yoga Hikes DC (yogahikesdc.com). Owner Danielle Reyes leads groups through Rock Creek Park or the urban jungle with frequent breaks for yoga poses.

2. Wool Can Be Wonderful
Grandma’s itchy sweaters have given nature’s top technical material a bad name. Wool — especially the super-soft kind from merino sheep — is an ideal fabric for sporty types in every season. It wicks moisture, it breathes and it fights stinky odors. And, best of all, it’s getting easier to find in stores in Washington. The New Zealand brand Icebreaker (us.icebreaker.com) recently opened a store in Bethesda.

prancercise
ibex

3. Never Forget Sunscreen
It’s fabulous that your facial moisturizer happens to have sun protection. If you’re applying it only in the morning, however, your skin will be defenseless by lunchtime, says Shelby Moneer, education program manager for the Melanoma Research Foundation. The beach volleyball player notes that it’s particularly important for athletes who plan to be outside for long periods to reapply sunscreen. New labeling rules from the Food and Drug Administration that force companies to clarify how long their protection lasts (40 or 80 minutes) should make it easier to figure out a slather schedule.

4. Working Out Like a Horse Is Good for You
Viral video vixen Joanna Rohrback introduced the country to Prancercise, which is inspired by horse movements. (“They spring off the ground, using all four limbs and their heads,” she told us before teaching a weekend of classes in D.C.) Maybe it’s not a coincidence that 2013 also welcomed a workout DVD from “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast member Kenya Moore. Her promise? She’ll help you get a “stallion booty.”

5. You Don’t Need a Spoon for Yogurt
Washingtonian Brandon Partridge is on a quest to help people down their dairy as easily as possible. That’s why he developed Ibex, a line of drinkable yogurts that hit store shelves this fall. They’re competing with a new brand straight out of Charm City. B’more Organic’s smoothies are made from skyr (Icelandic-style yogurt).

6. It’s Possible To Sweat on The Internet
If you have a webcam, you have a personal trainer. That’s the promise behind sites such as Expertory and Powhow, which link up people with coaches who can lead them through a workout whenever and wherever. Technology comes with challenges, admits Expertory instructor Julie Bobek. She has to set aside a few minutes before working with a client to make sure the camera and connection are good to go. But she doesn’t need to leave her living room.

(Teddy Wolff/For Express)
(Teddy Wolff/For Express)

7. The Amish Know How to Build Power
That might look like a medicine ball tucked under the arm of Vida Fitness trainer Bucky Mitchell. But when he’s doing his Amish workout — based on activities from his childhood in an Amish community — it’s actually a bale of hay that he has to throw. To mimic chopping wood, Mitchell repeatedly swings a weighted bar. That kettlebell? It’s a carcass. And all of that imagination translates into a core-centric, killer routine.

(Teddy Wolff/For Express)
(Teddy Wolff/For Express)

8. Human Bodies Make For Great Weights
Very few emergencies require hoisting a barbell. But there are lots of situations — including possibly whatever you’re doing to celebrate New Year’s Eve tonight — that might end up with you having to give your buddy a lift. That’s why techniques such as the fireman’s carry are part of the curriculum at Balance Gym’s Goruck bootcamp.

9. Attractive Gear Finally Comes In Plus-Sizes
Lululemon’s Chip Wilson recently said that “some women’s bodies just don’t actually work” with its apparel. But some brands are more welcoming to an array of shapes. City Sports sells 1X-3X products — including this tank — alongside plus-size gear from Nike and Moving Comfort.

10. Nursing Moms Deserve Delicious Baked Goods
When babies need milk, some moms turn to cookies. Galactagogue cookies — also known as lactation cookies — are treats packed with natural ingredients that are believed to boost milk production. Different cultures call for different herbs and additives (including flax, malanga root and fenugreek). Writer Nevin Martell shared his family’s recipe for the treats.

Zephyr’s Galactagogue Cookies

Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup oats
1⁄2 cup ground flax seeds
1⁄2 cup nutritional yeast (not baker’s yeast, but the yellow flakes)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1⁄2 cup applesauce
8 tablespoons peanut butter
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
Makes 40 cookies | Mix the flour, oats, flax seeds, nutritional yeast, baking soda and salt.
Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla, then beat in the eggs, applesauce and peanut butter one at a time. Combine the two mixes, then add dark chocolate chips and walnuts.
Put batter in refrigerator for 30-60 minutes. Roll out ping-pong-sized balls and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at
350 F for about 11 minutes until there’s light cracking in the surface of the cookies. Do not overbake; you want to keep them soft. Place on racks to cool. Enjoy with a glass of cold milk after 20 minutes while cookies are still warm.

poundatcrunch

11. Sticks Have Tricks
The beat is on. Crunch debuted Pound — a workout with weighted drumsticks — in D.C. in January. Now, nearly 12 months later, the program is also offered at both Vida Fitness and Balance Gym, as well as at several fitness studios in Virginia and Maryland. The popularity proves that people really like to hit things, especially when all of that smacking translates into stronger muscles and improved endurance.

(Teddy Wolff/For Express)
(Teddy Wolff/For Express)

12. There’s Always Time for Tabata
Many area gyms — including the Sports Club/LA, pictured — are making every second count with Tabata training. The formula is easy: Complete 20 seconds of an exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, and repeat eight times. But the workout never is, especially if you’re using total-body movements, such as burpees and mountain climbers.

13. Your Bone Marrow Could Save a Life
Express senior editor Kristen Page-Kirby woke up at Georgetown University Hospital earlier this year with a hole in each hip — and the knowledge that she’d given a stranger a chance for survival. She’d nearly forgotten that she had signed up with the National Marrow Donor Program’s Be the Match Registry (bethematch.com) a decade ago. But when the call came that she was a match, she agreed to the surgery (and some significant pain, along with two weeks of recovery time). Her take? “I’d do it again.”

Vicky Hallett is a MisFits columnist and the Fit editor for Express.
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Dr. Andrea Bonior | December 31, 2013