Sunday, November 30, 2008

Let the Games Begin!!

As of midnight tonight the application process begins for the next round of Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap®. I am looking forward to receiving and reviewing all the applications as they come in.

Over the past few weeks, I have spoken to several people who are already working on their application and planning to submit it first thing tomorrow. For this round of the Project, I have expanded the number of "Recruits" that I will accept. However, keep in mind there were several in the last round that did not get in due to spots already being filled. These folks are planning to apply this time and I've given them top priority. Just know that there will be several people applying, so be sure get your essay in as soon as you can!

Selections will not be made until the application process ends and all applications are reviewed. As with the last round of the Project, I have certain criteria that I look for in an applicant. I also look for certain qualities and how well the applicant expresses their interest in the Project, their desire, and what makes them a good candidate. Selections are based on each applicants overall score and when the order they applied (the sooner you apply the higher your score!).

If you have questions, be sure to contact me, or join us this Wednesday at Cityoga. I am hosting an informational meeting from 7:30-8:30pm. Along with me will be a couple of Graduates from the previous round of Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap®, so you can get their first-hand insights as well. Hope to see you there!

In Peace,

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Navigating the Holidays

'Tis the season to get fat... NOT!
The holidays provide an abundance of opportunities for excuses to blow your diet and training. Poor choices during the holiday season generally result in negative consequences such as weight gain, diminished fitness and performance, and a boat-load of guilt, shame, and disappointment. At least that's the path many will chose between now and the first of the year. Yet, it doesn't have to be this way. Making poor choices is just that, a choice. No one holds a gun to your head and forces you to make poor wellness choices. Conversely, making proper choices is also a choice and making appropriate choices leads to enhanced health, fitness, and well-being.

If you tend to struggle with your diet and wellness program during the holidays, tomorrow presents an opportunity, an opportunity for change and for a new approach and perception of the holidays. There are tons of things you can do to ensure you have a healthful and mindful holiday experience, and you can get loads of ideas from various magazines, newspapers, internet sites and so forth. Below are a few of my top suggestions based on a workshop I have presented in the past, titled "Navigating the Holidays".

Plan Ahead and Be Prepared:
Have a plan which, ideally, includes time for some form of physical activity (see suggestions below), and a plan for your diet. Are you going to have a "free day" and eat whatever you want? Do you want to ensure there are certain foods for you to eat? If so, be prepared to provide it yourself. Don't let the day be an excuse to play "victim" to nutritional choices.
Free Day:
This is one of my "12 Dietary Principles" from the Project. On this day, allow yourself to eat whatever you want, guilt-free. Indulge in the foods you look forward to all year long and do not feel bad about your choices. The one caveat to the free day is that you stick to the "Hunger/Satisfied Scale", another technique I use in the Project. In essence, you can eat what you want, but only eat until you feel satisfied, not full or stuffed. A few hours later, if you are feeling a sense of hunger, then by all means enjoy more of the holiday yummies.
No Leftovers:
This one can be tough, however if discipline of the palate is a challenge for you, it is a crucial step to your progress. Keep all the turkey, veggies, fruit and other healthful foods and send the rest home with your visitors. Or, if others offer you high calorie/sugar/fat dishes to take home, politely decline.
The key is to make sure that after the special day, get all the "off limits" food out of your home. One day of eating holiday food will not pose a problem, extending it into two or more days can create serious damage to your health, fitness, and well-being.
Get Active:
Physical activity on a holiday is actually a high priority when it comes to Navigating the Holiday and it has a direct impact on your health, fitness, and well-being. If it is literally impossible to be active on the specific day, then make it a priority to be active the day prior and the day after the holiday.
Check out local fitness opportunities such as the "Drumstick Dash" in Broad Ripple. Or, check out a great idea from Project Graduate, Matt Fallin. He and Margaret, his wife, came up with a fantastic idea to fit in their workout as well as include their friends and family. I couldn't be more proud of Matt and Margaret, and I couldn't be more inspired:

Remember that I am teaching the "After the Turkey" 2 hour yoga intensive at Cityoga, this Friday from 9-11am. I feel it is vital that you are physically active the day after the holiday as well, that is why I chose to teach this particular class every year. What, you don't think I would like to be sleeping in and eating more pumpkin pie too??? No way! Get moving and get back on track with your fitness plan.
Here is my plan for tomorrow, feel free to give it a shot for yourself.
Project Triathlon:
Adjust the times to meet your current fitness level as well as the time available to you. This is structured to provide a 1-hour workout and is what I will be doing tomorrow; short, simple, and oh-so-effective. Do not perform this workout if you are not already engaged in a consistent workout plan, get your doc's consent. You know, all that typical warning stuff you read at the beginning of an exercise video? Same deal here...

1) 30 minute walk or run at an RPE of 8. RPE = rating of perceived exertion, what I use in the Project as a gauge of workout intensity, based on a 1-10 scale. For an aerobic workout, this would equate to roughly 80% of ones maximum heart rate. Cardio activity performed early in the day not only delivers tremendous cardio-respiritory and health benefits, it also helps to stoke your metabolism for the day. In essence you will be burning more calories throughout the day than you otherwise would. As an added "side effect", you may feel less guilt knowing that you "earned" a few of the calories you will be consuming.
2) 20 minute yoga session. Roll out your yoga mat and spend some time performing a few yoga postures. If you are not sure what to do, that is totally fine, just go with the flow and do what feels interesting or right for your body. I often take this approach in my own practice, I refer to it as "freestyle yoga" (probably not an original term). Your session doesn't have to be anything structured or formal. Again, just do what inspires you without regard for anything other than stretching your body, feeling good, and breathing.

Spending time performing yoga will offer you a great post-run stretch and help your body feel even more invigorated and energized. Additionally, yoga helps us to be more mindful of our body and it's innate form of communicating with us, which is through sensation and feeling (both physical and emotional). Tuning into your body and being more mindful of how you feel can help you make more appropriate choices at mealtime and help you avoid abusing your body too much.

3) 10 minute meditation session. Among other benefits of spending time in meditation, you can truly set the tone for you day; a tone of calm, peace, compassion, non-judgement, and connection to God. I'm sure you would agree that these are all beneficial qualities to bring into each day and especially on a day of "Thanks"giving. Meditation also helps us to be more connected to mindfulness, which we can carry with us into mealtime, during conversations with others, or perhaps bring you a sense of well-being if you happen to get stuck in traffic or at the airport.

Embrace the Holiday for what it is and focus on "The Reason for the Season", rather than the food or potential stress and family drama. If it's Thanksgiving, make a list of all that you are thankful for and maybe share this with those to whom you are thankful.

Finally, remember that, for some, the holidays are not always a happy time of the year. There are many who are suffering. There are many who are homeless or hungry. Some people must spend the holidays alone, or their family member is deployed to the war. Some of our yoga buddies are spending their first holiday without a loved one, such as Ginger Schonberg and Johnny "Playa" Watts (both lost their Mother this year). There are literally millions of people who have recently lost their jobs and are struggling to make ends meet. Thus, it is a time of year to include, in your prayers, all those who are suffering. This is also an ideal time of year for action, to reach out and help those in need, especially those near to you or in your own neighborhood or city. Look around and ask around, the opportunities abound. Check with you local food pantry and see how you can help, or ask around at the homeless shelter. Ask at your local gym or yoga studio, many of them are providing opportunities, such as Cityoga's "Toy's for Tots" drop box, etc. Jody and I are engaged in various actions through our church, so if you don't know how or where to direct your energy and resources, ask me, our church has tons of opportunities to get involved (and no, you don't have to be a member to help).
I trust you will have a happy, safe, healthful, and mindful holiday season.
In (Holiday) Peace,

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cold Weather? "No Excuses!" - Part 1

Cold weather and shorter daylight hours are no excuse to bail on your walking/running outside. In this article, I share strategies to help you stick to your training plan through the winter. Why sacrifice your fun and fitness when you don't have to?

When it comes to "dressing for success" on cold days, there are a few basics that can make all the difference and there are a few general "rule of thumb" ideas to keep in mind. As with all things in fitness, there is also a great deal of personal preference when it comes to donning cold weather gear and a few factors to consider:

  • How long are you working out? Most people can deal with the cold for a 30-60 minute run if you plan ahead. There are a few of us crazy enough that we will be running for several hours in the cold. This requires more practice and more planning, yet it can be done!
  • How cold is it?
  • Is it windy? Wind stripes heat from the body very quickly, so it's important to plan ahead.
  • Is the sun shining?
  • What kind of terrain are you on? Running on hilly terrain generates more heat. Running on flat, open roads makes it tougher to stay warm.
  • We all have different metabolic systems and lean body mass, both of which contribute to how much heat you generate during exercise.
  • How much "natural insulation" a.k.a. body fat, are you carrying around with you?

This month marks my one-year anniversary of getting back to running as my primary vehicle for aerobic conditioning. Over the past year, 100% of my runs have taken place outside. I've gone running in the rain, in 90+ degree weather, and I've gone running when it's dark and drizzling ice. The only weather related condition that has caused me to postpone an outdoor run was on two occasions when there was ice on the ground. And this year, I've come up with a plan to work around that. I've purchased a set of the "YakTrax® Pro".

I've known about YakTrax® for years, but never had a need for them, this year is different. I plan to run all winter, regardless of the conditions. I ordered my YakTrax® Pro online, because I couldn't find them locally. Several local outlets carry the YakTrax® Walker which would work great for shorter runs or hikes. If you plan on running, I'd go for the Pro. Here is the link for the YakTrax® web site:
Layering -
When it comes to "dressing for success", there are a few things that can make all the difference. First on the that list is layering. Most people are familiar with the concept of wearing multiple layers of clothing to stay warm, however, not everyone clearly understands how to layer properly. Layered clothing creates thin pockets of air which are sandwiched between each article of clothing. This air is then heated by your body, helping to keep you toasty and warm. The two main enemies to this strategy are using non-moisture wicking fabric (especially cotton) and failure to use a wind-breaking outer layer when it's windy.

Base Layer - Wicking Fabrics:
"The best dressed corpses on the mountain are always dressed in cotton."
The above quote is popular among mountaineers. I heard it several years ago, when I was selling outdoor apparel. Though a little macabre, the saying holds an important teaching about dressing properly for cold weather.

Wicking fabrics should ALWAYS be your base layer. Some people go with a long sleeve option, some go with a short sleeve shirt, you will have to experiment and see what works best for you. Either way, a good quality wicking fabric moves moisture away from your skin and out to the surface for evaporation. Other fabrics, such as cotton, trap moisture against your skin and will quickly lead to a loss of body heat. In a serious situation, this can lead to hypothermia and death, thus the lovely saying about corpses dressed in cotton.

Another thing to consider with your base layer is the thickness of the fabric. You will come across everything from very thin fabrics, which work great as a base layer or it can be worn with nothing else on your torso on a moderately cool day. Others are much more thick and can also be worn alone on colder days, or as a layer that has a little more warmth to it.

Insulation Layer:
After your base layer, if it's cold enough, you should add a layer of "insulation". If you are a fan of natural fibers, wool is one of the best options you can choose for this purpose. Wool allows moisture to continue moving away from your body for evaporation and temperature regulation. Modern technology has given us the ever popular "fleece" which is used in everything from pullovers and sweatshirts to hats, gloves and boot liners. Much like base-layer fabrics, fleece comes in various thicknesses to provide differing amounts of insulation. I have a couple different fleece shirts of different thicknesses that I use, depending on how cold it is. I also suggest purchasing fleece that has a zip-up neck that goes at least 1/4 - 1/2 the way down the front. This option allows you to zip or unzip to regulate your temperature.

As mentioned above, some of us have a greater amount of natural insulation, or body fat and therefor don't need as much additional insulation as our skinny counterparts. Personally, I generate enough heat that even on really cold days, a light-weight fleece is more than enough for me. Others, may need to go with two light-weight fleece shirts. This works great, especially on longer runs where the temperature may rise along the way, you can simply peel off the extra shirt, tie it around your waste and continue on. Or, chose a medium weight fleece if you need more insulation. Unless it is extremely cold out, I suggest leaving the huge, bulky fleece at home. These shirts are designed for sitting around the campsite, or looking snazzy and "outdoorsy" at the company Christmas party but really are not all that functional unless you are going into below freezing conditions. The problem with wearing a single, thick insulation layer is that once you get too warm, there isn't much you can do to about it.

Outer Layer - Wrap it up!
Finally, if it happens to be windy or particularly cold, you should finish your torso layering with an outer shell made of wind-proof, or wind-resistant material. Trust me, if it is windy out, it doesn't matter how many layers of fleece and wool you throw on, you are still going to get chilly. An outer shell deflects the wind and helps to retain the heat you generate.

A couple things to watch when seeking out your shell include getting a jacket that is well ventilated. Ventilation is crucial. Look for back panels that vent and, ideally, either "pit zips" which are zippers under each arm which you can open and close to allow heat to escape, or at a minimum ensure there are vents in the arm pit area of the jacket.
On days when it isn't as cold, a shell vest works excellent as it retains torso heat, ventilates extremely well and allows heat to dissipate from your arms. Personally, this is what I do until the thermometer dips down in the 20's. I also favor fleece vests which are very functional as well.

"What about 'my other half'"?
When it comes to layering for your bottom half, I use the same strategy that I use for the upper body. I start with a base layer of wicking fabric, such as a pair of compression shorts, over which I add a pair of long tights. For me, this usually does the trick unless it's below 30 degrees. If this is the case, I may add a second pair of tights, or I'll go with a layer of insulation such as fleece-based long underwear under my tights. Other times I just go with compression shorts and a pair of thicker tights. Only on really cold and windy days do I need a pair of wind breaking pants over my layers.

The important thing is to be smart and avoid wearing shorts on really cold days. Below temperatures in the mid-30's, exposed legs will cause you to lose heat too quickly, making it difficult to remain warm. Plus, it is crucial to keep you joints warm otherwise you become more prone to injury to your knees and hips. Research actually supports that running in shorts in cold weather diminishes overall performance. So, don't try to be a tough guy/gal. Cover up for Pete's sakes!

Heads Up!
Just like your Mother always told you, "put on your hat and gloves!" Science shows that we lose 50% of our body heat through our head and another 30% through our hands and feet.
Depending on how cold it is and what type of run I am doing, I usually start with a headband/ear warmer made from fleece. I also have one made from windstop fleece which works great on cold and windy days. Once it gets colder, I go for a nice warm fleece skull cap, like the one pictured to the left. What ever style you go with, just make sure it is made from wicking material.

One of my favorite pieces of cold weather training gear I own is a balaclava, such as the one pictured on the right. I've had one of these for years and find it to be one of the most versatile pieces of winter workout gear that I own. A balaclava can be worn, as pictured, which keeps your head, face, and neck warm. Of course you also look like a S.W.A.T team wanna be, but it gets the job done. On warmer days I roll up the bottom half and wear it as a hat, or you can also pull it down and wear it around your neck as a neck gator. Like I said, its a very functional piece of gear. And yes, it should be made of wicking fabric.
Give cold weather the finger.
When it comes to gloves, I start with a thin pair of cheap nylon, knit gloves or similar light-weight material. As it gets colder or more windy, I shift to thicker fleece gloves or add a nylon, wind resistant shell if needed. Another excellent option for gloves is mittens. Mittens hold the advantage of using your own body heat to help keep all your digits warm since all your fingers are next to each other, skin to skin. There are actually "combo" gloves out there that offer gloves with a mitten cover that allows you to wear them in either mode.

The agony of da feet...
Depending on the shoes you wear you may not need anything special to keep your feet warm enough for a 30-60 minute walk or run. Some shoes are overly ventilated, so you can get cold toes within a matter of minutes, and spend the rest of your run in pain. In addition, running on cold concrete or pavement will get your feet cold faster than running on trails as the hard surface is colder and transfers the cold to your feet more quickly.
If cold feet is a challenge for you, you can experiment with shoes that are less airy, shoes with Gore-Tex liners (which are not only water proof, they also tend to be warmer), or you can go with thicker socks. One strategy that works well for winter running is to purchase a pair of shoes that are 1/2 to 1 size too large. This extra space allows you to throw on two pairs of socks (think layering, here), or you can wear thicker performance based socks, such as those geared towards hiking. Sure it's an added expense, but if you use these shoes only during the winter, they can last you a several years, depending on how many miles you put on them.
Practice, Practice, Practice...
At the end of the day, you will have to do a little trial and error and experiment with different tactics in various weather conditions. Yet, just like I tell all my clients and students, if you want to get better at anything, the secret is PRACTICE!

So, get out there and hit the road. By using my suggestions and doing some experimenting you will find that walking and running through the winter can actually be fun and exciting. Plus, you will feel better and you will feel empowered!

Please contact me if you have questions or need additional guidance with your winter training. And feel free to share your outdoor training stories with me. I'd love to hear from you and you might just inspire others to get outside this winter!

In "Part 2", I will share my insights on why I feel it's important to keep your workouts outdoors rather than walking or running within the comforts of the gym. Stay tuned...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Important Dates and Re-minders

Holiday Class Schedule Changes -

Yoga Cross Training at Cityoga: Wednesday, November 26th - No Class

After the Turkey 2 hour Intensive at Cityoga: Friday, November 28th from 9-11a.m. Cost: $20.

Patrick Kinsman teaching for me December 6th at Cityoga: While I'm off running through the woods of Brown County, in the Tecumseh Trail Marathon, yogi Patrick Kinsman is stepping up for teaching detail. Please keep your practice strong by attending Patrick's class. I'm confident you will have fun and you will learn something new.

Project Related Dates

Application Process begins December 1st. If you plan to apply, don't delay. Get your applications in early!

Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap® Informational Meeting at Cityoga: Wednesday, December 3rd from 7:30-8:30p.m.

Other Stuff

Some of you may be new to my classes and my blog; welcome! Occasionally, I send out announcements or reminders via email. if you would like to be added to my email list, please let me know:

I continue to run, outdoors, throughout the cold, dark Indiana winters and so can you. All it takes is planning and the right gear (which shouldn't cost you an arm and a leg!). Please check back soon for my tips and suggestions for training outdoors in the winter:
  • What to do when the temperatures are closer to zero than they are to 80.
  • How to keep an active outdoor training schedule when the daylight hours become limited
  • Staying motivated and inspired to go outside to train when it's cold and windy
  • And more...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Project Informational Meeting

Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap®
Informational Meeting
at Cityoga
If you or anyone you know is interested in participating in Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap® or would like additional information, Chris and some of the recent Project Graduates will be at Cityoga on Wednesday, December 3rd, from 7:30p.m. - 8:30p.m. to provide you with additional information as well as field any questions you may have. Below you can read up on the details regarding the next round of The Project, which begins this January; applications accepted as of December 1st. Please contact Cityoga if you plan to attend 317-423-1730, or email Chris at

Monday, November 17, 2008

Next Round of The Project Announced

Here is what many of you have been waiting for, an announcement regarding the next round of Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap®

If you are interested in applying for the next round of The Project, please read ALL the details below. Or if you know someone who might be interested in applying, be sure to forward this to them. I've done my best to include all the information you may need regarding this round of The Project, including dates, how to apply, cost, what is expected of the "New Recruits" who get selected and more. Should you have additional questions, please send me an email:

I am extremely excited about the next round of The Project, and know that many of you are chomping at the bit to apply. If you are interested, be sure to apply as soon as you can (application process begins December 1st), as priority and consideration will be given to applications in the order they are received. If you are applying towards the end of the process, don't be discouraged, go ahead and apply. More consideration is given to how you express yourself and how well you convey your desire to participate.

In Peace,


New Project "Recruits” to venture, with me, into the next round of Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap®, a group wellness coaching program which I created and have used to successfully guide others in obtaining their optimal level of health, fitness and well-being.

Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap® is not about “extreme” fitness, getting washboard abs, getting “shredded” or crushing course records at a fitness race. Rather, this 12-week Project is about helping you to reclaim your health, improve your fitness, and inspire you to live a life of well-being.

Whether you are simply stuck in a fitness rut, or you are facing a life-style related health crisis, The Project may be for you. My revamped and super-charged program is guaranteed to help you achieve your wellness intentions.

“Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap® is more than just a fitness or diet program. With the support of like-minded friends and an experienced coach like Chris, you can “find yourself”. I plan on living the Project for the rest of my life. With wonderful continued guidance and friendship, I know it is possible.” Alison Cole, Project Graduate who lost 23 pounds during the Project and has continued to make progress in her wellness goals.

What is Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap®?
Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap® is a 12-week fitness program which incorporates a multi-faceted approach that includes:

  • Individual coaching and guidance from a degreed and certified personal trainer/wellness coach, and advanced certified yoga and meditation instructor with over 15 years of professional experience
  • 12-weeks of detailed workout programs
  • Dietary guidelines and assistance
  • Weekly feedback on your nutrition and workout journals
  • Yoga and meditation instruction
  • Daily updates including The Project "Tip and Recipe of the Day"
  • Group support from your fellow recruits and Project Graduate Mentors
  • Life-skills which will continue to benefit you for the rest of your life, as well as inspire and impact those around you

This proven, integrated approach to wellness can help you reduce stress, lose body fat, increase physical strength and stamina, improve cardiovascular fitness and flexibility, and decrease your health risk factors such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

“After just 4 weeks my blood pressure dropped from 130/90 to 100/70 ---- wow, was my doctor happy about that! At the end of the 12 weeks I had lost 17 lbs, 3.5% body fat and 16 inches!” – Loretta Cooprider, Project Graduate

What Will be Expected from You

  • "No Excuses" mindset - This means that you must be willing to take full responsibility for yourself, for your actions, for your choices, and for your life. You must also possess a willingness to make your best effort throughout the 12 weeks. Obstacles will arise during The Project, challenges will confront you, and you may feel sabotaged from time to time; that is life. You must be committed that when these challenges arise, rather than offer excuses or bailing on your Project, you will use the tools I give you to work through these challenges and move forward. I’m not asking, nor expecting “perfection”, only your best effort.
  • Commit one hour per day to your Project (in general, one hour is the TOTAL amount of time needed to complete your assigned training, workouts, journaling, and homework assignments)
  • Complete all required fitness and health evaluations – preliminary and follow-up. If you miss one of the evaluations, no make-up tests will be given. You will be responsible for having an evaluation completed at your own expense.
  • If required, have a physical before beginning the program, or a doctor’s signed release (at your financial expense).
  • Be willing to be photographed for before and after results – males will be shirtless and in shorts, women should be in shorts and either a close fitting shirt or sports bra. These photos will be viewed only by Project staff, unless permission is given by participant
  • Attendance at the following group meetings –
  • January 3rd - Orientation meeting (approximately 2 hours in duration). Cityoga, located at 936 Indiana Avenue
  • Initial fitness testing session (which may be 2-3 hours in length) and is set for Sunday, January 11th. Location: Peace Learning Center/Peace Through Yoga, Eagle Creek Park
  • Final fitness testing session (which may be 2-3 hours in length) and is set for Sunday, April 12th. Location: Peace Learning Center/Peace Through Yoga, Eagle Creek Park
  • Optional – weekly meetings to be held at Au Bon Pain located at 901 Indiana Ave. Meetings will be held every other Saturday from 10:00a.m.-11:00a.m. and every other Wednesday evening from 7:15p.m. – 8:15p.m. Dates will be announced to those selected.
  • Maintain accurate, detailed records throughout the 12 weeks and submit records each week
  • Complete all assigned workouts and additional “homework” to the best of your ability
  • Adhere to all aspects of the program, as closely as possible. If you have unique circumstances or challenges, I can work with you to accommodate, however it is vital that you stay on course
  • Check in with me once per week, via email, phone, or in person, as assigned
  • Minimum amount of fitness equipment is required. This includes a jump rope, several dumbbells or a couple exercise bands of varying resistances, or membership at a gym
    Space to complete your assigned yoga sessions, or ability to attend a yoga class of your choosing once per week
  • CD player
  • Yoga Mat
  • Ability/location to perform assigned aerobic conditioning, preferably outdoors. Please contact me if this may present a challenge for you and we can discuss options
  • Willingness to engage in various forms of relaxation/stress reduction practices which will include a basic form of meditation

“Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap® helped me focus on my weight loss and fitness goals. It seemed that I was always on a diet, but was having trouble making progress. The Project helped me become more consistent in my workouts and in my diet. Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap® helped me focus and get past a weight barrier that I had been struggling with for the past couple years. The support and program are great!” - Jeanie Gensheimer, Project Graduate

How to Get Involved
Beginning December 1st, I will begin accepting applications and plan to accept 30 New Recruits from various lifestyles, backgrounds, genders, ages, demographics, and challenges with whom I can coach through the 12-week Project.

First and foremost, applicants must be willing and able to meet all the requirements for participation in this Project, as listed above. Additionally, I ask that you only apply if you are 100% committed to making a change in you health, fitness, and well-being. I am seeking those who truly want to transform their lives and are willing to commit to a challenging 12-week program. If you are not 100% ready and committed, then please do not submit your application, as this will free up a spot for someone who is ready. While this Project is not “extreme” or “hardcore”, it is certainly not “easy”, change never is. This is a “No Excuses” Project and I can assure you it will challenge you in physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually; so, be prepared to do what it takes to complete this Project and know that I and your Project Mentors are here to support you each step of the way. The rewards will be far greater than any challenge you may face.

The Project was the greatest gift I could have given myself… the workouts were AMAZING and I’m already looking forward to cycling through them again!! Thank you thank you thank you for a tremendous experience… and for helping me take 3 inches off my hips!!” – Jen Johansen, Project Graduate

Submitting your application
Unlike landing your typical j-o-b, where you have to fill out lengthy application forms, I simply ask applicants to email me ( and tell me why you feel Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap® appeals to you and why you feel you would make a good candidate. Let me know that you are ready to embrace a “No Excuses” lifestyle and that you are committed and ready to do whatever it takes to change your life. If you feel now is your time to rise above, be sure to convey that in your essay. Do your best to demonstrate that you should be accepted into the Project.

Feel free to share stories of current health challenges you are facing, set-backs you have experienced in the past, the difficulty of finding balance in your work, family, health/workout time. Include any current challenges you are facing in terms of your health, fitness, and well-being. Be sure to include if you are under the care or supervision of a physician for any current medical challenges, or of any untreated medical conditions that may be currently challenging you.

I am looking for “real” people, with real lives, and real challenges.

The more open, honest, and real you are in your essay, the better your chances of being selected. I’m not looking for writing skills; I’m looking for those who write from the heart.

The application process is open from December 1st and will close December 21st, 2008. Preference will be given in the order the application is received, so be sure to submit your application as soon as you can. No applications will be accepted after the application process ends – no exceptions.

Important Project Dates: If you have conflicts with any of the below dates, contact me before applying to discuss options.
Application Process: December 1st – December 21st
New Recruits Notified: Weekend of December 26th – December 28th
New Recruit Orientation: January 7th
Initial Fitness Testing: January 11th
Official Start Date: January 19th
Official End Date and Follow Up Fitness Testing: April 12th

“When I started this program, I was not even sure what it was realistic to expect, I just knew that I was dying a slow death and it was not fair to my wife and my two wonderful kids. I thought if I could lose 15 or 20 pounds during The Project it would be a great start towards my goal and get me in the right direction. Weight loss was definitely my main goal when I started and losing 46 pounds I would say I far exceeded my expectations on weight loss! So, with all that being said, the health and wellness benefits I received were far greater than anything I could ever have dreamed. I dropped my Cholesterol 28 points from 204 to 176. I lowered my resting heart rate from 75 BPM to 52 BPM. No question you have added years on to my life!” – Matt Fallin, Project Graduate who has gone on to lose over 50 pounds and completely transform his life!

Project "Super-Star", Matt Fallin in his "before" and "after" shots

Entry Fee
For those selected as a “New Recruit”, there is a $249, non-refundable, entry fee which is to be paid on or prior to the initial orientation session. You may pay via check, money order, or cashiers check. Your entry fee covers all your training materials, fitness/health evaluations, one-on-one coaching/consultations, a Project t-shirt, yoga CD, group meetings, as well as the support from your fellow participants, and the opportunity to make the lifestyle change you know you have been waiting for. Now is the time! No Excuses!

What if I’m not selected?
While I never like to turn people away, The Project isn’t for everyone. This is a “No Excuses”, 12-week program, which requires a serious commitment to me, to your fellow Project participants, and most importantly, to you.

If you are not selected, please do not take it personal. Each round of the Project I am looking for specific people, with specific lifestyles, demographics, gender, age, challenges, etc. I am also looking for the most highly motivated people, those who are fed up or frustrated with their current level of well-being and are truly ready to do something about it.

If you do not get selected, it is likely that I have already filled all the slots and profiles, or I may feel that you are not quite ready to embark on the Project, either way I will contact you and let you know why you were not selected. Please be patient and stay encouraged, if you do not get in this round. There will be more Project opportunities coming very soon.

Additionally, I ask that you continue to stay in touch with me, and to read my blog on a regular basis. I will be posting progress reports, news, training tips, and sharing stories from our group. Hopefully this will provide you with informative wellness news, added motivation, inspiration and maybe a little comic relief. I also ask that you re-apply with the next group at which time your chances of being selected are much greater as this shows your sincerity and motivation.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mission: Eagle Creek. Accomplished

So, where were you at 8:30a.m.? I don't know about you, but Corbin Baird (Project Grad), Joe Wagle, Pam Liston (Project "Stealth Pilot" and my right-hand gal), and I were gathered at The Peace Learning Center ready to hit the trails.

Was it early? Yup. Aren't Sunday mornings supposed to be for sleeping in or sitting in a nice, warm church or something....?

Was it cold out? Yup. Somewhere in the low 30's with wind. As long as we were moving it wasn't too bad though.

Was it overcast? Yup. Cloudy most of the time, even a few tiny snow flakes here and there.

Was it fun? OH YEAH!

Pam took me up on the suggestion to come out and do a hike. So while we headed out for our run, she hit the trail and did a solo hike. Here's what Pam emailed to me.

"I hope that your run was successful!!! It was great that Corbin and Joe could run with you. My own adventure was successful for me too. I made my own route based on the two first loops you and I charted for the summer Eagle Creek adventures. I did two short loops twice so I could be near the water and do that hill next to the steps. That is why I was able to see the three of you. Then I did part of last week's loop in reverse so I could pick up the orange ties that were markers. My confidence in hiking the trails has been increased since participating in your Eagle Creek adventures. Thanks for encouraging me to hike today!

I saw 12 deer this morning!! What a great sight!"

Joe joined Corbin and I for the first loop, which was our fastest lap at just under an hour. He had to bail after one lap as he had tickets for the Colts game. Good for him, but it would have been cool to have him stick around cuz I enjoyed running with him.

The Three Amigos, gearing up for our run. Pictured left to right: Corbin, Joe, Chris
Thanks for taking the picture, Pam!

Corbin and I continued on and ended up going nearly 3.5 hours. I think our total time on the trail, including a couple pit stops was around 3:23. My ego really wanted another lap or to continue to the 4 hour mark, but based on how I was feeling for the last 20-30 minutes, Corbin and I agreed it probably would not be a bright idea.

I'm still not 100% from being sick last week; probably around 75%-80%. Overall, I felt fine on the flats and my legs were good. However, my "power" is still very low and any time there was even a slight hill, I would really feel it. In general, it just felt like the exertion was harder than it should have been for the pace we were keeping. Corbin held up strong and was encouraging. I'm sure he could have kept going, but we decided it call it and head out for some warm beverages and fuel.

So, it was a good day on the trails. I'm content with the effort and the outcome. Now, where were you, again....? NO EXCUSES!

Way to go Pam!
Joe, I hope you enjoyed the game. Looks like it was a good one.
Corbin, thanks a ton for making the trip up from Bloomington. I really enjoyed running with you and appreciated the pacing and getting to know you even better.

Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap® update:
Check back tomorrow as I post the details on the next round of the Project. Once the application process opens, be sure to submit your application as soon as you can. I have a feeling this one is going to fill as fast as the last round, as I already have tons of people raring to go!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Mission: Eagle Creek

Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

Join me this Sunday at Eagle Creek Park where I will be doing a 3-4 hour trail run, beginning at 8:30am, sharp. I will be departing from the Peace Learning Center/Peace Through Yoga and running "long loop" from last Sunday's adventure. The loop takes around an hour to complete and my intention is to complete up to 4 laps, maybe more, maybe less, depending on how I feel. You can join me for a single lap, or hang around for 2, 3, or more laps! All you have to do is show up at the Peace Learning Center prior to 8:30, and be ready to roll. Or, if you want to join in a little later for lap 2, 3, or 4 just come to the Learning Center, I'll be making pit stops after each lap, so you can hook in later if you like.

This "mission" is very different from last weeks Adventure. Last weeks hike/run was all about fun and fellowship; for me, this is a pretty serious run, as I am still learning and testing out a few things for next months trail marathon. Also, when I'm doing these sorts of runs, I don't talk much, rather I like to zone-in and focus. You would be joining me for your own workout/experience, and perhaps offer some pacing/support for lil 'ol me. I've been waaaaay under the weather this week with a nasty sore throat, mild fever, and cough, which finally broke last night. So, I'm sure I'll be moving pretty slow-moderate on Sunday.

I know, I've made it sound sooooo appealing it's hard to resist, right? Trust me, it will be "fun", but a different kind of fun than last week.

If you are interested, you can email me:, or just show up on Sunday.

If anyone wants to hook up with others to hike on Sunday, rather than running with me, feel free to leave comments here, exchange emails and make a plan, or email me to pass the word. It would be great to have a small band of conscious fitness warriors "invade" the Eagle Creek Trails on Sunday.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day 2008

"Thank You" to all fellow Veterans out there, and to your families...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fall Fitness Fiesta at Eagle Creek

Hey Gang,

Here is a brief "field report" from today's Eagle Creek Adventure. As always, I like to let the pictures do most of the talking.

To everyone who made the effort to get outta bed, face the cold gray morning and your egos rebellion --WAY TO GO!! Talk about "No Excuses" (Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap motto). You should feel great that you heeded the call of your spirit to join your fellow fitness buddies in 3 hours of hiking/running, Pilates, yoga, and fellowship. In my book, it doesn't get any better...

So, if you wanted to join us today and didn't, why not? Sometimes there are legit "reasons", important things come up in ones life. Other times, it's just "excuses". If excuses are holding your back from joining one of our adventures, let's talk! For that matter, if excuses are holding you back in any aspect of your life, lets talk!

I want to offer a special, huge, "THANK YOU!" to Pam "The Blam" Liston. Pam joined me yesterday to help mark the route, provided hot coffee (for after the adventure) and water. She also lead the hike and really was an all-around big help to me. When Pam is "on the job" I can rest at ease that she is taking care of things and this allows me to focus on other things as well as focusing on the running group that I lead.

Also, thanks to everyone for bringing the wonderful, healthful snacks! Great stuff. Special thanks to Christine for bringing the chicken "chili". It totally rocked. Christine forwarded me the recipe, which I have attached to the end of this post. Great stuff. Healthful, and Project approved!

The Adventurers: Back Row, right to left - Dave and Carrie Russel, Jeanie Gensheimer, Jana LaBrecque, Christine Wolfe, Joe Wagle. Middle Row: Shawna Schaub, Diana Cunningham, Alex Cain, Ginger Schonberg. Front Row: Pam "The Blam" Liston.
Joe and Ginger hitting the first set of stairs. All smiles, or maybe the smiles are just frozen on their faces.
It was only 30'some degrees this morning...

Carrie and Dave leading the way...

Jeanie at the head of the hiking group...

For me, there is nothing better than a trail run, especially with others who enjoy it as much as you...

This picture was taken by Shawna Schaub with her phone camera. This is one of my favorite areas of the trail, the marsh along the reservoir.

A very rare sighting, Shawna in front of the camera! This was also taken in the above mentioned marsh area.
Diana makes it to the top of the final set of stairs for the day. Photo by Shawna, again with her phone camera. I'm so envious that she takes better pics with her phone than I do with an actual camera.

Here is a nice buck that I "shot" along the trail. We saw several deer along the trails today.

Christine and Jana cruising along the mash...

I actually got in front of the camera for a change as well...

Carrie takes charge. I think she was saying something about, "you will do exactly what I tell you, no questions ask. Got it?"

Just kidding. Carrie did an outstanding job leading us through a 30 minute Pilates session.

Finishing things up with some yoga...

Additional Info.:

Shawna is a professional photographer. You can check out her work here: Be sure to visit her professional blog here:

Carrie teaches Pilates each week at Pilates Indy Inc. Check out there website and her schedule:

Christine's Chicken Chili:
1-2 pounds of raw chicken (I use the tenders so they cook quicker, you can use skinless boneless chicken too or you can use cooked chicken to speed the process further)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon Chili powder
48 oz jar of northern beans (use the liquid too)
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 or 2 jalapenos, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 can chopped chili's
2-4 tomatoes whizzed in blender or jar of salsa

Much like yoga there are variations to this recipe depending on how much time you have to get it cooked and what you prefer in the level of spice and hotness. We whizzed our garden tomatoes in the blender and froze them in small containers so you can pop one of those into stew, chili, etc instead of resorting to can stuff. You can get fresh tomatoes in the store and blend or chop if you prefer chunky chili, use a can of chopped tomatoes (watch the sodium) or use a jar or salsa.

I just layered it all in the crock pot and let it cook for 6 hours or so. I stirred it two or three times during the cooking. Feel free to add different beans, go without the chicken or add a cup of Bulgar wheat (I am adding that next time!). Feel free to top with fresh cilantro, low fat cheese, fat free sour cream or eat as is. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Eagle Creek Adventure

I just left Eagle Creek Park. Pam "The Blam" and I marked the trails for tomorrow's hike, and we are all set! Hope you can join us. While most of the leaves have already fallen, it's still going to be a gorgeous, fun, and (moderately) challenging experience.

If you have questions or need directions please email me. I will be making a check of emails later this evening. So, if you email, it may be later tonight before you hear from me, but I will get back with you.

Tecumseh Trail Marathon is only 4 weeks from today...yikes! Pray for me : -)


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Death In The Family

Anyone who has attended my yoga classes in the past 5 or 6 years knows the one and only Johnny "Playa" Watts (I take full credit for giving him that nickname, as I gave it to him out of Love... still remember the day it went down...). John has been a part of our yoga family since the days I taught at the original Cityoga on 38th street and he's been such an important part of our community and one of our biggest supporters.

Many of you may also know that his Mother was diagnosed with cancer not too long ago. I learned that she passed away this last Sunday.

May your prayers be with John and his family, and with all those who are suffering or who have lost a loved one.

Below are the arrangements for the visitation and funeral. John told me he would appreciate any visitors to join in the memorial and celebration of his Mothers Life.

God Bless You, Playa...

Visitation – from 4:00 -8:00 pm on Friday, November 7th
Flanner & Buchanan Funeral Home
2950 N. High School Rd.
Speedway, In. 46224

Funeral Service St Christopher Catholic Church in Speedway
November 8th - 9:00 AM with burial at Crown Hill Cemetery
In lieu of flowers the family prefers memorial contributions to
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
1261 W. 86th St.
Indianapolis, IN 46260


I also received the words below from Rob Johansen, which I hope he doesn't mind me sharing here. Rob is a very sensitive soul and I really appreciated his insights:

Jen and I were talking tonight about how we know that we must all pass out of this life at some point, and the knowledge of that can allow you to let your fear of death go. And no matter what shape you are in, you must die out of this life. So the thing is to make sure to stay healthy so you can stick around as long as you should.....AND ENJOY the experience a long run can give you. No dread! I wouldn't want to spend all my time running......or being on the mat....but those times make the cups of coffee with friends so much sweeter. You certainly are sweetening your cups o' joe.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New Activity at Sunday's Adventure

As a new challenge to this Sunday's "Fall Fitness Fiesta" at Eagle Creek/Peace Through Yoga, we will be doing 1/2 hour of Pilates between the trail run/hike and the yoga session. I thought this would perhaps introduce many of you to Pilates and the benefits of the practice, and it would add a new challenge to our adventures. This session will be lead by Project Grad, Carrie Russell, who is a certified Pilates instructor and has been a yoga student with me for several years. I'm sure it will be fun and challenging. Plus, you can watch me suffer along with you (you know, a "good" kind of suffering)...

Please let me know if you plan to attend. While this isn't required, it does help me to plan for the event.


p.s. -- Did a 16.27 mile run yesterday. Crazy hard with a couple insights to share in the next day or two...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tomorrow is election day and I for one cannot wait for it to be over. In short, I'm over it and ready for the world to get back to other things that, at least in my humble opinion, are far more important than which one of these yahoo's gets elected. You know, important things like delving deep into ones health, fitness, and well-being. Or maybe delving deeper into matters of the heart and Spirit. Oh, if only each of us spent one tenth of the time and energy wasted on this whole election process towards our health, fitness, and well-being we would be an enlightened planet. And let's not even talk about how much money was blown splattering these folks mugs all over the t.v., magazines, 1/2 hour political/infomercials, and the like. Geez, we could have fed gazillions of starving people, clothed the needy, and who knows what else. Like I said, I'm over it.

Personally, I would never declare my choice for President, or other office, in a public manner. To me it would be beyond inappropriate and I would not want to deter someone from attending my classes or working out with me due to political differences. Plus, I think I'm a little "old school" when it comes to elections. When I was growing up, people didn't talk about who they were voting for in such an open manner as we do today. Heck, I remember asking my Dad who he voted for in the 1976 election and he wouldn't tell me. Voting was sacred.

I am voting tomorrow, and I trust that you will to, or that you already have. In my view, it's our civic duty and our right; it's our way to participate in the process, whether we agree with it or not and whether we think the candidates are the best the nation has to offer. I have my hopes for certain candidates to win but ultimately I trust that God is in control and regardless of who wins, it is His will, not mine and it's part of His Divine plan. So, I accept the outcome whatever it may be.

Finally, I would like all of you to remember that should "your candidate" win, know that there are others around you who may be extraordinarily disappointed in the results and let down that "their candidate" lost. So, please be sensitive to this and conduct yourself in a Spiritual manner, with compassion, understanding, and humility. Now is the time to apply your spiritual practice in a mature way.

No Drama! No Excuses!

In (election) Peace,

p.s. - it has been fun to watch the poll results on this blog; they have held steady from the first day I posted it -- around 60% for Obama, 37% for McCain and the Lone Ranger who is voting "other". Let's see how that compares to the rest of the state and the nation. Thanks to all who "voted".