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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, July 28, 2014

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I don't wear a dark, pulled-down hat and glasses to the gym because I want to talk to you about form.
I don't wear a dark, pulled-down hat and glasses to the gym because I want to talk to you about form.
Skip the gym and cultivate an at-home workout just for you.
Skip the gym and cultivate an at-home workout just for you.
Trampolines make for great cardio - just make sure you have the ceiling clearance.
Trampolines make for great cardio - just make sure you have the ceiling clearance.
Break a sweat and stay germ-free.
Break a sweat and stay germ-free.

Gyms are icky

As January comes to a close, I've got one more fitness-themed blog for you. Hopefully, your resolution is still holding steady. If you've been stealthy, you have most likely established a new habit – so, congrats! Whatever you resolved for 2012 – keep it up and make it happen.

Gyms are icky.

I don't even need to physically step into one for the sensory recall to kick in. The feeling of the damp air stewing with germs, the smell of sweat mixed with weight plates and mats, the sounds of grunting, panting humans and clanging metal all set to a vomitous soundtrack that, if I'm lucky, won't leak through the playlist I've got pumping through over-sized headphones into my auditory system in order to protect me from this assault.

I've had more than my share of gym "ick" in a personal and professional gym-going odyssey spanning over the last 20 years.

I've had enough of wasting precious minutes of my day commuting to a communal bacterial stew that could instead be spent ACTUALLY working out and getting it over with.

The gym is not my social hour. I am there to get my fitness on and then get on with my life. I signal this with a dark baseball cap pulled low over my eyes and headphones protecting my ears before I even walk through the door. (YES, to clarify, wearing a low cap and headphones means I don't want to talk to you or get your advice on my workout form.)

I realize there is a culture of gym rats out there that multi-task gym time as social time, but isn't that what bars are for?

I will occasionally go to yoga shalas and boutique fitness studios for classes like boot camps, barre method, specialized yoga and indoor cycling. I suck it up for the motivation of a group atmosphere every once in a while. But, the time and gas wasted commuting makes the issue of practicality start sweating out of my pores more than the actual workout would.

I've come to the conclusion that unless I can walk to the gym in under 10 minutes, (warm up and cool down – check) I'm just n…

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When life taps you on the shoulder, you might just have to turn around, steer in another direction and accept your new path.
When life taps you on the shoulder, you might just have to turn around, steer in another direction and accept your new path.

A change of course

I had all of these fitness resolution blogs planned for the month of January, but a repeated message from the universe is making my fingers redirect their path across the landscape of my keyboard.

It's becoming very clear to me that my lesson in this lifetime is that life can change in an instant.

I have gone about my business for 35 years constantly reacting to this phenomenon. I've chosen to be flexible in terms of adjusting my personal life plan for the people who are dear to me. When circumstance has made it necessary for me to be in one place or another to support my loved ones, I am instantly on a plane, train or automobile to be there to help.

Sometimes you cannot plan everything. The outcome is unknown. Life can throw a curve ball at you so fast you never see it coming.

That's what happened to one of our close family members two weeks ago. The picture of health and an active lifestyle, this 60-year-old "can-do" guy had a sudden, massive, physically debilitating stroke. He went from a "normal" life to an unknown prognosis in just moments. And so did the lives of his loved ones.

All plans seem up in the air. Everyone has had to adjust to this new reality and to digest what will be a much different day-to-day life for this previously independent man.

I visit the hospital each day and see families like ours, dealing with illness, whether sudden or progressive, a mystery or fully diagnosed, emotions plastered across their faces and expressed in their body language. The worry, the stress, the anger, the despair. The hope, the strength, the love, the prayer.

I can also see them modifying their game plan, accepting the circumstances and calibrating their new trajectory. Their situations make trivial mush of my daily worries, my perfectionist obsessions and disciplined routine.

There are also brighter moments that can transform us forever. It's not just tragedy that can provide drastic life alterations, but surely certain unforeseen joyful events can redirect…

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VIVOBAREFOOT (and the barefoot running program included) can help you run farther, faster and better.
VIVOBAREFOOT (and the barefoot running program included) can help you run farther, faster and better.
They aren't a perfect fit for four-legged friends, but VIVOBAREFOOT shoes can help transition you into the barefoot running trend.
They aren't a perfect fit for four-legged friends, but VIVOBAREFOOT shoes can help transition you into the barefoot running trend.

Get your feet naked

We're two weeks into the new year. Hope your resolution isn't waning! Here is some more fitness inspiration to keep you moving forward toward any 2012 fitness goals!

Winter running is pushing its way into my tropical island weather-loving gait. The blow of piling on an entire uniform to get my heart rate up has been softened by this particular winter's wildly mild temperatures!

Cold weather exercise does have its gravy; I'm more consistent out of necessity and guilt that my dog still gets outside for her runs ... even if there is snow and freezing temps.

And though the gear gets more abundant, (my must haves: CWX tights, a base layer, thermal vest, hat, gloves, wool low cut socks) my shoe has gotten more minimal thanks to VIVOBAREFOOT Lucy Lites.

I have been fascinated by the barefoot running trend for a while, but honestly thought that it would not be for me. I'm injury prone (which I now realize was probably due to my former "heel strike") and didn't think my weekly mileage even justified it.

Man, was I wrong.

One spin in these sneaks had me addicted. My VIVOBAREFOOTs (and the barefoot running program included) have singlefootedly reinvigorated my runs. I even think my dog runs better when I'm wearing these kicks! (Probably has more to do with my new stride – more on that later.)

VIVOBAREFOOT generously sent me a pair of Lucy Lites and some education to get me started. This was key. I've tried other minimalist sneaks, like the Nike Free and the Ahnu Sausalito, and enjoyed them before, but unless you learn the proper mechanics of running "barefoot," you may as well just be doing what you always do – which is most likely heel striking. Changing to a barefoot shoe calls for changing to a barefoot stride.

Essentially, "barefoot" or "minimalist" running shoes are just a shell of protection to give you peace of mind and ensure the hazards of your running surface don't infiltrate your soles. The Lucy Lite has a whisper thin, vegan outer shell with an extra-wi…

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Watching the art of the sun dip across the Maui sky into the ocean each evening is an incomparable sight.
Watching the art of the sun dip across the Maui sky into the ocean each evening is an incomparable sight.

Maui souvenirs

I just landed back on the mainland after a week in Maui.

There should be rehab facilities for re-entry into "normal" life after an island getaway. I have never felt such dread boarding a flight homeward bound. Leaving behind daily beach walks, yoga with a soundtrack of waves, horseback riding through tropical forests, fresh fruit and fish beyond fantastic, swimming in warm, aqua water and highly available, decadent cocktails was not an enjoyable moment.

I did, however take home some precious, immaterial souvenirs that will stay with me forever. I didn't have to shove them in my sand-filled suitcase, so I thought I'd spill them out here.

1. It's important to take vacations. This was my first real, official vacation of my adult life and with my husband. Although we both travel extensively for work and family obligations, traveling for leisure has eluded us. I now understand the necessity of the "holiday" and why people do this at least once a year.

2. Live Aloha. Maui was by far the happiest place I have ever been. We strayed from our resort every day to experience Maui local life and only encountered smiles, kindness and open hearts from the locals and fellow tourists. I suppose tropical sunshine mixed with sand and salt water will result in boundless joy.

3. Observe nature. We witnessed an incredible day of whale watching with the Pacific Whale Foundation. I am a major animal lover, but I did not understand the power of witnessing animal life in its natural environment until I did it. Our group was lucky enough to see a "competition" group of five humpback whales in a frenzy of activity. Plus, we got the bonus of a couple of sea turtles cruising around our boat.

4. Celebrate. New Year's Eve at Mala Wailea Restaurant was an epic rock moment. My husband had to "work" as the back-up band for his boss Alice Cooper and then was joined by Pat Simmons and Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers, Bob Rock, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Mike Myers, Marty Frederiksen and Steven …

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