Austin fitness bloggers finalists in national contest
Pam LeBlanc, Fit City
Two of Austin's best (and feistiest) fitness bloggers made it to the top 20 in Shape Magazine's fitness blogger contest recently.
I love Tricia Minnick's "Endurance Isn't Only Physical" blog (www.enduranceisnt onlyphysical.com) because she shares the same fears about running that I do, she lost more than 120 pounds in a little more than a year, and she's got the cutest little tow-headed boy you've ever seen.
Minnick went from obese to fit because she wanted to set a good example for her son Dash, now 4.
On Jan. 5, 2009, she weighed 278 pounds. She had a hard time keeping up with Dash, who was a year and a half old. "He was walking, and I was huffing and puffing behind him," she said.
She made small changes and lost 120 pounds in a little more than a year.
Nothing drastic. No surgery, no starvation diet. Just healthy choices.
When she started, she didn't think about having to lose 100 pounds. Instead, she told herself that for three weeks she'd eat fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, cut out junk food and walk every day. If she didn't notice a difference, she'd quit.
"In those 21 days, I amazingly lost 20 pounds and was feeling better and able to walk more and had more energy," she says. "I just got on fire about it and realized the value of taking care of myself."
Since then, she's taken up running, participated in the Hood to Coast Relay and appeared with her husband in Austin Fit Magazine's fittest couples issue.
"I went from having a hard time keeping up with my 1-year-old to now training for my second full marathon," she says.
She started the blog about two years ago to show others they could do the same thing. "I'm very passionate about showing people it's possible to lose weight by eating right and moving more rather than pills and surgery," she says.
Among her recent blog topics? Why it's scarier to run a 5K than a marathon, how she choked at a 5K race and the agony of leaving Dash behind for several days when she ran the Hood to Coast Relay with Team NUUN.
Austin's fitness bloggers are a close-knit group, and Minnick says one of her favorites is MizFit, a sassy 42-year-old mom whose recent blog posts include the gems "I Cried in Yoga," "Unfurling the Freak Flag," "I Sleep Like a Toddler" and "Ahhh the Guilt."
MizFit, aka Carla Birnberg, posts her blog at www.mizfitonline.com. It's hilarious and often features bits about her spunky 5-year-old daughter Emma Louise, better known as The Tornado.
Birnberg, a former personal trainer with a master's degree in counseling, has been blogging as MizFit for more than five years. Her tagline? "Fitness isn't about fitting in."
She thinks it's funny that Shape Magazine chose her as one of its 20 finalists in the blogging contest.
"I'm not 20, I'm not blond, and I'm muscles over makeup," she says. "But I look better now than I did in my 20s, and I think so many woman are at that point."
The blog is as much about personal development as it is exercise tips. It's all about finding the motivation to stay fit and healthy.
"I just realized I loved the marriage of mind and muscle," Birnberg says.
Her best advice to her readers? "Move every day."
That whirlwind persona that comes through in her writing is the real Birnberg, too.
"It's my authentic self," she says. "What you see on the blog, I'm the exact same way off the blog."
Cyclist safety campaign grows up
You've probably seen the yellow-and-black stickers that say "Please Be Kind to Cyclists" slapped on car bumpers around town.
The nonprofit group behind them is gearing up for its first-ever fundraising gala at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at Pure Austin Fitness, 907 W. Fifth St.
Proceeds from the bash, which will include dinner, drinks, live music and a silent auction, will be used to produce a video that will be shown to students taking defensive driving classes.
The video will explain rules of the road and include interviews with cyclists who talk about the dangers of riding with traffic. It also will include tips on driving around children who are biking to school, adult commuters and recreational cyclists.
Please Be Kind to Cyclists hopes to help motorists and bicyclists respectfully co-exist, says Al Bastidas, founder of the organization.
Bastidas was hospitalized for a month, needed five surgeries and had to quit his job as a design engineer after he got hit by a car while riding his bike in 2002. Four years later, when Austin cyclist Gay Posey-Simmons was killed while cycling along Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360), he painted the words "Please Be Kind to Cyclists" on a sheet, hung it from his van and drove slowly up and down the road where she'd been hit by a vehicle pulling a trailer.
Later, he, his wife and his daughter hand-painted more 60 signs imploring motorists to be nice to cyclists and planted them along popular biking routes. Then came the bumper stickers.
The grass-roots campaign needs money to continue pushing its message of motorist/cyclist harmony through videos, billboards and public service announcements. Motorists need to pay attention to cyclists on the roads; bikers also need to obey traffic laws and respect motorists.
Tickets to the gala are $75 per person, $125 per couple or $500 for a table of eight. For more information, go to www.bekindtocyclists.org.