A/ Eight: One model (in this case, she also happened to be a trainer), one stylist, one makeup/hair person, one consulting trainer, one health editor, one designer, one photographer, one photographer’s assistant and one photo editor.
I just got to work after a seven-hour shoot for our awesome Michelle Obama arms workout – which will run in the March 2010 issue – and the amount of work it takes to make one of these features happen never fails to amaze me – so please, please don’t flip past it! (Even better, tell me what you think.) It all begins with the workout, designed by one of my favourite trainers, Kathleen Trotter. Then, as I blogged about last week, we see at least a dozen models a few days before the shoot. Once the model is chosen, we have a stylist pull a variety of exercise wear and shoes. On the day of the shoot, we all meet in the studio and select an outfit for the model before she gets her hair and makeup done. Then, the hard work – the model, in this case the fabulous and super-fit Kari, completes each move in the workout – pausing countless times, mid-pose, until we get our shot. (That’s Kari above, being smoothed out by our stylist Alon. Wouldn’t it be great to have him on-hand at the gym every time your shirt rides up?)
Seven hours later, it’s a wrap.
I just spent the past hour in a boardroom with our art team, scouting models for our upcoming sculpted arms workout – designed for us by the super-inspiring Kathleen Trotter. It’s always surreal to introduce yourself to a model and then immediately ask her to strip down to her bathing suit (so we can take a few trial shots) and then later, after she’s left the room, make comments like “She’s too skinny” or ”She’s too young” or, as was the case with one model today, “She is WAY too sexy for a fitness shoot.” (Honestly. We’re still a little flustered.)
So what am I looking for in a fitness model? Ideally, I want a woman in her 30s with a solid – not scrawny – body, who can hold the poses properly for as long as it takes to get the right shot, and can manage to look good while doing so. Turn to page 51 in the January 2010 issue of Chatelaine for a perfect example. What I don’t want is a size-zero skinny mini who, when asked if she exercises, says “Oh, my boyfriend is a trainer.” (Ladies, that is not a proper answer to my question. Also, it seems that trainers have very attractive girlfriends.)
I’d really like to know what types of models you want to see on our health pages. Completely buff or moderately toned? Thirty-something, or younger? And does size matter? I’m really pushing to feature models in the 6-8-10 range – still very slim, I know, but a refreshing change from the constant stream of zeros found in some magazines. I’d love any comments you might have.
*Note: the above photo does not accurately depict what I’m looking for – I just like the silly factor.
Chatelaine’s assistant style editor, Kate Daley, vowed to complete a triathlon this summer. Lucky for us, she agreed to blog about her training, here on Healthwise, and last weekend, she completed the race. Congratulations Kate!
Well, I did it.
I went from limping with a fractured kneecap to swimming, biking and running, all in one intense event.
The morning of the Joe’s Team Triathlon, lightning split through the sky and thunder rumbled as we drove toward the race site on Lake Joseph, in Ontario. The weather made me more than a little nervous. I’m not scared of storms, but I was scared that the race would be delayed and I just needed to get it over with so I could relax!
But as the morning progressed, the storm turned into light rain showers, and I pulled on my trusty (rented) wetsuit and got ready to start the swim.
Overall, there were about 450 people in the race, and there were probably more than 50 swimmers in my wave. (They put the swimmers in different categories so everyone doesn’t start at once and crash into each other.) I’m a pretty good swimmer but I couldn’t go too fast because I was literally stuck behind a wall of women kicking… No excuses, but I know I could have done it in a better time. When I finally ran out of the water to strip off my suit and grab my bike, the adrenaline was pumping fast through my system.
Above, one of the swim waves in Lake Joseph.
I started off slower on the bike because I wanted to get my bearings. About a million women who were 10 to 20 years older than me zoomed past. They were in way better shape than I am. It gave me hope for the future — if I train like this for a few years, I’ll be built like some of those women and be zooming past the 20-somethings without a second thought. (They write everyone’s age on their leg so they can track your age group, but as I realized, age doesn’t matter!) I got into a groove on the bike so I started to speed up and pass people.
One memorable moment was when I was pushing up a hill, and a man running along the highway, wearing an HSBC triathlon shirt, yelled at me, “You can do it.” What? That buff guy who could smoke this race in a second is encouraging me? It made me smile and push even harder. A lot of people yelled encouragement at each other when someone looked tired, and it really gives you that extra motivation, knowing that someone is rooting for you.
And now for the part of the race I worried the most about: the dreaded run. I used to be a semi-good runner. But that took me years of daily practice because, like I’ve said, I’m not a natural athlete. And with my fractured kneecap, my running has been sub-par, at best. I tend to overcompensate with my right leg, and I’ve been pulling those muscles and damaging my hip trying to pull myself along on daily training runs. I started walking at first to give my knee a few moments of rest, but everyone was booting it along, so I couldn’t resist. I started running (albeit slow) and just kept going until the end.
Running across the finish line was amazing. I had asked lots of people to sponsor me, and I didn’t let them down. It also kind of felt like, “Wow, I have to find a new race because that one was awesomely motivating!” (Fear of failure is a great motivator for me.) For the future, there’s the HSBC Triathlon series, with lots of upcoming races. I’m thinking about doing one more race before the season ends so I can work on my speed. And there’s also the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon; I’m considering doing a 5k (or half marathon, if I’m feeling optimistic) just to keep myself motivated and training. I also want to join a bike team in Toronto to learn how to ride in a pack and improve on my times! Who knows, one day I might fulfill my life-long dream of completing an Ironman. (This article in the National Post a few weeks back gives me hope.) I know, I’ve got lofty goals. But training for this triathlon has taught me not to underestimate the power of my body.
Still, no race will ever be as fun as this one was.
Above, me, my brother and my sister, before the race.
And when Joe Finley, who has been battling cancer since 2004, gave his speech, I think everyone who raised funds felt like this was one of the best races they’d ever do in their life.
Good luck to anyone else who’s training for a race, and let me know if you have any good tips!
Sorry for the blogging hiatus — I dashed off on holidays at the end of June, and I’m slowly returning to the office. Lucky for you, Chatelaine’s assistant style editor, Kate Daley, has an update on her training.
Kate vowed to complete a triathlon this summer, and she’s been blogging about her progress, here on Healthwise. The triathlon is this weekend! Go Kate!
The countdown is on and, from here on in, it’s all a mental game. The Joe’s Team Triathlon is in two days.
I’m starting to get really nervous. The weather forecast says thunderstorms. I pulled a muscle in a spinning class. And I’m starting to freak out about every little bit of the race, which is making it hard to sleep.
But I’ve been training for months, and this week I am forcing myself to relax, even though all I want to do is run until I stop feeling stressed out about it. I’ve prepared myself to be cold, wet and hungry. In the past few months, every time I’ve felt sick or tired, I’ve forced myself to go for a workout so that if that happened on race day, I would be prepared. A little spastic? Maybe, but I’m hoping it will help me.
In terms of gear, I realized that it’s really important. I thought I’d be able to get away with wearing an old swim-team bathing suit and borrowing a bike, but now I know that inadequate equipment can really affect your performance. So I invested in a new road bike (a middle-range one), and I bought toe clips and bike shoes. Initially, I was scared of clipping in while riding –- friends told me horror stories of falling on their faces in traffic because they couldn’t pull their feet out. The best advice came from a friend’s bike-pro brother, which he typed out in capital letters: PRACTICE ON GRASS!
But I went for my first ride on a rainy Sunday and biked about 20 km. I also bought tri shorts and a sports bra I could swim in, because a one-piece bathing suit would be a transition disaster.
Here are the distances:
Swim: 750 m
Bike: 20 km
Run: 5 km
Alone, they aren’t that big of a deal, as everyone keeps reminding me.
But together, with transitions and gear and not being able to stop for a snack for two hours or longer, they are much more intimidating.
This week, my marathon-running friend Merryn gave me these much-needed words of encouragement: “It’ll hurt, but if it didn’t, it wouldn’t be such an awesome accomplishment, and everyone would be doing it! Try to enjoy some of the race, even when it hurts. You may never do this again.” And she’s right!
I’m not a natural athlete — ask my high-school hockey coach — but that’s what stops so many people from trying new sports. So I’m not going to let anxiety stop me; this race is supposed to be really fun. Besides, everyone is there for Joe Finley and The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation. So really, it’s not about me at all, and I need to remember that.
If you’d like to support my efforts, as well as Joe’s Team and The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, check out my triathlon website. And wish me luck!
– Kate Daley
Assistant style editor, Kate Daley, makes the leap from walking to running (and cycling and swimming). She’s vowed to complete a triathlon this summer. And lucky for us, she’s agreed to blog about her training, here on Healthwise. Go Kate!
“Anyone can do a triathlon,” says personal trainer Steve Bentley, also the head trainer for Joe’s Team. A few weeks back, as I was starting my training, I asked Steve for advice. I thought I’d share some of his suggestions with everyone:
It takes three weeks to get in shape. If you exercise consistently for 21 to 28 days, your capillaries expand and your muscles gain more oxygen. All of a sudden, says Steve, your active heart rate will drop and your muscles will start to develop. (My sis and I agree — swimming has already given us better pipes.)
Work your core. This is one of my biggest challenges. With swimming, running and cycling, when do I have time to do weights or sit-ups!? But, according to Steve, this is the most important part of your training, and it’s what you should work on first. He advises holding a weighted ball for sit-ups to get at those stabilizer muscles. Don’t forget to do a few strengthening exercises for your arms and legs while you’re at it. I’m going to work out to pilates and yoga DVDs — that’ll be easier to fit into my schedule.
Your biking and running cadence should be similar. Your cadence is the number of times your leg goes around in a minute. For cycling, you want to lower your cadence first, then build strength by adding resistance. That way, you’ll exert the same effort but go faster. To find your own cadence, count the number of times your foot lowers to the ground in 20 seconds, then multiply that number by 3. For running, you want 30 strides for every 20 seconds, with 90 being an optimal rate. (I wish!)
Swimming for a triathlon is different from the swim team. You don’t get a lot of propulsion from kicking, says Steve, and you don’t want to kick a lot in a triathlon. You want to save your legs for the rest of the race. He recommends using pull-buoys (those foam rolls that go between your knees) when training because they force you to use your upper body to propel yourself forward.
And finally, a quick status update on my training: I’ve started running again! (To my physiotherapist: I am not following your orders. I hope you don’t read this.) Swimming is going well, despite having to get up really early, and as I said in my last post, I’m borrowing a road bike, and have already been cycling around town. I’m also trying to book workouts into my calendar each week so I have no choice, starting with 7:30 a.m. spin classes. Man, early mornings are painful. Wish me luck!
– Kate Daley
Trek over to Chatelaine Walks for more: yoga, Pilates and weight-training moves to add to your walking routine, a light, healthy meal plan that’s perfect for walkers, and five self-tests that’ll help you keep tabs on your body.