Friday, May 29, 2009

Wholistic healing keeps you sane

The economy's freefall has made some people suicidal according to a story in the Observer, but others turning to alternative therapy to relieve stress. Across the state, holistic practitioners say many clients are looking for ways to reduce stress or postpone costlier traditional medical care.

Jill Akbay, massage therapist at Om Enerji on Central Avenue, is one of the Charlotte-area business owners who have seen an increase in business.

Akbay said clients walk in and say, “ ‘Whoa, I was able to take a deep breath for the first time today.' ”
Her sister Jennifer Thompson, a sound therapist, said many of her clients feel overwhelmed and exhausted.

“They're just stressed out and just wanting some relief,” she said. “(They want) to feel some hope, to feel there really is something out there that can help them feel a little bit better.”

Their client’s problems are similar to what other practitioners report. Rebecca Fowler, publisher of Natural Awakenings, which covers Charlotte-area holistic businesses, says advertising and circulation has increased for the magazine in the last year. Jill Milunic, publisher and editor of Natural Triad Magazine, is seeing similar trends in the Greensboro-based magazine’s circulation area.

“I’m hearing everywhere …people in general want to take care of themselves ahead of time,” Milunic said. “They want to stay well and they want to be preventive.”

The economy’s downturn hasn’t translated into new business for all holistic businesses. Ginna Browning is the educational officer for the N.C. Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She said most members of the association reported a decline in business. Browning said many clients at the massage and acupuncture clinic where she works in Raleigh complain of headaches, anxiety and depression. Some hope to delay surgery because they don’t want to miss work.

“They don’t feel like it’s a good time to have any extended leave of absence,” said Browning.
Phyllis Rollins, owner of 8th Street Yoga Studio, tried to help her stressed students by exposing them to a variety of holistic therapies. Each week, for a month, a different practitioner – from yoga to Thai massage – gave a free lesson.

“People are interested in feeling better about themselves,” Rollins said.

Rollins says she has clients who've lost their jobs and are unable to pay. Some trade services for classes.

“I've tried to make a point of not turning anybody away because they don't have money,” she said.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Strained groin on vacation

I spent my birthday weekend at Hilton Head Island, eating and drinking way too much. Sometimes you have to cheat a little to stay motivated. And I indulged.

Frugal McDougal has this great 18-bottle mix of Guinness, Harp and Smithwick's. I grabbed a box on our way to the beach. Saturday, we bought garlic king crab clusters at a little carry-out seafood joint in Savannah. Beer, crabs and homemade garlic butter was just what I needed to celebrate.

It rained everyday except Memorial Day. I was so excited about the sunshine, I ran sprints on the beach. For the last seven weeks, I've been doing an NFL sprint workout. Run 60 yards, rest 45 seconds and repeat seven times. Rest three minutes. Then run 40 yards, rest 35 seconds and repeat seven times. You keep doing these intervals until you're doing 10-yard sprints with 15 second breaks.

Somewhere between not stretching and sprinting, I strained my groin. No more sprints this week. I'm jumping rope instead. I might swim tomorrow. I have to be 100 percent for my flag football game on Tuesday. It's time for the playoffs, but we've had so many rain delays so who knows.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Did Carlton run a mile?

Operation Bootcamp - The test

Carlton jogged around a stop sign at Latta Park. The finish line was in sight.

This time, Carlton Hargro didn't need someone to jog with him to keep him motivated. He was doing his one-mile run for the physical test on the final day of Operation Bootcamp, and he was determined to run the entire way.

The other Operation Bootcamp participants stood near the lamp post waiting for him.

"Sprint," his fellow campers yelled.

Carlton threw his head back and laughed as he jogged all the way to the lamp post.

"I was very happy," Carlton said. "It was essential to show that I really have gotten more in shape."

That's an understatement.

On the first day of camp, he sweat buckets of beer. Carlton finished the mile in 11 minutes, but walked halfway through it. Today, he finished in 9:34 minutes.
He went from completing 35 crunches in one minute to doing 72. Dips went from 26 to 60 and push up went from 26 to 47.

He's not resting on his accomplishment.

"I'm still going to keep this up," he said.

He wants to lose an additional 20 pounds. He plans to drink beer one day a week. He plans to continue eating six small meals a day, and eating more steamed vegetables. One day a week, he will treat himself to junk food like fried chicken wings.

And he's going to buy some new pants.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Can Carlton run an entire mile?

Operation Bootcamp - 1 more day

Tomorrow, Carlton will see how much his physical conditioning has improved. When he takes his physical test, his big goal is to run the entire mile. For his first test, he started out jogging, but walked the last half.

"My goal is to run the whole thing straight through -- without dying," he said.

Dying would be bad.

Carlton has made no secret about his desire for the camp to be over. He said it reminded him of a carnival funhouse in which the mirrors make the halls look longer and longer.

"This was like the longest month of my life," he said. "I thought it would never end. I've got post traumatic stress syndrome. It was long and grueling."

Still, he's proud of himself because he said he isn't good at commitment. He committed to the Operation Bootcamp and only missed one day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Carlton ready to pop champagne

Operation Bootcamp - 2 days left

Carlton has one more full workout, then Friday is the big day.

"I'm ready for this to be over," he said. "I'm counting down."

Today's workout was more abs, which the group also did on Tuesday. They did pyramid sets which means they performed the number of crunches as the count. For example, if they were on repetition number three they performed three crunches. They counted up to 10.

"I really couldn't get through it," he said. "I had to take a lot of breaks in between."

He said the pain from the workouts takes his mind off any sentimentality about camp ending.

He has a bottle of champagne in his refrigerator. After Friday's physical test, he plans to drink a few glasses that evening and sleep.

"That's my celebration."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Carlton drops two pant sizes!

Operation Bootcamp Day 14

Carlton gave himself two big tests this weekend to see if doing Operation Bootcamp has been worth it.

The first was a visit by a female friend.

"That was my measurement," he said. "Would she notice I lost weight?"


"She was like 'Oh my god'," Carlton said. She told him "I used to not be able to wrap my arms around you."

Carlton denies he was that big, but admits he felt the difference when they hugged.

"I could feel her body," he said. "It wasn’t like some huge gut in the middle."

Carlton said he last saw his friend about two months ago. He's known her for years, and she always gently suggested he exercise. This weekend, she told him he was the same size he was four years ago. She also noticed his arms were smaller, which also made Carlton feel good. He said when you're overweight, people focus on your gut, but the fat is everywhere.

"It’s like a suit you put on," he said.

Now, Carlton needs new suits. Even if he wears a belt, a hard tug could pull his pants down, he said. (He said easy access could come handy on a date.)

Last weekend, he tried on jeans at the Gap. Before bootcamp, he wore a size 38. At the Gap, he said he fit a size 36 - perfectly.

"I definitely have lost weight," he said. "It’s a shame it took all of this to have me lose weight."

At least he had the determination to do it.

Is one bootcamp enough? from beermakesyoufat on Vimeo.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dragon boats and a 12-pack

Dragon Boat racing give you a cardio workout similar to running sprints. So, Beer Makes You Fat headed to the 10th Annual Asian Festival and fourth Annual Dragon Boat Race at Lake Norman on Saturday to see how some racers prepared.

The sport involves teams of 25 rowing a long, narrow canoe. A drummer beats the paddling rhythm. Professional racers do extensive cardio and upper body weight training to compete, said Stan who works with the company that supplied the boats.

"You really don't have a chance to breathe," he said. "It really is an all out race."

A couple of racers shared their workout regiment with Beer Makes You Fat.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Carlton graduates next week

Operation Bootcamp Day 13

After three weeks of waking up at 5 a.m., giving up Taco Bell, McDonald's and beer, Carlton Hargro is looking forward to the end of Operation Bootcamp.

"I'm ready for it to be done," Carlton said. "It's fun and it's good for me. I needed it, but man it ain't fun."

The ladies at Operation Bootcamp want Carlton to return for a second month, but he isn't sure.

"At some point I have to learn how to workout by myself," he said.
"If I find that I'm not doing it or I find that I'm going back to my bad habits then I will definitely come back to this."

Should Carlton come back for another month?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Michael Phelps on friends and fans

If you haven't heard by now, Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps is in town for the Ultra Swim at the Mecklenburg Aquatic Center. During a press conference Thursday, he briefly addressed the infamous bong photo that surfaced in February.

"It was bad judgment and a very stupid mistake," he said. "I've already learned from it. You have to be aware of who your real friends are, who's around you for you, not for what you've done."

After the press conference, Phelps visited the Levine's Children's Hospital where fans told the Charlotte Observer they didn't care about the bong photo.

Do you think the media hyped the incident?

Blame it on the da-da-da-dancers

Operation Bootcamp Day 12

After three weeks, Carlton Hargro missed his first day of Operation Bootcamp.

Carlton is the editor of Creative Loafing, which co-sponsors Pop Life, a weekly networking event, at Apostrophe lounge on Wednesdays. Last night, he said he didn't leave until after 2 a.m.

A group of breakdancers arrived late. Carlton said the crew wouldn't leave despite not-so-subtle hints such as the DJ playing slow music and the light coming on. Carlton didn't wake up until 7:50 a.m. He's exhausted and still sore from Tuesday's workout, which he described as the worst.

Tuesday's workout involved 15 sets of 10-second sprints. Between sprints they did 20 seconds of core work, such as crunches, pushups and planks. They finished with sprints up a hill.

He said he thought he pulled something in his rump because he couldn't bend over, and it was hard to walk. The soreness is wearing off. On Wednesday, the entire group got a day off so his muscles rested.

"This is the sorest my legs have been since I've done this," he said. "It was a great workout, but it was killer."

Carlton said he'll be back on Friday. He emailed bootcamp owner Christen Lewis to explain why he missed today's workout. He knew it would be tough going to Pop Life on Wednesdays and making it to camp on Thursdays.

"I feel bad," he said, "but at the same time I wasn't trying to break an attendance record."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Warm up or wiped out? Carlton isn't sure

Carlton Hargro completed his second week of Operation Bootcamp. He's learned cardio is definitely not his thing and he isn't as strong as he thought. But, no matter how much his body and mind want to quit, he hasn't missed a day.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Camper trash talks Carlton

Operation Bootcamp Day 10

For the first two weeks at Operation Bootcamp, Carlton Hargro's fellow participants have been sweet and encouraging. Today, Carlton endured some trash talking.

In this morning's workout at Latta Park, participants did agility and speed drills. Exercises included sprints along with high-knees, mountain climbers, backpedaling and burpees. The participants had partners, and Carlton's fired him up.

Carlton's partner said, "I thought you were a sprinter?"

(He ran track in high school.)

Carlton had a black girl moment, thinking "Oh no, she didn't."

Summoning his pride and his remaining energy, Carlton was determined to show her up.

"I had to dust her right quick," he said.

He beat her in the first sprint, but she edged him out in the second.

"It was all I had to beat her on the first one," he said.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Free bootcamp!

If you want a taste of what Carlton Hargro has been doing for the last two weeks, here's your chance.

Operation Bootcamp is doing free workouts on Mondays and Wednesdays at Marshall Park at 6:30 p.m.

See if you can be as determined as Carlton to jump start your workout.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Carlton gets agile

Operation Bootcamp Day 9

Carlton Hargro ended the week at Operation Bootcamp with an agility workout called Five-Star General. They did it in on the basketball court at Latta Park off East Boulevard.

"It was a mixture of strength and cardio, and it killed me," he said.

Carlton and the crew bear-walked, crab-walked and shuffled from cone-to-cone. At the cones they stopped for push-ups and other strength training exercises. Coach Jennifer Broome stayed on them today: she threatened suicides for stragglers, pushed them to sprint to each station and goaded them to ignore their pain and exhaustion.

Broome ended class with burpees, which are murder. You drop to the ground, do a push up and then jump up in a fluid motion. For Carlton and others, fluidity wasn't possible.

"My body was done," he said.

Suggestions for Carlton's next workout

Creative Loafing editor Carlton Hargro is doing a fitness bootcamp. Earlier this week, he talked about the need to find a similar workout once the camp ends. I posted his query on my Facebook page and below are a couple of suggestions from my Facebook friends:

Jarrett Gray:
Tell him to cut his calories back and keep doing cardio and light lifting with several reps...

John W Love Jr (who does guided meditations on Tuesdays at Center of the Earth Gallery):
The way for Carlton to keep things going AFTER bootcamp is for him to set up the structure for that time NOW.

If he NOW creates a ritual, schedule, and series of procedures that support the continuation of his bootcamp efforts then working out (cardio, resistance training, stretching, and enough variety to combat boredom and encourage muscle ... Read Moreconfusion), eating well (fresh fruits and veggies, good hydration, lean proteins if he's a carnivore, and no processed or "white" foods), and proper rest and reflection (plenty of sleep, meditation, some kind of spiritual practice, less tv) will be easier.

You know how it goes. It's that lifestyle change joint. If he makes what TRULY works for him the priorities in which he constructs his days, weeks, and life around, then there will be less room for the s--- that sabotages.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Carlton meets Capt. Crunch

Operation Bootcamp Day 8

I have to give Carlton a hearty pat on the back. He went to the India.Arie concert, went to Pop Life at Apostrophe, got home at 2:30 a.m. and was at Latta Park for his 5:45 a.m. workout.

That's determination.

"I'm just glad I got out of bed and went," he said.

Today's workout was called Capt. Crunch, said Operation Bootcamp's Christen Lewis.

They had four stations with different exercises such as bicycles, planks, and torso twists. For larger muscle groups they did walking lunges. Cardio involved high knees, shuffling, butt kickers and skipping to each station.

Carlton said he was surprised so many leg-dominant exercises also worked his abs.

"Later on today, when I laugh and stuff, it's going to hurt," he said.

India.Arie's workout plan

Before Michelle Obama made toned arms fashionable for black women, neo-soul singer India.Arie rocked fit biceps and a nice back. I caught up with Arie before her performance at Amos' Southend on Wednesday to talk about her physique.

Arie said it's all genetics. Her father was a professional athlete and her mother was a college athlete.

"My legs, my back, my arms are parts of my body that are always toned," she said. "My stomach is not."

What does she do for her abs?


Arie said she works out to relieve stress more than for fitness. She said she runs occasionally in Atlanta, and also does yoga and Qigong, which is similar to Tai-Chi.

(Arie performed before a sold-out crowd at Amos'. Her new album is "Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics." She stopped by V101.9 and talked with Chirl Girl before her performance.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Charlotte buddies hike 600 miles, bike 388

Congratulations to Charlotte's own Frank Potter and Jim Walters. On Saturday, they became the 14th and 15th people to complete the nearly 1,000-mile mountain-to-sea trail between the mountains and the coast. It took 56 days, 22 weekends and lots of Subway sandwiches to complete the trek.

Read about their adventure and determination in the Charlotte Observer and follow their online journal.

Carlton: I'm able to push through the pain

Operation Bootcamp Day 7

In today's Operation Bootcamp workout Creative Loafing editor Carlton Hargro did Fartlek, an interval training workout.

Today's workout at Latta Park, off East Boulevard, involved a combination of running with walking lunges, and strength exercises in sets of 10 and/or five. For example, he did 50 push ups, 50 sit ups, about 100 walking lunges, etc.

He doesn't think his physical stamina has improved (I would beg to differ), he says he's mentally tougher. For the first time, he said he didn't take breaks during the exercises. He made himself keep going, no matter how slowly.

"Mentally, I'm able to push through the pain and the tiredness," he said.

In fact, he's worried after camp ends, he will have to find a workout as intense as Operation Bootcamp. Carlton said he used to hate exercise classes, but now he may try them because he can see how they keep you motivated.

I suggested Zumba since it's the newest craze. It mixes Latin dance with aerobics. The class at the Johnston YMCA, where I work out, is so big it's in the gym. Poet Terry Creech who works at the Simmons YMCA told me they recently had a Zumba marathon on a Saturday, and it was packed. I suggested Carlton try a conditioning class that mixes cardio and calisthenics. I saw a great afternoon class at the Dowd YMCA recently.

What do you suggest?

(Be nice to Carlton. Next, Thursday is bring a friend to camp day. Maybe you can be his friend and he'll invite you to sweat with him.)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Carlton Hargro and the fat picture

Creative Loafing editor Carlton Hargro says any time he thinks about quitting Operation Bootcamp, he remembers a picture he saw of himself and that keeps him going.

Sweating beer and pounds from beermakesyoufat on Vimeo.

Carlton: This was the sweatiest

Operation Bootcamp Day 6

Whether it was the humidity, or the work out at Latta Park, Carlton Hargro said today's workout left him drenched.

At Operation Bootcamp they did strength training with exercise bands, ab work, core exercises, such as planks, and cardio.

The other day, Carlton said he liked strength training the best because he was pretty good at pushups. Then he did today's workout which mixed strength and cardio training.

The result?

"This was the sweatiest I've been," he said.

Carlton said he noticed the class size fluctuates daily. He understands why. In order to attend each morning, he said he has to be in by bed 10 p.m. Usually, he would be out with friends at that time.

"There's definitely a part of me that really is sort of like, I'm giving up pieces of my life to do this," he said. "But what was I doing in the first place? Something not productive."

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cardio kills Carlton

Operation Bootcamp Day 5

Going into his second week of Operation Bootcamp, Carlton Hargro has learned something about himself.

He can hold his own doing push ups and calisthenics, but he said "Once we start running, it's over."

Today's workout was called Centipede. It's a follow-the-leader drill with stairs, hills, box drills and strength stations (planks, push ups, sit ups, dips etc.), said bootcamp leader Christen Lewis. She said it was a fairly high-intensity cardio workout with elevation changes -- stairs and hills -- to make it harder.

Carlton's take?

"Today was rough."

Carlton said was in bed by 10 p.m. Sunday so he could get ahead of the game, but this morning "they wore me out."

And he's okay with that.

"I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m going out there. I’m going to be really tired. It’s going to hurt," he said. "There's going to be stuff I don't want to do."

His date with Banana Republic makes it worth it.

Carlton has anxiety about working out

Operation Bootcamp Day 4

Following Carlton Hargro's experience with bootcamp illustrates why some people avoid exercise -- fear.

On Friday, Carlton completed his first week at Operation Bootcamp. I thought he would be crazy excited: he didn't quit, he showed up everyday and he didn't die.

But, Carlton said he worries about the next day's camp. He worries about the difficulty of the exercises and how much it's going to hurt.

"I'm working muscles I didn't know exist," he said. "I'm working muscles, I haven't worked in 18 years."

On Friday, he did the Top Gun workout. Everybody had a partner and they stuck together for the cardio, split into groups for the strength exercises, and met in the end zone to repeat. (They worked out on a football field.)

Operation Bootcamp's Christen Lewis says she hopes Carlton's anxiety will decrease especially now that he's done four full workouts and hasn't given up on any exercises.

"He is really doing well - he is smiling and laughing," she said. "There is something to be said for that."

Friday, May 1, 2009

Mayor kicks off Bike!Charlotte

Touting Charlotte's more than 80 miles of bike lanes, Mayor Pat McCrory kicked off Bike!Charlotte at the Dowd YMCA a few minutes ago. Dozens of cyclists of all ages pedaled the short trek from the Y to the Wachovia Atrium for the mayor's breakfast.

"Every new corridor in Charlotte, we require bike lanes," said McCrory, before the ride. "We catch a lot of heat from the automobile people saying 'Get the bicycles the hell out of the way'."

McCrory said he tells car drivers they must respect the bikes, but he also asked cyclists to use provided bike lanes.

Although McCrory wore his bike gear, those cute shorts and a tight shirt, he didn't ride. He said something about having back problems. City council members Andy Dulin and Edwin Peacock were geared up and pedaled with the rest of the enthusiasts.