Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Squaw Valley

Today on San Jose fitness Examiner I posted a story about Squaw Valley USA being bought out. 
Squaw Valley Acquired by KSL  Partners

I've always been impressed with the entrepreneurial spirit of Alexander Cushing, who built the Squaw Valley development in 1949, and brought the Olympics there in 1960.  He fought hard to get the Olympics, and from all accounts helped change the perception of American sports.  The Washington Post article quoted KSL's co-founder as commenting on Cushing's influence on introducing skiing as a sport in the US by bringing the Olympics to Squaw Valley.

Anyway, so now Squaw has a new owner, the same folks that own the famed La Costa Resort and Spa and several other  posh resorts and clubs.  They are intending to put about $50 million into Squaw too, so that should make it even nicer.

Good for all of us in the Bay Area and good for Squaw!

Monday, November 22, 2010

ZeroWater filter pitcher review

A few minutes ago I posted an article on the San Jose Fitness Examiner column about a new filtered water pitcher I tried: ZeroWater filter pitcher a good way to go green, stay hydrated

I thought I'd post here some additional thoughts about the product that I didn't put in that piece.

ZeroWater, just fyi, is a system that removes the dissolved solids in tap water (the solids that come from the municipal processing and sometimes from your own home pipes). While safe to drink, all of those solids affect the taste of water, which is why water tastes different when you travel.

The nice PR people for ZeroWater pitched me the story about the pure water and how it was good for fitness people and I agreed.  But the price point of nearly $40 for the pitcher struck me as too-high-to-be-worth it.  They asked if I wanted one to review and I said yes, no commitment on my part if I was going to like it or not, no commitment for a review.

The first week I used it, I noticed the difference in the taste of my water.  But it was about 10 days before I realized I was drinking a lot more water because I actually liked the taste.  Water with a yummy factor?  Yep.  And kept nice and cold in the refrigerator it's even better.  It also improved the taste of my morning coffee. I like my morning coffee, so this earned the pitcher a gold star in my book.

To disclose: I also say yum to my Crystal Geyser bottled water, and to some of the lightly flavored waters that are on the market.  Both of those would be way too expensive to use those for all my cooking/drinking water needs, however.

This is a good filter system.   I'd consider buying one for my desk at work  - our tap water there is awful and I suspect our water machine is gross with bacteria.

I'd also consider giving ZeroWater as a gift to friends with lousy tasting tap water, though I'd want to include a good supply of filters with it.  The filters are easy to find online and are stocked at Target and some other retail locations, but they aren't as easy to find as Brita filters.  

My goal for 2011 is to cut way back on bottled water but to increase my water intake.  This will help, though I'll let you know in six months if I was willing to keep paying the high cost of replacement filters (about $15 apiece).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

PR mailbag: Why You’ll Never Have Enough Willpower to Lose Weight

Checking out the PR wires today, came across this. As we head into holidays, I thought it was interesting and worth a read so I'm passing it along:

PROVO, Utah--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Every Monday for five years, Natalie Luke looked in the mirror and said, “I’ve got a fresh start, this week will be different; I will lose those pesky pounds.”

“I now understand the psyche behind behavior change and feel confident I’ll be able to keep the pounds off once I reach my goal.”  However, week after week, diet after diet, nothing changed. Natalie figured she simply didn’t have sufficient willpower to succeed.

New research from the bestselling authors of Influencer reveals why people like Natalie fail to lose weight, and it’s not due to lack of willpower.

According to the online poll of 988 people attempting to lose weight, using six different behavioral strategies in combination increases your chances of losing weight by 10 times. However, most people fail because they rely on one source of influence alone. In fact, of those who didn’t use six strategies in combination, only one in five lost more than five pounds in the preceding three months and more than half actually gained weight.

The poll was conducted by the authors of the New York Times bestseller Influencer, which outlines the six sources of influence aimed at creating lasting behavior change. In Spring 2011, the authors will release their fourth book, Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success, as well as launch www.ChangeAnything.com, a website that uses the principles of influence to help people accomplish a variety of personal change goals.

Joseph Grenny, author of Influencer, says despite popular opinion, lack of willpower is not the No. 1 reason people struggle to lose weight.

“We fail to change our behavior not because we’re weak willed, but because we are blind and outnumbered to six sources of influence that shape our choices and habits,” says Grenny. “Our willpower doesn’t stand a chance against these deeply engrained behaviors.”

One Monday at age 45, Natalie performed her weekly ritual and realized “vowing” to change was not enough. It was then that she created a change plan that leveraged the six sources of influence aimed at behavior change. Now, two months later, Natalie is half-way to reaching her goal of losing 25 pounds by the end of the year.

“Creating a change plan that included the six sources of influence gave me the necessary tools for success,” she said. “I now understand the psyche behind behavior change and feel confident I’ll be able to keep the pounds off once I reach my goal.”

Grenny outlines strategies guaranteed to help people achieve their weight loss goals. The key to success is using at least one strategy from each of the six sources of influence:

1.Personal Motivation: Love what you hate. Motivate yourself by changing the way you think about your health and weight. Natalie uses daily visualization exercises and listens to a popular podcast to change negative perceptions about her ability to lose weight.
2.Personal Ability: Do what you can’t. Learn the weight loss skills you lack. Natalie uses a popular workout program that teaches her how to perform exercises that use muscle confusion to increase calorie burning.
3.Social Motivation: Turn accomplices into friends. Find out if your friends are helping or hurting your progress. Natalie lets others know about her weight loss goals so they are conscious and respectful of her exercise time.
4.Social Ability: Enlist coaches. Often, changing habits requires help. Natalie’s coach is the winner of The Biggest Loser season 4. He coaches Natalie to make changes that not only help her succeed but also maintain her weight loss.
5.Structural Motivation: Invert the economy. Motivate yourself to stay on track by planning rewards for small successes. Natalie selects a new outfit she wants to buy and shows her coaches so they can encourage her to earn that reward.
6.Structural Ability: Control your space. Don’t underestimate the power of your environment. Because one of the largest barriers to Natalie’s success is the extra time she spends at work, she keeps a clock in plain view in order to leave the office early enough to exercise.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Giants win World Series: Lincecum, Renteria more fit than misfits

They've been called a team of misfits and castoffs, but throughout the San Francisco bay area, no one much cares: The San Francisco Giants brought home their first World Series win and the area is celebrating.

From a fitness point of view, ...read the post on the original site, including pictures of Game 5