Dynamic duo

Couple Jennifer Pickert and Kara Robinson pursue fitness goals together and apart

In most relationships, uttering phrases like “take a hike” or “just walk out that door” would be a telltale sign of discord. But for couple Kara Robinson and Jennifer Pickert, it’s a term of endearment. And while they may have separate workout routines, they come together to chat and cheer each other on and occasionally to show some true love on the tennis court.

— Jef Tingley

………………………………………

Though Pickert and Robinson have different fitness interests — basketball versus tennis, for example — they motivate each other to do more. (Photo by Arnold Wayne Jones)

Though Pickert and Robinson have different fitness interests — basketball versus tennis, for example — they motivate each other to do more. (Photo by Arnold Wayne Jones)

Names and ages: Kara Robinson, 46, and Jennifer Pickert, 39.

Occupations: Robinson: editor; Pickert, consultant

Length of relationship: 12 years

Sports & activities you participate in: Tennis, walking, hiking, yoga, circuit training and riding bikes.

Exercise regimen: Robinson: I run three times per week, walk two times, and I take a yoga class two times a week (plus I do a little bit everyday on my own).

Pickert: I’m doing a self-designed circuit workout at home three or four times a week. It includes kettle bells, free weights, core exercises and cardio. I also play tennis at least once a week and ride my bike. Soon, I will be adding in hiking.

Fitness resolutions for 2012: Robinson: I want to lose 15 pounds this year. I’ve lost three in January, but not having the usual holiday meals and treats around has made that pretty easy.

Upcoming fitness goals: Robinson: I would like to run a 10K in March and a half-marathon in November.

Pickert: We are going to Colorado this summer, and I want to be able to do some challenging hikes. All the exercising I’m doing right now is about being ready to meet that challenge.

Greatest athletic achievement: Robinson: I finished the White Rock Marathon in 2009.

Pickert: In 2010, I walked in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. I didn’t want to be the one to slow my team down, so I really dedicated myself to the training. Having a team that was counting on me and establishing a fitness routine that helped achieve my goal was really an amazing experience. The 3-Day itself felt like a celebration of all the training and work that went into being able to accomplish it.

Workout: mornings or evenings?  Pickert: Mornings, without exception. If I don’t work out before 8 a.m. it’s not going to happen.

Ways you stay fit or workout together: Robinson: We play tennis and like to go kayaking and hiking. We don’t work out much together because of our schedules and our preferences. But we definitely support each other and celebrate our accomplishments together.

Pickert: We play tennis, and we enjoy taking long walks together. But more than that, we encourage each other to take whatever time necessary to do the things we enjoy doing to keep fit. Kara loves to run and do yoga, and I would much rather play basketball or go bike riding.

How do you motivate yourself to workout? Pickert: I set a significant goal, and I know that exercising is going to enable me to achieve that goal. Also, I have to have other people involved. When I trained for the 3-Day, my friend met me at the corner down the street every Tuesday and Thursday at 6 a.m. to walk with me. Knowing that she was going to be there, and that she was depending on me to be there just as much I was depending on her, made getting up at 5:30 a.m. super easy.

And words of advice for people trying to work fitness into their life? Robinson: I totally empathize with people who believe they are too busy to workout. I felt that way in 2010, which was the most stressful year ever. I didn’t workout because, with everything that was going on, I couldn’t justify spending an hour at the gym or going for a run. I wish now that I hadn’t bought in to this way of thinking, and instead just made even a little bit of time to go for a walk or do something physical. But now I know that exercise is a gift you give yourself, and you’re the last person you should be stingy with.

How does your partner motivate you to workout?  Robinson: Witnessing all the preparation and dedication she put into [the 60-mile 3-Day] and seeing her finish all three days of the event and seeing how happy she was snapped me out of my 2010 fitness funk.

Pickert: Kara sets a great example. In 2009, she ran a marathon, and I so admired her dedication and determination each and every day as she trained for the race. Seeing her cross the finish line and the joy she had in her accomplishment made me want to achieve more for myself in regard to fitness. It made me realize I need a significant goal to keep myself motivated.

Favorite healthy/low-cal snack? Pickert: Pickles totally satisfy that salty, crunchy craving.

Favorite song or play list for workout? Robinson: These three wind up on just about any playlist I make: Lupe Fiasco, the Roots and Mary J. Blige.

Pickert: Barbara Streisand singing “Don’t Rain on My Parade” is my anthem. That song makes me want to conquer the world. Silly? Perhaps. But true nonetheless. (Kara is going to tell you her favorite singer to work out to is Lupe Fiasco, but the truth is, it’s Liza Minnelli.)

If you could become an Olympian in any sport, what would it be and why?  Robinson: Fencing. The outfits are fantastic, and there is no ball to catch or throw.

Which celebrity or athlete’s physique would you like to have and why? Robinson: She’s not really a celebrity, but I’d love to have a physique like Michelle Obama. Every time I see her in a sleeveless dress, it makes me want to do more push-ups.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 17, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

Dynamic duo

Double-duty workouts turn regular guys Davis Kennedy and Graham Cauthorn into Ironmen

fitness

TRIPLE THREATS | Kennedy, left, and Cauthorn compete in Ironman competitions: a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride followed by a full marathon. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

While some people consider it a milestone to get to the gym twice a week, Davis Kennedy and Graham Cauthorn have made a lifestyle of working out almost twice daily — sometimes more often. This sunrise, sunset fitness routine is vital for their Ironman training (a triathlon event consisting of long distances of swimming, biking and running), but it comes with the bonus effect: Bodies that look like chiseled marble, even though both are over 40.

With the Austin Ironman competition around the corner in October, don’t be too surprised if you come across these fit fellas pedaling, splashing or sweating their way around North Texas.                                   

— Jef Tingley

Names and ages: Davis Kennedy, 40, and Graham Cauthorn, 47.

Length of relationship: Three years

Sports & activities: DIVA Volleyball, Lonestar Masters Swimming, Go3sports Triathlon team, softball and Ironman

Exercise regimen:  Kennedy: I bike and run each four times per week, swim two to three times per week and weight/core train two times per week (if can fit them in), so 10-12 workouts weekly depending on the schedule.

Biggest “out of commission” moment: Kennedy: I switched from softball to triathlons after having broken my hand and leg playing softball, and realizing I hurt less after a six-hour triathlon than a one-hour softball game.

Upcoming fitness goals: Both: Ironman 70.3 Austin in October and another full Ironman in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in June 2012.

Most rewarding fitness accomplishment:  Cauthorn: Finishing my first full Ironman in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in 2010. It was an amazing experience and really great fun. The finish line is one of the most exhilarating experiences I have been fortunate enough to enjoy.
Kennedy: Finishing my first full Ironman at St. George, Utah. The finish line at an Ironman is an unbelievable experience after a long day. It’s like being a rock star on stage with all the people yelling and cheering.

Workout preference: mornings or evenings? Kennedy: With triathlon training, it’s both to fit in all the workouts.

Favorite spot in North Texas to exercise indoors: Kennedy: Baylor Tom Landry Fitness Center. The pool is awesome.

Least favorite workout activity: Cauthorn: Indoor cycling on the trainer!  During the winter months, keeping your cycling fitness requires indoor training, which to me is pure torture. Hate it!

If you could become an Olympian in any sport, what would it be and why:  Cauthorn: A swimmer, probably, because it is my strongest event in triathlon. I was not a swimmer in school, but joined Lone Star Masters when I first moved to Dallas in 1989, and turns out, I am pretty good at it.

How do you reward yourself for a great workout: Both: A big cheeseburger with fries and a chocolate shake at Fat Daddy’s Burgers in Casa Linda.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 30, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Dynamic duos

Anytime Fitness owners Renee Reed and Jacqui Bliss raise a son — and barbells — together

WORKIN’ IT | Reed, left, and Bliss stay fit and happy at their gym in Oak Cliff. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

As part of our recurring feature on Dynamic Duos, we talk with out couples in the community who might not work together, but who do workout together.

But in the case of Jacqui Bliss and Renee Reed, they actually do work together, as co-owners of Anytime Fitness in the Bishop Arts District. But in addition to running a gym, they also occupy themselves raising a child.

— Jef Tingley

……………………..

Names and ages: Jacqui Bliss, 34; and Renee Reed, 40.

Occupations: Co-owners, Anytime Fitness Club and personal trainers

Years together: 9

Exercise regimen:  Bliss: It varies. I mix it up with cycling, running, bodyweight intervals, kettle bell work, ViPR lifts and free weights. On an average week, I exercise six days and the time ranges from 30 minutes to two hours or more (if cycling).

Reed: I do strength training two to three times a week, mostly with free weights and cable machines. I like to run at least once a week and use cardio machines a couple of times, too. At home I do my own short, intense boot camp-style workouts, which were born out of the need to do a time-efficient workout while our son was napping.

Do you play sports or are you on any leagues? Reed: I don’t play any team sports now, although I played college basketball and rugby at Dartmouth and ran track and played basketball in high school.

Most memorable athletic goal accomplished:  Bliss: Competing in the USARA Championships in San Diego. Adventure racing is like no other sport and quite possibly is the most physically and mentally challenging endeavor I’ve participated in.

Reed: Crossing the finish line of the San Diego marathon with Jacqui was awesome (even if I made her slow down the last two miles so we could finish together). As an assistant basketball coach at the University of Illinois, we took an underdog team to the NCAA Sweet 16 against all the odds. We had a group of hardworking Midwest ladies that just played their hearts out. It was an amazing experience. And as a player, I remember hitting a 10-foot jumper for the win over Columbia.

Upcoming fitness goals: Bliss: To keep challenging myself and applying what I learn to my profession.

Reed: During this upcoming decade, I have to become a better swimmer and work swimming and yoga into my routine. I have to accept that in my 40s, my body has some different needs.

Workouts — mornings or evenings: Bliss: Whenever I can fit it in. Most of the time, it’s around lunchtime as I’m with clients in the mornings and evenings.

Reed: Morning.

Least favorite exercise or piece of gym equipment: Reed: There’s nothing in a gym that I actually dislike, but I’m not fond of swimming. As I mentioned, I need to learn to love it!

Favorite spot in North Texas to exercise outdoors: Bliss: White Rock Lake and my backyard.

Reed: I like to run around Kessler Park and North Oak Cliff, going north of Colorado if I’m game for some hills. I love the trees and looking at all the different architecture.

Favorite spot in North Texas to exercise indoors: Anytime Fitness in the Bishop Arts District, of course!

If you could become an Olympian in any sport, what would it be and why: Bliss: Track and field. I still get goose bumps watching track meets. The nervous energy is unbelievable. Knowing you are going out and giving your all and that your body is on the line to perform.

Reed: Basketball. I love being part of a small team that performs together as a unit. With the seating down close to the court (as opposed to an open field), the energy of the crowd is electrifying!

How do you reward yourself after a great workout or an accomplished fitness goal: Bliss: I need to work on that. I don’t give myself a reward per se. I would say my greatest reward is in how I feel after a great workout: Unstoppable, and filled with positive energy.

Reed: After a good run or cardio workout, the endorphins are enough of a reward, so is a compliment from someone in the gym. But I believe in celebrating victories, whether big or small. When we were approaching a milestone with our membership base, I kept a bottle of champagne on ice.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 29, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens