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

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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

Val Haskell and Jenni Stolarski stay fit with soccer, yoga… and anything else

FITNESS

SLIM WITHOUT GYM | Be it running, walking or swimming from a trapeze, Val Haskell and Jenni Stolarski find fitness almost anywhere there go — as long as it’s not in a gym. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

The adage every journey begins with a first step is as true for a fitness regime as a world tour. For dynamic duo Jenni Stolarski and Val Haskell, those steps may be along the banks of the Trinity River, on a soccer field or even on the rungs of a ladder for a trapeze course. These ladies mix it up in a spectrum of workout routines. They’re game to try almost anything, as long as it doesn’t involve being trapped indoors.

— Jef Tingley

Names and ages: 

Jenni Stolarski, 41, and Val Haskell, 39.

Occupations:

Stolarski: Realtor, Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty

Haskell: project manager.

Length of relationship: 

19 years.

Sports & activities:

Tennis, walking, running, soccer, yoga, trapeze (!).

Exercise regime: 

Stolarski: I walk five days a week for an hour. I have two walking buddies who make this possible. If left to my own devices, I’d just stay in bed. [I also do] yoga two or three times a week, including a core-strength class, and tennis once a week.

Haskell: Typically I run four times a week, play tennis once, and during the soccer season, I play a game a week.

Upcoming fitness goals:

Stolarski: Consistency. This summer, Val and I did a trapeze course with my brother and his wife in NYC. I was sore for days. But I want to continue to have the energy, strength and stamina to try fun things like that for the rest of my life.

Haskell: I’d love to show a decent time in a half marathon and help my soccer team with some goals and assists next season. Also focusing on the A’s next year: Abs, arms and…

Most memorable athletic accomplishment: 

Haskell: If the number of videos and random mentions are the barometer, it would have to be going to trapeze school for an afternoon. I had no idea it was so hard! Getting up and down from that bar in mid-air is serious work.

Least favorite exercise or piece of gym equipment? 

Stolarski: The gym. Period. I like to be outside.

Haskell: I can’t stand the gym, either.

Favorite spot in North Texas to exercise outdoors? 

Stolarski: We have taken to hiking/walking in the Trinity River Basin. There is a small dirt path that runs along the levee. It’s quiet down there, which is amazing when you remember it’s in this huge city. And the views are great.

Haskell: Coombs Creek Trail, Stevens Park tennis courts, Katy Trail and White Rock Lake

Ways you stay fit or workout together? 

Stolarski: Being active together was one of the ways we got to know each other. We played soccer and swam at UT. That just carried on through the years; we biked, we hiked the Tetons, we played soccer. Val taught me how to play tennis. It’s one of my favorite ways to spend time together.

How does your partner motivate you to work out? 

Stolarski: I know Val is always going to come up with some crazy idea of a fun thing to do. Did I mention trapeze school was her idea? And I don’t want to miss out.

Haskell: She gets out of bed early and meets someone for her workout five days a week, which means lounging in bed is not as compelling. She also says nice things about the way I look, which I really like.

How do you reward yourself after a great workout? 

Stolarski: My reward is waking up every day, getting to feel good. It sounds cheesy as all get out, but really, the reward is that I get to keep exercising.

Words of advice for people trying to work fitness into their life? 

Haskell: Incorporate it socially. Walk with a friend, play tennis with a work buddy, join a team or a running group like the Dallas Running Club. The more you merge your social life and active life, the easier it is to make it fit into your schedule. And your friends end up with shared goals and you encourage each other.

If you could become an Olympian in any sport, what would it be and why?

Stolarski: I’d want to play soccer on the U.S. National team. Those women have such a great dynamic; it’s a joy to watch. Plus it would make my dad, who’s been a soccer coach for 40 years, ridiculously proud.

Favorite song or playlist for working out? 

Stolarski: None. That is part of the joy of being outside: It comes with its own soundtrack.

Haskell: I’m usually outside running in the dark, yelling at my teammates on a soccer field or chatting
on the tennis court, so no playlist for me.

Which celebrity or athlete’s physique would you like to have and why? 

Stolarski: Abby Wambach. That woman was built to play soccer!

Haskell: A few years ago, I saw a picture of Joan Jett at a concert and she still looked great
and had amazing arms. I aspire to look good, healthy and lean in my 50s.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 16, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Dynamic DUO

Whether running in the Turkey Trot or going for a swim, husbands Enrique McGregor and Mark Niermann make marriage (and exercise) look easy

_IMG_1626

TAKING THE PLUNGE | McGregor, left, and Niermann have been together 15 years, marrying legally last month. For a slide show of their aquatic antics, visit DallasVoice.com. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Although they’ve been together for 15 years, it was only about a month ago that this month’s dynamic duo, Enrique Macgregor and Mark Niermann, officially got hitched. (Thanks, New York!)

Judging from their exercise regime and overall healthy lifestyle, they take those “sickness and health” and “for better or worse” vows pretty seriously. … Well that, plus margaritas, chocolate chip cookies and generous helping of motivation and support make up their recipe for a successful marriage.

— Jef Tingley

Names and ages:  Enrique MacGregor, 47, and Mark Niermann, 48 (just barely)

Occupations:  MacGregor: management consultant; Niermann; lawyer

Length of relationship:  15 years, but legally married on Sept. 28, 2011, in New York’s Supreme Court Building.

Sports & activities:  Members of Dallas Aquatic Masters (DAM); occasionally play golf with Different Strokes Golf Association.

Exercise regimen:  MacGregor: I swim or run two or three times a week; I do weight training once or twice a week.
Niermann: Cardio (swimming or running) three times weekly; weights two times. I don’t have a rigid exercise schedule other than my objective to work out at least four times weekly. When we’re training for an event, like a biking or running race, we’ll do more running or biking.

Upcoming fitness goals:  Both: the 8-mile Turkey Trot race in Dallas on Thanksgiving Day.

Most memorable athletic accomplishment:  MacGregor: I rode my bike right behind Lance Armstrong at a Livestrong event in Austin as we both crossed the finish line at the same time. Of course, I was finishing a 45-mile ride, and he was finishing a 90-mile ride.

Workout preference: mornings or evenings?  MacGregor: I don’t have a set workout time unless I’m working out with a group. I try to think about my work schedule a day ahead and then plan a workout time around that. I’m jealous of people who can get up at 5 a.m. to workout. I am not a morning person.
Niermann: Either, and lunch too — whenever I can fit it in depending on my schedule and the time of year (especially for running outside).

How do you motivate yourself to workout?  MacGregor: I sign up for an event, like a race. Then I know I have to make time to get ready for that event. I am much more engaged in a workout when I’m preparing for an event.

How does your partner motivate you to work out?  MacGregor: He offers options. For instance, he’ll say: “Do you want to go for a run today, or would you rather go for a swim?” Or, “Would you like to do our run before lunch or would you rather do it later in the afternoon?”

Words of advice for people trying to work fitness into their life?  Niermann: Enrique and I are not workout fanatics or super athletes. We try to get regular exercise and generally eat healthy food. (We include wine, margaritas and chocolate chip cookies in the category of “healthy food.”) We enjoy training for special athletic challenges, like running races, but we don’t always have a specific goal or race we’re training for. We also enjoy playing golf (aka “hacking”) and skiing, and like to stay in shape in ways to complement those sports.

Like everything in life, exercise is easiest and most effective if you can find a balance, both in terms of the kinds of working out you do and how often you do it. Working out doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) take over your life — you can pack a lot of good into a 30- or 45-minute workout of any kind.

Follow common sense rules of not overdoing it when or how you eat and exercise. Being healthy is more than how much weight you can lift or how fast you can run — it’s about achieving a good balance in life of healthy eating, regular exercise, healthy relationships with friends, family and partners and finding ways to minimize stress.

Favorite spot in North Texas to exercise outdoors:
MacGregor: Stevens Park Golf Course (and don’t tell me that golf doesn’t count as exercise).
Niermann: I don’t really have one, though I belong to the Baylor–Tom Landry Center. Though if I had to pick, I’d say Neiman’s Downtown – Last Call.

Favorite song or playlist for working out?  MacGregor: I like to run listening to Lance Armstrong’s “Run Longer” playlist. Aside from good music, Lance’s voice takes you through interval sets where you speed up and slow down in four-minute increments. This technique is supposed to improve your performance.

Which celebrity or athlete’s physique would you like to have and why:  MacGregor: Chris Evans. He has a nice athletic build, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Niermann: Any AussieBum model … have you seen their ads?

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 21, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

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

Drawing Dallas • 11.26.10

Lessons learned

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Stacy Bailey is unconventional in her classroom and in her life Name and age: Stacy Bailey

Spotted at: Lee Park

The art of living well: Stacy hails from south of San Antonio, and now she’s now in her third year teaching elementary school art in the Metroplex. Her crazy-cool, unconventional teaching style has inspired an art curriculum book for teachers on how to teach art history to kids.

Next to teaching, health and fitness are her passions. Stacy works out at least six times a week, hitting up workouts such as turbo kickboxing and P90x. She’s also a beach-body coach who schools people in reaching their fitness goals.

Getting better all the time: Traveling is a big priority in her life, and Stacy plans each of her summer breaks to find herself in an interesting locale; her fave city so far has been San Francisco. Her love of new experiences and random adventure has her exploring cities and small towns all over the country. With journal, sketchbook and camera in hand, she sets out to capture the beauty around her.

When she’s not feeling the burn or taking a fantastic trip to a new location, Stacy enjoys watching movies, painting, sculpting, dancing, playing guitar and cooking. She says her life is lovely, and getting better with each day!

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 26, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens