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

For partners Jeff Duffey and Matt Maynard, working out is just part of the life cycle


RACKET, CLUB | Jeff Duffey, left, is a tennis fanatic and his partner Matt Maynard, right, enjoys golf, but both enjoy training together as they did for the MS 150 Bike Ride earlier this year. (Arnold Wayne Jones/ Dallas Voice)

Where there’s a wheel, there’s a way. Or in the case of this month’s dynamic duo, it’s more like four wheels to get the job done. Although golf, tennis and running factor into their weekly workout routines, it’s lengthy bike rides (78 miles and counting to date) that really help partners Matt Maynard and Jeff Duffey to keep their healthy lifestyle in high gear.

— Jef Tingley

Names and ages: Matt Maynard, 37, and Jeff Duffey, 33. (Together 10 years.)

Occupations: Maynard: owner & founder of Discount Sport Nutrition and SportSupplements.com; Duffey: real estate broker and owner, Jeff Duffey & Associates.

What sports and physical activities do you both participate in?  Biking, running, tennis, volleyball and golf.

Exercise regime:  Maynard: Running or biking at least three times a week is my goal. If I am training for a race or ride, I try to make it four times a week.
Duffey: I play tennis three to four times a week. Otherwise, I try to bike or run a couple times a week.

Most memorable athletic accomplishment:  Maynard: A year ago, I played in a high-profile charity golf tournament in San Diego and my team won first place. The prize was two, first-class tickets to Europe. It was Jeff’s first time to visit Europe, so that meant a lot to me.

Duffey: I have a few. Back in 2003, my men’s tennis league finished first in Texas and we went on to play in the National Tournament in Tucson — it was a great experience. Completing a 78-mile bike ride with Matt and several of our friends at last year’s MS 150 Bike Ride was pretty awesome as well.

Workout preference: mornings or evenings?  Maynard: Mornings.

Duffey: I wish I could work out in the mornings, but I gave up on trying to be a morning person a long time ago. I’d much rather go to the gym at 10 p.m. to run five miles than force myself out of bed at 6 a.m.

And words of advice for people trying to work fitness into their life?  Maynard: Do it in the mornings and get it out of the way. Most people get tired as the day goes on and other things can come up allowing you to make excuses for not working out. Getting on a good supplement program can definitely help you reach your goals faster.

Duffey: I’m probably not the best person to tell people they need to make fitness a priority in their life, since I’m one of those people who is guilty of finding excuses not to go to the gym or workout. But you really do have to treat fitness as you would a social engagement or business appointment. It helps that with tennis, biking and golfing there is usually someone else there to keep you accountable.

If you could become an Olympian in any sport, what would it be and why?  Maynard: Curling, just because it looks fun!
Duffey: Playing tennis is an obvious answer for me, but I’ve secretly always wanted to be a gymnast. But I’m 6-foot-3, and being tall isn’t exactly a great quality to have in gymnastics.

Do you have a favorite song or playlist for working out?  Duffey: I’m sure if you heard some of the playlists I run or bike to you wouldn’t know what to think about me. For the most part, I like pop and hip-hop, but you just never know when an awesome rock ballad or Tupac song might show up.

Which celebrity or athlete’s physique would you like to have and why?  Duffey: It bothers me a little that he’s less than six feet tall, but you can’t get much more athletically and aesthetically perfect than David Beckham, although I do think Michael Phelps has a superior physique. So, yeah. Put David Beckham’s head on Michael Phelps’ 6-foot-4 frame and that’s pretty much perfection in my book.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas