Looking to make some improvements in your overall well-being? We've got plenty of tips and inspiration to help you get your whole self in primo condition.
By Lindsey Anderson, Ann Christenson, Patricia McKnight,
Anna Miller, Adam Rogan and Rich Rovito
A vet pays it forward with free fitness classes.
DAN NEWBERRY’S voice echoes through a cavernous Oak Creek gym where, every Sunday morning for the past two years, he has led a free, military-influenced workout.
On this day, about a dozen participants gather around the 35-year-old, 6-foot Newberry as he shouts instructions.
The weekly class, held at FUEL Fitness, is Newberry’s way of using exercise as a remedy for the stresses of daily life. His classes feature military-style calisthenics. Teamwork is incorporated into exercises such as group squats, pushups and the fireman’s carry.
The South Milwaukee native embraced working out after an abrupt medical discharge put an end to his eight-year Army career, which included two combat deployments in Iraq. His life began spiraling out of control as he battled depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
At his darkest moment, on a summer night in 2015, Newberry attempted suicide.
“I sent a goodbye text to my sister,” Newberry explains. “She contacted the police and they came barging in, luckily.”
The following summer, he walked 22 miles across Milwaukee County, one mile for each of the military veterans who commit suicide, on average, each day in the United States. Newberry later founded 22 Fitness and began offering his free program.
“Getting back in the gym and building my confidence up has really helped me see myself in a different light,” Newberry says. “Being active really helps. I’m not sitting in a bar thinking about my hard times.” — RICH ROVITO
A week in the life of a fab fit couple
The couple that slays together stays together.
Jenny and Josh Kumosz met at a bar in Washington, D.C., in 2014 and soon began exercising together. Evidently great workout partners can also make great life partners, because the two married in the spring of 2017 and relocated to Wisconsin – first Milwaukee, then Brookfield – that summer.
Jenny studies law at UW-Madison, and Josh quit his day job in IT to become a fitness coach, intent on eventually opening his own gym. Here’s what their weekly fitness routines look like. — LINDSEY ANDERSON
A power couple’s weekly workouts
8-9 a.m. Fullbody workout at Animal House Gym, New Berlin – Josh
5:30-5:50 p.m. Rowing at home – Jenny
11-11:30 a.m. HIIT at home – Josh
7-8 p.m. Weightlifting at home – Jenny
8-9 a.m. Fullbody workout at AH – Josh
7-7:30 p.m. Running with dogs – Jenny
7-8 p.m. Weightlifting at home – Jenny
8-9 p.m. Indoor soccer at Uihlein Soccer Park – Josh
8-9 a.m. Full-body workout at Animal House – Josh
8-8:20 a.m. Rowing at home – Jenny
10-10:20 a.m. Yoga DVD at home – Josh and Jenny
12-1 p.m. Weightlifting at home – Jenny
6-7 p.m. Throwing league at Lumber Axe, Waukesha – Josh
Should I get a ClassPass?
THIS SERVICE allows you to hop from gym to gym, taking classes at any of the dozens of local fitness studios that participate. Basic plans start at $39 and allow you to take 3-5 classes a month. But will it inspire you to work out more?
- You can sign up for yoga at a studio near your office one morning, and kickboxing at a gym near your apartment the next.
- Knowing that you have class credits in your account can motivate you to use them up.
- The per-class cost is often less than it would be if you booked drop-in sessions.
- Major chains such as Planet Fitness don’t participate (at least not in Milwaukee).
- Studios can reserve the right to give their members first dibs on popular classes.
- Some studios only share their schedule on ClassPass a week in advance, making it difficult to plan a long-term workout schedule.
Choose a diet that keeps you healthy while slimming down
Page through cookbooks from the mid-20th century and you’ll often find a section devoted to “weight regulation” with ideas for light meals like cottage cheese, gelatin salads and canned tuna. These days, diet trends come and go quickly. When choosing a weight-loss plan, it’s key to find a plan that’s feasible and doesn’t negatively affect your overall health. Here’s what’s hot now.
KETO: That’s for “ketogenic,” with an emphasis on a diet high in fat (about 60-70 percent of calories) and low in carbs (5-10 percent). Protein should account for 15-30 percent of calories. After following this diet anywhere from two to seven days, the body goes into a state of ketosis. That’s when the level of carbs is so low that the body’s cells can no longer use them for energy and instead start to burn fat. Aha. That’s the crucial weight-loss piece. But the keto diet isn’t without its potential drawbacks, as detractors call it out for not only the foods it restricts (fiber-rich veggies, fruits and legumes) but also long-term effects on the body including the heart, with new studies zeroing in on cardiovascular issues and lifespan
MEDITERRANEAN: An eating plan inspired by the regular, everyday diet of people living in countries along the Mediterranean Sea. The cuisines of Italy, Greece, etc. may be different, but there are commonalities in terms of their approaches, which avoid processed foods and trans fats and limit red meat and added sugar. The diet is abundant in vegetables and fruits, fresh fish, whole grains, extra-virgin olive oil and nuts, seeds and legumes, with moderate amounts of chicken, eggs and dairy products. Water is the beverage of choice, along with coffee and tea and one glass (max) of red wine. Why many doctors like it: In a 2013 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, male participants already at high cardiovascular risk who followed a Mediterranean diet (and included olive oil) had a 30 percent decreased risk of a major cardiovascular event (heart attack or stroke).
PLANT-BASED: A headline-grabber for the last few years, meatless diets are getting more and more interest for health and ethical reasons. In its “healthiest” view, the vegetarian diet is heavy on veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes and oils such as olive and canola, giving the heave-ho to potatoes, white bread and rice and limiting the sugar, cheese and high-fat dairy products. The research on heart health gives this diet a boost. A 2017 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology compared the heart disease risk of some 209,000 adults over two decades looking at three models of a plant-based diet. Those who followed the version emphasizing only healthy plant-based foods – no fries and potato chips, refined grains or sugary drinks – had the lowest risk of heart disease. But those who ate an “unhealthy” plant-based regime, even without eating animal products, had a much higher risk. Just following a plant-based diet isn’t enough. It’s how you do it. That means loading up half your plate with veggies and fruit, and divvying up the other half with equal parts whole grains and healthy protein (beans and legumes, nuts and fish, if eaten). — ANN CHRISTENSON
Trending on your table
Our culinary crystal ball shows which foods are picking up momentum in 2019.
No. 2: Mushrooms
Yep, fungi. Part of this is that plant-based restaurants (whose popularity is also surging) like the texture of this edible toadstool as a meat substitute. In general, we’re seeing more access to different kinds of mushrooms (enoki, chanterelle, oyster), as foraged foods gain traction as well.
No. 3: Alternative milks
The selection of non-dairy beverages has swelled to include oat, hemp, cashew and hazelnut, all part of a $1.6 billion industry. There’s even milk made from peas (sold at area Target stores).
Buying a share in a CSA lets you eat local while supporting small farms.
THE YEARS have been kind to community-supported agriculture, making it a lot easier nowadays for subscribers to get what they want in a quantity that works for them and with more convenient pickup spots. Here are five Wisconsin farms that get that message:
|Pinehold Gardens||Victory Garden Initiative||Springdale Farm||LotFotL Community Farm||Three Sisters Community Farm|
|About the Farm||21-acre farm in Oak Creek grows some 45 kinds of produce.||Fruits, vegetables and herbs grown at VGI’s urban farm at 240 E. Concordia Ave. in Milwaukee.||35-acre organic farm just outside Plymouth that produces fresh produce and eggs.||The name for this certified organic farm in Elkhorn is an acronym for “Living off the Fat of the Land.”||Grows over 40 varieties of vegetables on an organic farm in Campbellsport.|
|Cost||$500-$515 weekly; $300 every other week and for farm-stand share||Half-share $235 (feeds 1-2 per week), full share $460 (feeds 3-4 per week)||From $190 for a small share every other week to $750 for a large share, full-season||Customizable options, some including home delivery, range from $19 to $60 a week.||Every other week $355; weekly $639|
|Pickup||Multiple sites target different parts of the city and suburbs.||Three options include two Outpost Natural Foods locations and the VGI Farmhouse on East Concordia.||Numerous sites in the MKE area||Various local drop sites (Bay View, Shorewood, Pewaukee, New Berlin), including the Urban Ecology Center||Deliveries to local sites (like Marquette University) and to homes|
|Membership Options||Weekly, every other week, and market share, to use at their on-farm market stand||Full and half-share. All proceeds from the CSA go to the Youth Green Jobs Initiative, which marries young adults with farming||Allows members to customize their shares (which come in three sizes), how often they get them (every week, every other week or a “skipper” option to allow for trips or breaks)||Three options: full spectrum (produce, meat, eggs, cheese, bread), just produce, or meatless (includes produce, eggs, cheese and bread). Also weekly and biweekly options||Weekly and every-other-week; members pick seven to nine items for each box (can nix veggies you don’t like)|
The 411 on what it is, what it does and who it’s for
What is CBD? Cannabidiol. Derived from hemp, the compound is low in the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and it’s an anecdotally effective medical sidekick. Marijuana, conversely, is high in THC and low in CBD.
Is it legal? Yes, with restrictions. While CBD levels in products are unregulated, state-certified hemp growers and processors are required to keep THC levels below 0.3 percent – too low to get high. Sellers don’t need state approval, so grocers and gas stations alike are free to peddle oils, lotions and edibles – as well as infused liquors or beers (like those crafted by Madison’s Great Dane Pub and Brewery) and coffees (found at Hemp World Café in Riverwest or Outpost Natural Foods).
What’s the effect? Medical College of Wisconsin Professor Cecilia Hillard says CBD has been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory, sleep aid and anxiety relief aid.
Jason Ranic, co-owner of Bay View’s Erth Dispensary, says 120 mg of CBD oil daily has successfully controlled his quivering heartbeat and replaced side effect-heavy medications.
But there’s still much we don’t know. Physicians are relatively uneducated regarding when to prescribe CBD, and how much. Worldwide, there are hundreds of ongoing clinical studies investigating possible benefits of CBD.
Should I give it to my dog or cat? “Pets have ailments just like us,” says Jennifer Kawczynski, Erth Dispensary’s other owner. They include joint pain, epilepsy and separation anxiety. To treat them, Erth sells animal-specific pills and oils.
There isn’t much research regarding how effective CBD is on animals, but the American Kennel Club’s Canine Health Foundation is conducting a major study with results expected in late 2020. — ADAM ROGAN
Dark-sky Parks let you really get away from it all.
THE BRILLIANCE of the night sky rivals the beauty of a mountainous landscape or an ocean with sunlight bouncing off the waves. But the pervasiveness of light pollution prevents some 80 percent of Americans from being able to see the Milky Way from where they live. Fortunately, there’s a movement to preserve darkness in a way that’s similar to how we protect places of scenic beauty.
Local astronomer and photographer Chad Andrist is a dark-sky enthusiast. “Going out to a dark-sky site is very relaxing, peaceful and rejuvenating,” he says. “There’s something about being underneath the great heavens that humbles me to the core and gives me great peace.”
Tai chi instructor Alice Kuramoto talks about the benefits of this martial art.
Watching Alice Kuramoto, 74, teach tai chi is like observing a fish swimming; it’s what she was born to do. With light instrumental music playing in the background, the retired nursing professor helps her students, who are mostly women in their 70s, master forms and practice moving meditation, all while keeping classes fun and fostering camaraderie.
A bad back prompted Kuramoto to switch from judo and jodo, more violent types of martial arts, to tai chi. “I started practicing tai chi in my 30s, and I’m so glad I did, because it’s something you can do all of your life,” she says.
Inspired by her own experiences with pain, Kuramoto adapts her class for those with chronic and age-related conditions. She teaches a gentler school of tai chi called Sun in which students quietly work through a series of movements, breathing slowly and steadily moving their arms, sometimes balancing on one leg.
Unlike yoga, in which many poses are executed on hands and knees, tai chi poses are upright and flow from one to the next.
For more information about Kuramoto’s classes, go to taichiworks.me. — ANNA MILLER
What is tai chi?
TAI CHI IS an ancient Chinese martial art form that focuses on integrating meditation and gentle movement to balance the body’s energy, called chi. All of the five major styles – Yang, Wu (Hao), Chen, Wu and Sun – offer a variety of health benefits:
- Studies have shown that tai chi can help people with chronic pain conditions, such as arthritis and chronic pain syndrome, manage their symptoms.
- Tai chi helps strengthen core muscles, improving balance and helping to prevent falls in older adults.
- Studies have found that tai chi’s meditative aspects reduce stress levels.
- Kuramoto adds that participating in a group activity can help alleviate loneliness among older students.