Welcome to the Philadelphia Daily News Girlfriends Locker Room, where we celebrate how great it is to get in shape and stay in shape.
We're a newsroom full of girlfriends who work out together, give each other advice and support, and love to riff about fitness. We invite women throughout the Delaware Valley and beyond to join our band of fitness buddies. Bookmark this website and log on every day. Let us know how your exercise routines are going, brag about your successes, and ask for help when the going gets tough. We even have two experts in our group, personal trainers Kimberly Garrison and Diane Catrambone, with plenty of good advice for all of us.
And check out Girlfriends Locker Room for information about events in Philly of interest to athletic women of all abilities - fun runs, bike races, fundraising walks, you name it. E-mail us about upcoming events, and if you're preparing for a particular competition (the Philadelphia Marathon or the Broad Street Run, for example) we would love hear how your training workouts are going.
Send us your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can't wait to hear from you!
When I hit age 40, you guessed it-- my weight started creeping up and I could not get away with eating all the same fabulous foods I'd always enjoyed. I've been a jogger since I was 20, but suddenly not even my regular runs seemed to do me any good. My weight climbed a little year after year, my belts got too tight, I couldn't comfortably tuck my T-shirts into my jeans. I began to HATE photographs of myself. Then about a year ago, Wendy and I split the cost of a personal trainer who would come to see us at the company gym once a month. Trainer Joe got us keeping food diaries and eating right (I really had to cut back on my favorite food-- cheese and crackers!). He showed us how to pump iron at least 30 minutes three times a week, and do painful but rewarding routines with our orange resistance bands. All that, coupled with the running I'd been doing forever, really paid off. I've lost 14 pounds, the weight has stayed off for months and running has become more fun than ever. This spring, I finished my first half marathon! My secret weapon is without a doubt my friends at the office who exercise together, support each other, counsel each other when our muscles and joints ache, and shower each other with compliments!
Fitness routine: Weight training three times a week, running 4-10 miles at about a 10-minute pace three or four times a week.
Fitness routine: This is going to sound weird, but I don't have a routine. It's a day-to-day thing that fits with my free spirit ways.
I confess: I am addicted to running. And weight training. And biking.
Three and a half years ago when my daughter was born, I got motivated to work out regularly and build both my strength and muscle tone. I was never an athlete and definitely never a runner. But what began as an attempt to shed post-baby weight quickly became a fitness routine that really yielded results. I lost 40 pounds, went down to a size 2 and developed the healthiest eating habits I've ever had.
My fitness routine started slowly at first, walking a mile or two at a fast pace, or doing repetitive floor exercises with 5-pound weights.
As my strength increased, so did my motivation. I began hitting the gym with friends her at work and lifting nautilus weights. And I can remember how thrilled I was the first time I ran my first five miles! With motivation from my co-workers, especially my editor who loves to run, I did my first half-marathon this fall, and I feel great about myself.
Fitness routine: Run 10-15 miles a week, bike additional 10, nautilus three to four times a week.
Hello, I am former high school track runner and softball player, who, like many, slackened on her fitness once I became a free adult finished with formal schooling. In my early 20s I moved away from home, ate what I wanted whenever I wanted and worked at a job (night copy desk) conducive to sitting and munching. My "freedom" cost me about 20 pounds over several years and a great deal of self-confidence, though I didn't realize the latter until I changed. I did some sports and aerobics, to little avail.
When I saw myself in a picture from a college buddy's wedding I was horrified. I got back into running seriously at age 29, slowly, at first. I ran my first marathon in October 2003 and I am beginning triathlon training.
Now stop whatever you may be thinking right now. I am not superwoman. I am not particularly fast or particularly strong. I am just really focused and lucky (or pathetic) enough to have the time to dedicate to fitness. But more importantly, I have become dedicated because fitness is so personally rewarding. Making yourself better, happier every day cannot be beat.
I look forward to exchanging information and inspirations with all of Philly's regular women who just want to look good and feel good.
Fitness routine: I run 25-30 miles per week -- broken down this way: twice a week 5 or 6 miles, twice a week 6 or 7 miles, and once a week 8-10 miles. I also work with a trainer twice a week. This will all shift significantly when I begin triathlon training.
Weight has always been an issue for me because I love to eat. I'm blessed with a pretty good metabolism, but my strategy for years was to reward myself for 5 to 10 pounds lost by eating those same pounds back on. It's a constant struggle unless I have a good, regular exercise routine that helps me burn the calories. I've lifted weights, jogged, done aerobics and karate. But for the last 3 years, I've found exercise heaven (at least for me) in a combination of yoga, salsa and other kinds of partner dancing, along with some gym time lifting weights and using a step machine. Dancing is a great way to firm your hips, thighs and stomach and fight that spread that seems to come with age. I'm 50, but I'm in better shape and look better than I have in years, and I weigh less than I did in my 20s. Of course, I was a little pudgy back then.
Fitness routine: Salsa dancing 2 or 3 times a week; yoga 2 times a week; gym 1-2 times a week.
I'm in my early thirties, a working mom to a young child and always seem to be rushing somewhere. This is not a lifestyle that's lending itself to regular workouts! Though I have learned that I love strength training -- the routine that Theresa and I got from our trainer was great -- I haven't been to the gym in weeks. When we do go, my goals are to buff up my arms -- they are very skinny -- and slim down my thighs, which definitely aren't. I also enjoy working on my back and shoulders, which is great for helping with muscle tension and headaches. Overall weight isn't really my issue -- I am more interested in toning and shaping, and particularly in getting a routine started that I will really stick with!
Fitness routine: Nautilus, free weights and resistance bands, 3 times a week when I can manage it!
I'd love to tell all you girlfriends out there that I lost all my weight by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. The truth is that after a messy breakup in my 20s, I was so depressed that I dropped almost 20 pounds. I felt better, physically, and knew I needed to do something to take off a few more pounds while also helping me mentally. I joined a gym and before I knew it, I was down to a size 4. I was obsessed. It felt good to be thin, but I needed to watch how much I was losing. I also became a vegetarian. For many years, this worked for me. I was thin for the first time in my life, and I felt healthier, mentally and physically. But by the time I hit my early 30s, it became harder to keep my weight down. I gained 30 pounds with the birth of my first child, and though I lost most of it through diet and exercise, I felt like I just couldn't get thin again, despite trudging to the gym 5-6 times a week! So I began running regularly, embarking on my first 10-miler two years ago. Still, I wasn't where I wanted to be. Finally, I gave up being vegetarian, added more (lean) protein and cut back on carbs (I did not do Atkins, just cut back on bad, white carbs). I also increased my strength training, and added pilates. My goal is to exercise every day, even if it's just to fly a kite with my 7-year-old daughter, or run around the back yard kicking a soccer ball with my 4-year-old son. I think I've finally, for the first time in my life, accepted where I'm at, a healthy size 6.
Fitness routine: Run 5-6 miles every other day; weights 3 times a week; pilates twice a week; kite-flying whenever possible.
When I was a kid stuffing myself with salami sandwiches while managing to stay super skinny, my envious friends would say: Someday, you're going to wake up fat! Well, it took a few decades but they were right. OK, maybe not fat. But chunky. And exercise was largely limited to running from the parking lot to Bloomingdales. I always did love dancing, though, and a couple of years ago, I began to take a jazz dance class every Saturday. It became the lynchpin of my sanity. But still, I grew wider as I grew older. I joined Weight Watchers last year, the only program that works for me, and lost 12 pounds, but am busily regaining them one chocolate at a time. Now, I belong to a gym and am lifting weights for the first time in my life. I absolutely love the workout and am even leaving the house in the dark in the morning to get there. I can't exercise at night and don't know how anybody does it. If I don't do it first thing in the morning, it's not going to happen. I've become a real exercise fanatic and am anxious if I miss more than a day. I need to hike or walk or dance or work out to feel good. I only wish I'd have started younger! And I also wish I could still eat those salami sandwiches without wearing them around my waist. Sigh.
Fitness routine: Dance class for an hour and a half every Saturday; walk the dog at a brisk pace for 30 minutes twice a week; go to the gym three times a week and use the elliptical machine for 20-30 minutes followed by 45 minutes to an hour on the machines and weights.
I always managed to have a strong toned body. I did not start gaining weight until I was 46. Although I started working out in the 1970s, I seldom met anyone who worked out and I've been teased a lot for my dedication to fitness.
At 46, I ballooned from 135 pounds to 167 pounds. Finding a solution took me a couple of years. However, I find that no one exercise program works forever. Every couple of years I change my program because the exercises that worked five years ago no longer give me the results I want.
So I've done everything from simple leg lifts and situps in the '70s to weight training, running, stairclimber, tae bo, pilates, swimming, karate and now salsa and a lot of aerobics. I've managed to maintain my weight at a reasonable level, but for the New Year I want to drop 10 pounds and run the Broad Street Run for the fourth time.
There are two very satisfying results from all the years I've dedicated myself to being as fit as I can. I've just turned 56 and never hesitate to tell my age. One reason is because I'm glad to be alive and the other is to see the amazed glances I get. All the people who teased me about exercising years ago now weigh close to 200 lbs or more, so success is the best revenge. I hope this encourages someone.
Fitness routine: Salsa at least twice a week. Step class 2 times a week (45 minutes). Stair climber 5 times a week for (30 minutes). Swimming 2 times a week (45 minutes).
With a host of certifications and a lifetime in the health and fitness arena, Diane Catrambone is well suited to be at the helm of Fitness Together, Chester Springs.
Diane has 22 years in the fitness industry, including 12 years as a personal trainer. In addition to providing in-home training services to clients, Diane was the aerobics and fitness director at Brandywine Fitness from 1990 - 1992. Prior to that she ran Corporate on-site fitness programs for corporations including ICI and PNC Bank. She holds a degree in Psychology from Montgomery County College.
Along with her extensive experience, Diane also holds a number of impressive certifications. She is certified by the American Council on Fitness as a Personal Trainer, the American College of Sports Medicine as a Fitness Instructor, the American Association of Lifestyle Counselors as a Lifestyle Counselor and GMP Fitness as a Golf Conditioning Specialist. She is recognized by the International Dance and Exercise Association as an Elite Personal Trainer. Additionally, she is a member of the Women's Business Mentoring Council in Exton, Pa.
Diane's expertise is in demand: she has spoken for organizations such as TAPS (Take Pounds Off Sensibly), Weight Watchers and various senior centers. She is active in raising money for MS, a disease that has affected some of her family members. She and her husband, Bob, have just decided to participate in ½ walking marathons throughout the United States raising money for worthy charities.
Kimberly Garrison is the founder of One on One Ultimate Fitness. Kimberly believes your success lies in your investment in your most critical asset-you. She formed One on One to empower and lead you to optimum health and fitness. Her philosophy for fitness and health will inspire you to get a new attitude as well as a more energetic and healthy you.
With roots in theater and dance, Kimberly has made a life long commitment to physical vitality. She has over 20 years of bodywork expertise and over a decade of experience in the fitness industry. She is an AFPA certified personal trainer, AAAI/ISMA Group Fitness Instructor, Pilates Instructor, IDEA Personal Trainer Member, ACSM member and is pursuing a Ph.D. in holistic health and nutrition.
Kimberly has become known as one of Philadelphia's premier fitness experts. Her ability to tailor fitness techniques and tips to targeted audiences makes her a much sought after specialist in a variety of venues, including television, print and speaking engagements.