In the first weekend of December 1976 my father pulled up to the Grand Theater on Railroad Avenue in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. I loved the Grand Theater. I loved watching movies. There was only one screen and it was a big one. It was an old theater, and it was later torn down. It’s now a parking lot where a theater once stood. I’ve seen some classics in that theater. I couldn’t have been over 11 or 12 when I saw Patton. I was around the same age when my father took me to see The Godfather. He mumbled something about it being our people. I still don’t understand what he was talking about. I never saw my father shoot Mo Greene or knock off his brother Fredo. But I digress. I saw Blazing Saddles in that theater, another favorite. Most of the movies were rated R. And most I saw before I was 13. You know what? I turned out pretty good, so take that Tipper Gore. While I’m on my rant about Tipper and her type, you can’t even make a drug reference in a song anymore and get it on the radio. Yet the word cocaine is mentioned dozens of times in Eric Clapton‘s Cocaine. Despite this, I’ve never tried the stuff. Getting back to the story at hand. I didn’t have high hopes as I purchased my 75 cent ticket on that first weekend in December. I didn’t even see the movie advertised on television. From the grainy cheap look of the poster, I was almost afraid it would have subtitles. The only hope it had was an actress I recognized from the Godfather, Talia Shire. The movie didn’t even have a good name. It was called Rocky. By the time the credits rolled, I had feeling running through my 14 year old body that I’d never felt before. I wanted to cheer like everyone else in the theater, but I thought I was too cool for that. So I didn’t. I wanted to cry but I was too much of a man. So I didn’t. I sat still in that movie I was still so long that my feet, hands and legs fell asleep. My mind was reeling. I read every piece of what rolled down through the end of the movie. I read that Conti did the music. I literally chanted the name to myself on the way home until I got to a pen and wrote it down. I kept that piece of paper until the next time I went to Baton Rouge. That’s where I bought the LP to the movie Rocky. I played it until the record wore out. That movie inspired a lot of people to be the best they could be in life, including me. I told you that to tell you this. In my life as an athlete I’ve seen a lot of inspiring things. I see challenged athletes all the time. I often wonder if I had that kind of courage if I lost a leg or an arm, or both arms. Sometimes inspiration doesn’t come from someone who’s challenged. There was no shortage of it at this year’s Ford Ironman Triathlon in Tempe, Arizona. The guy I want to mention today was a kid I grew up with, Jon Covington. In true southern Louisiana form, he had a funny nickname. We called him Jon Bubba. The story is too long and convoluted, so I won’t explain what it means. I will tell you this, we called his older brother Bubba Jon. Jon was the same age as my younger brother, so he was about four years younger than me. They hung out a lot and played sports together. Jon was a good athlete. I haven’t seen him much over the years. But I knew he would be in Tempe because we’re both on Facebook. I made it a mission to meet Jon, his lovely wife and his two-year-old son. Jon had called me in the past few months for a few training tips. He also called me a week or two before the race because the tendonitis in his knee was bothering him so much that he had stopped running. He was going to go for it anyway. The thing I noticed about Jon was that he didn’t look like most Ironman triathletes. He had a fair amount of extra weight on his body. I was worried that my friend wouldn’t make the bike cutoff time. If you don’t make it, you get pulled from the event. Jon did tell me he was a strong swimmer. He proved it by swimming the two-plus miles in an hour and 20 minutes. I thought it was an amazing time for a guy his size. I knew the bike wouldn’t be easy because there were tough winds that day. The course has an incline in one direction. Jon would be carrying 260 pounds up the incline and then after the turnaround, would push through a tough wind on the bike. Even the top pros were grimacing in pain. As Jon passed me on the bike I yelled out his name and somehow he managed to smile to let me know this course wouldn’t beat him. Next came the run, a full marathon. I asked myself how much more punishment could he take. Every time he passed me, though he was jogging slowly and sometimes walking, Jon never gave up. I walked along with him a few times for a few seconds. His morale was great.
Jon finished in 15 hours and lots of change. But he finished. We often fill stadiums with hundreds of thousands of people to watch football. We have no trouble turning overpaid athletes into heroes. But I want everyone who reads this blog to know, Jon Bubba Covington is my hero.
I watched a piece of the final Dancing With The Stars episode. It’s not a show I would normally pay attention to, but it was getting an assload of media attention. I’m pretty sure the producers really didn’t care who won, they were loving the attention they were getting. And rightfully so. The whole idea for them is to make money. You can’t begrudge them that. I was eager to watch Bristol Palin dance for several reasons, mainly because her dancing had stirred so much controversy. But also because of her non athletic build. Am I saying fat people can’t dance? Absolutely not. I grew up in southern Louisiana. There are a lot of heavy set people who can move like nobody’s business. But from what I understand, this competition calls for all sorts of different dancing of way more athletic skills. I know very little about dancing. All I know is what I like to look at. I love aesthetics and beauty. Bristol Palin represented neither. She was about as graceful as a bull in a china cabinet. The other thing about Bristol that I really don’t understand, but is really not her fault, is that the show is called Dancing With the Stars. I have trouble understanding why Bristol Palin is considered a star. If it was called Dancing With the High School Sluts, then she could be on the show. By mentioning that title, I may have given NBC a great idea, or at the very least, Fox. I told you that to tell you this. My real interest was in Jennifer Grey.
I was a big fan of the movie that made her a star, Dirty Dancing. Something else I like about Jennifer is that she’s about my age. I think she might be a couple of years older. Nonetheless, she proves what I have proven over and over on this site when I mention the likes of David Holt and Terry Lentz and several others who are on the north side of 50 years old and still kicking ass and taking names. Too often we have excuses for getting out of shape and gaining weight. Most blame it on their age. My sister in law who I love dearly claims she’s still trying to lose her pregnancy weight. I would believe her, but her youngest kid is 25. At 50 years old, Jennifer Grey is still sporting a six pack. Trust me when I tell you, she didn’t get in shape just for this show. She’s a friend of Serena’s. Jennifer always has a six pack. She never lets herself get out of shape. Jennifer should also be given credit for fighting to the end. According to what I saw on the final show, she was plagued throughout the season with a back injury, and wasn’t even sure if she would compete in the finale. But she figured it out and got it done. Congratulations, Jennifer.
I was driving my car the other day through Beverly Hills. I came to the light at the corner of Sunset and Beverly with the world famous Beverly Hotel just off to the left. All of a sudden my car was making a weird sound. I turned down the radio to figure out what it was. It was a low, muffled sound. My first thought was, “How could this be? I just brought my car in for service, and it’s only about two years old.” I put the window down to hear better. That’s when I figured out the problem wasn’t my car at all. Sitting on my left side was a black two-door BMW 3 series. The car had been tricked out. The whole body of the car had been lowered to resemble a low rider. The rims were after market, shiny chrome that hung out past the fenders. As my eyes took me past the wheels, I looked through the passenger side window. The noise became louder. It was rap music, but I couldn’t hear the lyrics over the droning bass. The driver had on a shirt that resembled the Los Angeles Dodgers jersey. It was an exact replica of what the team wears but it was open in the front. I noticed a couple of gold chains. As I continued to move my eyes up, I noticed the driver had on a cap. It had letters and words that I couldn’t understand. The brim was perfectly straight. It was the anti-thesis of the way a country boy would wear his hat with the beak bent down on both sides. The driver slowly turned to give me a stern look. The music continued to drone. As soon as our eyes locked, I began to laugh hysterically. It was another Beverly Hills white kid wannabe from the mean streets of Rodeo Drive. I told you that to tell you this. I recently left Los Angeles to head to Tempe, Arizona with my friend Caroline. She was in her first Ironman Triathlon. You may want to refer to the blog 59 Inches of Inspiration. I like Caroline a lot. She’s easy to get along with. When we get together it’s like a Sunday meal in an Italian household. We tend to talk over each other. It’s part of the fun, at least for me. But I digress. As we drove toward Tempe, we began to pass other cars that had either tribikes on the back or on the roof. Each time we passed a car, we did what humans do, and looked to see who was inside. That’s when Caroline and I started a conversation about “The Look.” We both agreed that you can spot a triathlete from a mile away. They always seem to wear a visor. Their T-shirts have sponsors all over them, though they’re not sponsored by anyone. They always wear sport-specific sunglasses, like Oakley and such. For the uninitiated, these are glasses that aren’t necessarily attractive unless you’re doing the sport you’re doing. My feeling is, if you’re not doing the sport and you’re wearing the glasses, you look like a fat security guard at a mall. Both Caroline and I agreed that we didn’t have that look. Generally because we’re too cool for the rest of the room. Either that, or we’re too old to care. Is there a point to this blog? No. It’s simple rhetoric. Does the look bother me? Not particularly. But it tells me one thing. People like to follow trends. Soccer mommies drive soccer mommy vans. Lesbians like plaid flannel. Italians from Jersey love gold chains. It’s all a fact of life.
I’m guessing it was around mid October 1975 when I was laying around my bedroom. How do I know? Simple. I was in a body cast. On September 30th of that same year, I was playing in my first football season. With four seconds left until halftime, I shattered my femur. When the pile unraveled, my right leg was so mangled that the heel of my foot was pointing straight ahead. The surgeon at the hospital said I broke my leg in so many places, if the pieces were any smaller it would be powder. After what felt like a million hours of surgery, the jigsaw puzzle formerly known as my right femur was back together. But the doctors felt like the only way it would heal properly was to put me in a cast from my chest to my toes. I had to stay that way for several weeks. The bad news was cable television hadn’t been invented yet. No HBO, no Wii, no Xbox…whatever. The good news was the nuns had one less ass to whip on a daily basis. I had a Playboy magazine that I kept hidden in my cast. I saved those moments for when I was extremely bored. To be honest, when you’re 13, you can get extremely bored over and over again. But let’s face it, not even masturbation can cover an entire day. One of the lay teachers at school (not a nun), Mrs. Casso (if anyone cares I thought she was hot too), gave me a group of paperback books. One was called North Dallas Forty. Another was the Paper Lion. Those books were read first. There was also one by Jerry Kramer called Instant Replay. It became one of my favorites. He was an offensive guard for the Green Bay Packers back in the day. You know, when men didn’t get fined for hitting too hard. There was a fourth book that didn’t match the other three. I saved it for last. It was Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I don’t know why I chose this book last. I was a fan of this kind of writing as a kid. When I was 12 I read a book called the Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. I know what you’re thinking…a lot of book for a 12 year old. Then again as my mother would always say, I was quite eccentric for a young man. I always loved how my mother had these terms for people. She would never say someone was gay. She’d say with a Southern lilt, “He’s a little light in the loafers.” To this day, I don’t know what that means. But I love when she says it. I felt if I read a book called Think and Grow Rich, all I would have to do is read it…think…then grow rich. I read every word in that book. I read it all the way to the ISBN. For the uninitiated, that’s the catalog number for the Library of Congress. Then I laid in my bed and began to think. But I didn’t grow rich. So in true Vinnie fashion, I picked up the book and read it again, cover to cover. I read the ISBN, dedication, foreword…the whole thing. Once again, I laid there and meditated. I still wasn’t rich. I told you that to tell you this. Too often people come to me for answers. A lot of them want the easy way out. “Vinnie, what can I eat to lose weight?” “What’s the minimum amount of exercise I need to get in shape?” “What can I do to get my ass off of my knees and back where it belongs?” They want the quick answer. At age 48, I’ve now read Think and Grow Rich more times than I can count. I’ve also read other Napoleon Hill books, such as the Law of Success. What I’ve come to understand is that getting rich is more than monetary. It’s who you are, and how you treat others. It’s how you relate to the world and how the world relates to you. That same synergy, that same calm piece of mind, is what’s needed in any endeavor you take on. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bike ride, a marathon, a triathlon, or to lose 100 pounds, or 10 pounds. You have to do it for the right reasons. You have to do it for yourself.
There’s an old saying. If it sounds too good to be true, it generally is. Another cliche: There’s no free lunch. How about: You can’t get something for nothing. I can go on and on. But I think you know what I mean. All too many times, we want the easy way out. That statement has never been truer when it comes to fitness. We talk about it all the time. You don’t have to look further than a fitness magazine cover. The truth is, it takes hard work and effort. And not just physical effort. You also have to change some of your eating habits. So it’s also a mental effort. To add another cliche I like to use: If it were easy, everyone would do it. I told you that to tell you this. This morning while eating breakfast, an ad came on the the television by the popular shoe company Sketchers. I have nothing against the brand. I’ve bought Sketchers in the past. Some of their styles are pretty cool. But Sketchers has a product called the Shape Up. It’s a tennis shoe that has, according to Sketchers, a specially designed sole. The ad says that wearing these shoes will get you in shape just by walking. Basically, when you have something like that, there is some scientific proof it will do something. But they take a small bit of truth and make it a big deal. It’s so small, you’ll never see it in real life. All of these products hang on this. This ad has been on for a year or two. You know, it has a hot looking chick wearing Shape Ups. As I was watching the ad, I was thinking this fad has to be coming to an end. Then another ad came on right behind it by the same company. I should include here it was about 4:30 a.m. and sometimes they run ads back to back. Sketchers has a new product called the Tone Up. From what I can tell, it’s the basic concept of the Shape Up but its not in a sports shoe fashion. It looks more like everyday dress shoes. A company like Sketchers would never come out with a shoe like that unless the first shoe was selling like hotcakes. This tells me one thing. Faith and trickery are still alive and well.
I was talking to my nephew tonight. We got into a conversation about how you never know what and who to believe anymore. He said today’s world of information, anyone can say anything and almost no one will challenge it. Then it somehow becomes the truth, even though it’s not. I asked him what he meant specifically. He said he’s needed a new computer for more than a year. He has the money to spend on it and has done research. Yet he’s more confused now than ever. He said you can read yourself into a frenzy over what you need and don’t need. I agreed. I also realized that my nephew is a lot like me. When I was a kid, a lot of the other kids were getting stereo systems for their bedrooms. Stereos were a lot different back in the 70s. You didn’t have one system to run your stereo, television and phone all rolled into one. And it certainly didn’t pump music into every room. I had saved up some money and wanted to buy a stereo. My buddies Jim and Brian both had stereo systems. If I remember right, Brian got his first and it was state of the art. It had direct drive turntables. It had a bazillion watts. It played those plastic albums oh-so clear. I spent hours on the floor of Brian’s bedroom. I couldn’t believe how clear the music was. That is, until Jim got his system. He had even more watts. And bigger speakers with bigger sub woofers. Somehow his turntable was more state of the art than Brian’s. I had convinced myself that somehow Jim’s sounded better than Brian’s. I’m sure there was little to no proof of that. But the marketing campaign made me believe it. I waited six or eight months for new technology to happen. And it did. But I never bought. I knew in six months there would be more technology, so I waited again. Let me get you to the end of the story. I’m 48. I’ve never owned a stereo system. I warned my nephew that if he kept waiting, he’d be 48 before he owned a laptop computer. I told you that to tell you this. This same notion goes throughout the sports world. We see it a lot with equipment. Run with this shoe, don’t run with this shoe. Buy this bike, don’t buy that bike. Then we do the what’s old is new again routine. I tell you, the sports industry is more fucked up than a redheaded child in a trailer park. Great, now I’ll have all the gingers coming after my ass. Anything is better than the Catholics. I’ll take it. But I digress. The real deal is it all plays on our insecurities. And it shouldn’t. I’ve learned that I can bowl just as well with a rental ball and rental shoes. Before you chuck your old bike or old running shoes, think twice. You may need them again in about a year or two. By the way ladies, feel free to chuck your matching leotards, earrings and scrunchy socks. I’ve got a feeling those aren’t coming back. Everything else is fair game. If you think I’m full of crap, just remember Leo Fender created one of the most popular electric guitars in the 1950s. It’s virtually unchanged today. The safety bike, which we now call the bicycle, came around just before the turn of the last century. Again, virtually unchanged today.
When I grew up in Louisiana we had a name for people who weren’t born in this country but moved here. It didn’t matter that they became naturalized citizens. If you lived in southern Louisiana, you referred to them as “them foreigners.” Please don’t misunderstand me. I grew up in a special place. I grew up in an area that didn’t have the natural twang. You know that hillbilly twang most of the South has. I grew up in an area known as Cajun country. Cajuns don’t sound like anyone else on the planet. They, or might I say we, can somehow twist the English language so far out of whack that it sounds like a different language. Yet everyone knows what everyone else is talking about. The one thing Cajuns don’t understand is different people from different cultures. In some laughable sort of way they look at themselves as perfectly normal, while the rest of the world is screwed up. I was a little different growing up. I was always fascinated by different people and cultures, even different religions. It wasn’t until I moved to New Orleans for college that I saw the diversity commonly found in bigger cities. One thing always stuck out to me. It seemed that everyone who moved here from somewhere else had a greater appreciation for the United States. They seemed to see the opportunities that Americans who were born here couldn’t see. We, meaning naturally born Americans, expect everything. Those who move here really feel privileged to have freedom to do what they want. The reason they do better in business is because they can see an opportunity that seemingly blinds a person born with that same opportunity. I told you that to tell you this. I train a lot of people. Some are morbidly obese. They just want to lose weight and live a normal life. Some are weekend warriors and just want to do better in their next 10k or charity ride. I have housewives and celebrities all with great goals in mind. I applaud them all for working hard and achieving their goals.
Today I want to shine a light on one of my favorites, Caroline Lettieri. She stand 4’11″ and she turned 50 this year. Over the years, she has run no less than 25 marathons. She has done enough triathlons of every distance, including half Ironman, to choke a mule. This weekend, on Nov. 21, Caroline will attempt her first full Ironman. Though most of my readers know the distances, I will put it down anyway for the uninitiated. A full Ironman is a swim of 2.2 miles, followed by a 112-mile bike, the run is a full marathon at 26.2 miles. Why do I think it’s so special that Caroline will attempt this distance (and finish it with ease, in my opinion)? It’s simple. She suffers from lupus. Just like the Vietnamese guy who never complains about keeping his liquor store open all night in a bad neighborhood because he loves this country. Or the Jamaican who works three jobs because the life he has here is better than the life he came from. You would be hard-pressed to know that Caroline ever had a problem, though she does complain about her age now and again. I’ll be in Tempe, Arizona when she jumps into the water, and I’ll be waiting when she crosses the finish line. I’m proud to call her a friend.
Two of the greatest men who have ever lived were my grandfather Mike Tortorich and his brother Frank. To say I loved these two men would be an understatement. I spent my life trying mimic both of them. They both had qualities I admired when they were alive. I remember these things still today as I write this. First I’ll tell you a little about my grandfather. He never went to school…not one day in his life. Yet he was one of the smartest men I had ever known. Beside that, he had a work ethic that’s not only unbelievable in today’s age when people are trying to figure out how not to work. It was even unbelievable back in the day. Let me explain. He got paid to be at work at 8 a.m. He was supposed to finish his job at 4 p.m. This was five days a week. Instead, he would show up (by the way this is not a typo) at 3 a.m. At 8 a.m. he would leave work, go home, eat breakfast, then go back to work. He didn’t leave at 4 p.m. He stayed until 5 p.m. In all his years as a janitor, I never knew of him to take a sick day or a vacation. During holidays when the state building he worked in closed, he went in anyway, stripped the floors and polished them. You would think a man like that would deserve weekends off. But instead, he drove an 18-wheeler for an oil supply company. He would drive from Friday night until Sunday around noon. He would go back to his regular job on Mondays. According to the state government, three men were supposed to be on his crew. He managed it by himself for 40 years. By the way, he was the most educated illiterate on the planet. He knew what was going on around the world at all times. His brother Frank had the same work ethic. But he was educated. He also spend time in, as he called, “The Big One,” also known as World War II. Every time his tour of duty was over, he would re-enlist. He was also awarded the Purple Heart. He turned it down. He would often say, “I wasn’t there to collect awards. I was there fighting for my country.” Frank was a thin, frail man, but he was a Golden Gloves champion. He also taught me about hard work. He had a dirty hauling business and landscaping. He taught me how to drive big trucks and operate heavy machinery when I was a kid. He also taught me gardening. Not the kind around the house. I’m talking five acres of vegetables, which he grew every year. This wasn’t to sell to stores, but to give to everyone in the family. Trust me, Italian families can be pretty big. Both of these men taught me a lot. They taught me about honesty, integrity, but more than anything, that hard work never hurt anyone. I told you that to tell you this. It’s recently come to my attention that I’m an angry man. Yeah, I may have a tinge of anger. But you know who else was angry? The very people who founded this country. Quite frankly, I believe that there is no reason to get out of bed in the morning unless you have something to get you going. A lot of people read this blog. I track the numbers. More and more people read it every day. They ain’t coming for a kumbaya attitude, I can tell you that. They come because I have a point of view, and I’m not afraid to state the truth. In short, I’m saying exactly what everyone is thinking, but are afraid to say.
In 1992 I stood on the stage of the world famous Improv in Los Angeles on Melrose Avenue. I wasn’t standing there because I was a comedian. I was far from it. I couldn’t imagine anyone paying me a dime to tell a joke. Let’s face it, I have the timing of a spastic white percussionist. Please don’t write in and call me racist. We all know that white folks don’t have rhythm. But I digress. I started going to the Improv on open mic nights a year earlier. The reason: I had just left New Orleans, where I had a popular radio talk show. I kind of wanted to get my chops up. That was just an easy way to do it. I must have gotten pretty good at it because one of the owners of the Improv, Mark Lonow, started paying me a small fee. I started hosting an open mic night and some of the other nights. That’s why I was standing on that stage in 1992. I was scheduled to do 10 minutes, but right before I went up, the stage manager asked if I could do an extra 5-7 minutes since they were running late with comics that night. The only problem: I didn’t have an extra seven minutes of material. I knew I would have to vamp. That’s when I started talking about the only subjects I knew anything about – health and fitness. The first words out of my mouth were: What’s this about Overeaters Anonymous? The one thing an overeater can’t be is anonymous. I told you that to tell you this. That joke played well to the crowd that night and it became a regular part of my routine. But that joke wasn’t completely accurate. Overeaters can be anonymous. They’re not all fat. I have and have had clients over the years with eating disorders. It’s generally a female problem, nonetheless, it’s a bad problem to have. I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist. I have no idea what it takes to treat or help these folks. But there’s one thing I see them doing, so I do have a piece of advice to offer. I’ve noticed that people eat around the food that they really want to eat. I’ll give you an example. Let’s say the food in question is Oreo cookies. You know you’re trying to lose weight and shouldn’t have the Oreos. So to quell your hunger, you go for a piece of cheese. Let’s face it, cheese is much healthier than Oreos. Then you start to think, what kind of loser has cheese without crackers? That can set into motion that cheese and crackers go well with a glass of wine. By now, you figure you’ve blown your diet. Why not add something sweet? You have ice cream in the freezer. But I won’t put it into a bowl. If I put it in a bowl, I’ll eat too much. So I’ll just have a spoonful. Well, I can’t have just one. Maybe two or three. I better even it out and have a few more. By the time you reach 10 spoonfuls you’re feeling sorry for yourself, so you have a few more. You think you’re done. Let’s face it, you’re satisfied and your stomach is feeling somewhat nauseous. But just like humans we always want to get what we came for in the first place. And that’s when you dive into the Oreo cookies. The moral of this story: Go straight for the Oreo cookies next time. Don’t eat around it, it seldom works.
We’re getting to that time of year. The fat season. It’s when many people in this country and around the world gain weight. I don’t really know the statistic on this, but I’ve heard people say they don’t gain weight all year then gain three to five pounds between Halloween and New Year’s. The weight gain levels off around January, but they never lose it. You may remember my nephew wrote an article similar to this where he gained 50 pounds between high school graduation and his ten year reunion. He said it was crazy because he didn’t really see it coming. But after ten years, there it was. If you do the quick math, you will see that he easily gained five pounds a year, holding true to the three to five pound a year gain. I told you that to tell you this. One of my good friends and ace pupils when it comes to clients, Christina, just finished her year of triathlon events. As far as a competitive calendar goes, she does more than most, including tons of cycling events, several marathons and triathlons of all distances. I mentioned to Christina that it must feel good knowing that she can take the next six to eight weeks off without worrying about training. Christina said she wasn’t going to take any time off. She hates the feeling of getting back into shape, moreover having to do all of the base training again to build up stamina. I mentioned to her that she would be doing her body no good by continuing at the pace of training she has done over the last ten months. Not to mention her psyche. Her question was, “What am I supposed to do? Just get out of shape?” I said no, just do something different. She said as a triathlete, she does something different every day. I reminded her as a triathlete she only does three different sports every day and that she would benefit from changing it up. My recommendation: Do anything different. Hitting the gym would not be a bad idea. Doing some weight work would add some lean muscle mass that was lost during the season. If you live near snow, there’s cross country skiing, snow shoeing, downhill skiing and snow boarding. These kinds of winter sports can add core strength along with anaerobic fitness and aerobic fitness. Not to mention, they’re lots of fun. If you aren’t lucky enough to live in southern California and the weather is too crappy to go outside, there are no shortages of basketball leagues, racketball, handball, squash or volleyball leagues, both privately and publicly. The list of activities are endless. If you’re not sure where to start, simply do a Google search in your area. Just keep in mind that cross training is not just a term that Nike coined to sell a shoe. There’s a lot of merit in it and it can be a lot of fun.