Sep 18

DTE Foundation Mountain Bike Trail

bikingEarlier this spring the Potowatomi Mountain Biking Association along with sponsor DTE opened the first of a series of five new mountain bike trails in the Waterloo Recreation Area of Chelsea. Altogether the five trails will combine to cover over 20 miles, with hopes of eventually connecting with the existing Potowatomi Trail.

This first trail, known as the Green Trail, opened in June of this year. It is 5.2 miles in length, and like its subsequent trails is designed to be a sustainable trail using what is known as “flow trail” construction. The idea behind this design is threefold; 1. Limit environmental impacts; 2. Keep maintenance requirements to a minimum; 3. Avoid user conflicts. Using frequent grade reversals and few flat areas, the trail should funnel water away, and keep the soil in tact. The flow design emphasizes speed and rhythm as well as other features that use the riders momentum to minimize peddling and braking. This allows for a wide range of skill levels. The style is easy for beginners, but when ridden with speed can be a challenge for the more advanced riders.

By spring of next year the second loop called “The Big Kame”, should be completed and ready for riding. While DTE provided the first $250,000, it is estimated that the total project will cost approximately $500,000. At the moment over 350,000 has been raised so far. Fundraisers and individual contributions are what will hopefully allow this great project to be completed. For more information and opportunities to donate, you can go to the DTE energy foundation Trail website.



Sep 01

“Shoe Dog” is a true, great, American story.

Phil Knight and how he created his company Nike is an amazing adventure!

shoe dogThis true story has a little bit for everyone. There are a myriad of themes in this book covering everything from adventure to David versus Goliath to invention. Whether you are a runner or an entrepreneur, I think you will enjoy it.

Phil Knight almost dropped out of running completely his junior year of high school because his doctor said that a wart on his foot would require him to stop. Instead, with the help of his mother they gradually shaved it down and run he certainly did. He eventually went on to join the track team at his beloved Oregon where he first met his coach and later to be partner, the legendary Bob Bowerman. Upon graduation, Knight goes on a world adventure lasting over a year that culminates in him deciding that he wants to get into the running shoe business.

The “Shoe Dog” is born as he begins selling a little-known brand of running shoe called Tigers out of his bedroom in his parents Oregon home. The little company he calls Blue Ribbon continues to grow in size year after year. Eventually, he and Bowerman begin designing and creating their own shoes. They are outgrowing the company they get their shoes from, and begin to produce their own. Changing their name to Nike, which came from the Greek goddess of victory, Knight and his Motley Crue personnel begin their quest to take over the athletic shoe world!

This really is a great American story. Starting with a dream and compassion, Phil Knight goes through great struggle pouring blood sweat and tears into his company. Going from nothing to the top, it is a fun and exciting adventure. Throughout his journey, he relates the business and life in general to his favorite thing in life which is running. It is the analogy for his existence, and he captures it beautifully in the foreword to the book. Though never as passionate about running, I felt a similar connection with fitness. I leave the two paragraphs in their entirety. Even if you don’t read the book, if you have a passion for anything, you will enjoy them.


 “For that matter, few ideas are as crazy as my favorite thing, running. It’s hard. It’s painful. It’s risky. The rewards are few and far from guaranteed. When you run around an old track, or down the road, you have no real destination. At least, nothing can fully justify the effort. The act itself becomes the destination. It’s not just that there’s no finish line; it’s that you define the finish line. Whatever pleasures or gains you derive from the act of running, you must find them within. It’s all in how you frame it, how you sell it to yourself.

Everyone knows this. You run and run, mile after mile, and you never quite know why. You tell yourself that you’re running towards some goal, chasing some rush, but really you run because the alternative, stopping, scares you to death.”

Phil Knight


Feb 20

Embrace Your Environment

snowshoe7As the temperatures look to go back into the 30s again next week, it is obvious we are in the thick of winter. Unlike bears however, we do not have the luxury of going into a cave and sleeping for the next few months. We must not only survive, but try to thrive through the cold. I’ve always found the best way to take on the challenge of something hard, it is to make it fun. Therefore, I encourage you to not fight the winter, but embrace it!
How does one make winter more fun? Well, you need to find something you enjoy doing during this season that you cannot do any other time. You really do not look too far in order to find a long list of things you can do in the winter that are both active and fun.
From personal experience, there were two things I couldn’t wait to do once the snow fell. Chase rabbits with my beagles, and snowboard. Not as many people went to the state park by my house in the winter, so I was actually able to let my beagles off leash. Stomping through the snow chasing my beagles, who were chasing rabbit tracks, was not just fun, but great exercise. Right before my accident I tried out snowboarding. While not an expert by any TechniqueSkate2means, I loved it! Likewise, my brother has recently become addicted to what is called skate skiing. It is a hybrid made up of a combination of skating and cross-country skiing. Incredible exercise, with the ability to go pretty fast along the trails in the woods.
These are just a few of the outdoor activities available right in the area. Traditional cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing, and for the extremists I even read about a new one called Snowkiting, are a few more to add to the list.
Another good thing about most of these activities, is that they can be tried out fairly inexpensively at many local Metro and state parks. Most of them offer rental equipment, and explain the types of offerings they have on their websites. For those of you in this area, you can go to this link to find out quite a bit.
If you are in another area, I am sure your local parks have a similar page on their website.
Don’t forget, you are not a bear, and the winter can be something to look forward to. You live in Michigan, embrace it!Snowkiting



Nov 22

Shop online and support my cause at the same time!

cropped-SOSLIFE_logo.jpgAs I have been informed, the shopping season has already begun, let me remind you of our affiliate program. With just a few extra clicks of your mouse, you can support my cause with no extra cost to you while doing your online shopping. Simply click on affiliates up above. From there choose from several companies that have agreed to work with my cause. Amazon, REI,, and Moose jaw are a few of the big names we have teamed up with. Click on the logo and you will be taken to that company’s site where you just shop as you normally would. By going through our site first, the company will send a small percentage of every purchase back to the website and my charity fund. In each of the last two years, we have been able to receive over $1000 to help with the costs of my care! I am grateful for your continued support!


Jul 20

Exercise Combats Aging Affects Of Chemotherapy

As if we needed another reason to exercise, research now shows that exercising while going through chemotherapy treatments for cancer can help combat the premature aging that is the usual result.
We all know someone or have gone through ourselves a battle with cancer. This usually includes chemotherapy treatments. Though often effective, these treatments tear the body down. Dr. Lee Jones of the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center says that “12 weeks of chemotherapy is equivalent to 10 years of aging.” That is a very extreme effect on the body! Fortunately, Dr. Jones also says that if patients perform exercise training throughout their chemotherapy regimen, they can negate the aging devastation almost completely. The amount and intensity of exercise is of course relative to each persons situation individually, and should be monitored by a doctor. The benefits, however, are clear, and well worth it!


May 21

Spotify’s New Feature Matches Your Workout Pace With Your Music

running_screenshot_1-750x1334Yesterday, the music streaming company Spotify introduced a new feature it will be now offering. It is called, “made for running.” It is an incredible system that will help people put together the perfect playlists for their workouts. This technology measures the rhythm of your running/walking/workout pace using sensors on your phone. It then searches your most recently listened to songs and selects the ones that match your rhythm and exercise pace. If you change the speed you are going during the workout, the music will change right along with it. It has been proven that listening to music while exercising improves performance. This innovation takes the improvement to another level. The playlists created will be instantly saved as well, so that if you want to start right off with them the next time you work out, you can. Chief Product Officer Gustav Soderstrom also said that the company has teamed up with Nike and RunKeeper to expand and continue work enhancing this system of combining music and exercise.
The company’s website offers a short video explaining it, check it out!


Apr 18

App Review: Map My Run – Keep Track, Keep Motivated, Keep at it!

map my run logoIn our new modern tech world, where there is an app for everything, it is sometimes hard to navigate the masses and find one that is right for you. Map My Run is one that I think fits some important criteria. It is free, it is easy to use, and it is effective.
Our main goal here at My Symbol of Strength Life is to encourage healthy lifestyles. This app falls right in line. You simply download the app, answer a few questions, and you are ready to go. It measures time and distance of your walk or run. By using your phone’s GPS, you can begin your workout anywhere you are, simply by selecting your activity (walk or run), and pressing the start button. When you are finished you press stop. It is as simple as that. Along the way, you can glance at the screen and see how far you have gone. It also shows an easy to read map of the route taken. Of course you can also sync your music collection with it so you can listen while you are working. When you’re finished, it gives you total distance traveled, total time exercised, average speed, and a final map. You’re finally given the option to record the workout and also to send it to friends or family you have chosen to connect with.
I think it is a great device. Most of us like the immediate feedback of knowing how much we have accomplished. met my run time and distanceThe ability to connect with others to show them what we have done and likewise see what they are doing provides reward as well as motivation. My mom and her sister both have this app and have had a lot of fun with it. Even though they are several states apart, they are able to both motivate and encourage each other in their efforts. If you don’t already have it, I recommend you check it out. If you already have something that works for you, stick with it. Just don’t stop moving!


Jan 31

The Small Plate Movement

Smaller plates = smaller portions = smaller waist

Perception of portion size can affect your sense of satiety.

Perception of portion size can affect your sense of satiety.

From his book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, author and the founder of The Small Plate Movement, Brian Wansink could have an extra large affect on your health.
Through research, Wansink and his co-authors concluded that “larger packages in grocery stores, larger servings in restaurants, and larger dishware in homes are the key drivers of larger portion size.” They in turn increase the appropriate perceived portion size, and reduce the ability to monitor food intake. This ultimately ends with an increase in the amount of food eaten. These results inspired the group to come up with a way to combat these problems. Thus, The Small Plate Movement was born, and has now been going strong for 10 years and hopes to reach 10 million participants by the end of this year!
People tend to serve themselves, and correspondingly eat, according to their plate size. Unfortunately, since the year 1960, dish sizes have increased 20%! By simply reverting back from a 12 inch plate to a 10 inch plate, one could decrease their caloric intake by the same percentage. Also, by using the smaller plate and filling it accordingly, one will still be under the perception of having a full portion size. With this perception in tow, one’s feeling of satiety or fullness will not be affected by the actual amount of food consumed. Wansink has determined that by using the smaller plates for just your largest meal once per day alone could yield you an 18 pound loss over the course of one year!
For continued research, support, and information about The Small Plate Movement, visit their website at


Nov 25

Thanksgiving Day Tips To Keep The Plump Where It Belongs!

2014_TPC_turkey_finalHere are a few reminders to help you make it through the holiday without adding an extra belt notch!
This is a repost from last year, but always worth remembering.
1. Do some form of exercise before you eat the big meal. The more intense the workout the better! Remember that exercise will increase your metabolism and allow you to burn more calories throughout the day.
2. Exercise as close to the time you are going to eat as possible. I realize this one could be tough for some of you helping in the preparation. Studies show that the first hour after exercising the appetite is usually suppressed, and it will keep you from wanting to eat too much.
3. Drink a full glass of water about 15 min. before your meal. It will make you feel more full.
4. Eat slowly. Enjoy the conversation and let the food settle during the meal. Again you will gain the feeling of fullness and ultimately eat less.
5. Do not take second helpings of anything! One plateful of food will be more than enough. There’ll be plenty of days to enjoy the leftovers.
6. Enjoy the turkey, and minimize the rest. Gravy, biscuits, butter, stuffing, and pumpkin pie are where a lot of the extra and bad calories will come from. The turkey is a low-fat protein source which will bring on satiety [feeling of fullness].
7. Exercise after your meal. A good 15 to 30 min. walk with family would be great to increase your metabolism and aid in your digestion.
8. Be thankful for your health, knowledge, and will power. They will help you get through this day without needing a group of pilgrims to help get up the stairs!

In addition to these tips that you can do on your own, you may also wish to join the many who participate in one of the multiple turkey trots in your area. Starting the morning off with a long walk or jog will pay dividends throughout the day, giving your body something productive to do with your food intake. Just go to to find out where the closest run is to you. Having done the Detroit turkey trot several times, I can vouch for that one being a fun one. Many people sport Thanksgiving themed costumes and the last section takes place along the parade route where the streets are already lined with people.


Nov 15

Shop Online And Support My Cause At The Same Time!

_MG_7203As I have been informed that the shopping season has already begun, let me remind you of our affiliate program. With just a few extra clicks of your mouse, you can support my cause with no extra cost to you while doing your online shopping. Simply go to (or stay on it since you are already here) our health and fitness blog site, and click on affiliates. From there choose from several companies that have agreed to work with my cause. Amazon, REI,, and Moose jaw are a few of the big names we have teamed up with. Click on the logo and you will be taken to that company’s site where you just shop as you normally would. By going through our site first, the company will send a small percentage of every purchase back to the website and my charity fund. I am grateful for your continued support!I


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