Inspiration: “What I Learned from My First Triathlon”

When Be Well reader Keli Engleson—better known to some of you, perhaps, as Yoga Peach—emailed me to ask if she could share her story of how she conquered her first triathlon, the Nation’s Triathlon in D.C., I was eager to hear it. For one, I think more and more of us are becoming interested in triathlons, as marathon running continues to swell in popularity and many people with a “been there, done that” mentality are starting to seek out new challenges. But I also thought it was interesting because what I knew of Keli, mainly through our messages on Be Well Philly’s Facebook page, is that she’s not a runner. Like, at all. Yoga is her thing, so I wanted to hear how she not only turned herself into a running maven, but also tackled swimming and biking to boot.

Here’s Keli’s story, in her own words.

You haven’t always been a runner, right? What made you want to lace up?

I’ve been active and interested in fitness since my teen years but I never ran until February of this year. I thought I hated it. After making a decision to pursue training for my first triathlon, I had no choice but to overcome my running challenges. I remember when at first I could barely run a mile or two without stopping. I was determined to push through the struggle and within a couple weeks I noticed progress. I ran my first half marathon six weeks later. Positive mindset was key and reminding myself that if I could run a half marathon then I was capable of pushing through the run in the triathlon.

What made you want to do a triathlon? Did you have a goal in mind at the outset?

Fourteen months ago while talking with a triathlete, I remember saying to him, “I could never do that.” I went home that evening saying to myself, “Wait a minute, can I?”  The idea of a new physical challenge intrigued me. Pushing my mind and physical limits teaches me to be comfortable being temporarily uncomfortable. In some ways I find my athletic experiences reflect my life experiences. Physical challenges strengthen me more than just physically. They encourage focus, goal setting, mental growth and confidence. I began to imagine that the energy that comes with a huge race like a triathlon would be extraordinary. My goal was simply to stay dedicated to training and cross that finish line before before the course cut off.  Sometimes I put a lot of pressure on myself, and while doing my best is important to me I really wanted to make sure I enjoyed my first triathlon experience.

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Your Ticket to Six-Pack Abs: 41 Ab-Strengthening Exercises


It’s easy to forget about your waistline once sweater season hits. You’re all, “Why should I do crunches when all of my hard work will just be hidden underneath a thick layer of wool for four months?” And, “Really, what difference will this basket of beignets make?” Then May hits and suddenly you find yourself faced with the prospect of putting on a bikini (eek) and frolicking on the beach for a week. This is when you come to the unsettling realization that the bulge around your mid-section is not just “some weird thing that this sweater does.”

To help you avoid a rude awakening come spring, we’ve found plenty of ab exercises to keep you busy from Halloween thru Cinco de Mayo. Most of these exercises can be done at home without any equipment so, no excuses. Enjoy!

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10 Philly Instagrammers You Should Be Following


A picture can say a thousand words. “Put down the Krispy Kreme box,” and “Pick up the yoga mat, you lazy bum”—these are just a few of the choice words Instagram has directed my way. I know, I know, pretty rude. But also, totally motivational, right? So we’ve rounded up some Philly Instagrammers for you to scroll through to find some amazing fitness inspiration, along with the occasional virtual wake-up call.

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The Checkup: 12 Alternatives to Energy Gels for a Mid-Race Energy-Boost

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• Hey, Philly Marathoners in training. If you’re not too keen on energy gels like GU and Clif Shot (I don’t blame you), now’s the time to test out other alternatives, to see what might be a good choice on race day. Here are 12 energy-boosting alternatives to those gels. [Shape]

• You probably already know that you can DIY your own almond milk. But what about coconut milk? And soy milk? Here’s a great guide to making five kinds of nondairy milks at home. [Prevention]

• Absolutely hilarious: an encyclopedia of all the diseases Miley Cyrus could contract if she continues to lick everything in sight. [Jezebel]

• Working from home today is not as easy as it sounds, what with all the laundry you could be doing and the TV you could be watching. Here’s how to stay focused and get everything done when working from home. [Greatist]

• Hehe! This one’s just to make you smile. Check out this baby’s priceless reaction when she eats ice cream for the first time. Classic. [Gawker]

Photo: Shutterstock

To Do: Yoga for Runners at Maha Yoga

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If you’re a runner, chances are you’re familiar with the aches and pains that accompany pulled muscles and strained joints. Luckily, Maha Yoga and Healing Arts has created a workshop designed specifically for you!

On October 13th, instructors Lisa and Teagan will lead Yoga for Runners, demonstrating poses that increase range of motion and flexibility in the areas that runners use most (hamstrings, quads, hips, and core). The idea is, by incorporating these poses into your training, you will improve your performance while preventing those all-too-common and totally unwelcome runners’ injuries. (I’m looking at you, torn ACLs.) That means you can spend less time lounging on the couch and icing that hamstring, and more time exploring the trails along Kelly Drive or in the Wissahickon. If you’re interested, learn more about the workshop here.

$25 before October 6th, $35 after, October 13th from 1 to 3:30 p.m., Maha Yoga and Healing Arts, 1700 Sansom Street, sixth floor, Philadelphia.

>> Have a health or fitness event you’d like to share with Be Well Philly readers? Email details to eleaman@phillymag.com.

The Checkup: 5 Reasons People Abandon Their Diets in Less than a Week

• Here’s a depressing statistic: Only 20 percent of people who decide to begin dieting make it to the three-month mark, according to new research. And get this, two out of five people quit within the first week. If you’re trying to change your eating habits (go you!), check out these five reasons most people fail at their diets and learn how to steer clear of the pitfalls. [Health]

• It’s Thursday, which means by now your desk is probably a total disaster area. Here’s what a messy desk says about you. (Uh-oh.) [New York Times]

• If you’ve got a trip to the ACME in your future, take this healthy grocery-shopping list along for the ride. These smart staples could save you in a pinch. [Fitness Magazine]

• Suffering from arthritis pain? Ugh, I don’t envy you. But here’s something worth noting: If you get serious about your weight-loss efforts and lose 10 percent of your body weight or more, you’ll see some serious pay off in the form of less arthritic pain in your knees, according to a new study. [HealthDay]

• Don’t throw away the seeds! Pumpkin seeds, that is. Here are three creative ways to eat them. [Self.com]

Photo: Shutterstock

New Outdoor Flying Trapeze School Opens Next Week in Kensington


Hold on to your latent circus aspirations, Be Wellers (only me?): Philly’s got a new outdoor trapeze school. Bucks County’s Fly School Circus Arts has officially relocated to 1620 North 5th Street, at 5th and Cecil B. Moore in Kensington, and will celebrate its grand opening weekend October 4th through 6th. The school has been busy getting staff and equipment in place since early August, but the official, open-for-business debut comes next weekend, when it’ll offer lessons for $5 off all weekend long and a beef-n-beer open house on October 5th from 3 to 5 p.m.

Classes, which are $60 for a two-hour lesson, are open to kids and adults ages six and up. They’re offered twice daily on weekdays and three times a day on weekends. From 25 feet in the air on the trapeze rig (eek!), you’ll learn how to take off from the platform, swing, transfer to a partner and drop safely to the net below.

More info on class times and reservations is here.

The Checkup: 16 People in Spin Class Who Secretly Drive You Crazy

• This one’s an oldie, but since I just discovered it and haven’t shared it here, we’ll pretend it’s new, okay? From The Texter to The Fawner to The Guy Who’s So Happy He Can’t Control It, check out this hilariously accurate, illustrated guide to 16 types of people you’re destined to spot in a Spin class. Question is: Which one are you? [RateYourBurn]

• Jump! No seriously—you should start jumping more. It’s a really good way to get in shape fast. [Greatist]

• Love riding your bike? Here are three biking vacations you should take. [New York Times]

• Someday, there could be a vaccine for cocaine. And alcohol. And nicotine. Behold: the addiction vaccine. [New York Magazine]

• Give kale and quinoa a break. Try these other superfoods from around the world. [HuffPost Healthy Living]

Free Kettlebell Boot Camp This Weekend

Here’s an idea: Why not ditch your long-run plans this weekend and head to Center City for a free boot camp workout instead? Philly Phitness Personal Training is offering the free conditioning workout—with a special emphasis on kettlebell training—on Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m.

The workout takes place at Philly Phitness’s studio (130 South 17th Street), but the group will head over to nearby City Sports (1608 Walnut Street) afterward for refreshments and special shopping deals. RSVP here.

Photo: Shutterstock

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