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Health & Fitness

Axes Up!

I gave myself the name Ragnar. Joining me for my first experience with the nascent “sport” of axe throwing was Maple, Axe Bomber, and Hoss Funk. Before we were to train with the hefty and sharp projectiles, we had to choose “lumberjack” pseudonyms to get in the mood and spirit. I fantasized more of a Viking [...]
Kevin J. Elliott



I gave myself the name Ragnar. Joining me for my first experience with the nascent “sport” of axe throwing was Maple, Axe Bomber, and Hoss Funk. Before we were to train with the hefty and sharp projectiles, we had to choose “lumberjack” pseudonyms to get in the mood and spirit.

I fantasized more of a Viking motif, as I could never imagine myself Paul Bunyan. Our enthusiastic coach and guide, Marty Parker, the brainchild of Columbus’ Urban Axe Throwing, reminded us this is a vital part of the evening, as it gives us each a new identity and a chance “to step completely out of our comfort zones.”

Deep within an empty indoor sports complex among the ruins of a decaying Continent, Parker leads us into the league’s headquarters. It’s a makeshift lodge with cozy couches and barstools overlooking the cages—bullseyes on plywood targets already egging on our crew. Parker’s hoping the trend will catch on as it has in Canadian households, where it was established and “urbanized” over the past decade.

“People get bored of bowling,” says Parker. “Eventually there was a guy in Toronto who took his love of axe throwing into the bar.”

In conception it’s much like darts—there’s actual strategy involved once you can competently throw—only a pound and a half heavier and with an inherent element of danger. Of course the danger is a main attraction, rules must be heeded (“No passing of the axe to another competitor”) and waivers must be signed just in case Hoss Funk loses his ring finger. The first several throws by each of us bounces off the target and lands inches from our feet. On this night, Parker says drinking is encouraged.

“Should I be worried?” says Maple, looking down at her open-toed sandals.

“I’ve seen women in heels who have never picked up an axe do this,” replies our animated host.

Technically there is a learning curve to axe throwing. It’s more about using your body rather than arms to hurl the axe, and more about where you let go, then where you initially aim. A few beers and a few screaming bullseyes later and we’re hooked; experts cheering each other on in our temporary hardscrabble identities. As Ragnar, it was an instant obsession—playing through games of Timber and Tic Tac Toe while yelling “Truss!” (a word that means nothing more than “two things smashing into each other”) at the top of my lungs, all accumulated in a final battle.

Mentally, there was science behind the buzz in my head.

“What you’re doing tonight is modeled after ‘active entertainment,’ so it’s supposed to release dopamine and endorphins and make you work together to overcome a challenge,” says Parker. “Really, you can adapt that to anything.”

As an entrepreneur of “active entertainment,” Parker has also hosted color runs, mud ninja races, massive tomato fights, and the infamous and now ubiquitous “escape room” night out. While all of those encourage some sort of camaraderie and team building, the intimate and competitive nature of an axe throwing session takes just as much effort from you physically as it does from your brain. Certainly the “sport” will attract those in bohemia who already have the “lumberjack” look, or those who may have been on the Woodsman team at a campus in Vermont—weekly leagues of beards and muscles are already forming. But with a little luck, Parker hopes for it to be something for everyone.

With the ability to develop such a rad, raw skill in such a quick, entertaining lesson, the idea of regular axe throwing (especially in lieu of bowling) is invigorating. Even if you don’t take to it, Parker insists it’s at least “a cool story for the water cooler.” Ragnar approves.

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Health & Fitness

Truth or Trend: “His” vs “Her” portions

Becca Kirian RD, LD, CNSC



It’s not uncommon to scroll through Instagram and see beautiful plates of food labeled “his” and “hers.” Typically the “his” plate is larger in all portions of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

But, this depiction of portioning is inaccurate and can be damaging to the way women satisfy their hunger.

Gender does not determine the quantity of food people “should” eat. From a science perspective, there are so many variables that affect metabolic rates that are not specific to sex, such as amount of muscle mass, fat mass, location of these deposits, physical activity, and more. 

For example, a very active, self-identified woman with high lean body mass can have significantly higher maintenance caloric needs compared to a more sedentary male identifying person.

Take-away: Don’t let social media tell you that gender determines the amount you deserve to eat. Listen to your body and your hunger cues. Fuel your body for what you need!

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Health & Fitness

Truth or Trend: Late night eats at Steak ‘n’ Shake

Becca Kirian RD, LD, CNSC



Waist trainers, crash diets, colon cleanses—all things touted as the next miracle solution for weight loss. With the help of our new Registered Dietitian columnist, we’ll sort out the truth from the trash when it comes to health trends on your social media feeds, and provide healthy, sustainable alternatives for those to-good-to-be-true fixes. Welcome to Truth or Trend.

Steak ‘n’ Shake; a long-standing staple for a greasy, late night bite to eat. While "Eat This, Not That!" calls their signature items “two of the most precarious foods on the planet” on Instagram, is their fear mongering all it claims to be? Stick with me as I explore the truth behind a post by the account comparing the healthiness of two popular menu items: a Single Steakburger with Thin 'n Crispy Fries v. Portobello and a Swiss Steakburger.

First, the nutrition information provided for the two options shown in the post is inaccurate (click here to see more). Additionally, the caption claims most shakes are more than 500 calories and most salad options are 600 calories or less which is an incorrect generalization.

And while the Single Steakburger with Thin 'n Crispy Fries is the lower-calorie option like "Eat This, Not That!" says, what the post doesn’t account for are some other important nutrient factors that set the two options apart.

The Single Steakburger with Thin 'n Crispy Fries combination has 1380 mg sodium, which is 60% of the maximum recommended daily intake (2300 mg) in one meal, compared to just 890 in the Portobello and Swiss burger. The “Not this” option also boasts a higher protein content of 29 g compared to 17 g in the combination and about half the carbohydrates at 36 g v. 62 g.


There are pros and cons to each of the menu items here, so saying to “Eat this, not that” is painting broad strokes. If you’re a patron of fast food chains, remember to review and weigh all the nutritional facts before making a decision about which one is "healthier." Or, if you’re out for a special late night treat, choose the option that is going to satisfy you!

Becca is an Ohio native and University of Cincinnati graduate who works as a traveling consultant dietitian, currently living in Juneau, Alaska. She owns Centum Cento Fitness LLC, a company dedicated to using evidenced-based practice to help empower clients to build sustainable and healthy lifestyles through nutrition and fitness.Follow Becca on Instagram!

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Health & Fitness

Twerk it! Studio Rouge combines dance and exercise for booty-lifting benefits




Studio Rouge in Grandview isn’t your average fitness studio. Here you’ll find classes in pole dancing, aerial fitness, and exotic dancing—including the aptly-named “Twerkout” class. And it’s not just for those who want to be on stage.

The butt-lifting Twerkout class doubles as both sensuality and body positivity lessons for all. Taught by Tracy Ruby, she prides herself on being aptly coined “twerk technician,” having taken lap dance and pole dance classes at Studio Rouge before becoming a regular instructor.

“It’s so much fun to see other people who come in, not sure what’s going to happen, and find that they can do it,” Ruby says. “The idea behind Twerkout is to take ‘twerk’ and make it a workout—to give people a new dance environment where they can come and they can learn new skills. [They can] take those home or to the club or wherever they want to do their new booty-poppin’ moves.”

Photos: Stef Streb

Ruby first assesses the physical needs and limitations of the class, combining twerk moves with traditional exercises as a mash-up with the ideal butt lift.

“If you go through Instagram, you can plug in ‘twerk’ and see all these different people coming up with different moves that work really well for their bodies, but during Twerkout, there are certain moves that’ll work for one person that won’t work for another,” she says. “Our booties are all shaped differently; our bodies all work differently. When you see people on Instagram, they’ve found all these moves, put them together, and they got their booties to twerk in these magnetical, amazing ways.”

While visitors may scroll through Instagram before class to get a gauge of what they can expect from Twerkout, Ruby insists upon using repetition in areas where guests may feel they’re lacking. “You build natural muscles with, for instance, twerk, where you’re working specific calisthenics to enhance your sense of your motions,” she says. “It’s healthier. I mean you’re building your muscles. You’re not just implanting new material. We do a lot of squats in class, because that’s where you’re going to help get your leg joints, back joints and muscles in these areas to be more responsive and stronger.”

As Ruby encourages doing squats outside of Twerkout, she also stresses the importance of proper form with an extensive warm-up to match. “We do quite a bit of warming up of the spine so that your back is ready for all that we’re going to ask of it. Then we’ll go into some twerk drills, which is where the workout kind of kicks up and we’ll have some traditional exercises along with learning new twerk skills,” she says. “We will go through some core moves for twerk, that are specifically for a twerk and then we’ll start putting together some choreography […] based on those core moves, maybe adding in some new ones. Once we have our choreography built, we will run through it a few times so that you’ve got something to take with you, and then there’s a cool-down period.”

Twerkout guests may struggle during a session, but Ruby firmly assures that she won’t let her class fail. “Say one move is not working for you in class. If it’s not working for you there, keep working on it. It may just never be your move, you may not care for it. That’s fine. That happens in all kinds of classes,” she says. “Burpees, for example, [are] not everybody’s favorite. Some people are good at them and love them. Other people do not, but you can keep working at it, get better and eventually master these skills.”

Ruby indulges in plain yogurt and granola as a protein-oriented go-to snack following a session of Twerkout, and she encourages her class to enjoy any food that nourishes and energizes their bodies, er, booties. Following this downtime, she looks forward to amping her class back into gear.

“There is never a moment where I’m not encouraging you. Everybody has a moment every day when they wanna give up. My job as the instructor is to help motivate that person and everyone else to keep moving, just keep going. The studio itself is built around self-love and finding ways that you appreciate your own body and can share that with yourself and others,” she says. “Come in and see what it’s about! It’s an hour, okay? So you’re not going to spend five hours with me doing something you don’t like, and I promise you’ll have fun.”

Find out more about classes at Studio Rouge in Grandview at

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