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Near And Gnar

Swooping through Olde Towne East to the Three Creeks Trail, my hosts—three on two wheels stay in a tight formation. Making turns through intersections, hovering tensed over our frames while we wait for lights to change, I’m the odd bird out on this ride. The ladies ushering me are dressed in matching bike kits of [...]
Jeni Ruisch

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Swooping through Olde Towne East to the Three Creeks Trail, my hosts—three on two wheels stay in a tight formation. Making turns through intersections, hovering tensed over our frames while we wait for lights to change, I’m the odd bird out on this ride. The ladies ushering me are dressed in matching bike kits of black and neon colors, with clip-in shoes, and bikes I could only dream of. We chat about their group as we find the wooded trail, and follow it away from the roadway. Traffic noises fade behind us. Riding together, we control our lanes, and can’t be missed. With them surrounding me, I feel fearless. This must be what it feels like to fly in a flock of birds.

Lady Gnar Shredders is a cycling club with a mission. With sponsorships from Paradise Garage to Oakley; and 30 members strong and growing, LGS aims to grow the sport of women’s cycling through outreach, clinics, training, and good ol’ tread-on-the-ground rides. LGS hold clinics for the three cycling disciplines of road, mountain, and cyclocross. The latter, a bit less familiar than the first two, is a race where cyclists dismount and carry their bikes to scramble up rockslides and jump over hurdles. Heckling is encouraged, and there is usually an after-race beer.

But before you go carrying your bike up a hill, maybe it’s best to put tires to the ground first. Many adults haven’t ridden bikes since they were kids, and will have to re-learn how to navigate on two wheels, now that they’ve outgrown their parents sidewalk. Add this to the sometimes hostile roadway environment, and it’s no wonder why new riders could benefit from guidance as they set out. And a posse.

LGS hosts two group rides: Ladies Who Ride (street cycling), and Ladies Who Shred (mountain biking). These are women-only group rides that are set up to foster camaraderie amongst the female and female-identifying cycling community.

Tori Steen is a rider with LGS. By day, she is a professional orthopedic physician’s assistant, and in the evenings and on weekends, she is a racer across disciplines who ushers new riders into the fold. (614) rode along with her and some teammates and got to the heart of why these ladies love to be on wheels.

LGS started as the brain child of a few strong female cyclists in the Columbus area.  Katie Arnold (a local professional cyclist) initially held a meeting and invited all the female cyclists we could think of to gauge interest, and damn! there was some interest. It was like creating this super team of rad-ass women, it was so much fun, we felt like a superhero squad! And once the team was created, it was one of those “if you build it, they will come” scenarios. We started getting all these new women who were interested in racing asking about our team and it’s continued to snowball from there. Watching this team grow has been one of my pride and joys in life.

My best advice [to beginners] would be to find two different group rides. One should be purely fun and social, this will foster community. The second group ride you find, you should be uncertain if you’re going to be able to hang with them. What will happen in the second group ride is that you will likely get dropped from the first ride (this is OK!), and maybe even the second or third ride too, but one day you won’t get dropped and I’m telling you, there is no drug out there that will make you feel as good as finally hanging on to that ride! You will feel like a badass.

There is a huge disparity between male and female cycling—both in numbers and in access. We’re doing everything we can to increase the participation as well as close the gap between the sexes. When a rider becomes interested in racing on our team, they are assigned a mentor. This is a current member of our cycling team who has had extensive racing experience. The mentor is not a coach, but does help a new racer navigate through the somewhat confusing beginnings of racing, whether road, cyclocross, or mountain biking. If a woman is interested in racing we can offer the tools to help women navigate through this complex sport.

I always say I’d rather have a daily bike ride than a Xanax. Cardiovascularly, it’s a great workout! You can get extremely fit cycling. I also think mentally it’s a wonderful stress reliever.

One of the best parts about cycling is the community. Many rides are very social. Some of my teammates and training partners have become lifelong friends. I have had epiphanies, tears, and laughter while riding. Riding with a community of like-minded people makes you feel like you’re home. And the Columbus cycling community in particular is a very welcoming and encouraging lot of people. You kind of feel like they’re your family.   

We have lawyers, medical professionals, directors of non-profits, actual rocket scientists, computer brainiacs, women working in publishing, graduate students getting their Master’s or PhDs all while still training and racing. Sometimes if feels like if we were motivated to take over the world, we could do it. But for now, we’ll settle for taking the racing community by storm.

Ladies Who Ride group ride meets on Saturdays in New Albany. For more, visit ladygnar.com.

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Health & Fitness

Truth or Trend: Does “detox water” really work?

Becca Kirian RD, LD, CNSC

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Water, H20, aqua: the most basic of necessities for human life. Water is a vital part of many bodily functions, including removal of waste products, but can we make water even “better” for us as a “detox water?"

Simple answer: no.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B1F2t7Vg91U/?igshid=9icqe17xmslg

H20, i.e. two hydrogen atoms connected to an oxygen atom, is the chemical identity of water. This specific formation is what separates it from other molecules, and makes it the most vital substance to human existence.

Soaking things in your water like ginger, cinnamon, or cucumbers can alter the taste but will not chemically alter the structure. Water infusions like the ones listed in the post above can taste great, but water is still H20 and will function as such.

That being said, water infusions are not bad; in fact if you’re struggling to meet your daily intake, water infusions are often an idea I suggest to patients and clients. Mixing up the flavors can bring water can elevate the flavor, making it easier to drink throughout the day!

Take-away: Don’t let social media tell you water can be changed to a magical detox; water is already an amazing life giving drink. Instead, use social media for inspiration for trying a new tasty drink that might help you get the adequate hydration you’ve been struggling to get!

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Health & Fitness

Truth or Trend: 30 Day Challenges

Becca Kirian RD, LD, CNSC

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@DietBetch, a popular Instagram account with over 213k followers, tends to post memes that subtly poking fun at our diet culture. But recently, I was disappointed to see a post about a "30 Day Challenge" that reinforces the unhealthy, fad diet-obsessed world we live in.

This "30 Day Challenge" prohibits participants from consuming foods that many people often associate with being “unhealthy” like soda, candy, and doughnuts.

As a dietitian, I’m not going to disagree that the foods listed do tend to be higher in nutrients of concerns—like added sugars and salt, and overall calories—but, I absolutely believe they can be part of a balanced diet.

By completely removing foods from the diet with a 30 Day Challenge like this, one will simply think, “No…for this month." This purge-style challenge won't teach healthy sustainable eating habits like intuitive eating or portion control.

Take-away: Instead of tagging a friend for a restrictive diet challenge that doesn’t set either of you up for long-term success, try implementing a small sustainable change. Maybe instead of going out for fast food every day of the workweek with a friend, you both could try packing once a week and share recipes and meal ideas!

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Health & Fitness

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

Becca Kirian RD, LD, CNSC

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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.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BmBjeBnB5jb/

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. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bxnh7yaFftA/

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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