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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: “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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Health & Fitness

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

Becca Kirian RD, LD, CNSC

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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.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw_IR1_h2Ol/?igshid=1s0nzocal4f4w

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.

Take-away

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

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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 studiorougecolumbus.com.

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