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Health & Fitness

Rediscovering Columbus: Water

A core workout in the heart of downtown. For Lisa Daris, growing up on the Cuyahoga River in Kent, Ohio wasn’t just a lovely way to spend afternoons as a kid. It meant living next door to an ecosystem and force of nature that would shape not only the surrounding river valley, but the destiny [...]
Jeni Ruisch



A core workout in the heart of downtown.

For Lisa Daris, growing up on the Cuyahoga River in Kent, Ohio wasn’t just a lovely way to spend afternoons as a kid. It meant living next door to an ecosystem and force of nature that would shape not only the surrounding river valley, but the destiny of a little girl who would grow up to become an ACA Kayak Instructor, and environmental steward for watersheds around the state. She has made being active on the water her business, in more ways than one.

For Daris, who would later become the first person to own and operate a livery on the downtown riverfront, the river was what gave her the sense that being her own boss was where it was at.

“It was my first taste of freedom as a kid,” she said, “being in control of where my boat would take me.”

Living in a city based on a river brings with it many opportunities, and great responsibility.

“Having a river flow through the heart of a city connects its residents to the natural rhythm of the seasons.” Daris points out.

By restoring navigable rivers and creating pedestrian and bike-friendly riverfronts, the cement jungle is balanced with nature. Kayaking in the city provides the same workout and relief from the daily grind as it would in a wilderness area, with the added convenience of proximity. At Olentangy Paddle, guests can meet up with Daris and her team at one of several meetup points to set out on a city water excursion. With the removal of the Fifth Avenue and Main Street dams, the path on the river is clear from Dodridge in Clintonville, to Greenlawn in German Village. That means that Columbusites can get in seven miles of paddling that will take them from the north to the south side, without having to get out and portage their craft over a dam. At the end of the line, at the Scioto Audubon ramp, guests will climb out of the water. If they are up for more, they can rent bikes from Daris, and take the river adjacent trail back up to their starting point. Kayaking focuses on the core muscles more than running or cycling could ever hope to do. Add in a seven mile bike ride, and you’ve just had leg day, bro. Daris offers this option on the Olentangy, Scioto, and Kokosing rivers.

Like many sports, the prep provides part of the workout. Lifting and transporting kayaks is a huge part of the job Lisa and her crew do each day.

“The boats are our personal trainers. Our ‘gym membership’ includes free sunshine.”

The kayak scene is growing in Columbus, too. There are many meetup groups that get together for local excursions. They reap the benefits of improved physical and mental health as they float down the river. Kids and adults that learn to kayak gain confidence and feel safer when they are around water.
Daris, who calls herself a champ at lifting heavy objects over her head, says you haven’t really kayaked if you’ve never tipped over.
Taking on water sports in the city doesn’t have to be a huge plunge.

“There are many places in the Columbus area where you can float in water that is only a couple feet deep with very little current,” Daris reassures. “Don’t let the fear of water scare you from learning how to kayak.”

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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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