Coolibar Athletes Sevve Stember

Key ingredients for fitness success

Motivation is one of a few key ingredients for success.  I stay motivated by having goals to train for and think about.  Additionally, I try to plan some short weekend trips as well as a couple larger road trips.  These are at the core of what motivates me to stay active because in order to be successful on the road, I must be prepare during the spring and summer.  I think of my trips as “final exams” where I put together months of hard work and enjoy some of the premier climbing destinations and routes in the world.  Once I’ve worked hard, I can truly savor each climb and know that I’ve prepared myself to the best of my ability. 

Thinking more locally, I always have a “project” that I am working on.  In non-climber terms, this means that there is a really hard route that I am figuring out the moves on and working towards climbing it with no falls-that could happen the next week or the next year.  Whatever your recreational outlet is, set a goal that is attainable but is beyond what you’ve ever accomplished before.  You must also believe in yourself and your ability to attain levels that you’ve never thought were possible.

My advice to anyone that is looking to stay active outdoors is to find an outdoor sport or hobby that brings you joy, satisfaction, and meaning.  Getting “burnt out” out happens all too often because people do not love what they are doing.  If you do not love running, don’t run.  Instead, walk, play soccer, bike,….the list goes on.  Try many different activities until you find the one or two that really seems to fit you, your family, and your lifestyle.  At the end of the day, you should feel like you spent your time doing exactly what you wanted to do. 

Find some people to be active with.  One of the most enjoyable parts of climbing or skiing for me is the fantastic company that I get to do those activities with.  Lastly, keep a journal where you write down the date, what you did, length of time, and any other short notes you want.  I’ve found the key to keeping a training log that you actually use is to keep entries really short.  That way, you are more likely to continue using your training journal if it does not require much time to maintain it.  This written record of activity is a good visual reminder of how many days you’ve been active in a week.  It can be a reminder that you are working hard and where you want to be or a reminder that you need to get outdoors more and get some physical activity.

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Inside Coolibar

Coolibar Environmental Responsibility

The next time you place an order with Coolibar, not only are you saving your skin, you’re also helping to reduce packaging waste. Coolibar has incorporated biodegradable garment bags and mailing envelopes into outgoing packages. Eco-One™ technology, an organic additive that enhances the biodegradability of plastics in  biologically active landfills.  Eco-One™ only starts to work in this environment, breaking down the plastic into inert humus, methane and carbon dioxide.

Even though many plastics can and should be recycled, many end up in landfills. In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported only 8 percent of the total plastic waste generated was recovered for recycling. In 2010, approximately 12 percent of plastics, including bags, sacks, and wraps were recycled.

Most of these plastics will sit in landfills for centuries. At Coolibar, we believe both informed businesses and consumers can make environmentally conscious decisions today, to impact tomorrow’s world, one step at a time. Coolibar wishes to become more environmentally responsible by making this small but significant change to using plastics bags with Eco-One™.

Look for our new bags when you place your next order!

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Inside Coolibar Sunscreens and Lotions

“Cool”ibar on Earth Day

As a Coolibar sun protective clothing fan, you can not only feel good about protecting your skin, but protecting a bit of the earth as well.

Coolibar Sun Protective Clothing Earthly Deeds:
1) For every sun protective clothing garment you wear versus sunscreen alone, you’re reducing the amount of sunscreen you use along with packaging waste. For more information read: Sun Protective Clothing vs. Sunscreen

2) Quality sun protective clothing like Coolibar’s lasts for years — we mean it! The sun protection doesn’t wash or wear out, and lasts for the life of the garment. If you have one child that outgrows the UPF clothing, you can pass it down to the next! For more information read: The Coolibar Guarantee

3) Coolibar has incorporated biodegradable garment bags and mailing envelopes into outgoing packages. (More on this to come later in the week!)

4) Coolibar recognizes the importance of using sunscreen on exposed skin (face, hands, feet, etc.). That’s why we carry sunscreen brands such as Raw Elements, chemical free zinc oxide sunscreen.

From Raw Elements Sunscreen: According to a study released in January 2008, four common chemical sunscreen agents may be at least partly responsible for increased coral bleaching worldwide. Cinnimate, benzophenone, parabens (artificial preservatives) and camphor derivatives were found to activate viruses in the algae. Not only are these chemicals infecting the reef, they are also disrupting the surrounding ecosystem as well. Algae being the primary energy source for coral reefs, once infected and depleted, the coral bleaches and dies. An estimated four to six thousand pounds of chemical sunscreen wash off swimmers each year and ten percent of the world’s coral reefs are destroyed. Environmental groups and environmentally conscious scuba and snorkel resorts around the world suggest using biodegradable zinc oxide-based sunscreens when entering fragile ecosystems such as oceans, lakes and ponds. Using a chemical free sunscreen with an active ingredient of Zinc Oxide is s a conscientious alternative to damaging sunscreens that consist chemical UV absorbers, synthetic preservatives or other harsh chemicals.

Happy Earth Day!

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Inside Coolibar

Where’s Spring?

In Minnesota it’s common place to complain about the weather. Today is April 19th and we are shoveling out from a foot of snow dumped on us yesterday – thank you Old Man Winter.

It’s difficult to practice Healthy Sunny Living when there is no sun. So, today at Coolibar, we are all thinking very deeply about spring and summer and willing it to emerge. We ask you to do the same. Share a warm thought or photo because spring like weather is right around the corner!  We’ve added a few of our customer favorites for inspiration.

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Coolibar Athletes

Rain On a Track Meet

It’s 4:30pm Monday night, and I’m standing under a bit of roof that juts out from the side of the local high school. My oldest daughter’s track team, the other coaches, a few of the more dedicated parents, and myself have taken shelter there from the pouring rain that has invaded our track meet.  We’re on a 30 minute lightning sighting delay.  Basically, we’re giving it a standard 30 minutes to get better or we’re going to call the meet off. 

Track season weather in Illinois has been harsh this year. We have completed just one meet so far, and cancelled two. The one we did complete, we saw the temperature drop from almost 70 to under 40 during the 3 hour meet. We almost all froze.

So, here I stand, and I’m thinking about “How can I blog about St. Louis Family Fitness Weekend now?” An event I ran the weekend prior.

A couple hours before the meet, I sat down to write a glorious post about what will be one of my family’s great memories.  We had had a fantastic time. My wife, Cortny, and my youngest daughter, Madeline, had run the 5K on Saturday (April 6th). I had run the Half-marathon the following day.  My mother, sister, brother-in-law, and three nieces had all come up from Tennessee for some much needed family time, and to see us all run.  We had all been to the zoo and had spent an entire evening climbing and playing at the amazing City Museum (highly recommend it). It was, quite frankly, an awesome weekend.

If I’d been less of a procrastinator, that would have been the blog. You’d be reading now of a family adventure. I did procrastinate though, and as I had sat down to write…literally as I sat down…texts started coming in. Facebook lit up on my phone. I quickly turned on my TV.

There, on my TV, had been the exact images from our weekend before. Oh, it was a different city, and different folks, but it was the same. The finish line and spectators were set as mine had been the weekend before. The signs were raised to cheer on Dad, Mom, Grandpa, Grandma, etc. My family had been standing right there, right by the finish line, to see me come in.

The runners had shown up by the thousands, some for the first time and others for the 50th.  Some were there for a cause and others to prove it to themselves – all smiling.

So, I’m standing there a little stunned, and in a daydream, waiting out the weather with the team, and one of the kids says to me “So, Coach, you still gonna run?”

At first I didn’t get it, “What?”

“Now that they bombed the marathon? You still going to do that kind of stuff?” he asked.

“Dang Right I am!” I said with as big a smile as I could. “If anything, I am going to run further, and faster than before.”

At first he didn’t get it, “What, Coach?”

“Look, runners are the toughest, bravest, most dedicated people I have ever known. We aren’t easily taken down, and should never be counted out. The people I’ve run with will all be running harder, longer, faster.  Some bad guys inadvertently made us runners a symbol for our country, and put it on our shoulders.  They made a huge mistake.  We can haul the load….and we will.”

And as kids do, he responded “Cool.”    

The rain eventually subsided, and the track meet went on.

Chad Hannon
Coolibar Athlete

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Coolibar Athletes

Ready, set, make goals

What motivates me to get active?  First and foremost, a tangible goal.  Whether it’s your first 5K, a half ironman or a marathon there is nothing like setting a goal, training for it and achieving success.  It provides a sense of accomplishment and pride.  No need for anyone else to pat you on the back. Crossing the finish line after months of training is proof enough of a job well done.  It doesn’t matter that I’ve never won a race or been on the podium.  What is important is that I’m out there doing it, which is a lot more than many others can say.

So what helps me get up before dawn to train for events?  Well, honestly, a lot of self talk while I’m lying in bed.  It usually goes something like this: “Sarah, get up.  You know you’ll feel better after you get your workout in.  Five more minutes of the snooze button isn’t going to make a difference. Get up.  Get UP!  GET-OUT-OF-BED!”  Once up, I really rely on music to get me going.  Loud music.  My work out music playlist is eclectic and some would say, I’m sure, dated.  But go ahead and tell me when you hear “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor in the middle of a long run you wouldn’t smile.  Tell me you wouldn’t pick up that pace just a little bit more and pretend you are about to enter the ring with Mr. T or cross the finish line in Kona.  I’ve also been known to belt out Guns n Roses while running and have taught my daughter the chorus to Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory”. What can I say?  Cheesy music gets me going.

And that is exactly where I found myself this morning.  Yelling at myself to get out of bed and go run.  To continue with my training for this goal I set for myself back in October.  But this morning, it was a little bit more emotional for me than usual.  The explosions at the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15th, shook me more than I expected. 

Yesterday, the day after the event, I got up and got in the pool no problem and then ran on the treadmill, numb to the non-stop media coverage in front of me of what happened in my hometown.  Everyone I knew who was running was safe.  I had the day off from work and wasn’t affected by the emergency protocol set into place at the hospital.  I was fine. My family was fine.  Except that I’m not fine.  I am sad.  I’m scared.  I’m worried about the future.  And I’m mad.  Much has been written in the past two days about the meaning of Patriot’s Day and the Boston Marathon to us Bostonians, and I won’t attempt to re-write what’s already in print.  Instead, I will say that when I finally got out to the end of my driveway this morning, put on my loud, cheesy music and went for a run, what motivated me more than anything was an overwhelming sense of community.  I am a native of the Common wealth of Massachusetts, work in the city of Boston, years ago experienced first hand the crowds lining Boylston St. encouraging even the back-of-the-pack bandit runners like me towards the finish line. To not get up and go for a run on such a beautiful New England spring morning would be to let the bad guys win; and I just can’t let that happen.  Cue up Survivor. Rocky.  “Risin’ up, back on the street…”  Cheesy? Cliché? Yes, but I ran.  And I may have been imagining it, but I swear all the other runners I saw this morning smiled a bit bigger, nodded with more intention and gave off a sense of solidarity I’ve never noticed before.

What I’ve always known, but tend to forget sometimes in the busyness of life, is that running, biking and swimming are also good for my mental health.  Clearly this morning’s run was a cathartic and healing experience for me.  Still saddened by the events of earlier in the week, I am now able to deal with that grief and get back to my daily life.  Score 1 more for the good guys.

Boston Strong,

Sarah Gay

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Coolibar Athletes

The Fight for Life 1,300+ Miler

Coolibar Athlete Ally Loisel-Murray is currently on her way from Minnesota to Galveston, TX, where she will begin her 1,300 mile run back to Minnesota on April 22nd. Ally’s mission is prevention — raising awareness for Carotid Artery Dissection, Traumatic Brain Injury and Stroke Prevention! Ally had a life threatening car accident just before her qualifying race for the Boston’s Marathon in 2008. She survived a stroke and three traumatic brain injuries. She also trisected her left carotid artery.

Before Ally left for Texas, we had to get her last minute thoughts. After all, not many can claim to have run 1,300 miles consecutively.

How have you prepared yourself for this run both mentally and physically?
I started running with the Minnetonka High School Boys Track team last January 2012. I was very impressed with the team. My concerns were with my health. I had no idea what I was capable of after such a long recovery. My vascular system had been through so much. Had no idea if I could raise my blood pressure to the max! However, I never thought about my health. I was focused on those kids and proving that a 35 year old woman could keep up! Nothing prepares you for this type of adventure. However, these young adults challenged and pushed me to take back the life I once had. They had no idea they were a part of helping me heal. I loved that job! At the beginning of September, I was on my own for training! Heart broken I wasn’t able to help them through the cross country season I had to go back to motivating myself. I was blessed to have the main portion of my training with a great team! I was over the worst! However, the next six months I would have physical therapy two to three days a week, spin classes three to four days a week, swimming three to four days a week, and an awful treadmill to avoid injury between 6-12 miles a day and 18 miles once a week at the most. Metabolic testing once a month and deep tissue massage started two to three days a week at the beginning of February, as I feared injury.

How much time training did you put in every week?
Generally, between three and four hours a day five times a week.

Do you have set goals along the way?
My goal is each day wakeup, run for an hour and a half to two hours, eat breakfast, stretch, ice, and nap. Then wake up, run for an hour and a half to two hours again, eat lunch, stretch, ice, and nap again. And finally wake up again and run for another one hour or so, eat dinner, stretch, ice and go to bed. This is in theory. I may or may not be able to do this. I have prepared for this. However, I may have a day where my body doesn’t want to run anymore. I have given myself one day a week for rest and chilling. I do not believe in setting goals for each point as I don’t want to disappoint myself if I take longer to get to a point than expected.

Once your start running, how do you plan to keep your energy up?
I have a wonderful and patient husband who is also a personal chef that will help me with my dietary needs. High fat and high protein foods while making sure I have at least three liters of water and keep hydrated.

What are your feelings as the start date draws near?
I am extremely nervous. However, I am trying to get everything taken care of before I leave that I never thought of. Examples: dry groceries, packing enough clothing for three runs a day, calling down to Texas to verify my police escort across the 45 bridge, trying to rent an ice machine for my legs last minute, packing my dogs up and finding time to drop them off at the kennel six hours away and return without losing a day, preparing for a lecture and PowerPoint I am presenting the day before I leave for Texas, and so much more.. like finding an RV.. I haven’t even secured this huge portion of my adventure.  I have learned to roll with it. Everything will come together eventually.

What do you hope to get out of the run in the end?
My goal is to thank my doctors for saving my life and give hope to others struggling like myself. I have no idea if I will inspire other. However, by running this, I will prove I can live 20 miles from Abbott hospital, to trust my body and myself, and that nothing can stand in the way of hope! We can’t give up!

How are your friends and family supporting you?
I think they are still in disbelief! I had less than a 5% chance of living and now four years later I am taking on the world! I have been pushing the envelope. They are very proud. However, My parents are still scared. They are still recovering from the initial diagnosis the neuro-surgeon had given. They will always be my parents first. My husband is my greatest motivator. He doesn’t allow me to find excuses and reminds me to push past my fear. It has been a very hard lesson. I still am learning.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us before you leave for Texas?
Don’t give up on yourself! Keep fighting. I do not know the outcome of my run from the Gulf of Mexico to Chanhassen, Minnesota. However, I am willing to take the chance. Please feel free to follow my run and blog http://allysmission.com/.

Ally Loisel-Murray

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Coolibar Athletes

Getting creative with fitness

Now that better weather is upon us, I am asked more and more, “I want to get in shape this summer, but I always give up. How do you stay motivated?” I have to admit, when I started getting in shape, what seemed like a good idea just never was enough, and I fell into many ruts myself. Articles would tell me to keep a calendar or schedule and make sure I had good music on my iPod. It didn’t take me long to realize that a piece of paper on the fridge that said “3 miles” on today’s date wasn’t enough, and “Crazy Train” coming up on my earbuds was only going to work once or twice.

Eventually, it became abundantly apparent I would need many ways to motivate myself and, really, a new way of thinking about training. So, here you go, some of the things I use to trick, fool, and force myself to get out and train.

Social Media: I am talking about is using it constructively. Join some local running, biking, hiking (whatever your passion) groups and talk about what you plan to do. You’ll find they are encouraging, and more times then not, you will find yourself invited to go out with them for some training. Amazingly, they will actually want to hear about your successes and failures, as you will soon find you will want to hear of theirs.

Strand Yourself: One of the best ways to get out and accomplish something is to leave yourself with no choice. Have your wife/husband/other drive you out to a distance and make your way back. When I started, I had my wife, Cortny, drive me to work. I would bring along a bag of workout clothes and tell her I would run home. Regardless of how I felt when it was time to head home, I had little choice. I either made the 7 mile run/walk home, or I had to make a phone call and verbally wuss-out to my wife. I never made that call. Not once! I always think of this as a good way to make your ego work for you.

Set Realistic and Fun Goals: When I am asked what I am doing for training today, I answer first with my true goal, then with my training goal. For instance, “I’m biking to Starved Rock today for a beer. It’ll be about 32 miles.” (By the way, Starved Rock is a state park about 32 miles round trip from my house, and it has a bar!) By doing this, you will quickly find out a couple things. First, that others give you a better reaction – “That sounds like fun!” – and second, that you will have a better feeling about it – “It will be fun!” I’m not focusing on the 32. I’m focusing on the destination, reward, and fun. This one is a big one for me. I never set out without a goal, even if the goal is minor like slapping the population sign of the next town over.

Set Numerous Goals: Let’s say you have the single goal of running a 5K. That’s not as helpful as setting up a string of goals (and make them fun like above). First you might have the goal of running to the local park (1 mile total), then have a goal of being able to run to the pizza place and meet your family for dinner (2 miles), and finally a goal of running to your friend’s house 3 miles way, just so you can walk in and say, “I ran here!”

Explore: I personally hate running the same course twice in a row or even twice in the same couple weeks. You are sabotaging yourself if you set out to do the same thing over and over. Seeing the same scenery over and over. Go a different way every time if you can. Drive to other towns to train. Look up routes on the internet. Ask about fun places to run, bike, hike, etc. Get excited about what you can and will see. It will make a big difference.

Take Advantage of All Weather (it’s fun!): When you were a kid you knew this. You just might have forgotten. Splashing in puddles is fun. Running in snow is fun. Hot days mean you can wear less clothes, and cold ones mean you get to wear that new coat you got. If you wait for the perfect day, it will come once a year. Once a year is not enough training time for anything. Enjoy every day for its challenges and excitement. Ironically, then when that one day does come, you will be ready to enjoy it even more.

Buy Some Stuff: I am a gear junky. I am addicted to the stuff. I love new shirts, new pants, new shoes, a new helmet, and so on. I admit it. It can have a huge effect on me. A new shirt can get me through many a run. Obviously, you can’t buy something every time you want to exercise, but you can buy something when you start to get sick of exercising. New shoes need to be broken in, new shirts tested for fit, etc.

ABOVE ALL, do not just settle on one way to motivate yourself. Find new ways to make your workouts fun. Find new reasons to get outside and move. On any given day you will need to be flexible, inventive, creative, and iron-willed. There will be days when you will fail, but each new day will offer you new chances to succeed. I like to mock Yoda (Star Wars reference) when he said, “Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.” As wise as he seemed to be, he was dead wrong. There is only try.

Chad Hannon

Coolibar Athlete Chad Hannon Biking
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Coolibar Athletes

Getting Active in Summer

I always look forward to the summer. After slogging through many training runs in the cold dark winter months, it is always a great feeling when I get out the door for that first run in just shorts and a t-shirt! Summer is a great time to get outside and be active. Summer can also present many distractions that can keep us from maintaining a good exercise program as well! Pool parties, barbeques, kids activities and long weekends away. These things can easily sneak up on you and get you out of your routine.

The thing we love so much about summer can also be our biggest adversary – HEAT!  High temps offer a great excuse not to get out and be active. Here are a few things I do to keep myself motivated and active during those summer months:

Start Early:  Last summer I started most of my runs at 5 a.m. to take advantage of the cooler temps. This also works for me because my workout is done and out of the way and not there looming over me the rest of the day. Another advantage is I am not running in strong, direct sunlight at this hour, therefore I am being sun aware and taking care of my skin!

Find a partner:  It is always more fun to have someone to train with. You have someone there to talk to and also most of us feel more secure having a buddy with us rather than being out there by ourselves. This is also good for accountability! Knowing you have someone you have to meet for your workout will give you motivation to get out there and do it!

Set Goals:  This is a great motivator for me! I always schedule races throughout the year to keep me in a good training cycle. Having something to work toward will keep you focused and inspired. Share your goals with friends so people will know about it! This will help prevent you from slacking off, knowing your buddies will give you a hard time about it. (Especially if you have friends like mine!)

Mix It Up:  Incorporate some cross training to keep things fresh. I usually mix in some mountain biking, hiking and weight training when I want a day off from running but still want to be active.

So take advantage of all summer has to offer! Stay active, motivated, hydrated and inspired. Most of all have fun out there and please be sun aware!

Gene Meade

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Coolibar Athletes

Motivation to stay healthy, fit and active

Living in a Northern climate means enduring several months of cold temps waiting for summer to return.  My motivation to get active during the summer starts in the winter, while reflecting on past year experiences and making plans for the coming year.  This reminds me that every time I go to the fitness center, I am there with a purpose in mind.  I know that every rep in the gym is going to help me power through surf in my kayak, climb that long hill on the mountain bike or make it easier to haul a 55-pound backpack up a mountain.

All that work in the gym makes the moments that will last a lifetime possible.  I experienced the thrill of launching from the shore through breaking surf, poring over the bow of my kayak.  I stood 6 feet from a herd of deer while riding my mountain bike, neither of us wanting to give up the trail. I watched the sunrise from 11,000 feet above sea level. I got caught in wicked thunderstorms and sleet storms. I witnessed the absolute silence of the winter woods after a big snowfall.  I watched coyotes, eagles, and hawks when they didn’t realize anyone was watching.  I waded through waist deep water fully clothed at one time and waist deep snow at another. I felt the pride of accomplishment in reaching my own goals.

As a trainer, I am frequently asked how to stay motivated.  Many of the people I train are looking for weight loss and they see the gym as the only way to achieve their goals.  However, spending all your time in the gym doing the same activities time and time again can lead to boredom.  Fortunately, Coolibar’s clothing can help you enjoy the outdoors while minimizing the impact of the sun.  I encourage people to experiment with different outdoor activities that light up their passion. Think outside the box and consider more than walking or running. Try canoeing, kayaking, geocaching, orienteering, frisbee, golf, road biking, mountain biking or bird watching. The list is endless.

John Chase

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