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Steve Casimiro

If it involves fresh air and the threat of bodily harm, Steve Casimiro does it: skiing (50 days a year), mountain biking (120 days a year), surfing, skateboarding, climbing, backpacking. Makes you wonder how he has time to be a contributing editor for ADVENTURE (see his and Scott Willoughby's new guide to skis and snowboards) and to write and photograph for Outside, Men's Journal, Skiing, and Powder (where he was editor for nine years), among others.

Let me know when Steve posts answers!

What to do? Where to go? What to buy?

Steve Casimiro Answers Your Questions. E-mail Steve >>


Steve, in my younger days I was a hotshot hiker, doing trail work and climbing all over the Sierra Nevada. Now I'm a 38-year-old father of two (one more on the way) with a gut the size of Mt. Whitney. I miss the mountains and, even more than that, the trim figure I cut as 20-year-old mountain goat. What first steps should I take to find my way back to those glory days?

—Walt, Naugatuck, Connecticut

Well, I'd say the first thing is to learn about birth control, but since I don't want to step over the line from preaching to meddling, I'll leave that up to you. As for me, I have two monkeys of my own, so who am I to talk? In any event, I've always found that getting into shape is so much harder than falling out of shape, especially when the demands and desires of parenthood conspire against you. There much be some cruel law of the universe governing this, don't you think? Nevertheless, there's hope. The key is to set reasonable goals and commit yourself to a realistic program of training. Operative concepts here are "reasonable" and "realistic". If you charge out of the gate with a self-commitment to run or lift weights every single day, you're almost destined to fail. Set yourself on a program you know you can fulfill. That might mean walking for 30 minutes four days a week. It might mean pushing a baby jogger 15 minutes two days a week. It might mean running every day. But the important thing is to set up a program you know you will follow. Too many people dive into crash fitness programs, only to discover more crash than fitness.

Whatever your sport, I definitely recommend finding a set program to follow that will build strength and an aerobic foundation, rather than just walking out the front door and starting to exercise. A sports-performance center called Health Corp. (Tel: +1 949 727 1900) helped me set up a mountain bike heart-monitor program, but a local health club could probably do the same for you. The largest manufacturer of heart monitors, Polar, has some excellent (if self-serving) information about monitors and training on its Web site ( Whether you run or hike or cycle, using a monitor can make your time spent exercising much more efficient—which is invaluable when you're trying to squeeze workouts between parental duties.

As for that spare tire, you might want to consider changing your eating habits. But keep your focus positive: Think about embracing healthy foods instead of avoiding unhealthy foods. Eat lots of low-fat items, like fruits and veggies, but allow yourself treats, too. Use the nutritional labels to keep an eye on fat content (aim for foods that are less than 10 percent fat). And try not to eat within two hours of bed time, 'cause those calories will migrate straight to your belly. But, as with the exercise, keep any changes realistic or you won't be able to sustain them. And aim for progress, not perfection.

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