How to Avoid Getting Athlete’s Foot

When I was growing up, my mom encouraged me to wear flip flops at the public swimming pool and in the school locker rooms, especially the shower area. Even when I was at a friend’s house for a sleep over she suggested that I avoid going barefoot in the house and always wear socks. Was my mom being overly cautious? No, I totally agree with her. Germs, fungi and viruses spread quickly person to person. My clients know that I keep my fitness studio clean. Freshly laundered towels are readily available, and after every session the exercise equipment is ALWAYS “sprayed down” with a botanical cleaner that kills 99.99% of germs. Surfaces like stretch mats, benches and bicycle seats are also cleaned. And I do my best not to forget equipment with handles like the assisted tower (for doing pull ups, dips and knee raises), recumbent bike, ab wheel and suspension straps.

Next time you’re at the gym or grocery store or pretty much anywhere you see people all the time touching their faces, rubbing their eyes, or (eww!) picking their noses. So besides sharing with you that I’m a little bit of a germaphobe, I’d like to share with you the two times I picked up athlete’s foot at the gym. The first time was a few years ago when I was a member of the Princeton Club on Madison’s west side (yes, personal trainers like to get out of their own studio now and then). I had been a member for a while and really enjoyed the set up, floorpan and equipment. But, since I did Personal Training at a gym in California for a number of years, I was always finding myself reporting to staff when the a/c vents were in need of being cleaned or when I saw a science experiment in the corner of the men’s locker room. Yes, I’m that guy. You’re welcome.

During one of my workouts I added in the seated triceps extension machine. Just to do something different. The next day, I noticed a rash on my right elbow and forearm. As the day progressed, it became red and blistery. Yikes!! I jumped online and checked out tons of images and info of skin rashes/lesions/blisters. Ick! Some of them were reactions to certain plants, others were bacterial. The image that most closely resembled mine was athlete’s foot . . . Except mine was on my arm. I learned later that the fungus that cause athlete’s foot didn’t have to be on my feet. A few days went by and the alien on my arm did not go away by itself. So I did as most physicians, nurses and other medical personnel suggest against. I treated it myself. I picked up an anti fungal cream from CVS. Clotrimazole 1% was written in a large font on the side of the tube. It did the trick. After just a few applications, the redness greatly reduced, it was no longer itchy and the blisters subsided. I did have to apply it for a few weeks, so a bit of a hassle, but whew, problem solved.

More recently, I was working out at Planet Fitness and ran into my old friend Mr. Athlete’s Foot again. I have been working out there for a year and have been impressed with the number of disinfectant spray bottles and paper towels strategically located throughout the gym. In addition, the members seem to be meticulous about spraying equipment after use. So chances were that the hamstring curl machine was clean before I using it. Sometimes I am extra fastidious and hose down the equipment BEFORE using it. Just in case. The day after my workout I noticed a couple bumps on my right hand between the second and third knuckles. Huh. I’ve been known to “react” to certain plants, animals, stings, bites and even wool sweaters so I wasn’t too concerned . . . until it began to form a bubble and blister the following day. Here we go again. Treatment was the same, anti fungal cream until the symptoms were erdicated. Where do I think I picked it up? Honestly, looking back at my workout, I’m confident it was actually by picking up one of the spray bottles. Ironic isn’t it. Eric are you sure? Maybe you were in the yard or your gardening gloves were damp? Nope. Ruled that out. It was the gym again.

How do I avoid getting athlete’s foot again? Should I wear workout gloves? Should I stop going to the gym? Remember there was a time when men and women wore gloves all the time. Not just for fashion, but also for function . . . and to avoid germs. Time to go on to Amazon.com and check out their Weightlifting Gloves.

Another Great Testimonial!

Training Rick was such a pleasure. With his optimism and willingness to learn, he made my job easy. We trained twice a week for 2 1/2 years, and I always looked forward to his appointments. He recently moved to Florida and sent me this testimonial. Here you go!

“I first heard Eric Foxman’s name mentioned at a dinner with some friends. They had commented on some press he had received which named him “Healthiest Man in America”. They were clients and indicated he lived in the town of Middleton where he operated his studio. I filed it away as a curiosity, until ironically about a year later I met the man himself—as an opponent on the tennis court. I say ironically, as I was to find out that we are both passionate about the sport, often supplementing workouts hitting.

A few months later I retired from my job and got to thinking about personal training. I believed I was reasonably fit for a 61 year old; I started seriously running in the early 1980s, completed several marathons, and could still run a sub 8-minute mile consistently. Plus I played tennis most every day of the week. But something was missing. I lacked upper body strength and core fitness, probably at least as important for seniors to maintain, if not more so than aerobics.

I called Eric, reminded him that we had met, and expressed interest in his services. Of course, the first few sessions were intimidating to me. I felt self-conscious about the exercises, at least happy that I wasn’t making a fool out of myself in public. Eric has a knack for being encouraging and supportive each and every session. So as time progressed, I began to feel more comfortable and looked forward to the twice weekly sessions.

Over 2 1/2 years later, I’m glad I made that call. I’ve recently relocated to Florida, but I believe the foundation is in place, and I will continue with Eric in spirit. So give him a call. You won’t be disappointed.”

Rick Sanders
Middleton, WI/ Naples, FL

Rick Sanders

Is a Pro Bar Good for You?

Pro Bar
Of course, this is a loaded question. And you know my answer is “It depends.” It depends on what else you are eating throughout the day, what you are drinking, what types of activities you are doing, your health & fitness goals, etc. Remember, all food has nutritional value whether it’s an apple slice, cup of yogurt, turkey sandwich or a piece of cheesecake. So instead of going down that path, I’d just like to review the PROBAR – Superfood Slam that a client gave me to try after a training session.

Describing a Pro Bar is really a mouthful, literally. Har-har-har. The Pro Bar can best be described as a meal replacement bar along the lines of a Cliff Bar. At first glance, the bar appears to have a fair amount of carbs and fat. (See the Nutritional Info below.) Eric, 19 grams of fat!! Yes, mostly unsaturated fats derived from seeds, nuts and canola oil. And remember this is a meal replacement and may represent 20% or even 25% of a person’s daily caloric intake. The next time you eat a sandwich, bowl of soup or a plate full of food, look at your meal in its entirety. The calories can really add up. The Pro Bar is an all-in-one meal or snack.

Pro Bar nutrition facts

Pro Bar Ingredients_

How does it taste? I was pleasantly surprised with all of its nuts, fruits and seeds. It is complex and there isn’t one dominant flavor coming through. Plus, compared to many meal replacement and protein bars out there it doesn’t leave you with a synthetic aftertaste that gives you what I call “protein breath”. Texture wise, it has a nice “chew factor” and is not chalky or dry. So, yes, it tastes good. But it has too many carbs for my liking, leaving me with a “sweet” after taste. Meaning? Meaning that after eating the bar I wanted to eat something with carbs. Remember “Carbs beget carbs.” I would prefer a bar with less carbs and fat and more crunch. Hey, that’s a Cliff Bar. For me personally, a bowl of oatmeal topped with a handful of sliced nuts, diced fruit and seeds sounds better. On the plus side, I had no GI or stomach discomfort afterwards. What am I trying to delicately say? NO GAS and NO BLOATING. Again for those of you who have tried different drink mixes, shakes and bars, you know what I’m talking about. This is a big deal.

The Pro Bar has a many healthy ingredients that you may not have in your current diet. Granted, there is only so much that you can pack into a 3 ounce bar. In addition it is gluten free (great for people with celiac disease) and is organic. These two items separate it from the pack.

In conclusion, if you are looking for the convenience of a healthy, tasty, shelf stable meal, then this is right up your alley. Not for everyday eating, but just in case you forget to pack a lunch one day or are in a rush out the door. If that’s the case, I would focus on meal preparation and time management.

Book Review – Game Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History

I recently picked up the book Game Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History from the Middleton Public Library. Next to the gym, tennis courts and my own house, I visit the library quite often. I was perusing new books in the sports section and saw Game Changers. It almost jumped out at me. As a side note, I have always enjoyed reading sports biographies, especially when it’s a sport that I follow or have played myself. Not only do I enjoy the athlete’s/coach’s/team’s personal story (where they grew up, how they became interested in their sport, etc) but good authors often delve into the social, economic and political arenas as well. When I read the books Cinderella Man and Seabiscuit, both professional boxer James J. Braddock and racehorse Seabiscuit were seen as the unlikely underdogs who everyone cheered for during the Great Depression. To many people they represented the working man and uplifted them. In the double biography Sound and Fury, Howard Cosell’s and Muhammad Ali’s stories were quite similar and different at the same time. One white, the other black, one a Jew and the other Muslim. The Civil Rights Era was the perfect backdrop. In The Rivals, not only did we learn about professional tennis players Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, but the book also explored women’s rights, gay rights, and our view of Eastern Europe.

I was immediately intrigued after flipping through the first few pages of Game Changers. Each page shares an athlete or team, many of whom I had never heard of. And while reading a couple paragraphs doesn’t give the whole picture, I’m already making a list of whom I’d like to learn more. For example, did you know of Alice Marble, a professional tennis player who won eighteen Grand Slam championships, (I should know this, right?) and was also recruited by the American intelligence to work as a spy during World War II? Or how about Alison Jane Hargreaves, the first climber to solo all six of the great North faces of the Alps in a single season? Or Jutta Kelinschmidt, who became the first (and only) woman and only German national driver to win the Paris-Dakar rally in the car category? Or Wilma Rudolph (yes, I have heard of her) who became the first American woman to win three gold medals at a single Olympics? Makes you want to read this book, right? It’s definitely not a quick read as hundreds of athletes are depicted in different eras and different sports. Author Molly Schiot did extensive research to put this book together. It’s inspiring, educational and gives a glimpse into the lives of women athletes from around the world.

Amazon image

A Great Testimonial by a Wellness Professional

Getting a written testimonial from a client is always rewarding. It’s like a big thank you and reminds me why I have been personal training for twenty-two years. But getting a testimonial from a fellow wellness professional is even more meaningful to me. I’m just going to cut to the chase and share what Robb Seal, Licensed Massage Therapist, recently sent me. Not to pat myself on the back, but I’m feeling pretty good right about now. Here you go!

“After being introduced to Eric Foxman at a business social function earlier this spring, I was truly impressed with his optimistic personality and obvious knowledge base. So, I decided to give Balance Personal Training a try. What a great decision! I had an amazing experience working out with Eric, as he makes sessions both informative and entertaining. His command of diverse training styles and fitness philosophies enables a constantly creative approach that promises appropriate, effective variations on tried-and-true exercise routines. You’ll never get bored doing the same things over and over again. His emphasis on smooth control and attentiveness to form and detail ensures sustainability, durability and a steady improvement of strength and fitness rather than the “raw power”, “no pain no gain” approach that leads inevitably to injury.

The facilities are modern and tidy, with ample equipment to allow complexity and variety in the workout, as well as privacy and cleanliness in the transition to and from the real world.

After just one workout, I could tell that Eric was committed to being a partner in helping me improve my well-being. He is prompt and thorough with follow-up, and will happily keep you posted about new ideas and relevant health topics. Check out Balance Personal Training if you want to take the step toward long-term better health and fitness!”

Robb Seal
Robb Seal, Owner of Premier Bodywork LLC

Tire Flipping with Ken Foxman

What’s with this tire flipping that you see in Strongman competitions and the CrossFit Games? Done properly, it’s a great movement for developing overall body strength. It blends deadlifts with squats and chest press. The instability of the tire adds a whole other dimension to the task and requires balance as well as strength in both large and small body parts.

Check out this short video with my big brother, Ken, Psychologist and Personal Trainer in Southern California, as he demonstrates tire flipping on his driveway. Notice his solid technique. Perfect control combined with powerful movements. Very impressive.

When in Doubt . . . Exercise

Eric and Kyle doing lat pulls

Boy, my clients keep getting younger and younger. Just for fun, I thought I’d share a pic from 2008 of my oldest son and me. Now Kyle, 12 going on 20 years old, wears a men’s size 8 shoe. Half a size to go and he’s caught me. Ugh!

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Feeling tired? Then exercise.
Stressed from work? Exercise.
Muscles stiff? Exercise.
Feeling bored? Exercise.
Bad night’s sleep? Exercise.
Want to get in shape? Exercise.

Yes, the answer is exercise. Sure there are times when you want to crash on the couch and veg or just go to bed early. I totally get it. I’ve been there myself. If you are tired, though, you should ask yourself if your fatigue is physical or mental or emotional or a combination of the three. If it is physical fatigue, is it because you are in construction and worked on a roof all day or were installing hard wood floors or laying concrete? Or is it physical due to inactivity from siting all day in an uncomfortable chair, practically motionless, dehydrated with your muscles shortening from lack of movement. If it’s the latter, that’s when you should get to the gym, go for a swim or spend time doing yard work. Now let me clarify, if you have sustained a serious injury or are wiped out with pneumonia, then see your doctor, rest and have some of mom’s chicken soup.

Think for a moment when you’re feeling your best. Do you feel your best when you’re working on a project with your boss emailing you every hour? Or is it going for a walk, stretching your muscles, getting blood flowing, feeling warm and enjoying the fresh air? If you haven’t figured it out by now, your body isn’t meant to be in a sitting or standing position for too long. It’s meant to move. And in a variety of ways. Not just sitting there behind the wheel of your car or staring at a screen and assuming what I like to call the T-Rex position. You know? Head forward, neck bent, upper back rounded and fingertips resting on your keyboard or hands close together cradling your phone.

Of course, there’s different kinds of exercise: from walking to running to hiking to cross country skiing to cycling to surfing to paddle boarding to stretching to all types of sports to lifting weights to . . .you get the idea. How do you feel when you’re done exercising? Energized? Ready to take on the world? Totally spent? I have had countless workouts where I have exercised to the point of exhaustion, barely able to walk . . . but feel like I have better mental clarity and that I have cleansed my body and soul of anything negative.

People have talked about Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan ad nauseam. And I’m not the last. To me the slogan is about moving forward, getting your head in the game, overcoming fear, looking at the big picture, achieving your goals. When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, I believe it’s about doing something. Just exercise. Unless of course you are training for a very specific sport or have specific lifting goals. Otherwise, all you’re really trying to do is strengthen muscles, increase flexibility, reduce body fat, improve your coordination and enhance blood flow. And that can be accomplished by any number of activities and/or workout programs which include light weights or heavy weights, high intensity training or low intensity training, workout machines or stretch cords, free weights or your own body weight, low repetition or high repetition, short duration or long duration. At the end of the day, it all depends what you like to do and will do consistently.

So, as luck would have it, the other day my back was screaming at me. Quick reminder, I’ve been in a couple car accidents and have had some serious sports related injuries. Boo-hoo. Okay, for whatever reason, my back started tightening up on me first thing in the morning. Very uncomfortable. When I was done with my personal training sessions at 7pm, I downed a cup of coffee and headed out the door to the gym. As always I started with some light cardio and calisthenics. My back was talking to me but shouting a bit less. I moved on to some core and resistance exercises. By the time I was done, in under an hour, I was feeling much better. My big concern was how I’d feel the next day. The answer? Well it is the next day and I feel waaaaaay better. Was it a particular exercise that I did? I don’t think so. It was more about moving around and doing something for myself. It’s called exercise. So when you’re feeling a little crappy, don’t grab a cold beverage, don’t marinate on FaceBook and don’t sit on the couch. EXERCISE! Your body will thank you for it.

Watch, Bid & Win! Support Wisconsin Public Television’s 42nd Annual Auction!

How would you like to support Public Television and get a great deal on Personal Training with yours truly? Then check out WPT’s 42nd Annual Auction on Friday June 2nd from 7pm to 12am (Sports & Recreation Category). I donated a *package of 5 Personal Training Sessions. That’s a value of $375! What do you think it will go for?

This is WPT’s largest fundraising event, and all the proceeds support WPT programs and outreach initiatives. You can bid online or over the phone (608)263-9985. The auction begins Wednesday May 31st and concludes on June 4th. To learn more or view other auction items, go to WPT Auction.

* My donation is reserved for new clients only.
WPT Auction

Magnificent Midwest Morel Mushrooms Mature in May

There I go with more alliteration. Well it’s that time of year when morels spring out of the ground. The first year we moved into our house, a neighbor told me that he knew all the good places to find morels in our woods. Usually near dead or dying elm and apple trees. This year, however, my middle son found some right by our house near a dead lilac bush. Bruce pointed at the ground and initially thought it was some kind of wasp nest due to the mushroom cap’s honeycombed structure. Lo and behold, they were five untouched beautiful morels. What to do with them? Very simple. A quick sauté in a skillet with a little butter. Nothing fancy. At $40 per pound I don’t want to do anything to mess them up. Maybe a side of steak to go with them? Yum.

Morels 2017

Five Festive Cinco de Mayo Recipes

Cinco de Mayo is just three days away. So let’s celebrate with 5 of my favorite South of the Border dishes. Enjoy creating traditional, healthy and fun entrees (plus sides) for your friends and family.

Heather’s Homemade Guacamole
Heather's guacamole

Ingredients
4 ripe avocados
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (optional: 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
2 tomatoes diced (I like to use Roma and garnish with cherry tomatoes)
1/2 cup cilantro (leaves and stems) diced (optional: parsley)
1 tbsp lemon juice
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions
On a cutting board, slice avocado in half. Then pick it up and give it a twist. The avocado should come right apart. Pick up the half with the pit in it. Carefully whack the knife into the pit, then twist and lift it out. Compost avocado skin and pit. With a spoon, scoop out the insides and add to a mixing bowl. With a fork or spoon, gently mash the avocado. Add the lemon juice to help preserve freshness and the bright green color. Then add the minced garlic, tomatoes, cilantro and black pepper. Stir and serve.

Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon Mexican Spice Blend
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
5 canned whole green chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
4 canned chipotle chiles, seeded and minced
1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
16 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce, canned
1 cup shredded Cheddar and Jack cheeses
Garnish: chopped cilantro leaves, chopped scallions, sour cream, chopped tomatoes

Directions
Coat large saute pan with oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken over medium heat, allow 7 minutes each side or until no longer pink. Sprinkle chicken with cumin, garlic powder and Mexican spices before turning. Remove chicken to a platter, allow to cool.

Sauté onion and garlic in pan until tender. Add corn and chiles. Stir well to combine. Add canned tomatoes and sauté 1 minute.

Pull chicken breasts apart by hand into shredded strips. Add shredded chicken to skillet, combine with vegetables. Dust the mixture with flour to help set.

Microwave tortillas on high for 30 seconds. This softens them and makes them more pliable. Coat the bottom of 2 (13 by 9-inch) pans with a ladle of enchilada sauce. Using a large shallow bowl, dip each tortilla in enchilada sauce to lightly coat. Spoon 1/4 cup chicken mixture in each tortilla. Fold over filling, place 8 enchiladas in each pan with seam side down. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven until cheese melts.

Garnish with cilantro, scallion, sour cream (or yogurt) and chopped tomatoes before serving. Serve with Spanish rice and beans. — recipe from Foodnetwork.com

Chunky Salsa

Ingredients
6 lbs tomatoes, chopped
3 lbs tomatoes, diced
7 cloves garlic, diced
3 lbs yellow onions, chopped
2 1/2 lbs green and yellow peppers, chopped
1/2 lb frozen corn
2 Tbsp chili powder (we used mild)
1 Tbsp garlic salt
*1 Tbsp canning salt
2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 cup cilantro, minced

Directions
In a large pot, on medium-high heat cook 6 lbs chopped tomatoes and garlic. Keep lid off to evaporate some of the water. Stir occasionally. Mash mixture after approx. 15 minutes. Add onions and continue to cook for 15 more minutes. *Note: Since Heather was going to can the salsa, she started heating the water bath. To the mixture add the 3 lbs of diced tomatoes (that will help make salsa chunkier), peppers, corn, chili powder, garlic salt, canning salt, cumin, vinegar, lemon and lime juice. After 15 minutes, add cilantro. Turn heat to low while loading canning jars. Heather processed her quarts for 30 minutes. Please consult a reputable canning protocol for canning details. Yields 6 quarts.

Chicken Fajitas
Sizzling Chicken Fajitas

Ingredients
1 lb boneless chicken thighs or breasts, sliced
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 red peppers and 2 green peppers, sliced (these aren’t spicy but have more of bite to them than your sweeter bell peppers)
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 medium limes (one for the juice and the other to go into a nice Corona)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2-3 cloves garlic, diced
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chili powder (use more or less depending on how much kick you want)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
corn or flour tortillas
1 avocado, diced (optional)
Greek yogurt (optional)

Directions
To a bowl, add lime juice, vegetable oil, garlic, cumin, coriander, chili powder, cilantro, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Place chicken in a bowl or dish. Pour marinade over chicken and coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate from a few hours to over night.

Heat pan (or cast-iron skillet if you have one) to medium high. Add chicken pieces and cook until well-browned (10-15 minutes). Remove chicken from skillet and set aside. Add peppers, onions and tomatoes. Cook until slightly charred.

Serve plain or with your favorite tortillas. We also diced some avocado and added a spoonful of Greek yogurt on the side.

Easy Chicken Enchilada Soup
Chicken Enchilada Soup

Ingredients
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast and thigh meat
1 28oz can organic diced tomatoes, undrained
2 15oz cans “Kuners” already spiced black beans (chili powder and cumin), undrained
1 4oz can green chiles
1 12oz can “mild” enchilada sauce
1 large red bell pepper cut into chunks
4 medium zucchini cut into 1″ pieces

Directions
Place meat into a 4-6 quart crock pot. Cover with tomatoes, black beans, chiles, bell pepper and enchilada sauce. Cook on “low” for 8 hours or “high” for 4 hours. Add the zucchini on top with one hour left of cooking. That will keep them from getting too mushy. When soup is cooked, shred chicken with a fork before serving.

Serve with grated cheese, yogurt, sour cream, avocado slices or fresh cilantro.