No reservations about fitness

FITNESS PROFILE

Exercise: Inner Harbor walks help hotelier Werner Kunz stay in shape for competitive skiing.

June 27, 1999|By NANCY MENEFEE JACKSON | NANCY MENEFEE JACKSON,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Check into Baltimore's Harbor Court Hotel, and you might be a little more fit when you check out.

Nothing would make managing director Werner R. Kunz happier. Twice a week, Kunz leads guests on a four-mile fitness walk around the Inner Harbor, from the hotel to Henderson's Wharf. He's often available for a game of racquetball, and he gives the hotel's fitness center a pretty good workout.

"I've spent a lot of time up there," he says. The results can be seen in his office, in the form of skiing trophies.

As a child in Switzerland, Kunz played soccer and skied. He yearned to ski professionally, but family members urged him to go to work. "My father used to say, 'Don't break a leg. Go to work.' "

Now, Kunz blends a successful hospitality career with his first love, Alpine skiing. At 56, he is a member of the U.S. master's ski team and the U.S. Skiing and Snowboarding Association. He competes in the 51-60 age group on slopes ranging from the Poconos to the Rockies.

How does a Baltimorean train for ski races?

"My vacation is always in the winter," he says with a laugh. "I never go to the Caribbean." He tacks vacation days onto weekends, allowing him to visit Utah once a month to train.

But he does the preliminary training during the workweek.

"Fitness is a key ingredient to lower and upper body endurance," he says.

He started the fitness walks three years ago. Kunz, guests and staff begin walking at 6:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, no matter what the weather, rewarding themselves with gorgeous views of the harbor and coffee when they finish about 50 minutes later.

Kunz also uses a personal trainer who guides him in his regimen of free weights, Stairmaster and treadmill. He exercises before or after work, "and that gives me the stamina to work 10 to 12 hours a day."

Mondays he plays racquetball, Tuesdays and Wednesdays he works with a personal trainer on cardiovascular conditioning, Thursdays it's another round of racquetball and Friday might be any combination of exercise or free weights. To relax on the weekends when he doesn't ski, he'll sneak in a 20-mile bike ride. "I have a mountain bike with 17 million gears."

Kunz eats a lot of fruits and vegetables, and says, "anything I can grab, I'll juice." He avoids meat, preferring fish, and tries to stay away from fat. He's inspired by his son, who does nutritional research and is a triathlete, and a daughter who manages a fitness center.

Like a chocolate on a pillow, the fitness walks impart just the right touch. Kunz notes that the biggest mistake people make when trying to get fit is to do too much too fast.

"It's an impulse. They say, 'I have to lose weight, I have to get in shape.' Most people overdo it, then they get sore, then they hate it."

Pub Date: 06/27/99

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