Any suggestions for getting into shape for mountain biking?
Cristy Kirssin, Princeton Sports manager and an entry- level mountain biker herself, suggests varying your training. When she began, she started with 20- to 30-minute sessions on the stationary bike. Choose the "random" program, which will incorporate simulated hills. Spinning classes are also great for building endurance.
In addition to cardiovascular work, Kirssin began strengthening her legs and arms (strong arms are important for maneuvering the bike on rough terrain and hills). She worked all of her leg muscles with exercises like hamstring curls, leg press, quad strengthening and abductor exercises. To tone the arms, she used free weights.
Of course, there's nothing like the real deal to get you in shape, so hit the trails! Kirssin's final piece of advice? "Buy a good pair of biking shorts. You'll need the padding."
My wrist has been sore from typing. Can you suggest any stretches for that area?
Try this great yoga stretch for the wrist: Begin by kneeling on the floor. Place your palms on the floor in front of you with your fingers facing in. Your palms should be flat on the floor. If they aren't, lean forward until the heels of your hands touch the floor. Gently hold the position. To deepen the stretch, slowly sit back on your feet.
Also try these three simple wrist stretches, which can be done anywhere: Begin by extending your arm straight out in front of you. With fingers facing up and palm out (as if making a stop sign), pull your fingers toward you with the opposite hand. Repeat with fingers facing down and palm out and with fingers facing down and palm in. Hold each until you feel a gentle stretch, then switch hands.
When I snack, I always find myself reaching for carbohydrate-laden foods, which are cheaper and more accessible than their protein counterparts. What are some high protein snacks that won't break the bank?
You can spend a small fortune on protein-packed snacks like fresh sushi, fancy soy products and protein bars. For a cheaper alternative, try dairy foods like fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt or hard-boiled eggs. Nuts and low-sugar trail mixes are great for afternoon noshing (they aren't perishable, so they can be packed in the morning). Light cheeses, peanut butter and hummus, while not dirt cheap, are a great protein treat when paired with vegetables or fruit in place of refined carbohydrates.
Do you have a fitness question? Write to Fitness, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. You can also fax questions to 410-783-2519 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.