Busy types tell us how they stay in shape

Steve Bartlett
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Jo Mark Zurel and daughter Heather on Mount Kilimanjaro in August. — Submitted photo

The middle of January arrived quickly and many (this reporter included) are wrestling with that common resolution to get fit and active.

For advice and inspiration, we contacted a number of busy people who juggle hectic lives and asked them to email a few lines about how they stay in shape.

Their replies:

Dwight Ball, Liberal leader

“To stay in shape I try to get out and enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. This includes snowshoeing, fly-fishing and biking throughout the beautiful Humber Valley. I’m also an avid hockey player, lacing up my skates at least once a week.”


Heather Barrett, producer, “Radio Noon”

“I love running; it’s a low-maintenance way to stay fit and it’s a great stress-buster. These days, I try to run three to four times a week. I prefer to go outside if the weather and daylight permits; otherwise, I’ll hit the indoor track at the Field House. I’m also trying some yoga for stretching and strength-building.”


Lt.-Col. Alex Brennan, Royal Newfoundland Regiment and full-time police officer

“With two jobs and a family I concentrate on some basics, and for me, it’s passing the Canadian Army Battle Efficiency Test (BET) in which the focus is on Caroid, muscular strength, power and flexibility. Once a year, soldiers have to do the BET that involves carrying a weighted 24.5 kilogram rucksack for 13 kilometres in two hours and 26 minutes. We then move a soldier of equal weight for 100 metres in 60 seconds. Then finally we have to shovel a trench in less than six minutes. Every spring and fall, the public will see soldiers performing this test, generally around Quidi Vidi Lake. This is a great gauge to determine general fitness, and it ensures a common standard for the Army across the country.”


Bob Buckingham, lawyer

“My fitness plan is an incorporated component of my lifestyle. I live a healthy lifestyle. This means clean, healthy eating every day. I do not drink or smoke. I combine this with a program of physical activity which includes an activity five days a week made up of running and/or gym work. I joined a running group for motivation and support, and I put together a small personal gym. I run or do gym workouts on alternate days. Every month I set a monthly ‘achievable’ goal to assist in maintaining motivation. The last few months of 2011 saw a bit of a decline in my activity, but I am now back at running and gym fun full force.”


Coun. Debbie Hanlon, St. John’s

“I run, walk and hike. Last summer I rowed in the Regatta and that kept me busy for a about four months, running and hiking and lots of cardio. I also ran the Tely 10, which again kept me busy with lots of cardio. In the winter I do taekwondo with my mom. She’s a seventh-degree black belt and has been my instructor for years. I hold a purple belt and will continue on forever until I get my black belt!”


Mike Heffernan, author of “Rig: An Oral History of the Ocean Ranger Disaster” and the forthcoming book of stories from John’s taxicabs, “The Other Side of Midnight.”

“I started jogging during high school when I started to gain extra weight. Then that evolved into weight training in my buddy’s basement. That was 15 years ago. I hit the gym about four or five times a week. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I eat well, and don’t over indulge in junk food. It’s sometimes hard, no doubt, especially around Christmas. But I’ve been pretty healthy for so long that it’s not something I think about too much. And that’s the trick, just making it part of your lifestyle. If you can’t hit the gym, do some pushups and crunches. Maybe walk the dog for an extra couple blocks. Take the kids to the park, or hike Signal Hill. Just stay active.”


William Janes, deputy chief, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary

“During the summer months, I row with a team from our workplace here at the RNC. During the fall, I enjoy hiking in and around the St. John’s area. I have, in the past week, signed up for a three-month membership at a local gym and will spend some time snowshoeing — snow permitting.”


Mount Pearl Deputy Mayor Jim Locke

“The key to staying in shape is a healthy lifestyle — diet, exercise and adequate rest. I eat relatively healthy with daily fruits and veggies, and I try to limit processed meats. I do have a big sweet tooth though. I love to walk and bike ride, and I try to get to the gym three to four times a week. And I get eight hours of sleep a night.”


Conception Bay South Coun. Beverley Rowe

“I ‘try” to go the gym three days per week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday I walk, but now I will skate at Robert French Memorial Stadium on Tuesday mornings instead of the walking. Note the emphasis I placed on try! Hoping that now I can get back into my weekly routine. The Christmas season was very hectic!”


Jo Mark Zurel, outgoing president, St.  John’s Board of Trade

“To keep focus on a training schedule, I set a target and tell the world about it. That puts the pressure on me to train and complete the challenge. For example, last winter, my daughter Heather (that’s her in the picture) and I told everyone we planned to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in August. Once the expectation was in place and the flights booked, we had no choice but to hit the gym and the trails. And because we trained, we thoroughly enjoyed the climb! It also helps to have a good training partner (like Heather)!”


sbartlett@thetelegram.com Twitter: @bartlett_steve

Organizations: Field House, RNC, Board of Trade

Geographic location: Humber Valley, Quidi Vidi Lake, Regatta Signal Hill Mount Pearl Conception Bay Robert French Memorial Stadium Mount Kilimanjaro

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Recent comments

  • mary
    January 13, 2012 - 14:40

    Not everyone can afford a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro, a lot of people can't afford gym fees. Everyone can find a hill to climb in NL though! Just a good pair of walking shoes or hiking boots if you want to spend the money.

  • mary
    January 13, 2012 - 14:28

    A good walk each day is achievable by most people, just 30 minutes at a steady pace can do wonders. "Every month I set a monthly ‘achievable’ goal to assist in maintaining motivation." I like that idea, wonder if it will help me.

  • Informed & active
    January 13, 2012 - 12:21

    Mr. or Ms. Watcher, this is directed at people who are interested in DOING, not just WATCHING. I found it quite interesting - Thanks!

  • Political watcher
    January 13, 2012 - 10:18

    Relly, do we really need to read his? Not one ounce of news in this story.

    • Voice of Irony
      January 13, 2012 - 11:11

      Actually, no, you don't "relly" have to read it at all.