New Port Richey running club promotes fitness at Gasparilla

The Gasparilla Distance Classic played host to numerous charities and running clubs, including a New Port Richey-based running group.

NPR Running’s founding members, Tammy Carr and Jaana Jala, started the group to help family members and their kids stay active in the New Port Richey community.

“We are an all-level, all-ages, fitness and running group from New Port Richey, Florida, and what we emphasize is that all levels get out there and just keep moving,” Carr said.

Today, NPR Running participates in marathons across the country, which was unthinkable to Carr and Jala given the adversity that they experienced nearly five years ago.

“I was just getting bigger and bigger so I decided it was time to make a life change,” Jala said. “I quit my job, moved to Florida, came down here with a suitcase. But the weather down here is beautiful and it was kind of like jumping off a cliff and changing your entire life.”

Gasparilla is only a local example of the runs that NPR Running participates in. The group travels across the country to triathlons in places like Savannah, Georgia, and Central Park in New York.

“We have racked up, like last year, 26,000 miles,” Carr said. “It’s the equivalent of going around the globe as a group in the miles that we’ve dedicated ourselves that we were going to do.”

A Young Florida High Girls Basketball Team Heads to Lakeland

A Young Florida High Girls Basketball Team Heads to Lakeland 

After defeating their opponent during overtime to win the regional final, Tallahassee’s Florida High is ready for the state finals in Lakeland.

Last year, the Florida High Lady Noles had an unsuccessful season. They lost in the first round of the district championships. According to head coach Darryl Marshall, this year has been different.

“The season has been great. The girls came out mentally focused, ready for the season and ready for this run that we are on now since day one,” Marshall said.

The Lady Noles are now on the verge of making history as the youngest ever to win a 5A State Championship. Two of three team leaders are in eighth and ninth grade. Freshman Kendall Thomas and eighth grader Jordan Rosier have led this team to the state semi-finals.

“I’m the point guard, I am the leader of this team,” Thomas said. “I just go out and play my own game.”

“I had a lot more responsibility this year, I had to put on a big pair of shoes this year and step up,” Rosier said.

These young players must carry triumphant athleticism in their blood because 10 years ago it was their older sisters, Chelsea Rosier and Autumn Thomas that led the Lady Noles to win the state championship.

“Growing up it was always me and her and now it’s so funny to see Jordan and Kendall,” Chelsea Rosier said. “It’s like déjà vu.”

This young duo is only a small part of this dynamic team. The Lady Noles will play Fort Lauderdale’s Cardinal Gibbons on Wednesday, Feb. 22, as they strive to win the state championship and continue to make history.

CrossFit Aero Athletes Train for Reebok CrossFit Open

It’s 10 a.m. Monday; athletes from the Wesley Chapel and Tampa areas are using their mornings and bodies to the fullest potential at CrossFit Aero.

Wesley Chapel may still be growing, but it has been home to CrossFit Aero since January 2011.

CrossFit Aero, a privately owned and operated gym, offers challenges for people of all varieties. Whether you are new to CrossFit, or a certified trainer, CrossFit Aero has something for you.

Minnesota native, Jade Zeller, has been attending CrossFit Aero for the last four months since moving down south and shows no signs of stopping.

“I did a lot of research on google,” Zeller said. “I actually was talking to my sister who owns a CrossFit gym in Minnesota, and she was looking up all the coaches and their certifications and came across this one. I came in and did a free one day drop-in and I’ve loved it ever since.”

Many of these gymgoers are working toward their chance to compete in the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Open, which will begin on Feb. 23.

Jason Hamm, owner of CrossFit Aero, has incorporated a variety of workouts into the daily training that will also be included in the CrossFit Open.

Zeller said the daily practice helped everyone get more comfortable with these workouts.

CrossFit athletes like Jade, working toward their goals, become one step closer every day. But it is the progress along that way that makes it all worthwhile.

“I’m staying here for as long as I possibly can,” Zeller said. “This is my home gym. I’m happy here.”

For more information on CrossFit Aero and the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Open, please visit www.CrossFitAero.com and https://games.crossfit.com/.

Riverfront Park asset to students

The University of South Florida Riverfront Park offers a unique experience to its students and alumni by providing outdoor recreational activities from canoeing to even a ropes course.

With the advantage Florida brings to its residents, USF is able to offer its students and alumni a place to de-stress and relax after a hard day at work or from studying. The park has a wide range of activities available. The ropes course is a common favorite among it students and is an activity many people have never done before.

“I take them up on the ropes course which is about 55 feet high and they go through obstacles and stuff and they eventually zip line down,” ropes course facilitator Hunter Mitchell said.

The park is also on the banks of the Hillsborough River, allowing the park to offer canoeing and kayaking to its visitors. Many times, canoeing and kayaking is very expensive to go out and experience. At Riverfront Park students can rent canoes and kayaks from $5 to $10 and a full usage pass for $45.

“At USF Riverfront Boat House, we provide students the opportunity to rent out kayaks, single-person kayaks, two-person kayaks and canoes,” boat house facilitator Esteban Baute said.

The park also offers team-building activities that help USF students build leadership skills and make new friends.

“It gets people talking in case they don’t know each other and we just really establish trust and communication and really get groups closer together after they come out here,” Mitchell said.

With over 49,000 students at USF, making friends can be tough. USF Riverfront Park allows students to make new friends easier and bring different people together by offering these activities.

Skateboarders Excited For Bro Bowl 2.0 Opening

 

After years of hard work and dedication, Bro Bowl 2.0 in downtown Tampa opened on April 16.

The skatepark is a recreation of the 1979 Bro Bowl in Tampa. City officials had plans to demolish the skatepark and rebuild Perry Harvey Sr. Park.

Shannon Bruffett, the director of The Skateboarding Heritage Foundation, was involved in the effort to save the skatepark.

“I grew up skating here for almost thirty years. (I’m a) Tampa native, so it means a lot to me and the history of Tampa and skateboarding in Tampa,” Bruffett said. “I wanted this to be acknowledged just as much as the rest of Central Avenue’s history, since it played a role in it.”

The skatepark was developed for beginning and advanced skateboarders alike to have a safe place to skate.

Organizations like Boards for Bros support skateboarding in the community and help people who are not able to purchase a board.

“We target unserviced youth and we make sure they can have whatever they need to have to skateboard,” Michelle Box, the executive director for Boards for Bros, said. “So, we supply them with skateboards, experiences at the skatepark of Tampa, lessons, peer mentoring and things like that.”

The skatepark not only attracts people interested in the hobby, but it also gives them the opportunity to express their love for skateboarding.

“Skateboarding has always been a part of this city as long as it’s been around, and hopefully it will (continue for) generations to come,” Bruffett said.

Zumba helps Tampa residents get active

According to the Presidents Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, 28 percent of Americans aged six and older are physically inactive.

Every Tuesday, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is the site of an active, free fitness opportunity, known as Zumba In The Park, which is open to the public.

Zumba combines music with dance moves to create fitness routines that incorporate both interval and resistance training for a full-body workout.

Less than a month away from the end of daylight saving time, local participants are taking full advantage of the sunlight before the program ends.

Stacey Komanowski enjoys the outdoor aspect of the program; the Tampa skyline and Riverwalk.

Komanowski introduced her long-time friend, Lynn Trujillo, to Zumba In The Park.

“I absolutely loved being outside and getting a little exercise and fresh air,” Trujillo said.

Currently, there are over 200,000 Zumba class locations worldwide.

Meagan Simmons has been instructing Zumba for four years, starting out in Phoenix, Arizona before moving to Tampa.

Simmons was previously a professional hip-hop dancer but after an injury, she began participating in Zumba. After her first Zumba session, she was asked whether she was an instructor, which led her to become one.

“You know, the best part about being a Zumba instructor is just being able to inspire people every day,” Simmons said.

Simmons also thanks Zumba for allowing her to develop as a leader, saying that it is something that she has struggled with her whole life.

“Being out in the front of everyone, being able to talk, act crazy, dance… has really opened me up in a positive way.”

Bulls Get Fit For A Good Cause

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and students at the University of South Florida are making sure they are actively staying involved.

The USF Campus Recreation center hosts an event called Bulls Fitsgiving. It allows students to team up and compete in obstacle courses not only for fun but also to give back to others in need.

Brandon Miller, a fitness coordinator at USF, wants students to realize how important events like this are to the community.

“We want to make sure that they know this is more than just about them,” said Miller. “We want to make sure they are making an impact globally, making a really holistic student out of what they are doing here.”

As an incentive to give back, students are asked to bring canned food, clothing or hygiene items that will be donated to local charity. If they do so then five seconds will be taken off their team’s total run time.

Dominique Richardson is a fitness coordinator at USF and she is the one who has planned and coordinated the event for the last three years.

“I think people are definitely excited,” said Richardson “It’s a good way to take a break from finals that are coming up. It’s a good time to get fit and have fun.”

The event was completely sold out and fourteen teams participated in Bulls Fitsgiving.

Defying The Odds

When trying to push past your limits, a lot of people say they do not want to hear excuses. That is where the catch phrase “no excuses, no limits” came into play for Luca Patuelli.

Patuelli was diagnosed with arthrogryposis, a disease that limits muscle growth in certain parts of the body. For Patuelli, it took a toll mostly on his legs.

“My dream is to be able to walk,” says Patuelli.

Through hard work and perseverance, he is slowly realizing that dream. Patuelli participated in a 2.5K walk and finished. The amazing part: he did not use his crutches.

Patuelli now travels all over speaking to groups of people to push his message of positivism and encouragement. He wants people to believe in themselves and realize they can do whatever they want— all it takes is confidence.

 

Yoga On Tap: A Great Fit

 

It is not often that we associate beer with yoga, but 3 Daughters Brewing has teamed up with The Body Electric Yoga Company to prove otherwise.

Twice a month, the brewery welcomes the community in St. Petersburg to engage with other yogis. Here you will find that yoga, beer and live acoustic music flock like birds of a feather. Jonathan Truong, the marketing coordinator at the brewery said bringing communities closer together is what matters most.

“We try to keep it really relaxed here, and family-friendly is a big deal,” Truong said. “If you look around you will not find any TVs. We want it to be about enjoying each other’s company.”

About 50 people participated in the event, and it would seem that these companies are achieving a successful and relaxing environment.

The idea of integrating beer and yoga started as a method of relieving anxiety, and bring balance to people’s lives inside and out. The yoga facilitators want to welcome people of all ages and fitness levels because they believe that yoga can be both fun, and beneficial to one’s health.

“In the western world nowadays, people are so high strung, anxious and stressed,” said Jessica Needham, a yoga facilitator. “For me, I’m not teaching people how to do fancy postures and poses. I’m educating people on how to take control of their minds, and how to relax when they get anxiety – which are important aspects that I value in yoga.”

As a bonus, you get to treat yourself with an ice-cold beer.

Katelyn Grady, the owner of The Body Electric Yoga Company, said “Yoga is always there for me.”

“We believe in this yoga thing and we think it helps people be better, feel better and maybe be nicer better people,” Grady said. “It is our belief that yoga can help improve the community physically, and spiritually for some people.”