todayís hustle-bustle world it can seem impossible to squeeze in a
30-minute run, let alone earn a black belt in tae kwon do, compete in
an Ironman Triathlon or drop more than 50 pounds. Some regular
Milwaukeeans have done just that, proving it doesnít take an Olympic
athlete to achieve fitness success.
Radio personality Kidd OíShea and his producer, Tony Lorino, took
different paths to WMYX. But when they arrived they were in the same
spot: out of shape and out of energy.OíShea, co-host of WMYXís
"Jane & Kidd in the Morning" radio show, knew he was
underweight and should probably quit smoking. The 29-year-old
Milwaukee resident had tried and failed before. It wasnít until OíShea
saw himself on TV that he was spurred into action. "Iím
5-foot-11-inches and I weighed 127 pounds. I had black circles under
my eyes, I worked all the time and drank coffee and smoked
cigarettes," says OíShea. "Initially, I made a change for
my career, and then as I got into it, I realized this is about my
long-term overall health."OíShea started exercising at
Wisconsin Athletic Club with a personal trainer, who encouraged him to
quit smoking. In February 2006, OíShea gave up his pack-a-day
smoking habit. "In the beginning, I was like, ĎWow, I ate a
full meal," says OíShea, who gained 20 pounds through diet and
exercise. The effort, he says, has been well worth it. "I eat
better, I sleep better," he says. "But you have to do this
only if youíre ready."
Two years ago, Lorino found himself back in his old stomping
grounds with a new job and lacking the energy to make the most of it.
The Shorewood native spent years working for radio stations throughout
the Midwest in hopes of one day returning to the Milwaukee area. Years
of poor eating habits and a lack of exercise left him overweight and
unprepared to take advantage of his long-awaited return. "Our
business can be challenging ó you have to move around a bit,"
says Lorino, producer and assistant program director at WMYX. "So
it was like, ĎOK, now Iím here,í and I just didnít feel good.
I was sluggish and always tired. I just said, ĎIíve got to change.í"
Lorino, who carried 235 pounds on his 6-foot-1-inch frame, started
small. He didnít embark on a strict diet and exercise routine right
away. Instead, he changed life through the one element required to
sustain it: water. Lorino cut back from a six-pack to two cans a day
of diet soda. The rest of the day he drank water. "You get the
best results when you make a lifestyle change," he says.
"The water, as dumb as it sounds, was a big change for me. "Lorino,
27, began working out in January 2007 with a personal trainer. He
started following a healthy diet program several months later. The
pounds "melted off," he says, and by Christmas he was 50
pounds lighter. Today, he weighs 180 pounds and exercises about four
days a week. "For me, itís not about running a marathon,"
he says. "Itís about doing something good for yourself."
Kropidlowski exercised because she had to. She knew it was important,
but most days she had to drag herself to the gym.The Cedarburg mom of
two was busy and stressed out and she certainly didnít have the time
or energy to find an activity that was going to change her life. It
would take a serendipitous encounter at a birthday party for her to
find it. "I was picking up my daughter from a birthday party at
Chayís Tae Kwon Do and my son was totally enthralled," she
says. "It was all he talked about, and he was only there for five
minutes. "On a whim, Kropidlowski called Chayís Tae Kwon Do and
enrolled her son, Joey, in the beginnersí class. "He was a
first-grader at the time and had some attention issues and impulse
control problems," she says. "I thought it might be a good
thing for him." A mother of another student suggested
Kropidlowski, 37, try the schoolís cardio kickboxing class.
Kropidlowski felt so good ó mentally and physically ó after that
first class she started going three times a week. Within a few months,
Kropidlowski started helping her young son learn tae kwon do movements
at home with the help of some DVDs."I thought, ĎHey thatís
kind of fun,í" she says. She signed up for tae kwon do and took
the class with her son. Kropidlowski became dedicated to the martial
art and earned her black belt in May. She continued to take the cardio
kickboxing class and now teaches three times a week. The physical
benefits are obvious. Kropidlowski lost fat, and gained muscle and
flexibility. Strangers occasionally approach and ask what she does to
get such nice arms. But itís been her development mentally that has
given her the most strength. "There was a time when I couldnít
seem to get through the day without breaking down and crying. I was
overwhelmed, I was stressed," she says. "And when I found
this one thing, it went beyond just trying to get fit again."
Carter wasnít much of an Iron-man in high school. "I was never
a big athlete," he says. "I was too small for football and
not very fast." It turns out Carter was a late bloomer. The
two-time Ironman Triathlon competitor wouldnít discover his physical
prowess until the end of his college career, after watching a cycling
event on TV with a friend. "I think it was the Tour de France and
we thought, ĎHey, that kind of looks like fun,í" he says.
"We started biking together before our second-shift jobs and it
got to the point where we were riding every day. Then 30 miles a day.
"The Mukwonago resident was introduced later to triathlons ó a
race with cycling, swimming and running events ó after watching his
brother compete in Milwaukee. Carter participated in his first
triathlon in 1989 and was immediately hooked. Eventually, he set his
sights on one of the great physical tests of our time ó the Ironman,
a Herculean race, which includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bicycle
ride and a 26.2-mile run. He set off in 1992 to tackle his first
Ironman Triathlon in Penticton, Canada, which he completed in 11.5
hours, a feat in a race where finishing is considered an
accomplishment. The commitment it took to train for triathlons waned
as Carter focused more on his career in video editing. He took up
cross country skiing, a sport he still enjoys. Carter, 44, discovered
his approach to triathlons changed when he returned to the sport
several years later. "I had identified people before because of
their rank" within a race, Carter says. "Now that Iím
older itís just about enjoying the race. "An unexpected health
scare motivated Carter to stick with the sport he loves. The
triathlete, who developed high blood pressure, discovered he could
control it with regular exercise. "If I went out and ran, it
would lower my blood pressure for up to eight hours," he says. In
2003, Carter had a stent placed in his renal artery after doctors
discovered a 90 percent blockage. Three weeks later he participated in
the Pewaukee triathlon. Carter continued with his triathlons, but the
desire to compete in another Ironman loomed. In 2007, after a year of
training and 15 years since his last, Carter competed and finished the
Ironman Triathlon in Madison in 12 hours and 54 minutes. Despite his
Ironman status, Carter says heís a regular guy whose typical weekday
workouts last 40 minutes. "Itís not about killing yourself
every day for hours on end. Itís just about getting out," he
Kidd OíShea, 29, Milwaukee
Accomplishment: Successfully ditched pack-a-day smoking habit;
gained 20 much-needed pounds after making a commitment to exercising
regularly and eating better.
Tip: You have to be ready to quit andmake a lifestyle change. No
one else can convince you.
"The saddest part of the addiction as a smoker is they canít
see the light on the other side. They canít see themselves living in
a world without cigarettes. Iím on the other side now, I feel better
about the way I look; I donít get sick like I used to; I sleep
better. Itís all good."
Tony Lorino, 27, Milwaukee
Accomplishment: Has lost 55 pounds by following a healthy diet and
exercising four days a week.
Tip: Donít completely deprive yourself of everything all at once.
Start by changing one thing in your life, like cutting back on soda.
Then start adding positive things including regular exercise and a
better diet. Just donít do it all at once because youíll never
stick with it.
"You get the best results when itís a lifestyle change. I
learned you really have to think about it as an investment in
Mitch Carter, 44, Mukwonago
Accomplishment: Successfully completed two Ironman competitions,
most recently in 2007, which includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile
bicycle ride and a 26.2-mile run. Carter also competes in about four
triathlons a year and cross country skis in the winter.
Tip: Itís not about killing yourself every day for hours on end.
Itís just about getting out. During the week, your workouts can be
40 minutes long.
"Training for a triathlon is a very selfish thing. The rest of
the family is sort of sitting on the sidelines, which is really
boring. All of the training on the weekends and after work, it takes
time. If you donít have your family behind you, itís not going to
be a fun experience for them or you."