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50 Ways to Leave Your Blubber 

Things You Could Be Doing To Get Fit

You tried your best. You really did. But it's been about two months since you gave up on your New Year's resolution to shed some excess weight and finally get in shape. Now it's 80 degrees outside, summer is right around the corner, and your bathing suit is cruelly mocking you from inside your dresser drawer.It's time to get your lazy butt off the couch and just do it. No more excuses. You've got to put your nose to the grindstone and give 110 percent. No pain, no gain, and...ah hell, I've run out of inspirational cliches. Of course the key to reaching your fitness goal doesn't lie in some marketing slogan. The only way to really stay motivated is by having fun. So with that in mind, we've come up with 50 great ways to shed fat, strengthen your muscles, and enjoy the great outdoors. Note: we have left out the most obvious ways you can get fit, which is going to a gym or spa and working out with the rest of the plebes. So get with it. Put on your sneakers, down a protein shake, don't forget to stretch, and, um, start reading!

1. WALK ON THE WILD SIDE Let's start with something easy and simple — that old bipedal form of locomotion known as walking. It's become increasingly rare in our car crazy culture, and the streets of Charlotte aren't exactly pedestrian friendly. Thankfully, we have a great public park system with 21 miles of greenway trails where you don't have to worry about breathing exhaust fumes or getting run down by an SUV. Most of the trails are paved and run along creeks. Plus, the park system also contains three nature preserves (McAlpine Creek, Latta Plantation and McDowell) with another 33 miles of hiking and walking trails. For details go to www.parkandrec.com and click on "things to do" and from there you can get information on hiking, walking and trail maps. Also, check out the Fit City Challenge (www.fitcitychallenge.org) for all kinds of information about fitness programs, events and facilities.

Additional walking/hiking resources:

Carolina Berg Wanderers (www.carolinabergs.com)
Sierra Club www.sierraclub-nc.org
Team in Training (www.teamintraining.org/nc)
Metrolina Walkers Volkssport Clubwww.metwalk.freeservers.com

2. RUN, FORREST, RUN The natural progression after walking is running; it's pretty much the same, just faster. If you're a novice runner and are looking for some helpful tips, or an experienced marathoner trying to shave a few seconds off your time, the resources below will help you out:

Charlotte Running Co: www.charlotteracefest.com
Run for Your Life: www.runforyourlife.com
Carolina Track and Field Club 704-588-6885
Charlotte Area Penguins/Mangum Track Club: www.tricharlotte.com
Charlotte Gay FrontRunners: 704-372-0079
Charlotte Roadrunners Club: 704-814-6670
Charlotte Track and Tri Club: www.charlottetrackandtriclub.org
Lake Norman Road Runners: 704-896-2195

3. BE A SWINGER Tennis is great exercise, helps improve coordination, and is a lot of fun. Charlotte has about 30 public tennis courts, including the Jeff Adams Tennis Center at Renaissance Park on Tyvola Rd. There are also several Charlotte tennis leagues that organize various tournaments and social events. For details, go to www.parkandrec.com, click on "things to do," then select "tennis." For information on league play, check out:

www.matchmakertennis.com
www.charlottetennisassociation.com
www.carolinatennis.com

4. BOXING There is perhaps no better or more intense workout than boxing. Not only will it get you in great shape, but you'll also learn how to defend yourself and give your confidence a boost. If you're interested, check out Southside Boxing, where Joe Mayer or one of his instructors can help. There's also the Charlotte Boxing Academy, a joint venture of County Park and Rec and the academy, a private club funded by donations.

Southside Boxing for Fitness, 1405 Tyvola Rd., 704-527-8624 / 1111 Hawthorne Lane.
Charlotte Boxing Academy, 407 East 36th Street, 704-372-0410

5. GOLF "Hitting a ball with a crooked stick. Then walking after it! Then hitting it again! I say pick it up, asshole! You're lucky you found the fuckin' thing!" I have to agree with George Carlin's assessment of golf; I just don't get it. Nonetheless, my cluelessness aside, millions of people love this game. If you're a golfing enthusiast you're in luck, because Charlotte and the surrounding areas are practically overrun with golf courses, including five public courses owned and operated by Mecklenburg County Park & Rec. For details, go to www.parkandrec.com, click on "things to do" and then select "golf." And, of course, there are a slew of private, swankoid courses in case you're as interested in discussing business deals as getting fit. Other golf services include Charlotte Singles Golf at www.charlottesingles.com

6. BIKING Charlotte is by no means a bicycle-friendly town, but folks are working on it. For instance, BIKES of Charlotte/Mecklenburg (www.charlottebikes.org) is an advocacy group working to promote safe bicycling for recreation and transportation. They've also created a "Bicycle Suitability Map" which helps cyclists use existing roadways to travel throughout the area. If you're not willing to take on Charlotte's mean streets, there are plenty of biking trails available at Charlotte-area parks, some of which can challenge even the most experienced mountain biker. If you're looking for a more leisurely, family-friendly bike ride, Charlotte's greenway system is the way to go. And Hornets Nest Park on Beatties Ford Road has a 1,150-foot regulation BMX bike track, which hosts competitions every Saturday. For details go to:www.parkandrec.com and click on "things to do," then click on "biking" or "greenways."

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