Biking, swimming, running are no sweat

If Ronald Rich’s garage – complete with piles of old bicycle wheels, three wall-mounted racing bikes, and drawers full of bike shoes, gloves and water bottles – doesn’t hint at an obsession, leave it to his nightstand.

Where most would have an alarm clock and book, the CEO of Ronald B. Rich & Associates in Farmington Hills has two new bike inner tube boxes, and a pair of jogging shoes is not far off.

“I love it and I need it every day,” said Rich, 50, of his triathlon-inspired workouts in biking, swimming and jogging. The collection and construction attorney balances his 50- to 60-hour work weeks with training from his West Bloomfield Township home.

Rich used to be a competitive runner. But after hurting his back, he has dedicated his early mornings and late evenings to 50-mile bike rides, shorter runs and one-mile swims, all in the name of triathlons.

For more than 20 years Rich has raced in triathlons across the country. In his home office, a wall of old newspaper clippings is proof. So is a throw made of old race T-shirts hanging in his basement, as are the race medals hanging from a light next to his bed.

But for the unabashedly active Rich to successfully compete and race, weekdays are regimented: a workout, work, dinner, more work, and finally, another workout.

Days start at 6:30 a.m., with either a bike ride or a jog.

He rides 25 to 40 miles from his home twice a week on his ultralight Calfee racing bike. On Saturdays, he lengthens the trip to as much as 50 miles and couples it with a swim or jog. On Sundays, Rich joins a group of about 15-25 that treks from West Bloomfield Township to Fenton, Milford and Ann Arbor, sometimes riding 75 miles.

Twice a week he jogs between 5 and 8 miles, and returns home by 7:30 a.m.

At night, after returning from his office around 7:15 p.m. and eating dinner with his family, then working in his home office for a couple hours, Rich dives into his backyard pool around 10 p.m.

The pool is his backyard haven.


It measures 20 yards from corner to corner and has a right-angle shape. He swims 80-100 laps, about a mile, using a buoy to isolate his upper body after biking or jogging in the morning. He says the lights and stars help him calm down after the daily rigors of collection law.

“Every family should have a pool because it just creates a close family unit,” he said. “My family has been so supportive with everything I’ve done – they’ve been great.”

Rich packs his running shoes for every trip, business or pleasure.

“I can sit in a lawn chair for 30 minutes, but then I have to jump in the pool,” he said, recalling a family vacation to Aruba two years ago, when he ran every day and couldn’t sit next to the pool without an urge to do laps.

“People say I’m hyper. … I’m active,” he said. “When you’re somewhere around the world, and you’re not going to be back there again, you have to see everything. With running, you do see everything.”

Over the summer, Rich competed in a triathlon in Ohio, and other races.

“My most relaxing time of the day is when I’m working out,” he said. “No phones – it’s my time to get away. To me, this is easy.”

* * *

My Workout

* Who he is: Ronald Rich, 50, CEO of Ronald B. Rich & Associates, Farmington Hills.

* When he works out: Usually in morning, 6:30 a.m., seven days a week.

* Where he works out: Home gym and pool, Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield Township during winter to swim.

* His routine: Bikes 25-75 miles three to four times a week; runs 5 to 8 miles two to four times a week; swims one mile in pool every day; sit-ups and stretching before bed every night.

* Fitness tip: “Everyone should do some type of physical activity daily, depending on their capability. I don’t suggest a vigorous routine immediately, but you will find after time that the amount of exercise can, and will, increase to a comfortable level.”

Dressing for exercise: the weather calls the fashion

Deciding what to wear to school, a winter dance, or getting together with friends is sometimes difficult. But deciding what to wear when exercising outdoors requires even more thought. It’s smart to dress for outdoor activities and to know the advantages and disadvantages of some ot the newer clothing materials. Understanding the extreme effects of temperature on your body and good common sense all go into making an intelligent decision.

Fending Off Windchill

Winter exercise is, most likely, outdoor exercise: Ice skating, crosscountry skiing, snowmobiling, even jogging–all are wonderful in winter. Inappropriate dressing might result in frostile and respiratory problems, winter woes nobody goes looking for. Frostbite may occur when circulation to outer layers of exposed skin is reduced, due to prolonged exposure to the cold. The temperature of skin and extremities may fall to dangerous levels. Early warning signs of damage to your skin include a tingling and numbness in your fingers and toes, or a burning sensation to your nose and ears. If you do not recognize these signs, overexposure can lead to tissue damage and, possibly, frosbite.

The possibility of frostbite is higher on cold, windy days. It is important to refer to a windchill index. If it’s dangerously low, you know that you should cover all exposed areas or stay inside. Mittens, high socks, and a ski mask are a must on days when frostbite might be a factor. But no matter how appropriately you are dressed, prolonged exposure to frigid temperatures can be dangerous. Remember, too, that many activities create their own windchill factor, such asjogging, skiing, and ice skating. There may be no wind whatsoever, but if you jog at 6 mph, you are joggingagainst 6 mph wind.

Inhaling cold air itself does not pose a special danger to the respiratory system. Even in extremely low temperature, incoming air is warmed enough before it reaches the lungs. This is important, because warm air hlds misture, and warm, moist air is necessary to decrease your chance of respiratory problems. Warning signs that let you know that the air entering your lungs is too dry and cold include a dry mouth, a burning sensation in the throat, and irritation of the respiratory passages. These sympthoms can be reduced by wearing a mask or a scarf that covers your nose and mouth. When you wear something over your nose and mouth, the trapped air is warmed and moistened.

Staying Warm

When the temperature drops, it is important to insulate your body from its surroundings to prevent heat loss. In choosing the best cold weather clothing, understanding some of the principles of insulation can help. Clothing insulates when the mesh of the cloth fibers traps air that then becomes warm. It is important to understand that cloth and air hold heat. This is the reason that several layers of light clothing or sportswear lined with animal hair (wool), feathers (down), or synthetic fabrics are a better insulator than a single layer of bulky winter clothing. Another important principle of insulation to understand is that 30 percent to 40 percent of your body heat can be lost through you head, much like the heat going up a fireplace. A wool cap will greatly reduce this heat loss.

Something else to consider when choosing cold weather exercise clothing is perspiration. This is important, because when clothing becomes wet, it loses almost 90 percent of its insulating properties. It can even cool your body at a faster rate than the cold air outside.

The very best winter sportswear is a material that does not allow air in, but lets moisture from perspiration escape. Cross-country skiers, for example, would see clothing made from this material and would remove the outer layers as their body became warmer. While skiing, skiers might remove their jacket as their core body temperature increase. The layers of clothing under the jacket would allow excess heat and moisture to get out yet keep them warm. Once again, common sense is your best defense when the wind starts blowing and the temperature plummets.

The Other Extreme

Exercising during hot weather requires every bit as much attention as does exercising in the cold. Not being aware of proper exercise procedure could result in serious heat illness, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. Dress could be a contributing factor to these ilnesses. Any kind of clothing that slows the evaporation of perpiration is potentially dangerous. When your body is overheated, an imbalance of body chemicals, especially salt, can occur, and a dangerously high body temperature may follow. These can be very dangerous, and you should take precautions to prevent them. A hot weather exerciser must be sure to drink lots kf fluids. Keep a watch on body temperature, and dress appropriately.


Ideally, material used for hot weather exercising should be loosefitting. The permits free circulation of the air and promotes water movement away from the skin. Light colors are the best choice because they reflect heat rays, while dark colors absorb heat. Heavy sweatshirts and clothing made of rubber or plastic may prevent perspiration from evaporating and cooling the body; this can be very dangerous. Athletes sometimes wonder if they should change into dry clothing when their exercise clothing becomes wet. This is not a good idea, because dry clothing slows down the cooling of the body.

Dressing for exercise doesn’t have to be dull, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. you might come up with some unlikely combinations, especially in the winter when you’re wearing layers. But when it comes to exercise clothing, it’s cool to be cool–and cool to be warm.