Friday, July 29, 2011

Get Moving Without Pain: Pro Advice that Works for Everyone

Nearly everyone who has been involved in sports has heard the expression: “No pain, no gain.” The obvious conclusion is that you don’t get fit without pain. But it is wrong! Let’s be honest, fear of pain is one of the reasons why many of us don’t exercise. Exercise is portrayed as more punishment than accomplishment that feels good.
It’s little wonder then that many approach exercise like one would a root canal. It doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to hurt to exercise or exercise until you hurt. Exercise is stress, so there will be some discomfort, but the secret to getting the most out of your exercise is to know the difference between pain and discomfort. What everybody wants to know is: How can a smart person stay pain free and ALSO be active?
Junonia has asked some experts for their advice. This is what they’ve told us:
1. Plan Ahead– Learn from Mistakes
Did you go on a hike without knowing how long it would take? Did you help someone move and lift boxes all day? The mistakes here are obvious in retrospect. Know your limits. Don’t lace up running shoes and run for a couple miles your first time out unless you want to be seriously sore the next day. Start by walking with a few bursts of jogging. Gradually build into any exercise. Don’t go too fast. Enjoy the scenery. Monitor your body for signs of stress. Then “cool down” afterwards. Maybe take a dip in the pool, stretch in the whirlpool, do some active recovery to relax and relieve that stress.
Most people hurt themselves by attempting more than they are capable of doing. We are pumped up and pain free – until the next day! Take the easiest class, and then take it easy in that class! You are stressing new muscles, and you can expect that they will complain! Be smarter than most of us. Start slower than you KNOW you can. You can always do more next time. Do not be embarrassed, do not be bullied into doing more, just enjoy yourself.
As your regular exercise regimen progresses, use the 10% rule. Increase Distance, Intensity, OR Frequency by NO MORE than 10% a week—and only increase one of them! It seems slow, but you’ll save yourself a world of pain and get fit faster than your injured friends. Go to for a 10% calculator and lots more great advice.
2. Pain or Discomfort – Know the Difference
Sharp pain that restricts movement or a dull ache that doesn’t go away as you warm up during the beginning of exercise is telling you that you’ve pushed too hard. Pain is your body’s way of telling you to slow down or stop because you are doing too much or going too fast. As we increase activity, or start new activities, the “discomfort” can seem quite intense. You are finding muscles you never knew you had! The truth: We have to push the body beyond its comfort zone to make it stronger. Stiffness, tenderness, discomfort that goes away within a couple of days with no more than ice and perhaps a little over-the-counter pain reliever is normal. It’s actually essential to building strength and endurance. Learn what it feels like, and learn to NOT be afraid of it. The breakdown and repair of muscle tissues is a normal. A key part of getting fitter and stronger is discovering where that line is between just enough stress and too much. Be conservative. If you are not in pain you will maintain a more consistent exercise routine. If you constantly push yourself too hard, you will get hurt, miss workouts, and have pain. That is not fun. Who needs that? Back off before you reach the “line” between discomfort and pain. It will benefit you in the long run.
3. Rest!
Rest and sleep are just as important to improving muscle development and endurance as the activity itself. If you are creating discomfort one day, take it easy the next. Hard /easy is the combination recommended by most coaches. Don’t schedule two tough activities without a rest day in between. A rest day doesn’t necessarily mean no exercise, just light exercise. Active recovery is better than being inactive if you can handle it. Always get your eight hours or more of sleep. Your muscles need their “beauty sleep.”
4. Consistency
This is a hard one for most people. So grab a friend, sign up for a class, bike to work, plan a vacation that requires you go get fitter, hire a personal trainer, use a computer program on your phone, teach a fitness class yourself, swap child care so you can do your workout—or do a lot of different things. Consistency is hard even for the pros—that’s why they have coaches, motivators, workout “cheerleaders.” Make staying fit a priority. Without consistency, every time you stop or get hurt and have to re-start, you will have to endure more discomfort. Who wants that? So build consistency into your life. Be active. Be strong. Be fit. You can.
5. Variety
While you want consistency in your commitment to being active, some people find it easier to maintain a regular exercise routine by varying their activities. If you walk, get into the pool. If you swim, try biking. If you do yoga, get into the weight room once in awhile. If you train inside, get into the great outdoors. If you use machines, try tennis with a friend. If you are a hiker, a little yoga could be fun. Exercise is just getting acquainted with your body, learning what it can do, what your limits are. The payoff can be fewer “weak links” in your body and easier “active recovery.” Aerobic activity will stress and improve your heart and circulatory system, lungs and overall endurance. Weights help you with strength and power. All these things are necessary. The trick is to find the right balance, the right combinations without over stressing any single element. You’ll be amazed at the improvement in your overall balance and ability to do more things as you vary your workouts. You’ll also have less discomfort by allowing active rest for your “usual” muscles. Remember, variety is “the spice of life.”

-Anne Kelly
Founder and Chair of Junonia

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Aquatards, one of our greatest hists.

A garment originally designed for tri-athletes can seem pretty intimidating, but the features that make this swimsuit perfect for a triathlon, also make it the perfect swimsuit for many Junonia customers. Once you try it, you may never want another suit.
For those of us who are just TRYING athletes, these aquatards give us the muscle support that helps us keep moving and having fun longer. It is great to wear in water aerobics class because it keeps my jiggly legs from creating a mini tsunami.
The long zip front is a big help in getting it on and off, and the straps on both of Junonia’s aquatards stay in place during swimming or other exercise. The colorful trim on the V-neck cross back style is a great feature – it’s not just another black suit.
So next time you shop for a swim suit, consider stepping into an aquatard. You will love it!

Janet Madrigal
Director of Inventory Planning

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer Reading

M.K.’s Summer Reading List: A Delightful Baker’s Dozen

M.K. is the mastermind behind two popular reading groups in Minnesota. She is a former bookstore owner, funny, bright, irreverent – the perfect advisor for Junonia. She has picked a tasty summer list for your enjoyment. Every book on this list qualifies as a gift to give away, but not before reading it! Feedback on the list is welcomed. Just email me at If you like M.K.’s picks, she has offered to do this for us quarterly.

Listed Randomly

1.) It Looked Different on the Model - Humor - by Laurie Notaro (Available July 27)

2.) If You Ask Me: (And Of Course You Won’t) –

3.) Bossy Pants – Humor/Memoir – Tina Fey

4.) Run Like a Girl: How Strong Women Make Happy Lives – Nonfiction/Stories - Mina Samuels

5.) The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2011: True Stories from Around the World – Edited by Lavinia Spalding

6.) The Prodigal Summer – Novel – Barbara Kingsolver.

7.) Beyond Wealth: A Treasure Trove of Thought – Nonfiction – Alexander Green

8.) The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and

9.) One Thousand and One Ways to Live in the Moment – Inspiration - Barbara Kipfer

10.) Blood, Bones and Butter: the Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef – Memoir – Gabriella Hamilton, owner of New York City restaurant, Prune.

11.) Raising the Salad Bar: Beyond Leafy Greens—Inventive Salads with Beans, Whole Grains, Pasta, Chicken and More – Cookbook – Catherine Walthers

12.) Three Junes – Novel - Julia Glass

13.) “Sheepish: Two Women, 50 Sheep and Enough Wool to Save the Planet Humor/Memoir– Catherine Friend

Here are other books M.K.’s groups are reading this summer:

The Postmistress – Novel – Sarah Blake

The Paris Wife – Novel – Paula McClain

In Zanesville – Novel – Joanne Beard

A visit from the Goon Squard – Novel – Jennifer Egan

I Shudder: and Other Reactions for Life, Death, and New Jersey – Humor/Memoir - Paul Rudnick

Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness – Jerome Groopman

Friday, July 15, 2011

Our Greatest Hits: Swimwear!

A few years ago, we discovered that the first JunoActive purchase most of our customers make is a swimsuit. They buy them from us all year long for aqua aerobics classes, lap swimming, hot tubbing, and beach vacations. But why buy a JunoActive swimsuit?
It sounds simple, but they are designed for SWIMMING.
Have you ever been happily swimming along, and the strap of your suit begins to migrate down your arm until it makes you stop everything and tug it back in place?
A racerback suit solves this problem for competitive swimmers.
We solve it with a unique cross back construction that pulls the shoulder straps in closer to the neck. Check out the Crossback Swim Dress and the Crossback Tank Suit. Both were designed with spandex-free AquaSport fabric, which make them perfect for pool swimming.
Have you ever climbed out of the pool while frantically trying to re-position the backside of your swimsuit and maintain your dignity, and your balance?
Well, the other great feature of a JunoActive swimsuit is that you can “customize your coverage.” JunoActive’s variety of swim bottoms helps you decide the amount of coverage you need to be comfortable during your swims– from swim briefs to swim capris (20” inseam), and swim shorts with inseams of 5”, 8” or 11”. Combine one of these bottoms with a tankini, or a rashguard in short sleeve or ¾ sleeve versions, and you are the one who decides the amount of coverage you find comfortable.
In addition to those swim separates; we are one of the only companies to offer one piece swimsuits with knee length shorts – Aquatards. These suits are designed using our QuikEnergy fabric which is made of 78% nylon and 22% Xtra Life Lycra. This fabric doesn’t just feel sleek when you wear it, it also supports your muscles as you swim, which helps prevent muscle cramps and provides extra energy.
The JunoActive swimwear story is about swimwear that stays out of your way so you can enjoy your life in and around the water.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A large woman’s guide to bike buying

Thanks to Tracy “Cubs” Farr, Manager at NOW Bike and Fitness in St. Paul, Minnesota for taking the time to tell me all the things a large woman should look for when purchasing a bike. If you are in the market for a bike you may reach him at 651-644-2354 or check out their website.
I hadn’t been bike shopping in years, and it was really fun. Amazing technology, great gizmos, and everything geared to making biking a real pleasure. No “it’s got to hurt” philosophy here. Instead the attitude was more like” the more you love your bike, the more you’ll ride, and that’s what we love to sell. Everybody should ride a bike!”
Whether you are ready to purchase or still contemplating, here is what I learned.
  1. Find a size-friendly shop that knows their stuff.
Call them and ask something like, “How do you fit a bike?”
  1. Get the right size bike.
Whatever you end up choosing, get the right size. As Tracy put it, “It’s better to buy a $400 bike that fits, than $1,400 for one that doesn’t.”
  1. Get the right type of bike for your use.
Don’t feel you have to buy a mountain bike just because those wheels seem so sturdy and safe. If you aren’t really riding off-road, these bikes can be slow and discouraging.
  1. What about the handle bars?
Get what is comfortable for you. There are many handle bar configurations to choose from, and especially in urban settings, upright is great for riding in traffic.
  1. What about wheels?
You’ll need a bike shop willing to customize for you.
  1. Do I need special shoes?
In short—they are highly recommended. They are an important part of improving your efficiency.
  1. What about brakes and gears.
Brakes now function with the lightest touch. So a large person doesn’t need to worry about stopping the bike—but should worry about stopping too fast!
  1. What about seats?
It will take your seat a while to fully adjust. As you ride more, your seat preference will change.
  1. Where should I ride?
Everywhere! Take it easy on the way in, and burn it up on the way home.
  1. Essential “Extras”
Helmet, helmet and helmet. There is no place for foolish vanity on a bike. Keep yourself safe. Bring a strong lock and keep your investment in sight! Park your bike in the house, not the garage. Register or license your bike with the local police. Reflective ankle wraps and lights are important for commuters in early morning and late afternoon hours. A bell on your bike and a review mirror are good in urban areas with pedestrians and traffic. An odometer is fun if you’re particularly goal oriented. And invest in some vividly colored clothing to increase your visibility in traffic.
Happy trails from Anne Kelly and all of us at Junonia!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Conversation with Author Meera Patricia Kerr, author of Big Yoga and long-time yoga teacher.

Junonia: Let’s talk about the myths that might stop people from giving yoga a try, and the realities.
Myth: I don’t have anything to wear.
Reality: Lightweight and loose is all you need. Totally comfortable is the goal, so clothes with built in stretch work well. Special yoga clothing is not required. Junonia provides a very good selection of comfortable clothing that will work for yoga.
Myth: I’m not flexible enough to do yoga. I can’t touch my toes. I have no balance.
Reality: People who are stiff (most people starting yoga) can do adaptive yoga poses. Do simple yoga flexibility on the floor, so balance isn’t a problem. Do standing poses next to the wall so you can touch the wall, building your strength and confidence. You can also use a chair or a doorway to assist.
Myth: I have to keep up with everyone else in the class and I don’t think I can.
Reality: Yoga is not a competitive practice. If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t feel comfortable talking to the instructor, asking for adaptive poses where you need them, or simply resting during a pose you are not comfortable doing, you need to find another place where you can be more comfortable.
Myth: It’s hard to find a yoga studio or instructor.
Reality: It’s becoming easier with the growth in popularity of yoga. Call a nearby studio and ask for recommendations for private instruction. Be specific about wanting adaptive assistance to get started with a few private lessons. Then try out some classes. Most places will allow you to try out a class at no or low cost.
Don’t have money for classes? Start at the library. There are many DVD’s out there to show you basic moves, including my DVD’s called Big Yoga. But don’t feel you must do a 60 minute workout tape at the start. I’ve organized my DVD to start out with 10 minutes and to build from there.
Myth: Yoga Studios are intimidating and not friendly.
Reality: While quiet and restful, in most yoga classes, people get to know each other before and after class, and become very supportive of each other. Instructors should get to know each student. If you try a studio, and after a few sessions have not achieved a comfort level that allows you to progress, try another!
Myth: I have a bad neck (knee, elbow, ankle, etc) and I can’t do yoga.
Reality: Most people are coping with some imperfection. Start VERY slowly. Talk to the instructor before class about your concern. Stop if there is any pain. Don’t feel you must “keep up” with anyone else. Don’t ever let an instructor or fellow student force you into any pose. With careful yoga practice you many find your issue starts to improve.
Myth: I should sign up for difficult classes to burn as many calories as possible.
Reality: We never talk about calories. We talk about listening to your body. Don’t be a show off. Usually it is people who haven’t tried it before who push too hard to stay up with the class. Take the easiest class you can to start, and always do LESS than you think you can do. The maximum benefit comes when you are staying relaxed. If you don’t feel relaxed, it’s tension, not yoga. My ideal class is one hour and fifteen minutes long. That is enough time for deep relaxation at the end of class. When we give bodies a chance for that yummy release, it can relieve old trauma. Yoga can change your life.
Myth: It’s a religion and I already have one.
Reality: While many of the major world religious traditions use yoga-like concepts, yoga is not a religion. The physical aspect of yoga (the postures) allows the practitioner the physical freedom to do the other important work of yoga: meditation, self-less service, devotion (to whatever the person chooses), and self-reflection.
Myth: It’s too quiet for me – I’m a chatty person.
Reality: If you are happy being chatty during a class, yoga many not be for you. But if you have trouble with your mind running the show, yoga can help. Recently my son was in an accident and it was all I could think about. Thankfully I had my yoga practices so I could control the chatter, and be in charge of the mind. During that difficult time, I knew I could not be of service to my son if I was upset. Thankfully, things worked out for my son, but we all have challenges like that.
Myth: Everyone will be looking at me because I’m not skinny.
Reality: In yoga, the teacher usually reminds people “keep your awareness within.” It’s all about you. I do not allow observers in my classes. They are welcome to come and participate, to try out a class, resting whenever they need, but I want everyone in my class to be comfortable so they can focus on themselves and their yoga practice.
Myth: I hate going barefoot. Do I have to?
Reality: Socks are just fine, and the new non-slip yoga socks look fabulous. I suggest buying your own mat, although studios always provide antibacterial spray to ensure a clean environment.
Myth: Yoga must be done every day.
Reality: Doing more will accelerate your progress. But once a week is better than nothing. Every so often you might get an urge to step it up. But if you don’t have the money, don’t be discouraged. Some gyms offer no-cost or sliding fee drop-in classes. And you can offer your services at yoga studios. Barter, work out a trade. Often the yoga studios need someone to do a service in exchange for a class.
Myth: Do I have to stand on my head?
Reality: My yoga master taught me that “In yoga, it is much more important to stand on your own two feet!”
You can keep in touch with Meera at

Friday, July 8, 2011

What does the name Junonia mean?

Q: What does the name Junonia mean?

A: When I started Junonia, I wanted to find a name that referenced the products and the spirit of the company. Junonia is dedicated to serving the active lives of women, and looking through books for ideas, I came across the goddess Juno. About the same time, I had visited Sanibel Island in Florida where the rare Junonia seashell washes up from the Gulf of Mexico.

I loved both stories, the seashell and the goddess. The rare and beautiful seashell, representing a natural woman, takes its name from the goddess Juno. The goddess Juno is the supreme goddess, responsible for the well-being of women. I especially liked the fact that she is always depicted in art as a larger-than-life woman. She is described as powerful and beautiful.

These themes, natural health, beauty, and powerful womanhood had a strong appeal. Junonia is about providing women the clothing that makes them feel and look great. When we help women feel that way, they feel like the goddess Juno, beautiful and powerful.

-Anne Kelly

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


In marketing we like numbers, so to incorporate numbers into the blog we came up with a fun poll to give you a chance to vote for your favorite JunoActive item. Let your opinion be heard!
We’ve tallied up the top 10 selling items to vote for. If your favorite item isn’t shown feel free to give it a shout in the comments below.
Top ten selling items