Hustle Up the Hancock

The view from the top never looked so healthy, as it did in Chicago, when 10 employees from Loop Capital participated in their first-ever stair climb, “Hustle up the Hancock” (Tower) on Feb. 27–all finishing in less than 15 minutes! The employees, ages 29 to 49, included the Human Resources Director, a company partner and her husband. Founded in 1997, and headed by President Jim Reynolds, Loop Capital provides a wide range of integrated capital solutions for corporate, governmental, and institutional entities.

Loop Capital recruited Norma Rixter, renowned speaker, Certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist, author, and wellness consultant, to train the employees in a 12-week “Lunch ‘n Learn” nutrition and fitness workshop.

“Hustle Up the Hancock” is an annual fund-raiser for the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago. “I want to commend Loop Capital for setting a new pace in their commitment to the health and wellness of their employees,” Rixter said. In addition to training the employees, the 56-year-old Rixter placed first out of 66 women in her age group of 50-59, in the half climb (52 floors) with a time of 9:05 minutes. Overall, she placed 35 out of 522 women.

What fuels a 56-year-old woman to put herself through what would be considered grueling exercise for a woman half her age? It is the passion arising from a long, arduous journey of self-discovery. Overcoming a diagnosis of Diminished Lung Capacity and the possible onset of MS at age 40, and witnessing her parents’ deaths from lung-related illnesses, Rixter resolved to change her life through diet and exercise. Her cardio machine of choice became the Stair Master. At age 51, she completed her first “Hustle Up the Hancock” stair climb –all 95 floors: 1650 stairs–averaging 100 to 105 stairs a minute, in 17:56 minutes, to win first place in her age group. She now averages 90 to 100 stairs a minute!

With over 20 years in marketing, strategic planning and training for privately held companies, Rixter has written several wellness guides, created a number of audio CDs and videos, and appeared on TV and radio programs, including The Oprah Winfrey Show. She’s earned the title of Pro Athlete as a World Class Stair Climb Champion, tri-athlete and avid distance cyclist (100 mile rides)– all after age 50.

She has also developed The V.I.T.A.L. holistic fitness program, which contains elements of yoga, Pilates, strength training for core, upper and lower body, balance, coordination and flexibility. Her entrepreneurial spirit and corporate expertise have propelled her to the forefront of fitness and lifestyle leadership, bucking age stereotypes.

Rixter advocates women’s health, regardless of their age, echoing President Barack Obama’s message: “We have to help women thrive; when women thrive, we all thrive!” (2009 Chicago Tribune), and the “Get Moving Movement” espoused by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Rixter just released her first fitness DVD, available on, “The Magic is in the Movement,” with a target audience of women 40+. All the women in the DVD are local residents of Oak Park and River Forest and over age 40 — very unique to the fitness industry. The DVD features prominent resident Rochelle Smith Trotter, recently wed to celebrity Chef Charlie Trotter. Besides all that, Rixter still manages to find time to train corporate teams to stair climb and works out at least an hour a day, five days a week, plus teaches a daily 6 a.m. cardio class.

Rixter completed NSA Speaker University and graduated with a B.S. with honors in Special Education from HBC, Chicago State University. She received her M.S. in Information Technology from Roosevelt University. Her community involvement includes offering free Health and Wellness seminars to the public, participating in the “High School Literacy Program” and “Teens for Tennis.” She also donates her time and resources to Breast Cancer Awareness, The Lung Association and Respiratory Health Association.

The Four Cornerstones of Health

1. Proper Hydration

Latest studies recommend 1/2 your body weight in fluid ounces daily, good old plain water is best.  Your body is made up of approximately 70% of water.  Every organ in your body depends on water to function properly. Dehydration masks itself as headaches, poor elimination, muscle soreness and fatigue, dry skin and mouth.

Suggestion: (Consult your physician 1st) Plan your water intake by splitting your day into 3 hour increments i.e. am to 9am then 9am to noon, etc.  Then divide your water up for example you need to drink 100 ounces, that would be 25 ounces between 6 and 9am, then another 25 ounces between 9am and noon…you get the picture.

 2. Proper Rest
When you’re sleeping is the time the body uses to restore itself.  The recommended average is a minimum of 6 hours daily.  Losing sleep and then trying to make it up routinely will result in an overall “run down feeling”. Getting enough sleep daily is the key to managing stress.
Suggestion: (Consult your physician 1st) Plan your rest and back into your number, i.e. if you need to get to up by 6am you need to be sleep no later than 11pm, which means you will probably need to start your resting routine about 10pm.  A sleep routine is a really healthful habit to develop.
I can’t say enough about this one.  Your exercise routines should include stretching, strength training and cardio.  The latest studies recommend exercising 4 to 5 days a week and at least 30 to 45 minutes.
Suggestion: (Consult your physician 1st) You have to make your exercise appointment with yourself non negotiable. It has to have high priority and preferable at the beginning of the day. You give a real boost to your metabolism for several hours afterward and get a great endorphin release…what a way to start your day!!!
4.Proper Nutrition and portions
If you are drinking your water (see proper hydration) this will be a “piece of cake”.  Water is a natural appetite suppressant, it actually helps you eat less and maintain portion control.
Suggestion: (Consult your physician 1st)  Drink a glass of water before every meal not during but before.  Use a smaller plate and prepare your plate with half of what you would normally eat. Chew your food slowly, wait a few minutes and if you are still hungry get more vegetables.