Thursday, December 14, 2006


Nordic Walking Expert Series - Gerry Faderbauer (Canadian Nordic Walking Association)

...And now for the introduction of another new 'regular feature'. For some time now I have wanted to do a series of 'Expert Interviews'. Apart from anything else I wanted to give my readers the opportunity to hear more from other people and less from me:-). Also I thought it would be great if some of the key people from around the world of Nordic Walking would be prepared to share their views and thoughts with us. So here we go...

The Gerry Faderbauer Interview

David: "I would like to welcome Gerry Faderbauer of the Canadian Nordic Walking Association. Gerry has kindly agreed to be the first person to sit in the 'hot seat' and be interviewed by me for my new 'Nordic Walking Expert Series'. So, welcome Gerry and thank you for giving us your time today."

Gerry: "Not at all David, it's a great pleasure, thank you for inviting me."

David: "Gerry; how did you come to get started with Nordic Walking?"

Gerry: "As a member of the Austrian national rowing team, the Austrian Olympic team in Atlanta 1996 and 3 times World Champion, I used to train two to three times every day all year long. In the winter when it was too cold for rowing and there was not enough snow for cross country skiing I used to run uphill.

In order to have a full body workout, I used my short cross country skiing poles to push myself forward. That was in the 1980s, some years later I heard about Nordic Walking. I realized from the beginning that my poles gave me an excellent physical workout. They helped me in my training and therefore contributed to my success as a full time athlete."

David: "Tell me about the Canadian Nordic Walking Association (CNWA) and your future goals and visions?"

Gerry: "I want the Canadian Nordic Walking Association to be the first address for all Canadians who are interested in this sport. We want to make sure that everybody who begins with Nordic Walking gets advise from a trainer certified by the Association.

It is very important to begin with the right technique as it's important that everybody gets the maximum benefit. The Canadian Nordic Walking Association also wants to advise and inform fitness professionals like personal trainers and other professionals working in the field of fitness about this sport."

David: "With regards to your Nordic Walking career to date, what has given you the greatest satisfaction and why?"

Gerry: "The greatest satisfaction was probably that the meaning of Nordic Walking increased immensely in Canada. It is great to see this sport taking off and to be part of it right from the beginning on."

David: "Tell me about Nordic Walking in Canada as you see it right now?"

Gerry: "Compared to many European countries I see Nordic Walking in Canada on the beginning of it´s development. There is much room for growing. The great thing with Nordic Walking is, that it suits for so many different target groups. At this time of speaking, Nordic Walking is accepted and known mainly by people who are more involved in fitness then the average population.

But Nordic Walking can be adapted so easy to the needs of nearly everybody - independent from individual fitness level and also independent from age. I am convinced that many more people will come in contact with Nordic Walking and will love this exercise."

David: "How do you define Nordic Walking?"

Gerry: "I define Nordic Walking as a specific walking technique using poles to involve the upper body into the walking process and to push the body forward."

David: "How do you see Nordic Walking developing over the coming years at an international level?"

Gerry: "I am sure that Nordic Walking will become as popular like - let me say for example 'skiing'. People will choose their destination for holidays dependent on the ability to Nordic Walk there and to have the infrastructure for Nordic Walking. This is a great challenge for the Tourist industry."

David: "Is Nordic Walking going to have long term staying power, or is it just another ‘latest fitness trend’ today and gone tomorrow?"

Gerry: "Nordic Walking is such a great exercise for so many different kinds of people and nearly everybody who tries it once, realizes quickly how much they can benefit from this sport. It is not a exercise just based on bubbles and loud marketing.

We are getting e-mails from people from all age and fitness levels and they all tell us how much they like this sport. I mean: There are many hard facts how and why Nordic Walking makes sense for everybody - so I think this sport will not be seen by the people just as a trend."

David: "What advice would you give to someone who is considering taking up Nordic Walking and who has a low – medium level of fitness and is carrying some extra pounds and who wants to trim down and improve their general health and fitness levels?"

Gerry: "Well, it is important that everybody who wants to start a fitness program starting on a low - medium level of fitness and with some extra pounds should talk to this physician first. But basically I am convinced that Nordic Walking would be the sport of choice to build up fitness. It is important to start with the right technique, so I would say the first steps should be done under the advice of a good trainer.

To improve fitness it is important to do Nordic Walking on a regular base - best daily. Start with distances which you can do easily - avoid overexerting. The good thing on Nordic Walking is, that first positive results are quickly to feel and also the first pounds are melting pretty soon. That improves motivation immensely. Well, and of course it is fun to walk in a group - that´s usually also a big boost in motivation."

David: "What equipment do you consider to be essential for someone just getting started with Nordic Walking?"

Gerry: "One of the advantages of Nordic Walking is that it is not necessary to spend big dollars on a sophisticated equipment. Good walking shoes and a pair of Nordic Walking poles are enough to start with this sport. It is important that the poles have a ergonomic handle with straps holding the pole in the right position also when the walker opens his hand - this is part of the right walking technique.

One of the sponsors of the Canadian Nordic Walking Association, "Timberdoodle Outdoors", developed in close cooperation with us some aluminium poles which fit perfectly the needs of everybody who wants to do this sport. All that for a very affordable price."

David: "Fixed length poles, adjustable poles, semi adjustable poles, telescopic poles - What is your take on poles?"

Gerry: "We recommend, especially for beginners, telescopic poles. They can easily be adjusted also for other people (maybe your kids, your spouse of friend wants to try it too) and are perfect for walking. Later on, when somebody decides: that´s my sport, it may make sense to switch to other poles."

David: "How do you answer someone who asks "why do I need training, surely there's nothing difficult about walking with poles?"

Gerry: "To get the full benefit from Nordic Walking it is necessary to walk with the right technique. This is not difficult to learn, because with Nordic Walking you basically use the natural movement of the body. Nevertheless: it is not just 'walking with poles'. It is important to find the right rhythm, to place the poles correctly and to release and catch the handle in the right way."

David: "Someone has been Nordic Walking for a while and they have experienced health and fitness benefits. Now they want to take Nordic Walking to the next level. What do you recommend?"

Gerry: "Well, it is easy to adapt Nordic Walking for every fitness level and for every intensity. Experienced walkers can increase their speed and increase the power to push themselves forward. That leads to a very effective workout. A more difficult terrain can make a big difference. Next steps could also be Nordic Running (use the poles while running) or use the poles with snowshoes in wintertime."

David: "Ok Gerry, I really appreciate your time today, it's been great talking to you and hearing about your views and thoughts."

Gerry: "It's been my pleasure David - Thank you!"

To find out more about the Canadian Nordic Walking association please visit:

EXPERTS WANTED! If you are a Nordic Walking expert and you would like to be featured in this 'Expert Series' or if there is an expert that you would like to see featured please email: david @

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