Peter Borgen


Peter Borgen began working for the City of St. Paul Libraries 17 years ago and, over that time, has worked at many different branches. As a Library Associate, he is a “Jack of all Trades” in that his work encompasses services to patrons of all ages. He does programming for kids, teens, and adults, supervises the homework center at Dayton’s Bluff, provides outreach to parents at Early Childhood Family Education groups, education for daycare providers about early literacy, provides technology help for library patrons, and, of course, performs “other duties as assigned.”

Peter has always been active for the sheer enjoyment. He participated in competitive sports during high school such as cross country, soccer and swimming. He confesses he was never in jeopardy of winning – he simply enjoyed the activities and the social aspect of it all. In college, he joined the swim team for 1.5 years but decided he was more interested in education than in competition. He continued exercising and being active on his own throughout college and ever since.

Peter has been married five years and has a four year old son. With demands of job and family, he finds he is naturally a little less active than before. However, he does call biking and skiing his obsessions; obsessions in that he has such a true passion for the activities. He enjoys them as often as possible. He has found the best way to indulge this passion is to include his family. This allows him to enjoy his exercise habits without having to choose between them and time with his family. His family bike around the neighborhood together a few times per week. He stops the rides short of when his son wants to quit; he prefers to leave him wanting more than wishing they would stop. Peter further indulges his desire for biking every summer by participating in the Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. This ride covers 400 miles over the course of a week. This year he rode the St. Paul Classic Bike tour and loved it.

His other activity passion is Telemark Skiing. It is essentially downhill skiing but uses a different type ski – sort of a cross between a downhill ski and a cross country ski. It has a different style of turning, and he describes it as more versatile, more graceful and a more challenging way to ski. His family also participates in skiing. He jokingly states that his wife made him wait until his son was two years old to have him start. Two years later now, his son loves it. Last year, Peter became a member of the National Ski Patrol at Afton Alps.
Running is not so much of a passion of his, but it seems to be a challenge from which he continues to receive satisfaction. He ran his first marathon as a lark in college but blew out his knee at 22.5 miles. This was so frustrating that he vowed he would finish a marathon before he turned 30. He did complete his first Twin Cities Marathon at age 29 and almost as an aside, he mentioned since then, he has run and finished it eight times.

Peter believes in not over-training and recommends finding activities that you enjoy doing. He enjoys showing his son how to be active and encourages him by doing it with him, side by side.


Sgt. Steve Anderson

Last year, like so many other employees, I was participating in the Healthy Saint Paul Well-Being program so I could earn the incentive. I signed up for the onsite screening. My results came back and showed I had higher than normal cholesterol levels and off the chart blood glucose level.


While I was somewhat surprised, I thought those numbers were due to not fasting prior to the screening. I knew I also had been eating the wrong “healthy foods” – not understanding the difference between good and bad carbs and eating foods with hidden sugar. So, I made an appointment with my primary doctor figuring he would yell at me about my diet, give me a pill to assist with the high cholesterol and get me on the right path.


Well, I was right about having him yell at me and giving me a pill – he put me on cholesterol medications. What I didn’t expect to hear and what shocked me was that I was diagnosed with diabetes. That was a real wake up call for me. I now needed to get serious with my diet – eating the good carbs vs the bad carbs, watching the sugars, making better choices with a real eating plan. Additionally, I began to inject insulin and also take diabetes meds.


The good news is I lost about 25 lbs. I’m running and working out every day. I know that is important to stay with too.


I’m still having my bad days with the low carb/low sugar diet but I’m plugging along. I owe a great deal to the screening process because it forced me to deal with my numbers and also got me on the right meds. It also got me hooked in to how to lead a better overall healthy lifestyle.



Introducing Jim Hensrud

Jim recently joined the City as the Health and Fitness Specialist for the Police Department.


Tell us a bit about your background and experience. How will you use it to help the employees of the Police Department get and stay in shape?
I have a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science: Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation from Winona State University. I am also certified as a Clinical Exercise Specialist from the American College of Sports Medicine. My education is focused on strength and cardiovascular training, fitness programming, nutritional guidance with a special emphasis in heart disease prevention and rehabilitation. Since I have completed my education I have spent the last few years providing personal and group training to individuals in their homes, gyms or corporate fitness centers.


Every person is different. I believe in sitting down with a person to develop a fitness and diet plan specifically for them. I put an emphasis in educating someone to understand the importance of diet and exercise and how to keep themselves active and healthy. I encourage anyone with questions to call or stop by anytime.


What are some common myths people have about exercise and nutrition?
A few sources I found claimed that $61 billion was spent in the USA on weight loss products in 2012. Many products use false claims or information to make money in this large market. Healthy weight loss is recommended at 1-2 pounds a month. Any product that claims faster weight loss should be avoided. Also, avoid all sales pitches that sell you a product to consume to lose weight. Choose a diet plan that you can follow the rest of your life that contains nothing but natural sources of foods. My best advice: DO NOT take advice from someone trying to sell you something. Another myth is that people must exercise a certain location to lose weight from that area. Where you store fat is based on genetics. You cannot lose weight in specific areas and not others.


To lose weight, what has a bigger impact – diet or exercise?
I would say weight loss is 55% activity, 45% nutrition. Those numbers are debatable, but the relationship is very close. You can run marathons and have trouble losing weight if you eat fast food every day. Likewise, the healthiest eater may struggle with weight if they are completely sedentary.

For someone who hasn’t exercised in a long while or is new to it, what would a beginning program look like? Do you have tips for getting started?
Often changes happen slowly so I do not expect anyone to go from no exercise to 5-6 days a week. Three days a week is a good starting point for about 30 minutes at a time. I always tell people to ease into a program to avoid injury or overtraining. Slowly work your way to the minimal recommended amount of 150 minutes a week. A person should begin with something they enjoy to keep them interested, preferably participating in one of their favorite sports. My tips are to schedule exercise into your day early to make sure it gets done and to stick with the program for about 8 weeks to see results. Once a person sees the results they are more likely to stick with a program.

For people already in shape and exercising regularly, is there anything new for them to add to or change in their workouts to get even more results?
Remember the FITT principle:
Frequency: how often someone works out in a week
Intensity: how hard someone works out
Time: how long someone works out
Type: the type of exercise conducted


The human body typically adapts to the same fitness program after two weeks. To see physical improvements, an individual must increase one of the above factors from the FITT principle. If a person is exercising as often as needed or as often as possible, they may consider working out harder (increasing Intensity), or changing what they do (different strength training exercises or biking instead of running). The more you change your program, the more you challenge your body to adapt. If an exercise does not challenge you, it does not change you!


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