Birmingham Shines

A show about the makers, creators, and innovators of the Magic City: Birmingham, Alabama.
RSS Feed Subscribe in Apple Podcasts
Birmingham Shines



All Episodes
Now displaying: February, 2016
Feb 26, 2016

Katie Exum, publisher and editor of Alabama Trails magazine is the guest on episode 33 of Birmingham Shines.

Rotary Trail in downtown Birmingham is the next trail set to open in Birmingham.

Rotary Trail is part of a much larger trail system under development in the Magic City and surrounding areas.

We are so blessed to have amazing outdoor recreation opportunities all around us. Birmingham’s burgeoning trail system and city parks are one of the reasons that Birmingham is gaining so much attention from national media and tourism bloggers. Yes, we have amazing food. But we have so much more and outdoor recreation is a big part of that.

I wanted to have Katie on the show because she and her husband have created a relatively new magazine that focuses on outdoor recreation opportunities all across Alabama, including those here in the greater Birmingham area. I think it’s a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about what to see and do all across Alabama, including right here in Birmingham.

If you’re a regular listener to Birmingham Shines, you might remember that Deon Gordon said he marks the turning point in Birmingham’s renaissance with the creation of Railroad Park. Others on the show have echoed that sentiment. Teresa Thorne, executive director of City Action Partnership, known as CAPS downtown, is one of those individuals. Another guest, David Weigel singled out the city parks and outdoor recreation opportunities surrounding the greater Birmingham area as one of the reasons Birmingham Shines. Scot Duncan, a professor at Birmingham Southern College talked about Alabama’s amazing biodiversity and why it matters for our city, region and state.

Full show notes here:

Feb 18, 2016

My guest this week is Jason Carroll, one of the co-founders of Red Mountain Grace, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that offers residential space to out of town families in need who must be in Birmingham on an extended basis to receive medical treatment.

As is often the case, the really good part of this episode comes in the last 5 minutes. Before that, Jason and I talk about the organization, the type of hospitality provided by Red Mountain Grace, and how you might get involved. Near the end of our conversation, I asked Jason to share a story about a family served by Red Mountain Grace.

The 38-year-old husband had just been diagnosed with metastatic cancer and the family was among the first to receive residential assistance through Red Mountain Grace. Jason shares a poignant conversation with the couple, who asked why Red Mountain Grace existed.
That family did not get the blessing of a cure, but Jason said that if they had only been able to assist one family, ever, it would have made it all worthwhile.

“If you can be a light for a short time for a family, it’s worth it.” -- Jason Carroll

I hope the big takeaway from this conversation is that everyone can make a difference in some way, large or small. If you listen to many episodes of Birmingham Shines, you’ll often hear that it’s the people who make Birmingham shine.

I think this episode of Birmingham Shines really proves that point.

Find out more about Red Mountain Grace at

Feb 12, 2016

Teddy Zane, owner of Flex Fitness in Irondale, is the guest on episode 31 of Birmingham Shines.

Health and fitness starts with food.

“You can’t outtrain a bad diet,” Zane says.

Teddy is an ACE certified trainer.

Bodybuilding Awards include:
--Mr. New York
--Teen Mr. Upstate New York

Flex Fitness is an awesome gym in Irondale, a suburb of Birmingam, with 24/7 access. Flex Fitness offers a full range of cardio workout machines, as well as multiple varieties of circuit training machines. There's a full floor of free-weights for the hard-core bodybuilders, but Flex Fitness really emphasizes fitness for everyone. 

In this week's episode we talk about nutrition, designing a workout regimen and more. Here are some highlights:

Some folks don’t get the results they want because they quit too soon when they don’t get the results fast enough. Patience is a key and you also have to pay attention to what you’re eating.

Most of us can’t get all the vitamins, minerals, amino acids that we need, even if we’re eating reasonably well. So it’s not just about what you’re will to give up and a commitment to eating the right combinations and quantities.

You also have to pay attention to the quality of the food you’re taking in. Industrially-produced poultry and beef, farmed fish, these receive food that’s largely corn-based. As a result, you don’t get the Omega 3 fatty acids and other benefits of grassfed, pastured livestock.

Teddy recommends intermittent fasting to help detox body and restore gut health. This is not the solution for someone with a medical condition, but for a normal healthy person intermittent fasting can be an excellent tool for restoring colonic health and intestinal function.

With intermittent fasting, you go 12 hours, usually overnight, with no food intake to give your digestive system a rest. Drink a lot of water, especially in the morning after, to help flush out toxins.

Food and fitness are the fountain of youth.

Not sure where to start, if you aren't already on a fitness plan.....Teddy offers these tips:

  • Set a goal. Identify your goal and a reason to achieve it.
  • If you can’t manage your self-discipline, get a trainer. Not mandatory if you can stay committed to your plan, but a trainer is great to keep you motivated.
  • Ask people in great shape to help you. It’s better to talk to a real person--even a friend who’s knowledgeable--rather than just going to YouTube or a website for motivation.
  • Be consistent. Don’t be sporadic. Your body adapts quickly, so you want to keep moving forward.

Bodybuilding is for the extreme-fit enthusiast. Most people just want to focus on cardio to get rid of stored body fat. A key to maximize fat-burning is to work out on an empty stomach and you must get your heart rate up (more on that shortly). Drink lots of water.

Take a branch-chain amino acid supplement before your cardio workout. Branch chain amino acids usually come in powder form. Take before the workout, on empty stomach, to preserve muscle and burn fat.

For strength-training, want to have a couple of meals in the day before your strength workout.

Ideally, do your cardio early, on an empty stomach. Make sure you get your heart rate up to the right level, based on age. A heart rate monitor is crucial for making sure you hit the right threshold in cardio to burn fat.

Then have 2 meals before strength training. Do your strength 2 p.m. or later, after you’ve had good nutrition.


Flex Fitness is located on Crestwood Blvd. in Irondale.

Irondale is (as some of you may know) the hometown of the Irondale Cafe, which inspired The Whistlestop Cafe in Fannie Flagg’s book, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe.

Find Flex Fitness on Facebook:

Feb 4, 2016

Chef Tony Bayles started out working with food when he was an assistant to his uncle who ran a catering business.

Today, Tony owns Bayles Catering and a popular take-out cafe in the Woodlawn community, which is in the midst of a community revitalization that's turning into a renaissance.

In this episode of Birmingham Shines, Tony shares the story of how he decided to become a professional chef, a bit about his history and training, the types of catering services he provides, and what makes the community of Woodlawn and the city of Birmingham Shine.

We also talk about bowling. Enjoy!

Links and more at