Get ready for the Rehoboth Beach Marathon

December weekend race on the beach!

I am so excited! December 8 is the day of the 2012 Rehoboth Beach Marathon, and yours truly will definitely be there to run the race.  This will be my second marathon race, and I am hoping to have a better performance than I did at the National Marathon in Washington DC earlier this year. 

Last time, the sun was really beating down on us back-of-the-pack runners toward the end of the race. It caused my run time to really suffer.  This time, being that the weather should be rather nice and cool, I have high hopes for a new personal best.

In comparison to Washington DC’s National Marathon, the Rehoboth Beach Marathon is a much smaller race.  Fewer runners will be running the race, and fewer spectators are expected to be there.  Considering the fact that I really thrived on the energy of fellow runners and spectators during the last race, I am a bit concerned about Saturday’s race.   Luckily though, I will never have to be alone while out on the race course.  My husband will also be running the race with me, and he intends to stay by my side throughout the course of the marathon.

If you live near Rehoboth Beach and have some free time come Saturday morning, do consider coming out to cheer on us runners.  We will all really appreciate it, and it does make a difference to us that you are there.  Spectators help to give us the energy to run when we feel like walking, and can help us to run faster overall.  So think about it, and I thank you in advance.

Getting back to fundamentals

Practicing the fundamentals can be crucial to building up your fitness for a particular sport.

Many gym goers have a chosen sport or exercise routine they like to follow. They may have started by learning basic moves and techniques, and then practicing until they’ve gained a certain level of proficiency. Often people want to rush through this process, and then move on to what they consider the fun elements. Although this tendency is natural, it can also backfire. In the long run, lack of emphasis on fundamentals can cause the gym goers to progress more slowly than they otherwise would. 

Along with learning techniques, practicing the fundamentals can be crucial to building up your fitness for a particular sport. For example, let’s say you’re interested in Olympic lifting, and you’d like to learn the clean and jerk lift. Attempting to clean and jerk before you’ve developed a strong core and have trained foundational lifts, such as the back squat, and positional lifts, such as the overhead squat, will reduce the progress you could make in the long term. Learning the fundamentals builds the strength and power needed to be successful at this lift, and it can reduce the chance of injuries.  

 

Those who play other sports will also benefit by occasionally returning to the fundamentals to ensure their form and technique remain solid. 

 

If your interests lean toward group fitness classes, such as kickboxing, you’ll still gain more from your program when you learn the moves correctly, and implement them consistently through the workout. Approaching your workout sloppily will not give your the same benefit as giving it your full attention. Please share, do you occasionally return to the fundamentals? Why or why not?

 

Tips for selecting the best workout bike

Locate an exercise bike to fit your needs and home

Establishing a workout routine is a great way to get in shape. The issue you may have is not knowing about what you can do to workout because you do not have the proper equipment in your home. This is when you may want to have some tips on how to find the best exercise bike to provide you with a great workout all the time.

The first thing you need to look for is the brand of the machine you will be working out on. By knowing about the brand name, you can determine how long it will last for you, but also know if this is going to be the best model for your needs.

You should also consider different types of workouts. Knowing which workouts work best for you and your lifestyle will ensure that you are completing a proper workout. For example, some of these exercise bikes will have a workout designed by a professional and these can really be situated to help you become in better shape in the long run. However, you may find some of the workouts allow you to make some modifications to the workout to better suit your needs and conditions.

Enjoying your workouts can be a hard thing to do when the workouts are at the gym. However, if you know how to properly select an exercise bike, it is easy for you to find the one which will suit your needs and know you are going to get in shape while using it, in the convenience of your home.

A weekend at a CrossFit Level 1 training class

Experience "Fran Lung" for no extra charge.

I awoke early, bizarrely early for a weekend. Feeling a sense of apprehension, if not out-and-out dread, I drank coffee laced with coconut cream, and packed a lunch of steak salad. My stomach was a bit unsettled and eating breakfast did not appeal, yet I forced myself to eat some turkey roast and fruit.  I knew that I’d need energy for the morning ahead. 

Several months ago, I had signed up for non-refundable CrossFit level one training, and after I did it, I wondered why. True, I love the sport, but I haven’t had a burning desire to coach others, although I realized it would help my gym out if I could pick up classes now and then to give the regular coaches an occasional break. The sad fact is though, that I’m completely un-athletic, and uncertain about training others. 

 

The seminar coaches were all excellent, and offered great opportunities to learn and observe movements, and then make coaching tips to help the athletes improve form, efficiency and safety. Under their tutelage, my ability to see movement expanded. 

 

One of my favorite parts was learning how to coach the elements of the infamous benchmark worked called “Fran.” Inspired by the seminar staff and the fellow trainees, I set a personal record (PR), and was able to bask in the glow of “Fran Lung,” which seems to be a type of exercise induced asthma.

 

Now that I’ve completed the course, and I’m back at the gym, I find myself looking at athletes’ form, and being able to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. I’m also better able to correct my own form, and I better understand how good form will help over time. Now that I’ve experienced the intensity it took to PR Fran, I crave that feeling again. I may not ever coach others, but I’m improving as an athlete. 

 

Staying fit on a time constraint

Consider short, intense workouts or a different schedule

Even the most dedicated gym-goers are sure to have times when it just seems flat-out impossible to get to the gym and work out. Sometimes, this is completely the case and the gym-goer can use quick, at-home workouts to maintain conditioning. Other times, the gym-goer may find that rescheduling her routine can allow her to stay active at the fitness center

If you have a busy week or two ahead, or are traveling, come up with some simple routines that can be done anywhere, and that are short and intense. Fortunately, short and intense workouts are very effective for maintaining and improving fitness, so being short on time does not need to be a roadblock. 

 

One idea for a short workout includes running several quick sprints, interspersed with 10 pushups. Another idea is to do steps-up while holding dumbbells or kettle bells. Move at a quick pace for about 10 minutes, though keep safety in mind, and slow down if you are getting too tired to maintain a fast pace without injuring yourself. 

 

When the busy week is causing extra stress, you can focus on exercise that helps you relax as well. Find some shorter yoga routines online that incorporate bodyweight exercises, stretching, and deep, focused breathing. 

 

You might also want to look at scheduling your workouts for a different time of day. If you usually go to the gym after work, but have too many upcoming activities during that time, consider working out either before work or during lunch. This may require extra planning for showering, clothing and makeup, but it can be worth it to maintain your fitness. 

 

Yoga Kids: A DVD program for the whole family

Though, I would recommend it for the preschooler crowd.

We ran across a Yoga Kids DVD at the local library and I decided to check it out for my seven year old. We have toyed with yoga off and on since she could walk, and sometimes she enjoys it—especially if she’s pretending to be a tree—and sometimes she doesn’t. She also enjoys tai chi, tae bo, and taekwondo—the latter of which she is most familiar.

As soon as the program started, I thought she would hate it. It’s very, very slow, takes forever to start, features lots of makeup and long songs without much movement. (I then realized the video was intended for ages 3 to 6!) I don’t know if it was because it was new—which is always novel—or because she got to play with my yoga mat, but she actually enjoyed the movie.

It features a woman dressed as a “faery,” which just means she’s got wings and lots of glitter on, and a man playing guitar while three children do yoga poses with them. The poses they do, however, are so simple that I would really recommend this video for the preschooler crowd rather than children my daughter’s age. That said, if you look up Yoga Kids online, you’ll see that they have a whole bunch of different DVDs and programs that you can use with your children, so there could be something for much older kids, too.

Sleeping your way to fitness success

You're missing out if you don't sleep enough.

Are you looking for tips on sleeping your way to fitness success? Well, now that I’ve got your attention, this isn’t going to be a salacious article about using your feminine or masculine wiles to get free coaching from that attractive personal trainer your gym.

Sorry. This article will be about how sleep can help you lose fat and become stronger. Getting sufficient sleep might not be as interesting as an interlude with your personal trainer, but it will be far more effective for helping you achieve your fitness goals. 

Many of us are sleep-deprived and sleep deprivation affects our health in several ways. Lack of sleep causes stress, and we’re all aware that stress is a large factor in succumbing to illness. 

 

Lack of sleep is also a factor in weight gain. When we don’t get enough sleep, cortisol, the stress hormone, is released. That stress hormone just loves to help our bodies pack on fat. It can also trigger food binges, especially on sweets. When you get sufficient sleep, your body responds by staying naturally thinner, and you’ll tend get the munchies less often. 

 

Active people also need sleep because that is when tissues are repaired, and muscle is built. You’ll become stronger more quickly when you get enough sleep. 

 

You might feel that you just don’t have time to sleep as much as you should. This is the time to ruthlessly review how you spend your day. Can you cut out some time watching TV or scouring through your friend’s Facebook status updates? Can you get into the gym early, and leave earlier, so you can get to bed? Can you reschedule some chores to the weekend, leaving you time to get to bed earlier during the week?

 

Once you start getting enough rest, you’ll start to feel so much better that it will become easier and easier to get to bed on time. 

 

Bike paths save lives

Consider bike paths when biking around town

Biking can be a great thing to do, but you may have trouble when you have to bike along the road. This is when you should know why bike paths are such a great option for you to use. Without knowing about these paths, you may not be able to bike safely around town. 

The first thing you need to realize is that you are going to be off of the road on bike paths. When you are off of the road, you will be able to know you are not going to be dodging cars or other objects. Then you are going to know you will be safer then what you would be on the road.

Another thing you need to realize is the paths are generally taken care of really well. Sine these paths are taken care of so well of you do not have to be concerned about having problems on the path. However, you should make sure you look at the different paths and research them all to guarantee you know how well cared for these paths are. 
 
Biking is a great activity for the mind and body. The issue you may have is not knowing about the different paths that are present in your neighborhood and why you should be using these instead of the road. Without knowing about these bike paths, you will have trouble in getting to enjoy the bike trip because you are going to be constantly looking over your shoulder to ensure you are safe.

Issue yourself a holiday fitness challenge

Choose something that you can actually achieve

The holiday season can be a frightening time for people who are committed to improving or maintaining their fitness. We have very little spare time to spend at the gym when we are scrambling to decorate, shop and celebrate. This is just the time of year though, that we can most benefit from working out to make up for an occasional indulgence in holiday goodies.  

So this year, instead of giving in the holiday madness and the traditional weight gain, issue yourself a holiday fitness challenge. Make it realistic; choose something that you can actually achieve, yet make it challenging enough so it can help you stay on track with your goals.

 

One way to do this type of challenge is to add just a few minutes to a current workout routine. For example, if you usually focus on cardio, when that’s finished, add some kettle bell exercises to help build muscle. Building muscle keeps your metabolism humming along, and fat gain in check. Another option might be to add some activities that can be both social and physical, such as a kick-boxing class with friends once a week. 

 

Keep in mind that what you do outside of the gym also affects your fitness. Try to keep your nutrition on track by focusing on eating fresh and healthy foods whenever possible. Choose a few special holiday treats for indulging, and savor every bite. Keep your stress levels low to reduce cortisol and its impact on weight gain. Get plenty of rest when you can; enough sleep also helps reduce stress and binge-eating. 

Is Your gym a yoga studio? Should it be?

Yoga can aid physical and emotional fitness

Yoga in the United States has exploded in popularity. What was once a fringe, somewhat suspect activity for hippies, is now mainstream, with yoga studios blooming in urban, suburban and rural areas. Although to some people, it may conjure up images of either contortionists or sedentary meditators, certain styles of yoga can help people build a strong fitness foundation. 

If you are interested in using yoga to become physically stronger, and to improve endurance as well as flexibility, you may want to look for studios that offer vinyasa, flow,  ashtanga, or power yoga. Note that different studios may structure their classes based on their owners and instructors training and philosophy, so the terms used to describe classes may vary. 

If you are new to yoga, look for a studio that offers beginners classes. Even if you are fairly fit, it can be pretty daunting to start in a more advanced level class, as you may need to learn a number of poses, and coordinate your breaths and movements. Whether you are currently fit, or working towards fitness, commit to taking several classes before deciding if yoga is for you. 

 

Along with improving physical fitness, yoga can help you make drastic improvements in your emotional fitness. With regular practice, many yogis note their stress levels decrease, and they handle life’s daily ups and downs much more easily. The focus on deep, even breathing, especially when on the edge of discomfort, seems to carry over to the rest of life. Because stress is implicated is so many types of ailments, reducing it can go far in keeping your healthier. 

 

If you attend a traditional gym and love it, you may want to take an occasional yoga class, and add a short yoga practice to your every day fitness routine. Although you might not need to build strength or endurance, you may find increasing your flexibility and your emotional fitness helpful. 

 

If you’ve added yoga to your fitness routine, please share your experiences. 

 

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