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Spring Finally Made It Here On The East Coast, And Summer’s Right Around The Corner!

It seems like it’s taken forever, but spring has finally arrived here on the East Coast of the U.S.! I think we can safely put away our snow shovels, the rock salt and pick up the rake, and gas up the lawn mowers. Now that the temperatures are finally staying locked in the 60’s to 80’s we can all soak up that sunshine that’s been hiding out on us since St. Patrick’s Day.

But with all the schools starting commencement practice, and with Memorial Day just a few days away, summer is not that far off. And is your body ready for the beach and all that it has to offer? Or are you going to be hiding it under a t-shirt or worse when you and your friends hit the sand and surf?

Well, there are quite a few among us that might have put off getting to the gym or hitting the pavements early this year because of the cold, wet, snowy conditions that seemed to hang over everyone this year. But you can still pull off a pretty good-looking presence once the volleyball nets get strung and the shoes get swapped out for a pair of flip-flops. Here below are a few exercises and tips that can give that body of yours a little definition. After all, we don’t want anyone kicking sand on your beach towel now do we?

Getting fit and toned requires the right balance of weights, cardio, and the right nutrition, to get your body working correctly in order to tone and shed that extra fat that you’ve grown accustomed with over the winter and sloppy spring months! Studies have found that incorporating into your fitness routines, strength training, it can have your metabolism working overtime, instead of just doing cardio all by itself.

A study at West Virginia University supports this. They found that people that incorporated a regular regimen of lifting weights, peeled off an average of 14.5 kg and watched their metabolisms speed up by 4 percent. The reason for this? Well, the more you incorporate weight training, the more calories you'll burn during everything you do. Lifting your coffee mug or watching your favorite show suddenly becomes more productive as you burn fat for free.

The people in the study who did just aerobic exercise, such as running, lost more weight, on a faster scale, but that also included four kilograms of muscle. Consequently, their metabolisms slowed down by an average of 14 percent. In the future, they'll have more trouble keeping the weight off, if they slack off on the amount of running they do in a week/month. The key to successfully losing the dead weight, which we call fat can be avoided if you build muscle, along with the cardio.

Keeping track of this crunch-time fitness activity can be a challenge without the help of a good activity tracker/monitor and one that also tracks your heart rate can be very beneficial when you're looking at the stats to see where you're improving and where your not hitting your mark.

One that I like and keeps me on track with my fitness goals is the Garmin Forerunner 735XT GPS Running Multisport Watch  It not only tracks various kinds of cardio exercises like running, (It has a great GPS, built right in) but it also is waterproof, so swimming laps is a no-brainer. And with its multiple performance features and the benefit of having a wrist-based heart rate monitor, you can plot just how well you're doing using the data calculated from your VOC max estimate, and lactate threshold.

Again, this is nothing but a tool, albeit a great tool for helping you get that body of yours in shape in time to feel confident as you walk the beach.

Now, It's Crunch Time!
The whole idea of this type of training, is to combine a weight regimen routine along with your regular cardiovascular sessions, just break out two-three days a week to add in the weight training, and in no time, you should start to see a faster reduction in your weight, while seeing the results of a more toned body frame.

You'll combine these lifting workouts with short, sharp interval training sessions. Research at Laval University found this burns fat, up to three times faster than exercising at the same pace.

This three-pronged attack is a surefire way to earn you more muscle and less fat. Repeat this workout 3-5 times per week to keep building muscle and burning fat, or alternate between the workouts listed below.

WORKOUT PRACTICES:
Choose a weight that's 80 percent of the most weight you can push or press just once.
Do just one set of every exercise using 8-12 reps.
When you can do 12 reps, add 5 percent more weight.
Take four seconds to raise the weight and four seconds to lower it.
If the routine takes more than 45 minutes, you're taking way too long.
Do 3-4 workouts per week, leaving a day's rest between each one. This is your light running day!
If you want to do cardio, do it after lifting to burn more fat.  But monitor your stats so you don't push yourself over your limits!
Don't rest between sets. The setup time for a new exercise is enough.
Push out the reps until your muscles fail and cry for mercy.
Use perfect form for all exercises to avoid injury.  

Recommended Weight-Related Exercises:
BARBELL SQUAT
1 set of 8-12 reps
BARBELL DEADLIFT
1 set of 8-12 reps
SEATED LEG CURL
1 set of 8-12 reps
SEATED CABLE ROWS
1 set of 8-12 reps
BARBELL BENCH PRESS - MEDIUM GRIP
1 set of 8-12 reps
BARBELL SHOULDER PRESS
1 set of 8-12 reps
PARALLEL BAR DIP
1 set of 8-12 reps
BARBELL CURL
1 set of 8-12 reps
SIT-UP
1 set of 8-12 reps

Remember, you’re going through this fitness routine, in order to get your body beach ready in a short amount of time. Once you reach the level of muscle tone and weight to mass ratio, that you’re looking for. Then slack off a bit and get back into your regular cardio/running routines, if that is your main fitness passion. Just remember to work in at least two days a week of weights, at a lesser pace and weight amount than we recommended above, just so you keep those muscles you've worked so hard on to tone up these past few weeks, in the same great shape!

 * If you search YouTube, for the above weight training exercises, you will be able to see the correct posture and stance that you need to maintain in order to not only do the exercise correctly but to avoid injuring yourself!

 

Read more

It seems like it’s taken forever, but spring has finally arrived here on the East Coast of the U.S.! I think we can safely put away our snow shovels, the rock salt and pick up the rake, and gas up the lawn mowers. Now that the temperatures are finally staying locked in the 60’s to 80’s we can all soak up that sunshine that’s been hiding out on us since St. Patrick’s Day.

But with all the schools starting commencement practice, and with Memorial Day just a few days away, summer is not that far off. And is your body ready for the beach and all that it has to offer? Or are you going to be hiding it under a t-shirt or worse when you and your friends hit the sand and surf?

Well, there are quite a few among us that might have put off getting to the gym or hitting the pavements early this year because of the cold, wet, snowy conditions that seemed to hang over everyone this year. But you can still pull off a pretty good-looking presence once the volleyball nets get strung and the shoes get swapped out for a pair of flip-flops. Here below are a few exercises and tips that can give that body of yours a little definition. After all, we don’t want anyone kicking sand on your beach towel now do we?

Getting fit and toned requires the right balance of weights, cardio, and the right nutrition, to get your body working correctly in order to tone and shed that extra fat that you’ve grown accustomed with over the winter and sloppy spring months! Studies have found that incorporating into your fitness routines, strength training, it can have your metabolism working overtime, instead of just doing cardio all by itself.

A study at West Virginia University supports this. They found that people that incorporated a regular regimen of lifting weights, peeled off an average of 14.5 kg and watched their metabolisms speed up by 4 percent. The reason for this? Well, the more you incorporate weight training, the more calories you'll burn during everything you do. Lifting your coffee mug or watching your favorite show suddenly becomes more productive as you burn fat for free.

The people in the study who did just aerobic exercise, such as running, lost more weight, on a faster scale, but that also included four kilograms of muscle. Consequently, their metabolisms slowed down by an average of 14 percent. In the future, they'll have more trouble keeping the weight off, if they slack off on the amount of running they do in a week/month. The key to successfully losing the dead weight, which we call fat can be avoided if you build muscle, along with the cardio.

Keeping track of this crunch-time fitness activity can be a challenge without the help of a good activity tracker/monitor and one that also tracks your heart rate can be very beneficial when you're looking at the stats to see where you're improving and where your not hitting your mark.

One that I like and keeps me on track with my fitness goals is the Garmin Forerunner 735XT GPS Running Multisport Watch  It not only tracks various kinds of cardio exercises like running, (It has a great GPS, built right in) but it also is waterproof, so swimming laps is a no-brainer. And with its multiple performance features and the benefit of having a wrist-based heart rate monitor, you can plot just how well you're doing using the data calculated from your VOC max estimate, and lactate threshold.

Again, this is nothing but a tool, albeit a great tool for helping you get that body of yours in shape in time to feel confident as you walk the beach.

Now, It's Crunch Time!
The whole idea of this type of training, is to combine a weight regimen routine along with your regular cardiovascular sessions, just break out two-three days a week to add in the weight training, and in no time, you should start to see a faster reduction in your weight, while seeing the results of a more toned body frame.

You'll combine these lifting workouts with short, sharp interval training sessions. Research at Laval University found this burns fat, up to three times faster than exercising at the same pace.

This three-pronged attack is a surefire way to earn you more muscle and less fat. Repeat this workout 3-5 times per week to keep building muscle and burning fat, or alternate between the workouts listed below.

WORKOUT PRACTICES:
Choose a weight that's 80 percent of the most weight you can push or press just once.
Do just one set of every exercise using 8-12 reps.
When you can do 12 reps, add 5 percent more weight.
Take four seconds to raise the weight and four seconds to lower it.
If the routine takes more than 45 minutes, you're taking way too long.
Do 3-4 workouts per week, leaving a day's rest between each one. This is your light running day!
If you want to do cardio, do it after lifting to burn more fat.  But monitor your stats so you don't push yourself over your limits!
Don't rest between sets. The setup time for a new exercise is enough.
Push out the reps until your muscles fail and cry for mercy.
Use perfect form for all exercises to avoid injury.  

Recommended Weight-Related Exercises:
BARBELL SQUAT
1 set of 8-12 reps
BARBELL DEADLIFT
1 set of 8-12 reps
SEATED LEG CURL
1 set of 8-12 reps
SEATED CABLE ROWS
1 set of 8-12 reps
BARBELL BENCH PRESS - MEDIUM GRIP
1 set of 8-12 reps
BARBELL SHOULDER PRESS
1 set of 8-12 reps
PARALLEL BAR DIP
1 set of 8-12 reps
BARBELL CURL
1 set of 8-12 reps
SIT-UP
1 set of 8-12 reps

Remember, you’re going through this fitness routine, in order to get your body beach ready in a short amount of time. Once you reach the level of muscle tone and weight to mass ratio, that you’re looking for. Then slack off a bit and get back into your regular cardio/running routines, if that is your main fitness passion. Just remember to work in at least two days a week of weights, at a lesser pace and weight amount than we recommended above, just so you keep those muscles you've worked so hard on to tone up these past few weeks, in the same great shape!

 * If you search YouTube, for the above weight training exercises, you will be able to see the correct posture and stance that you need to maintain in order to not only do the exercise correctly but to avoid injuring yourself!

 

Read more

Spartan Race Training – Are You Up For The Challenge?

The Summer Olympics are in their last week of grueling summer sporting events. The USATeam is doing us proud and we are ecstatic with all of our athlete's performances!   These men and women train with a focus that has taken them to this world stage. Another venue that athletes around our country participate in is called  the Spartan Races. They are held throughout the country and they have been gaining in popularity for the past several years.  You may not be able to get yourself to the Olympics but you can work towards these kinds of endurance events that pit body against the rigors of a competitive sport where you match your stamina against your opponents. 

There has also been a weekly TV. Show about people competing against each other with a made for TV. Spartan race events. It’s pretty realistic but unless you’ve done the real thing, TV just does not cut it, but it does offer a glimpse into what these athletes go through to test themselves against the course, and don't forget the other competitors!.

Obstacle course races are a fun, but are also a demanding way to challenge your mental and physical limits, competing with others and getting a little dirty. If you look on the internet, you can probably find one of these types of events close to your own location or another race type that is similar is called the “Tough Mudder” races.

Regardless of the type of event, you choose to take part in, you can expect mud, barbed wire, pushing your body to its limits. And although there are some signature obstacles at every race, there’s a lot of variety between courses so you can never anticipate exactly what you’re going to have to face.

If you’ve never done a Spartan Course Event before, you might wonder how you would train for one. The race is about 3-4 miles with 15+ obstacles. Because the Spartan Coordinators don’t release the course map to competitors beforehand, there’s no way of knowing exactly what you need to prepare for. You have to be ready for anything. Regardless of what the obstacles are, your endurance, speed, and upper and lower body strength are tested. If you want to be competitive, you’re going to have to include all these components of fitness into your training routine.

One good way to focus on your training and gauge how much you can push yourself is by getting an Activity Watch with a Heart Rate Monitor. The Garmin Forerunner 735XT GPS Running Multisport Watch  is packed with everything you need to push yourself to your limits and act on the data it gives you so that you can be there at the end of that Spartan Race

Another important factor to keep in mind about any race of this type is that if you skip or fail any obstacle, you’re charged with a burpee (A Penalty) before you can move on. Whatever you do to train, make sure you include burpees (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burpee_(exercise) ) to help you prepare for a Spartan Sprint, we’ve compiled some training tips and a sample workout routine you can follow to see if you can make the cut.

Spartan Race Training Components
1) Endurance Training
Although the race is only 3-4 miles, don’t think you’re getting off easy. Even if you can finish a normal 5K in less than 30 min, the Spartan Race will take anywhere from 45 minutes (if you’re fast and it great shape) to as long as 2+ hours to complete. To get ready for the distance, We recommend at least one long run per week. You should progressively train to be comfortable running 6+ miles before Event-Day. If you can handle longer distances, you’ll be more prepared to handle the short, intense terrain of the Spartan Sprint.

2) Sprints and Hills Training
The only thing to expect is the unexpected. This is why your training needs to be multifaceted.
Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. The Spartan Sprint is going to challenge you. The more you can adapt to training at slightly uncomfortable intensities, to more competitive you’ll be on race day. People that are familiar with HITT training will already be familiar with the intensity of what you will be asked to do.

Expect to face some nasty hills. While hill training is hard, make sure you include one hill workout per week to prepare your body to race up some steep inclines between obstacles.

You also want to include a sprint or interval workout per week to increase your anaerobic threshold. Working on sprints will help you recover faster between obstacles and between hills. Play around with the duration and speed of your intervals. For longer intervals, decrease your speed. For shorter intervals, increase your speed. Start with shorter intervals and increase the intensity/duration over time.

3) Total Body Strength Circuits
To prepare for the obstacles in the Spartan Sprint, it’s important to work on your upper and lower body strength. You might have to climb over a wall, carry a sandbag uphill, and complete a set of box jumps, climb across monkey bars, do a Herculean hoists, crawl under barbed wire, and more.

Easily being able to do push-ups, and at least a few pull-ups, squats and lunges, is essential. Having experience climbing walls or monkey bars is a huge asset. And including plyometric exercises will help get you ready for any jumping exercises they might throw at you.

4) And Finally…Rest!
Make sure you give yourself at least 1-2 full rest days per week to allow your body to make necessary adaptations and repairs. Rest is crucial to improving your fitness, maximizing your results, and preventing injuries.

Sample Spartan Race Workout Routine
Here’s a sample routine you can use to get yourself ready for a Spartan Sprint. Be sure to warm-up with some dynamic stretching before this workout. Complete 3 sets of each strength circuit with minimal rest between exercises. Rest 30s – 1min between sets. Use weights that are challenging to you. Burpees between sets are optional  but strongly encouraged.

Workout Instructions: Complete all exercises in each circuit with little rest between exercises (30 seconds, or less) and complete 2-3 rounds of each circuit. Complete one circuit before going to the next. Consider adding 15 burpees between each circuit for added difficulty.

Strength Circuit #1

1A. 10+ push-ups
1B. Max rep pull-ups (weighted if pull-ups are easy for you. Inverted rows if pull-ups aren’t available to you yet)
1C. 15 box jumps

Strength Circuit #2
2A. 10 DB/Barbell/KB clean-and-press
2B. 8 Step-up to balance, each leg
2C. 30s plank crawl (move forward/backward and side-to-side)

Strength Circuit #3
3A. 10 hanging knee/leg raises or toes-to-bar
3B. 10 cable chops, each side
3C. 15 KB swings
(Optional: 15 burpees)

4. Stretch
Sample Spartan Race Workout Schedule:
Monday – Strength Circuits
Tuesday – Hill Workout
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – Sprints/Intervals
Friday – Strength Circuits
Saturday – Endurance Run
Sunday – Rest

Remember, if you’re up for the challenge, you need to prepare for it, just like anything else you want bad enough. Training for an event like the Spartan races is a lot easier if you have a like-minded buddy to train with you. Find that other dedicated person and work towards the goal of finishing the race and you’ll be happy to walk away from the winners circle with that special medal of 3 parts that once you have finished the other two competitions the medal and YOU will be complete.

Unlike the Olympics, you won't have to wait for another 4 years to compete. Check out Spartans schedule and you can see when an event will be scheduled close to your area. So get your self ready and see if you can perform like a Spartan!

Train smart. Eat right. Rest enough. Race hard !

Read more

The Summer Olympics are in their last week of grueling summer sporting events. The USATeam is doing us proud and we are ecstatic with all of our athlete's performances!   These men and women train with a focus that has taken them to this world stage. Another venue that athletes around our country participate in is called  the Spartan Races. They are held throughout the country and they have been gaining in popularity for the past several years.  You may not be able to get yourself to the Olympics but you can work towards these kinds of endurance events that pit body against the rigors of a competitive sport where you match your stamina against your opponents. 

There has also been a weekly TV. Show about people competing against each other with a made for TV. Spartan race events. It’s pretty realistic but unless you’ve done the real thing, TV just does not cut it, but it does offer a glimpse into what these athletes go through to test themselves against the course, and don't forget the other competitors!.

Obstacle course races are a fun, but are also a demanding way to challenge your mental and physical limits, competing with others and getting a little dirty. If you look on the internet, you can probably find one of these types of events close to your own location or another race type that is similar is called the “Tough Mudder” races.

Regardless of the type of event, you choose to take part in, you can expect mud, barbed wire, pushing your body to its limits. And although there are some signature obstacles at every race, there’s a lot of variety between courses so you can never anticipate exactly what you’re going to have to face.

If you’ve never done a Spartan Course Event before, you might wonder how you would train for one. The race is about 3-4 miles with 15+ obstacles. Because the Spartan Coordinators don’t release the course map to competitors beforehand, there’s no way of knowing exactly what you need to prepare for. You have to be ready for anything. Regardless of what the obstacles are, your endurance, speed, and upper and lower body strength are tested. If you want to be competitive, you’re going to have to include all these components of fitness into your training routine.

One good way to focus on your training and gauge how much you can push yourself is by getting an Activity Watch with a Heart Rate Monitor. The Garmin Forerunner 735XT GPS Running Multisport Watch  is packed with everything you need to push yourself to your limits and act on the data it gives you so that you can be there at the end of that Spartan Race

Another important factor to keep in mind about any race of this type is that if you skip or fail any obstacle, you’re charged with a burpee (A Penalty) before you can move on. Whatever you do to train, make sure you include burpees (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burpee_(exercise) ) to help you prepare for a Spartan Sprint, we’ve compiled some training tips and a sample workout routine you can follow to see if you can make the cut.

Spartan Race Training Components
1) Endurance Training
Although the race is only 3-4 miles, don’t think you’re getting off easy. Even if you can finish a normal 5K in less than 30 min, the Spartan Race will take anywhere from 45 minutes (if you’re fast and it great shape) to as long as 2+ hours to complete. To get ready for the distance, We recommend at least one long run per week. You should progressively train to be comfortable running 6+ miles before Event-Day. If you can handle longer distances, you’ll be more prepared to handle the short, intense terrain of the Spartan Sprint.

2) Sprints and Hills Training
The only thing to expect is the unexpected. This is why your training needs to be multifaceted.
Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. The Spartan Sprint is going to challenge you. The more you can adapt to training at slightly uncomfortable intensities, to more competitive you’ll be on race day. People that are familiar with HITT training will already be familiar with the intensity of what you will be asked to do.

Expect to face some nasty hills. While hill training is hard, make sure you include one hill workout per week to prepare your body to race up some steep inclines between obstacles.

You also want to include a sprint or interval workout per week to increase your anaerobic threshold. Working on sprints will help you recover faster between obstacles and between hills. Play around with the duration and speed of your intervals. For longer intervals, decrease your speed. For shorter intervals, increase your speed. Start with shorter intervals and increase the intensity/duration over time.

3) Total Body Strength Circuits
To prepare for the obstacles in the Spartan Sprint, it’s important to work on your upper and lower body strength. You might have to climb over a wall, carry a sandbag uphill, and complete a set of box jumps, climb across monkey bars, do a Herculean hoists, crawl under barbed wire, and more.

Easily being able to do push-ups, and at least a few pull-ups, squats and lunges, is essential. Having experience climbing walls or monkey bars is a huge asset. And including plyometric exercises will help get you ready for any jumping exercises they might throw at you.

4) And Finally…Rest!
Make sure you give yourself at least 1-2 full rest days per week to allow your body to make necessary adaptations and repairs. Rest is crucial to improving your fitness, maximizing your results, and preventing injuries.

Sample Spartan Race Workout Routine
Here’s a sample routine you can use to get yourself ready for a Spartan Sprint. Be sure to warm-up with some dynamic stretching before this workout. Complete 3 sets of each strength circuit with minimal rest between exercises. Rest 30s – 1min between sets. Use weights that are challenging to you. Burpees between sets are optional  but strongly encouraged.

Workout Instructions: Complete all exercises in each circuit with little rest between exercises (30 seconds, or less) and complete 2-3 rounds of each circuit. Complete one circuit before going to the next. Consider adding 15 burpees between each circuit for added difficulty.

Strength Circuit #1

1A. 10+ push-ups
1B. Max rep pull-ups (weighted if pull-ups are easy for you. Inverted rows if pull-ups aren’t available to you yet)
1C. 15 box jumps

Strength Circuit #2
2A. 10 DB/Barbell/KB clean-and-press
2B. 8 Step-up to balance, each leg
2C. 30s plank crawl (move forward/backward and side-to-side)

Strength Circuit #3
3A. 10 hanging knee/leg raises or toes-to-bar
3B. 10 cable chops, each side
3C. 15 KB swings
(Optional: 15 burpees)

4. Stretch
Sample Spartan Race Workout Schedule:
Monday – Strength Circuits
Tuesday – Hill Workout
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – Sprints/Intervals
Friday – Strength Circuits
Saturday – Endurance Run
Sunday – Rest

Remember, if you’re up for the challenge, you need to prepare for it, just like anything else you want bad enough. Training for an event like the Spartan races is a lot easier if you have a like-minded buddy to train with you. Find that other dedicated person and work towards the goal of finishing the race and you’ll be happy to walk away from the winners circle with that special medal of 3 parts that once you have finished the other two competitions the medal and YOU will be complete.

Unlike the Olympics, you won't have to wait for another 4 years to compete. Check out Spartans schedule and you can see when an event will be scheduled close to your area. So get your self ready and see if you can perform like a Spartan!

Train smart. Eat right. Rest enough. Race hard !

Read more