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Mercury’s Rising, And So Is The Risk Of Health Related Issues When The Heat Index Is Up!

We all have been waiting for the summer to get here and now that it is here you may want to dial back your exercising if you're not doing it in a controlled space like a gym or climate controlled training facility. After all, with the summer also comes the humidity and that intense sun that drives up the temperature along with the ambient heat index. Both of which can cause some serious problems if you’re not watching out for them.

Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body. If you don't take care when exercising in the heat, you risk serious illness. Both the exercise itself and the air temperature and humidity can increase your core body temperature. To help cool itself, your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin. This causes the heart to pump faster and for the blood to start rushing through your veins. If you’re not in good physical condition to start with, you need to dial back your exercising a bit in order to reduce that extra stress your heart is going to be facing. This time of year, most ER's see increasing patients brought in to them with heart-related conditions brought on by overexertion in the extreme heat.

And that myth that the more you sweat means your burning more calories is just that, a MYTH! Sweat is not a gauge of how hard you are working," Scott says. (Jenny Scott, MM-HR, NASM-CPT, CES, PES, FNS, Education Advisor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine) "Our bodies produce sweat as a way to cool down, so if anything, it's an indicator of how hot your body is. And hotter core temperatures don't equal more calories burned.

In fact, the fitter you are, the less you probably sweat. "As your body becomes more conditioned, it takes more intense exercise to increase your core body temperature and produce sweat," she says.

Still, if you're a hot, sweaty mess 10 minutes into your workout, it doesn't necessarily mean you're not fit. Different people have different numbers of sweat glands, so even a brisk walk to the mailbox can trigger sweat production in some women. On the flip side, if you're working hard and hardly sweating, you might be super-fit, blessed with minimal sweat glands, or dehydrated. After all, sweating depends on having water to spare.

To keep your tank full, Scott recommends downing about 24 ounces of water (that's about how much most sports bottles fit) before your warm-up and drinking about 8 more every 30 minutes throughout your sweat session. Keep sipping throughout the day, and keep in mind that if you feel thirsty, you're probably already dehydrated.

It’s important to realize that a climbing heat index needs to be taken into consideration when your exercising. Whether you're running, playing a pickup game of basketball or going for a power walk, take care when the temperature rises. If you exercise outdoors in hot weather.

To help cool itself, your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin. This leaves less blood for your muscles, which in turn increases your heart rate. If the humidity also is high, your body faces added stress because sweat doesn't readily evaporate from your skin. That pushes your body temperature even higher.

Heat-related illness
Heat cramps
Heat exhaustion
Heatstroke

Under normal conditions, your skin, blood vessels, and perspiration level adjust to the heat. But these natural cooling systems may fail if you're exposed to high temperatures and humidity for too long, you sweat heavily, and you don't drink enough fluids.

The result may be a heat-related illness. Heat-related illnesses occur along a spectrum, starting out mild but worsening if left untreated. Heat illnesses include:

Heat cramps: Heat cramps, sometimes called exercise-associated muscle cramps, are painful muscle contractions that can occur with exercise. Affected muscles may feel firm to the touch. You may feel muscle pain or spasms. Your body temperature may be normal.

Heat syncope and exercise-associated collapse: Heat syncope is a feeling of lightheadedness or fainting caused by high temperatures, often occurring after standing for a long period of time or standing quickly after sitting for a long period of time. Exercise-associated collapse is feeling lightheaded or fainting immediately after exercising, and it can occur especially if you immediately stop running and stand after a race or a long run.

Heat exhaustion: With heat exhaustion, your body temperature rises as high as 104 F (40 C), and you may experience nausea, vomiting, weakness, headache, fainting, sweating and cold, clammy skin. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke.

Heatstroke: Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency condition that occurs when your body temperature is greater than 104 F (40 C). Your skin may be dry from lack of sweat, or it may be moist.

You may develop confusion, irritability, headache, heart rhythm problems, dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, visual problems, and fatigue. You need immediate medical attention to prevent brain damage, organ failure or even death.

Pay attention to warning signs
During hot-weather exercise, watch for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness. If you ignore these symptoms, your condition can worsen, resulting in a medical emergency. Signs and symptoms may include:

Muscle cramps
Nausea or vomiting
Weakness
Fatigue
A headache
Excessive sweating
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Confusion
Irritability
Low blood pressure
Increased heart rate
Visual problems

If you develop any of these symptoms, you must lower your body temperature and get hydrated right away. Stop exercising immediately and get out of the heat. If possible, have someone stay with you who can help monitor your condition.

Measuring core body temperature with a rectal thermometer is essential to accurately determine the degree of heat injury. An oral, ear or forehead thermometer doesn't provide an accurate temperature reading for this purpose. In cases of heatstroke, due to confusion and mental status changes, you won't be able to treat yourself and you'll require emergency medical care. The most effective way of rapid cooling is the immersion of your body in a cold- or ice-water tub.

In cases of heat exhaustion, remove extra clothing or sports equipment. Make sure you are around people who can help you and assist in your care. If possible, fan your body or wet down your body with cool water.

You may place cool, wet towels or ice packs on your neck, forehead and under your arms, spray yourself with water from a hose or shower, or sit in a tub filled with cold water. Drink fluids such as water or a sports drink. If you don't feel better within about 20 minutes, seek emergency medical care.

Keeping an eye out for any of the above signs will give you a heads up to take the necessary steps to get your core body temperature down. But another good way to stay on top of your body’s stress while exercising in warmer temperatures is to keep an eye on your heart rate as well. One good way to do this is with a good Heart Rate Monitor, one like the Garmin Vivosport GPS Sport & Activity Tracker  This Smart Activity Tracker has a wrist-based heart rate monitor that uses Garmin's new "Elevate 24/7" wrist-based heart rate monitoring. With the heart rate data it collects, Vívosport is able to estimate your VO2 max and fitness age, 2 indicators of physical fitness that can improve over time with regular exercise. It also tracks your HRV (heart rate variability), which is used to calculate and display your stress level. Which is something you want to keep an eye on with the warmer weather. The goal of this continuous monitoring is to make you aware when physical or emotional sources cause your stress level to rise so you can find a way to relieve the pressure.

With the information available from your Garmin Vivosport along with paying attention to your physical condition while exercising you should be able to get the most out of your exercise routines while being safe as you exercise in this summertime heat.

Be smart, pay attention to your body, it will let you know when it needs attention, so DON’T ignore any warning signs it’s giving you!





Read more

We all have been waiting for the summer to get here and now that it is here you may want to dial back your exercising if you're not doing it in a controlled space like a gym or climate controlled training facility. After all, with the summer also comes the humidity and that intense sun that drives up the temperature along with the ambient heat index. Both of which can cause some serious problems if you’re not watching out for them.

Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body. If you don't take care when exercising in the heat, you risk serious illness. Both the exercise itself and the air temperature and humidity can increase your core body temperature. To help cool itself, your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin. This causes the heart to pump faster and for the blood to start rushing through your veins. If you’re not in good physical condition to start with, you need to dial back your exercising a bit in order to reduce that extra stress your heart is going to be facing. This time of year, most ER's see increasing patients brought in to them with heart-related conditions brought on by overexertion in the extreme heat.

And that myth that the more you sweat means your burning more calories is just that, a MYTH! Sweat is not a gauge of how hard you are working," Scott says. (Jenny Scott, MM-HR, NASM-CPT, CES, PES, FNS, Education Advisor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine) "Our bodies produce sweat as a way to cool down, so if anything, it's an indicator of how hot your body is. And hotter core temperatures don't equal more calories burned.

In fact, the fitter you are, the less you probably sweat. "As your body becomes more conditioned, it takes more intense exercise to increase your core body temperature and produce sweat," she says.

Still, if you're a hot, sweaty mess 10 minutes into your workout, it doesn't necessarily mean you're not fit. Different people have different numbers of sweat glands, so even a brisk walk to the mailbox can trigger sweat production in some women. On the flip side, if you're working hard and hardly sweating, you might be super-fit, blessed with minimal sweat glands, or dehydrated. After all, sweating depends on having water to spare.

To keep your tank full, Scott recommends downing about 24 ounces of water (that's about how much most sports bottles fit) before your warm-up and drinking about 8 more every 30 minutes throughout your sweat session. Keep sipping throughout the day, and keep in mind that if you feel thirsty, you're probably already dehydrated.

It’s important to realize that a climbing heat index needs to be taken into consideration when your exercising. Whether you're running, playing a pickup game of basketball or going for a power walk, take care when the temperature rises. If you exercise outdoors in hot weather.

To help cool itself, your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin. This leaves less blood for your muscles, which in turn increases your heart rate. If the humidity also is high, your body faces added stress because sweat doesn't readily evaporate from your skin. That pushes your body temperature even higher.

Heat-related illness
Heat cramps
Heat exhaustion
Heatstroke

Under normal conditions, your skin, blood vessels, and perspiration level adjust to the heat. But these natural cooling systems may fail if you're exposed to high temperatures and humidity for too long, you sweat heavily, and you don't drink enough fluids.

The result may be a heat-related illness. Heat-related illnesses occur along a spectrum, starting out mild but worsening if left untreated. Heat illnesses include:

Heat cramps: Heat cramps, sometimes called exercise-associated muscle cramps, are painful muscle contractions that can occur with exercise. Affected muscles may feel firm to the touch. You may feel muscle pain or spasms. Your body temperature may be normal.

Heat syncope and exercise-associated collapse: Heat syncope is a feeling of lightheadedness or fainting caused by high temperatures, often occurring after standing for a long period of time or standing quickly after sitting for a long period of time. Exercise-associated collapse is feeling lightheaded or fainting immediately after exercising, and it can occur especially if you immediately stop running and stand after a race or a long run.

Heat exhaustion: With heat exhaustion, your body temperature rises as high as 104 F (40 C), and you may experience nausea, vomiting, weakness, headache, fainting, sweating and cold, clammy skin. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke.

Heatstroke: Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency condition that occurs when your body temperature is greater than 104 F (40 C). Your skin may be dry from lack of sweat, or it may be moist.

You may develop confusion, irritability, headache, heart rhythm problems, dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, visual problems, and fatigue. You need immediate medical attention to prevent brain damage, organ failure or even death.

Pay attention to warning signs
During hot-weather exercise, watch for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness. If you ignore these symptoms, your condition can worsen, resulting in a medical emergency. Signs and symptoms may include:

Muscle cramps
Nausea or vomiting
Weakness
Fatigue
A headache
Excessive sweating
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Confusion
Irritability
Low blood pressure
Increased heart rate
Visual problems

If you develop any of these symptoms, you must lower your body temperature and get hydrated right away. Stop exercising immediately and get out of the heat. If possible, have someone stay with you who can help monitor your condition.

Measuring core body temperature with a rectal thermometer is essential to accurately determine the degree of heat injury. An oral, ear or forehead thermometer doesn't provide an accurate temperature reading for this purpose. In cases of heatstroke, due to confusion and mental status changes, you won't be able to treat yourself and you'll require emergency medical care. The most effective way of rapid cooling is the immersion of your body in a cold- or ice-water tub.

In cases of heat exhaustion, remove extra clothing or sports equipment. Make sure you are around people who can help you and assist in your care. If possible, fan your body or wet down your body with cool water.

You may place cool, wet towels or ice packs on your neck, forehead and under your arms, spray yourself with water from a hose or shower, or sit in a tub filled with cold water. Drink fluids such as water or a sports drink. If you don't feel better within about 20 minutes, seek emergency medical care.

Keeping an eye out for any of the above signs will give you a heads up to take the necessary steps to get your core body temperature down. But another good way to stay on top of your body’s stress while exercising in warmer temperatures is to keep an eye on your heart rate as well. One good way to do this is with a good Heart Rate Monitor, one like the Garmin Vivosport GPS Sport & Activity Tracker  This Smart Activity Tracker has a wrist-based heart rate monitor that uses Garmin's new "Elevate 24/7" wrist-based heart rate monitoring. With the heart rate data it collects, Vívosport is able to estimate your VO2 max and fitness age, 2 indicators of physical fitness that can improve over time with regular exercise. It also tracks your HRV (heart rate variability), which is used to calculate and display your stress level. Which is something you want to keep an eye on with the warmer weather. The goal of this continuous monitoring is to make you aware when physical or emotional sources cause your stress level to rise so you can find a way to relieve the pressure.

With the information available from your Garmin Vivosport along with paying attention to your physical condition while exercising you should be able to get the most out of your exercise routines while being safe as you exercise in this summertime heat.

Be smart, pay attention to your body, it will let you know when it needs attention, so DON’T ignore any warning signs it’s giving you!





Read more

Don’t Let The Humidity Beat You Down This Summer

Sum, Sum, summertime is here and we are loving it. But with the summer heat also comes the humidity. Those of us that have embraced a healthy lifestyle and take every chance we get to get our runs or even a fast jog in can sometimes get into a little trouble with the dense air (Humidity) that sometimes ushers in with the jet-stream. Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body. If you don't pay attention to your body, when exercising in the heat, you risk the chance of becoming seriously ill. Both the exercise itself and the air temperature and humidity can increase your core body temperature. To help cool itself, your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin.

Most of us, who like to run, make it a point to hit the open air trails instead of the fluorescent interior of a gym, the downside to this is there is NO air-conditioning. But we feel the need to move horizontally when we exercise… and if you’re like me, I exercise a lot. I need to run on the trails to get into that meditative state so many runners crave. But in the early summer months, my training schedules change to adapt to the heat and humidity of the Northeast. Yours should too!

You need to remember, that running or cycling in 90-degree weather is not the same as running in 50 or 60-degree weather. Your blood volume is lower than it needs to be and other systems within your body are simply not ready to take on the heat, much less the dense moisture laden air on a humid day. For many runners and cyclists, properly adapting to exercising in the heat can improve their performance in more temperate conditions. But you need to be aware of your body's strengths and weaknesses. One way to stay on top of your body's signals is with a good Heart Rate Monitor watch, especially one that tracks your V02 Max data. VO2 Max is the measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense, or maximal exercise. It is measured as milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight. It's one factor that may help determine an athlete's capacity to perform sustained exercise.

Since most of us that like to get out and run on trails off the beaten path. An activity watch with a good accurate GPS function is a must. And as long as you’re going to maintain your fitness routines by getting out and enjoying the fresh air and scenery, having a Multi-Function monitor that doubles as both a heart rate monitor and one that does monitor your VO2 max data is a win-win. The one that I have found fits all my needs is the Garmin Fenix3 MultiSport Strapless Heart Rate Monitor (https://www.heartratemonitorsusa.com/products/garmin-fenix3-strapless?variant=15691645254). It keeps track of your heart rate, counts steps while walking and monitors sleep. The watch monitors your heart rate and provides precise information of the calories burned during your intensive sweat sessions. By keeping a record of these factors, you can check the quality of your workouts and improve it to get better results. Based on your VO2 levels and max number, it monitors your running speed and heart beats per minute. This is used to calculate the estimated volume of oxygen you can consume per minute.

Running in the heat and humidity takes a lot more effort than running in cool crisp weather. Your VO2 max or your ability to use oxygen to create energy diminishes. You will dehydrate much quicker which not only will further diminish your VO2 max, it can create electrolyte imbalances too. Heat Exhaustion, which can lead to Heat Stroke, where your body temperature rises to dangerous temperatures is an ever-present danger and can be fatal if untreated promptly. That is why knowing your VO2 max is an important tool once those dew-point levels climb up into the higher 60's too that oppressive 70 %!

Running in the summer, or even a good jogging pace can bring on the summer sweats. Sweating is the bodies’ way of trying to control your temperature. Under most circumstances, it works very well. In high heat/humid settings, it can sometimes work to your disadvantage if you are not prepared. In very dry, or very humid conditions sweating can lead to severe dehydration. Any experienced runner knows that they need to hydrate, and hydrate a lot! During an extended period of time can have you losing a few liters of fluid. In high heat, but low humidity conditions, the sweat is evaporated rapidly. You may feel like you’re not losing a lot of fluid, but you are! In high humidity environments the sweat does not evaporate nearly as rapidly, therefore your body’s response is to sweat more as it attempts to cool you down. The volume of fluid in your blood vessels might only be 3-5 liters. If you sweat or exhale 3 liters of fluid during exercise and do not replenish it your body will draw fluid away from your muscles, and other organs to maintain the fluid level in your blood vessels. That is why dehydration can affect all your systems in your body. The key rule to remember is to drink often if you wait till your mouth is dry, you’re waiting too long!

Water is a great restorative, especially when it's that hot and humid. But sometimes it’s best to get those lost electrolytes replenished as well. One product line that we like is the Nuun Active Electrolyte Supplement  Nuun active, is a sports drink, packed with electrolytes and low-calorie clean ingredients to help you stay energetic during your intense sweat sessions. It will help you get rid of cramps and improve muscle function. It also aids efficient distribution of energy.

But in order to tote that energy/electrolyte packed drink on your run, you need a good, insulated bottle. One great item that is always at my side, (literally) is the Camelbak Delaney 21oz Podium Insulated Chill Bottle  This insulated bottle is just about hands-free, and since it comes with its own waist hugging adjustable pack it does not get in the way and is easy to use. The pack itself provides enough storage (without being bulky) for energy bars or gels, keys and even my phone. So don’t start off on the wrong foot by NOT carrying the right water container and remember to take any opportunity while you’re out on the trail to refill it. You never know what may happen as you get farther out on a trail that you’re not familiar with!

If you’re running consistently, your body is already working on getting used to the summer heat and humidity. It usually takes about 2-3 weeks before your body adapts, so listen to your body as the temp. begins to rise. Your body will increase the volume or amount of fluid in your vessels to ready itself for exercise. This is likely due to sodium and protein retention. Many other adaptations take place. Our sweat glands become more efficient too. You will sweat more often and more efficiently. You will begin to notice that your body is getting used to exercising in the heat when your heart rate decreases despite running at the same pace. You will also notice an increase in your endurance and your VO2 max.

After your body adapts to the stress of exercising in the heat and humidity you should be able to return to your normal training schedule. Remember, all this above assumes you are a healthy well trained athlete to begin with! If you are just starting out or you have chronic heart, lung or other illnesses you should definitely talk to your physician first, before doing ANY stressful exercise!

Not doing so is beyond being foolish, so make sure if you’re a rookie that you have your physician sign off on your being able to not only run, but being able to run when the heat index starts to climb.

 

Read more

Sum, Sum, summertime is here and we are loving it. But with the summer heat also comes the humidity. Those of us that have embraced a healthy lifestyle and take every chance we get to get our runs or even a fast jog in can sometimes get into a little trouble with the dense air (Humidity) that sometimes ushers in with the jet-stream. Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body. If you don't pay attention to your body, when exercising in the heat, you risk the chance of becoming seriously ill. Both the exercise itself and the air temperature and humidity can increase your core body temperature. To help cool itself, your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin.

Most of us, who like to run, make it a point to hit the open air trails instead of the fluorescent interior of a gym, the downside to this is there is NO air-conditioning. But we feel the need to move horizontally when we exercise… and if you’re like me, I exercise a lot. I need to run on the trails to get into that meditative state so many runners crave. But in the early summer months, my training schedules change to adapt to the heat and humidity of the Northeast. Yours should too!

You need to remember, that running or cycling in 90-degree weather is not the same as running in 50 or 60-degree weather. Your blood volume is lower than it needs to be and other systems within your body are simply not ready to take on the heat, much less the dense moisture laden air on a humid day. For many runners and cyclists, properly adapting to exercising in the heat can improve their performance in more temperate conditions. But you need to be aware of your body's strengths and weaknesses. One way to stay on top of your body's signals is with a good Heart Rate Monitor watch, especially one that tracks your V02 Max data. VO2 Max is the measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense, or maximal exercise. It is measured as milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight. It's one factor that may help determine an athlete's capacity to perform sustained exercise.

Since most of us that like to get out and run on trails off the beaten path. An activity watch with a good accurate GPS function is a must. And as long as you’re going to maintain your fitness routines by getting out and enjoying the fresh air and scenery, having a Multi-Function monitor that doubles as both a heart rate monitor and one that does monitor your VO2 max data is a win-win. The one that I have found fits all my needs is the Garmin Fenix3 MultiSport Strapless Heart Rate Monitor (https://www.heartratemonitorsusa.com/products/garmin-fenix3-strapless?variant=15691645254). It keeps track of your heart rate, counts steps while walking and monitors sleep. The watch monitors your heart rate and provides precise information of the calories burned during your intensive sweat sessions. By keeping a record of these factors, you can check the quality of your workouts and improve it to get better results. Based on your VO2 levels and max number, it monitors your running speed and heart beats per minute. This is used to calculate the estimated volume of oxygen you can consume per minute.

Running in the heat and humidity takes a lot more effort than running in cool crisp weather. Your VO2 max or your ability to use oxygen to create energy diminishes. You will dehydrate much quicker which not only will further diminish your VO2 max, it can create electrolyte imbalances too. Heat Exhaustion, which can lead to Heat Stroke, where your body temperature rises to dangerous temperatures is an ever-present danger and can be fatal if untreated promptly. That is why knowing your VO2 max is an important tool once those dew-point levels climb up into the higher 60's too that oppressive 70 %!

Running in the summer, or even a good jogging pace can bring on the summer sweats. Sweating is the bodies’ way of trying to control your temperature. Under most circumstances, it works very well. In high heat/humid settings, it can sometimes work to your disadvantage if you are not prepared. In very dry, or very humid conditions sweating can lead to severe dehydration. Any experienced runner knows that they need to hydrate, and hydrate a lot! During an extended period of time can have you losing a few liters of fluid. In high heat, but low humidity conditions, the sweat is evaporated rapidly. You may feel like you’re not losing a lot of fluid, but you are! In high humidity environments the sweat does not evaporate nearly as rapidly, therefore your body’s response is to sweat more as it attempts to cool you down. The volume of fluid in your blood vessels might only be 3-5 liters. If you sweat or exhale 3 liters of fluid during exercise and do not replenish it your body will draw fluid away from your muscles, and other organs to maintain the fluid level in your blood vessels. That is why dehydration can affect all your systems in your body. The key rule to remember is to drink often if you wait till your mouth is dry, you’re waiting too long!

Water is a great restorative, especially when it's that hot and humid. But sometimes it’s best to get those lost electrolytes replenished as well. One product line that we like is the Nuun Active Electrolyte Supplement  Nuun active, is a sports drink, packed with electrolytes and low-calorie clean ingredients to help you stay energetic during your intense sweat sessions. It will help you get rid of cramps and improve muscle function. It also aids efficient distribution of energy.

But in order to tote that energy/electrolyte packed drink on your run, you need a good, insulated bottle. One great item that is always at my side, (literally) is the Camelbak Delaney 21oz Podium Insulated Chill Bottle  This insulated bottle is just about hands-free, and since it comes with its own waist hugging adjustable pack it does not get in the way and is easy to use. The pack itself provides enough storage (without being bulky) for energy bars or gels, keys and even my phone. So don’t start off on the wrong foot by NOT carrying the right water container and remember to take any opportunity while you’re out on the trail to refill it. You never know what may happen as you get farther out on a trail that you’re not familiar with!

If you’re running consistently, your body is already working on getting used to the summer heat and humidity. It usually takes about 2-3 weeks before your body adapts, so listen to your body as the temp. begins to rise. Your body will increase the volume or amount of fluid in your vessels to ready itself for exercise. This is likely due to sodium and protein retention. Many other adaptations take place. Our sweat glands become more efficient too. You will sweat more often and more efficiently. You will begin to notice that your body is getting used to exercising in the heat when your heart rate decreases despite running at the same pace. You will also notice an increase in your endurance and your VO2 max.

After your body adapts to the stress of exercising in the heat and humidity you should be able to return to your normal training schedule. Remember, all this above assumes you are a healthy well trained athlete to begin with! If you are just starting out or you have chronic heart, lung or other illnesses you should definitely talk to your physician first, before doing ANY stressful exercise!

Not doing so is beyond being foolish, so make sure if you’re a rookie that you have your physician sign off on your being able to not only run, but being able to run when the heat index starts to climb.

 

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

Know what Olympic Athletes Have That We Would Like to Emulate?

They Live Longer!

Well, the summer 2016 Olympic Games kicked off this past Friday, August 5th in Rio and Team USA is already making a great showing in the overall medal counts.  Know what all those athletes have in common with each other, it's been studied that because they are in such great shape that they tend to live longer than the rest of us and have less of a history with dementia, heart, and cardiovascular diseases than those of us that just sit back on our chairs and watch the Olympic events take place every 4 years. In case you weren't sure before, these studies, to be published in the British Medical Journal, confirm that Olympic athletes are indeed some of the healthiest people in the world.

According to CNN, the first study looked at the life expectancy of 15,174 Olympians from the top medal-earning countries including the U.S., Germany, Russia, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Each athlete medaled at least once in the Games between 1896 and 2010 and was compared to the general population groups matched by age, country, and gender. Overall the Olympic medalists lived an average of 2.8 years longer than the public in eight of the nine countries in a 30-year follow-up, regardless of whether they placed gold, silver, or bronze or which sport they played.

The second study also found that an athlete's sport wasn't a factor. Those who participated in events such as cricket or golf shared similar mortality rates with those who participated in high-intensity sports such as gymnastics and cycling, suggesting that training at high or moderate intensities doesn't necessarily provide more of a benefit.  But being active does!

The researchers didn't specifically study the reasons why Olympians live longer than others, but they noted that it could be partly due to genetics, as well as training environments. This takes into account that the typical Olympic athletes tend to have more of an opportunity to enjoy the highest-quality diet and fitness regimes than the average person does.

Either way, we think exercising more can't hurt your chances of living longer! If nothing else, these studies just affirm our belief in the power of regular workouts. This should be a great motivator on why exercise is the single best thing you can do for your health. 

To help you monitor and set the right goals for your own exercise routines trainers agree that an activity monitor with a heart rate monitor is a great training tool.  A monitor like the Polar M600 Strapless Heart Rate Monitor Smart Watch Whether you are a top athlete who needs to optimize his/her training or a tech-savvy fitness enthusiast wanting to be in good physical and mental shape; this Polar M600 will be your perfect companion for daily sweat sessions and beyond. Tether this high-tech wearable to your wrist and keep a track of all your activities on the go.  Now you can train just like an Olypian who has their own training coach or partner there with them all the time!

Below are some tips from former Medalists of the games that have helped them reach their objective. See if you can incorporate some of their tips into your daily workout sessions.

RECIPE FOR SUCCESS:

Every week, Davenport, a former gold medalist, does 10 to 15 hours of hitting and stroke (tennis) drills at a neighborhood court in her hometown of Laguna Beach, CA, plus three hours of free weights, the occasional Pilates class and two sessions of footwork and plyometrics (high-impact drills).   Along with doing “Three-Way Lunges” (stepping forward, laterally, then back) This tones the quads and mimic the motion of hitting a low shot. Four days a week, Davenport does 10 to 20 reps on each leg.  One tip that Davenport mentions is that she cut out the soda and lemonade and went cold turkey on caffeine.  Drinking just water and drinks supplemented with electrolytes.

MIND GAME: "Keeping your head in each point is the toughest thing about tennis," says Davenport, who spends a few moments in silent visualization before every match. "You need a sense of calm and a big sense of belief."  This helps let you take things in stride so that you can focus on not only your physical self but also your state of mind.

Diana Lopez, TAE KWON DO: Beginning two months before the competition, Lopez — who lives in Houston — practices tae kwon do five days a week for two hours a day. She also works in six hours of plyometrics, footwork drills, and weight training; a Bikram yoga class; and three 30-minute jogs a week.  When Lopez wants fast results, she combines speed intervals with plyometrics: three sets of 10 reps of jumping on and off a raised step, with 10 seconds of uphill sprinting on a treadmill between each set. "I love the strength and explosiveness it gives me in matches."

EAT LIKE A PRO:  At 5-foot-10 and 132 pounds, Lopez had to drop to 125 pounds to qualify for the featherweight division. After narrowly missing the 2004 Olympic team, she cut junk food and fast food from her diet and learned to subsist on oatmeal, fruit, lean protein, and greens. "You have to listen to your body," she says. "Now I feel so much faster in competition."

Julie Swail Ertel, Triathlon  Working out is a full-time job when you're juggling three sports. Nobody knows this better than Julie Swail Ertel, a 35-year-old SoCal native and 2000 Olympic silver medalist in water polo, who puts in 20 hours of cycling, swimming, and running a week.

When Ertel incorporated a balancing exercise — standing on one leg for a minute on each side into her DIY yoga routine a year ago, her running times dropped almost immediately. "Running is just balancing on one leg and then another," she says. Now she does the pose twice a week.To stave off boredom, Ertel constantly tries new things: In April, she ran a 3000-meter race at a local community college — and won.

SNEAKER SMARTS: Running without socks is a recipe for disaster, especially when you have size 12 feet. Ertel combats blisters by plastering them with Band-Aids or coating her feet in a thin layer of Vaseline in humid climates.

Kristin Armstrong, Cycling: Kristin Armstrong is used to being mistaken for someone else — the ex-wife of a certain seven-time Tour de France winner. But since she started racking up her own impressive victories — including the 2006 World Time Trial Championships — Armstrong, has made a name for herself as the woman to beat, Just call her "K-Strong." Armstrong trains in three-week blocks of increasing intensity — 16 to 25 hours a week on her bike — followed by an easier recovery week. During long Idaho winters, the Boise local heads to the mountains for snowshoeing and Nordic skate skiing.

STRENGTH ON WHEELS:

Twice a week, Armstrong uses her bike as her mobile weight room: She shifts into a high-resistance gear and does 20 to 45 minutes of low-cadence drills to work quads, glutes, and hamstring

During especially hard races, Armstrong talks to herself to stay focused and push through the pain. "I'll ask myself, 'Can you hurt any more?' And then I'll say, 'You have to hurt harder.'

"WORD TO THE WISE: Invest in a bike that fits, get a comfortable saddle (she loves her Fizik), and cycle with a group whenever possible. "Try not to be intimidated," she says. "Most important, have fun."

Natalie Coughlin, Swimming:  The only person who wasn't surprised when Natalie Coughlin raked in five medals (two golds, two silvers, one bronze) at her Olympic debut in Athens was Coughlin. "I expected that of myself," says the 25-year-old Vallejo, CA, native, who started racing when she was 6.

Coughlin is in the pool by 6 a.m., six days a week, for a two-to-four-hour workout with the UC Berkeley team (she graduated in 2005). She also walks or runs with her border terrier, SheRa, and logs three hours of weight training a week.

"Pilates helps improve my stroke efficiency. It also cures me of bad habits, like slouching," says Coughlin, who works out on her own or at a local studio three times a week. "You want to have the same posture in the pool as you have on land."

EAT LIKE A PRO:  Coughlin shops organic, stocks up on just-picked produce from her local CSA (community-supported agriculture), and supplements with veggies from her backyard garden. "As a swimmer, I have the potential to put on a lot of muscle, so I have to be careful."

Sun Smart  If you're out, exercising in the hot summer sun, Kinesys spray-on SPF 30. Waterproof, which of course she uses for the biking and swimming events. Stay on top of your exposure this time of year and do your research and get the best sunscreen available to you, remember, prevention will pay off the older you get!

 Now that you have some tips and workout hints from current and past Olympians you can go out and combine what will work best for you based on your own fitness goals and the type of exercise and lifestyle you’re looking at maintaining.

So bottom line, the results really do speak for themselves, get moving, get in shape and while you may not be an Olympic Athlete yourself, there’s no reason why you can’t also reap the benefits of a longer, active life by keeping your body toned and in shape. So go ahead, that starting gun is about to go off. Get Ready, Get Set……. Go!

 Portions of the information were provided by Alanna Nuñez

Read more

They Live Longer!

Well, the summer 2016 Olympic Games kicked off this past Friday, August 5th in Rio and Team USA is already making a great showing in the overall medal counts.  Know what all those athletes have in common with each other, it's been studied that because they are in such great shape that they tend to live longer than the rest of us and have less of a history with dementia, heart, and cardiovascular diseases than those of us that just sit back on our chairs and watch the Olympic events take place every 4 years. In case you weren't sure before, these studies, to be published in the British Medical Journal, confirm that Olympic athletes are indeed some of the healthiest people in the world.

According to CNN, the first study looked at the life expectancy of 15,174 Olympians from the top medal-earning countries including the U.S., Germany, Russia, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Each athlete medaled at least once in the Games between 1896 and 2010 and was compared to the general population groups matched by age, country, and gender. Overall the Olympic medalists lived an average of 2.8 years longer than the public in eight of the nine countries in a 30-year follow-up, regardless of whether they placed gold, silver, or bronze or which sport they played.

The second study also found that an athlete's sport wasn't a factor. Those who participated in events such as cricket or golf shared similar mortality rates with those who participated in high-intensity sports such as gymnastics and cycling, suggesting that training at high or moderate intensities doesn't necessarily provide more of a benefit.  But being active does!

The researchers didn't specifically study the reasons why Olympians live longer than others, but they noted that it could be partly due to genetics, as well as training environments. This takes into account that the typical Olympic athletes tend to have more of an opportunity to enjoy the highest-quality diet and fitness regimes than the average person does.

Either way, we think exercising more can't hurt your chances of living longer! If nothing else, these studies just affirm our belief in the power of regular workouts. This should be a great motivator on why exercise is the single best thing you can do for your health. 

To help you monitor and set the right goals for your own exercise routines trainers agree that an activity monitor with a heart rate monitor is a great training tool.  A monitor like the Polar M600 Strapless Heart Rate Monitor Smart Watch Whether you are a top athlete who needs to optimize his/her training or a tech-savvy fitness enthusiast wanting to be in good physical and mental shape; this Polar M600 will be your perfect companion for daily sweat sessions and beyond. Tether this high-tech wearable to your wrist and keep a track of all your activities on the go.  Now you can train just like an Olypian who has their own training coach or partner there with them all the time!

Below are some tips from former Medalists of the games that have helped them reach their objective. See if you can incorporate some of their tips into your daily workout sessions.

RECIPE FOR SUCCESS:

Every week, Davenport, a former gold medalist, does 10 to 15 hours of hitting and stroke (tennis) drills at a neighborhood court in her hometown of Laguna Beach, CA, plus three hours of free weights, the occasional Pilates class and two sessions of footwork and plyometrics (high-impact drills).   Along with doing “Three-Way Lunges” (stepping forward, laterally, then back) This tones the quads and mimic the motion of hitting a low shot. Four days a week, Davenport does 10 to 20 reps on each leg.  One tip that Davenport mentions is that she cut out the soda and lemonade and went cold turkey on caffeine.  Drinking just water and drinks supplemented with electrolytes.

MIND GAME: "Keeping your head in each point is the toughest thing about tennis," says Davenport, who spends a few moments in silent visualization before every match. "You need a sense of calm and a big sense of belief."  This helps let you take things in stride so that you can focus on not only your physical self but also your state of mind.

Diana Lopez, TAE KWON DO: Beginning two months before the competition, Lopez — who lives in Houston — practices tae kwon do five days a week for two hours a day. She also works in six hours of plyometrics, footwork drills, and weight training; a Bikram yoga class; and three 30-minute jogs a week.  When Lopez wants fast results, she combines speed intervals with plyometrics: three sets of 10 reps of jumping on and off a raised step, with 10 seconds of uphill sprinting on a treadmill between each set. "I love the strength and explosiveness it gives me in matches."

EAT LIKE A PRO:  At 5-foot-10 and 132 pounds, Lopez had to drop to 125 pounds to qualify for the featherweight division. After narrowly missing the 2004 Olympic team, she cut junk food and fast food from her diet and learned to subsist on oatmeal, fruit, lean protein, and greens. "You have to listen to your body," she says. "Now I feel so much faster in competition."

Julie Swail Ertel, Triathlon  Working out is a full-time job when you're juggling three sports. Nobody knows this better than Julie Swail Ertel, a 35-year-old SoCal native and 2000 Olympic silver medalist in water polo, who puts in 20 hours of cycling, swimming, and running a week.

When Ertel incorporated a balancing exercise — standing on one leg for a minute on each side into her DIY yoga routine a year ago, her running times dropped almost immediately. "Running is just balancing on one leg and then another," she says. Now she does the pose twice a week.To stave off boredom, Ertel constantly tries new things: In April, she ran a 3000-meter race at a local community college — and won.

SNEAKER SMARTS: Running without socks is a recipe for disaster, especially when you have size 12 feet. Ertel combats blisters by plastering them with Band-Aids or coating her feet in a thin layer of Vaseline in humid climates.

Kristin Armstrong, Cycling: Kristin Armstrong is used to being mistaken for someone else — the ex-wife of a certain seven-time Tour de France winner. But since she started racking up her own impressive victories — including the 2006 World Time Trial Championships — Armstrong, has made a name for herself as the woman to beat, Just call her "K-Strong." Armstrong trains in three-week blocks of increasing intensity — 16 to 25 hours a week on her bike — followed by an easier recovery week. During long Idaho winters, the Boise local heads to the mountains for snowshoeing and Nordic skate skiing.

STRENGTH ON WHEELS:

Twice a week, Armstrong uses her bike as her mobile weight room: She shifts into a high-resistance gear and does 20 to 45 minutes of low-cadence drills to work quads, glutes, and hamstring

During especially hard races, Armstrong talks to herself to stay focused and push through the pain. "I'll ask myself, 'Can you hurt any more?' And then I'll say, 'You have to hurt harder.'

"WORD TO THE WISE: Invest in a bike that fits, get a comfortable saddle (she loves her Fizik), and cycle with a group whenever possible. "Try not to be intimidated," she says. "Most important, have fun."

Natalie Coughlin, Swimming:  The only person who wasn't surprised when Natalie Coughlin raked in five medals (two golds, two silvers, one bronze) at her Olympic debut in Athens was Coughlin. "I expected that of myself," says the 25-year-old Vallejo, CA, native, who started racing when she was 6.

Coughlin is in the pool by 6 a.m., six days a week, for a two-to-four-hour workout with the UC Berkeley team (she graduated in 2005). She also walks or runs with her border terrier, SheRa, and logs three hours of weight training a week.

"Pilates helps improve my stroke efficiency. It also cures me of bad habits, like slouching," says Coughlin, who works out on her own or at a local studio three times a week. "You want to have the same posture in the pool as you have on land."

EAT LIKE A PRO:  Coughlin shops organic, stocks up on just-picked produce from her local CSA (community-supported agriculture), and supplements with veggies from her backyard garden. "As a swimmer, I have the potential to put on a lot of muscle, so I have to be careful."

Sun Smart  If you're out, exercising in the hot summer sun, Kinesys spray-on SPF 30. Waterproof, which of course she uses for the biking and swimming events. Stay on top of your exposure this time of year and do your research and get the best sunscreen available to you, remember, prevention will pay off the older you get!

 Now that you have some tips and workout hints from current and past Olympians you can go out and combine what will work best for you based on your own fitness goals and the type of exercise and lifestyle you’re looking at maintaining.

So bottom line, the results really do speak for themselves, get moving, get in shape and while you may not be an Olympic Athlete yourself, there’s no reason why you can’t also reap the benefits of a longer, active life by keeping your body toned and in shape. So go ahead, that starting gun is about to go off. Get Ready, Get Set……. Go!

 Portions of the information were provided by Alanna Nuñez

Read more

Keeping Cool On Those Summer Bike Outings

High temperatures mean you have to be well prepared to deal with the heat. There’s sunburn to worry about, dehydration and, worst of all, sunstroke. These are potential headaches that come with the season, but there are things you can do to cope with them and still get out there and bike!
Here are some tips for staying cool and healthy if you’re bike touring in hot weather.

1 – Water, water, water
Think about how much you normally drink during the day and then add an extra 1-2 liters. Sip on your water supply during the day, rather than taking in a lot of water all at once. Doing this will help you stay well hydrated and that is a huge factor in coping with the heat. It will also help you not to get cramps while your biking. A great addition to your biking gear that does not take up much room or weight is the Avex Brazos Stainless Steel AutoSeal Water Bottle 24 oz. This Insulated stainless steel water bottle with a double wall, and vacuum insulation to keep your water cold for hours and eliminate external sweating. Whether you're or biking, hiking a desert trail or scaling a mountain, it has the capacity to quench your thirst!  It also has a spout shield to protect against dirt and an ergonomic clip-on handle that attaches to backpacks and other gear

Sometimes it’s hard to drink a lot of just plain water, so you can add some flavorings. We suggest adding a little iced tea powder, with a squeeze of lemon juice or about 20% orange juice to the mix. Clean your bottles well afterward to stop mold from growing in them. Having an insulated bottle to take along with you is a must in the hot weather. 

2 – Find A Water Tap And Get Soaked
While it may not be the most comfortable way to travel, you really won't mind being a little wet when the temperature climbs over 85 degress Cycling with a wet shirt is like instant air conditioning. When it’s really hot, you can stop at any water source you can find (streams are great, or water taps at places like cemeteries and gas stations) and soak your shirt in the water. Try soaking a bandana that you should have with you as a help in sunburn protection around your neck. It’s a little chilly putting the wet shirt back on, but it feels so good and keeps you really nice and cool for about 1/2 an hour. The bonus is that you also wash a bit of sweat out of your shirt, so it’s not so grungy after a long, hot day of riding.

3 – Pick Your Time Of Day
Start early, it really is the best time of day for getting physical and the coolness of the early morning can help you keep a positive attitude as miles fly by under your bike tires. Have a lunchtime siesta and finish your ride in the evening, after the sun starts to set. Riding through the midday heat is the surest way to fry your brain and body during a bike tour. If the temperatures are set to rise above 30°C, (that’s 86 degrees for you Fahrenheit people). Then you can start riding at first light and plan for a lunch break in about 2-3 hours.

4 – Carry Shade With You
A tarp comes in handy on hot days, of course, you want to rest in the shade when at all possible, but what if there isn’t any? Carry a tarp and you can create instant shade, just about anywhere. You can string your tarp between telephone poles and power pylons in sparsely populated areas, making the perfect spot to wait out the heat of the day. When you set up camp, a tarp can also protect your tent from UV damage. So any way you look at it, that tarp can go a long way to making your day better and a little cooler.

5 – Cover Up With Clothing
Look at people who live constantly in a hot climate and you’ll see they almost always cover up with long sleeves and trousers. Why? It’s the best way to protect your body. Wear longer clothing and you also use less sunscreen. As you know from articles hitting the news, some if not all sunscreens do not really measure up to what they say they will do. Aside from the cost and the fact it leaves a film on your skin, people sweat too much for the sunscreen to do its job properly and they never remember to re-apply it often enough during the day. Whether your biking, hiking or running, a good quality shirt that helps keep you dry and wicks away moisture is a good choice.  A high visibility top makes just good sense when your biking so that others can see you coming. The Proviz line of high visible clothing like the Proviz Reflect360 Men's High Visibility Running Jacket
The reflective detailing is designed to help you stand out when on the roads during hours of darkness or poor light.

By using long-sleeved shirts that cover your arms and 3/4 length trousers, you only have to worry about the sunscreen on your faces and small sections of our arms and legs. As long as you get lightweight clothing, it’s not as hot as you might imagine. Remember, cotton clothing is the best-recommended fabric for helping you stay cooler during the hot summer months.

6 – Use A Hydration Pack
A hydration pack is the kind of thing you’d expect to carry on a mountain hike, but it can be handy for bike riders, especially on hot days too, to keep your water or drink of your choice, nice and cold. The Camelbak MULE NV is our choice to carry. It has a narrow-gauge design and is stable for all-terrain action in any weather condition. The CamelBak M.U.L.E. NV Hydration Pack provides plenty of gear storage and water capacity to let you enjoy the riding the trails all day long

We hope the above tips and suggestions will help you to maintain your cycling adventures during the hot summer months.  And before we go, we want to remind you that to keep on track with where you're going this Summer, Fall, and yes even the Winter, on your extended bike rides, why not take along a Cycling Computer, like the Garmin Garmin Explorer 820  The Edge Explore 820 also keeps you connected to the rest of the world with smart notifications, live tracking, social media sharing and automatic uploads to Garmin Connect.  

So now that you have the tips, tricks, and tools to help you beat the summer heat, go ahead and put the pedal (Bike Pedal) to the trail and have some summer fun!

  

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High temperatures mean you have to be well prepared to deal with the heat. There’s sunburn to worry about, dehydration and, worst of all, sunstroke. These are potential headaches that come with the season, but there are things you can do to cope with them and still get out there and bike!
Here are some tips for staying cool and healthy if you’re bike touring in hot weather.

1 – Water, water, water
Think about how much you normally drink during the day and then add an extra 1-2 liters. Sip on your water supply during the day, rather than taking in a lot of water all at once. Doing this will help you stay well hydrated and that is a huge factor in coping with the heat. It will also help you not to get cramps while your biking. A great addition to your biking gear that does not take up much room or weight is the Avex Brazos Stainless Steel AutoSeal Water Bottle 24 oz. This Insulated stainless steel water bottle with a double wall, and vacuum insulation to keep your water cold for hours and eliminate external sweating. Whether you're or biking, hiking a desert trail or scaling a mountain, it has the capacity to quench your thirst!  It also has a spout shield to protect against dirt and an ergonomic clip-on handle that attaches to backpacks and other gear

Sometimes it’s hard to drink a lot of just plain water, so you can add some flavorings. We suggest adding a little iced tea powder, with a squeeze of lemon juice or about 20% orange juice to the mix. Clean your bottles well afterward to stop mold from growing in them. Having an insulated bottle to take along with you is a must in the hot weather. 

2 – Find A Water Tap And Get Soaked
While it may not be the most comfortable way to travel, you really won't mind being a little wet when the temperature climbs over 85 degress Cycling with a wet shirt is like instant air conditioning. When it’s really hot, you can stop at any water source you can find (streams are great, or water taps at places like cemeteries and gas stations) and soak your shirt in the water. Try soaking a bandana that you should have with you as a help in sunburn protection around your neck. It’s a little chilly putting the wet shirt back on, but it feels so good and keeps you really nice and cool for about 1/2 an hour. The bonus is that you also wash a bit of sweat out of your shirt, so it’s not so grungy after a long, hot day of riding.

3 – Pick Your Time Of Day
Start early, it really is the best time of day for getting physical and the coolness of the early morning can help you keep a positive attitude as miles fly by under your bike tires. Have a lunchtime siesta and finish your ride in the evening, after the sun starts to set. Riding through the midday heat is the surest way to fry your brain and body during a bike tour. If the temperatures are set to rise above 30°C, (that’s 86 degrees for you Fahrenheit people). Then you can start riding at first light and plan for a lunch break in about 2-3 hours.

4 – Carry Shade With You
A tarp comes in handy on hot days, of course, you want to rest in the shade when at all possible, but what if there isn’t any? Carry a tarp and you can create instant shade, just about anywhere. You can string your tarp between telephone poles and power pylons in sparsely populated areas, making the perfect spot to wait out the heat of the day. When you set up camp, a tarp can also protect your tent from UV damage. So any way you look at it, that tarp can go a long way to making your day better and a little cooler.

5 – Cover Up With Clothing
Look at people who live constantly in a hot climate and you’ll see they almost always cover up with long sleeves and trousers. Why? It’s the best way to protect your body. Wear longer clothing and you also use less sunscreen. As you know from articles hitting the news, some if not all sunscreens do not really measure up to what they say they will do. Aside from the cost and the fact it leaves a film on your skin, people sweat too much for the sunscreen to do its job properly and they never remember to re-apply it often enough during the day. Whether your biking, hiking or running, a good quality shirt that helps keep you dry and wicks away moisture is a good choice.  A high visibility top makes just good sense when your biking so that others can see you coming. The Proviz line of high visible clothing like the Proviz Reflect360 Men's High Visibility Running Jacket
The reflective detailing is designed to help you stand out when on the roads during hours of darkness or poor light.

By using long-sleeved shirts that cover your arms and 3/4 length trousers, you only have to worry about the sunscreen on your faces and small sections of our arms and legs. As long as you get lightweight clothing, it’s not as hot as you might imagine. Remember, cotton clothing is the best-recommended fabric for helping you stay cooler during the hot summer months.

6 – Use A Hydration Pack
A hydration pack is the kind of thing you’d expect to carry on a mountain hike, but it can be handy for bike riders, especially on hot days too, to keep your water or drink of your choice, nice and cold. The Camelbak MULE NV is our choice to carry. It has a narrow-gauge design and is stable for all-terrain action in any weather condition. The CamelBak M.U.L.E. NV Hydration Pack provides plenty of gear storage and water capacity to let you enjoy the riding the trails all day long

We hope the above tips and suggestions will help you to maintain your cycling adventures during the hot summer months.  And before we go, we want to remind you that to keep on track with where you're going this Summer, Fall, and yes even the Winter, on your extended bike rides, why not take along a Cycling Computer, like the Garmin Garmin Explorer 820  The Edge Explore 820 also keeps you connected to the rest of the world with smart notifications, live tracking, social media sharing and automatic uploads to Garmin Connect.  

So now that you have the tips, tricks, and tools to help you beat the summer heat, go ahead and put the pedal (Bike Pedal) to the trail and have some summer fun!

  

Read more