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9 Habits That Could Be Sabotaging Your Fitness Goals

As Summer begins to wane, the Fall and Winter seasons are right around the corner. You may be coming off of an active and fun summer season, but you want to continue that active lifestyle right through the Fall and Winter months. 

Getting into a consistent workout routine is a great way to kick start your new healthy you, but it's not the only component of getting fit. Being healthy is a lifestyle, and there are a number of habits that can actually work against your fitness goals, even if they seem innocent enough. Knowing what little tweaks to make to your daily habits can help improve your overall health and help you truly reach those fitness goals once and for all.

These changes won't happen overnight, but if you are aware of what is sabotaging your efforts, you can take the proper steps to get to where you need to be. "Make small, minor changes in your lifestyle and take your time to really master those habits," says strength and conditioning coach, functional medicine practitioner, and sports nutritionist Brandon Mentore . You need to adopt a new lifestyle but do it slowly and convert your current way of living a lifestyle of fitness. The more gradual you are, the more achievable, maintainable, and sustainable your fitness goals will be.

A good place to begin is to look at your overall lifestyle and ditch those harmful activities. If you want to kick your health and wellness up a notch, consider ditching these nine habits that can actually work against your fitness goals.

1. Not Eating Enough
If you're working out harder, you're going to need to eat more as well. "Seriously increasing your fitness intensity and/or duration is going to require a rebalancing of your calorie intake," says health coach Liza Baker over email. "Eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. These foods are full of micronutrients, water, and fiber, all of which keep your body functioning at an optimal level."

2. Overdoing It
"If you decide to get in shape and work out intensely for an hour after never working out, you will run the risk of injury or be so sore the next day that it will be impossible to be consistent," says Baker. "Not taking an occasional break can be just as damaging — our bodies need rest! That said, you should always be trying to gradually increase the number of times you work out a week, how long you work out, and with what intensity you work out."

3. Not Getting Enough Sleep
"Getting by on 4 to 5 hours of sleep is incredibly damaging to your body even when you're not working out," says Baker. Not only will you feel tired and fatigued, which could discourage you from working out, but not sleeping enough can also increase your cravings for junk food, according to research from St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center and Columbia University. Remember, sleep, like food is necessary for your body to function correctly. When your exercising, your taxing your body to make it work harder then it might be used to. This is how you get in shape and lose the weight. So make sure your getting the right amount of sleep each night. You may find it helpful to turn that tv. off by 10pm instead of watching your favorite late night talk show hosts.

4. Drinking A Lot
We all love a good happy hour, but drinking in excess can hamper your fitness goals. It can lead to muscle cramping, poorer sleep, and excess hunger and craving for junk foods, according to Shape.  Try substituting sparkling water or try a cranberry spritzer when your out with your friends.  It's a nice change up from the regular fare and you can always offer to be the designated driver for your friends so you can all get home safely. 

5. Doing What's Trendy
A juice cleanse might be the latest craze, but it doesn't mean it's actually going to benefit you. "What's good for everyone else isn't always good for you," says Mentore. "There's a point at which following the crowd and doing what they do to reach their fitness goals can actually be detrimental." Figure out what works best for your body, and don't just follow blindly what people do on the social networks.

6. Having A Bad Mindset
"It's OK to be skeptical and even pessimistic if you haven't been able to reach your goals in the past," says Mentore. "However, if you're going to make a go at it, you have to have a positive mindset or at least an appropriate commitment to your goal or it will never work."  Try and make sure the goals you're setting for yourself are achievable and not just wishing on a star. You can always make a new goal for yourself, once you've conquered your initial one!

7. Doing The Same Thing Constantly
"Our bodies tend to 'memorize' workouts — after a few weeks of the same routine, we don't have to work as hard to do it," says Baker. This is why it is important not only to 'mix it up' and not do the same workout every day." Same goes for eating the same foods and not incorporating different nutrients.  Think about changing up your walking routine or maybe add a HITT training day amongst your weekly routines. Remember, change is good for you and your body!

8. Not Drinking Enough Water
If you're not drinking enough water, your energy levels aren't going to be where they need to be. Even just mild dehydration can cause fatigue, according to a study from the Journal of Nutrition, and you could also mistake feelings of thirst for feelings of hunger, which may have you turning to extra food when you actually just need water.  Keep that thirst at bey and take an insulated bottle along with you on your workout routines. A bottle like the Klean Kanteen Insulated Bottle is a great choice that will stand up to any test you want to put it through and will still supply you with the hydration you need whether it be just plain water or a drink that is packed full of nutrients and electrolytes. Just like the 
Nuun Energy Hydration Tablets. These tablets will  lift up your energy level and keep you active all day long.

9. Focusing On The Scale
"The scale is probably the number one complication that works against your goals," says Mentore. "Bodyweight in and of itself is a metric of low priority that people place an undeserving high premium on." Your weight will fluctuate, but how you feel about yourself is what should stay consistent. "Instead of focusing on the scale go for feeling fit," he says. "That's a much better metric than being number focused."  I've often left my scale in the closet and rely on my three-month checkup with my Dr. to let me know how I'm doing weight wise.  This way I can keep a positive outlook on just how well I'm doing. Believe me, you will know if you're eating a bit too much and you can then do something about it.

Fitness is about more than just working out, so make sure the rest of your life reflects the healthy lifestyle you desire. This goes along with your social, work-life and most importantly on how you reward yourself for accomplishing a realistic goal.

At HeartRateMonitorsUSA.com we like to post meaningful articles that can help you help yourself. Sometimes we are fortunate to run across health-related information that we like to pass along to you. Even though we are an e-retailer, the products that we promote are always based on being able to help you help yourself get fitter and healthier. So we hope to continue to bring you relative information that will benefit you as you strive to improve your own healthier you!

Portions of this information were provided by Carina Wolff

 

Read more

As Summer begins to wane, the Fall and Winter seasons are right around the corner. You may be coming off of an active and fun summer season, but you want to continue that active lifestyle right through the Fall and Winter months. 

Getting into a consistent workout routine is a great way to kick start your new healthy you, but it's not the only component of getting fit. Being healthy is a lifestyle, and there are a number of habits that can actually work against your fitness goals, even if they seem innocent enough. Knowing what little tweaks to make to your daily habits can help improve your overall health and help you truly reach those fitness goals once and for all.

These changes won't happen overnight, but if you are aware of what is sabotaging your efforts, you can take the proper steps to get to where you need to be. "Make small, minor changes in your lifestyle and take your time to really master those habits," says strength and conditioning coach, functional medicine practitioner, and sports nutritionist Brandon Mentore . You need to adopt a new lifestyle but do it slowly and convert your current way of living a lifestyle of fitness. The more gradual you are, the more achievable, maintainable, and sustainable your fitness goals will be.

A good place to begin is to look at your overall lifestyle and ditch those harmful activities. If you want to kick your health and wellness up a notch, consider ditching these nine habits that can actually work against your fitness goals.

1. Not Eating Enough
If you're working out harder, you're going to need to eat more as well. "Seriously increasing your fitness intensity and/or duration is going to require a rebalancing of your calorie intake," says health coach Liza Baker over email. "Eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. These foods are full of micronutrients, water, and fiber, all of which keep your body functioning at an optimal level."

2. Overdoing It
"If you decide to get in shape and work out intensely for an hour after never working out, you will run the risk of injury or be so sore the next day that it will be impossible to be consistent," says Baker. "Not taking an occasional break can be just as damaging — our bodies need rest! That said, you should always be trying to gradually increase the number of times you work out a week, how long you work out, and with what intensity you work out."

3. Not Getting Enough Sleep
"Getting by on 4 to 5 hours of sleep is incredibly damaging to your body even when you're not working out," says Baker. Not only will you feel tired and fatigued, which could discourage you from working out, but not sleeping enough can also increase your cravings for junk food, according to research from St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center and Columbia University. Remember, sleep, like food is necessary for your body to function correctly. When your exercising, your taxing your body to make it work harder then it might be used to. This is how you get in shape and lose the weight. So make sure your getting the right amount of sleep each night. You may find it helpful to turn that tv. off by 10pm instead of watching your favorite late night talk show hosts.

4. Drinking A Lot
We all love a good happy hour, but drinking in excess can hamper your fitness goals. It can lead to muscle cramping, poorer sleep, and excess hunger and craving for junk foods, according to Shape.  Try substituting sparkling water or try a cranberry spritzer when your out with your friends.  It's a nice change up from the regular fare and you can always offer to be the designated driver for your friends so you can all get home safely. 

5. Doing What's Trendy
A juice cleanse might be the latest craze, but it doesn't mean it's actually going to benefit you. "What's good for everyone else isn't always good for you," says Mentore. "There's a point at which following the crowd and doing what they do to reach their fitness goals can actually be detrimental." Figure out what works best for your body, and don't just follow blindly what people do on the social networks.

6. Having A Bad Mindset
"It's OK to be skeptical and even pessimistic if you haven't been able to reach your goals in the past," says Mentore. "However, if you're going to make a go at it, you have to have a positive mindset or at least an appropriate commitment to your goal or it will never work."  Try and make sure the goals you're setting for yourself are achievable and not just wishing on a star. You can always make a new goal for yourself, once you've conquered your initial one!

7. Doing The Same Thing Constantly
"Our bodies tend to 'memorize' workouts — after a few weeks of the same routine, we don't have to work as hard to do it," says Baker. This is why it is important not only to 'mix it up' and not do the same workout every day." Same goes for eating the same foods and not incorporating different nutrients.  Think about changing up your walking routine or maybe add a HITT training day amongst your weekly routines. Remember, change is good for you and your body!

8. Not Drinking Enough Water
If you're not drinking enough water, your energy levels aren't going to be where they need to be. Even just mild dehydration can cause fatigue, according to a study from the Journal of Nutrition, and you could also mistake feelings of thirst for feelings of hunger, which may have you turning to extra food when you actually just need water.  Keep that thirst at bey and take an insulated bottle along with you on your workout routines. A bottle like the Klean Kanteen Insulated Bottle is a great choice that will stand up to any test you want to put it through and will still supply you with the hydration you need whether it be just plain water or a drink that is packed full of nutrients and electrolytes. Just like the 
Nuun Energy Hydration Tablets. These tablets will  lift up your energy level and keep you active all day long.

9. Focusing On The Scale
"The scale is probably the number one complication that works against your goals," says Mentore. "Bodyweight in and of itself is a metric of low priority that people place an undeserving high premium on." Your weight will fluctuate, but how you feel about yourself is what should stay consistent. "Instead of focusing on the scale go for feeling fit," he says. "That's a much better metric than being number focused."  I've often left my scale in the closet and rely on my three-month checkup with my Dr. to let me know how I'm doing weight wise.  This way I can keep a positive outlook on just how well I'm doing. Believe me, you will know if you're eating a bit too much and you can then do something about it.

Fitness is about more than just working out, so make sure the rest of your life reflects the healthy lifestyle you desire. This goes along with your social, work-life and most importantly on how you reward yourself for accomplishing a realistic goal.

At HeartRateMonitorsUSA.com we like to post meaningful articles that can help you help yourself. Sometimes we are fortunate to run across health-related information that we like to pass along to you. Even though we are an e-retailer, the products that we promote are always based on being able to help you help yourself get fitter and healthier. So we hope to continue to bring you relative information that will benefit you as you strive to improve your own healthier you!

Portions of this information were provided by Carina Wolff

 

Read more

Take Your Training To The Next Level With The New Fitbit Charge 2

The summer Olympics of 2016 from Rio may be just over but if you’re looking to get your own fitness level up to that of an Olympian, you may want to check out the new Fitbit Charge 2. It’s the latest and greatest Fitbit developed to maximize your workout sessions while getting up to the moment heart readings as you push yourself to your limits, all without the restricting feeling of wearing a chest strap.

Whether you are a fitness enthusiast or a professional athlete, this innovative wearable technology acts as the “Ghost You” you have meant to compete with to maximize your performance and optimize you're fitness. Fitbit Charge 2 is specially tailored with some cutting-edge features like the PurePulse® heart rate monitor, which makes it easy to track your cardio fitness levels and get the most out of your workouts. The PurePulse® feature lets you check real-time heart rate to ensure you’re giving the right amount of intensity during workouts. The PurePulse® feature lets you maximizes your training by using simplified heart rate zones to tailor your workouts on the spot and make the most of your training time. And while your heart is at rest, you can track just how well you are doing as it measures this important health indicator.

When you are done for the day, your Fitbit Charge 2 is still working for you. The all-day activity tracking and auto sleep tracking feature, allows you to gather the necessary data on how your daily routine added up, which also includes monitoring your sleep too. Proper sleep is an important indicator of overall good health; therefore Fitbit Charge 2 automatically tracks your sleep to learn about your sleeping patterns.

If you’re a “Fitness Data Fanatic”, The “SmartTrack” feature enables you to record your workouts select exercises automatically and monitor real-time workout stats on a large screen. With a plethora of next-generation features and a stylish look, the Fitbit Charge 2 offers everything you need to perk up your fitness levels.

Remember, we mentioned above about training yourself up to an Olympian level, well that also means you need to get the proper rest periods in as well. The Fitbit Charge 2 provides you with monitored, “Breathing Sessions” The Charge 2 allows you to take out some “ME” time to calm yourself down. Personalized guided breathing regimens play on the display and prompts you through relaxing breathing sessions. It tracks your real-time heart rate using the PurePulse® technology and then shows 2-5 minutes guided breathing sessions to help you relax.

You’re not only going to be in the best shape you can be with this state of the art activity watch but you’re going to look good while you’re wearing it too. The Fitbit Charge 2 perfectly combines exceptional functionally and high-end style. A textured and comfortable leather band paired with interchangeable accessories makes the Fitbit Charge 2 just irresistible. Go with the textured band while you workout and then switch to the classic leather bands for the rest of the day. The Fitbit Charge 2 will keep you fit, and in style.

So tell me, just what are you waiting for. Click on this LINK to purchase the Fitbit Charge 2 and treat yourself to the Best "Training Coach" that sits right on your wrist, get it today from the on-line fitness store you have come to know and trust HeartRateMonitorsUSA.com

Read more

The summer Olympics of 2016 from Rio may be just over but if you’re looking to get your own fitness level up to that of an Olympian, you may want to check out the new Fitbit Charge 2. It’s the latest and greatest Fitbit developed to maximize your workout sessions while getting up to the moment heart readings as you push yourself to your limits, all without the restricting feeling of wearing a chest strap.

Whether you are a fitness enthusiast or a professional athlete, this innovative wearable technology acts as the “Ghost You” you have meant to compete with to maximize your performance and optimize you're fitness. Fitbit Charge 2 is specially tailored with some cutting-edge features like the PurePulse® heart rate monitor, which makes it easy to track your cardio fitness levels and get the most out of your workouts. The PurePulse® feature lets you check real-time heart rate to ensure you’re giving the right amount of intensity during workouts. The PurePulse® feature lets you maximizes your training by using simplified heart rate zones to tailor your workouts on the spot and make the most of your training time. And while your heart is at rest, you can track just how well you are doing as it measures this important health indicator.

When you are done for the day, your Fitbit Charge 2 is still working for you. The all-day activity tracking and auto sleep tracking feature, allows you to gather the necessary data on how your daily routine added up, which also includes monitoring your sleep too. Proper sleep is an important indicator of overall good health; therefore Fitbit Charge 2 automatically tracks your sleep to learn about your sleeping patterns.

If you’re a “Fitness Data Fanatic”, The “SmartTrack” feature enables you to record your workouts select exercises automatically and monitor real-time workout stats on a large screen. With a plethora of next-generation features and a stylish look, the Fitbit Charge 2 offers everything you need to perk up your fitness levels.

Remember, we mentioned above about training yourself up to an Olympian level, well that also means you need to get the proper rest periods in as well. The Fitbit Charge 2 provides you with monitored, “Breathing Sessions” The Charge 2 allows you to take out some “ME” time to calm yourself down. Personalized guided breathing regimens play on the display and prompts you through relaxing breathing sessions. It tracks your real-time heart rate using the PurePulse® technology and then shows 2-5 minutes guided breathing sessions to help you relax.

You’re not only going to be in the best shape you can be with this state of the art activity watch but you’re going to look good while you’re wearing it too. The Fitbit Charge 2 perfectly combines exceptional functionally and high-end style. A textured and comfortable leather band paired with interchangeable accessories makes the Fitbit Charge 2 just irresistible. Go with the textured band while you workout and then switch to the classic leather bands for the rest of the day. The Fitbit Charge 2 will keep you fit, and in style.

So tell me, just what are you waiting for. Click on this LINK to purchase the Fitbit Charge 2 and treat yourself to the Best "Training Coach" that sits right on your wrist, get it today from the on-line fitness store you have come to know and trust HeartRateMonitorsUSA.com

Read more

6 Health Benefits Of Adding Just 1,000 Extra Steps A Day

You've probably heard that logging 10,000 steps daily can help you control your weight and keep you healthy. But if you have an office job, spend a lot of time driving, or are constantly pressed for time, shooting for that number can seem overwhelming—if not downright impossible. Should you resign yourself to being a couch potato/desk jockey? Hardly!

While getting 10,000 steps (or more) is a great goal, upping your current activity level by just a little—say, an additional 1,000 steps—has solid health perks, say experts. What's more, almost anyone can tack on this seemingly small amount of movement by just doing a few common place lifestyle changes…. If you really want to that is.

Take a second to ponder the math, and you'll see that it really does add up: 1,000 steps clocks out to about half a mile, which works out to an extra 365,000 steps a year. That's nearly 180 miles of extra movement, and it will absolutely change the way you look and feel. Now remember, like anything that matters, you need to track your activity and since we are talking steps, why not strap on one of the most popular activity trackers that have become almost a standard in the fitness world. Check out the Fitbit Charge Heart Rate Activity Band.
With no need of a chest-strap, the Fitbit Charge captures your readings and sends them along for accurate results. So now you can get a handle on just how long it’s going to take you to bank those 1000 steps.

Here are some of the perks that come with moving just a little more:

1. Your heart won't have to work so hard.
"Simply going from being sedentary to engaging in even modest levels of activity dramatically improves your health and begins decreasing your risk of heart disease," says Michele Olson, PhD, a professor of exercise physiology at Auburn University at Montgomery. Movement makes your muscles better able to pump blood throughout the body, so your heart rate comes down.

2. You'll slash your stroke risk.
Extra activity directly reduces your chances of having a stroke. It also helps keep your blood pressure in check—which further reduces your stroke risk. Double win! You won’t get those results sitting back in your office chair looking at your computer screen, now will you?

3. Your cholesterol levels may improve.
Got high LDL, the "bad" kind of cholesterol? Taking an extra 1,000 steps a day may be enough to make a difference. "When you move more, you burn up cholesterol and other lipids in your bloodstream so they have less of a chance of invading and damaging your blood vessels," explains Olson. So it’s that kind of incentive that should have you taking those 1000 steps and hopefully 9,000 more each day!

4. You'll stress less.
Taking a short, brisk walk may really be the best way to clear your head and lift yourself out of a funk. The physiological reason is twofold: When you exercise, your body produces feel-good chemicals called endorphins-(You Know This). Physical activity also cuts levels of cortisol—a stress hormone that can make you feel lousy and raise your risk of a slew of mental and physical health problems.

5. Your bones will get stronger.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, any type of weight-bearing activity can strengthen your skeleton and fight osteoporosis. Why? Placing weight on your bones makes them work harder. That pressure stimulates cells called osteoblasts, which can turn into new brand-new bone cells.

6. You may lose weight.
OK, so you probably won't shed a ton quickly, but over time there's a payoff. Taking an extra 10,000 steps means you'll torch about 50 more calories a day, or 350 a week, says Nadya Swedan, MD, a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist. "In about 10 weeks, you'll be able to notice any pounds you've started to drop.
To reap any—or all—of these benefits, you'll need to make extra activity a regular thing. "A thousand additional steps a day really add up, but consistency is key," says Pasternak. Some easy ways to make it a habit include; snagging the furthest (rather than closest) parking spot to your office door, marching around while you're talking on the phone, and ditching your coffee pot so you have to walk to a local shop for your morning cup.

Now the above are just a few examples of what you can do and why you should be taking at least those 1,000 steps each day. But again, you really want to look at getting more physical activity built into your day and that really is all about you.

You know walking is good for you, it’s probably one of the most inexpensive forms of exercise you can do to help yourself get in better shape. So what are you waiting for? Strap on those walking shoes and head on out the door to get your paper, and I don’t mean just by walking down to the end of the driveway. Go ahead and take a walk to that local paper-shop, or convenience store, but DON’T buy a cinnamon bun along with that paper… Walking with a healthy diet in mind will be a post for another day.

 

 

Read more

You've probably heard that logging 10,000 steps daily can help you control your weight and keep you healthy. But if you have an office job, spend a lot of time driving, or are constantly pressed for time, shooting for that number can seem overwhelming—if not downright impossible. Should you resign yourself to being a couch potato/desk jockey? Hardly!

While getting 10,000 steps (or more) is a great goal, upping your current activity level by just a little—say, an additional 1,000 steps—has solid health perks, say experts. What's more, almost anyone can tack on this seemingly small amount of movement by just doing a few common place lifestyle changes…. If you really want to that is.

Take a second to ponder the math, and you'll see that it really does add up: 1,000 steps clocks out to about half a mile, which works out to an extra 365,000 steps a year. That's nearly 180 miles of extra movement, and it will absolutely change the way you look and feel. Now remember, like anything that matters, you need to track your activity and since we are talking steps, why not strap on one of the most popular activity trackers that have become almost a standard in the fitness world. Check out the Fitbit Charge Heart Rate Activity Band.
With no need of a chest-strap, the Fitbit Charge captures your readings and sends them along for accurate results. So now you can get a handle on just how long it’s going to take you to bank those 1000 steps.

Here are some of the perks that come with moving just a little more:

1. Your heart won't have to work so hard.
"Simply going from being sedentary to engaging in even modest levels of activity dramatically improves your health and begins decreasing your risk of heart disease," says Michele Olson, PhD, a professor of exercise physiology at Auburn University at Montgomery. Movement makes your muscles better able to pump blood throughout the body, so your heart rate comes down.

2. You'll slash your stroke risk.
Extra activity directly reduces your chances of having a stroke. It also helps keep your blood pressure in check—which further reduces your stroke risk. Double win! You won’t get those results sitting back in your office chair looking at your computer screen, now will you?

3. Your cholesterol levels may improve.
Got high LDL, the "bad" kind of cholesterol? Taking an extra 1,000 steps a day may be enough to make a difference. "When you move more, you burn up cholesterol and other lipids in your bloodstream so they have less of a chance of invading and damaging your blood vessels," explains Olson. So it’s that kind of incentive that should have you taking those 1000 steps and hopefully 9,000 more each day!

4. You'll stress less.
Taking a short, brisk walk may really be the best way to clear your head and lift yourself out of a funk. The physiological reason is twofold: When you exercise, your body produces feel-good chemicals called endorphins-(You Know This). Physical activity also cuts levels of cortisol—a stress hormone that can make you feel lousy and raise your risk of a slew of mental and physical health problems.

5. Your bones will get stronger.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, any type of weight-bearing activity can strengthen your skeleton and fight osteoporosis. Why? Placing weight on your bones makes them work harder. That pressure stimulates cells called osteoblasts, which can turn into new brand-new bone cells.

6. You may lose weight.
OK, so you probably won't shed a ton quickly, but over time there's a payoff. Taking an extra 10,000 steps means you'll torch about 50 more calories a day, or 350 a week, says Nadya Swedan, MD, a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist. "In about 10 weeks, you'll be able to notice any pounds you've started to drop.
To reap any—or all—of these benefits, you'll need to make extra activity a regular thing. "A thousand additional steps a day really add up, but consistency is key," says Pasternak. Some easy ways to make it a habit include; snagging the furthest (rather than closest) parking spot to your office door, marching around while you're talking on the phone, and ditching your coffee pot so you have to walk to a local shop for your morning cup.

Now the above are just a few examples of what you can do and why you should be taking at least those 1,000 steps each day. But again, you really want to look at getting more physical activity built into your day and that really is all about you.

You know walking is good for you, it’s probably one of the most inexpensive forms of exercise you can do to help yourself get in better shape. So what are you waiting for? Strap on those walking shoes and head on out the door to get your paper, and I don’t mean just by walking down to the end of the driveway. Go ahead and take a walk to that local paper-shop, or convenience store, but DON’T buy a cinnamon bun along with that paper… Walking with a healthy diet in mind will be a post for another day.

 

 

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