I’ve been a slacker on blogging this summer and I am so sorry if you were looking for a June and July post. It's been summatime so I’ve been on the go and this year I found a new way to be out on the water. I picked up a SUP and am loving taking it out.
Apparently I’m not the only one because Stand up paddle boarding is working it’s way up to being the hottest way to stay fit across the country. And if you haven’t tried it yet here’s five reasons why you should grab a paddle and jump on a board.
Tips for Getting Started
Get comfortable with the fact that you might be taking a swim, but this time of year that can be a welcome time to cool off.
You can start training for the instability of water by standing up on an inverted Bosu.
Place the Bosu upside down next to something you can hold onto so you can get balanced. The easiest way to do this is find a smith machine and place the bar about chest level. Center the Bosu and place it about a couple of feet behind the bar, giving yourself enough space to grab onto the bar for support and step on the Bosu. Use the bar as you need to, but ultimately the goal here is to let go and completely balance on that Bosu.
Taking it to the Water
Start out lying prone (face down) on the board so you can get the feel of the water and waves. The fin on the bottom of the board, should be on the same side as your feet are. Position the paddle with the fin side towards your head and handle side by your feet.
When you feel ready, climb onto your hands and knees, get stable. Then crunch your knees towards your shoulders to bring your feet in and get them placed about shoulder width apart. Your hands are still on the board, almost like a downward dog. When you're feeling stable gradually begin bringing your torso up. Once you are standing, you’ll want to quickly start paddling and gain some momentum because that will help you stay balanced.
Once you get the hang of it, work on your paddling technique by taking long steady strokes, keeping the paddle near the side of the board. It also helps if you lean your body weight in towards the side of the board that you are paddling on. I like to paddle about 3-5 times on one side before I switch sides.
Don’t get discouraged, the type of board makes all the difference in how easy or challenging stand up paddleboarding is. The board I use is 25” wide 8’ tall and almost 3” thick and weighs 15 pounds. It’s portable and gives me a great workout!
Not quite ready to stand up. Try a plank on your board!
August 3rd is National Watermelon Day
Stay hydrated with watermelons! Since there are about about 92 percent water and soaked with nutrients you can't go wrong. Each juicy bite has significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C, lots of lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids. There's even a modest amount of potassium and watermelon also contains L-citrulline, an amino acid that can curb musle sorness after a tough workout.
May is National Runners Month
Running is one of those things like guacamole people either love it or hate it. Since May is National Runners month, this month's post is dedicated to running and why I think can be one of the best ways to get on a fitness journey. I've spent the last 11 or years doing some form of running and let me tell ya what a long strange trip it’s been. It's amazing to think of how far my two feet have taken me on this journey, because becoming a runner can help you be fierce and overcome a lot of shit in this crazy world.
So let's rewind a little, growing up I was never into fitness. Surprising, huh! I hated running and when given the option to skip PE a couple of days a week, if I learned how to play an instrument that’s what I chose to do. Looking back, today if I was given that option even though I love music I know I’d pick PE class and I blame a running habit for making me the fitness enthusiast I am today. Although, in a perfect world kids should get a healthy dose of both music & the arts with lots of physical activity.
10 Reasons Running is Badass
1. It makes you feel truly free. You feel the breeze across your forehead, see the world move below your feet with each step and look out farther into an endless horizon. In a world with constant deadlines, notifications, and meetings running can be a nice liberating change of pace.
2. It can be enjoyed in solitude or among company, quiet or loud indoors or outdoors. It can be a sport for lots of different moods. Somedays I feel like cranking the tunes and zoning out or other days I like to head out with a friend. Nothing beats catching up and burning some calories at the same time. I'm also a deep thinker, so running gives me a place to do that without standing still.
Of course running outside is better, but if weather takes you indoors the treadmill doesn’t have to be the dreadmill with the right program! Hill climbs, intervals or sprints can be a recipe for a great treadmill workout that won’t leave you watching the clock.
3. Endorphins are involved in natural reward circuits, aid in pain management and possess morphine like effects. Scientists are still trying to find out exactly why the body produces them. What they have found is that they are produced in response to prolonged, continuous exercise. Let’s just be thankful the body does this, cause I’m sure this mechanism has helped all of us push through some pain and cross that finish line!
4. Endocannabinoids are what’s getting you that sweet runners high. Shown to be responsible for improvements in mood after moderate intensity aerobic exercise. In mice it has been shown that blocking the endocannabinoid receptors (but not endorphin receptors) inhibits the anti-pain and anti-anxiety/stress relief effect of running. Scientists also think that this is what signals endorphins to be released. That’s dope!
5. Cardiovascular benefits Keeps your heart healthy and strong. Also helps you keep fit so you can make it to the top of the stairs without getting winded or keep up with you kids that are running around with all this energy you wish you had. Start running and you’ll soon discover that energy boost I’m talking about!
6. Stronger Bones & Muscles We lose muscle mass and bone density as we age. Running can be a good way to counteract that. But it's not an excuse to completely ditch strength training!
7. Increase your longevity Running and exercise in general can be the fountain of youth at the cellular level by protecting telomere length. At the cellular level, telomeres are the part of cells related to aging. Our cells are constantly dividing to produce new cells that replace old worn ones. In this process, chromosomes carry all the information needed to generate new cells and telomeres protect that information. And as telomeres get too short to do their job, cells age and stop working right which is basically what aging is all about.
8. Helps you sleep How many times have you struggled to fall asleep? Running can help with that.
9. Race Swag/Post race parties Nothing is better than feeling great after a race, having some race swag to take home and a good excuse to enjoy a cold one before noon! Best Post-Race Bash: Bolderboulder
10. Finding common ground with many cause we’re in good company. In 2014 a whopping 18,750,000 runners crossed the finish line with 57% of that number being Women!
Ready to get started?
So there you have it, some reasons I love running! Ready to get started running? That’s great! But let’s do this safely because it’s kind of like the Sun it must be treated with respect and the last thing you want to happen is the terrible too’s: Too much, too soon usually leads to injury and then running won’t be so great and you may never want to do it again.
First, check your foot type and make sure you’ve got the right shoes for running! Here’s a link to a great guide to do that from Runner’s World
Now that you’ve handled that very important first step you may proceed. Please don’t skip this, trust me it will save you miles of misery in the long run.
Follow the guidelines below, aim to work on running every other day. You can still exercise in between those running days but stick to lower impact movements like biking, swimming or yoga.
You have to walk well before you can run
We have to get good at walking before we attempt to take it up a notch into running. So begin by working up to being able to walk briskly for 30 continuous minutes. Once you’ve established that base, you can begin adding bursts of jogging into your routine for the next couple of weeks or so. Start by adding 30 seconds of of running and walk briskly for the other 4 minutes and complete that up to 6 times.
Gradually increase running time and decrease walking time as your body adjusts. Aim for reaching a 1:1 ratio, so 1 minute running, 1 minute walking. From here, try adding to the running time. So the next step up would be 1 minute 30 seconds of running, then when that becomes easier move up to 2 minutes and so on. Try to keep your “resting” at one minute or below. Work towards eventually reaching 20 minutes of steady running/jogging. If you're struggling to maintain 20 minutes try a slower pace. Think being able to say a complete sentence during your run, if you're struggling to get words out you're hitting your lactate threshold and your body is going to say STOP before you reach your goal.
Try a 5K Race
Now you’re ready to complete your first 5K race. Warning: These can be addictive! You can enter another race, but give yourself enough time to recover. I can’t stress enough how you don’t want to overdo it. I know that you're all thinking I’m nuts! Like why on earth will you want to actually keep running if and when you’re completely exhausted or in pain. I can’t explain it other than it has to do with reasons 1, 3, 4 and possibly 9.
You’ll notice I didn’t give a timeframe to achieve these goal in and here’s my reasoning behind that. Everyone is different and will adjust to the impacts of running differently. The main point is to gradually build up the strength in your body to sustain this high impact activity. This may take one person four weeks, and another person 6-8 weeks and that’s ok!
Listen to your body
The one thing I can’t stress enough to do through this process is to listen to your body! At the end of the workouts you should feel tired but not completely spent, so you could do more if you wanted to. If you find yourself completely exhausted or a constant pain somewhere, back off and spend more time walking until you adapt.
If the pain doesn't get better in time, it may be a good idea to see a sports doc. Some people just have different mechanical structures and need to make a few adjustments before they can hit the road running. Once it's figured out nothing can stop them from becoming excellent runners! Sometimes it's as simple as doing a few extra exercises for muscle imbalances other times an shoe orthotic helps.
Learning to listen to your body and knowing when to stop is a very important for injury prevention in the long haul. Once you get into running and finish a race or two, you might catch the race bug, then be ready to add more and more distance which is great! But if you don’t know how to back off and keep pushing through, you run the risk of hurting yourself and having take some major time off from running. Something, that anyone who loves running (including myself) fears the most! To date, I’ve never sustained any form of major running injuries. I credit this to resistance training, good nutrition, the right shoes (and not wearing them too long), cross training from time to time and backing off as needed.
If you’ve thought about running I hope this helps you get started off on the right foot!
Sharma, Archana, and Deepali Verma. "ENDORPHINS: ENDOGENOUS OPIOID IN HUMAN CELLS." (2014).
Raichlen, David A., et al. "Exercise-induced endocannabinoid signaling is modulated by intensity." European journal of applied physiology 113.4 (2013): 869-875.
Prabakaran, Sudhakaran. "Endocannabinoids mediate runner’s high." Sci. Signal. 8.401 (2015): ec322-ec322.
Heijnen, Saskia, et al. "Neuromodulation of Aerobic Exercise—A Review."Frontiers in psychology 6 (2015).
Ludlow, Andrew T., and Stephen M. Roth. "Physical activity and telomere biology: exploring the link with aging-related disease prevention." Journal of aging research 2011 (2011).
2015 State of the Sport-U.S. Race Trends http://www.runningusa.org/2015-state-of-sport-us-trends
Shammas, Masood A. "Telomeres, lifestyle, cancer, and aging." Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care 14.1 (2011): 28.
It’s once again that time of year when your calendar is filled with family get togethers, holiday parties, shopping and sometimes just pure chaos. No matter what life throws at you this year, don’t give up on your exercise routine. It may be the only thing that keeps you happy and sane! Here’s some tips on staying fit this time of year.
Short Bursts of Exercise
Did you know that an exercise session lasting only 10 minutes is beneficial? Maybe you can’t find a thirty minute block, but 10 minutes three times a day can be enough to release some feel good chemicals.
Balance and an ounce of prevention go a long way this season
Don’t deprive yourself of any worthy treats this season. Deprivation only sets you up for disaster in the long run. Be sure and enjoy that special treat or dish, on occasion. But also be picky about what you choose to “spend” your treat calories on. Why waste them on pre-packaged store bought treats, save them for the special things that only come around this time of year. But don't forget to watch portions! My favorite carb splurge-Sweet tamales, Vanilla, Strawberry, or Pineapple they are all delish!
If you’re going to drink alcohol
Don't do so on an empty stomach and try alternating drinks with water. You’ll save calories and possibly a headache the next day!
If you’ve got an extra 25 minutes and are looking for a more advanced workout you can do anywhere, gotcha covered with this routine from ACSM. It's one of my favorite routines I can do anywhere!
Hopefully these tips help you have a bright, happy and healthy holiday season. Cheers!
HIIT or High intensity Interval training is nothing new, but has become widespread in the fitness world. It’s really picking up momentum with all types of exercisers, because current research has found it to increase fitness in less time. Yippee, finally a workout we all have time for!
This type of training is also sometimes called Tabata training, because back in the 90’s the researcher who’s name happens to be Tabata did a study on cyclists using extremely intense intervals. They were exercising at around 170% VO2max (yes, it really says 170% that’s not a typo!) for 20 seconds and the results indicated this training improved performance in both energy systems, aerobic and anaerobic.
Today people have even started to name these ass kicking routines after the researcher. Even though Tabata’s study was like 20 years ago, the findings are still current and more research has been done with comparable outcomes. Living in a fast paced world means more responsibilities and less free time than ever, so HIIT is definitely a hit!
Physiology of HIIT? How this works in the body? Let’s take a look:
It really just comes down to Newton’s First Law of Motion that says: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. This also applies to Humans, which just explains why the people that love to exercise, generally do- and often. That can also make it hard for people to begin an exercise program. Kudos to everyone who is adding exercise as a New Year’s resolution this year, cheers! Stay with it, and one day you too will be one of those people that enjoy it!
Back to the physiology of how we humans work, muscles need blood to move, so as your movement increases your heart needs to pump more blood. As a result of increased oxygen demand, your heartrate goes up. Since the heart is a muscle it responds like one, the more your heart gets worked the larger it gets. This study showed that HIIT can cause those adaptations.
Oxygen Demands and Exercise
As your body works harder, it demands more oxygen. How much oxygen you are actually able to inhale and use is called VO2 Max. Obviously that’s important, since oxygen is definitely one of the body’s main fuel sources, in a sense. My fiancé works on classic cars that move fast so I think the concept is definitely related to those classic muscle cars, they move but at a cost (gasoline!) Generally the more fuel, oxygen you can take in the faster you can move. You guessed it…HIIT can help! Everyone can definitely benefit from having a higher VO2 Max.
At the cellular level, mitochondria are the little long oval shaped things that are the main energy source of a cell. They use oxygen to make ATP, which then gives the cell energy when you’re working out. HIIT has been shown to increase mitochondria, in a shorter time than traditional endurance training.
And a side note…
HIIT and steady state cardio obviously both also get to the metabolic step of activating muscle, but just take different roads to get there.
HIIT torches fat
In this research after 6 weeks of HIIT training, fat burning increased and carbohydrate burning decreased. Findings showed that fat oxidation, or fat burning, was significantly higher and carbohydrate oxidation (burning) significantly lower after 6 weeks of interval training. HIIT also increases EPOC (Excess Post Oxygen Consumption), so you end up burning more calories even when you’re all done with the exercise. Awesome!
HIIT or stick with steady state cardio? Do Both!
HIIT is a great way to save some time and increase cardio performance, but at the same time since it is so intense it is a good idea to mix it up with some ol school steady state cardio as well. This will help stave off physical and mental burn out and keep you happily exercising as you reach those goals.
While HIIT exercise can be challenging, don’t let that deter you from a HIIT workout. Any HIIT exercise can be modified to meet your needs, no matter what level you are at. Give the workout below a try. Give it your all and do the best that you can with it! Those endorphins will kick in and you will feel amazing after it’s over! J
Try this 30 minute routine on an elliptical, treadmill or bike.
Warm up for 5-10 minutes
Need an extra challenge…
Top off the workout with 10 burpees!
How to do a burpee
This all happens in one smooth, well kinda smooth motion!
Have fun HIITin’
Do you HIIT, like or dislike. Let me know in the comments section!