May 2015
Cool down!

When it comes to exercise, it’s so easy to finish your lift, run, circuit…etc. and drop the weights and peace out – but cooling down properly is more important than you might think.

Post workout recovery to get the most our of your workout!

by: Patricia J. Cornwell


Eating food and drinking large amounts of clean water aren’t the only steps you should carry out following a workout. Recovery is another essential step not to be skipped. It includes cooling down and stretching. Here is what you need to know about it and why you shouldn’t avoid it.




If you are new to training, try to avoid this common mistake. Some people think that when they do the final exercise, their workout is over. So wrong! You are not done until you have cooled down. As it is important to warm up before your training session, so it is essential to cool down after it is over. What does it mean?


The purpose of cooling down is to stop exercising gradually so that your breathing and heart rate can return to their normal state. Some people claim this practice helps prevent muscle soreness as well, whereas others reject the statement. But anyway, you should not cool down post exercise only to prevent muscle soreness. There are many other benefits of this practice. For example, if physical activity ceases suddenly, you may feel dizzy for some time after your exercise session is over. In comparison, doing some light exercise after your workout will help you normalize your body temperature (literally cool down).


Here are several cool-down options for you:


• Go out and walk briskly for about 5-10 minutes. Another option is to cycle or jog slowly. What you need to know is that the exercise you choose to do post workout should be lower in intensity than your training session.

• Or here is another way to go. Simply continue with the final exercise but make sure to lower the intensity little by little until you stop.


Remember to perform the exercise for about 10-15 minutes before you send your training equipment back to the garage or wherever you store it.


Continue reading at AlwaysActiveAthletics.com

May 2015
Race Training?

How do you spend the time between when you sign up for a race and when you actually start training for it?


If your answer is ‘not sure’ or ‘good question’ you aren’t setting yourself up well from the start for success.


With many races having sign up periods many months in advance, it can be easy to sign up and then have it come up on you quickly leaving you to jump into training without much thought.


Here are 4 key questions to ask yourself before you start your training to get you started off the right:


1. What is the result you want to achieve?


While you might consider this to be your main goal, Dr. Stan Beecham, a sports psychologist and expert in helping athletes overcome their limiting beliefs prefers to phrase it a different way: What is the result that you want to achieve?


When you approach it this way, the steps to get there will become more clear.


Get specific and include the time frame for which to achieve the desired result. From there, you can evaluate what you need to do to get there.


By keeping your mind focused on a result instead of a goal you will be more committed and see it as something that is concrete rather than perhaps wishful thinking.


2. Identify your motivation(s)


Motivations differ from the result you want to achieve. Your goal is what you want to achieve whereas your motivations are your “why” for wanting to do so.


It is important to understand your motivations for they are a powerful driver for you to continue on when it gets hard and you want to give up.


If have just a goal and no motivations behind it, there is less likelihood you will be successful.


Continue Reading at RunnerAcademy.com!

May 2015
To Run, or Not To Run (at night)

That old rule about not exercising close to bedtime? Not an issue – in fact, you’ll most likely sleep better if you do.


By Kim Painter
USA Today


Jogging at midnight? Walking in the moonlight?


If late night exercise works for you, just do it. That’s new advice from a leading sleep group and other experts in sleep and exercise, all of whom say it’s time to throw out the old rule that you should never exercise in the hours just before bedtime.


Most people can sleep just fine after a workout, say experts from the National Sleep Foundation, relying on evidence from a growing body of research and a new poll. The 2013 Sleep in America Poll, out today, finds people who exercise at any time of day report sleeping better and feeling more rested than those who don’t exercise. It also finds people who exercise in the last four hours before bedtime report sleeping just as well as those exercising earlier in the day.


“The timing of exercise ought to be driven by when the pool’s lap lane is open or when your tennis partner is available or when you have time to get away from work, not by some statement that has never been validated,” says Barbara Phillips, a University of Kentucky sleep medicine specialist who worked on the poll.


More than half of vigorous and moderate exercisers reported sleeping better on days they exercised — even if it was close to bedtime. In the poll of 1,000 people, just 3% of late-day exercisers said they slept worse. Margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.


The idea that exercise late in the day is bad for sleep was always based on conjecture and anecdote, Phillips and others say. The theory was that the stimulation of exercise, combined with rises in body temperature, would keep people awake.


For some, that may be true, but studies now suggest it’s not the norm, says Shawn Youngstedt, a researcher at the University of South Carolina. He also worked on the poll.


Youngstedt conducted one study in which fit young men with no sleep problems rode stationary bikes for three hours and went to bed just 30 minutes later. They slept soundly. Other studies in good sleepers have shown similar results, he says. He is now starting a study of evening exercise in otherwise inactive people who do have sleep problems.


“When I present this data, almost invariably, someone will say, ‘I don’t care what the data show – I think that exercising too close to bedtime is bad for my sleep,’ ” Youngstedt says. They may be right, he says. But, for many other people, the option of late-day exercise may open up healthy new horizons.


“We have very busy lives now,” he says. “For a lot of people evening is the most convenient time.”


Jessica Matthews, a fitness instructor and personal trainer who is a spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise, says her advice has evolved as it’s become clearer that different times work for different people. She suggests people who want to try late-day exercise give it go — and play around with the timing, intensity and type of workout to see what feels right.


Some people may still find that they get “more bang for their buck” by exercising early in the day, especially if they can get outside and take advantage of morning sunlight, which can help keep the body clock running on time, says Michael Grandner, a sleep researcher at the University of Pennsylvania and a spokesman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.


But any exercise is better than none, for sleep and health, he says. He did not work on the new poll but isn’t surprised it found active people sleep best: “Your body is meant to move. Getting the right type and amount of movement helps your body do what it was built to do, and that includes sleeping.” Well-rested people also feel more like exercising, so the link goes both ways, he says.


Grandner says data from a larger survey of 150,000 people, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also found that people who did any exercise, no matter how light, reported significantly better sleep than non-exercisers did.


The foundation poll found:

• 83% of vigorous exercisers reported very or fairly good sleep quality, vs. 56% of non-exercisers.

• 67% of vigorous exercisers reported a good night’s sleep on all or most work nights, vs. 39% of non-exercisers.

• Exercisers and non-exercisers reported about the same amount of sleep, just under seven hours a night.


May 2015
Who's the better pacer?

Think you’re better than your opposite-sex running partner at pacing your races? Research shows that when it comes to pace, sex matters.

Fact: Men are faster than women. Yet research suggests that women’s physiology may render them superior endurance animals. Women burn through carbs more slowly than men, thus potentially helping them delay, or avoid, hitting the wall. And in hot temperatures, women are better able to dissipate heat. Does this mean, researchers at the University of Dayton wondered, that women are better at sustaining marathon pace than men? And would that change under hot or cold racing conditions?


To investigate, the researchers analyzed data from the 2007 and 2009 Chicago Marathon. The race was chosen for multiple reasons: It provided a large sample size—a total of more than 33,000 runners; the flat course eliminated the influence of hills on pace; and the varied temperature between the two years—78 degrees in 2007, 36 degrees in 2009—let them factor in weather.


For each year, the researchers looked at how well pace was maintained over the last seven miles compared to the first 18 between men and women, fast and slow runners, young and old, and elite and non-elite in hot and cold conditions. The results, which were published in theJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research, are fun, if exactly what the researchers expected.


Overall, men slowed down more than women in the final miles of both marathons, leading researchers to conclude that in general women are better at marathon pacing than men. Slower runners (those with 3:40 to 4:07 finishing times) seemed less able to sustain pace than those running ahead of them. Age, however, wasn’t a factor; the pacing ability of younger and older runners was consistent across both races.


The single greatest factor influencing pace was—you can guess this—the heat. Hot temperatures in Chicago in 2007 led to an average drop in pace of 9 percent, according to the study.

Author: Michelle Hamilton
Article originally appeared on active.com

May 2015
Run, Forest - Run!


Use this list of websites to stay in tune and in touch with what’s happening in the world of running!


Runners World – http://runnersworld.com  – Daily running news, running tips for beginners and advanced, injury prevention, and equipment reviews. Race listings throughout the US.


Running Times – http://runningtimes.com – Comprehensive articles on training, sports medicine, shoes, personalities & more for all competitive, high school, college, masters & trail runners.


Cool Running – http://coolrunning.com  –  a complete resource for runners, offering a race calendar, race results listings, running training advice, and interactive tools.


Competitor.com – http://running.competitor.com/  – Training news, gear, nutrition & races


Active – http://active.com  – A runner’s source for running, training information, racing tips, and race registration. From 5k races to marathons, one of the largest running and fitness resources.


Running in the USA – http://runningintheusa.com – Running in the USA is the largest online directory of races, results and clubs.


Marathon Maniacs – http://www.marathonmaniacs.com – Home page of the Marathon Maniacs with race calendar, criteria, stats and more.


Trail Runner Magazine – www.trailrunnermag.com/ – Running, health, travel, and training, race results and race event calendars.


Ultra Running Magazine – www.ultrarunning.com/ – Containing comprehensive and informative articles about all aspects of the sport of ultramarathoning


Marathon Guide – http://www.marathonguide.com/ – Calendar, results, news, products, training and reviews.


Hal Higdon – www.halhigdon.com/ – Runners World magazine writer, answers running questions and provides training programs. Some of the best marathon training plans can be found here.


Road Runners Club of America – http://www.rrca.org/ – The Road Runners Club of America is the national organization dedicated to promoting the development and growth of running clubs, running events, and supporting the interests of recreational runners throughout the country.


LetsRun.com – http://www.letsrun.com/ –  Links to news items covering running topics, nutrition and health information.


Source (RunnStuff.com)



Apr 2015
Get your FIX on!

Now that you have your FIX Therapy Ball, try one of these 5 pain relief techniques to keep you pain-free and on the move!


1. Soothe sore feet. Place the therapy ball under the arch of your bare foot and begin rolling over it. The ball will provide instant relief from tight arches and also help those who suffer from plantar fasciitis. I recommend keeping a ball in a ziplock bag in the freezer for an after-work cold foot massage or storing one in your carry-on bag for your next flight.


2. Ease glute pain. In a standing position, rest the therapy ball between your glute and a wall with the ball directly over the area you are experiencing pain. Press your glute into the wall and begin performing circular motions in and around the area. Once the pain subsides, stop moving and increase pressure into the wall with the ball resting directly over the sore spot. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds.


3. Loosen tight hips. Lie on the side where you are experiencing tightness with knees bent 90 degrees and stacked on top of each other. Rest hands on the floor in front of your body. Raise your hip, place the ball directly under the stressed area, and slowly lower your weight back onto the ball. Begin moving your hips around to massage and release tension in the area. If the pain is too severe, stand up, place the tight hip closest to the wall, and place the ball over the tight area. Begin moving your hip around to massage the pain away.


4. Relieve shoulder stress. Positioning the ball in this area can be tricky, so place it in an old stocking or sock to give you more control. Stand tall with your back close to the wall. Hold the end of the stocking or sock with one hand and, allowing the ball to rest between you and the wall, position the ball directly over the stressed area. Press your back into the wall. You can rest the ball over the area or perform small circular motions until you start to feel relief.


5. Ease forearm pain. Sitting in front of a computer all day can wreak havoc on your forearms. If not properly stretched and strengthened, this can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Try these two ways to relieve the tension: Hold the ball in one hand and role it up and down the forearm, or place the ball on a desk or other flat surface and rest your forearm over the ball. Press your forearm into the ball and run it over the ball. I recommend doing this several times throughout your work day to relieve your muscles.

Apr 2015
Sweet relief! Medical experts agree too much stress will negatively impact our health in a serious way. Try this exercise to help reduce daily tension and feel like yourself again.   Relieving neck tension can restore confidence in yourself and your ideas and cause others to perceive you as a leader, not to mention helping you sleep better and get through your day a lot more comfortably.   The goal is to get your nervous system to let go of its grip on your cervical vertebra – the bones in your neck – to allow them to move more freely.  To do this, we just have to remind your brain how your neck is meant to move.   Here’s what you can do:   1. Check your baseline.   Turn your head gently and slowly to the right and left to see how far you can twist, picking a point in the room for reference. Don’t force it, we’re just looking at your available range of motion. Also, pro tip: moving slower allows your nervous system time to adjust and you’ll get more range of motion instantly. Whipping your head around quickly causes your body to guard the delicate neck muscles, especially if they’re already tight and rigid.   2. Place your hands on your cheeks.   Let your elbows hang down heavily, relaxing your shoulders.   3. Pick a side and twist in that direction.   Move from your belly button up, so you’re turning your torso, arms, head and neck all as one unit. Only go as far as is comfortable. It’s not a contest. You’ll get more out of working within your comfortable range of motion than you will from trying to overachieve and strain yourself.   4. Once you’ve completed several twists in one direction, drop your hands and turn your head that same way.   Check to see if the range of motion has increased. You’ll know because you can turn further and see past the point that you originally marked in step one.   5. Repeat steps 2-4 on the opposite side.   Enjoy your new found range of motion! It’s amazing how liberating it is to be able to look over your shoulder without turning your whole body, almost like being let out of prison.  

Excerpt from SuzieBaxter.com – read the full article here

Apr 2015
Nutrition? There are some widely accepted nutritional concepts that we have been told to abide by – but are they really that serious?   By Janet Helm for U.S. News   We all know about the book and movie with “shades of grey” in the title. That phrase may conjure up certain images in your head, but it got me thinking about all the shades of grey in nutrition.   People frequently speak about food in absolutes — this food is bad, or this diet is best. Well, it’s not that simple: Nutrition is not always so black or white.   To me, shades of grey means there’s a little bit of right and wrong. With so many of today’s food fads, popular diets and nutrition claims there’s typically a nugget of truth. Yet things get exaggerated or blown out of proportion. The reality lies somewhere in between.   Here are five shades of grey in nutrition.   1. Butter is back: Not really. While headlines and popular books are making a hero out of butter and other saturated fats (such as coconut oil and lard), that’s not exactly true. Just because something may not be as bad as previously thought, it doesn’t make it good. Much of this hero worshipping got started when a recent analysis appeared to let saturated fat off the hook when it comes to heart disease. It’s true that researchers found little differences in heart disease rates when comparing those who ate the most vs. the least saturated fat. But the results are not so clear cut. The study did not look at what else people were eating. So if eating less saturated fat means eating more refined starch and sugar, then no wonder there’s little or no improvements. However, if saturated fat is replaced with polyunsaturated fat or monounsaturated fat in the form of olive oil, nuts and other plant oils, there’s a lot of evidence that heart disease risk will be reduced. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee concluded that our diets are still too high in saturated fat, especially for those over age 50. There’s no need to totally ban the butter or ditch your coconut oil, but don’t buy into the idea that these fats are suddenly health foods.   2. Avoid refined grains: Not completely. While Americans eat too many refined grains (white bread, pasta and pizza crusts) and the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommends replacing most refined grains with whole grains, you don’t need to fully banish them from your diet. Just be choosy. Switch to whole grains when you can, but there may be times when only the white version will do — maybe you want a slice of a crunchy baguette with dinner or to savor a hot croissant in the morning. In moderation, refined grains are not “toxic,” and you shouldn’t feel guilty when you eat them. Refined grains are typically low in fiber but are enriched with iron and B vitamins and fortified with folic acid. Look for ways to reduce refined grains, but don’t think you need to abolish them.   3. Fresh is best: Not always. Sure, it’s great to eat fresh, local and in-season fruits and vegetables. If you can pick up your produce at a farmer’s market, that’s even better. Yet, that’s not always possible. The most important thing is to eat more fruits and vegetables — no matter what form. Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh; studies have demonstrated this time and time again. And if you tend to leave your fresh veggies a little too long in the crisper drawer, the nutrient content can plummet. So frozen vegetables could even be more nutrient-dense. If fresh fruit tends to go to waste in your house before you can eat it, there’s nothing wrong with stocking up on bags of unsweetened frozen berries, or buying cans, jars and single-serve containers of fruit packed in water or juice.   4. Only shop the perimeter of the grocery store: Not needed. You’ll often hear this advice to help steer people away from processed foods. It’s true that the produce aisle, fresh meats, dairy and other “whole foods” are typically in the outer sections of a supermarket, but there are plenty of cart-worthy options up and down the middle of the store. What about packages of whole-grain pastas, bags of brown rice or quinoa, nuts, canned beans, reduced-sodium soups, frozen vegetables and dried fruit? You won’t find these convenient, nutrient-rich items in a store’s perimeter. I think we need to give families reasonable options and make it simple and doable. If we make the ideal so lofty, it doesn’t seem attainable. I think it’s more valuable to provide ideas on how to evaluate choices in those middle aisles instead of telling people to avoid them entirely. Plus, many supermarkets are not even organized that way anymore, so the rule doesn’t always hold true.   5. Choose the “healthy” option. Not always. Many foods boast about their health credentials on the front of the package or on restaurant menus. That’s fine, just don’t let these health halos tempt you to eat larger portions, which has been documented numerous times. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that people chose larger portions of “healthy” foods because they assumed they had fewer calories than the standard version — even though the calories were the same in the two options of coleslaw, cereal and drinks that were offered to the study participants. Previous studies have found similar results. When people saw “low fat” on a label, they ate even more because they felt less guilt.   50 Shades of Grey in Nutrition was originally published on U.S. News & World Report.

Apr 2015
Junk food! 
The short answer: nothing good. In just a short 5 days this kind of diet already negatively affects how muscles process nutrients – & it gets worse from there.  
The human body is an amazing machine. Capable of:
  • Climbing mountains,
  • Adapting to environments as disparate as the arctic and the tropical rain forest.
  • Running for hundreds of kilometres at a stretch,
  • Lifting freakishly heavy weights.
  • Amazing technological advances,
  • Creating art that can elevate the soul
Unfortunately, what your body can’t do is consume junk food –aka the Standard American Diet– without starting to fall apart.  
What does this mean to you?
  • As yummy as sausage biscuits smothered in gravy and bacon smells, you may not want to eat it very often. Your body hasn’t evolved (devolved) to handle this type of food.
  • If you can’t resist the siren song of Mac ‘n Cheese, space it out with some healthy food, like a Big Salad, to help your muscles sensitive to insulin.
  • The next time you hear about a study saying High-Fat or High-Carb diets are bad, take a closer look at what the researchers consider high-fat or high-carb.dia

Continue reading at healthhabits.ca

Apr 2015
Fitness Bucket List You’ve all heard of a bucket list – but what about a Fitness one? Not only is it a great way to work toward your goals and have some fun, but it will keep you in shape along the way.   And we do all love a good list – shopping list, the wish list and even the not so popular “honey-do” list. But if you want to stay active your whole life and maybe even have some fun along the way, get started on your Fitness Bucket List! What’s one event that makes your heart pound just thinking about it?   Well then – Put it on a list, stay accountable and get training! Here are 5 ideas to get that list started.  

1. Newbie’ Runners to the seasoned Marathoner:

  Join your local running group and enter a 5k or 10k for charity – plenty to choose from here– not only will you tick that box and meet new people you are raising much-needed funds!   Sign up for a marathon in another country, here are just a few:   Boston Marathon because it’s the oldest and most prestigious in the US (hint if you don’t make the qualifying race time, you can run under a charity name instead);   Berlin Marathon the fastest marathon course;   Athens Marathon This is where it all began!   Of course the reward for all your hard work will be a holiday to celebrate in some of these amazing places!  

2. Vertical Racing:

  Think stairs, lots of them, climbing….up! Definitely a challenging one for the bucket list, but stair climbing is a total body workout and you need to build some serious strength in those legs and lungs! Don’t be fooled by the thought of a ‘sprint’, you going to need endurance and strength – fast!   Vertical World Circuit’ (yup), so you are covered all around the world.   Empire State Building with 1,576 steps   Eureka Tower Climb in Melbourne with 1642 stairs   Tower 42 London with 932!  

Click here to continue reading at AmeliaPhillips.com!