November 20, 2017

ENERGIZE your Fitness!

Short days and cold weather can make motivation tough. Get ENERGIZED by chatting with others sharing your journey to fitness!

Join #HealthyWayMag Fitness Chat on Twitter and stay current on top gear, best exercise practices and keys to motivation. Together we solve challenges, share successes and provide accountability and encouragement along the way.

Mark your Calendar NOW:
Every Monday at 5pm(Pacific)/8pm(Eastern) #HealthyWayMag Fitness Chat on Twitter.

It’s easy to join in: Simply log into your Twitter account. Enter #HealthyWayMag to follow the chat feed. Questions for discussion are posed as “Q1″ Question 1, “Q2″ Question 2 and so on. Reply to offer your tips, ideas and experiences by notating your answer as “A1″ to designated your answer to question 1,”A2″ to offer your thoughts on the second question and so on.

 

Monday December 21, 2015 #HealthyWayMag Fitness Chat is Sponsored by RecoFit Compression Gear.

RecoFit Compression Gear is a go-to for many world class athletes and fitness-enthusiasts alike! Their technical-fit and uniquely designed gear helps you get more oxygen to your muscles, thereby reducing swelling and delaying fatigue. The means better performance and faster recovery! RecoFit is the only compression gear that cuts their fabric in a cross-grain process for effective compression and no-slip positioning! Check out their products such as Calf Compression Sleeves, Shin-Splint Therapy, Full Leg Compression Sleeves, and Arm Coolers to experience the RecoFit difference for yourself. Proudly made in the USA! To learn about product details and upcoming news, follow them on Twitter at @Recofit.

Thinking of Quitting? By Nicole Bryan

Ask any exerciser and just about every single one will tell you there have been days where they wanted to quit. Give it all up. Forget healthy living entirely. However, something or someone inspired them to keep going.
You want to quit your workout? Here’s why you shouldn’t:

There will be progress. In fact it’s almost a given or guarantee, if you stick with it long enough that is. Many of your body’s systems are trainable. You will become stronger and more efficient with repeated practice. For example, your cardiovascular system, or your heart. Your heart will become stronger when you make it work through exercise. Physical changes from exercise and healthy eating are both externally and internally based. They are based on human biology and physiology, so if you’re not seeing results do an honest inventory. Are you truly following the guidelines on a daily basis? If so, double-check or fine tune your approach. Maybe what you’re doing isn’t right for you or your body. Consult a Fitness Professional to dial in all aspects of your healthy living schedule. Stick with it long enough and you’ll get where you need to be.

Difficult times will pass. Schedules change, demand on our time change, responsibilities will change. Adjust your healthy choices, but keep at it. Just because it’s hard now, doesn’t mean it will always be that way. Focus on getting what you need from your workout. Your needs will change, and they should change. Why give it all up just because you hit a bump on the road? Don’t.

You won’t ever regret your effort. Plain and simply put, you won’t ever regret healthy choices or a healthy lifestyle. Your workout will always be worth your time and effort. When you have a few more years of healthy living behind you, you’ll never say you wish you didn’t do it.

Personal pride. What about the confidence that comes from setting a goal and accomplishing that goal? There is tremendous personal pride that will come from improving your lifestyle, your body and your overall health.

Makes your life easier. Being in good health makes life easier in many ways. You have energy to complete your tasks. You have strength to lift what you need.

Be an inspiration. You never know who you’ll be inspiring with your dedication and discipline. Chances are you were inspired to live healthy from another person, be that person for someone else. If you can’t do it for yourself when times get tough, do it for someone else until you find your groove again.

You never know where your health will take you. Being healthy opens you up travel, adventure, athletic competitions, community events, making new friends and family fitness endeavors. Be open to expanding your fitness.

So, if you want to quit your healthy living, firstly you are not alone. And secondly, don’t. Find what works for you and keep going. Early, late, long, short, high intensity, low intensity, home, gym. Don’t ever quit. Keep after it.

Ignore Negativity! By Jennifer Austin

It’s sure to happen. Resistance and negativity on the way to your fitness goal, that is. You’ll simply share your fitness goal only to be told you can’t do it, don’t have the time, know-how or fitness ability. Instead of allowing negativity to sabotage your workout efforts, use the emotion to power-up your motivation to reach your goal against all odds.

What makes a great athlete? They have the well-trained ability to ignore nay-sayers, negators and unsupporters and maintain focus to achieve their athletic and fitness dreams. Having the ability to not engage, debate or defend yourself with those who are not supportive takes practice. Great athletes have the courage to continue moving against the grain when others question what they are doing and why they are doing it in the first place, and what are they trying to prove anyway. Staying focused on your fitness goal can be tough. Here’s how to do it when you encounter opposition:

Say nothing. Sometimes no words are a better choice. Why fill the silence with sarcasm or a joke.

Keep it general. When your friend asks about your fitness goals, keep the details to a minimum.

Don’t quantify.  Resist the temptation of offering specific details about sets, reps, timing or training cycles.

Keep questions simple. If your friend wants to talk about details, they will ask about details.

Don’t take it personally. Remember their negativity is not about you, your dreams or athletic endeavors.

Running your first race? Be in-the-know with these tips. By Nicole Bryan

So you’ve decided to toe the line and participate in your first running race. Congratulations! While distance and training required varies from race to race, there are a few tried and true race habits to get you to the finish line health and happy.

Respect your taper. Your goal is to arrive at the starting line recovered from training, refreshed and ready to RUN! Avoid the urge to log last minute miles. Fitness is cumulative and adding unplanned long miles will sabotage your training efforts. Watch a funny movie, kick back with friends, read a book or take a nap.

Follow predicted weather. Let’s face it, we’re no longer in a not-knowing world! Know the forecast for race day, including temps, wind and humidity. Each of these can change how your body handles your race. There’s nothing worse than shivering your way through a race or overheating due to lack of planning.

Read the athlete information, and then read it again. Athlete instructions are emailed for a purpose! You should know parking details, the starting area lay-out, where aid stations and restrooms are located, as well as the post-race reunion area. Doing so will decrease stress and energy wasted race morning.

Lay out your clothing and supplies the night before. Place all race items on the bathroom counter. You’ll have an easy visual of your gear to save time. Again, no wasting energy or distracting your mental focus.

Stick with foods used during training. A little planning goes a long way to insuring good energy and avoiding stomach distress race morning. Eat what you usually eat the night before long runs and eat what you usually eat the morning of long runs. When in doubt, pack food from home. Nothing new on race day!

Does Workout Recovery Matter? By Nicole Bryan

Does workout recovery matter?
    
Do you include a workout recovery plan as part of your racing or workout program? You should! Here’s why: long term sustainable exercise happens through the delicate and very individual balance between exercise (workload) and rest (recovery.) Depending the distance you’re racing or your workout goal, your training program should not end with race day or goal day, it should actually extend anywhere from one day to three weeks after. Ask any athlete who’s been involved in long term racing or sustainable athletics and has remained injury-free, you’ll find the common thread to be that of allowing sufficient recovery from hard racing and tough workouts.

Accept your need for recovery as part of your exercise program. Better yet, program it in. Keep your schedule on the calendar just as you do when in your heavy or building training period, just write “off” or “30 minute jog.”

Here are a few ways how to decrease the stress of accepting and respecting your recovery period as an essential part of your training program:

Cross Train. Choose an entirely different mode of exercise all together. Change the angle at which you’re working your muscles. If you routinely do high-impact, try non-impact exercise. If you regularly partake in exercise over 90 minutes, set a recovery limit of fifty-percent of your average weekly workouts. If you’ve been wanting to try a different workout, now is the time to do it when the new workout won’t interfere with your race program.

Rest. That’s right, rest! Do less, do nothing, do whatever whenever the mood strikes you. Resting not only applies to your body, but to your mind as well. This includes psychological and emotional rest. When we are racing or focused on completing a major fitness goal, our mind works just as hard. Get caught up on movies, sort through paperwork, play puzzles with your kids. Sit. Rest. Relax. Many are afraid of rest for fear that they’ll lose all their fitness efforts over night. Rest assured, you won’t. In reality, the contrary is true, you’ll come back to your sport and fitness with more enthusiasm than before. Let yourself miss your activity!

Tend to the details. During your recovery period is a great time to tend to those tiny details that during your heavy training were tolerable, but just barely. For example, that nagging foot discomfort you’ve been tolerating (go see your doctor), or your slightly-off hydration plan (research other alternatives), or those biking shoes that just getting worn out (try out new equipment.) This is like your rainy-day activity list. Tiny details that you just never have time for during your training. Get them sorted out now, so when your recovery period is complete, you’re ready to go.

Catch up. Catch up with other areas of your life that may have been neglected during your heavy training period. Re-introduce yourself to your spouse, to your children, to your boss, to your friends. Go ahead and make that time active if you’d like, but activity is not the priority. Get caught up on your desk work, yard work, and the kid’s homework, anything other than variables that have to do with your race or goal.

Bask in your accomplishment. You’ve worked hard to reach your goal, why not allow time to enjoy it before darting off to begin your next training period. Read articles on your sport, send fellow athletes your race pictures, share your race report in a blog post, chat with other participants, and plot out your next race or fitness goal undertaking; have some fun with your accomplishment! There are ways to stay connected with your sport, your training buddies and current events, without the physical demands required by logging the miles in race prep. So go ahead, hone your verbal, written and artistic skills for a change. Brag a little. You’ll inspire fellow athletes, and yourself.

In need of a little friendly competition? By Nicole Bryan

Up for a little friendly competition?

Choosing to participate in a race will inspire your workouts and motivate you to work harder. Bringing some friendly competition into your exercise routine will peak interest, and you’ll be less likely to miss a workout when your ego is on the line. Let nerves and jitters of a little friendly competition inspire a source of empowerment to better fitness.

Here are just a few reasons why racing should be on your list of exercise goals:

Competition builds confidence that spills over into all aspects of life. Improved confidence and self esteem means you’re more likely to set goals in other areas of life. Learning how to tap into an inner strength, determination or perseverance to cover that last mile or last lap will give a boost of energy to accomplish other non-fitness dreams.

Competition keeps you coming back for more. There will always be an aspect of our participation we could have done differently; maybe prepared a little better, executed with greater precision, thought out a more effectively.

Competition promotes additional healthy behaviors. Racing is just one aspect of fitness. When working toward a competition other areas creep into consciousness for example insuring better sleep, better food choices, and better time management.

Competition eases stress and leads to mental or emotional clarity. Sometimes the physical fatigue of racing allows us to be still enough for our psyche to process emotional happenings of life. This is a good thing and results in feelings of rejuvenation.

Competition encourages new friends. Competing alongside a fellow athlete creates an instant bond and understanding of effort, dedication and sacrifice. The kindness and generosity in the spirit of good sportsmanship often seen in competitions results from an automatic camaraderie rarely experienced in other settings.

Consider adding in some friendly competition to your workout regime. Once a year or many times each year, preparing for a race will fire up motivation and quality of exercise. Attending a few events or competitions of interest to observe as a spectator is a great step toward determining if it’s for you. Enjoy the motivation and commit to participate the next time around, and pass on the inspiration.

Beat the Post-Race Blues by Jason Saltmarsh

A 3-week Plan to Beat the Post-Race Blues

You did great! You just completed a bucket list goal by finishing your first marathon. So, why do you feel so depressed and anxious? That unsettling feeling of emptiness and aimlessness after competing in a big race is common among athletes. But, don’t worry! It’s completely normal.

Sports psychologist Dr. Kate F. Hays says “Completing a major feat, into which you’ve poured a lot of time, energy, intention, and identity —maybe money, inconvenience, and sacrifice, as well —means that among other things, you’ll probably feel some degree of let-down when it’s ended.” And, the one thing that many runners do to deal with stress and anxiety is run, something you’re not supposed to do in the days following a marathon.

How to Beat the Marathon Blues
Week 1
1.    Eat. Refuel and reload with plenty of proteins and healthy vegetables.
2.    Sleep. Sleeping is the most effective way to relieve stress and take care of your body.
3.    Find a new hobby. Take a cooking class, plan a trip, or build a model airplane.
4.    Walk. You can’t run, but you can enjoy a nice leisurely walk in the park.
5.    Share. Talking about the race experience with others is cathartic.

Week 2
1.    Dream big. Research and register for your next big event. Triathlon? Marathon? Relay?
2.    Develop a plan. Consult with your coach, or begin drafting a new training plan.
3.    Return slowly. Run or walk (as you feel) with no more than an hour on your feet. Easy does it.

Week 3
1.    Reverse-Taper. Slowly build your mileage and intensity.
2.    Listen to Your Body. Any signs of injury or discomfort should sound alarms.
3.    Let your spirit guide you. Return to normal training at the end of the month if you’re physically, mentally, and emotionally ready.

Jason Saltmarsh is an RRCA Adult Distance Running Coach and competitive masters runner. He enjoys racing at distances ranging from 5K to the marathon. Jason’s goal is to share with others the benefits and joys of running, fitness and healthy living. For more information, please visit saltmarshrunning.com.

Find your Athlete by Nicole Bryan

Find the Athlete in YOU

When watching athletic events on television, ever wonder how the competitors deal with the stress, pressure and energy of it all? Athletes work day in and day out, not only on physical strengths, but just as important to their performance is their mental strengths. There is a certain mindset and perspective that leads athletes to greatness. Some people adopt a fearful or anxious reactive perspective. For example, what if something bad happens? What if it rains on the day of my marathon? Successful athletes adopt a perspective that focuses forward. For example, what do I need to keep moving forward; water, calories, etc.

Successful athletes are very efficient about getting their needs met. Instead of focusing on how bad muscles are feeling or tired they are at for example, mile 20 of a marathon, successful athletes focus on what they need to get through the next time, match or game. Focusing forward also empowers the successful athlete to keep at it. What’s your perspective?

Keep moving forward. Don’t over think, over analyze, dwell on what was or could have been. Simply keep it moving forward. One step, mile, lap at a time.

Talk nice. Positive self talk goes a long way when things get tough. Have a mantra in place which you repeat over and over again during training or workouts to use as your go to during an event. For example “I am strong and steady.”

Find your zen. Relaxing into your sport or event will allow your mind, and in turn your body to ease tension to simply take the next step forward. Take in the scenery or try to empty your mind and focus only on the athlete in front of you.

Don’t fight the uncomfortable-ness. The purpose of having a goal is to force us to stretch. There will be uncomfortable times, there will be doubt, and there will be challenging times. Accept it and move on.

Train hard, and visualize harder. No doubt that if we don’t put in the time to log miles or hours on our hobby or sport that we physically will be unable to achieve our goal. However, setting aside specific time to sit in silence and visualize completing our goal will provide direction for our mind. Picture every detail of your goal and do it daily.

Be prepared for the good, the bad, and the ugly. Most times a single event will have many emotions tied to it. And most likely we’ll experience a wide array of all of them. Have a plan how to break the mental pattern of negativity and doubt. For example, singing your favorite song in your head, remembering a special someone or simply blanking your mind and focusing on an object around you. Choose anything that will break the mental self-sabotaging pattern.

Performing or reaching a goal like an athlete means thinking and acting like an athlete. Don’t settle for less.

Triathlon Open-Water Swimming Tips by Mark Kleanthous

Swimming in open water is very alien for most people. Beginners, experienced triathletes and the elite all sometimes get nervous from open water swimming.

For the majority of most people it is almost impossible to sink when wearing a correctly fitted triathlon wet suit. Just try to dive down in 1.5m swimming pool wearing a wet suit, then try and touch the bottom. Being relaxed in a wetsuit will give you the biggest improvements in performance. It is perfectly normal to become nervous, your mind is telling you to not swim in open water to avoid going into the unknown.

Two important principles for open-water swimming success:

Practice swimming in open water. Firstly do not venture out too far. Stay close to the edge where you can easily get out of the water. Try and float on your back in a swimming pool and see how much effort it takes, then repeat with a wetsuit on and you will soon realize how easily you float without any effort. You will have considerably more confidence in open water once you have experienced the art of floating.

Never swim alone and always swim close to others. Make sure you have already discussed an emergency action plan and you know the address of the entrance for emergency services to arrive THE BEST safety decisions are always made before you get into the water.

Here are three how-to tips to gain comfort swimming in open water:

Swim in all different conditions; calm day’s windy days, dull days and bright sunny days. Learn to love and experience what Mother Nature decides to throw at you. Frequency of open water swimming builds up self confidence.

Before you venture into open water, practice in a pool breathing on both sides. Learn the water polo style of looking ahead. If possible, swim is an adjacent lane to an aqua-cise or fun swim session and the pool will have more waves than normal. This will better prepare you for open water swimming.

Sighting or correct navigation is easy to learn. Find out how often you need to look up before going off course. You may need to look up every 4, 6 or 8 strokes. The more you swim in open water the less often you will need to look up and still swim in as straight line. If you swim 2 metres in the wrong direction you will at least need to cover another 2m to get back on track. Use 2 points as reference, a buoy and a tall building or tree directly behind the buoy. Make sure when looking up to sight, you kick a little more to keep your body vertical in the water and avoid the legs sinking.

Mistakes to avoid:
-Only start swimming in open water only when YOU are ready, not when others are ready. It is much better to wait a few extra weeks for the water to warm up then try and swim in freezing cold water and lose any confidence you have. Taking the plunge too early can set you back months.
-Avoid swimming close to rocks, weedy areas,  boat traffic and harbour walls where there is no place to exit the water.
-A wet suit can make you over confident, and will not prevent you from drowning.

Mark Kleanthous is an open water swim coach and has his own lake for individual coaching. He has competed in more than 450 triathlons and has competed as an elite and recorded some of the fastest T1 & T2 transition times overall. Mark Kleanthous has competed in triathlons for 30 consecutive seasons and crossed the finish line in more than 450 triathlons including 35 ironman events. He is the author of The Complete Book of Triathlon Training and is a full time sports and nutrition coach. Mark can be contacted via his web site www.ironmate.co.uk.

5 Factors for Triathlon Fitness written by Mark Kleanthous

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5 Factors for Triathlon Fitness written by Mark Kleanthous
 

There are five main factors that contribute to fitness in triathlon – aerobic threshold endurance, nutrition, economy, strength and recovery – but your approach to them has to be balanced. Neglect one and your performance will suffer.
 

Aerobic threshold endurance

The use of intense aerobic-threshold training (which effectively, means training at your predicted triathlon pace) is perhaps the best way to get fit – the more you do the easier the training session gets and the faster you become. However, the problem is that we have a limited tolerance to it, and the result can be over-training. Therefore, not all your training should consist of intense, aerobic-threshold work-outs, also known as a ‘key work-outs’. Unfortunately, it is a common mistake to do too many of them with more than eight weeks to go before a triathlon.

Nutrition

In order to compete successfully in any triathlon event you must be able to load your body with all the fuel necessary to propel yourself across the required distance at the desired speed. But this factor isn’t only important when racing, because in order to complete your training successfully your body must be constantly carrying the correct amount of fuel. By that I mean the type of carbohydrate that can be accessed and fed to the muscles during training, as well as when racing.

Economy
 
Top triathletes all have one thing in common – they don’t waste energy doing things they don’t need to do. Having 10% extra energy is not good if you use up 15% more running compared to a fellow competitor. Economy of movement is something that can be learned early and needs to become automatic.

Strength

Strength is important in all sports. However, what is required in triathlon is sport-specific strength to the level required. For example, resistance training using hand paddles, cycling up hills and running off road is more specific than weight training.

Recovery

Full-time athletes are obviously more successful than those who work full time because they can dedicate more time to training, but another equally important reason is because they are able to take more recovery time. Most injuries and illnesses are caused more by the lack of consistent sleep, regular massages, healthy food, stretches and cool downs than anything else. These recovery essentials  not only help you recover from work-outs, but more importantly they allow you to tolerate a greater amount of training. Fitness is about being able to recover as you train; the quicker the recovery the greater the effect it has on fitness.

This article is written by Mark Kleanthous. Mark has competed in triathlons for 30 consecutive seasons and crossed the finish line in more than 450 triathlons including 35 ironman events. He is author of The Complete Book of Triathlon Training and is a full time sports and nutrition coach. Mark can be contacted via www.ironmate.co.uk