This week I had the opportunity to go hiking at Natural Bridges near Angel’s camp. I have been on more hikes, camping trips, nature excursions in my lifetime than I care to count but this one in particular was definitely a new favorite of mine. It was not a difficult hike physically and fairly short in length but the river and cavern that the river ran through it were spectacular. The river ran through a cavern that was probably 300 yards in length and was in most places at least 30-40 feet wide. Needless to say the water was FREEZING! That being said I have never experienced swimming in a river through a cavern in such beautiful terrain, I was blown away. Inside the cavern there were incredible rock formations because of the constant water dripping and erosion of the river. Some of the walls had great handle holds which allowed us to scale and climb up on the walls which was also a brand new experience to me. Even though the actually hiking part of the excursion took about 45-60 minutes, we spent about 3 hours just exploring and enjoying the cavern and the river. I seriously hope I get to re-visit this amazing place in the future at some point. Check out the videos and photos! Remember to wear sunscreen though! I got burned!!
This past weekend I was able to attend a Tabata Bootcamp instructor workshop. In my career as a fitness professional I have taken a number of workshops that were very informational and instrumental in my success as an instructor. However, the energy, knowledge, and enthusiasm our instructor Rose had combined with how the Tabata Bootcamp program is designed really blew me away. Physically my body is still very sore two days post workshop and I consider myself to be in excellent shape. That alone is a testament to the exercise science behind the program. Thank you Izumi Tabata for your research and Mindy Mylrea for your brain child! All of the instructors who took the training got their butts handed to them, including myself. The way the program is designed truly fired my imagination about the possibilities of running my own bootcamps and being able to utilize all of the resources that Mindy Mylrea has put together for Tabata Bootcamp trainers. Normally almost every individual who attends a conference or a workshop or a week long motivational retreat comes away energized and feeling like they can shoot for the stars and actually reach them, but after a few weeks they get back into their old routines and few ever really benefit from what they learned by putting it into practice. I do not believe this training was just another workshop for me that will fade in a few weeks, I left the training feeling empowered with the ideas that were presented during the training as well as with the tools, resources, the help of Rose (our instructor) and all the people affiliated with Tabata Bootcamp. It really is an amazing program and I am totally looking forward to starting my own Tabata Bootcamps in the coming months!
We have made it to the New Year! Goodbye 2012 and hello 2013! I’m sure each and every one of you has accomplished many things you set out to do this past year and may even have some continuing projects/goals that you want to pursue further in the coming year. No matter what, you have a fresh start. Even if this is the year you finally decide to get healthy and strong, the past is the past and you cannot change it; you can only write your future.
So as we slowly move forward into this New Year, try to pick out long term goals and short term goals. For myself, I plan on riding and completing three 100 mile (century) bike rides this summer; this is a “long” term goal. My short term goals are to ride a certain amount of mileage each week and follow a progressive strength training program to help prepare my body for these endurance rides. Without the first step, no journey would begin. So be realistic, challenge yourself, and remember to have fun when you are setting goals for yourself. Make them worth your while to attain and then plan a reward at the end that will help motivate you when the going gets rough.
Remember, being healthy is not something you achieve overnight; it takes hard work, perseverance and help from friends and family. In our fast paced, self-obsessed, and instant gratification society it is easy to put in a few weeks of hard work and then fall off the bandwagon because results are not coming as fast as you would like. Unhealthy lifestyles have often been ingrained in us since childhood. Good habits are hard to make, but easy to break. It may be hard to change, but it is definitely not impossible. Setting reasonable goals, and checking them off one day at a time, will give you a great start!
In this new year of 2013 I challenge each and every one of you to fight for yourself, make a change, and become a healthier, happier you.
Happy New Year!
Fueling up before a workout is just as important as re-fueling after a workout. Many individuals do neither; they workout simply because they want to go eat that Big Mac at McDonalds, that Krispy Kreme Donut with their coffee in the morning or that giant bowl of ice-cream while watching Biggest Loser. While eating these foods on special occasions and in moderation is by no means a horrible thing to do, eating the aforementioned types of food after a workout, or going without eating right after a workout so that you can eat those foods later, is a big mistake.
The human body is the most incredibly complicated machine known to man. Like all machines however, it still needs a fuel source. Any nutritionist will tell you about the three macronutrients every one of us needs to stay alive and to function: Lipids (fats), Carbohydrates, and Proteins. While healthy fat is an essential part of a nutritious diet, I will focus primarily on carbohydrates and proteins in this blog post.
Fueling Up – Eating prior to a workout is arguably the most important thing you can do to prepare yourself for a great sweat session. Depending upon how well you can exercise with food in your stomach, you will want to plan your snack ahead of time so that you will not feel like a 10 ton weight that wants to hurl during the workout. In general, a light snack 45-60 minutes before your workout will provide the energy you need to stay strong and motivated the whole way through! Fruits like bananas, apples, oranges (or your favorite fruit) are easy to pack and eat quickly while on the go. My personal favorite is a banana because of the micronutrients such as potassium it contains which can help with muscle cramping. If a fruit salad does not float your boat, there are plenty of granola bars and energy bars available for purchase. I personally enjoy Cliff bars or PowerBars if I am doing a long workout and need a few more calories than fruit will provide. If all else fails, make yourself half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. An instant carbohydrate, fat, and protein snack all in one!
During exercise, water is your best friend. Eating food or drinking sports beverages during your workout (unless it is a long distance event such as running a marathon or riding a century) is really unnecessary. Eating will more than likely just lead to stomach cramps which can ruin even the best athlete’s workout. Gatorade and other sports drinks are loaded with sugar and lots of calories that negate all of your hard work, unless they are needed for electrolyte replenishment during endurance events
Re-Fueling is a huge factor in optimizing your recovery process and preparation for your next workout. When most people think of re-fueling or muscle building, they think of a guy in a gym wearing a shirt that is hanging by a few loose ends, blaring music in his ear buds, and quaffing a disgusting looking mixture in a shaker style bottle! Though humorous, consuming protein in this style is not bad for you, but there is recent research that suggests that consuming protein along with some form of carbohydrates increases muscle building more than either protein or carbohydrates do by themselves. So the next time you think of reaching for just your protein powder or 4 boneless chicken breasts, try to combine them with carbohydrates to maximize the effect.
While there are many ways of getting good protein into your body after a workout, my personal favorite is a protein smoothie (see my protein smoothie recipe) with whey protein powder. My favorite protein powder is made by “LifeSourceNutrition”. It has 25 grams of protein per scoop; the whey protein is from grass fed non-GMO cows, and isn’t sweetened with any artificial sweeteners. It is more expensive than a lot of protein powders on the market, but in my opinion the quality is worth the extra money. And finally, when you complete a workout you’re muscles are optimally primed for absorbing protein and other nutrients up until about 60 minutes post-workout. After this 60 minute mark the benefits of re-fueling decrease but don’t go away completely. So try to eat during that window of opportunity; your body will thank you the next day!
We all go shopping and get gifts for our friends and loved ones. But what if you gave yourself a gift this year and didn’t gain those pounds that you would inevitably have had to work off during the spring and summer months? It’s a little over a week until Thanksgiving and another month until Christmas, but it isn’t too late to start planning how you will defend your figure during the coming weeks!
Many of us visit our friends and family for the holidays but have no say in what is being served. If it is a big get-together with a lot of food or drinks, eat something before you head over to the party so you won’t feel hungry while you are there. This also allows you to eat what you know you can eat instead of being hungry and eating what you shouldn’t.
Know your weaknesses
Portion control is your friend during the holiday season. If you know that you could eat the entire plate of fudge, stay away - chances are you will regret it later on. So the next time your mother’s second cousin twice removed comes up to you with a plate of your favorite treat, know your limitations before accepting or declining a piece. If you’re not sure you can eat only one, don’t take any. Better to wish you had eaten one than wish you hadn’t eaten any.
Just because other people are doing it doesn’t mean you should. Most people eat and drink far more during social occasions than they would if they were just by themselves. Even if you overeat just a little bit during each social engagement, those excess calories can start to add up over the next 4-5 weeks during the holidays and can leave you feeling sluggish, guilty, and definitely not lighter on the scale. Make a conscious effort to think about how much food you are putting onto your plate and how much water or other beverages you are drinking as well. And don’t even think about taking seconds of anything that isn’t green - the classic green bean casserole doesn’t count! Just grab another glass of water and sit back and enjoy the conversation.
No Excuses on the Exercise
Too busy to work out? In unfamiliar territory at a relative’s home? Not a chance. Exercise can be your greatest friend over the busy, stressful, and food infested holidays. If you are out of town, ask your friends or relatives for directions to the nearest park. If it’s in running distance, go for a jog and do some bodyweight squats, push-ups, and lunges; getting your metabolism up will be beneficial once you start eating later on. If you are going to be extra busy cooking and cleaning for all your guests, take at least a 30 minute break to hit some weights or do a quick run to help relieve some of that built up stress. You will feel a lot better and be in a much better mood to entertain your guests. Remember - exercising during the holidays can help you work off any extra calories that might have sneaked up on you, as well as help you stay in shape so that you don’t go back to the gym after vacation feeling miserable. There is nothing more discouraging than getting back to your normal routine after the holidays and finding yourself not only out of shape but weighing more than when the holidays started.
So have fun, enjoy your friends and family, eat healthy food and make sure to get those workouts in!
My experience with the ViPR was extremely eye opening. I have seen the ViPR equipment at gyms before and even picked a couple up to examine them. To be honest, my first impression of picking them up and seeing others use them was that I was not impressed at all and discounted the ViPR for just another one of many silly pieces of fitness equipment that inundates the industry, I am pleased to say that I was proven wrong and now want to purchase some for myself.
After going through the one day training I have a new profound respect for these rubber cylinders and a sore body to boot. Its uses are not limited to one body part or body section but the entire body. It is durable enough to be used outdoors as well as indoors and can be used by all ages. While its use as a tool is undeniable it is also incredibly fun to use during a workout. Movement with the ViPR feels free and limitless in its ability to flow from exercise to exercise. The ViPR is truly a simple yet highly effective piece of functional equipment that would be an incredible asset to any trainer or gym’s arsenal of equipment.
Although I have only had preliminary usage with the ViPR system I could say with complete finality that I cannot wait until I can incorporate it into my own workouts as well as my clients.
I would like to thank ViPR for creating such a fun and versatile tool and I hope everyone who gets a chance to use one enjoys it as much as I did.
- Figure out what is available near your destination. If you are staying at a hotel, it may have a small workout room that is included in your room fee, but if they do not you can use the stairs on the premise to combine a great cardio workout into your interval routine. If you want to stay away from your place of rest during your stay use google maps to search around for a local park or high school/college stadiums; these are great places to run, do some burpees or even some agility drills.
- Bring equipment that is light and easy to pack such as a resistance band, a few agility cones, a jump rope or loop bands. All of these things are easy to pack and can be very useful equipment to supplement your own body weight with.
- Write down your workouts before you leave on your trip. Chances are you will be either too busy or lazy once you arrive at your destination to sit down and write up a workout. Bring your written workout along so all you have to do is pull it out and do the workout.
- Lastly, be creative. There is nothing more hindering to a good workout than a lack of creativity with objects around you. Benches, chairs, trees, steps, and grass can be a great asset to your workout as long as you are open to being creative and even looking a little strange at times while doing it.
Stair workouts are a great way to cross train whether you’re a runner, cyclist, or any other sport that requires explosive movements for better times or to be more competitive. College parking garages or stadiums are a great place to find stairs for a solid interval workout. I generally prefer a parking garage because of its versatility and open space compared to a more cramped stadium. That being said a stadium would work just as well. My typical stair workout consists of stair running, ramps (inside the parking garage) and plyometric and or strength training exercises in-between sets to mix things up and increase the intensity of the entire workout. After each stair well you can run/jog and/or add running drills such as low skips, karaoke’s, side shuffles until you get to the next stair well. This not only breaks up the monotony of running stairs, but challenges your body further by doing various movements instead of just running back and forth. Most likely you’re parking garage will have ramps; these are to your advantage. I like to do a whole set of stairs (which includes the 4 stair wells at each corner of the parking garage) and then run or do various drills up the ramps for some good hill training. At the top I add in explosive exercises like rocket jumps or burpee's to finish off the entire set with some strength training. Personally I try to shoot for about 4 sets total so that my total workout time is around 40-45 minutes in length. This allows for me to work on my overall endurance as well as the interval training aspect of the workout.
Things to remember:
~ Make sure you touch every step instead of skipping stairs since you have to work extra to touch all the stairs.
~ Do running drills in between stair wells to add a unique challenge to your workout that is more interesting and intense.
~If you have ramps available you can incorporate back pedaling, sprints, side shuffles or other drills up the ramps. Essentially, these ramps act as mini hill training sessions.
~At the end of each set or anywhere else during the workout add in some strength training or plyometric exercises like rocket jumps, burpees, push-ups, squats, lunges etc to break up the routine.
~Make sure you maintain good form during the running as well as strength training segments especially once you start to fatigue after a couple sets.
Hope you enjoy these workouts as much as I do.
Learning how to focus and direct your thoughts is the key to accomplishing your goals.
Among my many hobbies I am a road cyclist. I love the scenery, the smells, the exhilaration at the end of a long climb, the tired feeling in my legs after a long ride. I have completed multiple centuries along with many rides that varied in length. The one thing every ride has in common whether it is a hill ride, sprint ride, long distance ride etc, is the mental willpower to keep those pedals moving through thousands and thousands of pedal strokes. Combine the tiredness in your legs with the imprint that the saddle has left on your rear-end and the dirt and grime that cover your face and body and you have an average ride of a cyclist. Fun right? I and thousands of others would unanimously say yes! The one thing that a cyclist will tell you however that is crucial to any ride is their mental endurance as well as their physical capabilities. When I was riding in the Shasta Summit Century, the only thing that kept me going up the last 14 mile climb was complete willpower. My body was done, it had been done since the last mountain that I climbed at mile 70; but my mind was not. I knew that I had to continue going, I had to keep pushing those pedals around and around for over 2 hours to get up to the top. I knew that once I was at the top the exhilaration, the feeling of “look at what I just accomplished” was worth any amount of pain and suffering I had to go through to get there. That is what the mental component of fitness/training is all about; realizing that while it may suck a lot or a little at the time, the end rewards are worth the suffering.
I therefore offer you a suggestion. The next time you are working out your body at the gym or on the trail, start mentally training yourself as well. When things get rough, or you feel like you can’t go further, push a little more, do one more push-up or add 30 more seconds onto that killer run you’re doing. Start to train in a way that incorporates the mental challenge as well as the physical so that the next time you are in a competition, a spin class or even just working out by yourself or with friends so that you can push yourself farther, faster and stronger than you have ever been able to do before.
Remember, if you control the mental you control the physical.
The next time you design your workout for the day, try to structure the exercises from big to small, complex to simple. For example: Start your strength training workout with the bigger muscle groups such as the pectoralis major (pecs) and latissimus dorsi (lats). Then, progress towards the smaller muscle groups like your shoulders. This is done because the smaller muscles are involved with the exercises you do to workout the bigger muscle groups. If you start with the smaller muscles, by the time you get to the bigger muscles you might not be able to perform at the intensity you want.
Also, if you are planning on doing strength training and aerobic (cardio) exercise in the same workout (which I recommend,) remember to do your strength training first. If you decide to do your aerobic workout before your strength training, you may be too tired to exert as much energy as you planned into your strength training workout. It can also be a little more dangerous because you will be fatigued and pay less attention to proper form than if you started fresh with weights.