Tuesday, April 30, 2013

10 New Outdoor Workout Ideas - SHAPE.com

10 New Outdoor Workout Ideas

Get slim and sculpted without setting foot inside the gym.

It happens every year: The weather gets warmer, the daylight lasts longer, and the stuffy gym sounds more and more unappealing. But since spring-like weather is also a sign that bikini season is right around the corner, skipping your gym session to sip cocktails at happy hour won't get you any closer to revealing those tight, toned abs (or to reaching any health or fitness goal).

The good news is you can still skip the gym and get an effective total-body workout. We asked top fitness pros to share some of their favorite ways to blast calories outside (typical answers like cycling and rollerblading were not accepted). Check out their awesome ideas below to get out of that turtleneck and into that bikini—pronto!

Outdoor Cardio Meltdown
1. Outdoor Cardio Meltdown
Who needs the treadmill? Grab a mat (or towel) and a timer and torch fat with this 10-15-20 Cardio Meltdown routine created by Lindsay Ferrer, personal trainer at EQUINOX in New York City.
10 Long Jumps: Do a long jump the length of your mat or towel, and then shuffle backwards to your start position.
10 Pushups: Kneeling or full, depending on your fitness level.
15 Sumo Squats: Stand up with your feet wider than your hips and your toes slightly turned out as you sit back into a squat.
15 Burpees: Start with a jump, and then squat down, place your hands on your mat, and jump out into a plank position. Jump feet back towards your hands, pop up into standing position, and finish with a clap at the top.
20 Bicycle Crunches: Lie on your back and bend both knees into your chest, hands clasped behind your head. Find a focal point to the left and right of your body. Look at those two focal points as you twist and crunch to each side, reaching your right elbow to your left knee, and vice versa.
20 Mountain Climbers: Start in a plank position and alternate driving your knees into chest, keeping your hips flat and parallel to the ground.
Make sure you time yourself performing the full meltdown, and try to beat your best time with your next workout, Ferrer says.

Stand-Up Paddleboarding
2. Stand-Up Paddleboard
Stand-up paddleboardinging (SUP) is an amazing way to tone your whole body without feeling like you're exercising (Because it's fun, but it's not so easy.) Standing on a oversized long board, you use a paddle to navigate across flat, calm waters. Don't be fooled by how easy it looks. SUP requires the use of your entire body, with a major emphasis on core stability and control. Former pro surfer Jodi Nelson describes it as “hiking on water," making it a great choice for anyone who wants to add some water to their workout routine without having to swim in it.

basketball court
3. HIIT the Court
Have a basketball or volleyball court nearby? Make it your personal gym with this super-effective high-intensity interval training (HIIT) plan from Andrea Metcalf, celebrity fitness trainer and host of Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.
“This workout burns major calories and is what I did when I was training [to climb] Mount Kilimanjaro because it increases [maximal aerobic capacity],” Metcalf says.
How it works: Use the outline of a basketball court (or a similarly sized court) to perform the three fat-burning drills below.
Sprints (5): Sprint from one end of the court to the other, running forward and then jogging back backwards. Repeat 5 times total.
Lateral hops (30): Jump over and then back along the full court line, facing forward the whole time. Do 30 hops total (1-2 lengths of the court)
Side shuffles (6): Do side shuffles the full distance of the court and back,. Repeat 6 times total.
The entire workout should take about 15 minutes and will have you sweating buckets!
Fitness Scavenger Hunt
4. Fitness Scavenger Hunt
“Going for a fitness scavenger hunt is a great way to get outside and mix up your fitness routine,” says Tanner Martty, a certified personal trainer at LEAF Lifestyle in Santa Monica, Calif.
How it works: First, map out your route (it could be a path you typically use for jogging or walking), and then list 5-10 bodyweight exercises (pushups, burpees, squat jumps, etc). Next to each move, write down a landmark you'll see along your path (park bench, red light, dog on a leash, or even a black convertible).
To start your scavenger hunt, head out on your route and every time you see one of your landmarks, do 10 reps of the corresponding move. For example, if you listed "park bench" next to pushups, hit the bench for a set of 10 incline or decline pushups every time you see one. It’s a fun way to mix up your routine and add an element of play (and still keep plenty of sweat) to your typical route.
“In addition to being a great workout, this will also keep your mind in the present moment, which is something that a stressful schedule can prevent us from doing," Martty says. "If you're actively looking for your scavenger hunt items, you can't be worried about the presentation you have to give the next day at the office."

Play Ball
5. Play Ball!
Who needs a gym full of equipment when you can get a total-body strength and cardio workout just by using a variety of balls outside? Gather up a bunch of balls—basketballs, soccer balls, Swiss balls, whatever you've got—and then create drills using them as weights, cones, and/or to create instability, says Laura Williams, a certified personal trainer and founder of Girls Gone Sporty.
Try this drill: Set two balls next to each other on the ground, and then place a third ball about 10 feet away. Starting on the side with two balls, pick one up and run, slide, or even dribble it between your feet to the other side. Once you get there, switch balls, leaving the one you had and picking up the one that was already there. Continue moving the balls back and forth until you've moved each ball 10 times, Williams says.
Get creative and create a whole circuit in your backyard or the park using the balls to do unstable pushups, add weight to lunges, slam into the ground… the possibilities are endless! For more great exercises with balls, check out our workout builder tool.

CrossFit On-the-Road Workouts
6. CrossFit On-the-Road
Take your CrossFit workout outside with any of these CrossFit On-the-Road Workouts that use very little equipment, suggests Jason Benade, owner and head coach at CrossFit Elk Grove in California.
Here are two of Benade's favorites:
Workout 1 (5 Rounds)
5 Pushups
10 Sit ups
15 Squats
Workout 2 (5 Rounds)
10 Burpees
20 Bench jumps
30 Pushups
40 Squats
50 Lunges
Want more? Check out the full list at CrossFitOneWorld.com.

Sailing or Rowing Classes
7. Sailing or Rowing Classes
“Sailing and rowing courses are affordable and an awesome change of pace, says Andia Winslow, a professional athlete, certified fitness professional, and ambassador for the Women’s Sports Foundation. Sailing is a total-body workout that helps build upper-body muscular endurance, agility, coordination, and flexibility and can burn around 200 calories, Winslow says.
And rowing? Forget the machines at the gym and get out on the water! This fantastic low-impact form of cardio works your legs and core in a major way and can have you burning up to 800 calories an hour, Winslow says.

8. Trapeze
Take your workout to new heights with trapeze workouts! Try a private lesson or enroll in a class to experience this total-body, endorphin-inducing workout that can have you burning up to 500 calories an hour, Winslow says. Not to mention, controlling your body while hanging off a bar in midair is also one serious abs workout!

Trail Running
9. Trail Running
Want to boost your calorie burn without having to run longer? Try trail running! Thanks to the textured, uneven terrain, your body has to work harder with every step, making trail running a more intense and effective workout than pounding pavement.
“Runners must be wholly engaged as they find footings, achieve balance, and adjust to incline changes," Winslow says. "Both your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems are being used during your run, as some trail positions require bursts of energy, unlike the steady-state fitness level of pavement (or the treadmill)."

10. Volunteering
The number of calories burned shouldn't always be the focus of your workout. You can get active outside and give back to your community at the same time.
“Walking dogs for a local shelter or cleaning up a nearby park in the neighborhood are all great calorie burners and a nice way to give back,” says Jaime Kenworthy, a certified personal trainer in Philadelphia and owner of J'aime Fitness, LLC. To find great opportunities to volunteer in your area, go to Volunteer Match.org.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Killer strength training program for runners - Girls Gone Sporty.com

Killer strength training program for runners

Thursday, April 25, 2013

40 Minute Blast - Abs, Cardio And Resistance Workout - Muscle & Strength

40 Minute Blast - Abs, Cardio And Weights

40 Minute Blast - Abs, Cardio And Resistance Workout

4.3512A cardio, weights and abs workout perfect for those days when you need to do something fun at the gym. Simply grab a heavy and light set of dumbbells and go!

Workout Summary

Main Goal:   General Fitness
Workout Type:  Cardio
Training Level:  Beginner
Days Per Week:  1
Equipment Required:  Bodyweight, Dumbbells
Target Gender:  Male & Female
Author:  John Gormen

Workout Description

Strap on your game face, stretch, get warmed up and let's roll!

This is cardio and abs workout that you can use to break the gym boredom. It also involves resistance training. If you are feeling like you need a break from the same old dull workout routine, but don't want to train like a wet noodle either, give this a try.

You will cycle between a resistance exercise, cardio and an abdomimal exercise. Rest 15-30 seconds between each step of the workout.

It is best to use 2 sets of dumbbells for this workout, a heavier set for the tougher lifts, and a lighter set for isolation movements. You can also set up near a dumbbell rack and grab dumbbells as you need them, if possible.

40 Minute Blast
Abs, Cardio and Resistance Workout
Dumbbell Bench Press10
Treadmill - Walking30 seconds
Weighted Sit Ups20
Treadmill - Running30 seconds
Two Arm Dumbbell Rows10
Treadmill - Walking30 seconds
Plank30 seconds
Treadmill - Running30 seconds
Dumbbell Arnold Press10
Treadmill - Walking30 seconds
Lying Leg Raises20
Treadmill - Running30 seconds
Dumbbell Lunges10
Treadmill - Walking30 seconds
Floor Toe Reach20
Treadmill - Running30 seconds
Dumbbell Curls10 each
Treadmill - Walking30 seconds
Abdominal Air Bike20
Treadmill - Running30 seconds
Dumbbell Flyes10
Treadmill - Walking30 seconds
Weighted Sit Ups20
Treadmill - Running30 seconds
Pull Ups10
Treadmill - Walking30 seconds
Plank30 seconds
Treadmill - Running30 seconds
Side Dumbbell Laterals10
Treadmill - Walking30 seconds
Lying Leg Raises20
Treadmill - Running30 seconds
Goblet Squats10
Treadmill - Walking30 seconds
Floor Toe Reach20
Treadmill - Running30 seconds
Two Arm Seated Dumbbell Extension10 each
Treadmill - Walking30 seconds
Abdominal Air Bike20
Treadmill - Running30 seconds    

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Cardio Question: What Type Of Cardio Is Best For Fat Loss? - Muscle & Strength

The Cardio Question: What Type Of Cardio Is Best For Fat Loss?

Unsure if HIIT or LISS is better for fat loss? Bodybuilder Cliff Wilson explains the science behind fat loss and helps you to get shredded.
Cardio - HIIT or LISS?
The thought of doing cardio usually invokes strong feelings for most people. In my experience most people either love doing cardio or hate doing cardio. There are very few people that are indifferent on the subject. Some love the feeling they get from hopping onto that treadmill and working up a good sweat, while others would rather drive over their own foot just to have an excuse to skip their cardio for the day. Whether you love it or hate it, when it’s time to start getting lean for a show cardio poses a lot of questions for a lot of people.
Questions about duration, frequency, and what type of cardio is best, flood my inbox every day. Cardio is necessary to get ultra shredded for a show, but you have to get it right. Too much and you’ll be lean alright, but you will also sacrifice muscle to get to that point. Too little and you’ll find yourself on the far left of the stage where you won’t get in the way of the judges ability to see those that got lean enough. If your diet is on point, and you get your cardio right, you can be sure you will come in lean and muscular. This is the formula for champions.

Getting Started

When transitioning from offseason to contest prep the first thing that must be established is how many days per week cardio sessions should be performed. This is often where people’s love or hatred for cardio comes into play. Those that love cardio will tend to start with too many sessions per week. This is not a good thing, because the human body is highly adaptive. Your body will adjust to this level of cardio faster than you would like, resulting in a weight loss plateau.
Once this happens your only choice is to cut calories or increase the cardio. Those that take this approach will find themselves only a few weeks into their diet doing two cardio sessions per day every day just to keep fat loss moving. This will lead to overtraining and muscle tissue breakdown, leaving you flat and small come show day.
Those that hate cardio will tend to try and ease themselves into their workouts by starting really low and trying to increase it slowly. Not necessarily a bad idea, but when dieting for a show, time is of the essence, and you must use it wisely. In my experience if you start with too few sessions per week you won’t be ready.
The best approach is a more moderate one. The amount of cardio that you should start with is highly dependent on your body type, so I can’t give you exact specifics on frequency, duration, and intensity. Just know that starting with a more moderate approach and moving upward from there will ensure the best results.

The Great Debate

The number one question most people have about cardio is, “What type of cardio is best for fat loss?” There are those that say low intensity cardio performed for longer periods of time is better for fat loss, while others claim that short duration, high intensity cardio sessions will give the best results. This is the part that tends to confuse people the most. Advocates on both sides of the argument are usually pretty passionate in their beliefs. To know which style of cardio to perform, it helps to know how each one helps you burn fat.

Low Intensity, Long Duration Cardio

For many years this has been a staple in many bodybuilders fat loss arsenal. Generally, this type of cardio is performed at a constant pace for 60 minutes or more. It is commonly referred to as Low Intensity Steady State Cardio (LISS). The main argument for this type of cardio is that, of the calories burned, most of it comes from fat.
Cardio - Sprinting
During any type of exercise, the level of intensity is very important. It is well known that the lower the intensity of any exercise, the greater the percentage of energy derived from fat oxidation. (1) As the intensity of exercise rises more of the calories being burned come from muscle glycogen and muscle tissue. This is why advocates of LISS usually prefer to walk on a treadmill or stair stepper for long periods of time. They feel that by doing this they are burning more fat and less muscle.
The only problem is that during the entire time any type of cardio is being performed your body is in a catabolic state and it is breaking down muscle tissue for energy. Switching from a low intensity pace to a more moderate pace and lowering the duration a little may be a better option.
Moderate intensity steady state cardio has been proven to lead to the greatest amount of fat oxidation. Research has shown that fat oxidation is highest when training at about 65% Vo2 max. (2) At this intensity level, not only is the greatest amount of fat being burned, but this rate of exercise can be continued for somewhat longer durations as well.
When dieting for a contest body fat levels will become minimal at some point. At this point muscle tissue breakdown becomes more likely. Limiting the amount of time that your body is catabolic is of utmost importance if you wish to hold onto all the muscle you worked so hard for. So for maximum fat loss and muscle retention, moderate intensity cardio for a rather moderate duration is the best choice.

High Intensity, Short Duration Cardio

High intensity, short duration cardio has become more popular in recent years. The most effective form of high intensity cardio has been proven to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT allows for very high intensities to be used and alternated with short periods of recuperation. Many people shy away from high intensity cardio claiming that nearly all of the calories that are expended come from stored muscle glycogen and not from fatty acids.
Bodybuilder running
This is very true, but those people are forgetting one very important thing. Fat loss occurs through a process called lypolysis. Lypolysis occurs during periods when energy expenditure exceeds caloric intake. (3) The most important thing during cardio is burning enough calories to create a deficit. This can be accomplished in much less time with high intensities.
Even though stored carbohydrates in the form of muscle glycogen are the primary fuel source at higher intensities, fat loss will be greater with the use of HIIT. Studies show a greater loss of subcutaneous fat with HIIT as compared to those that performed standard LISS endurance training.
The reason for this is because post exercise lipid utilization is greatly enhanced with HIIT. (4) This means that even after activity has ended your body will keep burning fat. So not only can you burn calories during training, but your metabolism will also get a boost. This is definitely a nice bonus if you ask me.
Another concern that a lot of people have about HIIT is that at higher intensities a greater amount of amino acids are broken down and used as energy. This is true, but many people will be shocked to find out that if HIIT sessions are kept short then they can actually help retain and even build muscle. You read that right, cardio can help you build muscle. Any type of intense cardio will cause your body to release growth hormone (GH).
The growth hormone response to aerobic activity is determined by the % of Vo2 max. (5) Therefore, the more you push yourself, the higher growth hormone levels will go. I know many of you are thinking, “So what? If I am supposed to keep my sessions short I will only get 15-20 minutes of higher growth hormone levels.” The good news is that, not only will these brief, high intensity sessions cause an immediate GH increase, but GH levels can keep increasing even after training has ceased. (6)
GH is not the only hormone affected by HIIT. Testosterone levels can also be optimizing through strategic use of HIIT. During and following high intensity aerobic exercise, testosterone levels become elevated and remain elevated for a couple of hours into recovery. This only holds true with short durations though. Prolonged high intensity exercise results in an initial increase in testosterone followed by a decrease to below baseline levels. (7)
This is yet another reason why it is important to keep these sessions as intense as possible, but very brief. There is one problem with HIIT though; there are limits as to how many sessions can be performed before it becomes counterproductive. If high intensity sessions are performed too often, then baseline testosterone levels will decrease, and will lead to an increase in amino acid breakdown. This is why it is best to keep these sessions to only a few per week.
Anabolic hormones, such as testosterone and GH, are the key to building and keeping muscle. HIIT training can produce sharp increases in both of these hormones, which will go a long way to help retain muscle when calories are low. HIIT training can also increase fat burning by boosting the metabolism. This is why HIIT cardio is also a great choice for getting shredded while maintaining or even gaining muscle along the way.

Which One?

So, which type of cardio should you use to help you get to that next level of conditioning? The answer is...both. HIIT cardio can only be performed a few times a week for it to be effective, but not many people can get into contest shape doing only a few cardio sessions per week. LISS sessions will need to be added to make sure enough cardio is being performed every week.
This is not the only reason to use both types of cardio. Both approaches shed fat effectively, but thru different pathways. HIIT cardio will increase lypolysis primarily by speeding up the metabolic rate, whereas LISS will burn more fat and calories during the actual workout. As I stated earlier, I can’t give an exact number of sessions you need to perform each week since the differences in individual metabolism’s can vary greatly. A good place to start would be with 2 to 3 HIIT sessions per week and add in some LISS sessions as needed.
Even though some people love cardio and others hate it, I think it is safe to say everyone loves winning. Applying sound strategies in your cardio routine will help put you one step closer to first place.
  1. Kang, J., Bioenergetics Primer for Exercise Science, 2008, 83-84p.
  2. Maughan, R., J., Nutrition in Sport, Volume 7, 2000, 186p.
  3. Runge, M., S., Patterson, C., Principles of Molecular Medicine, 2006, 957p.
  4. Wolinsky, I., Driskell, J., A., Sports Nutrition: Energy Metabolism and Exercise, 2008, 55-56p.
  5. Juul, A., Jorgensen, J., O., L., Growth Hormone in Adults: Physiological and Clinical Aspects, 2000, 33-35p.
  6. Plowman, S., A., Smith, D., L., Exercise Physiology for Health, Fitness, and Performance, 2007, 40p.
  7. Plowman, S., A., Smith, D., L., Exercise Physiology for Health, Fitness, and Performance, 2007, 42-43p.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

13 Workouts to try in 2013 - SHEKNOWS.com

13 Workouts to try in 2013

Apr 18, 2013 12:06 AM

Find A Workout To Love

Need some motivation to get moving? Switch up your routine with a new workout. With this list, you can try at least one new workout each month.
Barre classes
Ballet Barre
Barre classes have skyrocketed in popularity due to their ability to blast fat, tone muscles and trim inches in record time. Check your gym for barre classes or visit purebarre.com to find a studio in your area.

The Bodyblade uses low-level vibration and inertia, meaning the more you push or pull on the device, the harder you'll work to neutralize the force. Plus, you get to channel your inner Katniss Everdeen while sculpting those abs of steel.

Boot camp
Boot Camp
Atten-shun! While boot camp isn't for everyone, boot camp graduates say these interval-training style workouts are unbeatable for total body transformation. If you like variety and have team spirit, go ahead and report for duty.

Indoor cycling
If you've never tried indoor cycling, let this be the year you go for a "spin." This workout incorporates high-energy music, major exertion and a roomful of people having a blast while burning mega calories.

Themed races
Color Run
We're not sure what sparked the takeoff of themed 5Ks, but with all the choices this year, you'll never have to run a boring road race again. Like running in your underwear? Dodging zombies? Being powdered with color? There's a 5K for that. If you're willing to take a trip to Finland, you can even strip down to your birthday suit for the Nude Run 10K.

Bodyweight workout
Bodyweight workout
Want a workout that doesn't require a gym or any equipment? A bodyweight workout builds muscle and burns fat with moves like squats, lunges, planks and crunches. Check out the five-minute "44 Best Bodyweight Exercises Ever" video on YouTube (and marvel at the strength of the muscular dude demonstrating the moves), or try the ever popular P90X DVD workout program.

Find A Workout To Love

Need some motivation to get moving? Switch up your routine with a new workout. With this list, you can try at least one new workout each month.

Stand-up paddleboarding
Think you can't get in on the fast-growing sport of stand-up paddleboarding just because you live nowhere near the coast? Actually, paddleboarding can be found on lakes and rivers across the country. If you're a yoga fanatic, you can even try a yoga paddleboard class — guaranteed to challenge the balance of even the most centered yogi.

What do you get when you combine Pilates with boxing? A "fat torching, muscle sculpting workout guaranteed to get you into shape," say the creators of the newest celebrity craze, Piloxing. Tia Mowry credits Piloxing for helping her lose post-pregnancy baby weight and getting the awesome bod seen above.

Aerial yoga
Aerial Yoga
Maybe you're getting a little tired of your usual yoga routine, or perhaps you've always wondered what it would be like to feel like a Cirque de Soleil performer. Shake up the routine and try an aerial yoga class. This growing fitness trend uses yoga hammocks that give you an anti-gravity yoga experience, allowing you to move deeper into the poses.

Lagree Fitness
LaGree Method
Lagree Fitness is a new system that combines Pilates, strength training and cardio all in one revolutionary machine. Visit the Lagree Fitness website to find a studio near you offering the 50-minute group class that creator Sebastian Lagree calls "Pilates on steroids."

Trampoline classes
Trampoline Class
Think trampolines are just for kids? Many indoor trampoline parks are now offering fitness classes for grown-ups too. If you're looking for a workout that's a whole lot of fun, give trampolining a try. (Warning: If you've had kids, make sure you visit the ladies room before bouncing. Just sayin'.)

Surfset Fitness
If you're a fan of the show Shark Tank, you may have seen Surfset Fitness present their totally tubular equipment that delivers all the physical benefits of surfing in the comfort of the gym. Surfset classes are offered in 35 cities across the country. Find one near you at SurfsetFitness.com.

Heavy lifting
free weight training
Have you ever stepped into the free-weight area of the gym and felt like you just walked into the men's restroom? You're not alone. Many women feel out of place with all those heavy-lifting dudes and don't want to bulk up, anyway. According to the experts and numerous studies, however, heavy lifting results in significantly increased bone density and higher caloric burn, but not hulk-like muscles.


Photo credits: CLAY Health Club + Spa, Bodyblade, Spinning, The Color Run, BOGA Paddleboards, @TiaMowry, The Pilates Barre, Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park, Surfset Fitness



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What is Ragnar? Tips for long distance running relays - Girls Gone Sporty.com

What is Ragnar? Tips for long distance running relays

A relay race for the ages

What is Ragnar? Tips for long distance running relays

What Exactly is Ragnar?

Ragnar is the overnight running relay race that makes testing your limits a team sport. A team is made up of 6 to 12 individuals; each individual runs three legs of the race. The legs of the race vary in difficulty and distance, from three to eight miles, allowing experienced and newbie runners to run together. Over two days and one night, teams travel across the country in a tightly-packed van (so you can expect to become pretty close with your fellow runners) and run across approximately 200 miles of the most scenic terrain. Pair that with crazy costumes, inside jokes, a great finish line party and unforgettable stories, it’s pretty much a slumber party without sleep, pillows or deodorant. Ragnar mixes fun, fuel, friends and fast feet into an amazing experience that’ll last a lifetime.
Learn a little more about the Ragnar Race Series >>


What the H*** am I Getting Myself Into?

Ragnar races can definitely be a challenge, but take it from elite Ragnar racer Lauren Koellermeier, who has her very own blog Marathonlar, It’s all worth it in the end. “By far the best part of participating in a relay is being part of a team and getting close with your van mates. Running is usually such a solitary sport but relays make it a team sport which I really love!” The Ragnar experience is complex and unexpected; however, there are a few things you can always look forward to when entering the race: sleep deprivation, sweat, fun costumes and a whole lotta drive, literally! “I would say you have to mentally prepare much more than physically for something like this. I usually go into the relays thinking I'm not going to sleep at all so if I get a solid two to three hours, I'm usually pretty happy. As far as outfits go, the louder and more ridiculous the better. Teams come up with the best ideas and it is always fun to follow the theme throughout the whole relay. At Ragnar we were in sync with a team all dressed up as their favorite villain. They ranged from Cruela de Ville, to Voldermort, to the Phantom of the Opera...it was awesome.”

How do I Pack For Ragnar Races?

Since this isn’t your traditional race, all the traditional methods of packing and preparing for the race go out the window. You will not get a full eight-hour stretch of sleep before you run, therefore you will not be able to go through your regular coffee,peanut butter bagel and hour long bathroom break before you take off. And, that "perfect race day outfit" is only going to get you through one leg before it becomes a sweaty, dripping mess. There’s also limited space in the van, so everything you pack is crucial. It’s wise to pack light and only bring the essentials.

What are the essentials for a two day relay race? Pshh… I have no idea! But, thanks to Lauren Koellermeier and fellow racer Sarah of Sarahoual.com, I found the answer: “Baby wipes, toilet paper, sunscreen/bug spray, glowsticks/necklaces/whatever, comfy shoes and clothes. And of course, all your running outfits with plenty of changes of sports bras and socks! Also, lots and lots of sugar,” says Lauren. “But seriously, having a positive attitude is probably the number one thing you need to survive. That and just knowing you aren't going to be sleeping for the entire relay and to just live in the moment because it is something you'll never forget.”

A basic list would be as follows: Three legs = three running outfits, which would include, shorts, sports bra, undies and a tank top. You’ll also want some comfy clothes for your downtime. It’s pretty simple, but a lot definitely goes into the planning because, let’s face it, us girls tend to overpack. And according to Sarah, it’s important not to. “Don’t overpack. Seriously there’s not going to be any extra room in that van. Don’t even give yourself options – pack what you’re gonna wear and stick with it. Also, pre-plan your outfits. Pack them in ziplock bags. This will save you from dumping your bag out on the back seat looking for your 'effing sports bra,' and gives you a quarantined place to stash your sweaty nasty used outfits – keeping the rest of your stuff dry, clean and your van stank-free.”

All these things are very important when preparing for a Ragnar, but when it comes down to it, the most crucial thing you need is motivation. Lauren elaborates, “Knowing that each run you do is helping your team make it to the finish line is pretty motivating, even at 3am on super tired legs. The support and cheers you get from your van as well as other teams along the course is definitely what pushes you through a late night run on no sleep through the woods. I am always surprised at what my body is capable of doing during the relays and I often run some of my fastest times during them. During the last Ragnar relay I did with Nuun, we got through our final legs with the promise of bacon when we were done. Bacon (and eggs, toast, pancakes and potatoes!) never tasted so delicious!” So whether it’s a scrumptious breakfast or simply satisfaction, you need to have some sort of motivation to get through a Ragnar.

More survival tips

You really can't have too many survival tips for getting through a relay race of this magnitude, so we turned to Samantha Fein, blogger at GarzaGirls.com and relay race extraordinaire, to get more tips. Here's what she had to share:

When it comes to teammates:

  • Take nothing personally
  • Keep a sense of humor
  • Let there be silence
  • Only and I mean only lift one-another up, never put down, even if someone's so slow that she crawls her legs of the race.
"The only thing you really need is the Never Give Up attitude. Who cares if you are first, 12th, 32nd or dead last?"

When it comes to packables:

  • Pillow
  • Glide (to prevent chaffing)
  • Smartphone
  • Head lamp (for those nighttime runs)
"My spouse fell into a pit, dislocated her arm twice and kept running -- this is where the smartphone comes into play. It's really important in the dark hours (I was on a dark road in Santa Rosa and could see animal eyes lite up in the dark night) to have your phone and headphones to talk to the van. I also called my mom from the mountain at about 2 a.m. and she was relieved to hear from me."

When it comes to food:

"Avoid any and all food you would not normally eat in a day. We ate fruit, sandwiches, some chips and Gu, but stayed away from anything junk food. We did water, low-sugar food, lots of "normal" food, rather than sports drinks and such -- it's too many hours in a row to do sports food enhancers like power drinks," shares Fein.

So Pretty Much...

Ragner Races aren’t for everybody. They can be tough and can push you to your very edge. However, these races can be one of the best and most incredible times of your life. Getting up and doing something active (and out of the ordinary) with other people is always a blast. Ragnar Races are truly unforgettable experiences that, however smelly and muddy they may be, will give you memories, and new friends, that will last far longer than those two days.


Not sure you're ready for a Ragnar-style relay?

No worries! There are other relay options out there. Many traditional marathons offer relay options so that you and a team can split up the 26.2 miles into more manageable chunks of mileage. Lisa Luth from RunFastMama.com participated in the five-person relay offered as part of the Detroit Free Press Marathon last year with other teammates from her work. Unlike Ragnar-style races, you don't have to commit to a full weekend of activity, but you still get some of the excitement of participating with other runners to accomplish a goal. "The best part is that it was a entry step for me to be able to participate in a larger event. At that time, I was in no way prepared to run a half marathon, but 6.7 miles was a doable goal. Also, it gave me a chance to get to know my coworkers in a totally different atmosphere." So if you'd like to run as part of a team, check out your local marathons or ultra marathons to see if there are relay race options.

Header image credit: Pedro_DM_Ribeiro, http://www.flickr.com/photos/pedrodemoraes/3852832928/sizes/z/


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hot classes to work up a sweat - Girls Gone Sporty.com

Hot classes to work up a sweat

Group fitness: New exercise trends worth trying

Whether you're a group fitness fanatic who tries all the trends or you're just looking for a fun new way to get active, check out these seven new exercise trends worth trying!


Aerial Yoga

Want to feel like you’re a part of Cirque du Soleil? Now you can with Aerial Yoga! Aerial Yoga uses fabric circus hammocks to help participants master traditional yoga postures. The addition of the hammock is meant to relieve the tension often experienced during yoga poses, allowing students to benefit from and understand the purpose of each pose. Enthusiasts love the way that the hammock relaxes their spine and improves alignment.

To find a class near you, visit Aerial Yoga.

See Aerial Yoga in action >>


Aqua Spinning


Originally made popular in Europe, this hybrid exercise has now caught on in the US. Sometimes called hydro-riding, aqua spinning is essentially riding a spin bike in the water. While the exercise delivers the same benefits of spinning, the buoyancy of the water prevents common cycling problems such as saddle soreness and lower back pain. The cooling effect of the water also helps to keep your heart rate down, allowing you to workout longer!
To learn more on aqua spinning, check out its coverage on The Doctors TV Show >>


BOING with KangooBOING with Kangoo

Offered at Crunch gyms across the nation, this group fitness class features strap-on shoes called Kangoo Jumps – basically ski boots with springs attached to the bottom. Instructors lead the class through a sixty-minute high intensity workout combining strength, cardio, and dance elements. Although the Kangoo Jumps may make you look slightly ridiculous, the boots absorb the impact of the exercises, resulting in a workout that is gentle on your joints.

Can't find a class near you? Buy your own pair of Kangoo Jumps >>


Stars like Vanessa Hudgens, Alexis Bledel and Hilary Duff favor this dynamic workout created by celebrity trainer Viveca Jensen. A mix between Pilates and boxing, Piloxing seeks to help women create a “sleek, sexy and powerful self-image." The one-hour class combines fat-burning boxing exercises, muscle-sculpting Pilates moves and upbeat dance elements. Participants also wear weighted gloves throughout the class to increase cardiovascular difficulty and arm strength. To find a Piloxing class near you, visit Piloxing.

Punk Rope

Originally created by Tim Haft in NYC, this workout is described as a “playful cross between recess and boot camp." Besides the classic jump rope exercises, Punk Rope classes feature calisthenics and elementary school games such as relay races and freeze tag. And as participants alternate between the jump rope and the games, instructors blast punk music in the background. As far as the benefits, jumping rope is one of the best workouts to increase bone health and target your entire body. Go to Punk Rope to find a workshop near you, or simply buy one of Tim Haft’s Punk Rope DVD’s to try it right at home.

Get a feel for a typical Punk Rope class >>


Stand Up Paddle Yoga

Stand Up Paddle (or SUP) has been all the rage lately, and now it's combined with yoga. Participants paddle out to a calm area, use anchors to keep their boards in position, and then perform traditional yoga poses on the stand up paddleboard. The moving surface engages every single muscle, especially your core. Of course, this workout class is restricted by season and area, but you may be surprised where this is offered. SUP Yoga classes have begun to crop up in Hawaii; Southern California; Long Island, NY; New Haven, CT; Michigan; and even Pittsburgh, PA!

See SUP yoga poses in action >>


Urban Rebounding

This class is sure to bring out the inner child in you. Using individual sized trampolines, Urban Rebounding provides a full-body strength and cardio workout. Instructors combine high-speed jumping with traditional moves such as squats, dips, and lunges to sculpt and trim. Besides the strength-training benefits, jumping exercises are proven to increase lymphatic circulation and blood flow. And this is another workout that won’t wear down your joints, especially your knees. To find classes near you, check out Crunch Fitness or the Urban Rebounding store for home-based workout solutions.

Header image credit; Tasayu Tasnaphun, http://www.flickr.com/photos/tasayu/4692581854/sizes/z/in/photostream/


Saturday, April 13, 2013

How To Make Amazing And Healthy Protein Shakes - Muscle & Strength

How To Make Amazing And Healthy Protein Shakes

Set aside the boring protein shakes and start getting creative. This article provides suggestions and tips on how to make flavorful and nutritious protein drink recipes.
Protein Shake Recipe

Put down the scooper.

Protein shake recipes don't have to be boring, uneventful combinations of water and your favorite protein powder. You can actually turn them into mini-meals, filled with tons of nutritional value, macronutrient variety and taste.

Before we start to talk shake specifics, I want you to head to the grocery store and get the following items:
  • Heavy Cream
  • Whole Milk
  • Mascarpone
  • Cream Cheese
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Coconut Oil *
  • Almond Milk
  • Oatmeal
  • Chocolate Milk
  • Orange Juice
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Bananas
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Dark Chocolate *
  • Coconut *
  • Peanut Butter *
  • Almond Butter *
  • Cocoa Powder *
  • Vanilla Extract *
  • Instant Coffee *
  • Ground Red Pepper *
  • Fresh Spinach
  • Splenda *
There, that was a fun trip...wasn't it? Obviously you don't need to purchase all these items; I was being facetious. They are merely suggestions, and items that can help you make some tremendous shakes.

Half of these items are perishable, while the other half can sit in your cupboard for quite some time.

The items marked with an asterisk have a longer, or long shelf life.


Let's Get Our Shake On!

It's time to play. In this section I want you to get creative. Think of flavor combinations you enjoy, and try mixing them in a blender. Don't be afraid to experiment.

My recommendation is to add your liquids and powders first. From this point, add in smaller(ish) amounts of ingredients so you can test the flavor.

Toss them in the blender, pulse away and taste. If there is not enough flavor, add more of the ingredient. it's really as simple as that.

Here are some combinations that you might want to try:
  • Banana and Peanut Butter - With a banana and/or peanut butter protein powder, along with fresh banana and peanut butter.
  • Chocolate and Red Pepper - Your favorite chocolate protein powder with some real dark chocolate and red pepper to taste.
  • Creamsicle - Milk, orange juice with a little heavy cream. This works great with a neutral tasting protein powder, or a vanilla protein powder.
  • Morning Jolt - Protein powder of choice, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, dash of instant coffee grounds (or added black coffee), dark chocolate, whole milk.
  • Protein Smoothie - Fruit, Greek yogurt and protein powder of choice.
  • The Bulker. Two cups whole milk, one cup heavy cream, a dollop or two of mascarpone, protein powder and flavors of choice.
  • Paradise Shake - Fresh pineapple in milk, vanilla protein powder, small amount of blueberries and a dash of vanilla extract. Top with shredded coconut.
Obviously there are a near-endless number of combinations. To help you get started making better shakes, here are some tips.

Tip #1 - Need Calories? Get Creamy

Heavy cream, cream cheese, mascarpone and Greek yogurt are an excellent way to add flavor, calories and creaminess to your protein shakes. A little bit goes a long way. Try adding either a 1/2 cup of heavy cream to each 16 ounce shake, 1/2 stick of cream cheese, a dollop or two of mascarpone, or a container of Greek yogurt.

Tip #2 - Make Your Own Whipped Topping

Place a cup of heavy whipping cream in a bowl, and add in a touch of vanilla extract alone with 1/8 cup Splenda. You can add more Splenda if you feel it's not sweet enough.

Using a mixer, mix until the whipping cream starts to stiffen up. You should be able to pull the mixing blades out and see peaks forming.

This is a healthy and natural whipped topping that can be placed on top of any protein shake. It will add taste, calories and nutritional value.

Tip #3 - Add Some Chocolate or Cocoa Powder

Don't be afraid to toss in a little dark chocolate or cocoa powder into your fruity protein powder. Chocolate goes well with many fruits, including strawberries, bananas and even oranges.

Tip #4 - Make a Protein Smoothie

Instead of making a protein shake, combine fruit, protein powder, Greek yogurt and a dollop or two of cream cheese or mascarpone and make a tasty smoothie.

Tip #5 - Get "Fat"

If you are on a cutting or fat loss diet it can be difficult finding creative ways to sneak in quality fats. If you aren't hitting your daily macro requirements for fat, or if you missed a meal, try adding a small amount of almond milk or coconut oil into your shakes.

Tip #6 - Add Some Peanut Butter

If you love peanut butter (or nut butter), add a dollop or two into your favorite chocolate protein powder.

Tip # 7- Go Green By Adding Spinach

This might sound odd, but spinach hides well in most healthy protein shake recipes. If you hate, hate, hate veggies, try finely chopping up a golf-ball sized portion of spinach. Toss it in your shake, blend, and drink. Odds are you won't notice it's in the mix.

Tip #8 - Sweeten With Splenda

If your shakes lack sweetness or taste, add a little bit of Splenda into the blender.

Tip #9 - Use Coffee, Or Instant Coffee Crystals

Make a protein coffee drink. Add your favorite protein powder to coffee, and combine with other flavors such as vanilla extract, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, almond milk, heavy cream, etc. You can even ice your concoction, then blend with ice cubes for a refreshing ice coffee drink.

Final Thoughts

Eating healthy, building muscle and/or losing fat does not have to involve tedious eating. Find as many low to non-processed food choices as you can, and ask yourself if there is a creative way to incorporate them into a shake.

Make a list of food combinations you enjoy, and try to recreate them in shake form. Don't be afraid to make mistakes in the kitchen. All great recipes required some tweaking alone the way.
Last but not least, don't fear foods that you haven't cooked with or eaten before. They are popular for a reason, and when combined correctly, can be made into amazing and tasty protein shakes.