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Showing posts with label Running. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Running. Show all posts

Sports Bras for Women in Sizes XL, XXL and XXXL

I received the following spam email recently, from a Chinese manufacturer trying to sell their sports bras:

Hi,
Nice day!

(Quality is our culture)
We export waist trainer,sportwear,yoga leggings,sport bra and so on.

We accept custom design,print logo,make label,fashion packing.

Following is popular sport bra sharing with you.

[FOUR PHOTOS OF WOMEN IN SPORTS BRAS REMOVED]

Attachment is our latest catalog for your reference,please check.

Best regards,

Zoey

--------------------------------------------------------

[COMPANY LOGO REMOVED]

Zoey Zhan
g






However rather than just delete the spammy email I decided to respond and tell Zoey off for her company doing something that annoys me and I know it has annoyed many other people, and for once I am not talking about the fact that she spammed me. I am talking about a different issue.

Here is how I responded:

Hello Zoey!

So I was talking to a client a few months ago, and we were discussing why companies like yours don't make sports bras that are for women in sizes XL, XXL, or XXXL.

The problem as we saw it was this:

Many Americans have a weight / obesity problem, and for female Americans this has a combined problem - the extra weight of their breasts makes going jogging or running painful, which means that they need to buy a heavy duty sports bra that comes in their size.

Except companies like yours do not even make sports bras in sizes XL, XXL or XXXL. A quick look through the catelog you sent me shows the largest size you have available for various sports bras was either L or XL, and Large was by far the norm. Only a few examples were available in XL.

So how are such women supposed to go jogging when sports bras in their sizes don't even exist?

As a personal trainer I firmly believe that my clients need to exercise in order to achieve their goals, but if exercising is painful to the client it means I have to come up with alternative exercises which are less painful or involve zero pain - which unfortunately means they are also exercises which are less effective at burning calories (and consequently less effective at losing weight).

Now you spammed me your photos and your catalog for the purpose of getting sales, right?

But here is the thing, if you were REALLY SERIOUS about selling your sports bras in the USA / Canada, then you should be making them available in larger sizes like XXL and XXXL.

Now there are a few companies out there that do make sports bras in such sizes, but they are really hard to even find. And companies like yours are not making things any better by pushing your tiny sports bras towards a North American consumer audience.

Please start making sports bras in sizes more people can actually wear.


Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

Additional Commentary

Now as a mentioned in my email response, there are a few companies out there who do make sports bras in larger sizes, and they are sadly few and hard to find.

One such company I managed to find was "justmysize.com". The image shown on the right here is plucked from their website, I am certain they won't mind the free advertising.

And there are doubtlessly other companies out there like JustMySize which also sell similar sports bras for women. So to any ladies out there who are looking to exercise more and want to avoid the pain sometimes involved in doing more strenuous exercises, please go do a Google search and find one of these manufacturers that have made the extra effort to make sports bras in sizes that actually fit you.

And the companies that do not actually cater to their audience's needs, well, they should just be ashamed of themselves.

6 Ways to Make Running more Fun!

Guest Post by Cara H.

Are you getting bored or find it increasingly difficult to get yourself to go out running? Why not turn running into a more enjoyable experience and get back to finding running a fun activity? Here are 6 ways to make running more fun:

1. Choose beautiful places for your running sessions.

Why not explore a nearby beautiful park, instead of running around your dull neighborhood streets? By focusing on exploring new places, and running near landmarks you enjoy, you will find much more joy in running as well. So, plan your next run to somewhere you love going or wish you could go to. You will find yourself much more motivated to go run there.

In Toronto, check out the following locations to run for fun:

High Park
The Don Valley (aka the Don River Trail)
Rouge Park
Beaches
Sunnybrook Park
Stan Wadlow Park
Charles Sauriol Conservation Area
Tommy Thompson Park
Toronto Island Park
Humber Bay Park
West Humber Parkland
Martin Goodman Trail
The Beltline Trail
The Humber River Trail


2. Rejoice for the progress made.

Enjoy the fact that you are continuously improving your running performance and results. Track your steps, times and progress, so that you can feel the satisfaction of your improved performance.

3. Treat yourself to rewards for the efforts.

Plan a fun dinner with friends after a long run, or reward yourself with a beautiful new running accessory when you reach a specific running related goal of yours (hint: bright coloured shoes will definitely lift up your mood). You can enjoy a small forbidden treat or drink after a long run too, but without overdoing it on calories of course.

Hot Tip - Chocolate Milk makes a good after run treat, as it contains a good amount of protein, calcium and energy.


4. Get a running buddy.

Running is always more fun if you have a running buddy to join you. It is perfect if you can engage one or more of your close friends or your significant other to run with you. Run at a comfortable talking pace, so that you can have a conversation with your running buddy. This will definitely make the experience much more enjoyable. Even if you can’t find a friend who is willing to run with you - don’t worry, just do some research on your local running groups and join one of them. You will meet new people, and possibly make new friends on the way.

5. Listen to some great music.

Create a playlist with your favorite tunes to listen to when running. It is better if you pick high energy, faster songs, especially if you want to push on your running pace. There are a number of readily available playlists for running on Spotify and other music websites. If you prefer, you can catch up on your reading, and listen to the latest bestselling e-book while running. It will keep you engaged, and will make running much more enjoyable too.

Inspirational music also works well too. Music that makes you feel inspired, energetic and wanting to run harder.


6. Take part in races.

There is nothing more satisfying than that feeling of reaching the finish line with a crowd cheering on! Enjoy the fun of the competition and your result at the finish line. Don’t be afraid to sign up for a race. You will be able to explore new places, meet new people, enjoy refreshing snacks and challenge yourself to reach the result you have planned.

Obstacle races are the real deal, if you are looking for the fun part of the running. Even if you do not finish first, the joy of taking part in the race will be sufficient to keep you happy and satisfied, believe me!

Back when Jogging was Weird

Back in the 1950s and earlier jogging was something only soldiers, athletes and weirdos did. Although to be fair, the whole idea of "exercising for the sake of exercising" (or fitness / health reasons) was considered weird back then too.

And to shine a light on this check out the video below I watched yesterday which chronicles the rise of jogging as an exercise activity. It shows how jogging was once considered an oddity.



And to be fair, the whole modern idea of exercising is really a 20th century invention. Prior to the last 117 years, people rarely exercised for the sake of exercising. Sure, people competed in athletic competitions, but the idea of training, practice and maintaining a constant level of exercise - even in the winter! - was considered to be a weird idea and unnecessary.

That was before the advent of professional sports and sportsmen earning an annual salary for being a professional athlete.

Before bodybuilding became a competitive sport.

Back when bicycles were called Penny Farthings, had no brakes and the only way to stop was to crash it. (And usually had mustaches they combed with beeswax.)

It would take decades for many sports to reach a pinnacle in which a person could become a professional in their chosen activity and make a decent living doing it.

Even now many Olympic athletes still have to beg money from their governments and work full time / part time jobs in order to support their athletic endeavours.

Jogging is just one of many activities that were once considered strange and unusual.

Take archery for example.

While it is generally accepted that a person must practice regularly to be good at archery, it was usually a pastime in recent centuries thanks to firearms and only a rare few people did bowhunting. During the last 100 years archery and bowhunting has seen a resurgence in popularity and people can now be:
  • Olympic Archers
  • Professional Bowhunters
  • Archery Instructors
So it is now possible to make a living doing archery in a variety of ways. Even former Olympic athletes can presumably become coaches when they retire from competing.

Making a living by jogging, well that is the stuff of:
  • Professional Marathon Runners
  • Olympic Joggers (5 KM, 10 KM, etc)
  • Personal Trainers who teach people how to jog, train for marathons, etc.
So a lot has changed. Jogging is just a prime example of how things have changed.

And much more is still waiting to be changed. I am still waiting to see a professional women's hockey league in Canada to get televised coverage on the CBC.

Women sports (and televising them) has a huge potential to grow in the 21st century. Not just in North America where professional athletes are more common, but globally.

The Barkley Marathon

The Barkley Marathon is effectively a super marathon (also known as an ultra-marathon). It is over 100 miles long, on rough hiking terrain, and must be completed in less than 60 hours. Depending on the precise route, the distance is said to be closer to 120 miles - making it roughly 4 times the distance of a normal marathon (a normal marathon is 26 miles and 385 yards or 42.195 km).


The Barkley isn't so much a speed race. It is a race of endurance, determination, sacrifice, careful preparation, and orienteering skills. Most people never even finish the race. They quit because they are lost, starving, dehydrated, lost their will to finish, lacked the endurance to finish, didn't prepare enough.

Participants get a map and a compass. The route of the course is unmarked.

The Barkley Marathon Factoids
  • Takes place in late March / early April.
  • The Barkley course was designed by Gary "Lazarus Lake" Cantrell.
  • The Barkley is named after Gary's running buddy Barry Barkley.
  • Only 40 runners are allowed to run the Barkley each year.
  • Potential entrants must complete an essay on "Why I Should be Allowed to Run in the Barkley".
  • Potential entrants are expected to be experienced at running endurance races / marathons. It is not for amateurs.
  • The entrance fee is a mere $1.60.
  • First time runners are required to bring a license plate from their state/country as part of the entrance fee.
  • If accepted, an entrant receives a "letter of condolence".
  • The course is a 20 mile unmarked loop. Each runner must complete the loop 5 times to finish.
  • There are no aid stations except water at two points along the route.
  • The combined hill climb involved during the race includes 54,200 feet of accumulated vertical climb.
  • The race officially begins when a cigarette is lit by the race director, Gary Cantrell.
  • Between 1995 and 2017 only 18 people have ever finished the Barkley. The vast majority fail to even finish.
  • The current record is held by Brett Maune who in 2012 finished the race in 52 hours, 3 minutes and 8 seconds.
In 2012 a documentary about the Barkley was made, titled "The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young". The documentary film is currently available on Netflix.



Ten Ways to Lose Weight while Running Errands

Don't have time? Make time.
Hey Toronto! Want to lose weight and get in some extra cardio?

Step #1. Starting from your home, jog to the following locations which are near your home and using a watch or the time on your cellphone to calculate the time it takes to jog to each location. Make sure you have an adequate rest break and a small drink between each jog.
  • Library
  • Post Office
  • Grocery Store
  • Convenience Store
  • LCBO / Beer Store
  • Drug Store / Pharmacist
  • Dollar Store eg. Dollarama
You might also add other things to your list, depending on where you live and how close you are to the following:
  • YMCA / Gym
  • Tennis Courts
  • Hockey Arena
  • Dentist Office
  • Doctors Office
  • Swimming Pool
  • Subway Entrance
  • Baseball Diamond
  • Dog Walking Park
  • Stores like: Canadian Tire, Staples, Home Depot, etc.

Step #2. Next type out the list of the approx. jogging times of each location, print it out and keep the list close to wherever you keep your shoes. So for example, I keep my shoes and boots in the foyer, so the list would be going there. For fun you might even decide to frame the list using an old picture frame you have (or buy a cheap one at the local dollar store).

This way every time you put on your shoes to go do an errand you will see the reminder that the library is only a 3 minute jog away. Or that the subway entrance is only 9 minutes. Or that the grocery store is 5 minutes.

Step #3. Every time you run an errand, look at the list and then make the decision to jog there instead. Or walk if you are carrying something heavy. It isn't that far, you've jogged it before when you made the list.

Step #4. Over time as you jog more regularly you will become faster and your endurance will skyrocket. You will be able to go jogging and barely break a sweat. You will be faster at it. When you start noticing that you have become faster, make a note of it by writing the date in the corner of the list. Within one week of that date, do Step #5.

Step #5. Jog to all the locations from your initial list and record the times again. Check to see if you have gotten faster at jogging to any of those locations. Make note of all the new times in minutes, rounding down.

Step #6. Add several new locations you can jog to on to your list. Locations that are further away that perhaps you don't often go to, but places you feel that are close enough now that you are faster and have more endurance that perhaps you could and should start jogging to those locations too.

Step #7. Repeat Steps #2, #3 and #4. Repeat Steps #5 and #6 maybe once per month to see how you have progressed.

Step #8. Once you feel confident about your jogging skills, make a new list that is specifically for wherever you work. Determine how close certain stores for coffee, tea, office supplies, drug stores, food, etc are to your workplace in terms of jogging distance. Or perhaps calculate the walking distance or "brisk walking" distance if you want to avoid jogging in your work clothing.

Step #9. Repeat Steps #2, #3 and #4, but this time for your workplace. Put the list on your desk in some place prominent so other co-workers will see the list and realize that they too are only a "3 minute brisk walk from the gourmet tea shop". This way you are doing the extra walking, but you are also promoting your co-workers to try out these steps too.

Try making a list of travel times for your bicycle.
Step #10. Some day you will feel very confident about your skills and say "Hey, its time to run some errands!" Except instead of jogging you will literally run and sprint those errands, and you will feel great doing it.

Bonus Tip - Make a separate list for bicycle times and distances. This way you will be motivated to get out your bicycle more often.







"If you do something gradually and get better at it gradually, before you know it you will be doing something amazing."

"Everything worth doing is worth trying."

Exercise Addiction Induced Anorexia

Look at the two runners on the right.

Which of them looks more natural and healthy?

If you picked #396, you are correct. He looks way healthier than #301, mostly due to his more muscular physique, better form, whereas #301 looks like he could collapse and die any second.

The differences between #301 and #396 isn't limited to their clear differences in muscle mass however, it is also a matter of differences in how they trained their bodies, how much nutrition they gave themselves while training, and whether they overdid it during the training process or whether they optimized their training / nutritional habits.

There is also a difference in sport. #301 is a marathon runner, which requires endurance. #396 is a sprinter, which requires sudden bursts of sheer speed - which requires more muscle power. However being super skinny is not a necessity for being a marathon runner, rather it is a side effect of Exercise Addiction.


Exercise Addiction is very common to marathon runners because there is a strong tendency to get "Runners High". While running very long distances your brain starts to produce a variety of hormones which act as painkillers to the runner, so that they can keep running. Unfortunately those natural hormones make for a very unnatural cocktail of chemicals, and behaves like heroin on the brain. People get addicted to long distance running, they neglect their health in favour of going running, they aren't eating enough food to take care of themselves, and they end up becoming very skinny as their body starts cannibalizing their muscle mass as energy.

That cannibalization process makes the person head down a very dark road in which they slowly start looking like an heroin addict. (Celebrity and singer Amy Winehouse is an extreme example of this, as she had both an exercise addiction and a cocaine/heroin addiction before she died. She died of alcohol poisoning.)

Essentially what it comes down is that we should be encouraging people to take up sprinting more often, or hiking is also good, because jogging long distances clearly has its dangers.

Exercise Addiction also comes with a host of other health problems, including possible anorexia (which is potentially deadly).

Running marathons can be fun and challenging, but you have to know the risks and give yourself limits so you aren't hurting your body. eg. Anything more than 100 km per week is considered to be exercise addiction.'

Symptoms of Exercise Addiction
  • An unhealthy increase in exercise levels.
  • An unhealthy addiction to euphoric states, not just in the form of "Runners High", but the addict may also seek out other kinds of drugs to increase their addiction to euphoria.
  • Social dysfunction as their addiction causes the addict to push away friends and family.
  • Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, restlessness, depression, guilt, tension, discomfort, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and headaches.
  • Exercising despite injuries and despite emotional trauma.
  • Obsession with appearance and maintaining a skinny physique.
  • May be combined with eating disorders.
  • May lead to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
  • Addict is dependent on exercise in order to feel happy and gains little or no happiness from social interactions.
As a personal trainer I try to steer my clients here in Toronto away from anything that could cause them physical harm, whether it be sports injuries or a mental disorder. It is in the best interest of my clients that they have a healthy appreciation for exercise and not an obsession which causes them harm. I have written a number of other articles about exercise addiction, often with respect to marathon running.

See Also

12 Tips for Running a Marathon

Tips for Marathon Runners

Running Gear

How to Succeed in a Marathon

Crossfit and Why it is Dangerous

The Importance of Rest Periods

Running on Treadmills - Going Nowhere Fast

If you are like me you probably hate running on a treadmill. You are, as the saying goes, going nowhere fast on those things.

Given the choice between running outdoors and running on a treadmill, I will choose outdoors.

However if the weather is dismal (or it is Winter) then there is certainly an appeal to have the option to go for a run on a treadmill indoors instead. During the Summer when there is beautiful weather outside, you really should be outside getting your exercise, but if its raining or snowing it does make perfect sense to have a backup plan.

However running on a treadmill is SUPER BORING. But there are ways to make it more interesting. It is why many gyms have treadmills with TV sets on them - which I find annoying, because often the sound is broken, no matter how much you fiddle with the headphones.

#1. Pets on the Treadmill

Oddly enough pets - dogs and cats will sometimes join their owners on the treadmill. It is a bizarre phenomenon, but it shows that even animals enjoy getting some exercise.

In the video below a baby raccoon gets some exercise on a treadmill with its owner.



#2. Dancing on your Treadmill

This is oddly enough a growing phenomenon. There are a lot of videos on this topic below. Below is my favourite treadmill dance video.



#3. Listening to Music / Watching TV on the Treadmill

This one is a no brainer really. Nothing complicated there. I shouldn't even have to list this, but I am doing so for the sake of not leaving anything out.

#4. You know you are bored when you...
  • Play with the buttons and settings on the treadmill.
  • Focus on perfecting your running form.
  • Increase the incline for an added challenge.
  • Sideways gallop.
  • Skipping (with or without a skip rope).
  • Marching or Goosestepping.
  • Get those knees up.
  • Try to kick yourself in the butt with one foot.
  • Hopping. (Avoid jumping when the treadmill is going fast. There are lots of fail videos on YouTube for this topic.)
  • Focus on your breathing.
  • Get distracted by how your treadmill sounds like a train.
  • Repeat a mantra.
  • Sing (like you do in the shower).
  • Cover up the monitor so you can stop being distracted by the numbers.
  • Use your arms more.
  • Use the time to think about your life.
  • Plan your day.
  • Plan your weekend.
  • Plan what you will eat for lunch.
  • Plan your vacation or retirement.
  • Imagine you are racing.
  • Imagine you are being chased by zombies.

#5. Listen to an audio book

The easy way to do this is to jog on the treadmill for however long it takes to listen to one chapter. A chapter per day, every day and before you know it you will be feeling fit and have the book done.

#6. Listen to a Podcast

If you have a favourite Podcast you like to tune into to, make your Podcast time the time you also use the treadmill. Apple iTunes has lots of podcasts to choose from if you are not sure what to listen to.

#7. Listen for Trigger Words

Every time you hear a trigger word, eg, "Yes", then you run faster. Every time you hear another trigger word, eg. "No" then you run slower. The idea here is to alternate your speeds when you are running. If your treadmill is next to a window you could change your speed every time you see a black car drive by the window. Pick a trigger or multiple triggers and then use that to guide how often you alternate your speed.

#8. Play Mind Games or Memory Exercises

There are plenty out there to choose from. I like word games myself, wherein you start by picking a topic - eg. plants - and then you pick a word from that genre - eg. rose - and then you try to think of a word that starts with the letter the last word ended with. So rose, easter lily, yew, weeping willow, etc.


There. That should be enough to keep you busy and motivated.


10 Exercise Tricks for Joggers and Would-Be Joggers

Jogging daily is arguably one of the best exercises people can do to lose weight and build endurance. However jogging is also incredibly boring, and many people also assume that there isn't a lot to know about jogging... and thus end up doing it wrong because they don't know any better!

#1. Get the right running shoes! You cannot go jogging in just any old shoes. You need shoes that are both comfortable, have good grip on both grass and pavement, and it should fit you properly. Failure to do these things could lead to foot aches and sports injuries.

#2. Jogging is not running or sprinting. One of the first mistakes beginner joggers do is that they run too fast - or more precisely, they are running when they should be jogging. You are not going for a run. You are going for a jog. You need to learn how to pace yourself. If you are out of breath, you are going too fast. In theory you should be able to jog and talk at the same time. If you are running, you are breathing too hard to be able to talk. If you cannot past the "talk test" then you are going too fast.

#3. Upper body form! Move your arms while you are jogging. This may sound like a no-brainer, but many beginners don't know the basics apparently. Try to keep your hands at waist level, right about where they might lightly brush your hip. Your arms should be at a 90 degree angle, with your elbows at your sides. Keep your posture straight and erect. Your head should be up, your back straight, and shoulders level.

#4. If you are having difficulty pacing yourself (#3 above) then try a run / walk approach. Run until you are breathing heavily, then walk, run until you are breathing heavily, then walk, repeat. Eventually you will get an idea of how fast to go when you are "just jogging" and then you can focus on that.

#5. Avoid over doing it in the beginning. Many beginners like to overdo things, so here is a quick tip: Jog until you feel distracted by wanting to do something else. This works well because it means your jogging forays will be kept short in the beginning and as you progress and build endurance, then you can switch to a tactic of "jog until you reach a goal" (see #7 below).

#6. Remember to hydrate. An easy way to do this is to construct a jogging route that takes you by a library that has public water fountains. eg. Jog to the library, get a drink, jog back home. Easy. Alternatively carry a water bottle with you - however I personally find it annoying having to carry things while jogging. I don't even like carrying my keys with me while I jog because they jingle too much.

#7. Jog until you reach a goal. If your goal is to jog around the block three times, then jog around the block three times. Easy. Done? Go drink some water. Reaching a goal is a good start, but you should keep it small in the beginning and then slowly increase the amount you jog.

For example jogging around the block once on the 1st week and then twice on the 2nd week and then three times on the 3rd week, that is too much too fast. When increasing distances traveled you should only be increasing by approx. 1% per day. So for example if you jogged 6 days last week, you could increase the distance jogged this week by 6%. If you only jogged twice last week, you should only increase the distance by 2%. Increasing the distance by 10% or more each week will just cause you to become burned out. The amount needs to be very gradual so that your body has time to adjust. Thus when setting new goals you should actually take the time to measure the distances (even if it is just a crude measurement) and figure out how much is "1%".

An easy way to do this is to measure by time jogging, not by distance traveled. So for example if you go jogging for 10 minutes the first week and jog 5 times that week, then the next week you should add 5% to your time - an extra 30 seconds. This may not seem like much in the beginning, but this compounds over time.

10 minutes
10 minutes, 30 seconds
11 minutes, 1 seconds
11 minutes, 33 seconds
12 minutes, 5 seconds
12 minutes, 45 seconds
13 minutes, 25 seconds
14 minutes, 3 seconds
etc

So in 8 weeks you've already increased the time traveled by over 40%. By week 52 you are jogging for 2 hours (and 24 seconds) five days a week. That might actually be too much, so you should set a long term goal of maybe 30 or 60 minutes.

#8. Use both your nose and your mouth to breathe. Nothing wrong with using both. Breathing only through your nose means less oxygen going to your muscles, and this is a time when you want MORE OXYGEN! So breathe in as much as possible.

#9. If you get Side Stitches remember to take Deep Belly Breaths. A side stitch is a sharp, intense pain under the lower edge of the ribcage, more often on the left side. They're common in beginner runners who tend to breathe more quickly and shallow. Proper breathing and a reasonable pace can prevent Side Stitches from happening. Eating too much sugar or drinking high-sugar beverages before exercise increases the likelihood of Side Stitches.

#10. Mix it up once in awhile. Doing only jogging should not be your goal. Mix jogging together with other activities like hiking, rock climbing, going to the gym, socializing with friends, going to a yoga studio, doing body-weight exercises at a public park, etc.

For example if the above mentioned library is next to a park, you could jog to the library, get a drink, go do some body-weight exercises in the park, and then get another drink, and then jog home.

Tips for Marathon Runners

Running a long distance race like the Toronto Waterfront Marathon or the Ironman Competition takes months of hard training, proper diet and preparation. All competitive sports require that extra level of commitment. Here are 5 handy tips to get ready for a race with only a month to go:

#1. Buy New Shoes

Don't run your race in brand new shoes, or the old trainers you have been practicing in for months! One month is an ideal amount of time to find a new pair, and practice, to break them in. It will allow the time for the new shoes to feel comfortable, but remain relatively new for the race. (Wearing brand new shoes will feel uncomfortable.)

#2. Check Your Distance

You should be able to run at least 3/4 of your race distance with ease. It's not necessary to practice the full distance, but doing a practice run is a confidence boost. You will feel less nervous if you know you can complete the full distance having done 75% of it with barely trying.

#3. Merge Your Training Runs

Running intervals, for time, endurance, and speed are all necessary, separate, training techniques. However, now it's time to combine them. Start training with one run per week during which you "run your best." Have a session running fast and long, with little recovery time, if you require walking breaks, will be great practice for building your endurance.

#4. Plan for Race Day

Start planning for the morning of the race. Think about what you will eat for breakfast, and what snacks or gels to bring for the run. Decide what to wear and run a few times in the outfit to make sure it's comfortable, and nothing bothers you about it. Plan for rides or parking, and be sure to consider all of the practical matters like urinating before the race, what you will eat the night before, optional things you might wear depending on weather conditions, etc.

#5. Ask Friends and Family to Come Out

You'll need a cheer squad. Ask friends and family well in advance to come out and cheer you on. Plan for a celebratory big breakfast / dinner, for when you triumphantly cross the finish line and everyone can celebrate.

Being prepared for race day will ease nerves, and save time on the big day. This will leave more free time for training, and will have you relaxed at the starting line, and pumped for the race.

High Intensity Interval Training pays off well - but is it for everyone?

Interval training is a great way to exercise. Nobody disputes that.

And high intensity interval training (HIIT) burns even more calories, and increases the Afterburn Effect which causes you to continue burning more calories throughout the day due to a heightened metabolism.

However HIIT is not for everyone. Especially people who are elderly, out of shape / overweight, have injuries (eg. knee injuries).

Which is why I have introduced Low Intensity Interval Training (LIIT) and Moderate Intensity Interval Training (MIIT) as options for my personal training clients. Why? Because on a regular basis the people who actually want to hire a personal trainer are in one of these categories:

Elderly
Overweight / out of shape
Suffering from an injury (eg. knee)

And being told by a personal trainer that you can't do a specific workout becomes a whole Catch-22 scenario. In your head you think you can't lose weight / become fit without doing that high intensity workout. Except you can do the workout - but you need to do it a lower intensity: low intensity or moderate intensity. Especially if you have an injury you need to work around.

It is true that High-intensity interval training (HIIT) offers a bigger payoff from our workouts in less time. But if you can't physically DO the workout due to age, fitness level or injury then you need to do the next best thing.

HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) improves your current fitness level in short sessions, working to increase your metabolism and cutting your workout sessions to a fraction of the time. The goal is to alternate high-intensity bursts of exercise with periods of low-intensity exercise, or active rest.

So for example... Sprinting for 45 seconds, jogging for 45 seconds, repeated 10 times. Total time is 15 minutes and that would be a High Intensity Interval Training you could do at home / in your neighbourhood.

However sprinting / jogging for 15 minutes is a very intense workout. Many people wouldn't even be able to do the first 3 sprints without wanting to stop and rest for 5 minutes.

So a more moderate high workout may be called for.

Sprinting 30 seconds, jogging 30 seconds, walking 30 seconds, repeated 10 times. Total time is 15 minutes. That workout is more doable, but may still be beyond the reach of many people who are out of shape.

One of the goals of HIIT requires you to raise your heart rate up to 85% or more of its maximum capacity. You can calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. Multiply that by .85 (85 percent) and you have your target heart rate.

So for example I am 34 years old. 220 - 34 = 186, x 0.85 = 158.

So if I want to worry about my heart rate I will need a heart monitor on my wrist so I can track how high my heart rate goes.

However I don't believe heart rate monitors are for everyone. While it may help some people to gauge how hard they are exercising and forces them to exercise harder, I think that for people who are overweight / elderly that this is a potentially dangerous practice that could lead to heart attacks (or heart attack like events).

The goal of HIIT (possibly combined by using a heart rate monitor) is to ensure that you burn maximum calories during your workout, as well as maximum calories in the hours following. However burning maximum calories should not involve risking your health and life to do so. Most HIIT workouts last about 15 to 30 minutes.

Thus there is definitely a need for different levels of workouts...

Moderate High Intensity Interval Training (MHIIT)

Target Heart Rate is 70 to 80%
You will still have difficulty talking during this level of workout because you will be breathing so hard.
eg. A running MHIIT would involve a mix of sprinting, jogging and perhaps even some walking.
Aim to workout for 20 to 30 minutes.

Moderate Intensity Interval Training (MIIT)

Target Heart Rate is 60 to 70%
You will be able to talk easier during this kind of workout, but conversations will be dragged out.
eg. A running MIIT would involve a small amount of sprinting, be mostly jogging and some walking.
Aim to workout for 25 to 35 minutes.

Moderate Low Intensity Interval Training (MLIIT)

Target Heart Rate is 50 to 60%
You will be able to talk most of the time.
eg. A running MLIIT would involve intervals of jogging and walking.
Aim to workout for 30 to 40 minutes.

Low Intensity Interval Training (LIIT)

Target Heart Rate is 40 to 50%
Talking will be easy during this kind of workout.
eg. A running LIIT would involve intervals of jogging and resting.
Aim to workout for 35 to 45 minutes.

If a particular workout gets too easy for you and you aren't experiencing any pain / discomfort, try a higher level of intensity. Don't try to deliberately hurt yourself, but do try to challenge yourself as your fitness level progresses.

It is advised that elderly people with heart problems (eg. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the right) jog with a partner in case they develop any complications during their workout. When in doubt stick to a lower pace workout and avoid over-taxing your heart. (And yes, that was a pun on British taxes.)

The more intense the workout the more oxygen you consume. This increase in oxygen, in turn, increases your post-exercise metabolism - and results in you burning extra calories for anywhere from 90 minutes to 24 hours after the workout is finished. The higher intensity the workout the more benefits you see in terms of fat loss, increased oxygen consumption and improved anaerobic capacity benefits in less time.

While Interval Training is usually used for cardiovascular workouts to improve endurance, it can also be used in sport-specific workouts or weightlifting sessions.

You don’t have to be in amazing shape to add Interval Training to your workouts. Choose your intensity based on your fitness level. When in doubt start low and build your endurance / strength slowly.

You should check with your doctor before starting any exercise program, especially High Intensity Interval Training. If your doctor says you’re healthy enough to engage in HIIT then go ahead and try it. If your doctor advises restraint then you would be better off starting off with low or moderate intensity workouts and then progress slowly.


Bored of exercising indoors? Time to find a friend and try something new!

Q

"Hello!

I am bored of exercising indoors. I have been stuck inside most of the winter and Spring doesn't seem to be coming fast enough. However I hate exercising outside when its so cold outside. What can I be doing instead?


I’m an avid runner/cyclist – anything outdoors - but only when it is warm enough to be doing so. How do I stay motivated to train despite the cold?

- Angela W."

A

Hello Angela!

I empathize with you. I don't even bother to bicycle during the winter and I do cycling outdoors (those people who take spin classes and cycle at gyms are crazy in my opinion). However never fear! I have a couple of tricks that I use to motivate myself to train during the winter. You are welcome to use these ideas to help you train during the winter.

#1. It is always more fun to train with a friend, regardless of the season. It will help keep you motivated even when it is freezing cold outside. Try enlisting an exercise buddy or hiring a personal trainer here in Toronto (hint hint). If you can find a friend the two of you can motivate each other - plus twice the brain power means you will come with extra exercise ideas together - like going dancing or taking dance lessons together. It gets you out of the house, it is still technically indoors, but at least you are out trying something new as a cardio exercise.

Even if you don't have a friend to go with you dance classes can be a great way to exercise as a group and meet new friends.

#2. I like to remind myself of how great I feel after a workout. I know that any workout, even an indoor workout, will make me feel better than no workout. Relish in that feeling. It doesn't matter whether the workout is cardio, yoga, weightlifting or even a series of stretches. The more wonderful I feel after I have a workout the more likely I am to stick with it and keep exercising.

#3. Schedule it. I find this helps regardless of what the weather is doing. By having a specific spot in my schedule where I know I have to do something - even if its laundry or washing the dishes - any kind of chore, exercise, task, etc should be scheduled to make sure you do it. I personally have multiple alarms during the day reminding me to do every thing from get up, go jogging, do my daily exercise routine, go to events with friends. Each alarm on my phone has a different song that plays for each task. That way I know what it is and it reminds that it is time to do that task.

#4. I also like to remind myself that having a break between my work periods is beneficial. Sometimes I even have afternoon naps (siestas) to replenish my energy.

#5. Next I challenge myself to do activities that I am not as familiar with - such as trying new exercises that I find online. YouTube is a great source for new exercises, but I also have a lot listed here on CardioTrek for you to browse.

#6. Set a goal. It will help motivate you to stay active so make it a good goal worth aiming for - and make it realistic over the long term so you know you have to stick with it to achieve it. It might be as simple as a big number like aiming to do 10,000 push-ups in 3 months (roughly 112 push-ups per day). That is a completely realistic goal - but imagine how much more fit you will be after completing 10,000 pushups over a 3 month period. Other goals might include 100 yoga classes, running in a marathon, competing in a bicycle race (you don't need to win, you just need to show up and complete the race), trying a new sport like speed skating. Lots of options out there.

Speaking for myself my current goal is to strengthen all the muscles I need for my new 45 lb recurve bow for archery. It is 11 lbs harder to pull than my old 34 lb recurve bow.

If you can't stay away from cycling and running completely, then go ahead and do indoor versions of each. Run on a treadmill, take spin classes or use a bike trainer. I may personally think those things are ridiculous, but for the people who can't stand the cold weather they are certainly an option.

The bike trainer is a fantastic route, because it allows you to put your actual road bike on a stand and cycle. Whenever we get nice weather then you can cycle and run outside when possible (March is sketchy at times that you will sometimes have a hot day when you can do that.

So far the weather in Toronto has been pretty horrible, but cheer up. I am sure the weather will start to get better soon!

12 Tips for Running a Marathon

Running a marathon is the ultimate accomplishment for many runners and joggers whose goal is to stay fit or achieve a personal best, but it is also one of the most difficult fitness goal to achieve (up there with triathalons and Iron Man competitions).

Just running 42.2 kim (26.2 miles) and not hurting yourself is a physical accomplishment, as sports injuries are pretty common when running a marathon.

Regardless of your goals or completion times you need to be prepared. Running a marathon demands intense preparation in all aspects of one’s life, including training, diet, and sleep, and mental preparation. Here are 12 tips that will help any marathon runner reach their desired goals:

1. Plan well, and do so well in advance. A marathon is absolutely not something you just decide to do on a whim. It should take months of preparation. Even as much as six months or a year in advance, depending on your fitness level. Choose a marathon that is months away to work towards, and begin preparation immediately. Start logging your runs and times, starting with shorter runs (2-5 miles, depending on your endurance) during the week and longer runs on the weekend. Slowly work your way up as you build endurance.

2. Set reasonable goals. If you've never run a marathon before, don't think you'll go under-4 hours the first time out. Set goals that will push you, but that at the same time you can actually reach by keeping a log and seeing where your stamina and running capacity is well before the race begins.


3. Do practice Half Marathons. Once per month try running a half marathon and time yourself. Half marathons will give you a better idea of where you will fare when you finally do a full marathon.

4. Set Limits on your weekly running. Your goal should be to run 45 to 50 km (25 to 30 miles) per week. Basically 9 to 10 km (5 to 6 miles) fives times per week. The reason you want to limit yourself is to prevent injuries and stave off the effects of running addicition (which can lead to insomnia and a variety of health / mental problems including OCD). As your legs get stronger and you get significantly better endurance wise you can start increasing your amount of running to 90 to 100 km (55 to 60 miles), but avoid going over the 100 km per week limit. Running obscene amounts can lead to running addiction and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - causing you to lose friends and alienate family members with your addiction. (Running addicts are known to avoid going to the funerals of loved ones because they'd rather be running, go running when on vacation when they should be relaxing, avoid friends/family, etc.)

5. Eat a low-fat, high carb diet. Carbohydrates are the fuel you will need to push through a marathon and for all training runs leading up to it. Make pasta and baked potatoes a staple in your diet. Keep your diet low-fat, but not no fat; focus on good fats, like those found in poultry and fish, are necessary for storing extra energy during your runs.

6. Drink lots of fluids. Carry a nalgene or similar water bottle and try to drink at least one, if not two throughout your day. During runs, stay hydrated by bringing a smaller water bottle. Don't overdo it though: drinking an excess of water will make you feel sick and can lead to cramps, dizziness, and nausea.

7. Incorporate other exercise into your routine. Some weight lifting—particularly with a concentration on the lower body—will help build up muscular endurance for races. Yoga is also extremely helpful to runners in that it helps stretch muscles and develops flexibility, but also is a time for meditation and stress relief.

8. Think you can. Mental preparation is key for helping push through when you hit the wall towards the end of a race. Learn to think positive and visualize success (especially completing a race) in the months leading up to the big event.

9. Develop a regimented sleep schedule. Sleep is necessary for stress relief, body repair, and for your general health and well-being. Be sure to get at least 8 hours every night. Tailor your sleeping patterns leading up to a race to match the hours you will be getting up for a race and going to bed before it. If you are suffering from insomnia it might be because you are running too much (or too close to bedtime). Change your routine so you run in the morning and avoid exercising 4 hours before your bedtime. During weekends or days off try to get naps too to speed up healing process.

10. Find a partner. Some people like running as a solitary endeavor, but most find the most success when running with a partner. You'll be able to push each other and support each other, particularly when the going gets tough. Don't expect to talk that much while running, if you are capable of talking when you should be breathing heavily then you really aren't pushing yourself that hard.

11. Taper leading up to the race. Don't push yourself harder than you ever have before or during a marathon. Instead, taper off how much running you do leading up to a race so your muscles have plenty of time to recover and are at full strength on marathon day. During the race remember that you might not finish the race due to exhaustion - it happens and its nothing to be ashamed of. You will do better next time.

12. Enjoy the experience. Don't get so caught up in how others are doing or get down on any lackluster runs to forget that running marathons is a truly enjoyable activity. During the marathon, take the time to take it all in—the scenery, the crowds, and especially your successes. Make memories that will last long after you cross the finish line.

Strength Training Vs Endurance Training

Strength Training and Endurance Training are actually very different disciplines.

Lets take Bicep Curls as an example...

First we determine what your 1RM is. 1RM means "One Repetition Maximum", meaning the maximum amount you can lift and only do 1 rep.

So in the example of Bicep Curls lets say you can lift a maximum of 50 lbs with one arm and then you have to stop and catch your breath.

With Strength Training what you would then do is calculate what is 75% of that and do bicep curls for 5 sets with 5 repetitions each set. Do that three days per week for 3 weeks and then calculate 80% of 1RM and do the same thing for another 3 weeks. Then 85% of your 1RM for 3 weeks and eventually 90% for 1 RM for 3 weeks.

After you're done all 12 weeks then you recalculate your new 1RM, and start back again at 75%, repeating the same cycle every 12 weeks.

Note: To be fair you're not meant to be doing only Bicep Curls. You should be doing sets like this for Squats, Stationary Lunges, Modified Deadlifts, Calf Raises, Upright Rows, Bench Presses, Pullovers, Bent-Over Rows, Military Presses, Preacher Curls and Tricep Curls. The end result is a full body workout.

It also means you will need to determine your 1RM for each machine at the gym, write it all down in a journal and then recalculate your 1RM every 12 weeks of your Strength Training program.

Lets say however that you weren't trying to build strength so much however and you were more worried about endurance...

Here is what you would do instead.

#1. Calculate your 1RM like you would above, but when choosing the amount of weight to be using you instead calculate it to be 50% of your 1RM.

#2. Instead of doing 5 sets of 5 repetitions, you are instead doing 5 sets of 10 repetitions.

#3. You train 4 days per week instead of 3 days.

#4. After 3 weeks of training you don't change the amount of weight you are lifting, instead you increase the number of repetitions to 5 sets of 15. Three weeks later it becomes 5 sets of 20. Then 5 sets of 25.

#5. After the 12 weeks is over you recalculate your new 1RM and start over again with 5 sets of 10 repetitions.

With Endurance Training you are still building strength at the same time, but the focus is on increasing your ability to lift many multiple times without tiring so easily. Endurance training is also safer because it builds up your cardiovascular heart and lung muscles more in a similar way to Cardio training.

Its a bit like comparing Sprinters to Marathon Runners.

When Sprinters train out on the track they might only be running 100 meters at a time, and they stop and rest and when they're ready again they will sprint the 100 meters again. They might do that maybe 20 times on a training day. If they can sprint the 100 in 10 seconds their total exercise time might only be 200 seconds of actual sprinting, but they have spaced it out so they have plenty of time to rest in between sprints.

As such Sprinters typically look strong and quick. Marathon Runners have a strong tendency to look almost anorexic.

In contrast Marathon Runners will be out there running half or full marathons 3 or 4 times per week. Approx. 21.1 to 42.2 km. So for example they might be running 25 km four days per week.

With Marathon Runners they need to be careful to avoid going over 100 km per week because if they do they can often develop "Exercise Addiction", a condition runners are frequently prone to because of the batch of hormonal painkillers the brain releases during long runs which are highly addictive. The side effects of Exercise Addiction include insomnia, loss of appetite, headaches, anti-social behaviour, decreased libido, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (obsessive cleaning, etc). It can even lead to loss of weight / anorexia as the person can sometimes exercise so much they end up burning away muscle and brain tissue for energy. Like any other addiction it can also ruin relationships as the person will choose running over spending time with family or friends.

Even professional marathon runners avoid going over the 100 km limit due to fear of developing an addiction to "Runner's High".

We should note that Marathon Running with an Exercise Addiction is not going to increase your endurance. If the person is running that much the hormonal imbalance in their body causes them to be unable to sleep properly and regenerate muscle tissue during their sleep. Instead they will burn away muscle tissue in order to fuel their obsessive need to keep exercising.

Some Exercise Addicts are known to run 140 km or more per week and get emotionally upset if they don't go outside and run because they're so obsessed with their "Runner's High".

Thankfully that sort of thing doesn't really happen amongst Strength Training or Endurance Training because the focus is still on building muscle, right?

Wrong! Strength is actually prone to Exercise Addiction too. According to some bodybuilders it can even be more addictive, although it is difficult to measure if that is true or not. A warning sign of someone who addicted is their insistence that they have to go to the gym 6 or 7 days per week to work out for several hours, working out for 15 hours + per week.

What is known is that Exercise Addiction is more commonly found amongst "Power Lifters" who develop a psychological dependence on weightlifting - the heavier the weights the more addicted they can become. The psychological symptoms are the same as other Exercise Addictions. It doesn't matter that it is weightlifting instead of running. It is still addictive and dangerous to their mental health.

Worse, Power Lifters are also more likely to use Steroids. Increasing their psychological addiction with a drug addiction that will damage their internal organs. There is a lot of information out there available on this topic if you want to Google the words powerlifting steroids addiction.

Understanding Interval Training

Targeting Maximum Fat Loss Through High-Intensity Interval Training

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of exercise that is growing in popularity. HIIT combines two of the most effective fat-burning methods.

The first method is high-intensity training, which pushes the body to maximum effort to achieve muscle fatigue and maximum oxygen use in a quick burst. Think sprinting or heavy weight lifting. The harder muscles work, the more oxygen they require. This is measured relative to one’s maximum amount of oxygen their body consumes during exercise. Working your body close to its oxygen max triggers the Afterburn Effect, where the body continues to consume oxygen (and burn calories) up to 48 hours after the workout (it takes approximately five calories to consume one liter of oxygen).

The second method is interval training, which alternates periods of intense effort with periods of moderate-to-low intensity effort. Interval training boosts metabolism significantly longer than a steady workout of equal or even greater length (for example, a 20 minute workout of alternating high/low-intensity periods burns more calories than a 20 minute workout of steady intensity). Interval training also builds lean muscle tissue faster than steady state training.

So instead of jogging for 30 minutes you alternate between sprinting and brisk walking for 30 minutes. Due to the Afterburn Effect it burns even more calories than plain jogging, even though the distance traveled and the time is the same.

By combining the above two exercise methods, exercisers can maximize fat-burning and muscle-building potential through significantly shorter workouts. HIIT also maximizes increased metabolic rate, optimizes muscle building and muscle retention during fat loss, and increases calorie burn during and after workouts.

The Science Behind Interval Training

HIIT taxes and maximizes both aerobic and anaerobic fitness, while light cardio addresses aerobic only. Aerobic respiration requires oxygen to generate energy in the form of ATP, while anaerobic respiration does not. HIIT affects muscle tissue at the cellular level, actually changing mitochondrial activity in the muscles themselves.

University studies indicate as little as 27 minutes of HIIT three times per week produces the same anaerobic and aerobic improvement as 60 minutes of steady state cardio five times per week.

How to Succeed in a Marathon

Autumn is a popular time of year for races and marathons in Toronto. The Scotiabank Waterfront Half Marathon for example, but if you want to compete in a long race you may want to take the following tips and advice into account to make yourself more competitive and to give yourself an extra energy boost.

Four Tips for a Successful Race-Day

#1. Eat well the night before and day of

You will want lots of energy and that means packing in the carbs the night before the race and on the morning of the race. Think pasta, bread, pretzels, anything with lots of energy in it. Just don't overdo it or you will feel bloated.

#2. Use the Washroom before the race

If you think that those porta-potties on the course will be vacant, think again! There's a huge line-up at every one! If you don't want to botch your time waiting in line 10 minutes, make sure everything is taken care of before you enter the corral and cross the start-line. Plus you will be able to run faster without carrying the extra weight in your bowels.

#3. Wear your Foil Blanket (Heatsheets) 

After you finish the race the volunteers will hand you a foil blanket. After the run you're pretty hot and sweaty and at first you think that the last thing you want is a blanket! But what actually happens is you start to cool down quickly after the race and you will feel hypothermic for about an hour after the race.

#4. Remember to stretch and eat after the race

It won't help you win, but its a good idea to eat something and stretch your legs/arms after the race. Otherwise you will be very sore for a week after the race. Have a friend bring grapes or some kind of fruit for you to eat after the race is over and try to do some stretching / yoga after the race.

Happy Racing!

Maximum Results + Minimum Time

A lot of people in North America really only exercise for one reason: To Lose Weight.

But they don't want to work hard to do it. Exercise? That sounds too much like work. It is that kind of pessimistic and lazy attitude that causes people to become paralyzed by "I'll do it later."  It is therefore no surprise that America has an obesity epidemic when you considered a combined lifestyle of bad diet and lack of exercise. Also to blame is all the nutritional / exercise misinformation being pushed at them by the food industry and even people in the exercise industry who really just want to sell you something.

Well to be fair, I am selling something too. Personal Training. But I am also a strong believer in giving away free information so that people can go the Do-It-Yourself route.

One of the things people are always looking for is ways to maximize their weight loss... but they want to do it in the minimum amount of time required.

This to me is the typical male approach to getting a task done. If you give a guy three boxes and tell him to carry them upstairs one at a time he will look at you funny, stack all three boxes together and then try to carry them up the stairs all at once. Its not lazy, its male logic. "I can carry all three at once and therefore accomplish the task in one shot."

Part of it might be male ego and testosterone, that is for psychiatrists to decide, but the analogy is good.

So how do we apply this to exercise?

#1. You want to maximize calorie loss per minute.

This means you're going to have to compare exercises and pick one that burns a lot of calories in a hurry. The obvious choice is running because that burns the most calories more than any other exercise, but depending on your goals you might also choose weight lifting, a specific sport, skipping rope, jumping jacks or even yoga.

#2. At the same time you want to be able to keep up the activity for the stated length of time.

So for example if your plan is to only exercise for 15 to 30 minutes per day then you ideally want to be burning a lot of calories during that time period and not stopping to rest. So you want to pick an activity that you're certain you can do. eg. Jogging for 30 minutes.

#3. You want to push your limits in order to maximize results.

One way to do this is via Interval Training. So to take the example of running and jogging you could do the following:

Sprint 1 minute, jog for 2 minutes. Repeat 10 times. Total time 30 minutes.

And if you're still not tired after the 30 minutes, sprint for an additional amount of time until you're ready to quit.

The same method can also be used for weight lifting and mixed cardio.

30 lb bicep curls 2 minutes, jumping jacks for 2 minutes.
Pushups 2 minutes, jumping jacks for 2 minutes.
Chin-ups 2 minutes, jumping jacks for 2 minutes.
25 lb bicep curls 2 minutes, jumping jacks for 2 minutes.
Pushups 2 minutes, jumping jacks for 2 minutes.
Chin-ups 2 minutes, jumping jacks for 2 minutes.
 20 lb bicep curls 3 minutes, jumping jacks for 3 minutes.

Total time 30 minutes.

#4. The Fun Factor.

Running and weightlifting can be pretty boring however. That is why it is important to mix it up with music and other things to make them more interesting. Try and pick music that makes you feel invigorated.  Eye of the Tiger, Super Trouper, Hungry like the Wolf, TV theme songs... whatever gets your heart and mind racing.

If that still isn't enough fun for you my recommendation is to take up a sport every day for 30 minutes (or longer). If its truly fun you will lose track of time and want to do it every day. (This is why I got into archery and boxing in the first place. They're sports I never get bored of.)

If you can find an activity you enjoy that you can do every day for 30 minutes and it doesn't feel like a chore or work, awesome. Then all you have to do is push yourself to your limits in an effort to maximize your results / calorie loss.

Eventually you will hopefully lose track of time and your worries over "minimizing time and effort" will disappear.

#5. Variety.

Always try new things.

If the only things you are doing is running or weightlifting, your body will stagnate. You will reach a plateau where you can't cross an endurance barrier. To get around that you need to try new things and use muscles you aren't used to using. Yoga is good for this, but you can find many other activities which can activate those rarely used muscles. Once you do so you will be able to push your "maximum" to new heights by awakening muscles you never knew you had.

Training to Run Long Distance

Are you hoping to run long distances and looking for a training routine you can use?

Here is a great graphic which shows a 9 week training program which will ready you for some long distance runs by using interval training to build up your endurance faster in the early stages.


Running - Calories Per Hour

Running burns a lot of calories in a hurry, although it really depends on how big you are and how fast you can run.

For the most accuracy its recommended you run around a track at a local school or park, that way you can accurately measure how fast you can run in an hour. You don't have to do this constantly, but it is nice to do once in awhile so you can get a measurement of how fast you are.

Using a watch start running and count each time you do a lap of the track. When the hour is done take your total number of completed laps, determine using math how many miles that was (eg. 24 laps on a quarter mile track = 6 miles), and then find the calories burned on the chart below. You can also find more detailed calories burned calculators online.

Remember to take Powerade or Gatorade with you and stop periodically and take 1 or 2 gulps before you resume running. You don't want to get dehydrated, but you also don't want to over-drink and become winded. Don't carry the bottle with you, leave it beside the track and stop there whenever you need a gulp.

Running on a track once per month for an hour and measuring/comparing your progress each month can become an excellent motivator to keep up your running routine. You will feel a great sense of accomplishment each month as you see you are getting faster.


Exercise & Calories Burned per Hour
130 lbs
155 lbs
180 lbs
205 lbs
Running, 5 mph (12 minute mile)
472
563
654
745
Running, 5.2 mph (11.5 minute mile)
531
633
735
838
Running, 6 mph (10 min mile)
590
704
817
931
Running, 6.7 mph (9 min mile)
649
774
899
1024
Running, 7 mph (8.5 min mile)
679
809
940
1070
Running, 7.5mph (8 min mile)
738
880
1022
1163
Running, 8 mph (7.5 min mile)
797
950
1103
1256
Running, 8.6 mph (7 min mile)
826
985
1144
1303
Running, 9 mph (6.5 min mile)
885
1056
1226
1396
Running, 10 mph (6 min mile)
944
1126
1308
1489
Running, 10.9 mph (5.5 min mile)
1062
1267
1471
1675

Running Marathons: Fun and Challenging

So...

You've started running regularly and you're beginning to feel the benefits of having a healthier body.

You can run farther and faster. You feel stronger and less winded as your endurance grows. You've even gotten that infamous runner's high (which is why marathon runners often get Exercise Addiction because the chemicals act like heroin). You are feeling so confident you want to try running a marathon...

If you think you are ready to test your new abilities and try out a marathon race you might want to ask around and get a 2nd opinion. Yes, you can do it. But is it worth it? Your first stop should be your doctor to get a complete physical.

You will have your options too. You don't have to do a marathon race, you could try sprinting or a mid-range race instead. With so many races scheduled each year, both locally and throughout your region, it may be hard to choose the one that's right for you. Here are some things to consider to make the best selection so that your first race is a great experience and encourages you to sign up for more:

The Marathon Course

Of course, one the primary considerations for race selection is the distance.

If you are a beginner, signing up for a marathon is not realistic. Since it's your first race, choose a small distance, such as a 1-mile fun run, the classic 5K (about 3 miles), or, if you're up for a challenge, a 10K (about 6 miles). Many marathons and half-marathons include a fun run or a shorter run as well. If you're interested in working up to one of these longer races, you can sign up for a 5K as part of a larger event to get a sense of the course and other race-day conditions. Also, keep in mind the layout of the course. Hilly courses can be much more challenging to complete as a first-timer. A flat course on a paved trail will make your first attempt a bit easier.

Time Limitations

Some races have a time limit. This means that you are required to finish the race within a certain time. Otherwise, you will either be disqualified or find yourself running along a road that has been re-opened to traffic. Be sure that you are able to run the distance within the time specified, based on your past training times. Check race rules for any other limitations that may detract from your experience. For example, some races do not allow the use of headphones or portable music devices. Some races do not allow strollers if you wish to run with your child. Others may have limitations on your dress or the support team that you can have with you. Be sure to review these rules in advance to be sure that you can have the experience you would like.

Attendance

Do you prefer the roar of the crowd to get your adrenaline pumping? Or do you prefer a smaller group so that you can focus more intently when you run? Check out the anticipated attendance or the registration limit of the race to know what kind of crowds you can expect. Larger races can be overwhelming for beginners, who may feel crowded or pushed around on the busy streets. But if you feed on the energy of others, larger crowds can motivate you to your best performance.

Atmosphere + Weather

There are races for every type of running personality. There are races for the serious runner, which focus on the course and the competition. Then there are races for those looking to have a little fun. Many races allow participants to dress in costume -- particularly holiday-themed runs like a Turkey Trot or a Jingle Bell Run -- and others have a fun course (like the Walt Disney World marathon) or include entertainment (like the Rock n' Roll Marathon). Decide what type of course appeals to you best.

Weather is another factor you should pay attention to too. It could be raining or unbearably hot outside. You will want to practice running in different weather conditions.

Setting Goals

Finally, keep your personal goals in mind when determining your first race. Do you just want to finish the race? Or do you want to try to meet a personal goal, such as finishing within a certain time period or finishing a long distance? If you just want to put yourself out there and finish a race without a lot of pressure, choose a fun run with a lower distance or one of the themed runs with a party atmosphere. If you want to challenge yourself or meet a fitness goal, enter a longer race with official timing.

The experience you have with the first race you enter can influence the way you feel about racing in the future. Make sure you choose a race that complements your personal style and that will allow you to meet your goals.

Training

You aren't going to be able to do that well in a marathon unless you train in advance. Having a personal trainer can give you extra edge during your training. If you live in Toronto and want to compete in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon then you could even hire me as your personal trainer.

Happy running!
Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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