Thursday, June 26, 2014

Video: 10-Minute Beach Workout

This short workout can be done on the beach or anywhere - all it requires is the weight of your own body, so you don't need any equipment or special training. (You can use weights or a rock like he does, for the arms and lunges.) It combines fat-burning calisthenics with some yoga and core-strengthening moves to get your body strong, lean, and toned.

The demonstration is really done on the beach, so the sound isn't great, but it's a fairly intense workout and you should really feel it - even more so if you're doing it in the sand! Being on vacation is no excuse not to work out, and these moves are easy to do wherever you are, so get your beach workout on already - and look great in that bathing suit!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Understanding the Minimalist Running Philosophy

For decades, running shoe companies have traveled down a path of developing and selling shoes with the “latest and greatest” technologies. Different shoe models through the years have focused on cushioning, stability, motion control and other functions that most runners considered desirable, if not downright necessary, or some combination of those features. But in the last few years, a new running shoe philosophy has taken hold – the philosophy that “less is more.”

English: barefoot running
Barefoot running (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This has come to be known as the “minimalist running” philosophy. In short, those who follow the minimalist running line of thinking will point to the fact that humans have been walking and running for thousands of years, and for all but just the last few decades we’ve been doing it in basic footwear or no footwear at all. Because humans have been walking and running for so long without running shoes, our feet, legs, knees, hips and virtually every other part of our bodies that have to do with forward motion are already designed or evolved to work optimally.

The thinking is that by putting our feet into running shoes that “protect” us, we’re actually doing harm to ourselves in a couple different ways. First, by virtue of the shape and height of most running shoe soles, running shoes actually teach us to run improperly. That is, by putting lots of cushioning in the heel, and making the heel higher off the ground than the front of the foot, the shoes encourage us to strike the ground with our heel, with the foot landing far ahead of the body’s center of gravity. Recent studies have shown that “heel striking” puts a dangerous amount of stress on the joints, even if the strikes are cushioned with running shoes.

In contrast, when people run barefoot they naturally gravitate towards a stride that has them striking the ground with their midfoot first, and having their feet land almost directly under the body’s center of gravity.

As far as form goes, the closer to barefoot, the better. In fact, some runners do prefer to run a significant portion (or perhaps even all) of their workouts barefoot. Clearly this will require a period of adjustment as a runner’s body and form adjusts to the new technique. Furthermore, using common sense and listening to one’s own body is essential. If like to run on gravel paths or roads, then going completely barefoot probably isn’t the best idea.

English: Vibram FiveFingers Bikila shoes, top ...
Vibram FiveFingers minimalist running shoes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A related claim in the minimalist running philosophy is that by putting so much cushioning material between the foot and the ground, it becomes virtually impossible to listen to the body’s own feedback about whether one’s running form is efficient and smooth. In addition, traditional running shoes that have a number of different “motion control” features are thought to prevent the body from running in the way it naturally wants to.

Most individuals who follow the minimalist running philosophy would not claim that the best or safest course of action is to simply find the simplest, lightest and thinnest pair of running shoes (or just go barefoot) and start running a dozen miles a day because it’s “natural.” We’ve spent practically all of our adult lives in thick and inflexible shoes, so a period of adjustment will be necessary. Runners who adopt a more minimalist approach to their running shouldn’t expect to maintain their prior work out levels when they switch to a new type of footwear. But with time and patience, they may be able to reap the benefits of healthier joints, and less pain, stress, and wear and tear on their bodies.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Video: Exercises for Training for Running A 5-K Race

This short video demonstrates some great exercises for preparing your body to run a 5-k race. Improve your strength and speed with these high-intensity exercises which strengthen and tone the muscles needed for running. And if you need guidance and training in preparing for your first race, check out the 5-K Training Program from Treadmill Trainer.

Exercises to Run a 16-Minute 5K : Full Fitness Training
If you want to run a 16-minute ...

Get The Support You Need to Run Your First 5-K Here:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

How to Know When You’re Ready for Your First Race

Many runners new and old like to add competition to their training program. Running races can help motivate you to push yourself harder on your runs. They can also be quite fun. The race day environment is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. There’s a sense of excitement, camaraderie, competition, and adrenaline in the air. It’s exhilarating. So how do you know when you’re ready for your first race?

#1: You Can Run 3 Miles

The first race that most people sign up for is a 5K. It’s a respectable distance to run. It’s a short time commitment but still a challenge. 5K races are extremely popular and in most communities you can find one nearby on any given weekend throughout the summer and even year-round. A 5K is the equivalent of 3.1 miles. If you can run three miles then you’re more than ready for your first 5K.

#2: You Need a Little Push

Many runners come to a point where they need a little extra motivation. They need a push or something to help them work harder. Whether you simply want a new goal to aim for or you need some extra motivation, a race can be the answer. Racing, even if you’re not a competitive person, motivates you do perform at your absolute best. You push yourself hard, particularly on race day, to see what you’re capable u Need a Little Push

Many runners come to a point where they need a little extra motivation. They need a push or something to help them work harder. Whether you simply want a new goal to aim for or you need some extra motivation, a race can be the answer. Racing, even if you’re not a competitive person, motivates you do perform at your absolute best. You push yourself hard, particularly on race day, to see what you’re capable of.

#3. You’ve Reached Your Other Running Goals

What was your reason or motivation to start running? If you’ve achieved that goal, you may be looking for another goal or reason to run. While some might say that you don’t need a reason to run other than the fact that you enjoy it, having a goal may help you add purpose to your runs.

Maybe you’re looking for bragging rights or you’d like to start stocking your closet with race t-shirts too. There are many reasons to sign up for your first race. Whether you’re off the couch or a practiced runner, make sure you have a few months to train and prepare.

If you need some guidance during your training, there are some very good training programs out there which can help provide you with the support and motivation you need.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Video: Leg-Strengthening Workout for Runners & More

If you're a runner, these exercises will strengthen your legs, improve posture, and help avoid injury. But even if you're not a runner, this is a great way to build leg strength and help prevent injuries to your back and knees.

It also tones the butt and thighs, for a leaner, more sculpted look, and improves balance and coordination. It only takes a few minutes, but you will really feel it! Add this one to your workout rotation for great legs and more.

Leg Workout for Runners
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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Assessing & Improving Your Running Posture

Running may sound simple, but actually, there's more to it than you might think. How you run has a direct impact on how much energy you use when you run. It also affects your risk for potential injury. Improving your running posture and form can help you run further, faster, and easier.

Assessing Your Running Posture

This is a two or three step process. The first step is to pay attention to your posture on your next run. Here are some things to assess:

Giving my all:  poor posture!
Poor posture (Photo credit: midwestnerd)
* Are you bent at the waist, standing up straight or leaning forward from the hips?
* Are your shoulders scrunched up or relaxed?
* When you run up hill do you shorten your stride, lengthen your stride or keep it the same?
* When you swing your arms do they move parallel to your body? Do they swing in front of your body? Do they move at all?
* Do you clench your fists or are your hands relaxed?
* Is your chin tucked down, tipped toward the sky or looking straight ahead?

When you’re running try a few different things and see how it feels. For example, scrunch your shoulders then relax them. What feels different? Now lean forward at the waist and run for a minute. Now straighten and run for a minute. Now lean forward at the hips and run for a minute. How did each change feel? How did it affect your running and your effort level?

Now it can be difficult to assess your posture by yourself. The next step is to ask a friend to video tape you running. Try to run naturally without making any changes or adjustments. Tape yourself for a few minutes. When you review the video you can assess yourself based on the questions listed above.

What to Aim For

Ideally, your upper body including your shoulders, arms and hand will be relaxed. Your arms will move from side to side and match your stride. If they cross your body it causes your torso to rotate which takes energy. This energy is better spent in your legs.

Imagine a string running from the top of your head down to the center of your belly. This string keeps your head, neck and back in alignment. When you need to increase your speed, lean forward from the hips just a touch. You’ll notice that you gain momentum by changing gravity here. Stand up straight and you slow down. Think about how you run when you’re going downhill, you automatically lean back bit right? And when you’re running uphill you lean forward. It’s a natural instinct. Make sure you’re leaning from the hips instead of your waist for maximum efficiency.

Finally, your feet will ideally stay under you. If your leg reaches too far forward it causes your heel to strike the ground first. This impact can cause injury to your knees, shins, and hips. This may mean you need to start with a shorter stride. You can make up the speed by increasing your turnover or the number of steps you take in a specific amount of time.

Good posture makes a huge difference in the amount of energy you expend when you run. The more efficiently you can run the less energy it takes to complete a run. It may take time to correct your posture but it’s worth it - less effort, better results and fewer injuries.
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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Video: Zumba Flat Abs Workout

This short 20-minute workout uses fun Latin-inspired Zumba workout moves focused on the core to tighten and flatten the abs, while getting your cardio in as well. The movements hit all of your different abdominal muscles from all angles for maximum impact. Do this one regularly to help tone and flatten your belly just in time for beach season!

Zumba Fitness Flat Abs Workout

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How to Pace Yourself While Running

One of the hardest things for new runners to do is learn how to pace themselves. It’s practically a rite of passage for someone heading out the door for their first jog – starting with a burst of energy and the best of intentions, but feeling winded before reaching the end of the block because they started out too fast. Keeping yourself at a reasonable pace is sometimes hard to do.

English: Suunto Heart Rate Monitor watch t6c
Suunto Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Thankfully, there are a number of different ways to coach yourself and to find the right pace. The simplest way to gauge your pace is by using a stopwatch or wristwatch that has a stopwatch feature. Simply measure the routes that you run (as well as intermediate points along the way, such as every half mile or mile, if you want to be able to track your pace to an even greater detail), and use your stopwatch to make note of how quickly you run the known distance. If you run along roads or sidewalks you can measure those distances with your car or a bicycle with an odometer. You can even use an online service like to calculate the distances. Some runners use a GPS- enabled watch or an iPhone to measure their distances automatically during each run, and to get instant feedback on their pacing.

Music is another great way to help you run at a particular pace. If you want to listen to songs you already have on your iPod or other MP3 player, simply take note of the ones that keep you running at the pace you want, and make a playlist (or several playlists) of those songs. It might take a bit of experiment to find out which songs worst best for you.

If you’re willing to try something new, go to and download some of the free music mixes that are designed for running. The PodRunner mixes are organized by their “beats per minute” (or “BPM”), which makes it easy to match your cadence with a particular BPM in order to maintain a desired pace. If you want a bit of help, you can also use some of the mixes from TreadmillTrainer, which also provide coaching and guidance along with the music.

Another way of pacing is not by speed or cadence, but by your level of effort. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes difficult to judge how hard we’re working simply by how we feel. Being in a bad mood, for example, might make an easy run seem much more difficult. A heart rate monitor can be a great help in this regard. Most sports heart rate monitors consist of a small transmitter together with an adjustable elastic strap that you wear against your skin, across your lower chest. This monitor transmits your heart rate data to a compatible watch, so that you can always see just how hard you’re working. The heart rate monitor can also show when it’s time to start increasing your running speed in order to make sure that you’re still getting a hard enough workout.

These tips aren’t just useful for novice runners. Intermediate and advanced level runners can also take advantage of these techniques to keep themselves at the target pace for whatever type of workout is on their schedule.

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