In a previous post I talked about theme running events. Being unfamiliar with these types of runs prior, I was very excited by them. I'll be honest, I REALLY wanted to do the zombie one, but I was too late to register for one in Seattle, so I signed up for the Tough Mudder in October. This event is much more intimidating than the zombie run and I was not entirely sure how to train for it exactly. After bombing Bloomsday two years ago having pulled a calf due to my lack of road running I have accepted the fact that I am old enough to do better.
I tried to follow rather general training principle that I use for any activity, match your workouts as closely as possible to the event in quiestion. We do this all the time in our programming. For tennis or golf we incorporate movements which will aid in shoulder mobility and rotation. A marathoner or triahtlete will build over weeks up to the race day load so that the body is familiar with the stresses placed on it. And on and on... However, I just wasn't sure how to get close to 12 miles and 25 physical obstacles.
It might seem obvious now, but I’ll admit it took me a week of treadmill/weight lifting circuits to realize that playground equipment was the better fit. A large open space to run on for about 1/2 mile or so and fixed sturdy equipment that I can use to move my body around on.
The event’s obstacles vary but in general the difficult ones emphasize upper body pulling and pushing such as, log carrying, wall climbing, pulling yourself out of the ice-water dunking area, etc. So, as I come to a stop near the play equipment, I’ll grab the monkeybars and do pull-ups, then switch to pushups or some squats, If there’s a bench I’ll do dips or step ups. Some challenges also require jumping or leaping so doing a set of short sprints or pretend basketball layups will really boost the heart rate. It varies and I usually go for about 2 minutes. After that, I’m back to the field for more jogging. Yes, it probably looks ridiculous, that's the nice thing about ear buds....I don't hear people wondering what the hell I'm doing on a children's playground.
Since the event is not timed, I’m not really concerned with my running pace, just completing the run/obstacle/run/obstacle format. The trick to increasing the number of circuits is to use the jog as your rest period. It’s challenging, so I’m also spending a lot of time stretching out.
Try the playground workout as a fun change up to a boring road run that incorporates some strength work. Regular cardio/strength circuits are fun too, but it’s nice to be outside while you can.
The double bonus was taking Jack with me once and he played with a friend he saw while I worked out. Initially, he said he would run with me a little bit but when he saw his friend, he was off and gone. So, working out while he plays pirates beats sitting on a park bench buried in my iPhone.
Speaking of iPhone - Needing some new music. U2 and some Arcade Fire mixes. Alternative Cardio Pandora station is good too. Still, I could use something new. Suggestions?
Free squatting or body weight squatting is a great exercise. Unlike a back squat with a bar across the back, your hands are free allowing you to use dumbbells, medicine balls or other handheld implement. Increasing and/or moving a different weight is only one part of good squat form. Balance is also an important skill to be developed. Try a wobble board or a Bosu ball for a fun challenge. View the clip above and see how it's done!
After spending a week in my perfectly air conditioned studio I really crave being out in the sun. It is common to walk into Infinity Fitness on a sunny 100 degree day and find me dressed as if it is the dead of winter. “Hillary are you seriously wearing a fleece!” is a popular summertime greeting.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that I can keep my studio at a nice 68 degrees all day long. Sometimes even cooler if a client has to return to work.Truth be told I hate air conditioning, it feels unnatural. So, after 5 days of cold air and fleece I am ready to be in the sun. This summer so far has consisted of many weekend hikes and bike rides.
This weekend I felt the need for a good weight workout. So, I grabbed a couple of our kettlebells and my Swiss ball and headed for my backyard. I was accompanied by my 7 year old, Jack, who added another level of intensity with constant questioning or the need to show me something really cool! “Mom! Oh man, look spider eggs are under this rock. So cool!”
As usual, I started with my corrective stretches. My right hip has given me some fits lately with what I think is a strained hip flexor muscle. So, warmed it up and stretched. Much better! On to the workout. I did 3 mini circuits of 8-12 reps of each. With a minute rest before going to the next circuit. I’ve listed them below but you could make your own. Go ahead, get outside and lift some heavy weights! (Not all exercises are pictured. Sorry!)
Kettlebell Goblet Squat
Kettlebell Overhead Press
Swiss ball Jackknife
Walking Lunges (Wow, my backyard is really long! Never realized it until I lunged it:)
Kettlebell Single Arm Bent Over Row
Swiss ball Back Extension with Arms Extended Overhead
Lateral Lunges Hold a Kettlebell at the Chest
Swiss ball Side Flexion (Use the side of the garage for support)
Kettlebell Double Arm Overhead Triceps Extension
I did feel I need a something a little extra so I think this week I am going to invest in a jump rope for home. Adding a minute of jump rope between the circuits would have taken this workout to the next level. However, I did get some lateral shuffles and sprints at the end with Jack. He had negotiated some frisbee playing after my workout and his aim is not that great.
Over the past several years one popular news story item that seems to keep coming up is that Americans don’t exercise enough and are comparatively out of shape with regards to other countries. Taking a short break from designing torturous exercise programs I decided to investigate a little into what upcoming trends are coming in the hopes that some as yet unknown force is going to change that.
I began with a simple search for ‘popular exercise trends in europe’ and an article from the Huffington Post UK comes up listing said trends for 2013. After updating myself on the currents status of Kim Kardassian’s baby(she’s fine btw) I read through the list of 20 coming trends to the British Isles.
There were some interesting ones like the Ugi Ball classes, and whatever cardio tennis is that I will have to revisit here at another time. Conversely, there were some not so interesting ones like Aqua Zumba and hot Pilates. I’m not judging, mind you, if you want to get jiggy in the pool or sweaty on the reformer that’s cool, it’s just not for me. Still, of the 20 trends that HuffPo/UK posted, 5 of the first 6 are exercise classes, #3 is some fancy stationary bike that costs 7500(I don’t know how to make the symbol for pounds). The underlying suggestion is that the overarching trend in England is get out and get moving, and that’s great no matter what it is you’re doing.
Now then, lets see what’s becoming popular in America shall we? In order to keep my scientific research equal let’s enter the search term, ‘popular exercise trends in America’. I am astounded to see that another HuffPo article comes to the top of the list. Both articles piggyback off of an annual ACSM list composed of actual industry research.
However, just as with the UK version, they have done a bit of research on their own. Here is the American 5 out of the first 6 trends.
The missing trend, #1 actually, is that fitness professionals, like yours truly, will become even more popular in 2013. That’s great for me, but I couldn’t help but notice that most of the American trends seem to be geared more towards appeasing convenience and less about actually doing something. Downloading a running or heart rate app is cool, but will it really get you out running on the road or to the gym? If there were any actual consequence for leaving an app unused, my Angry Birds will have all mellowed and died from neglect by now.
Fresh juicing at your local supermarket is nice but often it’s expensive and still removes the person from actively choosing and preparing their foods. I will not dignify gluten free fast food with space here. More women doing heavy lifting I like quite a bit, so that’s good. There are so many benefits to strength training that too many women discount or are afraid of.
I am joking, of course, about the scientific validity in these simplistic pieces, however, the gist of each felt true to me. We are a very innovative and tech savvy people here in the US of A, yet when it comes to fitness, nutrition, or other healthy lifestyle choices there still seems to be a sense of, “With the latest and greatest gadget I just bought, I can finally start that exercise program I’ve been putting off all these years!”
That seems like the wrong point of emphasis to me. The new Xbox One comes out this year with a built in Kinect motion sensor for both regular and fitness related games and is projected at $499. For that same amount of money I could get 2 heavy kettlebells and a nice pair of running shoes and perhaps have some left over.
Do something that requires tracking rather than track what you aren’t doing. Go to the supermarket and buy up some weird produce that you’ve never tried and make your own disgusting flavors of juice. After some time you will find a combination that really tastes amazing(a little green apple helps btw) and away you go. Finally, for Pete’s sake don’t go to a fast food joint for health food, just get the cheeseburger and fries and tell yourself to make your own lunch tomorrow.
Me and my iPhone:
My lovely wife is enjoying the fact that after watching the new Star Trek movie i've been listening to the Star Trek Pandora radio station. She loves it, just ask her.
Lots of short circuit based workouts, Kettlebells and body weight mostly. I'll be posting a good one later so check back on Thursday.