June | 2011 | True Fitness Blog

Last week Marissa (another fabulous JETT trainer) and I spent two mornings with some kids from St. Dunstan’s Church summer camp. We had them for about an hour each morning and we ran them through a mini boot camp! Though at first some of the kids, age range about 5-15 years old, were a little hesitant about having to run around for an hour once we got them going they all had a blast. We started them off with some running, dynamic drills, and stretching. The biggest hit was anything that included competition especially having them racing through an obstacle course that had them running, jumping over hurdles, and doing ten mountain climbers! Overall we had a great couple hours getting some young kids running around and getting excited about exercise!

One pound of body fat burns about 2 calories a day, but one pound of lean muscle tissue burns up to 38 calories a day. So if you add 5 lbs. of muscle you will burn an additional 200 a day at rest. This is why strength training is integral in losing fat. Lifting weights allows you to put on the lean muscle mass needed to speed up your metabolism.

Poor shoulder mobility can result in poor posture (shoulders rounded forward), excess tension in the shoulder, upper back and/or neck, or ultimately can increase the chance of injury.  Here is a great exercise to help you improve the mobility of the shoulder.  Perform 15 repetitions each side, 3 times per day.

Everyone knows or at least I hope they do that running is one of best forms of exercise.  So what other reason could one need than just doing it?

Now that summer is here, and I have been running outside, let me just tell you what I have come across that made my runs all the more enjoyable.

I was recently in Sonoma, where my wife and I did some trail running.  One morning we came across a coyote on the trail that was by no means yielding for me or Marianne.  After what seemed an eternity, and being a little worried that this coyote was rabid; he made a fast aggressive lunge toward what he had been stalking.  I don’t know what it was but he got it and then faded away into the brush.

Just fifteen minutes later, we came across a field of the most beautiful purple flowers and what must have been at least 50 Orioles.

Two days later my wife and I drove out to the Armstrong Redwood Reserve to continue our running adventures.  It was one the most impressive things I have ever seen in my life – 1400-year-old trees, beautiful colors, and it was nice being far from the hustle and bustle of the city.  Amongst the Redwoods, we came across a doe and her little bambi, who both felt quite comfortable with the many onlookers who had gathered to watch their little family eat, but suddenly another doe attacked the mother, and the pour thing ended up limping away. Ok so this wasn’t the happiest moment in my recent running adventures but it was definitely noteworthy.

Now bringing it back to Maryland, just last week I saw a fox when I was running in Rock Creek Park…very cool!

I have a client that I train in Rockville, MD very close to Wootton Parkway, and when weather and time permits I run from Wintergreen Plaza towards Wootton High School.  There, I have kept up with a family of geese and  am happy to report that as of last week there were four goslings to be seen following Mommy, marching in perfect order and it instantly made me smile.

I also at times run in Bethesda, which is where I train most of my clients, and when I get a break in between appointments…I am running.  I have a Bradley Blvd. loop that I run regularly.  During my run today, I came across four baby rabbits frolicking about and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

If these aren’t reasons enough to run I don’t know what is.

I don’t know about you but there are just some days when I’m seriously lacking energy to accomplish my daily tasks yet alone get in a good workout at the gym. For me I find this especially true as I move towards the end of a long week; getting to the gym on a Thursday or Friday can be brutal.

There is some good news out there though if you are a coffee drinker like me. Recent studies are continuing to show that drinking a cup of coffee (black, 8oz…sorry no lattes studied here) help improve performance and a couple more cups after the workout can help recovery! Many of the caffeine studies have focused on runners and have shown that a runner can improve their 5k time by 10-15 seconds after consuming a cup of coffee before a race. The same effect carries over into a regular workout at the gym.

Also it is important to note that many people say they do not want to drink coffee before a workout because it dehydrates them but overall it is more important to hydration consume liquids.

As we all know caffeine affects people differently so these studies are by no means telling everyone to start consuming coffee prior to a workout. The major takeaway is that having a cup of coffee or something with a similar amount of caffeine can give you that extra boost to get yourself into a solid workout.

Anyone who’s been working out for an extended period of time has hit a plateau.  You may begin to notice that your improvements have slowed and you seem to be levelling off in your performance.   Instead of grinding away with the same old routine, overcome your plateau and think FIT.  FIT is an acronym for the three ways that you can improve or alter your existing workouts:  Frequency, Intensity, and Time.   Frequency refers to how often you’re working out.  If you’re strength training and you feel that your improvements have tapered off, add another session each week!  Two workouts may have helped before, but your body may have gotten used to it; its old hat and no longer challenging.  By adding a third, you might again see greater progress.   Intensity refers to how hard you exert yourself while you’re working out.  Perhaps you’ve been grinding along on the treadmill at 6mph for 30 minutes at a time for weeks now.  You might be ready to push it up to 6.5mph for 30 minutes to burn off a few extra calories.   Time can refer to both the duration of your workouts, and the “time under tension” during your strenth training.  If you’ve hit a plateau doing hour-long training workouts, try adding a few more sets and training for an hour and fifteen minutes.  Or within each rep, you can increase the time that your muscle is in tension by doing slow “negatives.”  

Remember, just showing up isn’t going to cut it!  The only way to see continuous improvement is by constantly challenging yourself!  FIT provides some easy guidlines to help improve the quality of your training without a complete overhaul.  Happy training!