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How do you know if you are over training? What are the signs? My philosophy used to be, and may still be (I should know better) is to train with enough intensity that I end up over training at least once a year. I never put myself into this situation before races, but I do like to push myself. Over the years I have learned to push the envelope while walking that razor’s edge with enough knowledge to know and look for signs that I am pushing too hard.

I still tend to push more than I should but I am now much more able to pick up on the warning signs that my body gives me and adjust accordingly therefore allowing me time to recover and get back to training as soon as possible.

Here is a list of things to look for that should keep you out of trouble.

Decreased performance. Slower reaction times, reduced speeds and lowered endurance levels are all common signs of overtraining.

Agitation, moodiness, irritability or lack of concentration. Too much exercise and too little rest can wreak havoc on the hormones and cause mood swings and an inability to concentrate.

Excessive fatigue and malaise. A body that never has a chance to fully recover from a previous workout will continue to feel more and more fatigued. Some people describe this feeling as “heavy legs.”

Increased perceived effort during normal workouts. Overtraining takes a toll on the body, and workouts that were once a breeze can begin to feel like a grind.

Chronic or nagging muscle aches or joint pain. Overused muscles and joints can cause constant aches, which may go unnoticed until the body is given proper rest.

More frequent illnesses and upper-respiratory infections. Too much exercise taxes all of the body’s systems and makes it more difficult to ward off infections.

Insomnia or restless sleep. During sleep the body has time to rest and repair itself. An overtrained body, however, is sometimes unable to slow down and completely relax, making it difficult to recover between workouts.

Loss of appetite. Overtraining can cause an increase in hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine that tend to inhibit appetite. The physical exhaustion and anxiety that often comes with overtraining can also have the same effect.

Chronically elevated heart rate at rest and during exercise. A clear sign of an overworked heart muscle is a chronically elevated heart rate. Also, people who overtrain will often find that it takes longer for their heart rate to return to normal after a workout.

Menstrual cycle disturbances in women. Exercising excessively and not consuming enough calories may disrupt a woman’s menstrual cycle. While some may experience irregular periods, others will stop menstruating altogether.

Train Hard…Train Smart

Stretching is by far one of the most overlooked aspects of physical fitness. The training we provide for our clients is very condensed and meant to fit into the busy work week. Most of our clients are able to fit it all in but only a very few actually stretch.

I myself have fallen prey to this scenario; I used to stretch two to three times a week for up to 45 minutes, but somewhere along the line I started to slack off. Because of this I am faced with a move that involves a lotus stretch at my martial arts school that I cannot achieve. Consequently I have added stretching to all of my workouts. I spend at least fifteen minutes at the end of each workout. I have also added two days a week where I stretch for at least forty minutes

I have already noticed vast improvements but still have a ways to go. So what I have learned is…don’t wait – Stretch now your body will thank you!!

So I just finished my first tough mudder and have already started thinking about changes that I want to make for my next event.

First of all I had a blast and got a much better finish then I expected. The things that worked for me were following the MMA style training program from Ross Enamait from his book “Infinite Intensity” (http://rosstraining.com/blog/) . I also added in some 5-10K runs which helped immensely, this particular mudder (http://www.clickitevents.com/mud-dog-run/crumland-farms-july-28th-2012.html) involved a lot of running.

I will continue this approach but increase the distance in my runs because I have a tough mudder in September with a 12 mile course http://toughmudder.com). I will also duct tape my laces next time around and use yanks laces http://www.yankz.com). I think I will run with a pair of shoes that has a little more tread and I will also drill holes in the bottom of my shoes for better drainage. I am also contemplating using gloves for the 12 mile event and definitely using a camel back for hydration and as a spot to keep GU gel in for energy (the event could be up to four hours). I am also thinking of using gloves for the longer event.

Those will be changes I will working on and in the mean I will do as many mudders as possible before the big twelve miler.

I highly recommend these events they are phenomenal!!

Make sure to train hard!!!

I just signed up for my first mud run and I am trying to figure out how I am going to prepare. I don’t like going into a new event without proper preparation.

I am a big fan of Ross Enamait (http://rosstraining.com/blog/), so I have been following his 50 day work out from Infinite Intensity (love that book) and I will of course continue with my martial arts training (www.taiyimkungfu.com). I will also try and run when ever I can. The race this September is twelve miles.

I will soon be doing more research online and talking with friends that have participated in these types of events before.

I will keep you posted on what else I find and how my training is going. My first race will on July the 28th the “Mud Dog” (http://www.clickitevents.com/).

Wish me luck!!

Having lived most of my life in the Washington Metropolitan Area I am no stranger to heat and humidity. By default, I have trained in the heat and humidity.

One of the main reasons that I do is because I know I may have an event in similar conditions. Yes, most events are early in the morning, but I have been in plenty of runs and races at nine to 10 in the morning when it feels like death. However, since I was familiar with this type of weather, I was always able to pull through.

There are extremely technical break downs of what happens to you when you train in the heat and even worse in the humidity, but the counter measures are always the same: stay well hydrated and make sure to get enough electrolytes. But what is not usually mentioned is that you can adapt your body to the climate, as well.

If heat and humidity are in your training or competition forecast, plan to acclimate to the conditions. Do that by training in a hot environment for about 100 minutes daily for 10 days or once every 3 days for 30 days. Full adaptation usually takes place within about a week or two or one month if going with the latter approach. Wear minimal clothing in the heat and make sure the clothes you do wear don’t interfere with the evaporation of sweat. Avoid dehydration by consuming fluids at a rate that closely matches your sweat rate. And finally, stay hydrated with a well-designed, good-tasting sports drink that features sodium and carbohydrates. Following these strategies gives you the best shot at beating the heat.

I have been going to gyms and fitness centers for 25 years (wow I’m getting old). In-between pumping iron I came to understand good gym etiquette and developed some Gym Pet Peeves. So here is it according to Eric Toussaint

Re-Rack
Always re-rack your weights, not everyone is a strong as your are and some members may have a hard time un-racking a machines, plus no one wants to waste time picking up after some other member who is being lazy.

If you see someone who is struggling to un-rack a machine, be nice and offer to help.

Keep down the noise
A grunt or a groan every now and then is OK, but please I shouldn’t hear sounds equivalent to child birth.

In the same vein, use indoor voices when in the gym. No one wants to hear your stupid stories or your trainer counting aloud for you at the top of his voice.

Don’t turn up you iPod so loud that the rest of the gym can hear your favorite song, and certainly don’t sing along.

Proper Hygiene

Please shower and use deodorant before you come to the gym, yes you smell!!

Wear clean clothes…no not the sweaty shirt that you threw in your trunk after your last workout.

Do not wear wear perfume, colognes or deodorants that have strong fragrances…not everyone has your tastes. When in doubt go for fragrance free.

How to dress

Please put some thought into what you wear at the gym. It’s okay to match in the gym?!?!

Guys please no short shorts, girls no belly shirts.

Please Share

Don’t sit on a machine and do endless sets, there are only so many machines available. Let people work in with you. You need to rest in between sets anyway so make the most

I just recently purchased the Nike GPS sports watch powered by Tom Tom, and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

I have traditionally used Garmin GPS watches but have found them difficult to use as regular time pieces, and I found myself carrying around two watches all the time. This was annoying and didn’t allow me to catch a quick run if I found a free moment during the day because it took me too long to set everything up. One caveat: I still use Garmin watches for my triathlons, I just needed something I could use on the fly.

The Nike GPS watch has all the features that a regular watch would have – clock, stop watch and alarm on top of it’s GPS feature. This watch also works with the Nike Plus foot pod that links in with multiple Apple products. The Nike Plus pod can be used simultaneously with the GPS feature.

The online suite that is accessed when the watch is plugged into your computer is ascetically pleasing yet not quite as functional as the Garmin software. However, it is more fun, which is not surprising when Nike and Apple decide to team up.

The GPS feature is easy to use. I have to tip my hat to Tom Tom; the satellite connection has been faster than my Garmin watches.

As far as the look and fit of the watch – it is top notch…all Nike stuff looks awesome!!.

I highly recommend this product and thank you Nike for making my running more fun!!.

Three weeks ago JETT trainer Sara completed her first tough murder. For those of you who don’t know about the tough murder series it is a military style obstacle course adventure and endurance race. Each race is different but they are between 11 and 13 miles with 25 plus obstacles.

In the days leading up to the race I was getting very nervous and wondering what I had gotten myself into. I mean why did I think paying to jump into an ice bath, climbing over walls, or crawling in the mud seemed like a good idea? I must say by the time I was half way through the race I was ready to sign up for my next one!

My favorite aspect of the race is the comaraderie and team work. Many of the obstacles can not be completed without the help of others and weather you had a team or not all of those around you were willing and able to help. Everyone cheered for everyone and there was no negativity to be found.

Additionally the race supports a charity that I hold very close to my heart; the Wounded Warrior Project. Not only are there many soldiers that compete in the event I was multiple wounded warriors competing as well. All of a sudden that little scrap of my knee seems insiginifcant when the guy running next to me has a prosthetic leg.

This is an amazing event and I can not wait for round two in September!

I just purchased the Motorola S10-HD Universal Bluetooth Stereo Headphones and I am loving them. The sound is crystal clear for both music and phone calls. I am not exactly sure what HD sound is but I know I like it!

Another great feature is that you don’t need to plug an extra piece into your smart phone to transfer the sound. I had an earlier version and it was almost useless, because any extra movement would dislodge the receiver piece.

I also like the fit, they are very comfortable and have multiple sizes available for the ear buds. I am very thankful that these headphones are sweat proof as well, I don’t know how many sets of earphones I have bought over the years that just stop working once there is too much moisture.

The music playtime is 8 hours, the talk time is 9 hours and up to 10 days standby time.

Thanks you Motorola, I look forward to many workouts with my new headphones!!

It pained me to see that a class action lawsuit (http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/class-action-suit-filed-against-vibram-fivefingers/article_161dadaa-7a8a-11e1-aed9-0019bb30f31a.html) has been filed against Vibram Five-Finger shoes, mainly because I love the shoe. However I do think that the suit has merit, and it is true that some runners may never transition fully to minimalist shoe that requires a forefoot strike as opposed to a heel strike.

The lawsuit did give me pause and I started to think back to all the minimalist shoes I have tried in the past few years and not all of them have worked for me. As a matter of fact the only ones that have are the Vibram Five Fingers. The Saucony Hattori hurt my feet as well as the both the New Balance MT 10 and the New Balance 00.

In the case of the New Balance shoes, I think my feet are too narrow, as for the Hattoris, I guess they just didn’t work with my feet.

I currently run in either Vibram Five Fingers or the Nike Free 5.0 and that seems to make my feet happy.

I guess the best thing I can say about my continued use and fascination of all types of running shoes is that you must test the waters and ease into any radical change in design and likewise any change in running style.