How to Maintain Fitness and Wellness Habits: Tips and Techniques

How to Maintain Fitness and Wellness Habits: Tips and Techniques

Maintaining your fitness and wellness habits can be challenging, especially when life gets
busy. However, developing simple and effective strategies will help you stay on track and
keep your health a priority. This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide to
staying fit and healthy, complete with tips and techniques that you can implement in your
daily routine.

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6 Tips For Quality Run Training

6 Tips For Quality Run Training

Tips for Quality Run Training Train no faster than one pace quicker than the race you are training for. For example, 5k pace is good for an Olympic-distance race, while half-marathon pace suffices...

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Tri Tip Tuesday: My MOST Important Running Tip

Tri Tip Tuesday: My MOST Important Running Tip

On Tuesdays and/or Thursdays, I will do my best to give one simple fitness, triathlon or running tip, trick or piece of information that will provide some value to in either helping you to become more efficient, prevent injury, increase performance, have more fun or at the minimum give a review of knowledge that might not have crossed your path in a some time.

I find myself observing other runners while running and sometimes just hanging out here in Tampa.  Due to the weather here lending itself to year-round training, I have no shortage of material to choose from.

My #1 Most Important Run Tip

My coaching practice’s number one priority is form, technique and injury prevention, so I routinely use other runners, with my clients to reinforce the form training I have provided.  (Sorry, Tampa runners.  If you happen to pass by me with a client, most likely you have been observed and surveyed for comparative analysis.)

With all of my observations, the number one issue that I see are runners that sit in the bucket.  Of course, the question most people ask is what does sitting in the bucket mean?

Basically, it’s when the glutes(or bum) are not in line with the torso.  The body looks like an “L” from the torso to the hamstrings.  Natural running which when learned is much easier, more efficient and greatly reduces impact on the joints.  The torso hips, glutes and ankles form a straight line.

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The interesting thing is, that running should be instinctual right?  Unfortunately, not anymore.  Sociological factors have played into our bodies to a point where most Americans, cannot just decide to take up running without going through periods of injury.

For example, sitting at a desk all day will tighten the hip flexors so that it becomes extremely difficult to push the hips under the torso.  The same thing is evident for playing video games on the couch for long periods of time.

The figure on the left is actually still a lot better than I have noticed out and about.  The torso is still tall and the chest is still has a little bit of lean to it causing forward motion.  A lot of runners I notice, sit in the bucket and lean back.  What is this doing?  Basically, gravity is working against the runner.  The objective is forward motion but the glutes and the torso are sitting back, so in essence, the body and gravity are working against itself.

Another perception you will see is the heel strike of the runner.  When that heel strikes the ground the impact reverberates all the way from the ankle through the legs, spine, neck shoulders and head.  This is where most of the injuries take place.

By simply starting to incorporate, tilting the hips under the torso and leaning from the ankles instead of the waste, the body will start allowing gravity to be used instead of the legs as the sole source of momentum.  Suddenly, the feet are striking the ground underneath the center of gravity and only the calf down to the metatarsals absorb the majority of the impact from the ground.

I continue to instill in my clients, running is powered by the core, not the legs.   Use gravity as momentum and allow the legs to just go for the ride.  To remain consistent, the core must be strengthened and hip flexors stretched to keep the glutes from returning to the bucket.

There are many techniques to help modify the behavior to allow for an efficient, safe and effective change of form.  All it takes it the will to want to change and get better and you will.

The #1 tip – get out of the bucket.

 

Are you running in the bucket? 

Did this information shed some light on any area of your running that might be in need of improvement? 

Carpe Vitam!

(Seize Life!)

The Ultimate Guide to Compression

The Ultimate Guide to Compression

It has been a while, and I have a ton of ideas that I am anxiously awaiting to share with you. Unfortunately, time has been getting away from me. Between training myself, a full-time job and being at capacity with 15 individual clients I am struggling for time to post. I promise I will figure out a way to make time. I am so lucky to have such great people to bounce ideas off of, that sometimes, by not posting, I feel like I am letting all of you down, so I promise to post more even if the posts end up being a lot shorter than usual. (Which the length is probably not your favorite part of it anyway. I know I ramble.)

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of my personal opinion of compression, a disclaimer.
I am not a medical professional. The opinions that are shared on this post come from research, my own experiences and the experiences of athletes I have personally witnessed and information I have researched. Every athlete/person has a different body and some products and/or methodologies may be advantageous for some and may even be dangerous for others. This post deals with my beliefs and my research. (Was that clear?)

Lately, most of the questions from other athletes, including clients of mine, have asked about compression. This usually centers around calf sleeves, but does include some of the other compression apparel as well.  My answer is usually, for recovery and for temporary use they are great, but not for training.   Why?  Great question.

I am going to use calf sleeves as my example.

While running, biking, swimming or any major activity using the legs, the muscles are constantly in motion.  That motion is what naturally makes the muscles stronger.  The muscle moves and is loaded with either more repetitions, or with weight.  The full range of motion of each muscle is imperative to the strengthening of the muscle.  Compression holds that muscle in place and limits the movement therefore limiting the range of motion.  While compressed the muscle cannot fully develop while training.   Let’s take a look at the anatomy of the lower leg in the running position.

As you can see the gastrocnemius muscle and Achilles tendon, when the knee is flexed, both constrict and then elongate when the knee straightens.  Here is the epitome of the range of motion naturally occurring when running.  The more flexion and constriction that take place the more they are stretched causing the breakdown of the fibers.  After the recovery period the fibers wrap tighter and in more abundance aiding in a strength and endurance.  Now imagine that gastrocnemius muscle remaining constricted due to a calf sleeve.  It seems to me that this would dictate that it would not have full range of motion also causing the Achilles tendon to remain stretched without the full ability to absorb the impact.  This could unintentionally damage the Achilles tendon, the gastronemius muscle and the soleus muscle.  If not damage, it will limit the ability to be strengthened.  This is why I personally do not recommend calf sleeves during training workouts.

Recovery
I do however do not mind wearing compression while in recovery to include immediately following the cool down of a workout.  I mentioned the healing of the fibers earlier.  In order for the fibers to heal and become stronger after the breakdown, blood must be pumped through the muscle and with it water for hydration.  Compression does help to isolate that area helping to keep the majority of the blood and water being pumped through the body to the point of  the compression.  With the legs either elevated or even walking around and at that point limiting the movement, it would allow for the blood to pool in that area helping to re-hydrate the muscle thereby helping to heal faster.  In turn, an occasional training run or race, with compression at the tail end of an injury, might also benefit, but in a very limited quantity, and duration.

Carpe Vitam! 

IronGoof

Tribute Thursday – Matt “IronBeast” Dolitsky

Tribute Thursday – Matt “IronBeast” Dolitsky

There are a number of you that call me “crazy” for continuing to do Ironman Triathlons and keeping the training schedule I do during the season.  At least it is the inspiring kind of “crazy” right?  I enjoy training and obtaining results as a part of it, not to mention just maintaining my fitness level.  There is one person out there that I call “crazy” in the inspiring kind of way.  He puts all of my 100 mile bike rides, two-a-day workouts and mega brick training workouts to shame.  He makes me look like a couch potato and he is more inspiring and motivating that any person I know.  Let me introduce a guy who continues to motivate, inspire and just plain amazes me; Matthew “IronBeast” Dolitsky.

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Imagine if you will, a 9 mile obstacle course, that includes swimming in cold water, then a rope climb over a wall to exit the lake.  Imagine again doing this is in 30-40 degree temperatures.  Of course that is only one obstacle there are 29 others as well.  Now imagine doing that course as many times in 24 hours as possible.  Does that sound crazy to you?  This is “The World’s Toughest Mudder“(WTM), and Matt will be competing in that this coming weekend.  What makes it even more amazing, is that he is competing in it for the second time!

Matt claims he is average, and when I was talking to him about doing this blog he said, and I quote, “I’m just an average dude too just an above average pain tolerance and insane determination!”  All I can say is “Yeah, right!”

1424405_10201620700913850_138323445_nWhat does it take to compete in adventure obstacle challenges like this?  Let me give you an example.  I caught Matt training one day on Swann Drive flipping a huge tire for a mile.  Does that sound crazy?  How about a 75 mile bike ride on a mountain bike that didn’t start until 10pm?  How about a 3 mile swim around Harbor Island here in Tampa?   Matt incorporates these workouts as training on a regular basis and I think these are his easy workouts.  During the Gasparilla Half Marathon I did, pass Matt, but there was a huge difference.  I wasn’t carrying a tire on my half marathon, but Matt was.

Matt also inspires others constantly, and to a point where he is bringing a few people to the World’s Toughest Mudder with him.

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Matt and I met at Fit2Run while I was coaching there.  We were on a run together and I helped him (I think) relax a little on his run.  This was at the very beginning of his journey into ultra obstacle racing.  From there he was like a rocket ship.  Last year, I received a message from him on FaceBook asking me if there was an Ironman he could get into.  I laughed a little and told him after WTM and the Spartan Death Race, Ironman wouldn’t even challenge him, but I told him about Louisville.  He set his sites on it and wouldn’t you know it, he completed it as expected.  Needless to say Matt inspires me and a bunch of others every day.

Enough of my soap box about Matt.  Let’s let him talk for a bit.

Name: Matthew Dolitsky892243_553937851317850_1895750352_o
Age / Sign: 43 Years old, Gemini
Location:
Tampa, FL
Place growing up:
Long Island, NY
High School: 
Half Hollow Hills HS West
High School sports:
Lacrosse & Hockey
College: 
University of South Florida
Other Sports: Adventure Obstacle Racing, Triathlon
List your favorite races:
Ironman Louisville
Spartan Ultra Beast Marathon
World’s Toughest Mudder
Death Race
391515_363883563679774_1770674260_nI refer to you as not just a beast but an UltraIronBeast, because of the challenges you compete in.  What made you start doing these Ultra-Mud-Obstacle challenges?  
I stumbled upon my first obstacle race about 2 years ago.  It was a basic 3 mile mud race but after finishing the race, I felt invigorated with a sense of accomplishment.  Shortly thereafter, I “Finished” Tough Mudder and my passion for obstacle races and extreme challenges was born.
Now that you have competed in both mega Obstacles Races like the World’s Toughest Mudder and Ironman, how do you compare the two?
Comparing World’s Toughest Mudder or even the Death Race to IRONMAN is very difficult.  The bottom line with any of the three is that simply making the commitment to get to the start line is scary enough and takes great fortitude!  Once you make it to the start line, reality sets in and you now have to endure everything thrown at you or face a DNF.  A 140.6 mile IRONMAN triathlon is never comfortable but there is comfort in knowing exactly what you are getting into.  It’s a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run.  Barring variations in terrain and weather conditions, it’s pretty straight forward.  Long and hard but straight forward.  World’s Toughest Mudder and the Death Race are totally different beasts.  They do not tell you what you will be doing PERIOD!  Sure, you have an idea from previous races and intelligence gathering but you better get yourself comfortable with being uncomfortable really quickly and embrace every miserable moment of it.  World’s Toughest Mudder in New Jersey is 24-26 hours of running a Tough Mudder course on steroids braving miserable cold temperatures while running in layers of neoprene.  The Death Race was 70 hours of hiking gnarly terrain in the mountains of Pittsfield, Vermont while building stone stair cases up the mountain, doing countless burpees, chopping wood, endless manual labor, running, carrying 50+ lb. packs of supplies, etc. while not sleeping for 3 days!  With all that being said, the one thing that all three races require is mental grit because everyone of them will expose your weaknesses and tell you to quit at some point.  If you have the mental element coupled with proper training, your body will do whatever the mind tells it to do!  
If you could give me one adjective to describe the feeling  you 1010696_585362928153605_187298322_nget when you are working what would it be?  
One word to describe how I feel when working out or training is HAPPY.  Training makes me feel healthy and alive and that equals HAPPINESS.  I love being outdoors.  When I’m outdoors training, I’m in my element and the result is overall HAPPINESS.  It makes any negative thought that creeps into my mind disappear.
What is going through you mind while you are competing during a course like the Spartan Death Race or WTM?  
While I’m competing in races like World’s Toughest Mudder and the Death Race, I focus on micro movements while thinking of the race as a whole.  If I take my mind off my next foothold or hand placement, I could get hurt.  I must be focused on every series of movements the entire way through!  I have to become like a machine and keep performing consistently, safely, efficiently, and patiently.  I repeat this for the duration of the race until I am finished!
You have children that I know you love and adore.  For all of the parents out there, how do you balance the amount of training you do with work and family?  
Balancing kids, work, and training can be challenging.  Essentially, I 1150844_10201030414997071_604802185_nbalance my training around work and kids.  Sometimes I’m up early in the morning to train and other times I’m up late at night training.  It’s not uncommon for me to finish training at 2am.  It’s about committing to my goals!  Reaching goals and finishing races happens long before race day.  It’s about putting in the hard work and hours of training.  My races are unorthodox and so is my training.  I always try to train in conditions worse than I’ll experience on race day.  This way, conditions for me will always seem ideal!  I often take advantage of blocks of time I have available to train.  I’m very spontaneous and flexible.
What would you say is your greatest personal obstacle you ever overcame?  
Everyday, I overcoming the greatest obstacle there is.  Life.  I’m trying to keep life as simple as I can make it.  Living each day as it comes.  Trying to be happy, make a positive impact, motivate and inspire others, and be a loving father to my two boys.  I’m surrounding myself with positive people in the racing community, gaining some awesome sponsorships, and accomplishing things I never thought possible.  I’m also learning from some mistakes along the way.
1174834_10201136756895552_238071442_nWhat is your greatest victory?  
While crossing the finish line at IRONMAN Louisville was pretty amazing, living a life of happiness will be my biggest victory.  Something I’m trying to achieve everyday.  
What are your future goal races?
Double Anvil IRONMAN, Fuego y Agua Survival Run in Nicaragua, Bill Floyds 8 mile swim from Clearwater to Tampa
What are you favorite quotes?  
 “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore, Dream, Discover.” -Mark Twain  
Shout outs from Matt “UltraIronBeast” Dolitstky : His sponsors VPX Team Xtreme OCR, Reload Fitness, Mud and Adventure, and AL1VE Magnetics.
Matt is pretty inspiring right?  Check him out on FaceBook at Facebook.com/matthew.dolitsky

Carpe Viam!

Tribute Tuesday – Katrina Pilkington “Kat”

Tribute Tuesday – Katrina Pilkington “Kat”

It has been a while since I have been able to put together a Tribute Tuesday post and this weeks tribute is someone I am truly honored and excited to write about.  Katrina Pilkington, known by most people as Kat, has a heart that is rare by most standards.  While she enjoys being healthy and partaking in fitness challenges and goals, she always…and I mean always, finds ways to help others reach their goals in the process.

To tell you the truth I have no idea how she does it.  Katrina Pilkington is a woman who a few years ago decided to shed over 40 pounds for herself (see her story) and in doing so created a new energetic voice in the community and the blogosphere directed totally at those who want to become more healthy, more fit, and share ideas on how to go about it.

With only starting to run seriously just a couple of years ago, Katrina Pilkington, over the past nine months has completed her own challenge of 6 half-marathons in 6 months, attained her Certified Personal Trainer, has blogged about some new idea, product, person or technique every single day, holds a full-time job and is very active with her newlywed husband.  Sarah Jessica Parker in “I Don’t Know How She Does It” has nothing on Mrs. Katrina Pilkington.  She is truly amazing.

Kat Pilkington

She doesn’t know it yet (well, she will now), but she is an inspiration to me.  If it wasn’t for her example, Inner Fire probably would not be around today.  Kat showed me it was possible to get a message out that would inspire, motivate and be fun to write.  She also set an example on that there are plenty of topics out there to be expressed each and every day.

You don’t have to take my word for it, take hers in my interview below:

Interview:

Name: Katrina Pilkington or Kat
Blog: Fitty Kat

Katrina Pilkington at the Women's HalfBirthdate/Sign: December 10 – Sagittarius all the way

Place of Birth: Clearwater, Florida
Place growing up: Clearwater, Florida
High School: Pinellas Park High
High School sports: None – I had my head in the books
College: Tampa Technical Institute
College Sports: Nope
Other Sports: Never did any until I grew up!
I have linked to your “my story page” above so everyone can read your amazing story, but can you tell us what was the major turning point that started your fitness journey?
I’d struggled with binge dieting off and on and depended on quick fixes only to regain the weight back each time I stopped. I decided once and for all that I wanted to be the healthiest I’ve ever been and the fittest I’ve ever been once I turned 30 and have since worked to help others learn to live a healthy life the right way through the right methods.
If you could give me one adjective to describe the feeling you get when you are working out what would it be?
Powerful
When and why did you start running?
I started running and did 5ks and smaller races back in 2007.
What is one thing you love most about competing in road races?
I love the sense of accomplishment. I’ve done races and distances I never thought my body could take me through and hadn’t planned on it. Having asthma that kept me from playing sports when I was younger definitely motivates me to keep going and seeing how capable I really am.
Following your twitter, facebook, and blog, we know that you just past the NASM-CPT exam.  What do you plan to do with it?
I wanted to learn about fitness in more depth on my own and to teach others what I’d learned through my blog and in person. I’d love to start teaching boot camps and learn more skills to do more with others.
Kat with husband Gary, and Jaeden

Kat with husband Gary, and Jaeden

We all have those days when we just do not feel like training.  What do you do to get past that feeling and get on with your workout?
I am super structured and as long as I have a training plan in my face, I get up. Having to turn off the alarm and sit up and go. Only one rest day a week is required for me and the only other time I rest is if I’m sick. My workout will get me through the rest of the day better than anything else could.
What would you say is your greatest obstacle you ever overcame?
Running 6 half marathons in 6 months all around 2:10 while working to increase my lung capacity through having allergen-induced asthma (went from 74% – the lungs of someone in their 60s or 70s – to now 88%)
What is your greatest victory?
Those races – and now training for my first full marathon!
What are your favorite quotes?
“Love yourself and be awake, today, tomorrow, always”
~ Buddha (tattooed on my left, upper, inner arm as a daily reminder)
Coach Brad, Kat & Gary Pilkington

Coach Brad, Kat & Gary Pilkington

Carpe Viam!!!