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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Goof Review: Altra Torin 2

Goof Review: Altra Torin 2

I have been a fan of the Altra line for a little while now, so I was so honored to be given a chance to review the brand new Altra Torin 2.  I reviewed the 1.5 version when it first arrived, and it became my shoe of choice for long runs.

What I love about the Torin 2

Zero Drop

One of Altra’s significant differences in the complete line of shoes is their zero heel drop and since my coaching methodology includes an emphasis on our body’s natural movement while running this is obviously one of my favorites. (I have included a explanation of what “Zero Drop” means in my previous Altra Torin 1.5 review.)

Wide Toe Box

The other difference between Altra and their competition is the wide toe box, or as Altra calls it, a “FootShape” toe box.  The ability to splay the toes plays a significant role in injury prevention and the strength of the feet.  This allows the runners body to support itself, rather tan relying on a shoe for support.

Upper

The upper has been improved in the 2.0.  The Torin 1.5 was made with a thick upper which added unnecessary weight and reduced flexibility of the shoe.  The 2.0 has been upgraded with a much thinner mesh material that breathes better and allows for more flexibility.

 Outsole

Here is where some of my favorite changes were made.  First, they moved from the heavier EVA to their lighter proprietary “A-bound” material that for me seems to add a little more spring to the ride of the shoe.  When my foot strikes the ground the material seems to not only protect from the natural impact, but reacts driving me forward.

The weight in the previous show was 10.1 ounces which was up from the original Torin which was 9.5 ounces.  The Torin 2 comes in at 9.1 ounces which is one of the lightest in this category, if not the very lightest.

Midsole

Altra added what they call Innerflex which are groves in the outsole and midsole that bend with your foot allowing substantially more flexibility than the previous models.  This too me was the single most important change they made.  The Torin has always classified as their High Cushioned shoe which most companies have traded flexibility for cushion.  Altra has found a way to give runners the flexibility I love with the cushioning I want and without giving up any of proprioception.Torin-2.0-2 sole

The have now included a Foot Pod technology which maps the bones of the foot with the Innerflex so the shoes flexes where the runner needs it to, allowing a near customized fit.

Removed

Altra went ahead and removed the toe guard and heel rudder as well.  In my opinion this not only allowed them to shed some weight, but also added to flexibility and comfort.  In a road shoe I never really thought either added any value.  These two advantages are best left for trail specific designs.

What I don’t like about the Torin 2

Obviously, not much.

The new Abound foam tends to soak in water and sweat which makes the shoe feel a little heavier during training and racing.  Even with the mesh material the shoe does not seem to drain well.  I would love to see a version of this shoe with drain holes, but of course that is the triathlete in me talking.

After about forty miles the new Abound material started to squeak while just walking ,and only in my left shoe  This does not seem to happen when I run in them, but it is a little noisy when walking through the store.  I think it may be just a problem with this pair, but nonetheless it is something I dislike.  However, it did not change the performance of the shoe.

The price of $125 is a little high in my opinion.  A better price point would be the $100 – $110, but of course that is very minor for shoe of this quality.

Let’s see how the Torin 2 ranked on my scale:

Quality – 4/5

Upper  – 4/5

Outsole – 4/5

Flexibility – 5/5

Comfort – 5/5

Appearance – 4/5

Cost – 3/5

Overall – 4/5

The Altra Torin 2 is available in men’s whole and half sizes 7-12.5, whole sizes 13-15 and in three color patterns.  It is available in women’s whole and half sizes 5-10.5, whole sizes 11-12 and in three separate color patterns.

Purchase the new Altra Torin 2.0 Now

Have you ever ran in a pair of Altra Torins (any version)?  How did you like them?

Please feel free to comment on your feedback.

How to Run Faster by Running Slower

How to Run Faster by Running Slower

I can hear it now….”Know wonder they call you a Goof…you are crazy.”, “So, if I run slower I will get faster?  You are out of your mind.”  It was not to long ago I used to think the same thing, but as with everything I post, there are reasons and science to back it up.

Let’s face it, logic would dictate that pushing the pace of your easy days, as close to race pace as possible, would help you get fit faster and help you speed up, right?  A lot of coaches, including myself, will tell you to run slow on your easy days, and easy days should be making up anywhere from 50-75% of your weekly mileage.

I have clients continuously asking me, “why are my easy days so slow?”  The latest is my famous sit downs with my runners telling them to slow down after examining their data and finding them running tempo speeds during an easy day.

The answer to the question is what Arthur Lydiard and most other coaches would call the aerobic system.  The aerobic system, or aerobic development, is the one of the most important fundamentals into unlocking your true potential.

Let us first check the stats on the energy contribution the aerobic system provides for races.  As you can in the chart below, even the shorter events like the mile, over 80% of the energy required to run the race is produced via the aerobic system.image

 

Aerobic System?  What is it?

Aerobic training is the scientific fact that to move your body at higher intensities, the body needs to break down sugar and convert it to glycogen so it can be used as energy.

The aerobic system plus oxygen starts a chemical reaction known as Aerobic Glycolysis which continuously powers continuous endurance activities.  In the aerobic system energy ATP is produced through Pyruvic Acid and Lipid/Protein fragments entering the Kreb Cycle and the Electron Transport Cycle.

Uh…what?

During aerobic respiration (yeah, that’s breathing) the body uses all the oxygen it needs to power the muscles.  When you are running in your “aerobic zones” (easy runs), your muscles have enough oxygen to produce all the energy they need to perform.

See?  Improving your capacity to transport and efficiently use all the available oxygen to produce energy will enable you to race faster since this makes up 85-99% of the energy needed to race.

Since running easy is aerobic development, what better way is there to train the aerobic system?  There is none.

What goes on in the body during aerobic development?

Capillary development – capillaries are the smallest of the body’s blood vessels and they help deliver oxygen and nutrients to the muscle tissues while exporting waste products out.  The larger the number of capillaries you have surrounding each muscle fiber, the faster you can transport oxygen and carbohydrates to your muscles.

Aerobic training (easy running) increases the number of capillaries per muscle fiber, thus improving how efficiently you can deliver oxygen and fuel to your working muscles and how quickly they can clear waste products.

Myoglobin Increase

Myoglobin is a protein in the muscles that binds the oxygen that enters the muscle fiber.  When oxygen becomes limited during intense exercise, myoglobin releases oxygen to the mitochondria to produce more energy.

The more myoglobin you have in the fibers of your muscles, the more oxygen is transported under aerobic stress.  Like, uh, during a race.  Aerobic training increases the amount of myoglobin you have in your muscle fibers.

Mitochondria creation

Mitochondria are microscopic organelle found in your muscles cells that contribute to the production of ATP (energy). In the presence of oxygen, mitochondria breakdown carbohydrate, fat, and protein into usable energy.

Therefore, the more mitochondria you have, and the greater their density, the more energy you can generate during exercise, which will enable you to run faster and longer.

Aerobic training increases both the number and the size of the mitochondria in your muscle fibers.

Suffice it to say that aerobic development is the single most important factor to long-term development.

Of course, track workouts, VO2 max sessions, tempo runs and cross training will increase your fitness and are still incredibly important to racing faster.  However, nothing will help improve continuously like developing the aerobic system.

Aerobic development is dependent upon running in your aerobic zones (for my runners Zones 1-3).  This is why running faster on your easy days develop the aerobic system.  Once you step out of those aerobic zones, on easy runs you diminish development of your aerobic system, but you also increase the chance for injury.  Nope, two negatives do not make a positive in running.

This is one of the single biggest mistakes runners of all experiences make in their training.

As a coach and trainer I have always distinguished myself because I am always able to give my clients and readers the “why”.  (Sometimes my clients end up telling me to just shut my mouth. when I am training with them because I am continuously telling them why they are doing each movement of an exercise or workout.  I guess it may not be an advantage all the time.  Go figure.)

Optimal Aerobic Development 

Scientific research has been able to identify how the aerobic system adapts and responds to certain training paces.  Physiologically we know:

  • Capillary development appears to peak at between 60 and 75 percent of 5k pace.
  • Maximum stimulation of myoglobin in Type I muscle fiber (Endurance Muscles) occurs at about 63-77 percent of VO2max. 63-77 percent of VO2max is about 55-75 percent of 5k pace.
  • Two researchers, Holloszy (1967) and Dudley (1982) published some of the defining research on optimal distance and pace for mitochondrial development. In short, Holloszy found that maximum mitochondrial development when running at 50-75 percent of V02 max. Likewise, Dudley found that the best strategy for slow-twitch, mitochondria enhancement was running for 90 minutes per outing at 70 to 75 per cent V02 max.

optimal-easy-run-pace

It is pretty clear now right?  Your optimal easy run pace for aerobic development is between 55 and 75 percent of your 5k pace, with the average pace being about 65 percent.

It’s also evident that running faster than 75% of your 5k pace on your long run has very little additional physiological benefit.

In fact, the research indicates that it would be just as advantageous to run slower as it would be to run faster.  Running around half of your 5k pace is pretty easy right?  Wouldn’t you know it, the evidence is clear that it still provides near optimal aerobic development.

Feel free to let me hear your feedback.  I welcome any other case studies, personal experiences and other research as I am always learning.  I provide you with the best content I can, but I have an open-mind and know that there may be other research out there that may negate information I post.

Carpe Vitam!

~IronGoof

How to Lose Weight by Nutrition Timing

How to Lose Weight by Nutrition Timing

All facets of training whether you are a runner, triathlete, tennis player, crossfitter, or weekend warrior have a dependency on diet.  As medical technology continues to increase the ability to test for different components of our blood, tissue and muscles the evolution of new diet trends will continue.

As an endurance athlete I have depended on Nutrition timing during training and long events, but recently I have been doing some experimenting.  The question I have: when does timing of nutrition make sense and how so.

I recently went out for a 12 mile run with a friend and did so with only my daily regimen of vitamins and such.  Usually, I would be packed with gels, electrolytes and water, but this time I was armed with only the water fountains on the course.  I was shocked when we finished 12.5 miles and I felt fine.  I continued to be mindful when I realized that even afterward I didn’t feel the effects of this long run like I usually would.

It is true, that I continue to benefit from my Ironman training from last year, as I continue to maintain at least my long runs.  However, I usually would always prepare for runs over 6 miles with, what I thought was the appropriate nutrition.  I am now questioning that especially after doing some more research.

Nutrient timing simply means eating specific nutrients (such as protein or carbs)… in specific amounts… at specific times (such as before, during, or after exercise).

In the early 2000s, with the publication of Nutrient Timing: The Future of Sports Nutrition by Drs. John Ivy and Robert Portman, the trend of all following publications became Nutrition Timing.

Since then, there have been discoveries that some of those early studies had design flaws or weaknesses.

 

Interestingly, as more long-term data appeared, nutrient timing started to seem like less of a universal solution.  Sure, there were still strong indications that it could be useful and important in certain scenarios.

Unfortunately very few people talk about the flip side: Further research, using similar protocols, failed to find the same effect.  See what I mean about new technology dictating new results?

For example, most of us have heard the Holy Grail of nutrient timing research has been something we call the post-workout “anabolic window of opportunity.”

The basic idea is that after exercise, especially within the first 30-45 minutes or so, our bodies are greedy for nutrients.

In theory, movement — especially intense movement, such as weight training or sprint intervals — turns our bodies into nutrient-processing powerhouses.

During this time our muscles suck in glucose hungrily, either oxidizing it as fuel or more readily storing it as glycogen (instead of fat). And post-workout protein consumption cranks up protein synthesis.

In fact, one study even showed that waiting longer than 45 minutes after exercise for a meal would significantly diminish the benefits of training.

With these physiological details in people’s minds, it became gospel that we should consume a fast-digesting protein and carbohydrate drink the minute our training ended.

Or, even better, immediately before training.

The only problem: research supporting this idea was short-term.

And just because we see positive effects in the short-term (like, in the next half-hour) doesn’t mean these effects will contribute to long-term results (like, in 3 months).

In fact, recent longer-term studies, as well as two incredibly thorough reviews, indicate that the “anabolic window of opportunity” is actually a whole lot bigger than we used to believe.

It’s no longer like the 1 inch cellphone screen that you practically have to squint to see.  It’s a huge, smartphone like LCD screen.

This is just one of the areas that have been re-researched with new technology.  To keep this post as short as possible below are some other aspects of nutrition timing I have found.

nutrient-timing-table_r4-01-1024x837

Are you a proponent of Nutrient Timing and what is your schedule like?

 

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!