Click below to read Melissa Kingston’s featured blog in Buzz Magaine about last minute Gate River Run Prep
Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or just an amazing runner; or any other type of athlete trying to up the game here are a few fun tips to work into your routine to help with endurance and stamina.
1. Use interval training. There are several benefits to interval training that will help you get the most out of your runs, and increase your stamina.
• Improve cardiovascular capacity. Endurance running can take wind out of you. By using the interval training, you’ll increase your anaerobic capacity (oxygen-depleting). And when you combine this with aerobic capacity (oxygen-building with easy runs and long runs), these will end up making you faster.
• Burning calories. Bursts of energy (the high-intensity part of interval training) will increase the amount of calories you burn. This is true even for relatively short bursts.
• It adds interest to your running routine. Let’s face it, boredom doesn’t help the situation when we are trying to make changes. This way it keeps you motivated and looking forward to the change.
2. Perform steady intervals. Try alternating equal periods of high and low-intensity running. This will be the easiest and helpful way to incorporate interval training.
• Start with a 10-15 minute warm-up. Start off with a fast walking pace followed by a light jog, picking up speed at the end of the warm-up to break into a full run. This will make sure your body is properly warmed-up before you begin the intense speed work.
• If you are new to doing intervals, you need to train your body to get used to the hard intervals. Run at high speed for 1 minute followed by 2 minutes of slow running or walking. Repeat these intervals 6-8 times. Do this for several weeks until you feel comfortable with the rest. Then lower your recovery/rest time by 30 seconds until you are running 50/50 burst (such as one minute burst followed by one minute rest). Make sure you and your body, are ready to increase the intensity of the faster pace intervals and reduce your rest/recovery period before you reduce the rest/recovery time.
• End with 15-20 minute cool-down and light stretching.
3. Pyramid Interval Training. Pyramid intervals start with short bursts of high intensity and then build up so that the longest period of high-intensity training is in the middle of your workout. Then, you gradually pull back to the shorter burst of intensity before completing your cool down. This is somewhat more complex than steady intervals, and you may want to use a stopwatch to maintain your times.
• Warm up for 10-15 minutes. As described above, begin with a rapid walk followed by a light jog, picking up speed at the end of the warm-up, so that you are running at high intensity at the end of the warm-up period.
• Run for 30 seconds at high intensity. Then, run at low intensity for 1 minute. Continue as follows:
• 45 seconds high, 1 minute, 15 second low.
• 60 seconds high, 1 minute, 30 second low.
• 90 seconds high, 2 minute low.
• 60 seconds high, 1 minute, 30 second low.
• 45 seconds high, 1 minute, 15 second low.
• 30 seconds high, 1 minute low.
• Finish up with a 20-30 minute cool down, ending at a comfortable walk.
* NOTE- Just like when you start any new program, you need to make sure your body is adjusted and ready to start it. Doing too much too soon can lead to injuries. Just like when you are building up your mileage, you don’t just build up. You gradually build up. If you are pointing to a specific race, you do longer intervals with longer rest several months before the race. As the race approaches, you increase the intensity and shorten the recovery.
4. Do Variable Intervals. If you play sports like tennis in addition to running, you know that speed and stamina requirements vary according to the conditions of the game. Variable intervals help you to mix up short and long high-intensity intervals in an unpredictable pattern, which more closely mimics the irregular bursts of speed that are part of typical playing conditions.
• Warm up for 10-15 minutes of easy running.
• Mix it up. Run for 2 minutes at high intensity and then jog slowly for 2 minutes, 30 seconds. Run at top speed for 30 seconds and then jog for 45 seconds. Mix up your intervals at random. Just make sure that you rest for longer periods after longer high-intensity intervals than you do for short bursts. When starting out, keep your rest periods slightly longer until your body is ready to shorten the rest intervals.
• Cool down for 15-25 minutes.
5. Use the Interval Setting on a Treadmill. When you run intervals on a treadmill, the machine mixes up both the speed and the incline, presenting you with new and unpredictable challenges. Just make sure to warm up and cool down afterward if these periods aren’t built into the interval training program.
Don’t Forget To
Add Weight Training to your running. Weight training increases your running economy, which means that you use oxygen more efficiently during your run. Try doing free weights, machines or other strength training exercises three times per week.
Benefits of Strength Training – There are numerous benefits to strength training regularly, particularly as you grow older. It can be very powerful in reducing the signs and symptoms of numerous diseases and chronic conditions, among them:
• back pain
*Push Ups, Squats, Deadlifts with Row, Dips, Side/Front Planks & Shoulder-Press, (to name a few) all of these and more can be given to you by your awesome trainer’s at Definition Fitness, so don’t neglect the strength training!
Other Ideas to Help Increase Endurance
1. Increase your mileage by 10 percent per week. For example, if you run 2 miles per day, then add 2/10 miles to your daily run for a week. Continue adding 10 percent to your run to increase your stamina. But make sure to alternate your training. For example, if you run 20 miles a week, you will increase it to 22 miles the next week. But the week after that, bring your mileage back down thus allowing your body to adapt (so run maybe 18-20 miles). Then the week after that, take it up to 25 miles a week, followed by reducing your mileage to 21-23 miles then following week. Gradually build up your running. AT what mileage to peak depends on your race you would like to do.
2. Take a long run on the weekends. If you’re used to running 2 miles per day during the week, then take a weekend run for 4 miles.
3. Run slower and longer. For example, run at 60 percent of your capacity for longer distances. The long run is meant to help build stamina, and it is not a race. Make sure to take easy days before and after these runs.
4. Do high-powered bike intervals. Try pedaling on a high-tension exercise bike, the setting works your leg muscles even more than running uphill, without the impact on your joints.
5. Swim some Laps. Include some swimming to change up your routine or to help with after a run.
6. Increase your mileage by 10 percent per week.
7. Take a long run on the weekends.
8. Run slower and longer.
9. Try plyometrics.
10. Increase the pace at the end of your runs.
11. Run on changing terrain.
12. Change your diet.
13. Most Importantly “Make it Part of your Schedule”. If its just like waking up and brushing your teeth, it will be apart of you and nothing will get in the way!
Deadlift: means to take a barbell from the floor to resting around hip level. Put simply, a deadlift is an exercise that trains your body to pick up a heavy object from the ground in the most efficient way possible.
The deadlift is one of the most efficient exercises around when it comes to building strength, power, and a solid core in addition to improving overall sports performance. When performed properly, it will go a long way in helping you improve your posture and aiding injury prevention.
Deadlifts work your legs, butt, back, arms, forearms, shoulders, traps, and abs. Not bad for one exercise! Oh, and it also pumps up your whole body and can even release extra testosterone, which will help you in your muscle building.
Think about our ancestors: they didn’t have a weight rack to deal with, or a Smith machine to help them out – they had heavy rocks, logs, and carcasses they needed to move from one place to another. Same applies for us today in our everyday lives; home, work, playing with kids. At some point we are going to be moving things, equipment, etc. and if we have the proper technique we can do so without injury.
The Deadlift is the most important exercise next to the Squat. But nothing is more frustrating than plateauing on the same weight over & over. Even worse is when the weight you Deadlifted in past workouts for 5 reps suddenly doesn’t even want to budge the floor.
Improving the Deadlift – Means More. The fastest way to boost your Deadlift is to Deadlift more. If you are bad or weak at something, the best way to improve it is to do it more often (but not over-train). The deadlift is the number one technique lift. If you don’t have technique in the Deadlift then there will be injury… you just can’t muscle it up.
Things to keep in mind when doing Deadlifts:
• Don’t arch your back (or roll it in the other direction). Keep your abs tight the ENTIRE TIME, and keep your back straight.
• Keep the bar as close to you as possible – almost roll it up your shins until you get to your knees, and then almost roll it up your thighs until you’re upright.
• As you bring it past your knees, don’t think about pulling up with your back, thrust in with your hips.
• Keep your head up and chest out as you lift – this will help you keep your back aligned properly.
• As you bring the weight up, you want your legs to straighten out simultaneously as your hips come in completely – form a straight line at the same time with your hips, knees and feet.
• Don’t Pull – Push. You have to use your hip muscles. Deadlift by driving through your heels, push your hips forward once the bar reaches knee level, and lock the weight by squeezing your glutes hard at the top.
• Don’t Squat – Deadlift. Deadlifts are NOT Squats, your hips have to be higher to pull big weights and so you don’t hit your shins on each rep. Raise your hips so your shoulder-blades end up over the bar.
• Use Your Legs. Your hips should be higher than when you Squat, but not too high otherwise your lower back will be doing all the work.
• Strengthen Your Grip. It doesn’t matter if your legs/back have the strength to Deadlift the weight. If your hands can’t hold the barbell, it will obviously never leave the floor. (perform Farmer’s Carry, Single Hand/Arm Holds from Pull Up Bar)
• Warm-up Properly. Some guys don’t warm-up at all which is not only asking for injuries, it also doesn’t let you practice Deadlift form. Others are so afraid of getting hurt that they waste energy doing a gazillion of warm-up sets.
• Pull Faster. The faster you lift, the more muscles fibers you’ll recruit and the more weight you’ll pull. Lifting fast is NOT cheating, nor is it dangerous or bad for your joints as long as you control the bar and use proper technique. Proof of this is that all Olympic lifters pull explosively yet they have low rates of injury.
• Accelerate the bar from the floor as fast as you can. The way down should be under control but not slow. Don’t worry if the bar speed decreases as the weight goes up – just apply as much force to the barbell as you can.
• Stretch Your Hips. Spending 8hrs/day or more behind a computer like so many of us do, will tighten your hips. You’ll have a hard time engaging your glutes during Deadlifts which can turn you weak at lockout and hurt your lower back. Stretch your hip flexors with warrior lunges and do supine bridges to activate your glutes.
Types of Pull Ups
PULL UP is when your hands are facing away from you. This will work your back and biceps.
CHIN UP is when your hands are facing towards you. Although this also works your back, it has more emphasis on your biceps.
The pull-up is a great strength-building exercise. In just one pull-up, your body calls upon the following muscles:
Grab a bar with a grip slightly wider than shoulder width, with your hands facing away from you. Hang all the way down. Pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. Slight pause, then lower yourself all the way back down. Go up, and really concentrate on isolating your back and biceps. Don’t swing!
Once you can do a single pull up, work on doing them in sets. Do one pull up, then wait a minute or two and do another one. Then wait a few more minutes and do another one. A few days later, try to do two in a row, and do a few sets of two. You need to start somewhere, but as soon as you can do one, you can find a way to do two. After that, find a way to do three, and so on. Remember don’t cheat yourself by only going halfway down and not going all the way up. Straighten your arms out at the bottom, and get your chin over the bar!
HELP WITH PULL UPS
Assisted Pull Ups with chair – (either one foot or two depending on your needs) – your feet are ONLY there for support, use your upper body as much as possible.
Assisted Pull Ups with Resistance Band– (you can get different types of exercise bands with different levels of strength). Put your foot in the exercise band and pull yourself up.
Assisted pull ups with a partner – (have a friend hold your feet behind you and help you complete each rep). Have your friend use the least amount of help possible to get you through your workouts.
Pull Up Tips
Now, let’s say you don’t have a rubber band, you don’t have somebody to hold your feet, and you don’t have a chair – you ONLY have a pull up bar. That’s okay – you can do what we call negatives. When doing a negative, you jump above the bar and try to lower yourself slowly and in control until you’re at the bottom of the movement. Also try just holding in the pull position for as long as you can, until you continue to build your strength. Start with 20-30 seconds and then keep building on that.
It’s all about strength. And strength will come if you keep working at it. That’s the 1 thing you must keep in mind all the time: the only way to get good at Pull-ups, is to do Pull-ups and lots of them.
*While taking on this process, be sure to be training your back with other exercises such as DB Rows, Body Weighted Inverted Rows (on the Rings, Bar, or TRX), then proceed to other helpful tools such as the resistance bands.
If you currently can only do one pull-up, start out by doing 12 sets of 1 pull-up with a 45 second break between sets. Do the routine two times a week. Once you can do two pull-ups, begin this routine:
Week 1: 8 Pull Up Iso Holds for 30-40 seconds with 1 minute break. Twice a week.
Week 2: 6 sets of 2 reps. 45 second break in between sets. Twice a week.
Week 3: 5 sets of 3 reps. Twice a week.
Week 4: 4 Sets of 4 reps. Twice a week.
Week 5: 3 Sets of 6 reps. Twice a week. If you’re able to do more, go ahead.
Training for Push Ups
How to Set up for a Proper Push Up
When it comes to push ups, your form is crucial. Each push up needs to be done perfectly so that your total reps measured from workout to workout are on equal footing. If you did thirty perfect push ups two days ago, and then today you did sixty push ups by only going down halfway, sticking your ass up in the air, etc., it’s absolutely impossible to tell if you got any stronger.
Here’s how to get set up to do a push up:
•When down on the ground, set your hands at a distance that is slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Depending on your strength and experience, your hands should be angled in a way that feels comfortable to you. For me, my hands are set up so that my middle finger points straight up and away from me. You can also turn your hands inwards slightly if it’s less stressful on your wrists, or you can do your push ups on your knuckles (as long as you’re on a semi-soft surface like grass or carpet.
•Your feet should be set up in a way that feels right and comfortable to you. For some, that might be shoulder width apart. For others, it might be that the feet are touching. Generally speaking, the wider apart your feet, the more stable you’ll be for your push ups.
•Think of your body as one giant straight line – from the top of your head down through your heels. Your butt shouldn’t be sticking way up in the air or sagging.
•If you have a problem getting the proper form with your body, try this (yes I’m serious): clench your butt, and then tighten your abs. Your core will be engaged, and your body should be in that straight line. If you’ve been doing push ups incorrectly, this might be a big change for you.
•Your head should be looking slightly ahead of you, not straight down (yeah I know I’m looking straight down in my top picture, I hadn’t started yet!). I read somewhere that said “if you’re doing them right, your chin should be the first part of your head to touch the floor, not your nose.” Looking up helps you keep your body in line, but feel free to look down if that helps you concentrate more.
•At the top of your push up, your arms should be straight and supporting your weight. You’re now ready to do a push up.
How to Complete a Push Up
Here’s how to complete one repetition of a push up:
•With your arms straight, butt clenched, and abs braced, steadily lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle or smaller. Depending on your level of experience, age, and flexibility, 90 degrees might be the lowest you’re able to go. Personally, I like to go down until my chest (not my face), hits the floor. That way, I know I’m going the same distance each and every time.
•Try not to let your elbows go flying way out with each repetition. Keep them relatively close to your body, and keep note of when they start to fly out when you get tired.
•Once your chest touches the floor (or your arms go down to a 90 degree angle), pause slightly and then explode back up until you’re back in the same position.
•Congratulations, you just did a proper push up. Do as many as you can until you start to feel your form slip (even slightly); you are done for that set. Ten good push ups and 5 crappy ones are tough to quantify against eleven good push ups. If you can only do ten of something, write down your results and aim for 11 next time. Perfect form allows you to keep track of your improvements week over week.
“But I Can’t Do a Push Up!”
That’s okay, here’s a plan that will help you get there. You need to start with an easier push movement, and work up to progressively more difficult types of moves that will eventually result in you doing true push ups.
Start with Wall Push Ups:
Just like with a regular push up, clench your butt, brace your abs, and set your hands on a wall at a width that’s wider than shoulder-width apart. Walk backwards with your feet until your arms are fully extended and supporting your weight (generally one decent sized step back with both feet will suffice). Keeping the rest of your body in a straight line, steadily lower yourself towards the wall until your nose almost touches the wall, and then explode back up to the starting position.
Do 4 sets of wall push ups with a 2-minute rest between sets, every other day. Keep track of how many repetitions you can do WITH PROPER FORM for each set in a notebook for easy comparison to previous workouts. Once you can do 4 sets of 20 repetitions of wall push ups, you can progress to elevated (or incline) push ups.
Elevated Push Ups are just what they sound like – your hands are on an elevated surface, whether it’s something as tall as a kitchen table or as low as a few blocks that are inches off the ground. This will depend on your level of strength and experience.
If you’ve just progressed from wall push ups, pick something that is at a level that’s right for you – I generally find the back of a park bench or the side of a picnic table to be a perfect height for doing incline push ups.
Do 4 sets of elevated push ups with a 2-minute rest between sets, every other day. Again, keep track of all of your stats for how many proper form repetitions you can do in each set. Once you can do 4 sets of 20 repetitions, it’s time to either move to regular push ups, knee push ups, or a lower height for your hands to be supported.
To work on progression, try to doing your elevated push ups on the stairs in your house. As you get stronger, you can move your hands to lower and lower steps until your hands are on the ground. Then try lower incline push up, or push ups with your knees on the ground. In my opinion, if you can do 4 sets of 20 repetitions of incline push ups, it might be time to switch to regular push ups.
Push Up Variations
Basic push ups can get boring – fortunately there are dozens upon dozens of variations to make things more difficult for you. Although I think the Hundred Push Ups program is a solid program for folks to follow, I’m a bigger fan of making the push ups tougher once you’re able to do more than four sets of 20+ push ups.
Why? Because muscle and strength get built when you’re lifting a heavy enough weight that somewhere between 6-12 repetitions per set is a challenge (and even up to 15-20 reps to an extent…but beyond that it becomes less about strength and muscle building and more about muscular endurance).
Once you’re cranking out perfect form push ups like it’s your job, try some of these variations on for size. Click on each for a video demonstration (done by yours truly):
•One foot push ups – the easiest variation, your body needs to stay in balance throughout the whole movement.
•Walking push ups – adds a degree of difficulty by forcing you to move your arms around in between reps
•Decline push ups – these work your shoulders and triceps more so than normal push ups.
•Tricep push ups – keep your arms tight at your side, rotate your hands outward, and keep your elbows tight as you lower your body. Works your triceps like crazy.
•Dive-bomber push ups – funky, difficult, but oh so fun. I’d explain it, but just watch the video
•Plyometric Push ups – these are brutal and will wear you out just after a few repetitions. Just don’t hurt yourself!
Therapeutic Taping, Kinesio Tape, KT Tape…What is it you ask and is it for me?
Therapeutic Tape and Kinesio Tape is an elastic sports and fitness tape designed for muscle, ligament, and tendon pain relief and support. No matter what your training for, you’ve probably come into contact with some type of injury during your fitness journey and lets be honest nothing slows us down faster than pain and injury. So along with other rehabilitative methods this taping technique could be helpful for you.
Kinesio Taping is a rehabilitative taping technique that is designed to facilitate the body’s natural healing process while providing support and stability to muscles and joints without restricting the body’s range of motion. It also provides extended soft tissue manipulation to prolong the benefits of manual therapy.
It has the ability to re-educate performance, prevent injury and promote good circulation (lymphatic drainage) and healing by microscopically lifting the skin.
This tape is lightweight, comfortable to wear, and can be used for hundreds of common injuries such as lower back pain, knee pain, shin splints, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tennis elbow, just to name a few. It can be worn for days at a time, through sweaty workouts, work, and showers. It is made with 100% medical grade, acrylic heat activated adhesive, no medical properties in tape, and Latex Free.
Kinesio Taping has also been shown to affect scars. Reductions of adhesions and pitting, softening, flattening, improved pliability, and reduction of contractures have been seen in some patients.
*Definition Fitness is now providing this service to our clients. If you are interested or would like to find out more information on it please feel free to ask.
We will be charging $10.00-$15.00 for this service (dependant on size of area). If you provide your own tape we can discount service.
So there are only 3 more challenges before the end f the year and we tally the results to see who will win a free workout and free massage!
-Your physical challenge for the week is to do your age in pushups every day for 5 days in a row= 5 points
-Your nutrition challenge is to try 2 new vegetable recipes this week= 6 points (3 per dish)
Happy December Definition Clients…this weeks challenge will be a physical one. We will be holding a plank for 1 minute, then everyday you will add 15 seconds to that ending the week with 2 minutes total by Friday. Happy Planking and keep up the awesome work!
• Reduce your sugar intake to:
-Women- 20 grams or less a day
-Men- 36 grams or less a day
• Record your intake and report to your trainer
• Must have 5 days recorded and turn in by next Monday
• Fruit does not count towards your total
• Worth 5 points!
Do 100 squats everyday, even on training session days. Take a picture or video of you doing your squats to show your trainer. Post to Facebook or twitter for extra points. Worth 10 points total. 1 extra point for every post.