Monthly Archives: November 2015

Pilates for Runners

Pilates is a wonderful addition to any training plan, especially for runners.  It builds strength, stability and power without being high impact and can also increase mental toughness.  A technique based system of moves designed to develop muscle balance, increase muscle control, improve mobility and mind body connection, practice is a must do for faster running.  Here are the biggest benefits you’ll receive when you add pilates to your program.

Create muscle balance.  Pilates focuses on every muscle in the body not just the big ones we use over and over.  Strengthening weaker muscles while maintaining stronger ones means pilatesyou’ll perform everything from daily activities to running a marathon with more ease and less risk of injury.

Lengthen to strengthen.  Pilates encourages muscles to stretch and reach.  Since running doesn’t require most muscles to move through an entire range of motion, pilates will make muscles stronger from end to end.  Strong muscles all the way through makes them able to produce more power with each contraction and that means faster running.

Low impact.  After all those miles on the road, track, trail and treadmill, it’s nice to give your body a break with a workout that keeps you off your feet.  Not only will the variety of a pilates session give your body a new challenge, your bones will appreciate the break.

Better breathing.  Pilates teaches you how to use your diaphragm and use the full capacity of your lungs for each breath.  Deeper breathing keeps your heart rate down, lowers recovery time and keeps muscles going longer.  Less cardiovascular stress when running through fuller, deeper breaths means faster finish times.

Relax.  Deep breathing combined with long, slow, full range of motion movements give you an opportunity to relax.  The concentration required to perform moves correctly also means you’ll have to clear your head of the day’s stress and pay exclusive attention to what your body is doing.

Add pilates to your routine on any day you want a good strength workout, any time you need a good recovery stretch or whenever you want to give yourself a new challenge.  Your posture, breathing, balance and running will all improve.  Click here to find a quality instructor near you!

Coach Meredth

Healthy Holidays: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a great time to get together with family, see old friends and eat lots of delicious food.  It’s also an easy opportunity to eat too much, eat the wrong things and end up feeling way off track with your meal plan.  Prevent each of those dining issues, stick with your meal plan, stay on track and get through this food filled holiday with these thanksgiving buffettips.

Get active.  Check out a local Turkey Trot.  You’ll have some fun and burn calories while making room for dinner.  Not in the mood for a jog?  Challenge your family to a backyard football game, play tag with the kids or take the dogs for a nice long walk.  Any activity that gets your blood pumping earns you an extra slice of turkey.

Eat before you eat.  Thanksgiving buffets can be delightfully tasty, especially when you’re very hungry.  Packing your plate with too much food is one major source of holiday season weight gain but it’s easy to prevent.  Eating something light and healthy before you head out will help stop you from over serving and over eating.

Scan before serving.  Look at all of your Thanksgiving options before piling anything on your plate.  Not only will this mean fewer trips to the buffet, it will help you make better for you choices.  Pick out dishes that are filled with vegetables and lean meats but light on greasy butter.  Limit desserts and alcoholic beverages to a minimum so make sure you get the one you like on the first try.

Make your own.  Just because it’s not a pot luck meal doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to pitch in.  Ask your host what you can bring to help out.  If you make it yourself, you know what’s in it and how much you can have without feeling guilty afterwards.

Take these Healthy Holidays tips with you to your Thanksgiving destination for a happy, good for day of feasting that won’t leave you feeling off track.

Coach Meredith

5 Tips for Safe Strength Training

Temperatures are dropping, days are getting shorter and working out in the fresh air is loosing some of its appeal.  When the weather turns, more people turn to the gym to keep their routine going.  Everyone can benefit from lifting weights but increasing the amount of time you spend strength training can also increase your risk of injury.  Here are 4 tips to make sure you’re safe strength trainingpracticing safe strength training to stay injury free all winter long.

Find a coach.  One of the best ways to ensure safe strength training is to use a coach or trainer.  Partnering with a certified professional who will help you learn the proper way to perform movements while pushing you to try new things is the best thing you can do to protect yourself.

Take it slow.  If you choose not to work with a coach, resist the urge to dive in head first.  Take a little bit of time to educate yourself on what each muscle group does and what exercises are the best to work on making it stronger.  Get comfortable with movements before increasing weight, making sure you’re performing each one properly for every repetition.

Take it seriously.  Just because your passion is running and not lifting weights doesn’t mean hitting the gym should be taken lightly.  Warming up and cooling down are important parts of any workout, especially when you’re pushing muscles to do something new or hard.  Safe strength training means showing those days respect and putting in the time to treat your body well.

Mix it up.  A big part of safe strength training is trying new things regularly.  When you give your body a new challenge, it’s forced to constantly respond, burning calories and getting stronger every workout.  Changing up your routine also prevents overuse injuries that come from performing an exercise to excess without a break.

Recover.  Foam roll, stretch and mobilize after each workout.  Safe strength training includes being ready for the next day’s workout.  Listen to your body and take a day off or try something new when you need to.

Use these five tips for safe strength training to keep your gains on track without risk of being derailed by an injury this winter.

Coach Meredith

5 Parts of a Good Cool Down

Warming up before working out is important and doing a good one can be the difference between a decent workout and a great one. Unfortunately, many people neglect a proper cool down, which can also make or break the next day’s workout.  Just like warming up gets muscles ready to work hard, letting your body cool off afterwards helps muscle start to recover.  Here are five parts of a good cool down plan.

Decrease stress:  Your heart and muscles are working hard during a workout.  Your heart rate is high, your blood vessels are expanded and adrenaline is pumping.  Abruptly dropping the amount of work your body has to do from 10 to 0 can lead to pooling of the blood in those expanded vessels, dizziness, nausea and, in extreme cases, fainting.  A good cool down includes time for your heart rate to slowly return to normal with low intensity activity.

Hydration:  If you worked up a sweat, you’ll need to replace the fluids you lost as soon as you can.  During your cool down, work to quench your thirst by taking in up to 32 ounces of fluid.  Your fluid of choice can be water, chocolate milk or sports drink.  Replenishing your fluids should include electrolytes to replace the salt you sweated out as part of the drink or as an additional tab dropped in.

Food:  Eat within 30 minutes of a workout.  The same way your cool down is a good time to fill back up on fluids, it’s a nice time to plan what’s next on your plate.  Your muscles will be craving protein for rebuilding torn fibers and carbs to fuel the process for both today’s and tomorrow’s workouts.cool down

Mobility:  Doing mobility exercises in an integral part of a good cool down.  Foam rolling, stretching and other drills will all kickstart the recovery process.  Each one will aid in clearing lactic acid from tired muscles, breaking up adhesions and getting the nutrition muscles need to them.  Adding one or more of these activities to your post workout routine will not only help you feel ready for the next day’s session, it will help you perform better, too.

Reflection:  A good cool down will give you time to chat with workout partners, evaluate how the session went and what you improved or need to work on next time.  This can be a perfect time to journal, practice breathing exercises or improve mobility.

Take these five tips with you to your nest workout and have a good cool down.  These simple things will help you feel better before, during and after your future workouts.

Coach Meredith