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Fun Run on National Running Day 2014!

National Running Day 2014 is the continuation of a tradition born in 2009 that occurs annually on the first Wednesday of June.  All across the nation, thousands of runners at all levels participate in Fun Runs, set new goals, kick off training plans and reinvest in their love of the sport.national running day 2014

National Running Day 2014 is the perfect day to begin your running career or renew your fire just as the hot months start to dampen your enthusiasm.  With events everywhere someone wants to run, finding a Fun Run to join is easy.  You can also search this list to find an official event near you.

Team FitNice will be celebrating with J&A Racing at their 6am Fun Run on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk and in the evening, the Team will be headed to Final Kick Sports for a second National Running DayNational Running Day 2014 celebration of our local running community.  In conjunction with the Final Kick hosted 5pm get together and 615pm 30-minute Fun Run, Rock n Roll Virginia Beach will be launching its 2014 season.  Leading right up to Race Day, there’s not a better opportunity to get your training rolling by joining your Team FitNice coaches and friends for a kick-off outing.  Whether you run, jog or walk these events, you’re sure to make a new friend or two while being entered for giveaways and getting some summer running advice from your Team FitNice coaches.

All of FitNicePT’s running coaches are USA Track and Field, giving them the ability to lead runners of all levels to success.  From first time 5K-ers to 20th time marathoners, our coaching staff is sure to give you the guidance and support you need to succeed in any running endeavor.  We hope to see you out there renewing your love of running, starting a new training plan or simply getting involved in the energetic, supportive running community and can’t wait to talk about your next running or fitness goal.

We’ll see you on National Running Day 2014!

Please email us for more information or to let us know we’ll see you at either of these events at Info@FitNicePT.com or simply fill out the form below.

More Fun Exercises

It’s Monday and we hope you had a wonderful weekend.  October starts tomorrow, and there isn’t a better time to mix up your exercise routine than by adding something new.  Today’s additions to our Exercise Demonstration page include Single Leg Burpees, Hand Release Push-Ups and, always a favorite, 8 Count Burpees.  Each of these exercises will help you get stronger, burn calories and challenge your muscles in new ways.

Single Leg Burpee

The Single Leg Burpee is similar to a plain Burpee, in that you simply fall down and get up.  The additional challenges comes from being able to use only one leg to get back up.  Unlike plain Burpees, you do not have to put your chest on the ground and can keep your shoulders in a plank position.  These will really have your quads, hamstrings and glutes firing and are great for burning calories.

Hand Release Push-Up

One of FitNicePT‘s favorites, the Hand Release Push-Up is a great tool for building shoulder, chest and core strength.  Starting in normal Push-Up position, lowering the chest to the floor and picking your hands up off of it ensures a full range of motion and prevents stopping short.  This exercise can be modified by starting in regular push-up position, putting the knees on the ground during the downward and upward parts of the movement and finishing back in regular Push-Up position in a high plank.

8 Count Burpee

An 8 Count Burpee has a myriad of benefits and will not only help you burn tons of calories, but build leg, arm and core strength as well.  The 8 counts are 1-hands down, 2-feet back, 3-downward portion of a push-up, 4-upward portion of a push-up, 5-jumping feet out wide, 6-bringing the feet back together, 7-bringing feet to hands and 8-finishing with a jump.

Give all three of these exercises a try and put a new challenge into your Fall Workouts!  Good luck and enjoy.

Have a Healthy Breakfast

This week, FitNicePT partnered with the United States College Athletic Association (USCAA) to help launch one of their newest initiatives, Fitness Focus.  Dedicated to helping small colleges in the United States, the USCAA is driven to provide “quality athletic competition on a regional and national level.”  Always ready to give student athletes the opportunities they need to perform at their best, the USCAA released their first issue today and featured one of FitNicePT’s very own blogs!


A healthy breakfast, this morning meal of fruits, low fat yogurt and whole grain granola will get your day off to a great start.

Learn about why you need breakfast, all the benefits of making it a healthy one and what the best choices are for your morning meal when you read this issue.

“‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it give your mind and body a jump start’ says Meredith O’Brien, Owner of FitNicePT.  ‘To have a healthy one, eat a morning meal rich in lean proteins, whole grains and fiber.'”

We’re proud to have helped the USCAA launch a new program that is sure to benefit all of their student athletes and anyone else who comes in contact with it.  It will be exciting to watch it grow and we can’t wait to work with them in the future.

Find the first Fitness Focus right here and make your breakfast a healthy one!

Bon appetite!

Beat High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is an epidemic in America.  It can cause heart disease, kidney failure, stroke and heart attacks.  Also called hypertension, high blood pressure is most common in men over 45, women over 55, those who are overweight and people with a family history of the disorder.  Whether you have been diagnosed with hypertension or not, controlling blood pressure is an important part of living a healthy life.

If you do have medically diagnosed high blood pressure, there are lots of prescription medications available today that can help.  Medications can get expensive, and if you’re on something else, the interactions can be dangerous.  While medications are often an easy, quick fix for a serious issue, your body can also build up tolerance to active ingredients, making them ineffective.  There are natural, less expensive and better-for-you solutions that are just as effective as chemical controls, so try these before supplementing your diet with hypertension medication.

Weight loss.  Obesity is one of the major risk factors for hypertension, which makes losing weight one of the best ways to lower risk.  When the body carries extra weight, it puts strain on the biggest and most important muscles in our bodies, the legs and heart muscle.  Shedding excess pounds can relieve this pressure on the heart and, in turn, lower blood pressure.

Staying active.  While moving around and working out will help with weight loss, doing small things to stay active can also help reduce high blood pressure risk.  Social activities such as volunteering and taking dance classes provide supportive settings that promote healthy aging and decrease stress.

Sleep.  Over 50 percent of people with sleep apnea, which prevents good, sound sleep and causes daytime sleepiness also have hypertension.  Many who suffer from this disorder are also obese, compounding the risk of having high blood pressure.  Not only can getting a good night’s rest help control blood pressure, it can help you lose weight.  For more about how to get better sleep, check out this article.

Stop salt.  Processed and restaurant prepared food is rich in sodium, and that can leads to increased risk of stroke, hypertension and heart disease.  Cooking at home, buying food labeled low sodium and no-salt can help cut salt intake down, and asking for no salt added entrees when you’re out are great ways to help control blood pressure.

De-stress.  Stress can cause reactions similar to the fight or flight instincts that humans needed to survive thousands of years ago.  Constricted blood vessels, increased heart rate and higher blood pressure are key for responding physically to stress, but without an outlet, these reactions can cause high blood pressure to stick around.  Exercising is a great way to relieve this physical stress, help lose weight and decrease the risk of hypertension, heart attack, heart disease and kidney failure.

Get Some Sleep!

Sleep is an incredibly important part of physical fitness.  Putting out a max effort as often as possible in the gym is how you get results.  If you’re tired, sleep deprived and lacking energy, you’ll be missing key elements important in reaching the goals you want.  A suffering workout can be prevented by getting enough sleep every night, here’s why and some ways to fix it.

One major reason not getting enough rest is going to prevent you from seeing increases in strength and endurance is that most of your growth hormone (GH) is produced while you sleep.  Not only does GH help you grow, it aids in calcium rentention, helps decrease fat storage, supports your immune system and assists your organs.  While GH is clearly an important element in getting results from your workouts, sleep also plays in big role in keeping your stomach satisfied.  Two hunger managing hormones, ghrelin and leptin, are balanced when you’re catching Zs.  A study in the journal PLoS Medicine showed a strong relationship between limited sleep, high levels of hunger-inducing Ghrelin, low levels of satisfaction-inducing Leptin and obesity.  The bottom line?  Not getting enough sleep will make you fat.

If sleeping less leads to weight gain, it implies that sleeping more help with weight loss.  Weight gain and weight loss are both associated with metabolism, and a big part of that is how your body manages blood sugar levels.  Not getting enough sleep puts your body in a state similar to being diabetic because it results in trouble regulating blood sugar.  Your body’s response to and regulation of blood glucose levels after eating carbohydrate rich foods can be slowed by up to 40% when lacking sleep.  Your thyroid, which is mostly in charge of how many calories you burn just to get through the day, doesn’t react well to losing sleep, either.  The thyroid hormone becomes suppressed when you’re getting a full night’s rest and doesn’t burn as many calories, slowing down your metabolism.

Now that you know how getting a full night’s rest will benefit you, here are some tips to help you get one:

Check out where and how you sleep.  Ambient light and noise need to be reduced as much as possible.  Put that flashing modem in another room, silence your cell phone and get rid of the bedroom TV.  Hang heavy drapes and close blinds before bedtime.

Develop a pattern.  Your body likes routines, so going to bed and getting up at the same time everyday will help your internal alarm clock reset.  Dimming the lights and quieting down for a half hour before bed starts shutting you down from the day, and if you’re one whose mind races, reading something light will help those speeding thoughts fade away.

Now you know how important sleep is and how to make sure you get a good night’s full, so go get your jammies on and hit they hay.

Stay Fit While You Travel

Travel is one of the most fun things you can do with time off from work.  Whether you drive or fly, there are lots of things you can do to make sure you stay on track with your fitness goals.  It can be tough to get back into a fitness routine after a vacation helped you missed a few days in the gym.  The key to avoiding this problem is sticking with it for the duration of your trip.  You don’t have to work out each and every day, but keeping only one or two days between workouts will help you get right back in the groove when you get home.

Stay on track with your diet.  Remember the 80-20 rule and find healthy choices while you travel.  Relaxing your mind and body doesn’t have to mean relaxing your diet rules.

Pack for activity.  DVDs, resistance bands and tubes are small enough to fit in any carry on and can help you workout anywhere.  Check out these recommendations for a little help with your travel fitness strategy.

Schedule activities.  Find out what there is to do in your destination.  Try a new class in vibrant New York City, go for a horseback ride in Wyoming, walk through wine country in Napa or scuba dive in Honolulu.  Canoeing, skiing, dancing and even a long sight seeing walk will help keep you moving forward.

Use your hotel.  Yes, they’re usually small, but hotel gyms give you a little space to move around.  Most hold stationary bikes, treadmills, ellipticals and weight machines and some have quite modern, state of the art facilities.  Hotels pools you can swim in, and they have lots of stairs that are always available to be walked or run up for a fast, effective workout.

Expect to have a tough first few days back.  Your body might still be recovering from jet lag or overindulging in food and drink.  Your muscles need a chance to get back in gear, too.

Take these tips with you when you’re on the road and you’re sure to stay fit.  Want help planning your out of town fitness routine?  We’re here!  Email us at Info@FitNicePT.com!

Exercise Demonstrations

This week’s entry features a few of our favorite exercises along with YouTube videos showing you how to do them properly.  You can check them out right here on FitNicePT‘s very own YouTube channel!

Exercise Demonstrations

Do you want to see an exercise that isn’t here?  Ask us to add your favorite!

Common Workout Mistakes

To get the best possible results in the gym, you need to get the best possible workout every time you try.  Of course you’ll have good days and bad days, but there are lots of ways to make sure you give yourself the best opportunity to succeed.  Even if you work with a trainer or take group exercises classes, there are times when you’re sure to be on your own.  Avoiding these common workout pitfalls will help you reach your goals without injury.

Not resting.  Your body needs time to recover from all the extra work you’re asking it to do.  Give it what it needs.  Taking at least one day off each week will allow your muscles and bones to recover from the strain you’ve recently exerted on them.

Wearing weights.  Not the heavy kind you lift, but the ones you strap to your body.  Ankle weights, wrist weights and weight vests can inhibit natural movement and prevent you from getting all the benefits of an exercise.  They can also change the way your skeletal system works and put excess stress on sensitive areas like joint, tendons and ligaments.  Weight vests are great if you’re preparing for deployment, otherwise, you probably shouldn’t wear one.

Not warming up.  Warming up is incredibly important.  It preps your muscles and heart to do harder work and will help prevent injuries.  Loosening up muscles and increasing blood flow helps joints move properly, and a good warm up also means a better workout overall because your body will be ready for the overload.

Exercise at an inappropriate level.  Too easy and you won’t do any good.  Too hard and you’ll get injured or be too sore to go back anytime soon.  Find your target zone by wearing a heart rate monitor and use perceived rate of exertion (RPE) to determine how hard you’re working, never rely on what a machine tells you.

Always doing the same thing.  If you do the same exact things each time you hit the gym, your body will stop responding to the stimulus.  By giving your muscles something new to do all the time, you continually challenge your muscles to work in new ways.  A wide variety of exercises leads to well-rounded and powerful muscles that can work strongly through a full range of motion.

Follow these tips to make sure you get the most out of your trips to the gym.  Want help planning your workouts or deciding how to warm up?  Ask us!  Email Info@FitNicePT.com for answers today!

Gotta Have Breakfast

Everyone has heard the rumor that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Well, it’s true.  Not only are breakfast foods delicious, making the right breakfast choices can get your day going with a healthy and happy start, but the benefits don’t end there.  Eating within half an hour of waking up can increase resting metabolic rate, improve short-term memory and help control weight.

Skipping breakfast means your body hasn’t been fed in up to 15 hours and isn’t producing the enzymes needed to metabolize fat.  If you wait for lunchtime to eat, your body doesn’t start working, and burning calories, until you’re five hours into your day.  By eating breakfast you give your system something to work on all morning, causing it to produce those enzymes and use more energy from stored fat.  In fact, eating a healthy breakfast has been shown to increase resting metabolism by up to 10% for the remainder of your day.

Breakfast will also give you a burst of energy, increasing your ability to concentrate and your strength.  Numerous studies of kids who eat breakfast have shown that they perform better in school than those who don’t eat a morning meal, and a study of teens in the Journal of Adolescent Health found high-energy foods for breakfast improved short-term memory, proving that kids need healthy morning foods just as much as adults.

Missing breakfast doesn’t slow down your metabolism, but does delay turning it on.  The biggest issue with people who skip breakfast, and tend to weigh more than those who don’t, is that missing breakfast often leads to overeating later in the day.  Overcompensating for a missed meal by grabbing whatever is handy can lead to high calorie food intake, overeating and bad choices.  Another downside to this kind of eating is that lots of easy to eat foods contain fast burning refined carbs and sugars, the reason for those tired feelings after lunch.

The most important part of your morning meal is its content.  Doughnuts, sugary cereals or highly processed toaster snacks will negate most of breakfast’s benefits.  Be sure to pick healthy foods like whole grain cereal and bread products, eggs without yolks, fresh fruits, low-fat yogurt and other lean proteins.  High energy foods, like bagels, have lots of calories and they add up quickly.  Fiber rich foods like oatmeal, berries and walnuts allow you to eat more without all the calories.

For help planning your breakfast menu or to schedule your Kitchen Makeover, email Info@FitNicePT.com today.

Start Running! Here’s How.

Want to start running?  Starting something new can be very intimidating and running is often tops on the list.  Even those who have taken a hiatus due to injury or burn out can have trouble getting started again.  With the potential for injury, getting a physician’s clearance before beginning a run/walk or running program is incredibly important.  After being cleared, here are some tips for getting your running program started.

Support.  Make sure you have the right shoes and use a specialized running store to find them.  Properly fitting and supportive shoes will prevent injury and help keep you pain free.  For women, a properly fitting and appropriately supportive sports bra is just as important as good shoes.  Don’t be afraid to try a few different options to find the one you like best.

Before and After.  Warming up is a key element to getting in a good workout, so spending five to ten minutes raising your heart rate and getting muscles ready to work will help reduce your risk of injury and aid you in achieving better results.  Just as warming up is important, cooling down after your session with five to ten minutes of stretching will ease post run soreness and tightness.

Comfort.  One element of having a successful start is staying in your comfort zone.  Don’t push yourself too hard, too fast or you risk burning out, being injured or not enjoying your new activity.  Stressing out about how fast you run when you are a beginner will have the same effect.  Concentrate on building endurance, and being proud of yourself for starting a new activity, before being concerned with how fast you run each mile.

Find a buddy to run with.  You don’t need to run with a friend every time you head out, but once a week running with a friend can be a great motivator.  There are lots of programs available on the internet you and a friend can work on together.  It’s always a great idea to find a coach or join a group of other beginner runners in your area, which is a great way to find the perfect running buddy.

Race.  You don’t have to be ready to race, but getting out and experiencing one is a great way to set goals and stay motivated.   The race shouldn’t be about winning your age group, or even running the entire way, it’s about being in an electric atmosphere where a bunch of strangers cheer for you.

Check out FitNicePT’s newest program, VB Mother Runners, and learn how we can help you get started today!  Not a mom?  Ask us about our other training options!