17

Sep

Building Strength to Enhance Endurance – Go the Distance With Resistance

Whether it is used to maximise sporting prowess or to stay fit and active, endurance training is an excellent fitness option. However, it can also be damaging on our joints and various soft tissues including tendons, ligaments and muscles. For endurance athletes, those who compete in ultra long distance events with a view to pushing their physical capabilities to the limit, the risks are further magnified. From soft and connective tissue injuries such as muscle tears and ruptured tendons respectively, the repetitive strain placed on joints, and the massive, and prolonged impact our bones must endure, endurance sports do pose a risk and most endurance athletes will sustain an injury (or injuries) at some point in their career. From patellofemoral pain syndrome to Achilles tendinopathy to medial tibial stress syndrome, iliotibial band friction syndrome, plantar fasciitis and lower extremity stress fractures, the various overuse injuries often encountered by endurance athletes can stifle, or even end one’s competitive aspirations for good.

Restance Training to Increase Endurance Performance

Photo: Breaking Muscle

To offset the likelihood of injury, many endurance folk are turning to resistance training. Strength training can be employed to improve our performance for endurance events. Through balanced weight training we may correct structural imbalances which may encourage improper motor patterns. If, for example, one side of your body is weaker than the other, your stride will adversely be affected. By strengthening your weaker side you may, on the other hand, become a faster and more efficient runner. Strength training can also reduce chronic pain and joint discomfort.

Though an established training modality for most endurance athletes, resistance methods often take a backseat to more endurance-specific training protocols. Big mistake. By incorporating additional resistance work and, for some, reducing our endurance output we may recover better and become stronger and less susceptible to injury. Let’s explore some of the additional ways resistance training may build better, more resilient endurance athletes.

Increased bone density

Stronger bones can absorb a greater impact without becoming damaged. And nothing builds stronger bones than hard, heavy resistance training. Many long distance runners encounter medial tibial stress syndrome (commonly known as shin splints), a painful condition which may severely curtail our training efforts. By strengthening the tibia bone with anterior tibialis and calf raises, for example, we may lessen the impact cumulative stress places on this region. Aside from strengthening muscle tissue to enable a greater anaerobic output when pulling ahead of the competition, weight training, in particular that involving heavy (80% or more of our one repetition maximum) compound lifts such as the squat, deadlift and bench press, also promotes the increased calcification of our bones, making them both larger and stronger. As well, strength training will also increase protein synthesis of the tissues that connect bone to muscle (tendons) and bone to bone (ligaments), thus enabling them to provide greater support.

Greater joint stability

Resistance training is without equal for building bone density and strengthening the muscles that control our joints. Joint instability often arises due to an imbalance between the various muscles that act on our joints, or a general weakening of the surrounding musculature. For example, strong front quads and weak hamstrings may, over time, promote excessive straining of the connective tissues which stabilise the knees. This may lead to injury. Because endurance athletes place tremendous repetitive stress on their knees, in particular, it is essential that they train all of their leg muscles, including related muscles such as the hip flexors and commonly neglected areas such as the tibialis anterior, with equal intensity. By developing strength and size throughout our physique so as to offset muscular imbalances we create greater joint stability. Rather than receiving undue punishment, our joints, when protected by muscle, become more resilient and better functioning.

The strength to endure

By easing off the endurance and including more resistance (ensuring that optimal recovery from both is achieved), we may become better athletes, and less susceptible to injury. As well as assisting injury prevention, resistance training can also increase muscular endurance, improve speed and boost agility and overall athletic performance. So to cultivate the strength to endure, you may want to incorporate harder, heavier strength training into your current programme.

This post was written by David Robson in conjunction with Gym and Fitness Australia. David also doubles as a trainer, health and fitness educator and mentor to both established elite athletes and novice trainees alike. He has written professionally for Muscle & Fitness magazine, FLEX, bodybuilding.com, New Zealand Fitness, Inside Fitness, ALLMAX Nutrition, and Status Fitness magazine.

1

Sep

Everyone is doing CrossFit but is it right for me?

The concept is simple enough.  Rather than specialise in a particular activity or field, a range of specialties are covered.  This “Jill of all trades” approach is precisely what makes CrossFit unique.
The key outcome of CrossFit is also simple.
To improve a person’s overall fitness and strength by undertaking exercises that improve core areas such as: endurance, strength, power, stamina, flexibility, coordination, accuracy, balance, and agility.
CrossFit works best for people who want to improve their overall fitness rather than focCrossfit fitness gym weight lifting bar groupusing on one specific area.  This makes it better for people who want to do a range of activities rather than just one sport like rowing.
If you are considering CrossFit but are still on the fence, then the following information will be useful.  Below we detail the good and bad parts, and help you decide if CrossFit is right for you.

CrossFit is good for motivation
One of the key benefits is that you work with quality instructors, and generally in a group environment.  This can help motivate you and drive you to work hard.  It also has a social aspect, which while intangible, is still very important.
It’s true that when you find the right group of people, exercise becomes a whole lot easier.  CrossFit definitely ticks this box.
CrossFit gets you fit. Very fit!
While people argue that you are not specializing in a particular type of exercise, the fact that you are doing so many exercises means that you get fit very quickly.
In fact, CrossFit people are some of the fittest in the industry.
It can also help you develop muscle tone and lose unwanted weight very quickly.  Muscle tone may be an issue for some women whose main goal is to lose weight.
Cost effective
The cost of CrossFit classes is generally lower because they are group classes.  As such it offers good value for money when compared to other types of training programs.  It’s a lot better priced than a one on one personal trainer.
You do need good technique though
While anyone can do CrossFit, you need to have a good technique and form for all of the exercises you will be doing.
In addition, you also need a well-qualified instructor who can teach you the right techniques from the start so you don’t form bad habits.
If you execute movements incorrectly, then you stand to cause yourself injury.
A good instructor will make sure that you can do the exercises without injuring yourself before they let you in the program.
You need to be fit and healthy
CrossFit is an intense form of exercise.  It is hard work.  There are Navy Seals that would struggle with some aspects of the program!
Because of its intensity, before starting you should check with a doctor to make sure that you are fit and healthy enough to undertake CrossFit.  Click here for more details.
There are a lot of sit ups!
Yes these are great for your health and improve your core body, posture and also muscle tone.  However, be warned.  There are a lot of these bad boys and they will make your stomach burn.  These sit ups are all part of the process though.
So is CrossFit for you?
In short, CrossFit does work.
It can get you very fit very quickly and can help you lose unwanted weight.  However, it is also an intense work out.
If you work well in groups, like specific instructions, and are willing to learn specific techniques and work at a very intense level – then CrossFit could be for you.  If you prefer to workout at a more modest speed, and to your own pace, then it may not be the best option.
When considering CrossFit you need to see a doctor and get the all clear first.  You also need to spend time working out the exact technique, so you don’t injure yourself.
Overall it has a lot of benefits, and you can see results very quickly, so if it matches in with your needs it is a good option.
Nevil Hunter is the Sales Manager for Orbit Fitness, a fitness equipment retailer based in Perth, Western Australia. Connect with Nevil on Google+.

2

Jun

How To Train For A Triathlon 

A lot of people presume that one needs to have something close to superhuman athletic ability in order to compete in a triathlon. This is a complete fallacy. Finishing a triathlon is something that is completely attainable by anyone who has the patience and discipline to properly prepare themselves for the main event. Here are some essential aspects you’ll need to take into consideration.

Equipment

Before you even begin to train, you need to be equipped with the right gear. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend an arm and a leg. But as you’re going to be putting your equipment through the paces (so to speak), you don’t want to buy inferior quality stuff. A decent wetsuit is essential and you should be able to find one from High Octane Action Sports or countless other suppliers online. Equally important are a good pair of running shoes, a well-made racing bike, goggles and a helmet. Again, you’ll have no trouble finding these at an affordable price if you know where to look.

Perseverance and Patience

The ability to compete in and complete a triathlon will not come overnight. As a challenge, it’s very doable of course. But there’s a reason why so many people feel that it is beyond them: the level of perseverance and patience you must show is significant. Expect to spend at least three months preparing your body for the challenge ahead, with hours spent in the pool, in the ocean, on the track and on your bike. Equally, you must be prepared for set-backs. Some people approach a triathlon thinking that, provided they allow a few months for training, they’ll be able to compete. In reality, it doesn’t work this way. Many people suffer minor injuries or extreme fatigue throughout the course of their training. And if this should occur to you, you’ll need to stop training until your body has recovered enough to go on. This probably sounds like a lot of hard work – and it is. After all, if a triathlon were easy, many more people would be putting themselves forward to do it.

You Will Get There

There’s no denying that triathlons are not for the feint-hearted. They require total dedication to the cause. They require an ability to push your body to its limitations, but equally, to accept when you need to take a break from training. Provided you have these qualities – as well as some quality equipment – you will get there.

1

May

Breaking It Down

GoalsSetting yourself a goal and achieving it can often seem to be worlds apart. The task can seem to be daunting and you may have no idea where to start. But the main thing is you have your end goal set in your mind, the next step is to plan how to get there.

Once you have your end goal sorted the first step is to break that down into smaller chunks. Our goals are often ‘big picture’ things, so by having smaller more manageable goals we can have some checkpoints along the way to make sure we are heading along the right path. This will also serve to provide you with extra motivation as you check these goals off along the way. 

You will also need to put a time frame on how long you want to take to get there even for your smaller goals, having an open ended goal is likely to result in procrastination, and failure to achieve what you set out to. 

For example; if your goal was to run a marathon, that is a huge accomplishment and it can take years of preparation to get there. So having targeted goals to push you along can help get you there a little quicker. Your time line to achieving your goals may look some thing like this.

1 Month – 5km

3 Month – 10km 

6 Months – 21.1km (Half Marathon)

9 Months – 30km

12 Months – 42.2km (Marathon)

While there will be a hell of a lot of training required to get you to each one, you now have specific targets and dates to achieve along the way. This will help to keep you motivated and on track to success.

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11

Jan

Banning The Bounce

sports brasOk, so I know bra fitting is on the top of most women’s least enjoyable experiences list. But, are you also the woman that does not run on the treadmill due to the pain and embarrassment of breast bounce? Or maybe you feel a sports bra is unnecessary? Or is it that you just can’t seem to find a comfortable and supportive sports bra but you’re not sure why?

I have fitted over 10,000 women and I am yet to discover one sports bra brand that works for every-one, actually I don’t believe it’s possible. Women are made in delightfully different shapes so it’s more important to look at what style of sports bra works in harmony with your body.

So where does a girl start….Well if you are one of the many women who participate in high impact activities such as running, playing sport or aerobics who don’t wear a sports bra then this may just be your eye opener.

Why A Sports Bra?

· If your breasts aren’t well supported it can lead to breast sag. Why? Because your breasts are made up of tissue, fat and tendons – there is no muscle to rebuild. If your breasts are not supported with a good sports bra during exercise they will bounce, stretching these tendons. This is irreversible. 

· Not wearing the right sports bra can lead to neck, shoulder and back pain; more prevalent in women with a fuller bust.

· Studies have shown that not wearing the right sports bra can cause painful breasts, in fact 50% of women report this.

· Running strides are affected by swinging breasts, which increases stress on the body and leads to decreased performance.

And if that isn’t enough to scare the bejeebies out of you I have also witnessed bleeding and cuts and grooves in shoulders, back pain especially in women with a fuller bust, chafing, 2-3 bras being worn just to feel supported and worst of all…some women not participating in activity due to not finding the support they need. Not having the right sports bra can lead to lack of confidence and result in decreased performance.

The exact science of bra fitting….I don’t think so

Bra fitting is not an exact science. Any measuring tape system or online calculator used for bra fitting simply cannot be accurate; after all, our breasts are a volume not a straight line – so measuring a bust with a tape measure is like measuring a glass of milk with a ruler!

It’s not rocket science! However, because each woman is so different and there are no universal bra sizings, you will not necessarily be the same size every time you get fitted. And then there is… puberty, menopause, pregnancy, weight loss, weight gain… the changes to your size and shape can be many, but with a little help they can be managed.

Maxine Windram owns two specialty D-cup-and up lingerie stores. On her first marathon Maxine witnessed so much bounce she was compelled to create Brava Sport, the only specialty sports bra store in Australia. With a team of expert sports bra fitters, and an in store treadmill with video analysis, active women can now seek the right help. She can be contacted on 03 9596 1442 or visit www.bravasport.com.au

10

Jan

Follow Through on That New Year’s Resolution with the Help of a Personal Training Studio Melbourne Fitness Professional

Why people should be using a personal training studio Melbourne professional to get on the path to a healthier mind and body

It’s that time of year again… You know, the time when the whole world vows to change for the better.  The number one New Year’s resolution around the world is a tie between the resolution for additional weight loss, and simply better health in general. According to the Australian Health Survey 2011-2012, 63% of the Australian population is either obese or overweight. The study also showed 60% of men and 66% of women had a waist circumference that put them at risk of developing chronic disease. While many people believe that being overweight just means that they have more weight to deal with, they are wrong. Obesity leads to a myriad of health problems, including, but not limited to, heart disease, type II diabetes, and high blood pressure. Taking control of your life begins with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. A personal training studio Melbourne professional can help you achieve your fitness goals and decrease your risk for chronic conditions by helping you to change your body, mind and life.

It’s common knowledge that a balanced diet and active lifestyle help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Less common is the knowledge of where to begin, or the source of willpower to achieve our fitness goals on our own. Perhaps you get out of breath walking through the grocery store, or have too much back pain to do your job effectively. A 10% decrease in your weight drastically reduces the strain on your joints, and also decreases the stress on your lungs and heart. Regardless of your fitness level or goals, a personal training studio Melbourne location can help you. Studies show 64% of people give up on their New Year’s resolution by June, but this number does not have to include you. Only you can make this year different, by getting the right help and the right people to motivate you. Weight is the only thing you have to lose, and health is the major thing you will gain, not to mention additional self-confidence and increased energy.

If chronic pain is your main concern, start working toward improving flexibility and strength so you can begin living a life with less pain. Imagine how excited your doctor will be when your blood pressure is lower on your next visit, or that your cholesterol is lower as well? In fact, imagine his or her surprise if you were able to take control of your pain management by keeping your entire body healthy. Wouldn’t it be nice to take less medication and worry less about your future? On top of the health risks and concerns, do you know how much cheaper your life would be when you no longer have to purchase several medications and supplements to aid in healing your medical problems? What about waking up without any aches or pains? It is never more important than now to be a good example for your children. A longer, happier life begins with physical health, and you can get healthy enough to enjoy playing with your children and grandchildren. A personal training studio Melbourne fitness professional can get you on the path to a healthier mind and body. Get ready to enjoy the benefits of better health with the services that we have to offer you. Check out our services and let one of our trainers speak with you today.