Category Archives: fitness

Spartan Race

Many of you know that I started doing Crossfit almost two years ago now and I love it.  It’s totally addicting and fun and it pushed me to where I would never quite be able to push myself on my own.  Some of you might also now that I have run three marathons.  Baltimore 2012, New York 2013 and 2014.  Well if you’ve never heard of a Spartan race it kind of marries those two passions of mine.  It is a race but it is much more than a race.  It involves treacherous obstacles that challenges you physically, mentally, and spiritually. If Crossfit is the sport of fitness than a Spartan Race is it’s proving grounds.  Yes Crossfit has the Crossfit games but that is the elite of the elite.  Anyone can sign up for a Spartan Race and really see what you are made of.  From the average Joe to Navy Seals there is a Spartan Race for you.  In Fact, I will be doing my first Spartan Race Super in two weeks at Mountain Creek, NJ  Look for more  to come when I recap that event in two weeks.  Back to the Spartan Racing series.

The Spartan race was voted the # 1 obstacle race by Outside magazine. In a Spartan Race you can expect running, rope climbs, crawling, tire flips, mud, ponds, mud, hills, scaling walls ala Ninja Warrior, mud, carrying sandbags, mud, inverted wall climbs, barbed wire, fire,mud, and just general cool shit.  It’s an adult playground to say the least.  For some people this sounds like hell on earth but for people like me this sounds like a day full of fun.  Where else can you challenge yourself to these extremes and put yourself in real world situations at the same time creating a bond with a group of friends that will last a lifetime.  There is a saying that those who suffer together bond together. CrossFit does that for a lot of people and so does the Spartan Race.   Get out of the gym and complete a Spartan Race with your buddies.  Right now on the Sparta Race website they are offering a 15% discount with the code LABORDAY.  If this video doesn’t get you inspired I don’t know what will.

 

Spartan race is also trying to promote a few upcoming events.  First is the Spartan Race world championships which take place in Killington Vermont on September 20th.  This will air on NBC Sports.  Look on your channel guide to find an airtime near you.  This is the extreme version of what you and your buddies will be doing but many of the same obstacles but done at a ridiculous pace and with more severe consequences.  If you want to see some of the world’s most well rounded athletes doing crazy stunts while tackling a 14 mile course with elevations of 12,000 feet then tune in.

unnamed_1 World-Championship-A-Frame

 

The other cool thing that Spartan Race is trying to do is a Spartan cruise.  If you’re like me and fitness is your passion and your lifestyle than maybe you would want to go on a fitness based vacation.  This cruise leaves out of Miami and you will most certainly have the experience of a lifetime.  Anyone who is interested in the cruise can fill out the form below and you will be entered into a raffle for a free cruise with airfare included courtesy of Jerseystrong and Spartan Race.  http://bit.ly/spartancruisegiveaway

 

 

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Is Crossfit the best way to train for your sport?

Let me start by saying that this is not an article bashing crossfit. If you want one of those there are plenty online for you to find. I love crossfit. I do crossfit. I think crossfit has upped the game for the average Joe who wants to bring his or her fitness to the next level. No other fitness movement has gotten so many people to train with high intensity like crossfit.
This article is about training for a sport and why you need a qualified strength and conditioning specialist. Crossfit sells Constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements. Those are great attributes for your average person who wants to get into the best shape of their life. I can honestly say that since I started crossfit I am stronger than I have ever been.
My point is that crossfit is not for athletes. People who do crossfit do crossfit to get better at crossfit. Crossfit will even tell you that it is not a workout but a sport itself.
When you are training for a sport you have to consider things like metabolic conditioning. Would a golfer really benefit from crossfit? The workouts would be too high intense while risking injury so the risk vs reward just would not be there. Another thing that you need to consider when training for a sport is when your season is. A qualified CSCS will emphasis the proper phases of training so that you peak going into your season. Typically there will be a strength – endurance phase, a strength phase, a power phase, and a tapering period. Crossfit kind of throws all of those phases into all of their workouts. If you do 4 crossfit style workouts then you probably will develop all of those aspects in a short amount of time. The last thing that you need to consider is which exercises are contraindicated. Every athlete is different and every sport is different and every position within that sport is different. Without considering the individual you can’t program properly for him or her. Crossfit creates programs for the masses. Don’t get me wrong, thee are quality coaches within crossfit that can help you scale down but at the end of the day you are doing the same workout as everyone else that day. Rule number one of being a strength coach is keep your players on the field. Because of that the industry has shifted towards injury prevention with screening like FMS and corrective exercises to alleviate imbalances and asymmetries. The last thing a strength coach will consider is the player’s sport. A baseball players because of the overhead throwing will have a vastly different workout program than a lets say a football linemen.
In the end training is supposed to help you perform on the field. The field is not in the gym. As it said it last month’s Men’s Health, “big biceps don’t mean better trainer.” Go to NSCA.com to find a trainer near you. Then when your playing days are over join crossfit and maybe I’ll see you at next year’s open!

A Strength Question?

Michael Boyle's Strengthcoach.com Blog

Got this question from a reader and thought I’d make the answer a post.

Q- “When you are in the strength phase for a specific sport that doesn’t require you to be brutally strong(basketball, baseball,tennis) would you train to be as strong as possible(how they do in football) or would you still stay fundamentally sound?”

A- The reason I wanted to answer this as a separate post is that I think we can address a couple of strength and conditioning misconceptions in one post.

If we read above,  the first assumption/ question is should you train to be strong in sports that might not appear to require maximum strength.  The answer to that would be a resounding yes. The bigger question relates to the question we pose frequently in seminars, “How strong is strong?”, or “what defines strong”?

All athletes should train to be as strong as possible, period. There…

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My Top 100 Diet Tips

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Here are my top 100 Diet and Nutrition Tips.  Some are thing you should never eat like fried foods and bagels.  Some are my top supplements for a healthy lifestyle like fish oil.  Some are things you should add to your diet like spicy foods and sweet potatoes.  Some are just general tips for weight maintenance and metabolism like get 8 hours of sleep a night.  How many of my top 100 do you currently follow?  Let me know in the comments.

 

1.  What can you add to your diet not what you can subtract
2.  Read Labels!
3. 5 ingredients or less
4. Organic fruits and veggies
5.  Eat for fuel 80 percent of the time and for fun 20 percent.  80/20 rule.
6.  Only eat foods you like
7.  No processed carbs.  Bread, pasta, 
8.  Fats are your friend
9.  Eat for your activity level
10.  Vegetables should be 2/3 of your plate
11.  The more colors the better
12.  Buy in season fruits and veggies
13.  In season Fruits and Veggies are cheaper
14. Learn how to cook
15.  Only Buy what you need for the week.
16.  If it’s not in your house you won’t eat it
17.  Sugar is the enemy
18.  Use spices not sauces for flavor
19.  Salsa is a the king of all condiments 
20.  Food is fuel
21.  Beware marketing claims.  Fat Free does not mean healthy
22.  If it has a label it’s a product and not a food
23.  Real Food goes bad
24.  Spicy food helps your metabolism
25.  1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.  No questions
31.  Order salad dressing on the side
32.  Always leave something on your plate
33.  When you are done eating cover food with a napkin
34.  Drink lots of water
35.  Always have Protein for breakfast
36.  Supplement with Fish Oil
37.  You don’t need Milk
38.  Fresh Juice only
39.  Don’t drink your calories.  Shoot for less than 200 calories a day from drinks.
40.  Eat Slowly
41.  Fruits in Moderation
42. Drink coffee
43.  Don’t drink Lattes or cappuccino’s
44.  Eggs are not bad for you
45.  Eat foods in their natural state.  Whole eggs and not just egg whites
46.  Mustard instead of Mayo
47.  If a label has ingredients you can’t pronounce then don’t eat it.
48.  No Diet Cola
49.  Low Calories doesn’t mean healthy
50.  Protein shakes are for after workouts
51.  Never diet at parties or holidays
52.  Eat at home most of the time
53.  Never eat in your car
54.  NO FAST FOOD.  EVER!
55.  Try everything
56.  Read Health magazines
57.  Follow healthy people on Instagram and Twitter.  Twitter.com/JoeLopez55
58.  Eat for health and not looks
59.  Educate yourself
60.  Love Food
61.  Be prepared to spend extra money
62.  Don’t eat fried food
63.  Never go grocery shopping hungry
64.  Shop the perimeters of the grocery store
65.  Choose Oils wisely
66.  Darker is better than lighter
67.  We are all habitual eaters.  Learn your habits
68.  Don’t eliminate food groups
69.  Eat.  Don’t Diet
70.  Just because meat is on sale doesn’t mean you should buy it
71.  Once a month don’t eat meat
72.  Think Natural.  Ice Cream not frozen yogurt
73.  Have a go to snack
74.  Plan.  Don’t improvise
75.  Fat, Protein, and Carbs at every meal
76.  Drink a large glass of water first thing when you wake up
77.  Avocados are a great snack
78.  Almonds can compliment almost any sweet
79.  Not all veggies are created equal
80.  Weigh yourself in the morning
81.  Don’t eat cereal
82.  Light doesn’t mean healthy
83.  Know the difference between being full and being not hungry
84.  Mix up your proteins
85.  Eat for variety to satisfy your senses
86.  Leave the candy for the kids
87.  Set short and long term goals
88.  Buy fresh as much as possible
89.  Grill meats to save calories
90.  Don’t eat bagels
91.  Prep meals on the weekends
92.  No cream based soups or sauces
93.  No appetizers at restaurants
94.  Beware of hidden sugar
95.  Sweet Potatoes are the ultimate carbohydrate
96.  Be creative with your protein shake recipes
97.  Do your own grocery shopping
98.   Vitamin D supplement in the winter
99.  No artificial sweeteners
100. Get 8 hours sleep a night 

8 Clever Tips for the Body You Want

Awesome tips!

Genetik Fitness Blog

Getting the Body You Want This article was taken from Sharecare. It’s a wonderful site, full of great information on Health and Lifestyle. I really believe that you will like this articles and that you will be able to implement these tips into your life for a better living.

Many women yearn for a fitter, slimmer or more toned body — and some seem to achieve it effortlessly. Below you’ll find some easy ways to reach your goals.

Get the Body You Want

In the words of Mireille Guiliano, author ofFrench Women Don’t Get Fat, “Everything is a matter of balance.” In other words, getting in great shape doesn’t mean you can never eat your favorite dessert again. It just means you can’t have it every day. What’s more, getting fit doesn’t have to be difficult, painful, or expensive. In fact, the most effective diet and exercise strategies will fit seamlessly into…

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

What does Clean Eating Mean?

Eating Clean

Eating Clean

 

 

Eating clean is simply stripping your diet with unhealthy foods. It is not a diet but a lifestyle choice wherein you only eat whole, unrefined, and unprocessed foods. This allows you to eat more and weigh less by making smart food choices.

Eating clean can is the foundation for proper nutrition, weight loss and disease prevention. The concept of clean eating may seem to be overwhelming at first, especially if it involves a lot of dietary changes. Taking it one step a time and incorporating it gradually, however, can help you ease into these changes. Don’t beat yourself up when you make mistakes or have slipped off the rails a few times. All it takes is the determination and patience knowing that you can eventually live a much healthier life than ever before. The keys to good health and proper nutrition are in the following concepts:

Cut down on alcohol

Several studies show that moderate consumption of alcohol (specifically red wine) has some health benefits, such as raising good HDL cholesterol and warding off dementia and Alzheimer. It is essential that consumption stays moderate, however, since excessive alcohol can affect your liver. It also weakens your immune system, making your body an easy target for diseases.

Cut down on sugar

On average, Americans consume 30 tablespoons of added sugar every day, which is higher than the recommended allowance deemed by the American Heart Association, which is only 6 tablespoons for women and 9 tablespoons for men. Excessive intake of sugar can increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. It can also result in weight gain since excess sugar that’s not immediately required for energy is converted to triglycerides. So, avoid sugar in excess, including sugary beverages such as soda and fruit-flavored punches.

Cut down on salt

Restaurant foods and processed foods generally have high sodium content. It is best to cook food at home to be able to manage your sodium intake. Use fresh ingredients and boost flavor by using herbs and spices rather than salt. Too much salt intake can result to hypertension and may increase the risk of osteoporosis, stomach cancer, cirrhosis and kidney stones.

Avoid saturated and trans fat

Saturated fats are known to increase the “bad” LDL cholesterol, which can damage the arteries. Trans fat is far worse that saturated fats because aside from raising bad LDL, it also lowers good HDL. Too much of these unhealthy fats can lead to coronary heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, liver dysfunction and other chronic conditions.

Cut down on refined grains

As much as possible, limit your intake of refined grains such as white rice, white bread, and other foods made with all-purpose flour, such as cookies, cakes and crackers. Refined grains are easily digested into simple sugar, causing your blood sugar levels to spike or crash. These foods can also contribute to high triglycerides, which can cause inflammation and may worsen arthritis symptoms. Choose whole grains instead like whole oats, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa and whole rye.

Avoid processed foods

Processed foods are anything that is in a box, can, bag or package that have a food label indicating more than one ingredient. All of these processed foods have loads of added sugar, salt, trans fat, and saturated fat that can be dangerous to your health. Processed foods also cause chronic inflammation, indigestion and obesity. Choosing natural, fresh foods are still the healthiest choice for everyone.

Eat more fruits and vegetables

Eating lots of fruits and vegetables are the best thing you could do for your body. Aside from being nutritious and rich in antioxidants, these power foods have low calories, which can minimize the risk for heart disease. They also have numerous vitamins and minerals, which are essential in keeping the body healthy and lowering the risk of contracting diseases. Fiber, which is also found in most vegetables and fruits, helps prevent diabetes, appendicitis and colon cancer. Make sure that fruits and vegetables will be the main food in your daily nutrition.

Increase your water intake

Our body is made up of 60% water, so it’s important that you replenish it by drinking at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. Water transports nutrients and oxygen to the body. It also helps keep your metabolism healthy and flowing, as well as regulates body temperature. Dehydration or lack of water in the body can cause tiredness, migraine, constipation, kidney disease and irregular blood pressure.

David Novak is a national newspaper columnist, appearing in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Reader’s Digest and GQ Magazine, among others.  David is a health and diet enthusiast, and frequently writes on a wide array of health topics for various publications, including regular editions appearing in healthline.com.  For more of his Healthline articles, visithttp://www.healthline

2013 ING NYC Marathon Recap.

The NYC Marathon was all that I expected and more.  I had heard about the crowds and the noise level and the massive amounts of runners but you really can’t prepare for that unless you have experienced it.  2 Millions plus spectators who are loud and cheering for you like you are Derek Jeter.  Every recreational athlete should get to experience that at some point in their lives.

Race Day:

My alarm went off at 3:45 a.m. but I shot awake at 3:30.  I was quite anxious for the day to begin.  Every meticulous detail was pre-planned from what I was going to eat to how I was going to put on my layered clothes to prepare for the waiting outside at Fort Wadsworth.  Shower; Check.  Water; Check. Body Glide; Check. I got my cup of coffee and had my oatmeal and hit the road to meet my ride to Met Life Stadium. Getting to Met Life was a breeze at 4:45 in the morning.  There were hundreds of buses lined up ready to roll.  As we got on the bus I expected a fairly short drive but instead it took us an hour and a half.  The traffic getting near the Verrazano bridge was stand still.  It was tough sitting down for that long but we were going to have to wait around anyway so I reasoned that it was better on a warm bus than out in the cold.  When we got there the security presence was heavy.  Metal Detectors and wands were used. Bib numbers had to be shown to anyone who asked and several people asked.  Sleeping bags and even garbage bags which people planned on using to keep warm or to sit on were confiscated.  When we actually got to Fort Wadsworth.  The atmosphere was buzzing with anticipation.  They provided coffee, water, gatorade, and bagels.  I decided to have a bagel around 8:30 because it had now been 3 hours since I ate my oatmeal.  There were people everywhere.  I didn’t know at the time but they later announced a record number of runners.  Over 50,000 would line up to attempt this year’s NYC Marathon.  Most just sitting down, trying to rest as much as possible.  Many waiting in the lines for the bathroom no doubt a combination of drinking water, sitting out in the cold, and just nervous energy.  There were people from so many other countries wearing their county’s colors proudly.  I noticed France, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain, Canada, and Germany just to name a few.

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I tried seeking out people who had run NYC before to get some tips on how to manage the day.  The Ford Wadsworth part of the day was like Christmas Eve as a kid.  You just know something amazing is about to happen and you can feel it in the air.  Finally at 9:00 they called wave 2 to the corals.

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Once inside the corrals the nerves started to come.  Last minute bathroom breaks because we were less than an hour from starting the world’s greatest race.  Now was also the time to shed the layers of clothes I had on over my race outfit.  It was a cold day and the wind was harsh at times but to be honest I am not sure if I noticed at the time.  I kept my hat and gloves on for the first part of the race only to shed them around mile 5.  As we made our way towards the base of the Verazano for the first time I really got a sense of how massive this was.  TV Cameras were everywhere and there was a stage set up where Mayor Bloomberg had just wished all of the runners good luck.  Someone sang God Bless America and did a great job but I have no idea who. Then before I knew it The cannon fired and Frank Sinatra Sang New York New York.

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The first mile was up hill to the crest of the Verazano Bridge.  You really couldn’t open up too much because the see of people around you.  On the sides of the bridge two NYPD choppers hovered what seemed like 15 feet away.  Everywhere you looked left, right, front, or back there were runners.  It somehow worked.  They start you based on your predicted finishing time so most of the people round you should run at around the same pace as you.  When you look at the overhead shots of the bridge you think you would feel claustrophobic but that really wasn’t the case.

Brooklyn was my favorite part of the race.  Everyone talked about First Ave but Brooklyn was unique in so many ways.  The energy was super high and the people were enthusiastic throughout. Each section had it’s own flavor and made the long trek through Brooklyn lots of fun.  There were DJ’s and bands and MC’s keeping the crowd going.  One of the best tips I received was to write my name somewhere on my body because other runners and people along the route would shout out, “Keep going Joe” , or “nice job Joe.”  Some of my favorite signs that people had were the girl with a Friday Night Lights Jersey holding the sign that said Clear Eyes Full Hearts, the popular catch phrase from the TV show.  Another guy had a sign that said Chuck Norris never ran a marathon.  Run now, Beer Later was another one that I liked seeing.  Brooklyn for me was the highlight of the race.   It was still early enough where I felt good and I was cruising on adrenaline.  The only downside was the strong winds mostly in my face which at the time I didn’t pay attention to but the combination of my adrenaline and the winds would maybe come back to haunt me later on.

The second half of the race started as you crossed the Queensboro Bridge onto First Ave in Manhattan.   The Queensboro was quiet and the first half was uphill until you crested and then started down onto the street.  When I made the left onto First Ave you could see all of the people lining the streets.  It was not quite as loud as I was told it would be but certainly First Ave had the most spectators.  They were holding signs and ringing cow bells and just cheering for their family and friends and even people they don’t know.  The marathon is a day where all the good it seems comes out in people.  Yes their are the elite runners with their tiny bodies running superhuman times.  To me the marathon is about the 99% of the runners who go into the day knowing they have no chance of winning.

Around Mile 18 is when things started to go down hill for me.  I started to feel a slight twinge in my hamstrings.  I knew if I continued to stride like I wanted to I might cramp up.  I have never felt that in my hamstrings while running.  Usually it was my calves or my hip but this was real.  I made a conscious effort to slow myself down and decrease my stride in order to not blow out my hamstring.  The shorter strides make for more ground time and more force being pounded into your legs.  By mile 20 it was over for me.   I was shot.  I had hit the wall.  This was not my first marathon but I had never felt anything like this.  I struggled slowly from 20-23.  I hardly even remember going through the Bronx and up into Harlem.  By the time we crossed back into Manhattan and into Central Park I felt as if I was going to die.  Every part of my legs were failing me.  My calves, my hips, my quads had seemed to take over for my previously ailing hamstrings.  Miles 23-26.2 were a slow crawl at best.  I even walked.  I walked and ran back and forth through Central park.  Each time I stopped I wanted to cry because I could see 3:45 slipping away but more than I just wanted it to be done.  The marathon had beat me.  My previous marathons I didn’t walk at all.  Now I was walking through water stops and even in between.  People were passing me left and write.  Having Joe written on my shirt helped me in the beginning but now I didn’t want people to know my name.  Other runners were trying to encourage me.  “Almost there Joe”.  Spectators were trying to help me but it was of no use.  I just could not make myself run.

The goal was 3:45.  8 minutes and 35 seconds a mile.  I can do that.  Maybe go 8:15 because I would slow down later on but still doable.  But something inside of me just says go as fast as you can. Looking back I am not sure if it was the wind in my face or my too fast pace but I crashed and I crashed hard. My first 10 miles were about a 7:40 pace.  I just didn’t trust myself and my training to slow down.  For some reasons I always have in the back of my mind that no matter how slow I go in the beginning I will still hit that wall later on so why not go fast now.  I should know better than that.  For someone reason I just can’t seem to make myself do it.

MILE TIME CHANGE AVG PACE
1
8:51 8’51″/mi
2
16:40 – 1:02 (11%) 7’49″/mi
3
24:36 + 0:07 (-2%) 7’56″/mi
4
32:11 – 0:21 (4%) 7’35″/mi
5
39:42 – 0:04 (0%) 7’31″/mi
6
*Fastest
47:05 – 0:08 (1%) 7’23″/mi
7
54:41 + 0:13 (-3%) 7’36″/mi
8
1:02:26 + 0:09 (-2%) 7’45″/mi
9
1:10:17 + 0:06 (-2%) 7’51″/mi
10
1:18:12 + 0:04 (-1%) 7’55″/mi
11
1:26:23 + 0:16 (-4%) 8’11″/mi
12
1:34:24 – 0:10 (2%) 8’01″/mi
13
1:42:35 + 0:10 (-3%) 8’11″/mi
14
1:51:03 + 0:17 (-4%) 8’28″/mi
15
1:59:27 – 0:04 (0%) 8’24″/mi
16
2:09:35 + 1:44 (-21%) 10’08″/mi
17
2:17:16 – 2:27 (24%) 7’41″/mi
18
2:25:53 + 0:56 (-13%) 8’37″/mi
19
2:34:44 + 0:14 (-3%) 8’51″/mi
20
2:43:59 + 0:24 (-5%) 9’15″/mi
21
2:53:07 – 0:07 (1%) 9’08″/mi
22
3:02:46 + 0:31 (-6%) 9’39″/mi
23
3:13:01 + 0:36 (-7%) 10’15″/mi
24
3:24:58 + 1:42 (-17%) 11’57″/mi
25
3:36:04 – 0:51 (7%) 11’06″/mi
26
3:47:25 + 0:15 (-3%) 11’21″/mi

Those last three miles were the most painful thing I have ever done in my life.  Not just physically but emotionally I was beaten.  I wish I could say I picked it up and crossed the finish line feeling great but I limped across that finish line.  Yes, in the video I put my hands up but to be honest I was just happy it was over.  I was shocked to see that I actually had PR’d.  I had beaten my previous best marathon by more than 2 minutes.  I said that I was done with marathons after this one and at the finishing line I was sticking to that for sure.  It was pure torture.  It wasn’t until today when I read a NY Times article that I was able to get some perspective on the whole thing.  They interviewed a guy by the name of Greg Cass. He is a very good but sub elite runner.

“That is both the gift and the curse of the marathon,” Cass said. “When you finally get it right, it’s the product of 30 variables that you have maybe 50 percent control of. When you get it wrong, you try to analyze all 30 of those variables. It’s nearly impossible to figure out exactly what went wrong and how to make it better next time. But that’s the goal. To take a look at what happened and go back to the drawing board. And, if it’s in the cards, to give it another go.”

If you told me 5 years ago that I would have run 3 marathons I would have never believed you.  That is the magic of the NYC Marathon.  99% of the people running have no chance of winning. It is only you against yourself and everyone wins.  Just by starting the race and doing the training and having the courage to finish was I able to see myself do something so amazing.  Am I really done with marathons?  I don’t know.  Maybe I’m just chasing something that will never happen which is the perfect race.  I am definitely not running one next year. I want to tackle some shorter races and try to get faster.  Maybe I will do some obstacle races because those seem like a lot of fun.  I want to throw myself into CrossFit a little more and see where that leads me.  I plan to get on that as soon as I can walk again.  One thing is for sure that for the rest of my life I can tell people that I ran the NYC Marathon.

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Spartan Race World Championship

We are seeing the race world evolve in front of our eyes. For years there were 5k’s, half marathons, and marathons to test our endurance and stamina.  But why are people putting in hours at the gym just to see the benefits go to waste.  Yes some of us work out for aesthetics but that can only take you so far or motivate you to do so much.  Some of us work out to feel accomplished and to feel able.  We are able to lift things.  We are able to climb things.  We are able to throw things.  We are able to prove our endurance at the same time as proving our strength and at the same time as proving our mental toughness.  The reality is running for 4 hours straight is not a useful skill that we can use.  In real life you will need endurance, strength, stamina, and the ability to use your body in every way possible.  If the shit hits the fan so to speak and the zombie apocalypse is upon us obstacle races are your battle field.  Ok so maybe the zombie apocalypse is a stretch but if you want something awesome and badass to train for to get a feeling of accomplishment like you have never had before start training for a Spartan Race today.

 

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Many of you know that I started doing Crossfit almost a year ago.  Crossfit defines itself as High Intensity, Constantly varied, Functional movements.  Basically there are no single joint isolated movements.  Instead of machines your body is the machine.  This is how our bodies move in the real world.  Never in life will you have to extend your knee without also extending your hip. Our bodies move as a unit and not as a series of isolated muscular contractions.  The Spartan Race is Crossfit brought to life.  Taking all the skills and improvements that you have made from Crosffit and utilizing it in an obstacle course setting.  If you want to add motivation to your workouts try signing up for a Spartan Race.  I would suggest doing it with a group of friends.  Many Spartans work together as teams to get through the course.  If Crossfit is the sport of fitness than a Spartan Race is it’s proving grounds.  Yes Crossfit has the Crossfit games but that is the elite of the elite.  Anyone can sign up for a Spartan Race and really see what you are made of.  From the average Joe to Navy Seals there is a Spartan Race for you.

The Spartan race was voted the # 1 obstacle race by Outside magazine. In a Spartan Race you can expect running, rope climbs, crawling, tire flips, mud, ponds, mud, hills, scaling walls ala Ninja Warrior, mud, carrying sandbags, mud, inverted wall climbs, barbed wire, fire,mud, and just general cool shit.  It’s an adult playground to say the least.  For some people this sounds like hell on earth but for people like me this sounds like a day full of fun.  Where else can you challenge yourself to these extremes and put yourself in real world situations at the same time creating a bond with a group of friends that will last a lifetime.  There is a saying that those who suffer together bond together. CrossFit does that for a lot of people and so does the Spartan Race.   Get out of the gym and complete a Spartan Race with your buddies.  If any JerseyStrong subscribers are interested in doing a Spartan Race use this link to get a 15% discount http://bit.ly/spartanwarrior.

To see the Spartan race course in all it’s glory then tune in on December 7th on NBC sports to see the Spartan Race world championships.  This is the extreme version of what you and your buddies will be doing but many of the same obstacles but done at a ridiculous pace and with more severe consequences.  If you want to see some of the world’s most well rounded athletes doing crazy stunts while tackling a 14 mile course with elevations of 12,000 feet then tune in.  Watch with your friends or Crossfit buddies then sign up for your own race using the link above.  

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As an added bonus for JerseyStrong subscribers anyone who comments on this blog post will be entered into a raffle to receive a FREE entry into a Spartan Race in 2013-2014.  That is a 95.00 value for FREE just for commenting on this blog post.  I do ask that you also share this with any friends you think may be interested. Retweet it or e-mail it a friend and don’t forget to watch the World Championship Spartan Race on December 7th. 

 

Why Sleep is Your Secret Weapon For Fat Loss.

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Sleep is something most people don’t really think about in terms of getting the body they want but it might just be your secret weapon.  Not getting enough sleep causes stress hormones which can react very negatively in your fight against fat loss.  Studies show that getting 8 hours of sleep a night can increase your metabolism which in turn burns fat at a faster rate than someone who gets only 6 hours of sleep. If you are the type who tosses and turns and can’t get to bed on time than maybe my next guest blogger can give you the tips you need.

 Ali Jan Qadir has been working in the mattress industry for more than ten years. He is a recognized industry expert and sleep consultant.  Let’s put it this way, he knows sleep!  He is the author of a blog www.whatsthebestbed.org Here you can see his thoughts and reviews on the latest industry trends such as adjustable bed brands.  

Having an adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and can benefit your heart, mind, weight and more .Sleep affects cognitive skills, relationships with others, ability to handle stress, physical and nutritional conditioning.

Most individuals need seven to eight hours of sleep at night to function optimally for maximum alertness as the body cannot be trained to need less sleep than the normal. Everyone who sleeps only four to five hours of sleep each night will experience some loss of performance.

Some individuals can function reasonably well on little sleep for short durations particularly with the aid of caffeine or other stimulants but even their performance is impacted to a measurable extent. Not getting enough sleep certainly has serious impact on how and what you think including decreased working memory, situational/battlefield awareness, ability to concentrate, focus and slowing of responses and response time.It also reduces your ability to make good decisions and increases the tendency to be distracted by emotional stimuli. It lowers the ability to interact effectively with those around you and to communicate effectively. Even more disturbing facts are that inadequate amounts of sleep have been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, weight gain, high blood pressure, obesity, depression and heart disease etc.

No one can function on just a few hours of sleep a night over time. When one faces a total sleep deprivation, his performance typically declines by 25 percent every 24 hours depending on the type of performance being measured.   As mentioned above, sleep loss impacts multiple performance areas, therefore, an understanding of its overall impact is important for total fitness.

The benefits of a good night’s sleep are plentiful but many often people are just not getting enough sleep or the kind of quality sleep they need to be fully functional and to make the most of their waking hours. Therefore, the low productivity can mean loss of income and work product.

There are several simple adjustments one can make to stack the cards in favor of a better night’s sleep for you.

·      Avoiding to watch TV before bed

Your bed should be reserved only for sleep. Research shows that those who experienced the most sleep disturbances had televisions in their bedrooms and used the TV to fall asleep.

·      Try a different pillow or mattress.

Sometimes just replacing your pillow with a fresh, new and higher quality version pillow or mattress could give you all that you need in terms of a better sleep. Many people have difficulty getting a good quality sleep because they have back pains. If back pain is a problem for you try picking out best mattress brand for back pains, they will really improve the quality of your sleep.

 

·      Keep yourself away from caffeine late in the day.

Eliminate the tea, coffee, soda and even chocolate and see if your sleep improves.

·      Listening to relaxing music.

In order to establish a relaxing bedtime routine, things just like listening to music, could just act as a signal you need to give your body for the time to sleep. Dim the lights and throw some slow jazz or relaxing sounds CD to help slow your mind and body down for an evening of peaceful sleep.

·      Apply mind-body techniques.

Your brain and body need to unwind and detox before sleep fresh after an action-packed day. So create a routine for bedtime where you take a bath, do some easy stretches, yoga or meditate. Keep practicing the same each night. This repetition will trigger your mind and body that it is time to relax and sleep.

Taking sleep medications may also help you fall asleep but they cannot be taken long-term and many have risky side effects. Therefore, a sleep aid that uses natural ingredients is a better approach to getting a solid night’s sleep.

Finally, most important is to simply avoid accumulating a sleep debt that will have to be paid off. So, obtaining sufficient time asleep on a daily basis is the BEST way to maintain long-term optimal operational readiness.