Review Category : Training

Stairs. Yep, our society is inundated with advice to take a small step (pun intended) towards getting active. Taking the stairs, instead of the elevator or escalator, wherever you go is advice that usually looms near the top of the list. Get that quick ‘butt blaster’, heart rate increase when walking into the office everyday, and your beginning an active lifestyle, [they] may say.

I have to admit that I used to be that motivated person at the office that skipped past the elevator to climb the whopping three flights of stairs to my office on daily basis.  I will say that even though it was only three flights, the combination of stairs and heels added an extra burn that “hurt so good.”

But, I’m not here to provide an excuse that taking the stairs on a daily basis is a sufficient “work out” to replace 30 minutes of moderate activity, suggested by the American Heart Association, www.heart.org, at least 5 days a week. UNLESS, you are climbing stairs for a continuous 30 minutes, with elevated heart rate, on a daily basis. Then, more power to you, rock those tight jeans or short shorts! I am here to encourage you consider taking stairs when possible, and even suggest adding climbing to new heights into your workout regimen. *GASP*

I honestly cannot stand the stairmaster at the gym. It’s a personal choice, but I struggle with mind-numbing, agonizing climb to no-where. It tends to be a common theme for me to loathe stationary machine work; I will run in a downpour before you see me running miles on a treadmill. With that being said, how do you add climbing stairs into your workout regimen if you loathe the stair master? That answer is simple for me to provide: get out of the GYM!

I am not bashing working out in the gym, I personally include a trip in my daily routine; But, why not take advantage of this gorgeous weather and get outside when you can?!

You will find me at the corner of Golden Lantern and Dana Point Harbor climbing the stairs at Lantern Bay Park almost on a weekly basis. Or I mix it up with a trip to Strands, which is just up the road from Lantern Bay. Don’t live that far south? Check out the almost 230 steps at 1,000 Steps Beach in Laguna. Trust me, there’s a reason behind that beaches namesake. Wherever you may choose, the point is that you don’t have to climb the stairmaster.

So, you may be asking why would I devote an entire blog post to climbing some stairs? Because, it’s a killer work out that has the potential to literally get your booty into shape, while also providing a great cardiovascular, core, and leg workout, and of course, you can do it all while being outdoors! Yay! I’m obsessed, I know, but that is why we have an entire blog about Outdoor Fitness.   Stairs are a great way to focus on aerobic conditioning, anaerobic fitness, lower body strength and lower body power.  Anaerobic fitness can be developed by quick succession stair repeats.  Strength can be developed by deep lunges and focusing on form, and power can be developed with hops, bounds and leaps.  Mix it up, get fit and have amazing legs.

-K

**Please consult your physician before beginning this or any fitness program, this is not medical advice these are merely suggestions and samples of workouts**

Read More →

What dog doesn’t love a long walk?  Why not shake things up, get out of the neighborhood and go for a hike?  Orange County has fantastic open space and park areas where you and your four-legged friend can spend time on the trail. Today we are going to focus on gear and preparation for hikes with your dog.

 

Trail Etiquette and Regulations

 

Not all Orange County Parks or State Parks or dog friendly. We will review local Orange County Dog Hikes in the near future.  It is important that dogs be kept on a leash at all times.  I recommend that the leash be no longer than 6 feet and that good old-fashioned leather or webbing leash be used (not a retractable leash).  This ensures that your dog is close by (for his safety and the safety of others); also, a retractable leash failure on a hike can result in a lost dog.

 

Always be cognizant of your surroundings.  Pay attention and watch for approaching people, other dogs and children (especially if your dog gets excited, nervous or aggressive).  Not everyone appreciates a sniff or slobber from a strange dog!

 

Hydration

 

We have a black lab, he may have been a fish in a past life, and I have never seen a dog drink so much water!  It is important to ensure that you bring enough water for both you and your dog.  Never rely on streams, lakes or ponds for your dog to drink from (unless you bring a filter with you). Dogs, just like humans, are susceptible to giardia.  Giardia is a bacterium that causes gastro-intestinal distress. Turner (our dog) was on the receiving end of a nasty bout after drinking from a puddle formed by reclaimed water used for watering grass.  Trust me, you don’t want to experience the awful upset doggy tummy that goes along with giardia.

 

Water filters range from about $50 to $200 depending on the brand, filtration system, model and capacity.  Unless you are going for a multi-day hiking trip, packing extra water and a collapsible bowl is probably the best way to ensure your dog has enough water.  Alternatively, the Ruff Wear Palisades pack has a built-in hydration system.

 

Cooling

 

Dogs pant to lower their body temperature (one reason ensuring your dog has enough water is so important).  However, there are other measures you can take to help your dog keep cool on the trail.  The first, and most obvious, is to hike in the morning or evening hours when the sun is not at its peak (be aware that early morning and late evening hours are also the time that predators are most active, so extra vigilance is required).  Alternatively, you may consider the kool collar to help keep your pet cool.  Also, for dogs who seem very heat sensitive (like Turner) you might try the Ruff Wear Swamp Cooler dog vest which allows for evaporative cooling of your dog.

 

Paw Protection and First Aid

 

Dogs paws are pretty tough.  But they aren’t always as tough as the terrain you’ll be hiking on. We found this out during one hike after a very long 6 mile hike in Colorado, our dog tore open a pad.  Unfortunately we didn’t have any booties for him and he had to limp the last mile back to the car.  One option to address this are Ruff Wear’s Dog Boots.  Unfortunately, your dog probably isn’t going to like these, so it is best to do some trial runs around the house and neighborhood before trying to use them on the trail.

 

Just as you should be prepared physically and mentally to deal with an injury to yourself or others on the trail, it is part of being a responsible pet owner that you prepare yourself to treat and injury to your dog on the trail.  Consider bringing a first aid kit with you (there are pre-packaged versions on Amazon), ask your veterinarian for suggested supplies and be sure to review a book such as Field Guide to Dog First Aid by Randy Acker, DVM or attend one of Petco or the Red Cross’s dog first aid classes.

 

Hiking with a dog can be a very fun and rewarding experience.  It is also a good way to make sure you both get an uninterrupted nap in the afternoon! With a little bit of thought and preparation, you can be fully prepared to tackle the trails.

Read More →

About a week ago we posted about Paddle for the Cure.  As we’re only a few weeks out, it is time to start some specific training on and off the water to be ready for the event.  Paddle for the Cure isn’t a race, but if you want to complete the long paddle (4 miles) it is probably a good idea to put in time out on the board as well as in the gym.  Those workouts will focus on overall fitness as well as injury prevention (the most common injury for new paddlers is rotator cuff injury).

 
Pre-habbing for Shoulders
 
Shoulder mobility and stability is essential for paddling efficiency and injury prevention.  As we age, shoulder mobility tends to decrease.  In order to counter act this try the following exercises:
 
1. Lie on your back, clasp your hands behind your head and touch your shoulders to the ground.
2. Lie on your back  and place a lacrosse ball underneath you and roll the ball between the C-5 and T-2 vertebrae.  (Right side for right arm, left side for left arm).  Move your arm in a swimming motion, find the sore spots (this may be painful given your overall flexibility).  As an alternative, place the lacrosse ball between you and the wall and do the same.
3.  PVC bar pass over.  Grab a PVC bar (or broomstick), place your hands in a snatch grip (hold the bar with arms straight, making a “v” shape over-head so the bar is approximately 3 inches overhead).  Move the bar from waist level in front of you, slowly overhead and behind until it touches your lower back.  Keep thumb and fore-finger in the same position on the bar.  This is also known as “shoulder-dislocates” and you have probably seen baseball players do this during batting practice.  The key is to keep your chest puffed up and don’t hunch your shoulders.
 
On-board Fitness

Workout 1

 
Paddle 20 mins, for distance:
Every minute on the minute, perform one of the following in rotation:

  •  20 pushups
  •  20 over head squats (use paddle as bar)
  •  20 “flutterkicks” (lie on your back, hold paddle over head, a few inches above the board)
  •  ”Warrior pose” for 1 minute
 
Workout 2
 
Paddle for 1 hour at a conversational pace.  Every 5 minutes do 30 seconds of short-quick pulls with the paddle or long-hard pulls with the paddle.  On short pulls, the paddle should enter the water approximately 2 feet in front of you and you should remain relatively upright.  On long pulls, the paddle should enter the water 4 feet in front of you and you should bend significantly at e waist to power through.
 
See this video for paddling technique basics http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mHGHEtcJI0A&feature=related
Gym Fitness
Paddling is a full body workout.  It requires the paddler to use strength while maintaining balance. The best strength training for paddling are exercises and groups of exercises which require active stabilization (not curls kneeling on a boss ball) and incorporate compound muscle movements.  Barbell complexes, kettlebells and Olympic lifts are fantastic.  Get ready to get super-fit (don’t worry women, this doesn’t mean bulky).
Workout 1 – Barbell Complex
Do the following exercises grouped together without setting the bar down between exercises:
  • Straight-leg dead lift
  • Hang power clean
  • Overhead press
  • Overhead squat
  • Back squat
  • Barbell good morning
  • (Bring bar back down I front of you)
  • Bent over row
The overhead press will likely be the limiting lift weight wise.  So choose. Weight at you can do 8 repetitions with (for me it is 50 lbs, for my husband it is 135 lbs).  You can do this 3-4 times per week.  I recommend switching between 3 sets of 5 repetitions and 3 sets of 8 repetitions (using lighter weights for the 8 repetition workouts).
Workout 2 – Kettlebells
Do 50 repetitions total of each of the following (you can break up the repetitions anyway that is necessary).
  • 1 arm swing
  • 1 arm snatch
  • 1 arm clean
  • 1 arm press
  • Goblet squat
There are a number of great videos on you tube demonstrating these exercises.  Try googling Pavel or Dan John on kettlebell and barbell complex technique.
See you on the water!
Read More →

That is fantastic, really, it is.  The honest truth is that fitness is just one small aspect of most people’s lives. Unless you are a professional athlete, outdoor clothing test subject or come from a long line of distinguished philanthropists, you probably work…a lot.  You also clean, buy groceries, run errands, go to the dentist, go to family get-togethers, get the oil changed in your car, attend school plays, watch TV, sleep, read and stop to smell the roses (for only one second).

 

Most of the time, there are enough hours in the day to stay fairly fit, have some alone time and get the obligations out of the way.  But, there is one small problem.  You really, really, want to do a triathlon (or a marathon, or hike Mt. Baldy, or race mountain bikes, or climb El Cap., etc.).  In order to accomplish these things, training is important, but so is everything else.

 

Good news, everybody, training for endurance events doesn’t have to be a long slog. There is a growing body of evidence that indicates that high-intensity intervals over short durations can deliver the same improvements in fitness as long aerobic workouts (chronic cardio).  Furthermore, it seems, that the application of shorter workouts to endurance events results in a lower incidence of injury, lower levels of oxidative stress and inflammation as well as increased levels of overall enjoyment (once the workout is over, not necessarily during…).

 

So what does that mean, in practical terms?

 

Assuming you have a “reasonable” level of experience swimming, biking and running:

 

If you want to do a sprint triathlon, 3-6 hours of training is adequate per week.

If you want to do a half-ironman, 6-10 hours of training is adequate per week.

If you want to do an iron-man, 12-15 hours of training is adequate per week.

 

How is this possible?  The key is to focus on quality, high-intensity workouts.

 

Swim

  • Swim long once per week.  This swim should be no longer than 60 minutes and focus on feel and technique with some interval work.
  • 2-3 other swims should be interval focused. Limit swims to 30 minute maximum (i.e.,10x 100m or 20x50m)

 

Bike

 

  • One long bike ride per week (2-4 hours) outside
  • 2 or 3 30-60 minute interval sessions (on a trainer or in spin class is ideal, check out sufferfest videos for inspiration)

 

 

Run

  • NO LONG RUNS…Seriously, no runs over 2-hours
  • Runs should be 30-90 minutes of hard work.
  • Run workouts should consist of:
    • One interval session (12x200m or 4x800m or 6x400m),
    • One hill workout (5-10 .25-.5 mile repeats)
    • Two “long-ish” runs (2-3 mile circuits for up to 90 minutes)

 

Lifting/Mobility

 

In order to reap the benefits of low-volume high-intensity training, it is essential to ensure your body can keep things together over a sprint, medium or long-course race.  Strength/resistance training will allow you to maintain form as fatigue sets in. Mobility work is also essential to maintain flexibility and prevent injuries (foam rolling, lacrosse ball trigger point release, yoga)

 

Mental Preparation

 

Here is the tricky part:  Belief in your training.  Leading up to a long-course triathlon mental preparation is critical, you will not have had the opportunity to test yourself on a 200 mile bike ride, 2 mile swim, 26 mile run (and that is a good thing).  As long as you are prepared mentally for the task you are about to undertake.  I suggest visualization, meditation and yoga.

 

One disclaimer, the swim in an Iron Distance race is daunting.  Failing on the swim can easily lead to death.  Please, know your own abilities, practice in open water, do an open-water swim course that focuses on fear mitigation.  Panic in the water kills.

 

Now get out, crush some intervals, accomplish something BIG and get fit in the process.

 

For more information on high-intensity training try the following (these articles have great links to the studies which support the information above):

 

http://robbwolf.com/2012/09/21/10-ways-ironman-triathletes-avoid-chronic-cardio-self-destruction/

 

http://www.lavamagazine-digital.com/lavamagazine/201112?pg=154#pg154

 

https://www.marksdailyapple.com/why-we-dont-sprint-anymore-plus-a-primal-health-challenge/

Read More →