Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

  ·  3 min

Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

Odds are that at some point in your life, you’re going to have to take time away from running. It happens to everybody. Maybe it’s the end of a long race season and you’re simply burned out. Or maybe you’ve just married and had children. Or sometimes, holidays just get in the way. Regardless of the reason, you’re not alone. But, fear not, because getting back into that routine or following that training plan again may not be as difficult as it seems.LEARNING HOW TO RUNJust like a student in medical school is learning about the human body and how it functions, every person out on the road is teaching his or her own body how to run. Within the Central Nervous System, your brain and muscles communicate through electrical signals going back and forth. This feedback loop trains the muscles, both skeletal and respiratory, to adapt to the demands of running. Think of it like this: With every workout you do, you’re banking up memory on how to run. Just as with every time you studied in college, you improved your knowledge of a particular subject, you’re improving your body’s ability to run.Going even further than “training the CNS” is the fact that your body changes physiologically in response to running. The more you run and strengthen the muscles, the more nuclei they develop. The importance of this is that nuclei contain the DNA necessary and directly responsible for muscular growth. Now, here’s the real kicker…. Research shows that even if you quit running or exercising, these bad boys stick around. So, if you’re trying to get back into it after taking a long hiatus, you really are already one step ahead.THE BODY DOESN’T FORGETI have a lot of clients who ask me questions about the human body – how it adapts to certain exercise, the best exercise for this, the best food for that, etc. I’ve been out of school for over five years now, but I still remember the answers to these questions. My point is that, just like the brain remembers TONS of information, your body will remember how to run, and how to do it well. When starting back up again most runners will notice that, when compared to beginning for the first time, they are MUCH better. The active muscles have been trained before are able to perform well. The heart and cardiac muscles have been trained and do not become as stressed as before. Because of this, it’s fair to say that you can get in shape easier the second time around than the first time.Think about this… How many times have you seen an athlete of some sort pick a sport back up after a long break? Many times it’s almost as if they never left. Now, sure, sometimes it’s because they’re just that good, but many times it’s because their bodies have been through the rigors before and know how to adapt. You are the exact same! You may never be able to run a 6:00 mile, but you can pick right back up where you left off. Just like you know what it takes, your nervous system and skeletal muscles know what it takes too, and they’re ready for the challenge.All you gotta do now is get your butt up from the couch and get going!!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

  ·  3 min

Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

Odds are that at some point in your life, you’re going to have to take time away from running. It happens to everybody. Maybe it’s the end of a long race season and you’re simply burned out. Or maybe you’ve just married and had children. Or sometimes, holidays just get in the way. Regardless of the reason, you’re not alone. But, fear not, because getting back into that routine or following that training plan again may not be as difficult as it seems.LEARNING HOW TO RUNJust like a student in medical school is learning about the human body and how it functions, every person out on the road is teaching his or her own body how to run. Within the Central Nervous System, your brain and muscles communicate through electrical signals going back and forth. This feedback loop trains the muscles, both skeletal and respiratory, to adapt to the demands of running. Think of it like this: With every workout you do, you’re banking up memory on how to run. Just as with every time you studied in college, you improved your knowledge of a particular subject, you’re improving your body’s ability to run.Going even further than “training the CNS” is the fact that your body changes physiologically in response to running. The more you run and strengthen the muscles, the more nuclei they develop. The importance of this is that nuclei contain the DNA necessary and directly responsible for muscular growth. Now, here’s the real kicker…. Research shows that even if you quit running or exercising, these bad boys stick around. So, if you’re trying to get back into it after taking a long hiatus, you really are already one step ahead.THE BODY DOESN’T FORGETI have a lot of clients who ask me questions about the human body – how it adapts to certain exercise, the best exercise for this, the best food for that, etc. I’ve been out of school for over five years now, but I still remember the answers to these questions. My point is that, just like the brain remembers TONS of information, your body will remember how to run, and how to do it well. When starting back up again most runners will notice that, when compared to beginning for the first time, they are MUCH better. The active muscles have been trained before are able to perform well. The heart and cardiac muscles have been trained and do not become as stressed as before. Because of this, it’s fair to say that you can get in shape easier the second time around than the first time.Think about this… How many times have you seen an athlete of some sort pick a sport back up after a long break? Many times it’s almost as if they never left. Now, sure, sometimes it’s because they’re just that good, but many times it’s because their bodies have been through the rigors before and know how to adapt. You are the exact same! You may never be able to run a 6:00 mile, but you can pick right back up where you left off. Just like you know what it takes, your nervous system and skeletal muscles know what it takes too, and they’re ready for the challenge.All you gotta do now is get your butt up from the couch and get going!!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

  ·  2 min

7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

Between seasonal savory sweets, family gatherings and chilly weather, staying active and healthy over the holidays is no easy feat. However, with the right tools and mindset, you should be able to leap into January feeling fit, happy and healthy.Keep on reading for some tips on how to stay on track with your fitness goals this time of year.1. Invest in some winter gear. Running outside in cold weather, rain and snow is doable, but only with the right gear. Opt for sweat wicking clothing over cotton and layer up in cold weather. Hoping to run early or late at night? Invest in a good headlamp and reflective duds. Do some research on what kind of clothing and accessories work best for the weather in your area and make sure to dress accordingly. Still not sure how to dress? Check out this nifty ‘What To Wear’ online tool from Runner’s World.2. Adjust your schedule. Sticking to your regular routine can be tricky with vacations, holidays and visitors. Plan in advance by preemptively adjusting your workout routine—if you’re an evening runner plan to workout during lunch on days with holiday party obligations or if you’ll be on the road find a short (yet solid!) high intensity workout for days you’ll be traveling. Adjusting your routine in advance will make it harder to skip workouts due to an inconsistent daily schedule.3. Try something new. Winter is a great time to step outside your comfort zone. Get in your cardio by trying something new like ice-skating, learning to cross country ski, joining an indoor basketball league or testing out a new dance class.4. Learn to love the treadmill. Getting cardio done on a treadmill doesn’t mean you have to feel like a hamster in a wheel. There’s an abundance of engaging treadmill workouts that can keep you fit and entertained—for example, check out RockMyRun’s new Wednesday Workout treadmill blog series here for some ideas.5. Sign up for a race to keep motivated. Whether a spring marathon or New Year’s Eve 5K, signing up for a race will help you hold yourself accountable and stick to your workouts.6. Eat smart and find a balance. The holidays are home to a copious amount of rich, savory, heavy and delicious foods. The key is to find a balance. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and indulge on major holidays or special family get-togethers. However, the holiday season shouldn’t be an excuse to eat unhealthy on a daily (or even weekly) basis. Stick to a healthy diet and don’t make a habit of sipping pumpkin spice lattes and eating sugar cookies throughout the entire season.7. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. We can’t emphasis this one enough. Hydrating will keep you healthy and help you avoid getting a nasty sickness.What about you? What’s the ONE thing you try to keep in mind during the holidays? Share with other RunRockers below.


7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

  ·  2 min

7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

Between seasonal savory sweets, family gatherings and chilly weather, staying active and healthy over the holidays is no easy feat. However, with the right tools and mindset, you should be able to leap into January feeling fit, happy and healthy.Keep on reading for some tips on how to stay on track with your fitness goals this time of year.1. Invest in some winter gear. Running outside in cold weather, rain and snow is doable, but only with the right gear. Opt for sweat wicking clothing over cotton and layer up in cold weather. Hoping to run early or late at night? Invest in a good headlamp and reflective duds. Do some research on what kind of clothing and accessories work best for the weather in your area and make sure to dress accordingly. Still not sure how to dress? Check out this nifty ‘What To Wear’ online tool from Runner’s World.2. Adjust your schedule. Sticking to your regular routine can be tricky with vacations, holidays and visitors. Plan in advance by preemptively adjusting your workout routine—if you’re an evening runner plan to workout during lunch on days with holiday party obligations or if you’ll be on the road find a short (yet solid!) high intensity workout for days you’ll be traveling. Adjusting your routine in advance will make it harder to skip workouts due to an inconsistent daily schedule.3. Try something new. Winter is a great time to step outside your comfort zone. Get in your cardio by trying something new like ice-skating, learning to cross country ski, joining an indoor basketball league or testing out a new dance class.4. Learn to love the treadmill. Getting cardio done on a treadmill doesn’t mean you have to feel like a hamster in a wheel. There’s an abundance of engaging treadmill workouts that can keep you fit and entertained—for example, check out RockMyRun’s new Wednesday Workout treadmill blog series here for some ideas.5. Sign up for a race to keep motivated. Whether a spring marathon or New Year’s Eve 5K, signing up for a race will help you hold yourself accountable and stick to your workouts.6. Eat smart and find a balance. The holidays are home to a copious amount of rich, savory, heavy and delicious foods. The key is to find a balance. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and indulge on major holidays or special family get-togethers. However, the holiday season shouldn’t be an excuse to eat unhealthy on a daily (or even weekly) basis. Stick to a healthy diet and don’t make a habit of sipping pumpkin spice lattes and eating sugar cookies throughout the entire season.7. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. We can’t emphasis this one enough. Hydrating will keep you healthy and help you avoid getting a nasty sickness.What about you? What’s the ONE thing you try to keep in mind during the holidays? Share with other RunRockers below.


Whose Run Is It?

  ·  4 min

Whose Run Is It?

There’s a time to compete and there’s a time not to. Most of the time, it’s the time not to, yet people are constantly competing against others and themselves.While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do better, many people fall into the trap of competing against themselves and using negativity, labels and name calling, and personal put-downs.Striving to improve from a place of self-acceptance and comfort with who you are is one thing. Criticizing yourself because you aren’t the fastest, don’t have the enough medals or aren’t on the cover of the magazines, that’s another.Leon Festinger carefully looked into this style of thinking in 1954 and called it, “social comparison theory.” Simply, this means that people have an innate propensity to evaluate their skills and performances and often compare themselves to others when there is not objective feedback available. But this comparison is a distraction at best. At worst, it leaves us feeling like we are failures, convinces us that we are fixed in our abilities and predicts futures of poor performance. Thus, instead of understanding that the run you are on is yours, not anyone else’s, you are constantly trying to be someone you aren’t. That’s not healthy.It’s been said that at 20, we worry about what others think of us and at 40, we don’t care what others think of us. As someone who has passed 60, my friends and I now realize that nobody was thinking about us to begin with. They were running their own run while we were busy trying to run theirs.My father, uncle and grandfather had shoe stores when I was growing up. I worked in them from the time I was seven years old. One day, my grandfather brought me outside to teach me an important lesson. He pointed at the competitor down the street. The owner was standing in front of his store watching the people come into our family’s store and walking out with bags of shoes.“Michael,” my grandfather told me, “You see what that guy is doing? He’s watching our store instead of his own. He’s angry that nobody is buying shoes from him. He’s too busy taking care of OUR business instead of his own. When you grow up, run your own store, and don’t watch anyone else’s.”Sure there is a time to compete. Running in a race? You are competing to win. But those times are rare in life. Stay away from constantly competing, delete those who push you to be something you aren’t and run your own run, live in your own home, drive your own car, wear your own running shoes, and run your own store—don’t watch anyone else’s. You’ll fail for sure.Here’s how I coach athletes, business leaders and everyday folks who suffer from their own compare and despair thinking:Who are you? What’s unique about you that makes you different than anyone else? What’s that voice inside telling you who you are? Be sure you are fully aware, self-accepting, and completely content with the answer to that question. Focus on being the best YOU, not a second rate someone else.What’s it take for you to unfold, reveal and unpack the genuine, authentic you? Run your run the way you want to. I saw someone in the gym recently copying every move I made with a set of dumbbells, including the amount I was lifting. He was trying to lift my dumbbells, not his. Not smart, right? He needed to lift his own dumbbells, the way his body and muscles and strength permitted, not the way mine did for him.Don’t DIE. Huh? That means, don’t Demand, Insist and Expect that YOUR performance be better or even match the person with whom you are running.Hear the fixed beliefs you have about yourself, understand you have a choice as to how you think about yourself in relationship to others when you put on your running shoes, challenge and then replace those thoughts that leave you thinking negative about yourself and your performances.Enjoy your run. Your own run.Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and as the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise. He is a behavioral sciences coach and consultant, an Advisor to many fitness and health organizations, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Council on Active Aging, the Chief Consultant for Behavior Sciences for the Premier Fitness Camp at Omni La Costa, a presenter for Rancho La Puerta, a best-selling author and an international fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Whose Run Is It?

  ·  4 min

Whose Run Is It?

There’s a time to compete and there’s a time not to. Most of the time, it’s the time not to, yet people are constantly competing against others and themselves.While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do better, many people fall into the trap of competing against themselves and using negativity, labels and name calling, and personal put-downs.Striving to improve from a place of self-acceptance and comfort with who you are is one thing. Criticizing yourself because you aren’t the fastest, don’t have the enough medals or aren’t on the cover of the magazines, that’s another.Leon Festinger carefully looked into this style of thinking in 1954 and called it, “social comparison theory.” Simply, this means that people have an innate propensity to evaluate their skills and performances and often compare themselves to others when there is not objective feedback available. But this comparison is a distraction at best. At worst, it leaves us feeling like we are failures, convinces us that we are fixed in our abilities and predicts futures of poor performance. Thus, instead of understanding that the run you are on is yours, not anyone else’s, you are constantly trying to be someone you aren’t. That’s not healthy.It’s been said that at 20, we worry about what others think of us and at 40, we don’t care what others think of us. As someone who has passed 60, my friends and I now realize that nobody was thinking about us to begin with. They were running their own run while we were busy trying to run theirs.My father, uncle and grandfather had shoe stores when I was growing up. I worked in them from the time I was seven years old. One day, my grandfather brought me outside to teach me an important lesson. He pointed at the competitor down the street. The owner was standing in front of his store watching the people come into our family’s store and walking out with bags of shoes.“Michael,” my grandfather told me, “You see what that guy is doing? He’s watching our store instead of his own. He’s angry that nobody is buying shoes from him. He’s too busy taking care of OUR business instead of his own. When you grow up, run your own store, and don’t watch anyone else’s.”Sure there is a time to compete. Running in a race? You are competing to win. But those times are rare in life. Stay away from constantly competing, delete those who push you to be something you aren’t and run your own run, live in your own home, drive your own car, wear your own running shoes, and run your own store—don’t watch anyone else’s. You’ll fail for sure.Here’s how I coach athletes, business leaders and everyday folks who suffer from their own compare and despair thinking:Who are you? What’s unique about you that makes you different than anyone else? What’s that voice inside telling you who you are? Be sure you are fully aware, self-accepting, and completely content with the answer to that question. Focus on being the best YOU, not a second rate someone else.What’s it take for you to unfold, reveal and unpack the genuine, authentic you? Run your run the way you want to. I saw someone in the gym recently copying every move I made with a set of dumbbells, including the amount I was lifting. He was trying to lift my dumbbells, not his. Not smart, right? He needed to lift his own dumbbells, the way his body and muscles and strength permitted, not the way mine did for him.Don’t DIE. Huh? That means, don’t Demand, Insist and Expect that YOUR performance be better or even match the person with whom you are running.Hear the fixed beliefs you have about yourself, understand you have a choice as to how you think about yourself in relationship to others when you put on your running shoes, challenge and then replace those thoughts that leave you thinking negative about yourself and your performances.Enjoy your run. Your own run.Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and as the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise. He is a behavioral sciences coach and consultant, an Advisor to many fitness and health organizations, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Council on Active Aging, the Chief Consultant for Behavior Sciences for the Premier Fitness Camp at Omni La Costa, a presenter for Rancho La Puerta, a best-selling author and an international fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

  ·  3 min

3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

If you’ve ever been part of a race of any kind – running, cycling, swimming, even weightlifting – then you’ve seen it happen. There are people who use static stretching (holding a certain position at the edge of your range of motion for a specific period of time) as a means of “loosening up” before their activity. You probably haven’t ever really paid much attention to it. But, next time you’re at a race, or the gym for that matter, take a look around and you’ll see what I mean.Why am I bringing this up? Good question. The answer is simple: The worst possible time to stretch in a static manner is BEFORE you exercise. The general rule of thumb that I follow with my clients and in my own workouts is a dynamic warmup, (very basic movements that mimic what will be performed during the actual workout) followed by some static stretches after. There are a few specific reasons why I follow this strategy and I want to share them with you…YOUR MUSCLES AREN’T LOOSE YET. Your muscles are cold. They’ve been sitting behind a desk or in a car all day, and they’re just not ready for exercise. Stretching them before they loosen up would be like pulling on a banjo or guitar string. You’re just not going to get very far. Not to mention, pulling on a cold muscle is a surefire way to (quite literally) pull or even tear a muscle. NO STATIC STRETCHING BEFORE EXERCISE!!! DYNAMIC WARMUP PREPARES YOUR BODY FOR EXERCISE. I like to use the term “bridging the gap” when talking about dynamic warmup. Most people can’t just take off on a dead sprint, or tie their shoes and go for a 10 mile run. They need to loosen up first. The best way to do this is to go through a series of movements that are going to imitate your actual workout. This will do a couple of things. First and foremost, it will get your heart rate elevated. You will actually be able to feel your breathing increase and your heart begin to pump a little bit. This will in turn elevate your body temperature and increase blood flow to the muscles that are being used. For a running workout, you would obviously want to mimic the motion of running, but also mix in some low intensity exercises that will elevate your heart rate without too much effort. For example: Stationary High KneesStationary Butt KicksBodyweight SquatsJumping JacksAlternating Toe TouchesDo each exercise for 20-30 seconds, repeat two times throughRate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Rate of perceived exertion is a fancy term that describes how hard you think you’re working. This is used commonly in fitness testing as a measurement of how hard to push individuals. A recent Australian study (you can read in its entirety here) showed that while static stretching before a race doesn’t necessarily affect your finishing time, it can directly impair your neuromuscular functioning and increase RPE. What this means is that even though you may still be able to finish around the same time, it’s going to take you longer to get going, and it will seem a lot more difficult doing so. Running can sometimes be tough enough on its own. Why do something that is just going to perpetuate that?Let’s be honest, nobody likes “getting warmed up” before a run or workout. Personally, it’s my least favorite part. Your body is cold and stiff, and loosening it up can be a hassle. So why not, at least, make your warmup more effective? You may not ever enjoy it, but you can at least get the most out of it. So forget the traditional stretches and get moving. It’s far and away the better method for preparing your body for exercise. When you’re all done is when you can relax and hold those “oh-so-comfortable” static stretches.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

  ·  3 min

3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

If you’ve ever been part of a race of any kind – running, cycling, swimming, even weightlifting – then you’ve seen it happen. There are people who use static stretching (holding a certain position at the edge of your range of motion for a specific period of time) as a means of “loosening up” before their activity. You probably haven’t ever really paid much attention to it. But, next time you’re at a race, or the gym for that matter, take a look around and you’ll see what I mean.Why am I bringing this up? Good question. The answer is simple: The worst possible time to stretch in a static manner is BEFORE you exercise. The general rule of thumb that I follow with my clients and in my own workouts is a dynamic warmup, (very basic movements that mimic what will be performed during the actual workout) followed by some static stretches after. There are a few specific reasons why I follow this strategy and I want to share them with you…YOUR MUSCLES AREN’T LOOSE YET. Your muscles are cold. They’ve been sitting behind a desk or in a car all day, and they’re just not ready for exercise. Stretching them before they loosen up would be like pulling on a banjo or guitar string. You’re just not going to get very far. Not to mention, pulling on a cold muscle is a surefire way to (quite literally) pull or even tear a muscle. NO STATIC STRETCHING BEFORE EXERCISE!!! DYNAMIC WARMUP PREPARES YOUR BODY FOR EXERCISE. I like to use the term “bridging the gap” when talking about dynamic warmup. Most people can’t just take off on a dead sprint, or tie their shoes and go for a 10 mile run. They need to loosen up first. The best way to do this is to go through a series of movements that are going to imitate your actual workout. This will do a couple of things. First and foremost, it will get your heart rate elevated. You will actually be able to feel your breathing increase and your heart begin to pump a little bit. This will in turn elevate your body temperature and increase blood flow to the muscles that are being used. For a running workout, you would obviously want to mimic the motion of running, but also mix in some low intensity exercises that will elevate your heart rate without too much effort. For example: Stationary High KneesStationary Butt KicksBodyweight SquatsJumping JacksAlternating Toe TouchesDo each exercise for 20-30 seconds, repeat two times throughRate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Rate of perceived exertion is a fancy term that describes how hard you think you’re working. This is used commonly in fitness testing as a measurement of how hard to push individuals. A recent Australian study (you can read in its entirety here) showed that while static stretching before a race doesn’t necessarily affect your finishing time, it can directly impair your neuromuscular functioning and increase RPE. What this means is that even though you may still be able to finish around the same time, it’s going to take you longer to get going, and it will seem a lot more difficult doing so. Running can sometimes be tough enough on its own. Why do something that is just going to perpetuate that?Let’s be honest, nobody likes “getting warmed up” before a run or workout. Personally, it’s my least favorite part. Your body is cold and stiff, and loosening it up can be a hassle. So why not, at least, make your warmup more effective? You may not ever enjoy it, but you can at least get the most out of it. So forget the traditional stretches and get moving. It’s far and away the better method for preparing your body for exercise. When you’re all done is when you can relax and hold those “oh-so-comfortable” static stretches.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

  ·  3 min

Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

Odds are that at some point in your life, you’re going to have to take time away from running. It happens to everybody. Maybe it’s the end of a long race season and you’re simply burned out. Or maybe you’ve just married and had children. Or sometimes, holidays just get in the way. Regardless of the reason, you’re not alone. But, fear not, because getting back into that routine or following that training plan again may not be as difficult as it seems.LEARNING HOW TO RUNJust like a student in medical school is learning about the human body and how it functions, every person out on the road is teaching his or her own body how to run. Within the Central Nervous System, your brain and muscles communicate through electrical signals going back and forth. This feedback loop trains the muscles, both skeletal and respiratory, to adapt to the demands of running. Think of it like this: With every workout you do, you’re banking up memory on how to run. Just as with every time you studied in college, you improved your knowledge of a particular subject, you’re improving your body’s ability to run.Going even further than “training the CNS” is the fact that your body changes physiologically in response to running. The more you run and strengthen the muscles, the more nuclei they develop. The importance of this is that nuclei contain the DNA necessary and directly responsible for muscular growth. Now, here’s the real kicker…. Research shows that even if you quit running or exercising, these bad boys stick around. So, if you’re trying to get back into it after taking a long hiatus, you really are already one step ahead.THE BODY DOESN’T FORGETI have a lot of clients who ask me questions about the human body – how it adapts to certain exercise, the best exercise for this, the best food for that, etc. I’ve been out of school for over five years now, but I still remember the answers to these questions. My point is that, just like the brain remembers TONS of information, your body will remember how to run, and how to do it well. When starting back up again most runners will notice that, when compared to beginning for the first time, they are MUCH better. The active muscles have been trained before are able to perform well. The heart and cardiac muscles have been trained and do not become as stressed as before. Because of this, it’s fair to say that you can get in shape easier the second time around than the first time.Think about this… How many times have you seen an athlete of some sort pick a sport back up after a long break? Many times it’s almost as if they never left. Now, sure, sometimes it’s because they’re just that good, but many times it’s because their bodies have been through the rigors before and know how to adapt. You are the exact same! You may never be able to run a 6:00 mile, but you can pick right back up where you left off. Just like you know what it takes, your nervous system and skeletal muscles know what it takes too, and they’re ready for the challenge.All you gotta do now is get your butt up from the couch and get going!!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

  ·  3 min

Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

Odds are that at some point in your life, you’re going to have to take time away from running. It happens to everybody. Maybe it’s the end of a long race season and you’re simply burned out. Or maybe you’ve just married and had children. Or sometimes, holidays just get in the way. Regardless of the reason, you’re not alone. But, fear not, because getting back into that routine or following that training plan again may not be as difficult as it seems.LEARNING HOW TO RUNJust like a student in medical school is learning about the human body and how it functions, every person out on the road is teaching his or her own body how to run. Within the Central Nervous System, your brain and muscles communicate through electrical signals going back and forth. This feedback loop trains the muscles, both skeletal and respiratory, to adapt to the demands of running. Think of it like this: With every workout you do, you’re banking up memory on how to run. Just as with every time you studied in college, you improved your knowledge of a particular subject, you’re improving your body’s ability to run.Going even further than “training the CNS” is the fact that your body changes physiologically in response to running. The more you run and strengthen the muscles, the more nuclei they develop. The importance of this is that nuclei contain the DNA necessary and directly responsible for muscular growth. Now, here’s the real kicker…. Research shows that even if you quit running or exercising, these bad boys stick around. So, if you’re trying to get back into it after taking a long hiatus, you really are already one step ahead.THE BODY DOESN’T FORGETI have a lot of clients who ask me questions about the human body – how it adapts to certain exercise, the best exercise for this, the best food for that, etc. I’ve been out of school for over five years now, but I still remember the answers to these questions. My point is that, just like the brain remembers TONS of information, your body will remember how to run, and how to do it well. When starting back up again most runners will notice that, when compared to beginning for the first time, they are MUCH better. The active muscles have been trained before are able to perform well. The heart and cardiac muscles have been trained and do not become as stressed as before. Because of this, it’s fair to say that you can get in shape easier the second time around than the first time.Think about this… How many times have you seen an athlete of some sort pick a sport back up after a long break? Many times it’s almost as if they never left. Now, sure, sometimes it’s because they’re just that good, but many times it’s because their bodies have been through the rigors before and know how to adapt. You are the exact same! You may never be able to run a 6:00 mile, but you can pick right back up where you left off. Just like you know what it takes, your nervous system and skeletal muscles know what it takes too, and they’re ready for the challenge.All you gotta do now is get your butt up from the couch and get going!!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

  ·  2 min

7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

Between seasonal savory sweets, family gatherings and chilly weather, staying active and healthy over the holidays is no easy feat. However, with the right tools and mindset, you should be able to leap into January feeling fit, happy and healthy.Keep on reading for some tips on how to stay on track with your fitness goals this time of year.1. Invest in some winter gear. Running outside in cold weather, rain and snow is doable, but only with the right gear. Opt for sweat wicking clothing over cotton and layer up in cold weather. Hoping to run early or late at night? Invest in a good headlamp and reflective duds. Do some research on what kind of clothing and accessories work best for the weather in your area and make sure to dress accordingly. Still not sure how to dress? Check out this nifty ‘What To Wear’ online tool from Runner’s World.2. Adjust your schedule. Sticking to your regular routine can be tricky with vacations, holidays and visitors. Plan in advance by preemptively adjusting your workout routine—if you’re an evening runner plan to workout during lunch on days with holiday party obligations or if you’ll be on the road find a short (yet solid!) high intensity workout for days you’ll be traveling. Adjusting your routine in advance will make it harder to skip workouts due to an inconsistent daily schedule.3. Try something new. Winter is a great time to step outside your comfort zone. Get in your cardio by trying something new like ice-skating, learning to cross country ski, joining an indoor basketball league or testing out a new dance class.4. Learn to love the treadmill. Getting cardio done on a treadmill doesn’t mean you have to feel like a hamster in a wheel. There’s an abundance of engaging treadmill workouts that can keep you fit and entertained—for example, check out RockMyRun’s new Wednesday Workout treadmill blog series here for some ideas.5. Sign up for a race to keep motivated. Whether a spring marathon or New Year’s Eve 5K, signing up for a race will help you hold yourself accountable and stick to your workouts.6. Eat smart and find a balance. The holidays are home to a copious amount of rich, savory, heavy and delicious foods. The key is to find a balance. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and indulge on major holidays or special family get-togethers. However, the holiday season shouldn’t be an excuse to eat unhealthy on a daily (or even weekly) basis. Stick to a healthy diet and don’t make a habit of sipping pumpkin spice lattes and eating sugar cookies throughout the entire season.7. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. We can’t emphasis this one enough. Hydrating will keep you healthy and help you avoid getting a nasty sickness.What about you? What’s the ONE thing you try to keep in mind during the holidays? Share with other RunRockers below.


7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

  ·  2 min

7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

Between seasonal savory sweets, family gatherings and chilly weather, staying active and healthy over the holidays is no easy feat. However, with the right tools and mindset, you should be able to leap into January feeling fit, happy and healthy.Keep on reading for some tips on how to stay on track with your fitness goals this time of year.1. Invest in some winter gear. Running outside in cold weather, rain and snow is doable, but only with the right gear. Opt for sweat wicking clothing over cotton and layer up in cold weather. Hoping to run early or late at night? Invest in a good headlamp and reflective duds. Do some research on what kind of clothing and accessories work best for the weather in your area and make sure to dress accordingly. Still not sure how to dress? Check out this nifty ‘What To Wear’ online tool from Runner’s World.2. Adjust your schedule. Sticking to your regular routine can be tricky with vacations, holidays and visitors. Plan in advance by preemptively adjusting your workout routine—if you’re an evening runner plan to workout during lunch on days with holiday party obligations or if you’ll be on the road find a short (yet solid!) high intensity workout for days you’ll be traveling. Adjusting your routine in advance will make it harder to skip workouts due to an inconsistent daily schedule.3. Try something new. Winter is a great time to step outside your comfort zone. Get in your cardio by trying something new like ice-skating, learning to cross country ski, joining an indoor basketball league or testing out a new dance class.4. Learn to love the treadmill. Getting cardio done on a treadmill doesn’t mean you have to feel like a hamster in a wheel. There’s an abundance of engaging treadmill workouts that can keep you fit and entertained—for example, check out RockMyRun’s new Wednesday Workout treadmill blog series here for some ideas.5. Sign up for a race to keep motivated. Whether a spring marathon or New Year’s Eve 5K, signing up for a race will help you hold yourself accountable and stick to your workouts.6. Eat smart and find a balance. The holidays are home to a copious amount of rich, savory, heavy and delicious foods. The key is to find a balance. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and indulge on major holidays or special family get-togethers. However, the holiday season shouldn’t be an excuse to eat unhealthy on a daily (or even weekly) basis. Stick to a healthy diet and don’t make a habit of sipping pumpkin spice lattes and eating sugar cookies throughout the entire season.7. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. We can’t emphasis this one enough. Hydrating will keep you healthy and help you avoid getting a nasty sickness.What about you? What’s the ONE thing you try to keep in mind during the holidays? Share with other RunRockers below.


Whose Run Is It?

  ·  4 min

Whose Run Is It?

There’s a time to compete and there’s a time not to. Most of the time, it’s the time not to, yet people are constantly competing against others and themselves.While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do better, many people fall into the trap of competing against themselves and using negativity, labels and name calling, and personal put-downs.Striving to improve from a place of self-acceptance and comfort with who you are is one thing. Criticizing yourself because you aren’t the fastest, don’t have the enough medals or aren’t on the cover of the magazines, that’s another.Leon Festinger carefully looked into this style of thinking in 1954 and called it, “social comparison theory.” Simply, this means that people have an innate propensity to evaluate their skills and performances and often compare themselves to others when there is not objective feedback available. But this comparison is a distraction at best. At worst, it leaves us feeling like we are failures, convinces us that we are fixed in our abilities and predicts futures of poor performance. Thus, instead of understanding that the run you are on is yours, not anyone else’s, you are constantly trying to be someone you aren’t. That’s not healthy.It’s been said that at 20, we worry about what others think of us and at 40, we don’t care what others think of us. As someone who has passed 60, my friends and I now realize that nobody was thinking about us to begin with. They were running their own run while we were busy trying to run theirs.My father, uncle and grandfather had shoe stores when I was growing up. I worked in them from the time I was seven years old. One day, my grandfather brought me outside to teach me an important lesson. He pointed at the competitor down the street. The owner was standing in front of his store watching the people come into our family’s store and walking out with bags of shoes.“Michael,” my grandfather told me, “You see what that guy is doing? He’s watching our store instead of his own. He’s angry that nobody is buying shoes from him. He’s too busy taking care of OUR business instead of his own. When you grow up, run your own store, and don’t watch anyone else’s.”Sure there is a time to compete. Running in a race? You are competing to win. But those times are rare in life. Stay away from constantly competing, delete those who push you to be something you aren’t and run your own run, live in your own home, drive your own car, wear your own running shoes, and run your own store—don’t watch anyone else’s. You’ll fail for sure.Here’s how I coach athletes, business leaders and everyday folks who suffer from their own compare and despair thinking:Who are you? What’s unique about you that makes you different than anyone else? What’s that voice inside telling you who you are? Be sure you are fully aware, self-accepting, and completely content with the answer to that question. Focus on being the best YOU, not a second rate someone else.What’s it take for you to unfold, reveal and unpack the genuine, authentic you? Run your run the way you want to. I saw someone in the gym recently copying every move I made with a set of dumbbells, including the amount I was lifting. He was trying to lift my dumbbells, not his. Not smart, right? He needed to lift his own dumbbells, the way his body and muscles and strength permitted, not the way mine did for him.Don’t DIE. Huh? That means, don’t Demand, Insist and Expect that YOUR performance be better or even match the person with whom you are running.Hear the fixed beliefs you have about yourself, understand you have a choice as to how you think about yourself in relationship to others when you put on your running shoes, challenge and then replace those thoughts that leave you thinking negative about yourself and your performances.Enjoy your run. Your own run.Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and as the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise. He is a behavioral sciences coach and consultant, an Advisor to many fitness and health organizations, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Council on Active Aging, the Chief Consultant for Behavior Sciences for the Premier Fitness Camp at Omni La Costa, a presenter for Rancho La Puerta, a best-selling author and an international fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Whose Run Is It?

  ·  4 min

Whose Run Is It?

There’s a time to compete and there’s a time not to. Most of the time, it’s the time not to, yet people are constantly competing against others and themselves.While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do better, many people fall into the trap of competing against themselves and using negativity, labels and name calling, and personal put-downs.Striving to improve from a place of self-acceptance and comfort with who you are is one thing. Criticizing yourself because you aren’t the fastest, don’t have the enough medals or aren’t on the cover of the magazines, that’s another.Leon Festinger carefully looked into this style of thinking in 1954 and called it, “social comparison theory.” Simply, this means that people have an innate propensity to evaluate their skills and performances and often compare themselves to others when there is not objective feedback available. But this comparison is a distraction at best. At worst, it leaves us feeling like we are failures, convinces us that we are fixed in our abilities and predicts futures of poor performance. Thus, instead of understanding that the run you are on is yours, not anyone else’s, you are constantly trying to be someone you aren’t. That’s not healthy.It’s been said that at 20, we worry about what others think of us and at 40, we don’t care what others think of us. As someone who has passed 60, my friends and I now realize that nobody was thinking about us to begin with. They were running their own run while we were busy trying to run theirs.My father, uncle and grandfather had shoe stores when I was growing up. I worked in them from the time I was seven years old. One day, my grandfather brought me outside to teach me an important lesson. He pointed at the competitor down the street. The owner was standing in front of his store watching the people come into our family’s store and walking out with bags of shoes.“Michael,” my grandfather told me, “You see what that guy is doing? He’s watching our store instead of his own. He’s angry that nobody is buying shoes from him. He’s too busy taking care of OUR business instead of his own. When you grow up, run your own store, and don’t watch anyone else’s.”Sure there is a time to compete. Running in a race? You are competing to win. But those times are rare in life. Stay away from constantly competing, delete those who push you to be something you aren’t and run your own run, live in your own home, drive your own car, wear your own running shoes, and run your own store—don’t watch anyone else’s. You’ll fail for sure.Here’s how I coach athletes, business leaders and everyday folks who suffer from their own compare and despair thinking:Who are you? What’s unique about you that makes you different than anyone else? What’s that voice inside telling you who you are? Be sure you are fully aware, self-accepting, and completely content with the answer to that question. Focus on being the best YOU, not a second rate someone else.What’s it take for you to unfold, reveal and unpack the genuine, authentic you? Run your run the way you want to. I saw someone in the gym recently copying every move I made with a set of dumbbells, including the amount I was lifting. He was trying to lift my dumbbells, not his. Not smart, right? He needed to lift his own dumbbells, the way his body and muscles and strength permitted, not the way mine did for him.Don’t DIE. Huh? That means, don’t Demand, Insist and Expect that YOUR performance be better or even match the person with whom you are running.Hear the fixed beliefs you have about yourself, understand you have a choice as to how you think about yourself in relationship to others when you put on your running shoes, challenge and then replace those thoughts that leave you thinking negative about yourself and your performances.Enjoy your run. Your own run.Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and as the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise. He is a behavioral sciences coach and consultant, an Advisor to many fitness and health organizations, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Council on Active Aging, the Chief Consultant for Behavior Sciences for the Premier Fitness Camp at Omni La Costa, a presenter for Rancho La Puerta, a best-selling author and an international fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

  ·  3 min

3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

If you’ve ever been part of a race of any kind – running, cycling, swimming, even weightlifting – then you’ve seen it happen. There are people who use static stretching (holding a certain position at the edge of your range of motion for a specific period of time) as a means of “loosening up” before their activity. You probably haven’t ever really paid much attention to it. But, next time you’re at a race, or the gym for that matter, take a look around and you’ll see what I mean.Why am I bringing this up? Good question. The answer is simple: The worst possible time to stretch in a static manner is BEFORE you exercise. The general rule of thumb that I follow with my clients and in my own workouts is a dynamic warmup, (very basic movements that mimic what will be performed during the actual workout) followed by some static stretches after. There are a few specific reasons why I follow this strategy and I want to share them with you…YOUR MUSCLES AREN’T LOOSE YET. Your muscles are cold. They’ve been sitting behind a desk or in a car all day, and they’re just not ready for exercise. Stretching them before they loosen up would be like pulling on a banjo or guitar string. You’re just not going to get very far. Not to mention, pulling on a cold muscle is a surefire way to (quite literally) pull or even tear a muscle. NO STATIC STRETCHING BEFORE EXERCISE!!! DYNAMIC WARMUP PREPARES YOUR BODY FOR EXERCISE. I like to use the term “bridging the gap” when talking about dynamic warmup. Most people can’t just take off on a dead sprint, or tie their shoes and go for a 10 mile run. They need to loosen up first. The best way to do this is to go through a series of movements that are going to imitate your actual workout. This will do a couple of things. First and foremost, it will get your heart rate elevated. You will actually be able to feel your breathing increase and your heart begin to pump a little bit. This will in turn elevate your body temperature and increase blood flow to the muscles that are being used. For a running workout, you would obviously want to mimic the motion of running, but also mix in some low intensity exercises that will elevate your heart rate without too much effort. For example: Stationary High KneesStationary Butt KicksBodyweight SquatsJumping JacksAlternating Toe TouchesDo each exercise for 20-30 seconds, repeat two times throughRate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Rate of perceived exertion is a fancy term that describes how hard you think you’re working. This is used commonly in fitness testing as a measurement of how hard to push individuals. A recent Australian study (you can read in its entirety here) showed that while static stretching before a race doesn’t necessarily affect your finishing time, it can directly impair your neuromuscular functioning and increase RPE. What this means is that even though you may still be able to finish around the same time, it’s going to take you longer to get going, and it will seem a lot more difficult doing so. Running can sometimes be tough enough on its own. Why do something that is just going to perpetuate that?Let’s be honest, nobody likes “getting warmed up” before a run or workout. Personally, it’s my least favorite part. Your body is cold and stiff, and loosening it up can be a hassle. So why not, at least, make your warmup more effective? You may not ever enjoy it, but you can at least get the most out of it. So forget the traditional stretches and get moving. It’s far and away the better method for preparing your body for exercise. When you’re all done is when you can relax and hold those “oh-so-comfortable” static stretches.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

  ·  3 min

3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

If you’ve ever been part of a race of any kind – running, cycling, swimming, even weightlifting – then you’ve seen it happen. There are people who use static stretching (holding a certain position at the edge of your range of motion for a specific period of time) as a means of “loosening up” before their activity. You probably haven’t ever really paid much attention to it. But, next time you’re at a race, or the gym for that matter, take a look around and you’ll see what I mean.Why am I bringing this up? Good question. The answer is simple: The worst possible time to stretch in a static manner is BEFORE you exercise. The general rule of thumb that I follow with my clients and in my own workouts is a dynamic warmup, (very basic movements that mimic what will be performed during the actual workout) followed by some static stretches after. There are a few specific reasons why I follow this strategy and I want to share them with you…YOUR MUSCLES AREN’T LOOSE YET. Your muscles are cold. They’ve been sitting behind a desk or in a car all day, and they’re just not ready for exercise. Stretching them before they loosen up would be like pulling on a banjo or guitar string. You’re just not going to get very far. Not to mention, pulling on a cold muscle is a surefire way to (quite literally) pull or even tear a muscle. NO STATIC STRETCHING BEFORE EXERCISE!!! DYNAMIC WARMUP PREPARES YOUR BODY FOR EXERCISE. I like to use the term “bridging the gap” when talking about dynamic warmup. Most people can’t just take off on a dead sprint, or tie their shoes and go for a 10 mile run. They need to loosen up first. The best way to do this is to go through a series of movements that are going to imitate your actual workout. This will do a couple of things. First and foremost, it will get your heart rate elevated. You will actually be able to feel your breathing increase and your heart begin to pump a little bit. This will in turn elevate your body temperature and increase blood flow to the muscles that are being used. For a running workout, you would obviously want to mimic the motion of running, but also mix in some low intensity exercises that will elevate your heart rate without too much effort. For example: Stationary High KneesStationary Butt KicksBodyweight SquatsJumping JacksAlternating Toe TouchesDo each exercise for 20-30 seconds, repeat two times throughRate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Rate of perceived exertion is a fancy term that describes how hard you think you’re working. This is used commonly in fitness testing as a measurement of how hard to push individuals. A recent Australian study (you can read in its entirety here) showed that while static stretching before a race doesn’t necessarily affect your finishing time, it can directly impair your neuromuscular functioning and increase RPE. What this means is that even though you may still be able to finish around the same time, it’s going to take you longer to get going, and it will seem a lot more difficult doing so. Running can sometimes be tough enough on its own. Why do something that is just going to perpetuate that?Let’s be honest, nobody likes “getting warmed up” before a run or workout. Personally, it’s my least favorite part. Your body is cold and stiff, and loosening it up can be a hassle. So why not, at least, make your warmup more effective? You may not ever enjoy it, but you can at least get the most out of it. So forget the traditional stretches and get moving. It’s far and away the better method for preparing your body for exercise. When you’re all done is when you can relax and hold those “oh-so-comfortable” static stretches.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


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Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

  ·  3 min

Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

Odds are that at some point in your life, you’re going to have to take time away from running. It happens to everybody. Maybe it’s the end of a long race season and you’re simply burned out. Or maybe you’ve just married and had children. Or sometimes, holidays just get in the way. Regardless of the reason, you’re not alone. But, fear not, because getting back into that routine or following that training plan again may not be as difficult as it seems.LEARNING HOW TO RUNJust like a student in medical school is learning about the human body and how it functions, every person out on the road is teaching his or her own body how to run. Within the Central Nervous System, your brain and muscles communicate through electrical signals going back and forth. This feedback loop trains the muscles, both skeletal and respiratory, to adapt to the demands of running. Think of it like this: With every workout you do, you’re banking up memory on how to run. Just as with every time you studied in college, you improved your knowledge of a particular subject, you’re improving your body’s ability to run.Going even further than “training the CNS” is the fact that your body changes physiologically in response to running. The more you run and strengthen the muscles, the more nuclei they develop. The importance of this is that nuclei contain the DNA necessary and directly responsible for muscular growth. Now, here’s the real kicker…. Research shows that even if you quit running or exercising, these bad boys stick around. So, if you’re trying to get back into it after taking a long hiatus, you really are already one step ahead.THE BODY DOESN’T FORGETI have a lot of clients who ask me questions about the human body – how it adapts to certain exercise, the best exercise for this, the best food for that, etc. I’ve been out of school for over five years now, but I still remember the answers to these questions. My point is that, just like the brain remembers TONS of information, your body will remember how to run, and how to do it well. When starting back up again most runners will notice that, when compared to beginning for the first time, they are MUCH better. The active muscles have been trained before are able to perform well. The heart and cardiac muscles have been trained and do not become as stressed as before. Because of this, it’s fair to say that you can get in shape easier the second time around than the first time.Think about this… How many times have you seen an athlete of some sort pick a sport back up after a long break? Many times it’s almost as if they never left. Now, sure, sometimes it’s because they’re just that good, but many times it’s because their bodies have been through the rigors before and know how to adapt. You are the exact same! You may never be able to run a 6:00 mile, but you can pick right back up where you left off. Just like you know what it takes, your nervous system and skeletal muscles know what it takes too, and they’re ready for the challenge.All you gotta do now is get your butt up from the couch and get going!!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

  ·  3 min

Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

Odds are that at some point in your life, you’re going to have to take time away from running. It happens to everybody. Maybe it’s the end of a long race season and you’re simply burned out. Or maybe you’ve just married and had children. Or sometimes, holidays just get in the way. Regardless of the reason, you’re not alone. But, fear not, because getting back into that routine or following that training plan again may not be as difficult as it seems.LEARNING HOW TO RUNJust like a student in medical school is learning about the human body and how it functions, every person out on the road is teaching his or her own body how to run. Within the Central Nervous System, your brain and muscles communicate through electrical signals going back and forth. This feedback loop trains the muscles, both skeletal and respiratory, to adapt to the demands of running. Think of it like this: With every workout you do, you’re banking up memory on how to run. Just as with every time you studied in college, you improved your knowledge of a particular subject, you’re improving your body’s ability to run.Going even further than “training the CNS” is the fact that your body changes physiologically in response to running. The more you run and strengthen the muscles, the more nuclei they develop. The importance of this is that nuclei contain the DNA necessary and directly responsible for muscular growth. Now, here’s the real kicker…. Research shows that even if you quit running or exercising, these bad boys stick around. So, if you’re trying to get back into it after taking a long hiatus, you really are already one step ahead.THE BODY DOESN’T FORGETI have a lot of clients who ask me questions about the human body – how it adapts to certain exercise, the best exercise for this, the best food for that, etc. I’ve been out of school for over five years now, but I still remember the answers to these questions. My point is that, just like the brain remembers TONS of information, your body will remember how to run, and how to do it well. When starting back up again most runners will notice that, when compared to beginning for the first time, they are MUCH better. The active muscles have been trained before are able to perform well. The heart and cardiac muscles have been trained and do not become as stressed as before. Because of this, it’s fair to say that you can get in shape easier the second time around than the first time.Think about this… How many times have you seen an athlete of some sort pick a sport back up after a long break? Many times it’s almost as if they never left. Now, sure, sometimes it’s because they’re just that good, but many times it’s because their bodies have been through the rigors before and know how to adapt. You are the exact same! You may never be able to run a 6:00 mile, but you can pick right back up where you left off. Just like you know what it takes, your nervous system and skeletal muscles know what it takes too, and they’re ready for the challenge.All you gotta do now is get your butt up from the couch and get going!!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

  ·  2 min

7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

Between seasonal savory sweets, family gatherings and chilly weather, staying active and healthy over the holidays is no easy feat. However, with the right tools and mindset, you should be able to leap into January feeling fit, happy and healthy.Keep on reading for some tips on how to stay on track with your fitness goals this time of year.1. Invest in some winter gear. Running outside in cold weather, rain and snow is doable, but only with the right gear. Opt for sweat wicking clothing over cotton and layer up in cold weather. Hoping to run early or late at night? Invest in a good headlamp and reflective duds. Do some research on what kind of clothing and accessories work best for the weather in your area and make sure to dress accordingly. Still not sure how to dress? Check out this nifty ‘What To Wear’ online tool from Runner’s World.2. Adjust your schedule. Sticking to your regular routine can be tricky with vacations, holidays and visitors. Plan in advance by preemptively adjusting your workout routine—if you’re an evening runner plan to workout during lunch on days with holiday party obligations or if you’ll be on the road find a short (yet solid!) high intensity workout for days you’ll be traveling. Adjusting your routine in advance will make it harder to skip workouts due to an inconsistent daily schedule.3. Try something new. Winter is a great time to step outside your comfort zone. Get in your cardio by trying something new like ice-skating, learning to cross country ski, joining an indoor basketball league or testing out a new dance class.4. Learn to love the treadmill. Getting cardio done on a treadmill doesn’t mean you have to feel like a hamster in a wheel. There’s an abundance of engaging treadmill workouts that can keep you fit and entertained—for example, check out RockMyRun’s new Wednesday Workout treadmill blog series here for some ideas.5. Sign up for a race to keep motivated. Whether a spring marathon or New Year’s Eve 5K, signing up for a race will help you hold yourself accountable and stick to your workouts.6. Eat smart and find a balance. The holidays are home to a copious amount of rich, savory, heavy and delicious foods. The key is to find a balance. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and indulge on major holidays or special family get-togethers. However, the holiday season shouldn’t be an excuse to eat unhealthy on a daily (or even weekly) basis. Stick to a healthy diet and don’t make a habit of sipping pumpkin spice lattes and eating sugar cookies throughout the entire season.7. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. We can’t emphasis this one enough. Hydrating will keep you healthy and help you avoid getting a nasty sickness.What about you? What’s the ONE thing you try to keep in mind during the holidays? Share with other RunRockers below.


7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

  ·  2 min

7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

Between seasonal savory sweets, family gatherings and chilly weather, staying active and healthy over the holidays is no easy feat. However, with the right tools and mindset, you should be able to leap into January feeling fit, happy and healthy.Keep on reading for some tips on how to stay on track with your fitness goals this time of year.1. Invest in some winter gear. Running outside in cold weather, rain and snow is doable, but only with the right gear. Opt for sweat wicking clothing over cotton and layer up in cold weather. Hoping to run early or late at night? Invest in a good headlamp and reflective duds. Do some research on what kind of clothing and accessories work best for the weather in your area and make sure to dress accordingly. Still not sure how to dress? Check out this nifty ‘What To Wear’ online tool from Runner’s World.2. Adjust your schedule. Sticking to your regular routine can be tricky with vacations, holidays and visitors. Plan in advance by preemptively adjusting your workout routine—if you’re an evening runner plan to workout during lunch on days with holiday party obligations or if you’ll be on the road find a short (yet solid!) high intensity workout for days you’ll be traveling. Adjusting your routine in advance will make it harder to skip workouts due to an inconsistent daily schedule.3. Try something new. Winter is a great time to step outside your comfort zone. Get in your cardio by trying something new like ice-skating, learning to cross country ski, joining an indoor basketball league or testing out a new dance class.4. Learn to love the treadmill. Getting cardio done on a treadmill doesn’t mean you have to feel like a hamster in a wheel. There’s an abundance of engaging treadmill workouts that can keep you fit and entertained—for example, check out RockMyRun’s new Wednesday Workout treadmill blog series here for some ideas.5. Sign up for a race to keep motivated. Whether a spring marathon or New Year’s Eve 5K, signing up for a race will help you hold yourself accountable and stick to your workouts.6. Eat smart and find a balance. The holidays are home to a copious amount of rich, savory, heavy and delicious foods. The key is to find a balance. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and indulge on major holidays or special family get-togethers. However, the holiday season shouldn’t be an excuse to eat unhealthy on a daily (or even weekly) basis. Stick to a healthy diet and don’t make a habit of sipping pumpkin spice lattes and eating sugar cookies throughout the entire season.7. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. We can’t emphasis this one enough. Hydrating will keep you healthy and help you avoid getting a nasty sickness.What about you? What’s the ONE thing you try to keep in mind during the holidays? Share with other RunRockers below.


Whose Run Is It?

  ·  4 min

Whose Run Is It?

There’s a time to compete and there’s a time not to. Most of the time, it’s the time not to, yet people are constantly competing against others and themselves.While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do better, many people fall into the trap of competing against themselves and using negativity, labels and name calling, and personal put-downs.Striving to improve from a place of self-acceptance and comfort with who you are is one thing. Criticizing yourself because you aren’t the fastest, don’t have the enough medals or aren’t on the cover of the magazines, that’s another.Leon Festinger carefully looked into this style of thinking in 1954 and called it, “social comparison theory.” Simply, this means that people have an innate propensity to evaluate their skills and performances and often compare themselves to others when there is not objective feedback available. But this comparison is a distraction at best. At worst, it leaves us feeling like we are failures, convinces us that we are fixed in our abilities and predicts futures of poor performance. Thus, instead of understanding that the run you are on is yours, not anyone else’s, you are constantly trying to be someone you aren’t. That’s not healthy.It’s been said that at 20, we worry about what others think of us and at 40, we don’t care what others think of us. As someone who has passed 60, my friends and I now realize that nobody was thinking about us to begin with. They were running their own run while we were busy trying to run theirs.My father, uncle and grandfather had shoe stores when I was growing up. I worked in them from the time I was seven years old. One day, my grandfather brought me outside to teach me an important lesson. He pointed at the competitor down the street. The owner was standing in front of his store watching the people come into our family’s store and walking out with bags of shoes.“Michael,” my grandfather told me, “You see what that guy is doing? He’s watching our store instead of his own. He’s angry that nobody is buying shoes from him. He’s too busy taking care of OUR business instead of his own. When you grow up, run your own store, and don’t watch anyone else’s.”Sure there is a time to compete. Running in a race? You are competing to win. But those times are rare in life. Stay away from constantly competing, delete those who push you to be something you aren’t and run your own run, live in your own home, drive your own car, wear your own running shoes, and run your own store—don’t watch anyone else’s. You’ll fail for sure.Here’s how I coach athletes, business leaders and everyday folks who suffer from their own compare and despair thinking:Who are you? What’s unique about you that makes you different than anyone else? What’s that voice inside telling you who you are? Be sure you are fully aware, self-accepting, and completely content with the answer to that question. Focus on being the best YOU, not a second rate someone else.What’s it take for you to unfold, reveal and unpack the genuine, authentic you? Run your run the way you want to. I saw someone in the gym recently copying every move I made with a set of dumbbells, including the amount I was lifting. He was trying to lift my dumbbells, not his. Not smart, right? He needed to lift his own dumbbells, the way his body and muscles and strength permitted, not the way mine did for him.Don’t DIE. Huh? That means, don’t Demand, Insist and Expect that YOUR performance be better or even match the person with whom you are running.Hear the fixed beliefs you have about yourself, understand you have a choice as to how you think about yourself in relationship to others when you put on your running shoes, challenge and then replace those thoughts that leave you thinking negative about yourself and your performances.Enjoy your run. Your own run.Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and as the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise. He is a behavioral sciences coach and consultant, an Advisor to many fitness and health organizations, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Council on Active Aging, the Chief Consultant for Behavior Sciences for the Premier Fitness Camp at Omni La Costa, a presenter for Rancho La Puerta, a best-selling author and an international fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Whose Run Is It?

  ·  4 min

Whose Run Is It?

There’s a time to compete and there’s a time not to. Most of the time, it’s the time not to, yet people are constantly competing against others and themselves.While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do better, many people fall into the trap of competing against themselves and using negativity, labels and name calling, and personal put-downs.Striving to improve from a place of self-acceptance and comfort with who you are is one thing. Criticizing yourself because you aren’t the fastest, don’t have the enough medals or aren’t on the cover of the magazines, that’s another.Leon Festinger carefully looked into this style of thinking in 1954 and called it, “social comparison theory.” Simply, this means that people have an innate propensity to evaluate their skills and performances and often compare themselves to others when there is not objective feedback available. But this comparison is a distraction at best. At worst, it leaves us feeling like we are failures, convinces us that we are fixed in our abilities and predicts futures of poor performance. Thus, instead of understanding that the run you are on is yours, not anyone else’s, you are constantly trying to be someone you aren’t. That’s not healthy.It’s been said that at 20, we worry about what others think of us and at 40, we don’t care what others think of us. As someone who has passed 60, my friends and I now realize that nobody was thinking about us to begin with. They were running their own run while we were busy trying to run theirs.My father, uncle and grandfather had shoe stores when I was growing up. I worked in them from the time I was seven years old. One day, my grandfather brought me outside to teach me an important lesson. He pointed at the competitor down the street. The owner was standing in front of his store watching the people come into our family’s store and walking out with bags of shoes.“Michael,” my grandfather told me, “You see what that guy is doing? He’s watching our store instead of his own. He’s angry that nobody is buying shoes from him. He’s too busy taking care of OUR business instead of his own. When you grow up, run your own store, and don’t watch anyone else’s.”Sure there is a time to compete. Running in a race? You are competing to win. But those times are rare in life. Stay away from constantly competing, delete those who push you to be something you aren’t and run your own run, live in your own home, drive your own car, wear your own running shoes, and run your own store—don’t watch anyone else’s. You’ll fail for sure.Here’s how I coach athletes, business leaders and everyday folks who suffer from their own compare and despair thinking:Who are you? What’s unique about you that makes you different than anyone else? What’s that voice inside telling you who you are? Be sure you are fully aware, self-accepting, and completely content with the answer to that question. Focus on being the best YOU, not a second rate someone else.What’s it take for you to unfold, reveal and unpack the genuine, authentic you? Run your run the way you want to. I saw someone in the gym recently copying every move I made with a set of dumbbells, including the amount I was lifting. He was trying to lift my dumbbells, not his. Not smart, right? He needed to lift his own dumbbells, the way his body and muscles and strength permitted, not the way mine did for him.Don’t DIE. Huh? That means, don’t Demand, Insist and Expect that YOUR performance be better or even match the person with whom you are running.Hear the fixed beliefs you have about yourself, understand you have a choice as to how you think about yourself in relationship to others when you put on your running shoes, challenge and then replace those thoughts that leave you thinking negative about yourself and your performances.Enjoy your run. Your own run.Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and as the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise. He is a behavioral sciences coach and consultant, an Advisor to many fitness and health organizations, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Council on Active Aging, the Chief Consultant for Behavior Sciences for the Premier Fitness Camp at Omni La Costa, a presenter for Rancho La Puerta, a best-selling author and an international fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

  ·  3 min

3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

If you’ve ever been part of a race of any kind – running, cycling, swimming, even weightlifting – then you’ve seen it happen. There are people who use static stretching (holding a certain position at the edge of your range of motion for a specific period of time) as a means of “loosening up” before their activity. You probably haven’t ever really paid much attention to it. But, next time you’re at a race, or the gym for that matter, take a look around and you’ll see what I mean.Why am I bringing this up? Good question. The answer is simple: The worst possible time to stretch in a static manner is BEFORE you exercise. The general rule of thumb that I follow with my clients and in my own workouts is a dynamic warmup, (very basic movements that mimic what will be performed during the actual workout) followed by some static stretches after. There are a few specific reasons why I follow this strategy and I want to share them with you…YOUR MUSCLES AREN’T LOOSE YET. Your muscles are cold. They’ve been sitting behind a desk or in a car all day, and they’re just not ready for exercise. Stretching them before they loosen up would be like pulling on a banjo or guitar string. You’re just not going to get very far. Not to mention, pulling on a cold muscle is a surefire way to (quite literally) pull or even tear a muscle. NO STATIC STRETCHING BEFORE EXERCISE!!! DYNAMIC WARMUP PREPARES YOUR BODY FOR EXERCISE. I like to use the term “bridging the gap” when talking about dynamic warmup. Most people can’t just take off on a dead sprint, or tie their shoes and go for a 10 mile run. They need to loosen up first. The best way to do this is to go through a series of movements that are going to imitate your actual workout. This will do a couple of things. First and foremost, it will get your heart rate elevated. You will actually be able to feel your breathing increase and your heart begin to pump a little bit. This will in turn elevate your body temperature and increase blood flow to the muscles that are being used. For a running workout, you would obviously want to mimic the motion of running, but also mix in some low intensity exercises that will elevate your heart rate without too much effort. For example: Stationary High KneesStationary Butt KicksBodyweight SquatsJumping JacksAlternating Toe TouchesDo each exercise for 20-30 seconds, repeat two times throughRate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Rate of perceived exertion is a fancy term that describes how hard you think you’re working. This is used commonly in fitness testing as a measurement of how hard to push individuals. A recent Australian study (you can read in its entirety here) showed that while static stretching before a race doesn’t necessarily affect your finishing time, it can directly impair your neuromuscular functioning and increase RPE. What this means is that even though you may still be able to finish around the same time, it’s going to take you longer to get going, and it will seem a lot more difficult doing so. Running can sometimes be tough enough on its own. Why do something that is just going to perpetuate that?Let’s be honest, nobody likes “getting warmed up” before a run or workout. Personally, it’s my least favorite part. Your body is cold and stiff, and loosening it up can be a hassle. So why not, at least, make your warmup more effective? You may not ever enjoy it, but you can at least get the most out of it. So forget the traditional stretches and get moving. It’s far and away the better method for preparing your body for exercise. When you’re all done is when you can relax and hold those “oh-so-comfortable” static stretches.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

  ·  3 min

3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

If you’ve ever been part of a race of any kind – running, cycling, swimming, even weightlifting – then you’ve seen it happen. There are people who use static stretching (holding a certain position at the edge of your range of motion for a specific period of time) as a means of “loosening up” before their activity. You probably haven’t ever really paid much attention to it. But, next time you’re at a race, or the gym for that matter, take a look around and you’ll see what I mean.Why am I bringing this up? Good question. The answer is simple: The worst possible time to stretch in a static manner is BEFORE you exercise. The general rule of thumb that I follow with my clients and in my own workouts is a dynamic warmup, (very basic movements that mimic what will be performed during the actual workout) followed by some static stretches after. There are a few specific reasons why I follow this strategy and I want to share them with you…YOUR MUSCLES AREN’T LOOSE YET. Your muscles are cold. They’ve been sitting behind a desk or in a car all day, and they’re just not ready for exercise. Stretching them before they loosen up would be like pulling on a banjo or guitar string. You’re just not going to get very far. Not to mention, pulling on a cold muscle is a surefire way to (quite literally) pull or even tear a muscle. NO STATIC STRETCHING BEFORE EXERCISE!!! DYNAMIC WARMUP PREPARES YOUR BODY FOR EXERCISE. I like to use the term “bridging the gap” when talking about dynamic warmup. Most people can’t just take off on a dead sprint, or tie their shoes and go for a 10 mile run. They need to loosen up first. The best way to do this is to go through a series of movements that are going to imitate your actual workout. This will do a couple of things. First and foremost, it will get your heart rate elevated. You will actually be able to feel your breathing increase and your heart begin to pump a little bit. This will in turn elevate your body temperature and increase blood flow to the muscles that are being used. For a running workout, you would obviously want to mimic the motion of running, but also mix in some low intensity exercises that will elevate your heart rate without too much effort. For example: Stationary High KneesStationary Butt KicksBodyweight SquatsJumping JacksAlternating Toe TouchesDo each exercise for 20-30 seconds, repeat two times throughRate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Rate of perceived exertion is a fancy term that describes how hard you think you’re working. This is used commonly in fitness testing as a measurement of how hard to push individuals. A recent Australian study (you can read in its entirety here) showed that while static stretching before a race doesn’t necessarily affect your finishing time, it can directly impair your neuromuscular functioning and increase RPE. What this means is that even though you may still be able to finish around the same time, it’s going to take you longer to get going, and it will seem a lot more difficult doing so. Running can sometimes be tough enough on its own. Why do something that is just going to perpetuate that?Let’s be honest, nobody likes “getting warmed up” before a run or workout. Personally, it’s my least favorite part. Your body is cold and stiff, and loosening it up can be a hassle. So why not, at least, make your warmup more effective? You may not ever enjoy it, but you can at least get the most out of it. So forget the traditional stretches and get moving. It’s far and away the better method for preparing your body for exercise. When you’re all done is when you can relax and hold those “oh-so-comfortable” static stretches.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

  ·  3 min

Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

Odds are that at some point in your life, you’re going to have to take time away from running. It happens to everybody. Maybe it’s the end of a long race season and you’re simply burned out. Or maybe you’ve just married and had children. Or sometimes, holidays just get in the way. Regardless of the reason, you’re not alone. But, fear not, because getting back into that routine or following that training plan again may not be as difficult as it seems.LEARNING HOW TO RUNJust like a student in medical school is learning about the human body and how it functions, every person out on the road is teaching his or her own body how to run. Within the Central Nervous System, your brain and muscles communicate through electrical signals going back and forth. This feedback loop trains the muscles, both skeletal and respiratory, to adapt to the demands of running. Think of it like this: With every workout you do, you’re banking up memory on how to run. Just as with every time you studied in college, you improved your knowledge of a particular subject, you’re improving your body’s ability to run.Going even further than “training the CNS” is the fact that your body changes physiologically in response to running. The more you run and strengthen the muscles, the more nuclei they develop. The importance of this is that nuclei contain the DNA necessary and directly responsible for muscular growth. Now, here’s the real kicker…. Research shows that even if you quit running or exercising, these bad boys stick around. So, if you’re trying to get back into it after taking a long hiatus, you really are already one step ahead.THE BODY DOESN’T FORGETI have a lot of clients who ask me questions about the human body – how it adapts to certain exercise, the best exercise for this, the best food for that, etc. I’ve been out of school for over five years now, but I still remember the answers to these questions. My point is that, just like the brain remembers TONS of information, your body will remember how to run, and how to do it well. When starting back up again most runners will notice that, when compared to beginning for the first time, they are MUCH better. The active muscles have been trained before are able to perform well. The heart and cardiac muscles have been trained and do not become as stressed as before. Because of this, it’s fair to say that you can get in shape easier the second time around than the first time.Think about this… How many times have you seen an athlete of some sort pick a sport back up after a long break? Many times it’s almost as if they never left. Now, sure, sometimes it’s because they’re just that good, but many times it’s because their bodies have been through the rigors before and know how to adapt. You are the exact same! You may never be able to run a 6:00 mile, but you can pick right back up where you left off. Just like you know what it takes, your nervous system and skeletal muscles know what it takes too, and they’re ready for the challenge.All you gotta do now is get your butt up from the couch and get going!!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

  ·  3 min

Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

Odds are that at some point in your life, you’re going to have to take time away from running. It happens to everybody. Maybe it’s the end of a long race season and you’re simply burned out. Or maybe you’ve just married and had children. Or sometimes, holidays just get in the way. Regardless of the reason, you’re not alone. But, fear not, because getting back into that routine or following that training plan again may not be as difficult as it seems.LEARNING HOW TO RUNJust like a student in medical school is learning about the human body and how it functions, every person out on the road is teaching his or her own body how to run. Within the Central Nervous System, your brain and muscles communicate through electrical signals going back and forth. This feedback loop trains the muscles, both skeletal and respiratory, to adapt to the demands of running. Think of it like this: With every workout you do, you’re banking up memory on how to run. Just as with every time you studied in college, you improved your knowledge of a particular subject, you’re improving your body’s ability to run.Going even further than “training the CNS” is the fact that your body changes physiologically in response to running. The more you run and strengthen the muscles, the more nuclei they develop. The importance of this is that nuclei contain the DNA necessary and directly responsible for muscular growth. Now, here’s the real kicker…. Research shows that even if you quit running or exercising, these bad boys stick around. So, if you’re trying to get back into it after taking a long hiatus, you really are already one step ahead.THE BODY DOESN’T FORGETI have a lot of clients who ask me questions about the human body – how it adapts to certain exercise, the best exercise for this, the best food for that, etc. I’ve been out of school for over five years now, but I still remember the answers to these questions. My point is that, just like the brain remembers TONS of information, your body will remember how to run, and how to do it well. When starting back up again most runners will notice that, when compared to beginning for the first time, they are MUCH better. The active muscles have been trained before are able to perform well. The heart and cardiac muscles have been trained and do not become as stressed as before. Because of this, it’s fair to say that you can get in shape easier the second time around than the first time.Think about this… How many times have you seen an athlete of some sort pick a sport back up after a long break? Many times it’s almost as if they never left. Now, sure, sometimes it’s because they’re just that good, but many times it’s because their bodies have been through the rigors before and know how to adapt. You are the exact same! You may never be able to run a 6:00 mile, but you can pick right back up where you left off. Just like you know what it takes, your nervous system and skeletal muscles know what it takes too, and they’re ready for the challenge.All you gotta do now is get your butt up from the couch and get going!!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

  ·  2 min

7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

Between seasonal savory sweets, family gatherings and chilly weather, staying active and healthy over the holidays is no easy feat. However, with the right tools and mindset, you should be able to leap into January feeling fit, happy and healthy.Keep on reading for some tips on how to stay on track with your fitness goals this time of year.1. Invest in some winter gear. Running outside in cold weather, rain and snow is doable, but only with the right gear. Opt for sweat wicking clothing over cotton and layer up in cold weather. Hoping to run early or late at night? Invest in a good headlamp and reflective duds. Do some research on what kind of clothing and accessories work best for the weather in your area and make sure to dress accordingly. Still not sure how to dress? Check out this nifty ‘What To Wear’ online tool from Runner’s World.2. Adjust your schedule. Sticking to your regular routine can be tricky with vacations, holidays and visitors. Plan in advance by preemptively adjusting your workout routine—if you’re an evening runner plan to workout during lunch on days with holiday party obligations or if you’ll be on the road find a short (yet solid!) high intensity workout for days you’ll be traveling. Adjusting your routine in advance will make it harder to skip workouts due to an inconsistent daily schedule.3. Try something new. Winter is a great time to step outside your comfort zone. Get in your cardio by trying something new like ice-skating, learning to cross country ski, joining an indoor basketball league or testing out a new dance class.4. Learn to love the treadmill. Getting cardio done on a treadmill doesn’t mean you have to feel like a hamster in a wheel. There’s an abundance of engaging treadmill workouts that can keep you fit and entertained—for example, check out RockMyRun’s new Wednesday Workout treadmill blog series here for some ideas.5. Sign up for a race to keep motivated. Whether a spring marathon or New Year’s Eve 5K, signing up for a race will help you hold yourself accountable and stick to your workouts.6. Eat smart and find a balance. The holidays are home to a copious amount of rich, savory, heavy and delicious foods. The key is to find a balance. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and indulge on major holidays or special family get-togethers. However, the holiday season shouldn’t be an excuse to eat unhealthy on a daily (or even weekly) basis. Stick to a healthy diet and don’t make a habit of sipping pumpkin spice lattes and eating sugar cookies throughout the entire season.7. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. We can’t emphasis this one enough. Hydrating will keep you healthy and help you avoid getting a nasty sickness.What about you? What’s the ONE thing you try to keep in mind during the holidays? Share with other RunRockers below.


7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

  ·  2 min

7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

Between seasonal savory sweets, family gatherings and chilly weather, staying active and healthy over the holidays is no easy feat. However, with the right tools and mindset, you should be able to leap into January feeling fit, happy and healthy.Keep on reading for some tips on how to stay on track with your fitness goals this time of year.1. Invest in some winter gear. Running outside in cold weather, rain and snow is doable, but only with the right gear. Opt for sweat wicking clothing over cotton and layer up in cold weather. Hoping to run early or late at night? Invest in a good headlamp and reflective duds. Do some research on what kind of clothing and accessories work best for the weather in your area and make sure to dress accordingly. Still not sure how to dress? Check out this nifty ‘What To Wear’ online tool from Runner’s World.2. Adjust your schedule. Sticking to your regular routine can be tricky with vacations, holidays and visitors. Plan in advance by preemptively adjusting your workout routine—if you’re an evening runner plan to workout during lunch on days with holiday party obligations or if you’ll be on the road find a short (yet solid!) high intensity workout for days you’ll be traveling. Adjusting your routine in advance will make it harder to skip workouts due to an inconsistent daily schedule.3. Try something new. Winter is a great time to step outside your comfort zone. Get in your cardio by trying something new like ice-skating, learning to cross country ski, joining an indoor basketball league or testing out a new dance class.4. Learn to love the treadmill. Getting cardio done on a treadmill doesn’t mean you have to feel like a hamster in a wheel. There’s an abundance of engaging treadmill workouts that can keep you fit and entertained—for example, check out RockMyRun’s new Wednesday Workout treadmill blog series here for some ideas.5. Sign up for a race to keep motivated. Whether a spring marathon or New Year’s Eve 5K, signing up for a race will help you hold yourself accountable and stick to your workouts.6. Eat smart and find a balance. The holidays are home to a copious amount of rich, savory, heavy and delicious foods. The key is to find a balance. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and indulge on major holidays or special family get-togethers. However, the holiday season shouldn’t be an excuse to eat unhealthy on a daily (or even weekly) basis. Stick to a healthy diet and don’t make a habit of sipping pumpkin spice lattes and eating sugar cookies throughout the entire season.7. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. We can’t emphasis this one enough. Hydrating will keep you healthy and help you avoid getting a nasty sickness.What about you? What’s the ONE thing you try to keep in mind during the holidays? Share with other RunRockers below.


Whose Run Is It?

  ·  4 min

Whose Run Is It?

There’s a time to compete and there’s a time not to. Most of the time, it’s the time not to, yet people are constantly competing against others and themselves.While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do better, many people fall into the trap of competing against themselves and using negativity, labels and name calling, and personal put-downs.Striving to improve from a place of self-acceptance and comfort with who you are is one thing. Criticizing yourself because you aren’t the fastest, don’t have the enough medals or aren’t on the cover of the magazines, that’s another.Leon Festinger carefully looked into this style of thinking in 1954 and called it, “social comparison theory.” Simply, this means that people have an innate propensity to evaluate their skills and performances and often compare themselves to others when there is not objective feedback available. But this comparison is a distraction at best. At worst, it leaves us feeling like we are failures, convinces us that we are fixed in our abilities and predicts futures of poor performance. Thus, instead of understanding that the run you are on is yours, not anyone else’s, you are constantly trying to be someone you aren’t. That’s not healthy.It’s been said that at 20, we worry about what others think of us and at 40, we don’t care what others think of us. As someone who has passed 60, my friends and I now realize that nobody was thinking about us to begin with. They were running their own run while we were busy trying to run theirs.My father, uncle and grandfather had shoe stores when I was growing up. I worked in them from the time I was seven years old. One day, my grandfather brought me outside to teach me an important lesson. He pointed at the competitor down the street. The owner was standing in front of his store watching the people come into our family’s store and walking out with bags of shoes.“Michael,” my grandfather told me, “You see what that guy is doing? He’s watching our store instead of his own. He’s angry that nobody is buying shoes from him. He’s too busy taking care of OUR business instead of his own. When you grow up, run your own store, and don’t watch anyone else’s.”Sure there is a time to compete. Running in a race? You are competing to win. But those times are rare in life. Stay away from constantly competing, delete those who push you to be something you aren’t and run your own run, live in your own home, drive your own car, wear your own running shoes, and run your own store—don’t watch anyone else’s. You’ll fail for sure.Here’s how I coach athletes, business leaders and everyday folks who suffer from their own compare and despair thinking:Who are you? What’s unique about you that makes you different than anyone else? What’s that voice inside telling you who you are? Be sure you are fully aware, self-accepting, and completely content with the answer to that question. Focus on being the best YOU, not a second rate someone else.What’s it take for you to unfold, reveal and unpack the genuine, authentic you? Run your run the way you want to. I saw someone in the gym recently copying every move I made with a set of dumbbells, including the amount I was lifting. He was trying to lift my dumbbells, not his. Not smart, right? He needed to lift his own dumbbells, the way his body and muscles and strength permitted, not the way mine did for him.Don’t DIE. Huh? That means, don’t Demand, Insist and Expect that YOUR performance be better or even match the person with whom you are running.Hear the fixed beliefs you have about yourself, understand you have a choice as to how you think about yourself in relationship to others when you put on your running shoes, challenge and then replace those thoughts that leave you thinking negative about yourself and your performances.Enjoy your run. Your own run.Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and as the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise. He is a behavioral sciences coach and consultant, an Advisor to many fitness and health organizations, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Council on Active Aging, the Chief Consultant for Behavior Sciences for the Premier Fitness Camp at Omni La Costa, a presenter for Rancho La Puerta, a best-selling author and an international fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Whose Run Is It?

  ·  4 min

Whose Run Is It?

There’s a time to compete and there’s a time not to. Most of the time, it’s the time not to, yet people are constantly competing against others and themselves.While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do better, many people fall into the trap of competing against themselves and using negativity, labels and name calling, and personal put-downs.Striving to improve from a place of self-acceptance and comfort with who you are is one thing. Criticizing yourself because you aren’t the fastest, don’t have the enough medals or aren’t on the cover of the magazines, that’s another.Leon Festinger carefully looked into this style of thinking in 1954 and called it, “social comparison theory.” Simply, this means that people have an innate propensity to evaluate their skills and performances and often compare themselves to others when there is not objective feedback available. But this comparison is a distraction at best. At worst, it leaves us feeling like we are failures, convinces us that we are fixed in our abilities and predicts futures of poor performance. Thus, instead of understanding that the run you are on is yours, not anyone else’s, you are constantly trying to be someone you aren’t. That’s not healthy.It’s been said that at 20, we worry about what others think of us and at 40, we don’t care what others think of us. As someone who has passed 60, my friends and I now realize that nobody was thinking about us to begin with. They were running their own run while we were busy trying to run theirs.My father, uncle and grandfather had shoe stores when I was growing up. I worked in them from the time I was seven years old. One day, my grandfather brought me outside to teach me an important lesson. He pointed at the competitor down the street. The owner was standing in front of his store watching the people come into our family’s store and walking out with bags of shoes.“Michael,” my grandfather told me, “You see what that guy is doing? He’s watching our store instead of his own. He’s angry that nobody is buying shoes from him. He’s too busy taking care of OUR business instead of his own. When you grow up, run your own store, and don’t watch anyone else’s.”Sure there is a time to compete. Running in a race? You are competing to win. But those times are rare in life. Stay away from constantly competing, delete those who push you to be something you aren’t and run your own run, live in your own home, drive your own car, wear your own running shoes, and run your own store—don’t watch anyone else’s. You’ll fail for sure.Here’s how I coach athletes, business leaders and everyday folks who suffer from their own compare and despair thinking:Who are you? What’s unique about you that makes you different than anyone else? What’s that voice inside telling you who you are? Be sure you are fully aware, self-accepting, and completely content with the answer to that question. Focus on being the best YOU, not a second rate someone else.What’s it take for you to unfold, reveal and unpack the genuine, authentic you? Run your run the way you want to. I saw someone in the gym recently copying every move I made with a set of dumbbells, including the amount I was lifting. He was trying to lift my dumbbells, not his. Not smart, right? He needed to lift his own dumbbells, the way his body and muscles and strength permitted, not the way mine did for him.Don’t DIE. Huh? That means, don’t Demand, Insist and Expect that YOUR performance be better or even match the person with whom you are running.Hear the fixed beliefs you have about yourself, understand you have a choice as to how you think about yourself in relationship to others when you put on your running shoes, challenge and then replace those thoughts that leave you thinking negative about yourself and your performances.Enjoy your run. Your own run.Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and as the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise. He is a behavioral sciences coach and consultant, an Advisor to many fitness and health organizations, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Council on Active Aging, the Chief Consultant for Behavior Sciences for the Premier Fitness Camp at Omni La Costa, a presenter for Rancho La Puerta, a best-selling author and an international fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

  ·  3 min

3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

If you’ve ever been part of a race of any kind – running, cycling, swimming, even weightlifting – then you’ve seen it happen. There are people who use static stretching (holding a certain position at the edge of your range of motion for a specific period of time) as a means of “loosening up” before their activity. You probably haven’t ever really paid much attention to it. But, next time you’re at a race, or the gym for that matter, take a look around and you’ll see what I mean.Why am I bringing this up? Good question. The answer is simple: The worst possible time to stretch in a static manner is BEFORE you exercise. The general rule of thumb that I follow with my clients and in my own workouts is a dynamic warmup, (very basic movements that mimic what will be performed during the actual workout) followed by some static stretches after. There are a few specific reasons why I follow this strategy and I want to share them with you…YOUR MUSCLES AREN’T LOOSE YET. Your muscles are cold. They’ve been sitting behind a desk or in a car all day, and they’re just not ready for exercise. Stretching them before they loosen up would be like pulling on a banjo or guitar string. You’re just not going to get very far. Not to mention, pulling on a cold muscle is a surefire way to (quite literally) pull or even tear a muscle. NO STATIC STRETCHING BEFORE EXERCISE!!! DYNAMIC WARMUP PREPARES YOUR BODY FOR EXERCISE. I like to use the term “bridging the gap” when talking about dynamic warmup. Most people can’t just take off on a dead sprint, or tie their shoes and go for a 10 mile run. They need to loosen up first. The best way to do this is to go through a series of movements that are going to imitate your actual workout. This will do a couple of things. First and foremost, it will get your heart rate elevated. You will actually be able to feel your breathing increase and your heart begin to pump a little bit. This will in turn elevate your body temperature and increase blood flow to the muscles that are being used. For a running workout, you would obviously want to mimic the motion of running, but also mix in some low intensity exercises that will elevate your heart rate without too much effort. For example: Stationary High KneesStationary Butt KicksBodyweight SquatsJumping JacksAlternating Toe TouchesDo each exercise for 20-30 seconds, repeat two times throughRate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Rate of perceived exertion is a fancy term that describes how hard you think you’re working. This is used commonly in fitness testing as a measurement of how hard to push individuals. A recent Australian study (you can read in its entirety here) showed that while static stretching before a race doesn’t necessarily affect your finishing time, it can directly impair your neuromuscular functioning and increase RPE. What this means is that even though you may still be able to finish around the same time, it’s going to take you longer to get going, and it will seem a lot more difficult doing so. Running can sometimes be tough enough on its own. Why do something that is just going to perpetuate that?Let’s be honest, nobody likes “getting warmed up” before a run or workout. Personally, it’s my least favorite part. Your body is cold and stiff, and loosening it up can be a hassle. So why not, at least, make your warmup more effective? You may not ever enjoy it, but you can at least get the most out of it. So forget the traditional stretches and get moving. It’s far and away the better method for preparing your body for exercise. When you’re all done is when you can relax and hold those “oh-so-comfortable” static stretches.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

  ·  3 min

3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

If you’ve ever been part of a race of any kind – running, cycling, swimming, even weightlifting – then you’ve seen it happen. There are people who use static stretching (holding a certain position at the edge of your range of motion for a specific period of time) as a means of “loosening up” before their activity. You probably haven’t ever really paid much attention to it. But, next time you’re at a race, or the gym for that matter, take a look around and you’ll see what I mean.Why am I bringing this up? Good question. The answer is simple: The worst possible time to stretch in a static manner is BEFORE you exercise. The general rule of thumb that I follow with my clients and in my own workouts is a dynamic warmup, (very basic movements that mimic what will be performed during the actual workout) followed by some static stretches after. There are a few specific reasons why I follow this strategy and I want to share them with you…YOUR MUSCLES AREN’T LOOSE YET. Your muscles are cold. They’ve been sitting behind a desk or in a car all day, and they’re just not ready for exercise. Stretching them before they loosen up would be like pulling on a banjo or guitar string. You’re just not going to get very far. Not to mention, pulling on a cold muscle is a surefire way to (quite literally) pull or even tear a muscle. NO STATIC STRETCHING BEFORE EXERCISE!!! DYNAMIC WARMUP PREPARES YOUR BODY FOR EXERCISE. I like to use the term “bridging the gap” when talking about dynamic warmup. Most people can’t just take off on a dead sprint, or tie their shoes and go for a 10 mile run. They need to loosen up first. The best way to do this is to go through a series of movements that are going to imitate your actual workout. This will do a couple of things. First and foremost, it will get your heart rate elevated. You will actually be able to feel your breathing increase and your heart begin to pump a little bit. This will in turn elevate your body temperature and increase blood flow to the muscles that are being used. For a running workout, you would obviously want to mimic the motion of running, but also mix in some low intensity exercises that will elevate your heart rate without too much effort. For example: Stationary High KneesStationary Butt KicksBodyweight SquatsJumping JacksAlternating Toe TouchesDo each exercise for 20-30 seconds, repeat two times throughRate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Rate of perceived exertion is a fancy term that describes how hard you think you’re working. This is used commonly in fitness testing as a measurement of how hard to push individuals. A recent Australian study (you can read in its entirety here) showed that while static stretching before a race doesn’t necessarily affect your finishing time, it can directly impair your neuromuscular functioning and increase RPE. What this means is that even though you may still be able to finish around the same time, it’s going to take you longer to get going, and it will seem a lot more difficult doing so. Running can sometimes be tough enough on its own. Why do something that is just going to perpetuate that?Let’s be honest, nobody likes “getting warmed up” before a run or workout. Personally, it’s my least favorite part. Your body is cold and stiff, and loosening it up can be a hassle. So why not, at least, make your warmup more effective? You may not ever enjoy it, but you can at least get the most out of it. So forget the traditional stretches and get moving. It’s far and away the better method for preparing your body for exercise. When you’re all done is when you can relax and hold those “oh-so-comfortable” static stretches.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


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Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

  ·  3 min

Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

Odds are that at some point in your life, you’re going to have to take time away from running. It happens to everybody. Maybe it’s the end of a long race season and you’re simply burned out. Or maybe you’ve just married and had children. Or sometimes, holidays just get in the way. Regardless of the reason, you’re not alone. But, fear not, because getting back into that routine or following that training plan again may not be as difficult as it seems.LEARNING HOW TO RUNJust like a student in medical school is learning about the human body and how it functions, every person out on the road is teaching his or her own body how to run. Within the Central Nervous System, your brain and muscles communicate through electrical signals going back and forth. This feedback loop trains the muscles, both skeletal and respiratory, to adapt to the demands of running. Think of it like this: With every workout you do, you’re banking up memory on how to run. Just as with every time you studied in college, you improved your knowledge of a particular subject, you’re improving your body’s ability to run.Going even further than “training the CNS” is the fact that your body changes physiologically in response to running. The more you run and strengthen the muscles, the more nuclei they develop. The importance of this is that nuclei contain the DNA necessary and directly responsible for muscular growth. Now, here’s the real kicker…. Research shows that even if you quit running or exercising, these bad boys stick around. So, if you’re trying to get back into it after taking a long hiatus, you really are already one step ahead.THE BODY DOESN’T FORGETI have a lot of clients who ask me questions about the human body – how it adapts to certain exercise, the best exercise for this, the best food for that, etc. I’ve been out of school for over five years now, but I still remember the answers to these questions. My point is that, just like the brain remembers TONS of information, your body will remember how to run, and how to do it well. When starting back up again most runners will notice that, when compared to beginning for the first time, they are MUCH better. The active muscles have been trained before are able to perform well. The heart and cardiac muscles have been trained and do not become as stressed as before. Because of this, it’s fair to say that you can get in shape easier the second time around than the first time.Think about this… How many times have you seen an athlete of some sort pick a sport back up after a long break? Many times it’s almost as if they never left. Now, sure, sometimes it’s because they’re just that good, but many times it’s because their bodies have been through the rigors before and know how to adapt. You are the exact same! You may never be able to run a 6:00 mile, but you can pick right back up where you left off. Just like you know what it takes, your nervous system and skeletal muscles know what it takes too, and they’re ready for the challenge.All you gotta do now is get your butt up from the couch and get going!!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

  ·  3 min

Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

Odds are that at some point in your life, you’re going to have to take time away from running. It happens to everybody. Maybe it’s the end of a long race season and you’re simply burned out. Or maybe you’ve just married and had children. Or sometimes, holidays just get in the way. Regardless of the reason, you’re not alone. But, fear not, because getting back into that routine or following that training plan again may not be as difficult as it seems.LEARNING HOW TO RUNJust like a student in medical school is learning about the human body and how it functions, every person out on the road is teaching his or her own body how to run. Within the Central Nervous System, your brain and muscles communicate through electrical signals going back and forth. This feedback loop trains the muscles, both skeletal and respiratory, to adapt to the demands of running. Think of it like this: With every workout you do, you’re banking up memory on how to run. Just as with every time you studied in college, you improved your knowledge of a particular subject, you’re improving your body’s ability to run.Going even further than “training the CNS” is the fact that your body changes physiologically in response to running. The more you run and strengthen the muscles, the more nuclei they develop. The importance of this is that nuclei contain the DNA necessary and directly responsible for muscular growth. Now, here’s the real kicker…. Research shows that even if you quit running or exercising, these bad boys stick around. So, if you’re trying to get back into it after taking a long hiatus, you really are already one step ahead.THE BODY DOESN’T FORGETI have a lot of clients who ask me questions about the human body – how it adapts to certain exercise, the best exercise for this, the best food for that, etc. I’ve been out of school for over five years now, but I still remember the answers to these questions. My point is that, just like the brain remembers TONS of information, your body will remember how to run, and how to do it well. When starting back up again most runners will notice that, when compared to beginning for the first time, they are MUCH better. The active muscles have been trained before are able to perform well. The heart and cardiac muscles have been trained and do not become as stressed as before. Because of this, it’s fair to say that you can get in shape easier the second time around than the first time.Think about this… How many times have you seen an athlete of some sort pick a sport back up after a long break? Many times it’s almost as if they never left. Now, sure, sometimes it’s because they’re just that good, but many times it’s because their bodies have been through the rigors before and know how to adapt. You are the exact same! You may never be able to run a 6:00 mile, but you can pick right back up where you left off. Just like you know what it takes, your nervous system and skeletal muscles know what it takes too, and they’re ready for the challenge.All you gotta do now is get your butt up from the couch and get going!!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

  ·  2 min

7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

Between seasonal savory sweets, family gatherings and chilly weather, staying active and healthy over the holidays is no easy feat. However, with the right tools and mindset, you should be able to leap into January feeling fit, happy and healthy.Keep on reading for some tips on how to stay on track with your fitness goals this time of year.1. Invest in some winter gear. Running outside in cold weather, rain and snow is doable, but only with the right gear. Opt for sweat wicking clothing over cotton and layer up in cold weather. Hoping to run early or late at night? Invest in a good headlamp and reflective duds. Do some research on what kind of clothing and accessories work best for the weather in your area and make sure to dress accordingly. Still not sure how to dress? Check out this nifty ‘What To Wear’ online tool from Runner’s World.2. Adjust your schedule. Sticking to your regular routine can be tricky with vacations, holidays and visitors. Plan in advance by preemptively adjusting your workout routine—if you’re an evening runner plan to workout during lunch on days with holiday party obligations or if you’ll be on the road find a short (yet solid!) high intensity workout for days you’ll be traveling. Adjusting your routine in advance will make it harder to skip workouts due to an inconsistent daily schedule.3. Try something new. Winter is a great time to step outside your comfort zone. Get in your cardio by trying something new like ice-skating, learning to cross country ski, joining an indoor basketball league or testing out a new dance class.4. Learn to love the treadmill. Getting cardio done on a treadmill doesn’t mean you have to feel like a hamster in a wheel. There’s an abundance of engaging treadmill workouts that can keep you fit and entertained—for example, check out RockMyRun’s new Wednesday Workout treadmill blog series here for some ideas.5. Sign up for a race to keep motivated. Whether a spring marathon or New Year’s Eve 5K, signing up for a race will help you hold yourself accountable and stick to your workouts.6. Eat smart and find a balance. The holidays are home to a copious amount of rich, savory, heavy and delicious foods. The key is to find a balance. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and indulge on major holidays or special family get-togethers. However, the holiday season shouldn’t be an excuse to eat unhealthy on a daily (or even weekly) basis. Stick to a healthy diet and don’t make a habit of sipping pumpkin spice lattes and eating sugar cookies throughout the entire season.7. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. We can’t emphasis this one enough. Hydrating will keep you healthy and help you avoid getting a nasty sickness.What about you? What’s the ONE thing you try to keep in mind during the holidays? Share with other RunRockers below.


7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

  ·  2 min

7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

Between seasonal savory sweets, family gatherings and chilly weather, staying active and healthy over the holidays is no easy feat. However, with the right tools and mindset, you should be able to leap into January feeling fit, happy and healthy.Keep on reading for some tips on how to stay on track with your fitness goals this time of year.1. Invest in some winter gear. Running outside in cold weather, rain and snow is doable, but only with the right gear. Opt for sweat wicking clothing over cotton and layer up in cold weather. Hoping to run early or late at night? Invest in a good headlamp and reflective duds. Do some research on what kind of clothing and accessories work best for the weather in your area and make sure to dress accordingly. Still not sure how to dress? Check out this nifty ‘What To Wear’ online tool from Runner’s World.2. Adjust your schedule. Sticking to your regular routine can be tricky with vacations, holidays and visitors. Plan in advance by preemptively adjusting your workout routine—if you’re an evening runner plan to workout during lunch on days with holiday party obligations or if you’ll be on the road find a short (yet solid!) high intensity workout for days you’ll be traveling. Adjusting your routine in advance will make it harder to skip workouts due to an inconsistent daily schedule.3. Try something new. Winter is a great time to step outside your comfort zone. Get in your cardio by trying something new like ice-skating, learning to cross country ski, joining an indoor basketball league or testing out a new dance class.4. Learn to love the treadmill. Getting cardio done on a treadmill doesn’t mean you have to feel like a hamster in a wheel. There’s an abundance of engaging treadmill workouts that can keep you fit and entertained—for example, check out RockMyRun’s new Wednesday Workout treadmill blog series here for some ideas.5. Sign up for a race to keep motivated. Whether a spring marathon or New Year’s Eve 5K, signing up for a race will help you hold yourself accountable and stick to your workouts.6. Eat smart and find a balance. The holidays are home to a copious amount of rich, savory, heavy and delicious foods. The key is to find a balance. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and indulge on major holidays or special family get-togethers. However, the holiday season shouldn’t be an excuse to eat unhealthy on a daily (or even weekly) basis. Stick to a healthy diet and don’t make a habit of sipping pumpkin spice lattes and eating sugar cookies throughout the entire season.7. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. We can’t emphasis this one enough. Hydrating will keep you healthy and help you avoid getting a nasty sickness.What about you? What’s the ONE thing you try to keep in mind during the holidays? Share with other RunRockers below.


Whose Run Is It?

  ·  4 min

Whose Run Is It?

There’s a time to compete and there’s a time not to. Most of the time, it’s the time not to, yet people are constantly competing against others and themselves.While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do better, many people fall into the trap of competing against themselves and using negativity, labels and name calling, and personal put-downs.Striving to improve from a place of self-acceptance and comfort with who you are is one thing. Criticizing yourself because you aren’t the fastest, don’t have the enough medals or aren’t on the cover of the magazines, that’s another.Leon Festinger carefully looked into this style of thinking in 1954 and called it, “social comparison theory.” Simply, this means that people have an innate propensity to evaluate their skills and performances and often compare themselves to others when there is not objective feedback available. But this comparison is a distraction at best. At worst, it leaves us feeling like we are failures, convinces us that we are fixed in our abilities and predicts futures of poor performance. Thus, instead of understanding that the run you are on is yours, not anyone else’s, you are constantly trying to be someone you aren’t. That’s not healthy.It’s been said that at 20, we worry about what others think of us and at 40, we don’t care what others think of us. As someone who has passed 60, my friends and I now realize that nobody was thinking about us to begin with. They were running their own run while we were busy trying to run theirs.My father, uncle and grandfather had shoe stores when I was growing up. I worked in them from the time I was seven years old. One day, my grandfather brought me outside to teach me an important lesson. He pointed at the competitor down the street. The owner was standing in front of his store watching the people come into our family’s store and walking out with bags of shoes.“Michael,” my grandfather told me, “You see what that guy is doing? He’s watching our store instead of his own. He’s angry that nobody is buying shoes from him. He’s too busy taking care of OUR business instead of his own. When you grow up, run your own store, and don’t watch anyone else’s.”Sure there is a time to compete. Running in a race? You are competing to win. But those times are rare in life. Stay away from constantly competing, delete those who push you to be something you aren’t and run your own run, live in your own home, drive your own car, wear your own running shoes, and run your own store—don’t watch anyone else’s. You’ll fail for sure.Here’s how I coach athletes, business leaders and everyday folks who suffer from their own compare and despair thinking:Who are you? What’s unique about you that makes you different than anyone else? What’s that voice inside telling you who you are? Be sure you are fully aware, self-accepting, and completely content with the answer to that question. Focus on being the best YOU, not a second rate someone else.What’s it take for you to unfold, reveal and unpack the genuine, authentic you? Run your run the way you want to. I saw someone in the gym recently copying every move I made with a set of dumbbells, including the amount I was lifting. He was trying to lift my dumbbells, not his. Not smart, right? He needed to lift his own dumbbells, the way his body and muscles and strength permitted, not the way mine did for him.Don’t DIE. Huh? That means, don’t Demand, Insist and Expect that YOUR performance be better or even match the person with whom you are running.Hear the fixed beliefs you have about yourself, understand you have a choice as to how you think about yourself in relationship to others when you put on your running shoes, challenge and then replace those thoughts that leave you thinking negative about yourself and your performances.Enjoy your run. Your own run.Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and as the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise. He is a behavioral sciences coach and consultant, an Advisor to many fitness and health organizations, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Council on Active Aging, the Chief Consultant for Behavior Sciences for the Premier Fitness Camp at Omni La Costa, a presenter for Rancho La Puerta, a best-selling author and an international fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Whose Run Is It?

  ·  4 min

Whose Run Is It?

There’s a time to compete and there’s a time not to. Most of the time, it’s the time not to, yet people are constantly competing against others and themselves.While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do better, many people fall into the trap of competing against themselves and using negativity, labels and name calling, and personal put-downs.Striving to improve from a place of self-acceptance and comfort with who you are is one thing. Criticizing yourself because you aren’t the fastest, don’t have the enough medals or aren’t on the cover of the magazines, that’s another.Leon Festinger carefully looked into this style of thinking in 1954 and called it, “social comparison theory.” Simply, this means that people have an innate propensity to evaluate their skills and performances and often compare themselves to others when there is not objective feedback available. But this comparison is a distraction at best. At worst, it leaves us feeling like we are failures, convinces us that we are fixed in our abilities and predicts futures of poor performance. Thus, instead of understanding that the run you are on is yours, not anyone else’s, you are constantly trying to be someone you aren’t. That’s not healthy.It’s been said that at 20, we worry about what others think of us and at 40, we don’t care what others think of us. As someone who has passed 60, my friends and I now realize that nobody was thinking about us to begin with. They were running their own run while we were busy trying to run theirs.My father, uncle and grandfather had shoe stores when I was growing up. I worked in them from the time I was seven years old. One day, my grandfather brought me outside to teach me an important lesson. He pointed at the competitor down the street. The owner was standing in front of his store watching the people come into our family’s store and walking out with bags of shoes.“Michael,” my grandfather told me, “You see what that guy is doing? He’s watching our store instead of his own. He’s angry that nobody is buying shoes from him. He’s too busy taking care of OUR business instead of his own. When you grow up, run your own store, and don’t watch anyone else’s.”Sure there is a time to compete. Running in a race? You are competing to win. But those times are rare in life. Stay away from constantly competing, delete those who push you to be something you aren’t and run your own run, live in your own home, drive your own car, wear your own running shoes, and run your own store—don’t watch anyone else’s. You’ll fail for sure.Here’s how I coach athletes, business leaders and everyday folks who suffer from their own compare and despair thinking:Who are you? What’s unique about you that makes you different than anyone else? What’s that voice inside telling you who you are? Be sure you are fully aware, self-accepting, and completely content with the answer to that question. Focus on being the best YOU, not a second rate someone else.What’s it take for you to unfold, reveal and unpack the genuine, authentic you? Run your run the way you want to. I saw someone in the gym recently copying every move I made with a set of dumbbells, including the amount I was lifting. He was trying to lift my dumbbells, not his. Not smart, right? He needed to lift his own dumbbells, the way his body and muscles and strength permitted, not the way mine did for him.Don’t DIE. Huh? That means, don’t Demand, Insist and Expect that YOUR performance be better or even match the person with whom you are running.Hear the fixed beliefs you have about yourself, understand you have a choice as to how you think about yourself in relationship to others when you put on your running shoes, challenge and then replace those thoughts that leave you thinking negative about yourself and your performances.Enjoy your run. Your own run.Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and as the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise. He is a behavioral sciences coach and consultant, an Advisor to many fitness and health organizations, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Council on Active Aging, the Chief Consultant for Behavior Sciences for the Premier Fitness Camp at Omni La Costa, a presenter for Rancho La Puerta, a best-selling author and an international fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

  ·  3 min

3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

If you’ve ever been part of a race of any kind – running, cycling, swimming, even weightlifting – then you’ve seen it happen. There are people who use static stretching (holding a certain position at the edge of your range of motion for a specific period of time) as a means of “loosening up” before their activity. You probably haven’t ever really paid much attention to it. But, next time you’re at a race, or the gym for that matter, take a look around and you’ll see what I mean.Why am I bringing this up? Good question. The answer is simple: The worst possible time to stretch in a static manner is BEFORE you exercise. The general rule of thumb that I follow with my clients and in my own workouts is a dynamic warmup, (very basic movements that mimic what will be performed during the actual workout) followed by some static stretches after. There are a few specific reasons why I follow this strategy and I want to share them with you…YOUR MUSCLES AREN’T LOOSE YET. Your muscles are cold. They’ve been sitting behind a desk or in a car all day, and they’re just not ready for exercise. Stretching them before they loosen up would be like pulling on a banjo or guitar string. You’re just not going to get very far. Not to mention, pulling on a cold muscle is a surefire way to (quite literally) pull or even tear a muscle. NO STATIC STRETCHING BEFORE EXERCISE!!! DYNAMIC WARMUP PREPARES YOUR BODY FOR EXERCISE. I like to use the term “bridging the gap” when talking about dynamic warmup. Most people can’t just take off on a dead sprint, or tie their shoes and go for a 10 mile run. They need to loosen up first. The best way to do this is to go through a series of movements that are going to imitate your actual workout. This will do a couple of things. First and foremost, it will get your heart rate elevated. You will actually be able to feel your breathing increase and your heart begin to pump a little bit. This will in turn elevate your body temperature and increase blood flow to the muscles that are being used. For a running workout, you would obviously want to mimic the motion of running, but also mix in some low intensity exercises that will elevate your heart rate without too much effort. For example: Stationary High KneesStationary Butt KicksBodyweight SquatsJumping JacksAlternating Toe TouchesDo each exercise for 20-30 seconds, repeat two times throughRate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Rate of perceived exertion is a fancy term that describes how hard you think you’re working. This is used commonly in fitness testing as a measurement of how hard to push individuals. A recent Australian study (you can read in its entirety here) showed that while static stretching before a race doesn’t necessarily affect your finishing time, it can directly impair your neuromuscular functioning and increase RPE. What this means is that even though you may still be able to finish around the same time, it’s going to take you longer to get going, and it will seem a lot more difficult doing so. Running can sometimes be tough enough on its own. Why do something that is just going to perpetuate that?Let’s be honest, nobody likes “getting warmed up” before a run or workout. Personally, it’s my least favorite part. Your body is cold and stiff, and loosening it up can be a hassle. So why not, at least, make your warmup more effective? You may not ever enjoy it, but you can at least get the most out of it. So forget the traditional stretches and get moving. It’s far and away the better method for preparing your body for exercise. When you’re all done is when you can relax and hold those “oh-so-comfortable” static stretches.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

  ·  3 min

3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

If you’ve ever been part of a race of any kind – running, cycling, swimming, even weightlifting – then you’ve seen it happen. There are people who use static stretching (holding a certain position at the edge of your range of motion for a specific period of time) as a means of “loosening up” before their activity. You probably haven’t ever really paid much attention to it. But, next time you’re at a race, or the gym for that matter, take a look around and you’ll see what I mean.Why am I bringing this up? Good question. The answer is simple: The worst possible time to stretch in a static manner is BEFORE you exercise. The general rule of thumb that I follow with my clients and in my own workouts is a dynamic warmup, (very basic movements that mimic what will be performed during the actual workout) followed by some static stretches after. There are a few specific reasons why I follow this strategy and I want to share them with you…YOUR MUSCLES AREN’T LOOSE YET. Your muscles are cold. They’ve been sitting behind a desk or in a car all day, and they’re just not ready for exercise. Stretching them before they loosen up would be like pulling on a banjo or guitar string. You’re just not going to get very far. Not to mention, pulling on a cold muscle is a surefire way to (quite literally) pull or even tear a muscle. NO STATIC STRETCHING BEFORE EXERCISE!!! DYNAMIC WARMUP PREPARES YOUR BODY FOR EXERCISE. I like to use the term “bridging the gap” when talking about dynamic warmup. Most people can’t just take off on a dead sprint, or tie their shoes and go for a 10 mile run. They need to loosen up first. The best way to do this is to go through a series of movements that are going to imitate your actual workout. This will do a couple of things. First and foremost, it will get your heart rate elevated. You will actually be able to feel your breathing increase and your heart begin to pump a little bit. This will in turn elevate your body temperature and increase blood flow to the muscles that are being used. For a running workout, you would obviously want to mimic the motion of running, but also mix in some low intensity exercises that will elevate your heart rate without too much effort. For example: Stationary High KneesStationary Butt KicksBodyweight SquatsJumping JacksAlternating Toe TouchesDo each exercise for 20-30 seconds, repeat two times throughRate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Rate of perceived exertion is a fancy term that describes how hard you think you’re working. This is used commonly in fitness testing as a measurement of how hard to push individuals. A recent Australian study (you can read in its entirety here) showed that while static stretching before a race doesn’t necessarily affect your finishing time, it can directly impair your neuromuscular functioning and increase RPE. What this means is that even though you may still be able to finish around the same time, it’s going to take you longer to get going, and it will seem a lot more difficult doing so. Running can sometimes be tough enough on its own. Why do something that is just going to perpetuate that?Let’s be honest, nobody likes “getting warmed up” before a run or workout. Personally, it’s my least favorite part. Your body is cold and stiff, and loosening it up can be a hassle. So why not, at least, make your warmup more effective? You may not ever enjoy it, but you can at least get the most out of it. So forget the traditional stretches and get moving. It’s far and away the better method for preparing your body for exercise. When you’re all done is when you can relax and hold those “oh-so-comfortable” static stretches.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

  ·  3 min

Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

Odds are that at some point in your life, you’re going to have to take time away from running. It happens to everybody. Maybe it’s the end of a long race season and you’re simply burned out. Or maybe you’ve just married and had children. Or sometimes, holidays just get in the way. Regardless of the reason, you’re not alone. But, fear not, because getting back into that routine or following that training plan again may not be as difficult as it seems.LEARNING HOW TO RUNJust like a student in medical school is learning about the human body and how it functions, every person out on the road is teaching his or her own body how to run. Within the Central Nervous System, your brain and muscles communicate through electrical signals going back and forth. This feedback loop trains the muscles, both skeletal and respiratory, to adapt to the demands of running. Think of it like this: With every workout you do, you’re banking up memory on how to run. Just as with every time you studied in college, you improved your knowledge of a particular subject, you’re improving your body’s ability to run.Going even further than “training the CNS” is the fact that your body changes physiologically in response to running. The more you run and strengthen the muscles, the more nuclei they develop. The importance of this is that nuclei contain the DNA necessary and directly responsible for muscular growth. Now, here’s the real kicker…. Research shows that even if you quit running or exercising, these bad boys stick around. So, if you’re trying to get back into it after taking a long hiatus, you really are already one step ahead.THE BODY DOESN’T FORGETI have a lot of clients who ask me questions about the human body – how it adapts to certain exercise, the best exercise for this, the best food for that, etc. I’ve been out of school for over five years now, but I still remember the answers to these questions. My point is that, just like the brain remembers TONS of information, your body will remember how to run, and how to do it well. When starting back up again most runners will notice that, when compared to beginning for the first time, they are MUCH better. The active muscles have been trained before are able to perform well. The heart and cardiac muscles have been trained and do not become as stressed as before. Because of this, it’s fair to say that you can get in shape easier the second time around than the first time.Think about this… How many times have you seen an athlete of some sort pick a sport back up after a long break? Many times it’s almost as if they never left. Now, sure, sometimes it’s because they’re just that good, but many times it’s because their bodies have been through the rigors before and know how to adapt. You are the exact same! You may never be able to run a 6:00 mile, but you can pick right back up where you left off. Just like you know what it takes, your nervous system and skeletal muscles know what it takes too, and they’re ready for the challenge.All you gotta do now is get your butt up from the couch and get going!!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

  ·  3 min

Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

Odds are that at some point in your life, you’re going to have to take time away from running. It happens to everybody. Maybe it’s the end of a long race season and you’re simply burned out. Or maybe you’ve just married and had children. Or sometimes, holidays just get in the way. Regardless of the reason, you’re not alone. But, fear not, because getting back into that routine or following that training plan again may not be as difficult as it seems.LEARNING HOW TO RUNJust like a student in medical school is learning about the human body and how it functions, every person out on the road is teaching his or her own body how to run. Within the Central Nervous System, your brain and muscles communicate through electrical signals going back and forth. This feedback loop trains the muscles, both skeletal and respiratory, to adapt to the demands of running. Think of it like this: With every workout you do, you’re banking up memory on how to run. Just as with every time you studied in college, you improved your knowledge of a particular subject, you’re improving your body’s ability to run.Going even further than “training the CNS” is the fact that your body changes physiologically in response to running. The more you run and strengthen the muscles, the more nuclei they develop. The importance of this is that nuclei contain the DNA necessary and directly responsible for muscular growth. Now, here’s the real kicker…. Research shows that even if you quit running or exercising, these bad boys stick around. So, if you’re trying to get back into it after taking a long hiatus, you really are already one step ahead.THE BODY DOESN’T FORGETI have a lot of clients who ask me questions about the human body – how it adapts to certain exercise, the best exercise for this, the best food for that, etc. I’ve been out of school for over five years now, but I still remember the answers to these questions. My point is that, just like the brain remembers TONS of information, your body will remember how to run, and how to do it well. When starting back up again most runners will notice that, when compared to beginning for the first time, they are MUCH better. The active muscles have been trained before are able to perform well. The heart and cardiac muscles have been trained and do not become as stressed as before. Because of this, it’s fair to say that you can get in shape easier the second time around than the first time.Think about this… How many times have you seen an athlete of some sort pick a sport back up after a long break? Many times it’s almost as if they never left. Now, sure, sometimes it’s because they’re just that good, but many times it’s because their bodies have been through the rigors before and know how to adapt. You are the exact same! You may never be able to run a 6:00 mile, but you can pick right back up where you left off. Just like you know what it takes, your nervous system and skeletal muscles know what it takes too, and they’re ready for the challenge.All you gotta do now is get your butt up from the couch and get going!!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

  ·  2 min

7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

Between seasonal savory sweets, family gatherings and chilly weather, staying active and healthy over the holidays is no easy feat. However, with the right tools and mindset, you should be able to leap into January feeling fit, happy and healthy.Keep on reading for some tips on how to stay on track with your fitness goals this time of year.1. Invest in some winter gear. Running outside in cold weather, rain and snow is doable, but only with the right gear. Opt for sweat wicking clothing over cotton and layer up in cold weather. Hoping to run early or late at night? Invest in a good headlamp and reflective duds. Do some research on what kind of clothing and accessories work best for the weather in your area and make sure to dress accordingly. Still not sure how to dress? Check out this nifty ‘What To Wear’ online tool from Runner’s World.2. Adjust your schedule. Sticking to your regular routine can be tricky with vacations, holidays and visitors. Plan in advance by preemptively adjusting your workout routine—if you’re an evening runner plan to workout during lunch on days with holiday party obligations or if you’ll be on the road find a short (yet solid!) high intensity workout for days you’ll be traveling. Adjusting your routine in advance will make it harder to skip workouts due to an inconsistent daily schedule.3. Try something new. Winter is a great time to step outside your comfort zone. Get in your cardio by trying something new like ice-skating, learning to cross country ski, joining an indoor basketball league or testing out a new dance class.4. Learn to love the treadmill. Getting cardio done on a treadmill doesn’t mean you have to feel like a hamster in a wheel. There’s an abundance of engaging treadmill workouts that can keep you fit and entertained—for example, check out RockMyRun’s new Wednesday Workout treadmill blog series here for some ideas.5. Sign up for a race to keep motivated. Whether a spring marathon or New Year’s Eve 5K, signing up for a race will help you hold yourself accountable and stick to your workouts.6. Eat smart and find a balance. The holidays are home to a copious amount of rich, savory, heavy and delicious foods. The key is to find a balance. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and indulge on major holidays or special family get-togethers. However, the holiday season shouldn’t be an excuse to eat unhealthy on a daily (or even weekly) basis. Stick to a healthy diet and don’t make a habit of sipping pumpkin spice lattes and eating sugar cookies throughout the entire season.7. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. We can’t emphasis this one enough. Hydrating will keep you healthy and help you avoid getting a nasty sickness.What about you? What’s the ONE thing you try to keep in mind during the holidays? Share with other RunRockers below.


7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

  ·  2 min

7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

Between seasonal savory sweets, family gatherings and chilly weather, staying active and healthy over the holidays is no easy feat. However, with the right tools and mindset, you should be able to leap into January feeling fit, happy and healthy.Keep on reading for some tips on how to stay on track with your fitness goals this time of year.1. Invest in some winter gear. Running outside in cold weather, rain and snow is doable, but only with the right gear. Opt for sweat wicking clothing over cotton and layer up in cold weather. Hoping to run early or late at night? Invest in a good headlamp and reflective duds. Do some research on what kind of clothing and accessories work best for the weather in your area and make sure to dress accordingly. Still not sure how to dress? Check out this nifty ‘What To Wear’ online tool from Runner’s World.2. Adjust your schedule. Sticking to your regular routine can be tricky with vacations, holidays and visitors. Plan in advance by preemptively adjusting your workout routine—if you’re an evening runner plan to workout during lunch on days with holiday party obligations or if you’ll be on the road find a short (yet solid!) high intensity workout for days you’ll be traveling. Adjusting your routine in advance will make it harder to skip workouts due to an inconsistent daily schedule.3. Try something new. Winter is a great time to step outside your comfort zone. Get in your cardio by trying something new like ice-skating, learning to cross country ski, joining an indoor basketball league or testing out a new dance class.4. Learn to love the treadmill. Getting cardio done on a treadmill doesn’t mean you have to feel like a hamster in a wheel. There’s an abundance of engaging treadmill workouts that can keep you fit and entertained—for example, check out RockMyRun’s new Wednesday Workout treadmill blog series here for some ideas.5. Sign up for a race to keep motivated. Whether a spring marathon or New Year’s Eve 5K, signing up for a race will help you hold yourself accountable and stick to your workouts.6. Eat smart and find a balance. The holidays are home to a copious amount of rich, savory, heavy and delicious foods. The key is to find a balance. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and indulge on major holidays or special family get-togethers. However, the holiday season shouldn’t be an excuse to eat unhealthy on a daily (or even weekly) basis. Stick to a healthy diet and don’t make a habit of sipping pumpkin spice lattes and eating sugar cookies throughout the entire season.7. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. We can’t emphasis this one enough. Hydrating will keep you healthy and help you avoid getting a nasty sickness.What about you? What’s the ONE thing you try to keep in mind during the holidays? Share with other RunRockers below.


Whose Run Is It?

  ·  4 min

Whose Run Is It?

There’s a time to compete and there’s a time not to. Most of the time, it’s the time not to, yet people are constantly competing against others and themselves.While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do better, many people fall into the trap of competing against themselves and using negativity, labels and name calling, and personal put-downs.Striving to improve from a place of self-acceptance and comfort with who you are is one thing. Criticizing yourself because you aren’t the fastest, don’t have the enough medals or aren’t on the cover of the magazines, that’s another.Leon Festinger carefully looked into this style of thinking in 1954 and called it, “social comparison theory.” Simply, this means that people have an innate propensity to evaluate their skills and performances and often compare themselves to others when there is not objective feedback available. But this comparison is a distraction at best. At worst, it leaves us feeling like we are failures, convinces us that we are fixed in our abilities and predicts futures of poor performance. Thus, instead of understanding that the run you are on is yours, not anyone else’s, you are constantly trying to be someone you aren’t. That’s not healthy.It’s been said that at 20, we worry about what others think of us and at 40, we don’t care what others think of us. As someone who has passed 60, my friends and I now realize that nobody was thinking about us to begin with. They were running their own run while we were busy trying to run theirs.My father, uncle and grandfather had shoe stores when I was growing up. I worked in them from the time I was seven years old. One day, my grandfather brought me outside to teach me an important lesson. He pointed at the competitor down the street. The owner was standing in front of his store watching the people come into our family’s store and walking out with bags of shoes.“Michael,” my grandfather told me, “You see what that guy is doing? He’s watching our store instead of his own. He’s angry that nobody is buying shoes from him. He’s too busy taking care of OUR business instead of his own. When you grow up, run your own store, and don’t watch anyone else’s.”Sure there is a time to compete. Running in a race? You are competing to win. But those times are rare in life. Stay away from constantly competing, delete those who push you to be something you aren’t and run your own run, live in your own home, drive your own car, wear your own running shoes, and run your own store—don’t watch anyone else’s. You’ll fail for sure.Here’s how I coach athletes, business leaders and everyday folks who suffer from their own compare and despair thinking:Who are you? What’s unique about you that makes you different than anyone else? What’s that voice inside telling you who you are? Be sure you are fully aware, self-accepting, and completely content with the answer to that question. Focus on being the best YOU, not a second rate someone else.What’s it take for you to unfold, reveal and unpack the genuine, authentic you? Run your run the way you want to. I saw someone in the gym recently copying every move I made with a set of dumbbells, including the amount I was lifting. He was trying to lift my dumbbells, not his. Not smart, right? He needed to lift his own dumbbells, the way his body and muscles and strength permitted, not the way mine did for him.Don’t DIE. Huh? That means, don’t Demand, Insist and Expect that YOUR performance be better or even match the person with whom you are running.Hear the fixed beliefs you have about yourself, understand you have a choice as to how you think about yourself in relationship to others when you put on your running shoes, challenge and then replace those thoughts that leave you thinking negative about yourself and your performances.Enjoy your run. Your own run.Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and as the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise. He is a behavioral sciences coach and consultant, an Advisor to many fitness and health organizations, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Council on Active Aging, the Chief Consultant for Behavior Sciences for the Premier Fitness Camp at Omni La Costa, a presenter for Rancho La Puerta, a best-selling author and an international fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Whose Run Is It?

  ·  4 min

Whose Run Is It?

There’s a time to compete and there’s a time not to. Most of the time, it’s the time not to, yet people are constantly competing against others and themselves.While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do better, many people fall into the trap of competing against themselves and using negativity, labels and name calling, and personal put-downs.Striving to improve from a place of self-acceptance and comfort with who you are is one thing. Criticizing yourself because you aren’t the fastest, don’t have the enough medals or aren’t on the cover of the magazines, that’s another.Leon Festinger carefully looked into this style of thinking in 1954 and called it, “social comparison theory.” Simply, this means that people have an innate propensity to evaluate their skills and performances and often compare themselves to others when there is not objective feedback available. But this comparison is a distraction at best. At worst, it leaves us feeling like we are failures, convinces us that we are fixed in our abilities and predicts futures of poor performance. Thus, instead of understanding that the run you are on is yours, not anyone else’s, you are constantly trying to be someone you aren’t. That’s not healthy.It’s been said that at 20, we worry about what others think of us and at 40, we don’t care what others think of us. As someone who has passed 60, my friends and I now realize that nobody was thinking about us to begin with. They were running their own run while we were busy trying to run theirs.My father, uncle and grandfather had shoe stores when I was growing up. I worked in them from the time I was seven years old. One day, my grandfather brought me outside to teach me an important lesson. He pointed at the competitor down the street. The owner was standing in front of his store watching the people come into our family’s store and walking out with bags of shoes.“Michael,” my grandfather told me, “You see what that guy is doing? He’s watching our store instead of his own. He’s angry that nobody is buying shoes from him. He’s too busy taking care of OUR business instead of his own. When you grow up, run your own store, and don’t watch anyone else’s.”Sure there is a time to compete. Running in a race? You are competing to win. But those times are rare in life. Stay away from constantly competing, delete those who push you to be something you aren’t and run your own run, live in your own home, drive your own car, wear your own running shoes, and run your own store—don’t watch anyone else’s. You’ll fail for sure.Here’s how I coach athletes, business leaders and everyday folks who suffer from their own compare and despair thinking:Who are you? What’s unique about you that makes you different than anyone else? What’s that voice inside telling you who you are? Be sure you are fully aware, self-accepting, and completely content with the answer to that question. Focus on being the best YOU, not a second rate someone else.What’s it take for you to unfold, reveal and unpack the genuine, authentic you? Run your run the way you want to. I saw someone in the gym recently copying every move I made with a set of dumbbells, including the amount I was lifting. He was trying to lift my dumbbells, not his. Not smart, right? He needed to lift his own dumbbells, the way his body and muscles and strength permitted, not the way mine did for him.Don’t DIE. Huh? That means, don’t Demand, Insist and Expect that YOUR performance be better or even match the person with whom you are running.Hear the fixed beliefs you have about yourself, understand you have a choice as to how you think about yourself in relationship to others when you put on your running shoes, challenge and then replace those thoughts that leave you thinking negative about yourself and your performances.Enjoy your run. Your own run.Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and as the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise. He is a behavioral sciences coach and consultant, an Advisor to many fitness and health organizations, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Council on Active Aging, the Chief Consultant for Behavior Sciences for the Premier Fitness Camp at Omni La Costa, a presenter for Rancho La Puerta, a best-selling author and an international fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

  ·  3 min

3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

If you’ve ever been part of a race of any kind – running, cycling, swimming, even weightlifting – then you’ve seen it happen. There are people who use static stretching (holding a certain position at the edge of your range of motion for a specific period of time) as a means of “loosening up” before their activity. You probably haven’t ever really paid much attention to it. But, next time you’re at a race, or the gym for that matter, take a look around and you’ll see what I mean.Why am I bringing this up? Good question. The answer is simple: The worst possible time to stretch in a static manner is BEFORE you exercise. The general rule of thumb that I follow with my clients and in my own workouts is a dynamic warmup, (very basic movements that mimic what will be performed during the actual workout) followed by some static stretches after. There are a few specific reasons why I follow this strategy and I want to share them with you…YOUR MUSCLES AREN’T LOOSE YET. Your muscles are cold. They’ve been sitting behind a desk or in a car all day, and they’re just not ready for exercise. Stretching them before they loosen up would be like pulling on a banjo or guitar string. You’re just not going to get very far. Not to mention, pulling on a cold muscle is a surefire way to (quite literally) pull or even tear a muscle. NO STATIC STRETCHING BEFORE EXERCISE!!! DYNAMIC WARMUP PREPARES YOUR BODY FOR EXERCISE. I like to use the term “bridging the gap” when talking about dynamic warmup. Most people can’t just take off on a dead sprint, or tie their shoes and go for a 10 mile run. They need to loosen up first. The best way to do this is to go through a series of movements that are going to imitate your actual workout. This will do a couple of things. First and foremost, it will get your heart rate elevated. You will actually be able to feel your breathing increase and your heart begin to pump a little bit. This will in turn elevate your body temperature and increase blood flow to the muscles that are being used. For a running workout, you would obviously want to mimic the motion of running, but also mix in some low intensity exercises that will elevate your heart rate without too much effort. For example: Stationary High KneesStationary Butt KicksBodyweight SquatsJumping JacksAlternating Toe TouchesDo each exercise for 20-30 seconds, repeat two times throughRate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Rate of perceived exertion is a fancy term that describes how hard you think you’re working. This is used commonly in fitness testing as a measurement of how hard to push individuals. A recent Australian study (you can read in its entirety here) showed that while static stretching before a race doesn’t necessarily affect your finishing time, it can directly impair your neuromuscular functioning and increase RPE. What this means is that even though you may still be able to finish around the same time, it’s going to take you longer to get going, and it will seem a lot more difficult doing so. Running can sometimes be tough enough on its own. Why do something that is just going to perpetuate that?Let’s be honest, nobody likes “getting warmed up” before a run or workout. Personally, it’s my least favorite part. Your body is cold and stiff, and loosening it up can be a hassle. So why not, at least, make your warmup more effective? You may not ever enjoy it, but you can at least get the most out of it. So forget the traditional stretches and get moving. It’s far and away the better method for preparing your body for exercise. When you’re all done is when you can relax and hold those “oh-so-comfortable” static stretches.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

  ·  3 min

3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

If you’ve ever been part of a race of any kind – running, cycling, swimming, even weightlifting – then you’ve seen it happen. There are people who use static stretching (holding a certain position at the edge of your range of motion for a specific period of time) as a means of “loosening up” before their activity. You probably haven’t ever really paid much attention to it. But, next time you’re at a race, or the gym for that matter, take a look around and you’ll see what I mean.Why am I bringing this up? Good question. The answer is simple: The worst possible time to stretch in a static manner is BEFORE you exercise. The general rule of thumb that I follow with my clients and in my own workouts is a dynamic warmup, (very basic movements that mimic what will be performed during the actual workout) followed by some static stretches after. There are a few specific reasons why I follow this strategy and I want to share them with you…YOUR MUSCLES AREN’T LOOSE YET. Your muscles are cold. They’ve been sitting behind a desk or in a car all day, and they’re just not ready for exercise. Stretching them before they loosen up would be like pulling on a banjo or guitar string. You’re just not going to get very far. Not to mention, pulling on a cold muscle is a surefire way to (quite literally) pull or even tear a muscle. NO STATIC STRETCHING BEFORE EXERCISE!!! DYNAMIC WARMUP PREPARES YOUR BODY FOR EXERCISE. I like to use the term “bridging the gap” when talking about dynamic warmup. Most people can’t just take off on a dead sprint, or tie their shoes and go for a 10 mile run. They need to loosen up first. The best way to do this is to go through a series of movements that are going to imitate your actual workout. This will do a couple of things. First and foremost, it will get your heart rate elevated. You will actually be able to feel your breathing increase and your heart begin to pump a little bit. This will in turn elevate your body temperature and increase blood flow to the muscles that are being used. For a running workout, you would obviously want to mimic the motion of running, but also mix in some low intensity exercises that will elevate your heart rate without too much effort. For example: Stationary High KneesStationary Butt KicksBodyweight SquatsJumping JacksAlternating Toe TouchesDo each exercise for 20-30 seconds, repeat two times throughRate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Rate of perceived exertion is a fancy term that describes how hard you think you’re working. This is used commonly in fitness testing as a measurement of how hard to push individuals. A recent Australian study (you can read in its entirety here) showed that while static stretching before a race doesn’t necessarily affect your finishing time, it can directly impair your neuromuscular functioning and increase RPE. What this means is that even though you may still be able to finish around the same time, it’s going to take you longer to get going, and it will seem a lot more difficult doing so. Running can sometimes be tough enough on its own. Why do something that is just going to perpetuate that?Let’s be honest, nobody likes “getting warmed up” before a run or workout. Personally, it’s my least favorite part. Your body is cold and stiff, and loosening it up can be a hassle. So why not, at least, make your warmup more effective? You may not ever enjoy it, but you can at least get the most out of it. So forget the traditional stretches and get moving. It’s far and away the better method for preparing your body for exercise. When you’re all done is when you can relax and hold those “oh-so-comfortable” static stretches.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


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Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

  ·  3 min

Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

Odds are that at some point in your life, you’re going to have to take time away from running. It happens to everybody. Maybe it’s the end of a long race season and you’re simply burned out. Or maybe you’ve just married and had children. Or sometimes, holidays just get in the way. Regardless of the reason, you’re not alone. But, fear not, because getting back into that routine or following that training plan again may not be as difficult as it seems.LEARNING HOW TO RUNJust like a student in medical school is learning about the human body and how it functions, every person out on the road is teaching his or her own body how to run. Within the Central Nervous System, your brain and muscles communicate through electrical signals going back and forth. This feedback loop trains the muscles, both skeletal and respiratory, to adapt to the demands of running. Think of it like this: With every workout you do, you’re banking up memory on how to run. Just as with every time you studied in college, you improved your knowledge of a particular subject, you’re improving your body’s ability to run.Going even further than “training the CNS” is the fact that your body changes physiologically in response to running. The more you run and strengthen the muscles, the more nuclei they develop. The importance of this is that nuclei contain the DNA necessary and directly responsible for muscular growth. Now, here’s the real kicker…. Research shows that even if you quit running or exercising, these bad boys stick around. So, if you’re trying to get back into it after taking a long hiatus, you really are already one step ahead.THE BODY DOESN’T FORGETI have a lot of clients who ask me questions about the human body – how it adapts to certain exercise, the best exercise for this, the best food for that, etc. I’ve been out of school for over five years now, but I still remember the answers to these questions. My point is that, just like the brain remembers TONS of information, your body will remember how to run, and how to do it well. When starting back up again most runners will notice that, when compared to beginning for the first time, they are MUCH better. The active muscles have been trained before are able to perform well. The heart and cardiac muscles have been trained and do not become as stressed as before. Because of this, it’s fair to say that you can get in shape easier the second time around than the first time.Think about this… How many times have you seen an athlete of some sort pick a sport back up after a long break? Many times it’s almost as if they never left. Now, sure, sometimes it’s because they’re just that good, but many times it’s because their bodies have been through the rigors before and know how to adapt. You are the exact same! You may never be able to run a 6:00 mile, but you can pick right back up where you left off. Just like you know what it takes, your nervous system and skeletal muscles know what it takes too, and they’re ready for the challenge.All you gotta do now is get your butt up from the couch and get going!!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

  ·  3 min

Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

Odds are that at some point in your life, you’re going to have to take time away from running. It happens to everybody. Maybe it’s the end of a long race season and you’re simply burned out. Or maybe you’ve just married and had children. Or sometimes, holidays just get in the way. Regardless of the reason, you’re not alone. But, fear not, because getting back into that routine or following that training plan again may not be as difficult as it seems.LEARNING HOW TO RUNJust like a student in medical school is learning about the human body and how it functions, every person out on the road is teaching his or her own body how to run. Within the Central Nervous System, your brain and muscles communicate through electrical signals going back and forth. This feedback loop trains the muscles, both skeletal and respiratory, to adapt to the demands of running. Think of it like this: With every workout you do, you’re banking up memory on how to run. Just as with every time you studied in college, you improved your knowledge of a particular subject, you’re improving your body’s ability to run.Going even further than “training the CNS” is the fact that your body changes physiologically in response to running. The more you run and strengthen the muscles, the more nuclei they develop. The importance of this is that nuclei contain the DNA necessary and directly responsible for muscular growth. Now, here’s the real kicker…. Research shows that even if you quit running or exercising, these bad boys stick around. So, if you’re trying to get back into it after taking a long hiatus, you really are already one step ahead.THE BODY DOESN’T FORGETI have a lot of clients who ask me questions about the human body – how it adapts to certain exercise, the best exercise for this, the best food for that, etc. I’ve been out of school for over five years now, but I still remember the answers to these questions. My point is that, just like the brain remembers TONS of information, your body will remember how to run, and how to do it well. When starting back up again most runners will notice that, when compared to beginning for the first time, they are MUCH better. The active muscles have been trained before are able to perform well. The heart and cardiac muscles have been trained and do not become as stressed as before. Because of this, it’s fair to say that you can get in shape easier the second time around than the first time.Think about this… How many times have you seen an athlete of some sort pick a sport back up after a long break? Many times it’s almost as if they never left. Now, sure, sometimes it’s because they’re just that good, but many times it’s because their bodies have been through the rigors before and know how to adapt. You are the exact same! You may never be able to run a 6:00 mile, but you can pick right back up where you left off. Just like you know what it takes, your nervous system and skeletal muscles know what it takes too, and they’re ready for the challenge.All you gotta do now is get your butt up from the couch and get going!!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

  ·  2 min

7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

Between seasonal savory sweets, family gatherings and chilly weather, staying active and healthy over the holidays is no easy feat. However, with the right tools and mindset, you should be able to leap into January feeling fit, happy and healthy.Keep on reading for some tips on how to stay on track with your fitness goals this time of year.1. Invest in some winter gear. Running outside in cold weather, rain and snow is doable, but only with the right gear. Opt for sweat wicking clothing over cotton and layer up in cold weather. Hoping to run early or late at night? Invest in a good headlamp and reflective duds. Do some research on what kind of clothing and accessories work best for the weather in your area and make sure to dress accordingly. Still not sure how to dress? Check out this nifty ‘What To Wear’ online tool from Runner’s World.2. Adjust your schedule. Sticking to your regular routine can be tricky with vacations, holidays and visitors. Plan in advance by preemptively adjusting your workout routine—if you’re an evening runner plan to workout during lunch on days with holiday party obligations or if you’ll be on the road find a short (yet solid!) high intensity workout for days you’ll be traveling. Adjusting your routine in advance will make it harder to skip workouts due to an inconsistent daily schedule.3. Try something new. Winter is a great time to step outside your comfort zone. Get in your cardio by trying something new like ice-skating, learning to cross country ski, joining an indoor basketball league or testing out a new dance class.4. Learn to love the treadmill. Getting cardio done on a treadmill doesn’t mean you have to feel like a hamster in a wheel. There’s an abundance of engaging treadmill workouts that can keep you fit and entertained—for example, check out RockMyRun’s new Wednesday Workout treadmill blog series here for some ideas.5. Sign up for a race to keep motivated. Whether a spring marathon or New Year’s Eve 5K, signing up for a race will help you hold yourself accountable and stick to your workouts.6. Eat smart and find a balance. The holidays are home to a copious amount of rich, savory, heavy and delicious foods. The key is to find a balance. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and indulge on major holidays or special family get-togethers. However, the holiday season shouldn’t be an excuse to eat unhealthy on a daily (or even weekly) basis. Stick to a healthy diet and don’t make a habit of sipping pumpkin spice lattes and eating sugar cookies throughout the entire season.7. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. We can’t emphasis this one enough. Hydrating will keep you healthy and help you avoid getting a nasty sickness.What about you? What’s the ONE thing you try to keep in mind during the holidays? Share with other RunRockers below.


7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

  ·  2 min

7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

Between seasonal savory sweets, family gatherings and chilly weather, staying active and healthy over the holidays is no easy feat. However, with the right tools and mindset, you should be able to leap into January feeling fit, happy and healthy.Keep on reading for some tips on how to stay on track with your fitness goals this time of year.1. Invest in some winter gear. Running outside in cold weather, rain and snow is doable, but only with the right gear. Opt for sweat wicking clothing over cotton and layer up in cold weather. Hoping to run early or late at night? Invest in a good headlamp and reflective duds. Do some research on what kind of clothing and accessories work best for the weather in your area and make sure to dress accordingly. Still not sure how to dress? Check out this nifty ‘What To Wear’ online tool from Runner’s World.2. Adjust your schedule. Sticking to your regular routine can be tricky with vacations, holidays and visitors. Plan in advance by preemptively adjusting your workout routine—if you’re an evening runner plan to workout during lunch on days with holiday party obligations or if you’ll be on the road find a short (yet solid!) high intensity workout for days you’ll be traveling. Adjusting your routine in advance will make it harder to skip workouts due to an inconsistent daily schedule.3. Try something new. Winter is a great time to step outside your comfort zone. Get in your cardio by trying something new like ice-skating, learning to cross country ski, joining an indoor basketball league or testing out a new dance class.4. Learn to love the treadmill. Getting cardio done on a treadmill doesn’t mean you have to feel like a hamster in a wheel. There’s an abundance of engaging treadmill workouts that can keep you fit and entertained—for example, check out RockMyRun’s new Wednesday Workout treadmill blog series here for some ideas.5. Sign up for a race to keep motivated. Whether a spring marathon or New Year’s Eve 5K, signing up for a race will help you hold yourself accountable and stick to your workouts.6. Eat smart and find a balance. The holidays are home to a copious amount of rich, savory, heavy and delicious foods. The key is to find a balance. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and indulge on major holidays or special family get-togethers. However, the holiday season shouldn’t be an excuse to eat unhealthy on a daily (or even weekly) basis. Stick to a healthy diet and don’t make a habit of sipping pumpkin spice lattes and eating sugar cookies throughout the entire season.7. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. We can’t emphasis this one enough. Hydrating will keep you healthy and help you avoid getting a nasty sickness.What about you? What’s the ONE thing you try to keep in mind during the holidays? Share with other RunRockers below.


Whose Run Is It?

  ·  4 min

Whose Run Is It?

There’s a time to compete and there’s a time not to. Most of the time, it’s the time not to, yet people are constantly competing against others and themselves.While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do better, many people fall into the trap of competing against themselves and using negativity, labels and name calling, and personal put-downs.Striving to improve from a place of self-acceptance and comfort with who you are is one thing. Criticizing yourself because you aren’t the fastest, don’t have the enough medals or aren’t on the cover of the magazines, that’s another.Leon Festinger carefully looked into this style of thinking in 1954 and called it, “social comparison theory.” Simply, this means that people have an innate propensity to evaluate their skills and performances and often compare themselves to others when there is not objective feedback available. But this comparison is a distraction at best. At worst, it leaves us feeling like we are failures, convinces us that we are fixed in our abilities and predicts futures of poor performance. Thus, instead of understanding that the run you are on is yours, not anyone else’s, you are constantly trying to be someone you aren’t. That’s not healthy.It’s been said that at 20, we worry about what others think of us and at 40, we don’t care what others think of us. As someone who has passed 60, my friends and I now realize that nobody was thinking about us to begin with. They were running their own run while we were busy trying to run theirs.My father, uncle and grandfather had shoe stores when I was growing up. I worked in them from the time I was seven years old. One day, my grandfather brought me outside to teach me an important lesson. He pointed at the competitor down the street. The owner was standing in front of his store watching the people come into our family’s store and walking out with bags of shoes.“Michael,” my grandfather told me, “You see what that guy is doing? He’s watching our store instead of his own. He’s angry that nobody is buying shoes from him. He’s too busy taking care of OUR business instead of his own. When you grow up, run your own store, and don’t watch anyone else’s.”Sure there is a time to compete. Running in a race? You are competing to win. But those times are rare in life. Stay away from constantly competing, delete those who push you to be something you aren’t and run your own run, live in your own home, drive your own car, wear your own running shoes, and run your own store—don’t watch anyone else’s. You’ll fail for sure.Here’s how I coach athletes, business leaders and everyday folks who suffer from their own compare and despair thinking:Who are you? What’s unique about you that makes you different than anyone else? What’s that voice inside telling you who you are? Be sure you are fully aware, self-accepting, and completely content with the answer to that question. Focus on being the best YOU, not a second rate someone else.What’s it take for you to unfold, reveal and unpack the genuine, authentic you? Run your run the way you want to. I saw someone in the gym recently copying every move I made with a set of dumbbells, including the amount I was lifting. He was trying to lift my dumbbells, not his. Not smart, right? He needed to lift his own dumbbells, the way his body and muscles and strength permitted, not the way mine did for him.Don’t DIE. Huh? That means, don’t Demand, Insist and Expect that YOUR performance be better or even match the person with whom you are running.Hear the fixed beliefs you have about yourself, understand you have a choice as to how you think about yourself in relationship to others when you put on your running shoes, challenge and then replace those thoughts that leave you thinking negative about yourself and your performances.Enjoy your run. Your own run.Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and as the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise. He is a behavioral sciences coach and consultant, an Advisor to many fitness and health organizations, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Council on Active Aging, the Chief Consultant for Behavior Sciences for the Premier Fitness Camp at Omni La Costa, a presenter for Rancho La Puerta, a best-selling author and an international fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Whose Run Is It?

  ·  4 min

Whose Run Is It?

There’s a time to compete and there’s a time not to. Most of the time, it’s the time not to, yet people are constantly competing against others and themselves.While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do better, many people fall into the trap of competing against themselves and using negativity, labels and name calling, and personal put-downs.Striving to improve from a place of self-acceptance and comfort with who you are is one thing. Criticizing yourself because you aren’t the fastest, don’t have the enough medals or aren’t on the cover of the magazines, that’s another.Leon Festinger carefully looked into this style of thinking in 1954 and called it, “social comparison theory.” Simply, this means that people have an innate propensity to evaluate their skills and performances and often compare themselves to others when there is not objective feedback available. But this comparison is a distraction at best. At worst, it leaves us feeling like we are failures, convinces us that we are fixed in our abilities and predicts futures of poor performance. Thus, instead of understanding that the run you are on is yours, not anyone else’s, you are constantly trying to be someone you aren’t. That’s not healthy.It’s been said that at 20, we worry about what others think of us and at 40, we don’t care what others think of us. As someone who has passed 60, my friends and I now realize that nobody was thinking about us to begin with. They were running their own run while we were busy trying to run theirs.My father, uncle and grandfather had shoe stores when I was growing up. I worked in them from the time I was seven years old. One day, my grandfather brought me outside to teach me an important lesson. He pointed at the competitor down the street. The owner was standing in front of his store watching the people come into our family’s store and walking out with bags of shoes.“Michael,” my grandfather told me, “You see what that guy is doing? He’s watching our store instead of his own. He’s angry that nobody is buying shoes from him. He’s too busy taking care of OUR business instead of his own. When you grow up, run your own store, and don’t watch anyone else’s.”Sure there is a time to compete. Running in a race? You are competing to win. But those times are rare in life. Stay away from constantly competing, delete those who push you to be something you aren’t and run your own run, live in your own home, drive your own car, wear your own running shoes, and run your own store—don’t watch anyone else’s. You’ll fail for sure.Here’s how I coach athletes, business leaders and everyday folks who suffer from their own compare and despair thinking:Who are you? What’s unique about you that makes you different than anyone else? What’s that voice inside telling you who you are? Be sure you are fully aware, self-accepting, and completely content with the answer to that question. Focus on being the best YOU, not a second rate someone else.What’s it take for you to unfold, reveal and unpack the genuine, authentic you? Run your run the way you want to. I saw someone in the gym recently copying every move I made with a set of dumbbells, including the amount I was lifting. He was trying to lift my dumbbells, not his. Not smart, right? He needed to lift his own dumbbells, the way his body and muscles and strength permitted, not the way mine did for him.Don’t DIE. Huh? That means, don’t Demand, Insist and Expect that YOUR performance be better or even match the person with whom you are running.Hear the fixed beliefs you have about yourself, understand you have a choice as to how you think about yourself in relationship to others when you put on your running shoes, challenge and then replace those thoughts that leave you thinking negative about yourself and your performances.Enjoy your run. Your own run.Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and as the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise. He is a behavioral sciences coach and consultant, an Advisor to many fitness and health organizations, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Council on Active Aging, the Chief Consultant for Behavior Sciences for the Premier Fitness Camp at Omni La Costa, a presenter for Rancho La Puerta, a best-selling author and an international fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

  ·  3 min

3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

If you’ve ever been part of a race of any kind – running, cycling, swimming, even weightlifting – then you’ve seen it happen. There are people who use static stretching (holding a certain position at the edge of your range of motion for a specific period of time) as a means of “loosening up” before their activity. You probably haven’t ever really paid much attention to it. But, next time you’re at a race, or the gym for that matter, take a look around and you’ll see what I mean.Why am I bringing this up? Good question. The answer is simple: The worst possible time to stretch in a static manner is BEFORE you exercise. The general rule of thumb that I follow with my clients and in my own workouts is a dynamic warmup, (very basic movements that mimic what will be performed during the actual workout) followed by some static stretches after. There are a few specific reasons why I follow this strategy and I want to share them with you…YOUR MUSCLES AREN’T LOOSE YET. Your muscles are cold. They’ve been sitting behind a desk or in a car all day, and they’re just not ready for exercise. Stretching them before they loosen up would be like pulling on a banjo or guitar string. You’re just not going to get very far. Not to mention, pulling on a cold muscle is a surefire way to (quite literally) pull or even tear a muscle. NO STATIC STRETCHING BEFORE EXERCISE!!! DYNAMIC WARMUP PREPARES YOUR BODY FOR EXERCISE. I like to use the term “bridging the gap” when talking about dynamic warmup. Most people can’t just take off on a dead sprint, or tie their shoes and go for a 10 mile run. They need to loosen up first. The best way to do this is to go through a series of movements that are going to imitate your actual workout. This will do a couple of things. First and foremost, it will get your heart rate elevated. You will actually be able to feel your breathing increase and your heart begin to pump a little bit. This will in turn elevate your body temperature and increase blood flow to the muscles that are being used. For a running workout, you would obviously want to mimic the motion of running, but also mix in some low intensity exercises that will elevate your heart rate without too much effort. For example: Stationary High KneesStationary Butt KicksBodyweight SquatsJumping JacksAlternating Toe TouchesDo each exercise for 20-30 seconds, repeat two times throughRate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Rate of perceived exertion is a fancy term that describes how hard you think you’re working. This is used commonly in fitness testing as a measurement of how hard to push individuals. A recent Australian study (you can read in its entirety here) showed that while static stretching before a race doesn’t necessarily affect your finishing time, it can directly impair your neuromuscular functioning and increase RPE. What this means is that even though you may still be able to finish around the same time, it’s going to take you longer to get going, and it will seem a lot more difficult doing so. Running can sometimes be tough enough on its own. Why do something that is just going to perpetuate that?Let’s be honest, nobody likes “getting warmed up” before a run or workout. Personally, it’s my least favorite part. Your body is cold and stiff, and loosening it up can be a hassle. So why not, at least, make your warmup more effective? You may not ever enjoy it, but you can at least get the most out of it. So forget the traditional stretches and get moving. It’s far and away the better method for preparing your body for exercise. When you’re all done is when you can relax and hold those “oh-so-comfortable” static stretches.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

  ·  3 min

3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

If you’ve ever been part of a race of any kind – running, cycling, swimming, even weightlifting – then you’ve seen it happen. There are people who use static stretching (holding a certain position at the edge of your range of motion for a specific period of time) as a means of “loosening up” before their activity. You probably haven’t ever really paid much attention to it. But, next time you’re at a race, or the gym for that matter, take a look around and you’ll see what I mean.Why am I bringing this up? Good question. The answer is simple: The worst possible time to stretch in a static manner is BEFORE you exercise. The general rule of thumb that I follow with my clients and in my own workouts is a dynamic warmup, (very basic movements that mimic what will be performed during the actual workout) followed by some static stretches after. There are a few specific reasons why I follow this strategy and I want to share them with you…YOUR MUSCLES AREN’T LOOSE YET. Your muscles are cold. They’ve been sitting behind a desk or in a car all day, and they’re just not ready for exercise. Stretching them before they loosen up would be like pulling on a banjo or guitar string. You’re just not going to get very far. Not to mention, pulling on a cold muscle is a surefire way to (quite literally) pull or even tear a muscle. NO STATIC STRETCHING BEFORE EXERCISE!!! DYNAMIC WARMUP PREPARES YOUR BODY FOR EXERCISE. I like to use the term “bridging the gap” when talking about dynamic warmup. Most people can’t just take off on a dead sprint, or tie their shoes and go for a 10 mile run. They need to loosen up first. The best way to do this is to go through a series of movements that are going to imitate your actual workout. This will do a couple of things. First and foremost, it will get your heart rate elevated. You will actually be able to feel your breathing increase and your heart begin to pump a little bit. This will in turn elevate your body temperature and increase blood flow to the muscles that are being used. For a running workout, you would obviously want to mimic the motion of running, but also mix in some low intensity exercises that will elevate your heart rate without too much effort. For example: Stationary High KneesStationary Butt KicksBodyweight SquatsJumping JacksAlternating Toe TouchesDo each exercise for 20-30 seconds, repeat two times throughRate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Rate of perceived exertion is a fancy term that describes how hard you think you’re working. This is used commonly in fitness testing as a measurement of how hard to push individuals. A recent Australian study (you can read in its entirety here) showed that while static stretching before a race doesn’t necessarily affect your finishing time, it can directly impair your neuromuscular functioning and increase RPE. What this means is that even though you may still be able to finish around the same time, it’s going to take you longer to get going, and it will seem a lot more difficult doing so. Running can sometimes be tough enough on its own. Why do something that is just going to perpetuate that?Let’s be honest, nobody likes “getting warmed up” before a run or workout. Personally, it’s my least favorite part. Your body is cold and stiff, and loosening it up can be a hassle. So why not, at least, make your warmup more effective? You may not ever enjoy it, but you can at least get the most out of it. So forget the traditional stretches and get moving. It’s far and away the better method for preparing your body for exercise. When you’re all done is when you can relax and hold those “oh-so-comfortable” static stretches.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

  ·  3 min

Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

Odds are that at some point in your life, you’re going to have to take time away from running. It happens to everybody. Maybe it’s the end of a long race season and you’re simply burned out. Or maybe you’ve just married and had children. Or sometimes, holidays just get in the way. Regardless of the reason, you’re not alone. But, fear not, because getting back into that routine or following that training plan again may not be as difficult as it seems.LEARNING HOW TO RUNJust like a student in medical school is learning about the human body and how it functions, every person out on the road is teaching his or her own body how to run. Within the Central Nervous System, your brain and muscles communicate through electrical signals going back and forth. This feedback loop trains the muscles, both skeletal and respiratory, to adapt to the demands of running. Think of it like this: With every workout you do, you’re banking up memory on how to run. Just as with every time you studied in college, you improved your knowledge of a particular subject, you’re improving your body’s ability to run.Going even further than “training the CNS” is the fact that your body changes physiologically in response to running. The more you run and strengthen the muscles, the more nuclei they develop. The importance of this is that nuclei contain the DNA necessary and directly responsible for muscular growth. Now, here’s the real kicker…. Research shows that even if you quit running or exercising, these bad boys stick around. So, if you’re trying to get back into it after taking a long hiatus, you really are already one step ahead.THE BODY DOESN’T FORGETI have a lot of clients who ask me questions about the human body – how it adapts to certain exercise, the best exercise for this, the best food for that, etc. I’ve been out of school for over five years now, but I still remember the answers to these questions. My point is that, just like the brain remembers TONS of information, your body will remember how to run, and how to do it well. When starting back up again most runners will notice that, when compared to beginning for the first time, they are MUCH better. The active muscles have been trained before are able to perform well. The heart and cardiac muscles have been trained and do not become as stressed as before. Because of this, it’s fair to say that you can get in shape easier the second time around than the first time.Think about this… How many times have you seen an athlete of some sort pick a sport back up after a long break? Many times it’s almost as if they never left. Now, sure, sometimes it’s because they’re just that good, but many times it’s because their bodies have been through the rigors before and know how to adapt. You are the exact same! You may never be able to run a 6:00 mile, but you can pick right back up where you left off. Just like you know what it takes, your nervous system and skeletal muscles know what it takes too, and they’re ready for the challenge.All you gotta do now is get your butt up from the couch and get going!!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

  ·  3 min

Return to Running: Easier Than You Think

Odds are that at some point in your life, you’re going to have to take time away from running. It happens to everybody. Maybe it’s the end of a long race season and you’re simply burned out. Or maybe you’ve just married and had children. Or sometimes, holidays just get in the way. Regardless of the reason, you’re not alone. But, fear not, because getting back into that routine or following that training plan again may not be as difficult as it seems.LEARNING HOW TO RUNJust like a student in medical school is learning about the human body and how it functions, every person out on the road is teaching his or her own body how to run. Within the Central Nervous System, your brain and muscles communicate through electrical signals going back and forth. This feedback loop trains the muscles, both skeletal and respiratory, to adapt to the demands of running. Think of it like this: With every workout you do, you’re banking up memory on how to run. Just as with every time you studied in college, you improved your knowledge of a particular subject, you’re improving your body’s ability to run.Going even further than “training the CNS” is the fact that your body changes physiologically in response to running. The more you run and strengthen the muscles, the more nuclei they develop. The importance of this is that nuclei contain the DNA necessary and directly responsible for muscular growth. Now, here’s the real kicker…. Research shows that even if you quit running or exercising, these bad boys stick around. So, if you’re trying to get back into it after taking a long hiatus, you really are already one step ahead.THE BODY DOESN’T FORGETI have a lot of clients who ask me questions about the human body – how it adapts to certain exercise, the best exercise for this, the best food for that, etc. I’ve been out of school for over five years now, but I still remember the answers to these questions. My point is that, just like the brain remembers TONS of information, your body will remember how to run, and how to do it well. When starting back up again most runners will notice that, when compared to beginning for the first time, they are MUCH better. The active muscles have been trained before are able to perform well. The heart and cardiac muscles have been trained and do not become as stressed as before. Because of this, it’s fair to say that you can get in shape easier the second time around than the first time.Think about this… How many times have you seen an athlete of some sort pick a sport back up after a long break? Many times it’s almost as if they never left. Now, sure, sometimes it’s because they’re just that good, but many times it’s because their bodies have been through the rigors before and know how to adapt. You are the exact same! You may never be able to run a 6:00 mile, but you can pick right back up where you left off. Just like you know what it takes, your nervous system and skeletal muscles know what it takes too, and they’re ready for the challenge.All you gotta do now is get your butt up from the couch and get going!!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

  ·  2 min

7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

Between seasonal savory sweets, family gatherings and chilly weather, staying active and healthy over the holidays is no easy feat. However, with the right tools and mindset, you should be able to leap into January feeling fit, happy and healthy.Keep on reading for some tips on how to stay on track with your fitness goals this time of year.1. Invest in some winter gear. Running outside in cold weather, rain and snow is doable, but only with the right gear. Opt for sweat wicking clothing over cotton and layer up in cold weather. Hoping to run early or late at night? Invest in a good headlamp and reflective duds. Do some research on what kind of clothing and accessories work best for the weather in your area and make sure to dress accordingly. Still not sure how to dress? Check out this nifty ‘What To Wear’ online tool from Runner’s World.2. Adjust your schedule. Sticking to your regular routine can be tricky with vacations, holidays and visitors. Plan in advance by preemptively adjusting your workout routine—if you’re an evening runner plan to workout during lunch on days with holiday party obligations or if you’ll be on the road find a short (yet solid!) high intensity workout for days you’ll be traveling. Adjusting your routine in advance will make it harder to skip workouts due to an inconsistent daily schedule.3. Try something new. Winter is a great time to step outside your comfort zone. Get in your cardio by trying something new like ice-skating, learning to cross country ski, joining an indoor basketball league or testing out a new dance class.4. Learn to love the treadmill. Getting cardio done on a treadmill doesn’t mean you have to feel like a hamster in a wheel. There’s an abundance of engaging treadmill workouts that can keep you fit and entertained—for example, check out RockMyRun’s new Wednesday Workout treadmill blog series here for some ideas.5. Sign up for a race to keep motivated. Whether a spring marathon or New Year’s Eve 5K, signing up for a race will help you hold yourself accountable and stick to your workouts.6. Eat smart and find a balance. The holidays are home to a copious amount of rich, savory, heavy and delicious foods. The key is to find a balance. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and indulge on major holidays or special family get-togethers. However, the holiday season shouldn’t be an excuse to eat unhealthy on a daily (or even weekly) basis. Stick to a healthy diet and don’t make a habit of sipping pumpkin spice lattes and eating sugar cookies throughout the entire season.7. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. We can’t emphasis this one enough. Hydrating will keep you healthy and help you avoid getting a nasty sickness.What about you? What’s the ONE thing you try to keep in mind during the holidays? Share with other RunRockers below.


7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

  ·  2 min

7 Ways to Keep Your Exercise Mojo During the Holidays

Between seasonal savory sweets, family gatherings and chilly weather, staying active and healthy over the holidays is no easy feat. However, with the right tools and mindset, you should be able to leap into January feeling fit, happy and healthy.Keep on reading for some tips on how to stay on track with your fitness goals this time of year.1. Invest in some winter gear. Running outside in cold weather, rain and snow is doable, but only with the right gear. Opt for sweat wicking clothing over cotton and layer up in cold weather. Hoping to run early or late at night? Invest in a good headlamp and reflective duds. Do some research on what kind of clothing and accessories work best for the weather in your area and make sure to dress accordingly. Still not sure how to dress? Check out this nifty ‘What To Wear’ online tool from Runner’s World.2. Adjust your schedule. Sticking to your regular routine can be tricky with vacations, holidays and visitors. Plan in advance by preemptively adjusting your workout routine—if you’re an evening runner plan to workout during lunch on days with holiday party obligations or if you’ll be on the road find a short (yet solid!) high intensity workout for days you’ll be traveling. Adjusting your routine in advance will make it harder to skip workouts due to an inconsistent daily schedule.3. Try something new. Winter is a great time to step outside your comfort zone. Get in your cardio by trying something new like ice-skating, learning to cross country ski, joining an indoor basketball league or testing out a new dance class.4. Learn to love the treadmill. Getting cardio done on a treadmill doesn’t mean you have to feel like a hamster in a wheel. There’s an abundance of engaging treadmill workouts that can keep you fit and entertained—for example, check out RockMyRun’s new Wednesday Workout treadmill blog series here for some ideas.5. Sign up for a race to keep motivated. Whether a spring marathon or New Year’s Eve 5K, signing up for a race will help you hold yourself accountable and stick to your workouts.6. Eat smart and find a balance. The holidays are home to a copious amount of rich, savory, heavy and delicious foods. The key is to find a balance. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and indulge on major holidays or special family get-togethers. However, the holiday season shouldn’t be an excuse to eat unhealthy on a daily (or even weekly) basis. Stick to a healthy diet and don’t make a habit of sipping pumpkin spice lattes and eating sugar cookies throughout the entire season.7. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. We can’t emphasis this one enough. Hydrating will keep you healthy and help you avoid getting a nasty sickness.What about you? What’s the ONE thing you try to keep in mind during the holidays? Share with other RunRockers below.


Whose Run Is It?

  ·  4 min

Whose Run Is It?

There’s a time to compete and there’s a time not to. Most of the time, it’s the time not to, yet people are constantly competing against others and themselves.While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do better, many people fall into the trap of competing against themselves and using negativity, labels and name calling, and personal put-downs.Striving to improve from a place of self-acceptance and comfort with who you are is one thing. Criticizing yourself because you aren’t the fastest, don’t have the enough medals or aren’t on the cover of the magazines, that’s another.Leon Festinger carefully looked into this style of thinking in 1954 and called it, “social comparison theory.” Simply, this means that people have an innate propensity to evaluate their skills and performances and often compare themselves to others when there is not objective feedback available. But this comparison is a distraction at best. At worst, it leaves us feeling like we are failures, convinces us that we are fixed in our abilities and predicts futures of poor performance. Thus, instead of understanding that the run you are on is yours, not anyone else’s, you are constantly trying to be someone you aren’t. That’s not healthy.It’s been said that at 20, we worry about what others think of us and at 40, we don’t care what others think of us. As someone who has passed 60, my friends and I now realize that nobody was thinking about us to begin with. They were running their own run while we were busy trying to run theirs.My father, uncle and grandfather had shoe stores when I was growing up. I worked in them from the time I was seven years old. One day, my grandfather brought me outside to teach me an important lesson. He pointed at the competitor down the street. The owner was standing in front of his store watching the people come into our family’s store and walking out with bags of shoes.“Michael,” my grandfather told me, “You see what that guy is doing? He’s watching our store instead of his own. He’s angry that nobody is buying shoes from him. He’s too busy taking care of OUR business instead of his own. When you grow up, run your own store, and don’t watch anyone else’s.”Sure there is a time to compete. Running in a race? You are competing to win. But those times are rare in life. Stay away from constantly competing, delete those who push you to be something you aren’t and run your own run, live in your own home, drive your own car, wear your own running shoes, and run your own store—don’t watch anyone else’s. You’ll fail for sure.Here’s how I coach athletes, business leaders and everyday folks who suffer from their own compare and despair thinking:Who are you? What’s unique about you that makes you different than anyone else? What’s that voice inside telling you who you are? Be sure you are fully aware, self-accepting, and completely content with the answer to that question. Focus on being the best YOU, not a second rate someone else.What’s it take for you to unfold, reveal and unpack the genuine, authentic you? Run your run the way you want to. I saw someone in the gym recently copying every move I made with a set of dumbbells, including the amount I was lifting. He was trying to lift my dumbbells, not his. Not smart, right? He needed to lift his own dumbbells, the way his body and muscles and strength permitted, not the way mine did for him.Don’t DIE. Huh? That means, don’t Demand, Insist and Expect that YOUR performance be better or even match the person with whom you are running.Hear the fixed beliefs you have about yourself, understand you have a choice as to how you think about yourself in relationship to others when you put on your running shoes, challenge and then replace those thoughts that leave you thinking negative about yourself and your performances.Enjoy your run. Your own run.Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and as the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise. He is a behavioral sciences coach and consultant, an Advisor to many fitness and health organizations, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Council on Active Aging, the Chief Consultant for Behavior Sciences for the Premier Fitness Camp at Omni La Costa, a presenter for Rancho La Puerta, a best-selling author and an international fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Whose Run Is It?

  ·  4 min

Whose Run Is It?

There’s a time to compete and there’s a time not to. Most of the time, it’s the time not to, yet people are constantly competing against others and themselves.While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do better, many people fall into the trap of competing against themselves and using negativity, labels and name calling, and personal put-downs.Striving to improve from a place of self-acceptance and comfort with who you are is one thing. Criticizing yourself because you aren’t the fastest, don’t have the enough medals or aren’t on the cover of the magazines, that’s another.Leon Festinger carefully looked into this style of thinking in 1954 and called it, “social comparison theory.” Simply, this means that people have an innate propensity to evaluate their skills and performances and often compare themselves to others when there is not objective feedback available. But this comparison is a distraction at best. At worst, it leaves us feeling like we are failures, convinces us that we are fixed in our abilities and predicts futures of poor performance. Thus, instead of understanding that the run you are on is yours, not anyone else’s, you are constantly trying to be someone you aren’t. That’s not healthy.It’s been said that at 20, we worry about what others think of us and at 40, we don’t care what others think of us. As someone who has passed 60, my friends and I now realize that nobody was thinking about us to begin with. They were running their own run while we were busy trying to run theirs.My father, uncle and grandfather had shoe stores when I was growing up. I worked in them from the time I was seven years old. One day, my grandfather brought me outside to teach me an important lesson. He pointed at the competitor down the street. The owner was standing in front of his store watching the people come into our family’s store and walking out with bags of shoes.“Michael,” my grandfather told me, “You see what that guy is doing? He’s watching our store instead of his own. He’s angry that nobody is buying shoes from him. He’s too busy taking care of OUR business instead of his own. When you grow up, run your own store, and don’t watch anyone else’s.”Sure there is a time to compete. Running in a race? You are competing to win. But those times are rare in life. Stay away from constantly competing, delete those who push you to be something you aren’t and run your own run, live in your own home, drive your own car, wear your own running shoes, and run your own store—don’t watch anyone else’s. You’ll fail for sure.Here’s how I coach athletes, business leaders and everyday folks who suffer from their own compare and despair thinking:Who are you? What’s unique about you that makes you different than anyone else? What’s that voice inside telling you who you are? Be sure you are fully aware, self-accepting, and completely content with the answer to that question. Focus on being the best YOU, not a second rate someone else.What’s it take for you to unfold, reveal and unpack the genuine, authentic you? Run your run the way you want to. I saw someone in the gym recently copying every move I made with a set of dumbbells, including the amount I was lifting. He was trying to lift my dumbbells, not his. Not smart, right? He needed to lift his own dumbbells, the way his body and muscles and strength permitted, not the way mine did for him.Don’t DIE. Huh? That means, don’t Demand, Insist and Expect that YOUR performance be better or even match the person with whom you are running.Hear the fixed beliefs you have about yourself, understand you have a choice as to how you think about yourself in relationship to others when you put on your running shoes, challenge and then replace those thoughts that leave you thinking negative about yourself and your performances.Enjoy your run. Your own run.Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and as the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise. He is a behavioral sciences coach and consultant, an Advisor to many fitness and health organizations, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Council on Active Aging, the Chief Consultant for Behavior Sciences for the Premier Fitness Camp at Omni La Costa, a presenter for Rancho La Puerta, a best-selling author and an international fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

  ·  3 min

3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

If you’ve ever been part of a race of any kind – running, cycling, swimming, even weightlifting – then you’ve seen it happen. There are people who use static stretching (holding a certain position at the edge of your range of motion for a specific period of time) as a means of “loosening up” before their activity. You probably haven’t ever really paid much attention to it. But, next time you’re at a race, or the gym for that matter, take a look around and you’ll see what I mean.Why am I bringing this up? Good question. The answer is simple: The worst possible time to stretch in a static manner is BEFORE you exercise. The general rule of thumb that I follow with my clients and in my own workouts is a dynamic warmup, (very basic movements that mimic what will be performed during the actual workout) followed by some static stretches after. There are a few specific reasons why I follow this strategy and I want to share them with you…YOUR MUSCLES AREN’T LOOSE YET. Your muscles are cold. They’ve been sitting behind a desk or in a car all day, and they’re just not ready for exercise. Stretching them before they loosen up would be like pulling on a banjo or guitar string. You’re just not going to get very far. Not to mention, pulling on a cold muscle is a surefire way to (quite literally) pull or even tear a muscle. NO STATIC STRETCHING BEFORE EXERCISE!!! DYNAMIC WARMUP PREPARES YOUR BODY FOR EXERCISE. I like to use the term “bridging the gap” when talking about dynamic warmup. Most people can’t just take off on a dead sprint, or tie their shoes and go for a 10 mile run. They need to loosen up first. The best way to do this is to go through a series of movements that are going to imitate your actual workout. This will do a couple of things. First and foremost, it will get your heart rate elevated. You will actually be able to feel your breathing increase and your heart begin to pump a little bit. This will in turn elevate your body temperature and increase blood flow to the muscles that are being used. For a running workout, you would obviously want to mimic the motion of running, but also mix in some low intensity exercises that will elevate your heart rate without too much effort. For example: Stationary High KneesStationary Butt KicksBodyweight SquatsJumping JacksAlternating Toe TouchesDo each exercise for 20-30 seconds, repeat two times throughRate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Rate of perceived exertion is a fancy term that describes how hard you think you’re working. This is used commonly in fitness testing as a measurement of how hard to push individuals. A recent Australian study (you can read in its entirety here) showed that while static stretching before a race doesn’t necessarily affect your finishing time, it can directly impair your neuromuscular functioning and increase RPE. What this means is that even though you may still be able to finish around the same time, it’s going to take you longer to get going, and it will seem a lot more difficult doing so. Running can sometimes be tough enough on its own. Why do something that is just going to perpetuate that?Let’s be honest, nobody likes “getting warmed up” before a run or workout. Personally, it’s my least favorite part. Your body is cold and stiff, and loosening it up can be a hassle. So why not, at least, make your warmup more effective? You may not ever enjoy it, but you can at least get the most out of it. So forget the traditional stretches and get moving. It’s far and away the better method for preparing your body for exercise. When you’re all done is when you can relax and hold those “oh-so-comfortable” static stretches.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

  ·  3 min

3 Reasons to Ditch Static Stretching Before Exercise

If you’ve ever been part of a race of any kind – running, cycling, swimming, even weightlifting – then you’ve seen it happen. There are people who use static stretching (holding a certain position at the edge of your range of motion for a specific period of time) as a means of “loosening up” before their activity. You probably haven’t ever really paid much attention to it. But, next time you’re at a race, or the gym for that matter, take a look around and you’ll see what I mean.Why am I bringing this up? Good question. The answer is simple: The worst possible time to stretch in a static manner is BEFORE you exercise. The general rule of thumb that I follow with my clients and in my own workouts is a dynamic warmup, (very basic movements that mimic what will be performed during the actual workout) followed by some static stretches after. There are a few specific reasons why I follow this strategy and I want to share them with you…YOUR MUSCLES AREN’T LOOSE YET. Your muscles are cold. They’ve been sitting behind a desk or in a car all day, and they’re just not ready for exercise. Stretching them before they loosen up would be like pulling on a banjo or guitar string. You’re just not going to get very far. Not to mention, pulling on a cold muscle is a surefire way to (quite literally) pull or even tear a muscle. NO STATIC STRETCHING BEFORE EXERCISE!!! DYNAMIC WARMUP PREPARES YOUR BODY FOR EXERCISE. I like to use the term “bridging the gap” when talking about dynamic warmup. Most people can’t just take off on a dead sprint, or tie their shoes and go for a 10 mile run. They need to loosen up first. The best way to do this is to go through a series of movements that are going to imitate your actual workout. This will do a couple of things. First and foremost, it will get your heart rate elevated. You will actually be able to feel your breathing increase and your heart begin to pump a little bit. This will in turn elevate your body temperature and increase blood flow to the muscles that are being used. For a running workout, you would obviously want to mimic the motion of running, but also mix in some low intensity exercises that will elevate your heart rate without too much effort. For example: Stationary High KneesStationary Butt KicksBodyweight SquatsJumping JacksAlternating Toe TouchesDo each exercise for 20-30 seconds, repeat two times throughRate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Rate of perceived exertion is a fancy term that describes how hard you think you’re working. This is used commonly in fitness testing as a measurement of how hard to push individuals. A recent Australian study (you can read in its entirety here) showed that while static stretching before a race doesn’t necessarily affect your finishing time, it can directly impair your neuromuscular functioning and increase RPE. What this means is that even though you may still be able to finish around the same time, it’s going to take you longer to get going, and it will seem a lot more difficult doing so. Running can sometimes be tough enough on its own. Why do something that is just going to perpetuate that?Let’s be honest, nobody likes “getting warmed up” before a run or workout. Personally, it’s my least favorite part. Your body is cold and stiff, and loosening it up can be a hassle. So why not, at least, make your warmup more effective? You may not ever enjoy it, but you can at least get the most out of it. So forget the traditional stretches and get moving. It’s far and away the better method for preparing your body for exercise. When you’re all done is when you can relax and hold those “oh-so-comfortable” static stretches.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


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