Train Less. Perform Better.

  ·  3 min

Train Less. Perform Better.

A lot of the more traditional approaches to cardio look at longer distances and higher volume as the best ways to get and stay in shape. While there is certainly nothing wrong with that method, I tend to take the “less is more” philosophy into my cardio training.  This doesn’t mean I don’t lace up my running shoes as much as the next person; I simply have a much lower training volume than some people.  I do this through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  HIIT is a type of cardio involving a specified period (generally short) of very hard activity followed by a short rest period.  It’s a very effective training method, one that has helped my speed and endurance greatly over the past few years.With that, I want to give you my top 5 benefits of interval training:Increased oxidative capacity.  A muscle’s oxidative capacity is essentially its maximal ability to utilize oxygen in order to produce energy.  It is a fancy term that basically says how much oxygen a muscle is capable of using at once.  Research shows that runners can increase oxidative capacity, and thus overall endurance, in as little as two weeks of high intensity intervals.Prevent Boredom.  If you’re like me, then a long distance run on the treadmill can get a little boring.  Interval training not only requires you to change speed and intensity often, but also allows you the chance to get away from the treadmill altogether.  Running tracks, public parks, and gymnasiums all provide a different environment to keep your training fun and interesting.Burn fat.  Research agrees that the higher our exercise intensity, the more glucose we will burn during a workout.  You might be asking: “Well, when does this ‘burn more fat’ come into play?”  The answer is simple; at rest.  Yes, while we are resting.  In short, we lose a great amount of energy while burning glucose at high intensities.  The thing most people do not realize is that we must replace this energy when we are done exercising.  The fuel source for replacing energy??  You guessed it – FAT!!  So, in essence, the more glucose we use during exercise, the more fat we burn following exercise!It’s challenging.  Put down the magazine.  Quit texting.  The goal of interval training is to work as hard as you can the entire time.  If you do that, you won’t be focusing on anything but your workout – which is the way it should be!Efficient.  Interval training is efficient in terms of both time and injury prevention.  Given that your intensity is at an appropriate level, you can get an effective interval workout done in less than 20 minutes.  Because you’re putting in less time, you can avoid the constant pounding that miles and miles of distance running places upon the lower body.To give you guys a little idea of what a typical HIIT session looks like, I will leave you all with one of my favorite interval workouts.  If you need some music for this workout, I’d recommend listening to “Go Hard” by DJ Prophecy.  It’s an up-beat mix, which I prefer for interval training.Work-to-Rest Ratio – 2:1Sprint – 30 SecondsRest – 15 SecondsRound 1: 8 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 2: 6 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 3: 4 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsIt might take you a few sets to figure out what that speed is going to be if you’re on a treadmill, and that’s fine.  Just make sure you are pushing yourself on each and every set in order to get the best results possible!!Have you tried high intensity interval training?  If so, let me know what you think of it in the comments below.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.


Train Less. Perform Better.

  ·  3 min

Train Less. Perform Better.

A lot of the more traditional approaches to cardio look at longer distances and higher volume as the best ways to get and stay in shape. While there is certainly nothing wrong with that method, I tend to take the “less is more” philosophy into my cardio training.  This doesn’t mean I don’t lace up my running shoes as much as the next person; I simply have a much lower training volume than some people.  I do this through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  HIIT is a type of cardio involving a specified period (generally short) of very hard activity followed by a short rest period.  It’s a very effective training method, one that has helped my speed and endurance greatly over the past few years.With that, I want to give you my top 5 benefits of interval training:Increased oxidative capacity.  A muscle’s oxidative capacity is essentially its maximal ability to utilize oxygen in order to produce energy.  It is a fancy term that basically says how much oxygen a muscle is capable of using at once.  Research shows that runners can increase oxidative capacity, and thus overall endurance, in as little as two weeks of high intensity intervals.Prevent Boredom.  If you’re like me, then a long distance run on the treadmill can get a little boring.  Interval training not only requires you to change speed and intensity often, but also allows you the chance to get away from the treadmill altogether.  Running tracks, public parks, and gymnasiums all provide a different environment to keep your training fun and interesting.Burn fat.  Research agrees that the higher our exercise intensity, the more glucose we will burn during a workout.  You might be asking: “Well, when does this ‘burn more fat’ come into play?”  The answer is simple; at rest.  Yes, while we are resting.  In short, we lose a great amount of energy while burning glucose at high intensities.  The thing most people do not realize is that we must replace this energy when we are done exercising.  The fuel source for replacing energy??  You guessed it – FAT!!  So, in essence, the more glucose we use during exercise, the more fat we burn following exercise!It’s challenging.  Put down the magazine.  Quit texting.  The goal of interval training is to work as hard as you can the entire time.  If you do that, you won’t be focusing on anything but your workout – which is the way it should be!Efficient.  Interval training is efficient in terms of both time and injury prevention.  Given that your intensity is at an appropriate level, you can get an effective interval workout done in less than 20 minutes.  Because you’re putting in less time, you can avoid the constant pounding that miles and miles of distance running places upon the lower body.To give you guys a little idea of what a typical HIIT session looks like, I will leave you all with one of my favorite interval workouts.  If you need some music for this workout, I’d recommend listening to “Go Hard” by DJ Prophecy.  It’s an up-beat mix, which I prefer for interval training.Work-to-Rest Ratio – 2:1Sprint – 30 SecondsRest – 15 SecondsRound 1: 8 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 2: 6 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 3: 4 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsIt might take you a few sets to figure out what that speed is going to be if you’re on a treadmill, and that’s fine.  Just make sure you are pushing yourself on each and every set in order to get the best results possible!!Have you tried high intensity interval training?  If so, let me know what you think of it in the comments below.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.


Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

  ·  3 min

Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

If you are among the 29,478,000 Americans who run or jog 50 or more days a year then you know why you run. Running offers phenom­enal psychological and physical benefits and you’ve probably even experienced a “runner’s high.” You must be spreading the word too, since running shoe sales grew to a whopping $3.04 billion in 2012, up 23% from 2011.Slipping on a pair of running shoes is a common way to start the day, along with the ubiquitous headphones popping out of the ears of joggers and runners.Psychological and Physical Benefits of RunningSo what is this national, indeed international, sensation all about? What do we love about running?Perhaps we love the way we feel. After all, it is well known that the psychological benefits of running rival the physical benefits. Nearly three-quarters of runners who maintain at least a moderate level of fitness say that running keeps them in a positive, relaxed, happy, state of mind. My clients who struggle with depression find that running is a less expensive, highly preferable and equally effective mood booster, than taking side-effect prone medications.Runners report significant increases in the quality of their life, feel greater energy, patience, optimism and ambition. For many, running leads to significantly lower levels of stress, improved memory, increased verbal fluency and better cognitive functioning. Perhaps most importantly, runners report greater health benefits that include burning more calories, heart health, improved HDL cholesterol levels, a boost to the immune system, increases in bone density and improved lung capacity.Runner’s HighThen there’s always that “runner’s high.” It’s true, that invincible “what discomfort?” flow that runners feel, tied to a release of endorphins, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, with an increase in body temperature, have been fully demonstrated by endorphin and neuroscience researchers. ­­­Want to power up that output? Then you need to introduce yourself to your nucleus accumbens, your prefrontal cortex and your amygdala. These are located in your brain and go into high gear, releasing feel-good chemicals, particularly when music activates these emotion and intellectual centers.Boost Performance with MusicWant to boost the impact of running and increase the positive benefits that running brings? Be sure to choose your favorite music mixes and performance enhancing beats per minute to keep you moving along a health-promoting pace. Fitness psychologists, who study the effects of music on athletic performance and exercise, find that listening to music while working out stimulates mental arousal and enhances brain functioning, at least for a short period of time.The key, the researchers tell us, is to choose music you enjoy, and note that the faster the music, the greater the power output. It’s all about the motivating power of the music you choose and how you choose to listen to it. Louder and faster music, according to research, leads to runners dialing up their pace, while slower and quieter music is best for cool downs. Research suggests that the right music can boost endurance by 15%.  Furthermore, while exercise promotes good endothelial functioning, so important to your heart and in preventing atherosclerosis, listening to music for 30 or more minutes while running or working out turbocharges that effect on the cells that line the inside of your blood vessels.Next time you hear about a marathon, half marathon, or 5K coming to town, or a buddy asks you to go for a jog at the park, now you know why running has the growth curve it does and why so many love running. It leaves you feeling better head to toe. And with RockMyRun rocking your health benefits, well, it’s hard to imagine anything better putting a smile on your—or your doctor’s–face!Why do you run?  What are your favorite benefits?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

  ·  3 min

Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

If you are among the 29,478,000 Americans who run or jog 50 or more days a year then you know why you run. Running offers phenom­enal psychological and physical benefits and you’ve probably even experienced a “runner’s high.” You must be spreading the word too, since running shoe sales grew to a whopping $3.04 billion in 2012, up 23% from 2011.Slipping on a pair of running shoes is a common way to start the day, along with the ubiquitous headphones popping out of the ears of joggers and runners.Psychological and Physical Benefits of RunningSo what is this national, indeed international, sensation all about? What do we love about running?Perhaps we love the way we feel. After all, it is well known that the psychological benefits of running rival the physical benefits. Nearly three-quarters of runners who maintain at least a moderate level of fitness say that running keeps them in a positive, relaxed, happy, state of mind. My clients who struggle with depression find that running is a less expensive, highly preferable and equally effective mood booster, than taking side-effect prone medications.Runners report significant increases in the quality of their life, feel greater energy, patience, optimism and ambition. For many, running leads to significantly lower levels of stress, improved memory, increased verbal fluency and better cognitive functioning. Perhaps most importantly, runners report greater health benefits that include burning more calories, heart health, improved HDL cholesterol levels, a boost to the immune system, increases in bone density and improved lung capacity.Runner’s HighThen there’s always that “runner’s high.” It’s true, that invincible “what discomfort?” flow that runners feel, tied to a release of endorphins, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, with an increase in body temperature, have been fully demonstrated by endorphin and neuroscience researchers. ­­­Want to power up that output? Then you need to introduce yourself to your nucleus accumbens, your prefrontal cortex and your amygdala. These are located in your brain and go into high gear, releasing feel-good chemicals, particularly when music activates these emotion and intellectual centers.Boost Performance with MusicWant to boost the impact of running and increase the positive benefits that running brings? Be sure to choose your favorite music mixes and performance enhancing beats per minute to keep you moving along a health-promoting pace. Fitness psychologists, who study the effects of music on athletic performance and exercise, find that listening to music while working out stimulates mental arousal and enhances brain functioning, at least for a short period of time.The key, the researchers tell us, is to choose music you enjoy, and note that the faster the music, the greater the power output. It’s all about the motivating power of the music you choose and how you choose to listen to it. Louder and faster music, according to research, leads to runners dialing up their pace, while slower and quieter music is best for cool downs. Research suggests that the right music can boost endurance by 15%.  Furthermore, while exercise promotes good endothelial functioning, so important to your heart and in preventing atherosclerosis, listening to music for 30 or more minutes while running or working out turbocharges that effect on the cells that line the inside of your blood vessels.Next time you hear about a marathon, half marathon, or 5K coming to town, or a buddy asks you to go for a jog at the park, now you know why running has the growth curve it does and why so many love running. It leaves you feeling better head to toe. And with RockMyRun rocking your health benefits, well, it’s hard to imagine anything better putting a smile on your—or your doctor’s–face!Why do you run?  What are your favorite benefits?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Cold as Ice…and Still Running

  ·  4 min

Cold as Ice…and Still Running

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a Christmas song written in 1944 by Frank Loesser. It’s a conversation between a woman who has to go and a man who keeps telling her “But baby, it’s cold outside.”“I really can’t stay(But baby, it’s cold outside)I’ve got to go away(But baby, it’s cold outside)”Avoid the Common ExcusesIt’ll soon be cold out there with lots of excuses not to leave, to stay indoors, and surely not to exercise. Whether it’s Foreigner’s Cold as Ice, or Loesser’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside, there are many barriers to convince people that winter is a time to stay indoors and be sedentary.  It’s not. Of course winter activities can be challenging, but like everything else, “the link is what you think.”It’s just weather. If you think it’s a great opportunity to try new activities, to enjoy the crunch of falling leaves under your feet, to have snowball fights, or to do some hiking or jogging in the crisp fall air.  Then you’ll love the coming months and stay in shape.If you think instead that it’s too cold, that you’ll freeze to death, that you’ll get injured, that there isn’t enough daylight to be active, then you’ll surely believe it’s inevitable to put on some weight and be more sedentary.“The link is what you think.” I want you to think rationally, logically and accurately about the coming months wherever you live and use the fall and winter to think outside the box to keep your health, fitness and wellness levels up and move into next spring feeling great!Have a Positive MindsetSure some folks will deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but when the days grow short guess what helps? Running! It can promote the release of depression-fighting hormones leaving those suffering with this very real malady in better moods and feeling more positive.  And we know that positive thinking and a positive outlook, the kind that comes from physical activity, improves your overall health.Staying indoors, breathing all that heated air as many do during the colder months, isn’t the healthiest for your lungs or for your mind. Getting outside, properly dressed for the cold, enjoying the outdoor crisp air, gives you a chance to literally detox your mind and body. It doesn’t take as many changes as you might think to enjoy it all.So the first thing that’s needed is the right mindset. What do you enjoy about the fall and winter months? Keep your eye on those things.Fall and winter are great times to try on new activities, join new classes at your local gym, gain new skills, add new strength training activities and find new ways to integrate exercise and activities into your daily life.Some use the winter months to form a base, with activities that add to endurance.  Longer runs, along with swimming and cycling indoors will add to your volume.  Springtime is the time to build with added weight and resistance training, as well as more interval cardio training to increase speed and strength.  Summer and fall are great times to put it all into practice and get out there for your 5K, 10K, and marathon races.Get Prepared for Exercise OutdoorsExercising outdoors when it’s cold outside requires a bit of preparation to make your activities successful.  A few smart things you can do are:Dress properly in thin wicking insulating layers to prevent hypothermia and frostbite in some climates.Wear reflective gear or a headlamp for running in the dark.Put on a fleece or thermal hat to prevent 50% heat loss from your head.Keep your hands and feet warm with mittens, because you can lose 30% of your body heat through your extremities.Cover your face with a balaclava (ski mask).Carry some ChapStick.Plan a route with icy patches in mind.Always run with a buddy.Wear shoes that give you a bit more traction and are water-proof and socks that are wicking, not cotton, and made of wool or CoolMax.Get Active beyond Your WorkoutRemember that there are lots of everyday activities to rejuvenate you and give you more natural energy during your day, including:Shoveling snowWalking at lunchtime with friendsTaking the stairs instead of the elevatorParking further away from your destination or getting off the bus or subway a few stops earlierStaying active while indoors with physical movement during TV commercialsFind Music to Motivate YouWhen we think of the winter season, filled with holidays, music always tops the list along with food, friends and family get-togethers.  Crank up your RockMyRun mixes for the genre and beats per minute that inspire your body and soul, that promote your focus on your health and above all, to motivate you to enjoy the spirit of the season and the holidays happy, active and fit.What are your tips for staying active, once the temperatures drop outdoors?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Cold as Ice…and Still Running

  ·  4 min

Cold as Ice…and Still Running

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a Christmas song written in 1944 by Frank Loesser. It’s a conversation between a woman who has to go and a man who keeps telling her “But baby, it’s cold outside.”“I really can’t stay(But baby, it’s cold outside)I’ve got to go away(But baby, it’s cold outside)”Avoid the Common ExcusesIt’ll soon be cold out there with lots of excuses not to leave, to stay indoors, and surely not to exercise. Whether it’s Foreigner’s Cold as Ice, or Loesser’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside, there are many barriers to convince people that winter is a time to stay indoors and be sedentary.  It’s not. Of course winter activities can be challenging, but like everything else, “the link is what you think.”It’s just weather. If you think it’s a great opportunity to try new activities, to enjoy the crunch of falling leaves under your feet, to have snowball fights, or to do some hiking or jogging in the crisp fall air.  Then you’ll love the coming months and stay in shape.If you think instead that it’s too cold, that you’ll freeze to death, that you’ll get injured, that there isn’t enough daylight to be active, then you’ll surely believe it’s inevitable to put on some weight and be more sedentary.“The link is what you think.” I want you to think rationally, logically and accurately about the coming months wherever you live and use the fall and winter to think outside the box to keep your health, fitness and wellness levels up and move into next spring feeling great!Have a Positive MindsetSure some folks will deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but when the days grow short guess what helps? Running! It can promote the release of depression-fighting hormones leaving those suffering with this very real malady in better moods and feeling more positive.  And we know that positive thinking and a positive outlook, the kind that comes from physical activity, improves your overall health.Staying indoors, breathing all that heated air as many do during the colder months, isn’t the healthiest for your lungs or for your mind. Getting outside, properly dressed for the cold, enjoying the outdoor crisp air, gives you a chance to literally detox your mind and body. It doesn’t take as many changes as you might think to enjoy it all.So the first thing that’s needed is the right mindset. What do you enjoy about the fall and winter months? Keep your eye on those things.Fall and winter are great times to try on new activities, join new classes at your local gym, gain new skills, add new strength training activities and find new ways to integrate exercise and activities into your daily life.Some use the winter months to form a base, with activities that add to endurance.  Longer runs, along with swimming and cycling indoors will add to your volume.  Springtime is the time to build with added weight and resistance training, as well as more interval cardio training to increase speed and strength.  Summer and fall are great times to put it all into practice and get out there for your 5K, 10K, and marathon races.Get Prepared for Exercise OutdoorsExercising outdoors when it’s cold outside requires a bit of preparation to make your activities successful.  A few smart things you can do are:Dress properly in thin wicking insulating layers to prevent hypothermia and frostbite in some climates.Wear reflective gear or a headlamp for running in the dark.Put on a fleece or thermal hat to prevent 50% heat loss from your head.Keep your hands and feet warm with mittens, because you can lose 30% of your body heat through your extremities.Cover your face with a balaclava (ski mask).Carry some ChapStick.Plan a route with icy patches in mind.Always run with a buddy.Wear shoes that give you a bit more traction and are water-proof and socks that are wicking, not cotton, and made of wool or CoolMax.Get Active beyond Your WorkoutRemember that there are lots of everyday activities to rejuvenate you and give you more natural energy during your day, including:Shoveling snowWalking at lunchtime with friendsTaking the stairs instead of the elevatorParking further away from your destination or getting off the bus or subway a few stops earlierStaying active while indoors with physical movement during TV commercialsFind Music to Motivate YouWhen we think of the winter season, filled with holidays, music always tops the list along with food, friends and family get-togethers.  Crank up your RockMyRun mixes for the genre and beats per minute that inspire your body and soul, that promote your focus on your health and above all, to motivate you to enjoy the spirit of the season and the holidays happy, active and fit.What are your tips for staying active, once the temperatures drop outdoors?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

  ·  5 min

Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

When it comes to finding time to exercise, let’s start with some facts. Each of us has 168 hours per week in life. Many of us work about 50 or so hours per week, sleep about 50-60 hours per week, spend another 15-20 hours each week on personal care and grooming, leaving most of us about 6+ hours each day to_____________________. Fill in the blank.We fill in our time with what’s most important to us. As I said in an article I wrote for Greatest: Many people who don’t work out regularly can rattle off many reasons they’re not motivated to exercise, from not understanding the benefits of activity to thoughts like “I’m too busy,” “I’m embarrassed by how I look,” “exercise is boring,” and so on. The folks who hold these (false) self-sabotaging beliefs often believe exercise doesn’t matter; they don’t enjoy it, or they simply have no interest in doing it. And, really, who could blame them? Who would be inspired to start a physical activity with negative thoughts running through their head? A person has to believe exercise is of value in order to build motivation to do it.Benefits of ExerciseAs you already know, there are many benefits of exercise:Weight managementHealth and disease managementMood and self-confidence enhancementEnergy boosterPromotes healthy sleepPuts oomph into your sex lifeReduces stress by increasing brain soothing chemicalsHelps your brain function betterSparks creativityYour muscles, lungs, diaphragm, heart, stomach, kidneys, skin, joints, agility, balance, coordination, endurance and strength will all “smile” and say thank you many years from now. Every Minute CountsToday we know that even brief bouts of exercise, just 10 minutes at a time or less, can add a great deal to your health and well being while also slimming your waistline. The good news, remarkable really, comes from researchers at the University of Utah who found that every minute of intense movement counts towards the magic number of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity we are all supposed to achieve each week – but only 5% of us do.  That’s 150 minutes out of the 48 or so hours we have available to us each week.The findings indicate that brief periods of intense activity are effective in preventing weight gain and promoting health as well as doing 10 minute+ intervals. Moderate to vigorous activity, by the way, is walking about 3 miles per hour, or 2,020 counts per minute on an accelerometer. Clearly, every minute you spend in intense activity, counts.This suggests that the data on the best time to workout may be ignoring an important element—your life. Sure there are those who believe that for A-list athletes aiming for performance it might be better to push heavy training to alter in the morning or afternoon, the fact is that most who adhere to exercise routines are early morning exercisers. Bottom line is whenever you enjoy hitting the gym or track, do it. There’s benefit throughout the day.Get Creative about Getting ActiveHow can you get in short bouts of more intense exercise and find the time to get in your 150 minutes or so a week? Try these tested ways:Like a good scout, always be prepared. Don’t leave your home without your workout clothes packedKeep your workouts scheduled in your day planner —make an appointment for yourself! Remember that every minute counts.Wake up earlier and get your health plan moving, and your heart rate pumping, at the start of the day.Park away from your office, get off the train, subway or bus a few blocks before your normal close stopWhen you watch TV, use the commercials as reminders to do your squats, lunges, push ups, burpees, jumping jacks, planks, and crunches during the one-minute break.  Keep hand weights next to your chair/couch, ride your stationary bike and never use the remote control to change volume or channel.Make your lawn mower your newest piece of fitness equipment—ever hear of Carioca mowing? It’s all in the step!Walk to the office of the person you’d normally call and keep a jump rope in your briefcase or office drawer too!Make your chores count by scrubbing with vigor, grinding and stirring with some beats per minute, vacuum-dance with energy, wash your own car with upper body pushes, and shovel the coming snow (if your health allows) in tune with your favorite RockMyRun music mix.While exercise is key, taking time for yourself every day is critical for your health, well being and longevity. It’s all in my CHAIR method I recently described in an article for Prevention.com.C stands for a deeply felt commitment to very specific goals. You see the goal; you know why you’re doing it.H is for healthier foods, healthy carbs and proteins, healthy fat. ‘Diet’ is a word I never use.  It has the word ‘die’ in it.A stands for activity.  Daily activity, daily tracking of food and exercise. If you track, you adhere. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day. But even raking leaves counts as activity.I is inner motivation—you have to have your ‘why.’  And it has to be internal to you.R is for a realistic set of goals. You need something very tangible, like you want to be off blood pressure medication—not just I want to lose some weight or tone up.At the end of the day it’s all about thinking. The ‘link’ is what you think.” When you think you don’t have the time ask yourself if what you think is True, Helpful, Inspirational, Necessary, Kind to yourself. Hey, that’s what “THINK” means! If your answer is “No,” then change your thought and get active. It only takes a minute!What tips to have to stay active?  I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

  ·  5 min

Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

When it comes to finding time to exercise, let’s start with some facts. Each of us has 168 hours per week in life. Many of us work about 50 or so hours per week, sleep about 50-60 hours per week, spend another 15-20 hours each week on personal care and grooming, leaving most of us about 6+ hours each day to_____________________. Fill in the blank.We fill in our time with what’s most important to us. As I said in an article I wrote for Greatest: Many people who don’t work out regularly can rattle off many reasons they’re not motivated to exercise, from not understanding the benefits of activity to thoughts like “I’m too busy,” “I’m embarrassed by how I look,” “exercise is boring,” and so on. The folks who hold these (false) self-sabotaging beliefs often believe exercise doesn’t matter; they don’t enjoy it, or they simply have no interest in doing it. And, really, who could blame them? Who would be inspired to start a physical activity with negative thoughts running through their head? A person has to believe exercise is of value in order to build motivation to do it.Benefits of ExerciseAs you already know, there are many benefits of exercise:Weight managementHealth and disease managementMood and self-confidence enhancementEnergy boosterPromotes healthy sleepPuts oomph into your sex lifeReduces stress by increasing brain soothing chemicalsHelps your brain function betterSparks creativityYour muscles, lungs, diaphragm, heart, stomach, kidneys, skin, joints, agility, balance, coordination, endurance and strength will all “smile” and say thank you many years from now. Every Minute CountsToday we know that even brief bouts of exercise, just 10 minutes at a time or less, can add a great deal to your health and well being while also slimming your waistline. The good news, remarkable really, comes from researchers at the University of Utah who found that every minute of intense movement counts towards the magic number of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity we are all supposed to achieve each week – but only 5% of us do.  That’s 150 minutes out of the 48 or so hours we have available to us each week.The findings indicate that brief periods of intense activity are effective in preventing weight gain and promoting health as well as doing 10 minute+ intervals. Moderate to vigorous activity, by the way, is walking about 3 miles per hour, or 2,020 counts per minute on an accelerometer. Clearly, every minute you spend in intense activity, counts.This suggests that the data on the best time to workout may be ignoring an important element—your life. Sure there are those who believe that for A-list athletes aiming for performance it might be better to push heavy training to alter in the morning or afternoon, the fact is that most who adhere to exercise routines are early morning exercisers. Bottom line is whenever you enjoy hitting the gym or track, do it. There’s benefit throughout the day.Get Creative about Getting ActiveHow can you get in short bouts of more intense exercise and find the time to get in your 150 minutes or so a week? Try these tested ways:Like a good scout, always be prepared. Don’t leave your home without your workout clothes packedKeep your workouts scheduled in your day planner —make an appointment for yourself! Remember that every minute counts.Wake up earlier and get your health plan moving, and your heart rate pumping, at the start of the day.Park away from your office, get off the train, subway or bus a few blocks before your normal close stopWhen you watch TV, use the commercials as reminders to do your squats, lunges, push ups, burpees, jumping jacks, planks, and crunches during the one-minute break.  Keep hand weights next to your chair/couch, ride your stationary bike and never use the remote control to change volume or channel.Make your lawn mower your newest piece of fitness equipment—ever hear of Carioca mowing? It’s all in the step!Walk to the office of the person you’d normally call and keep a jump rope in your briefcase or office drawer too!Make your chores count by scrubbing with vigor, grinding and stirring with some beats per minute, vacuum-dance with energy, wash your own car with upper body pushes, and shovel the coming snow (if your health allows) in tune with your favorite RockMyRun music mix.While exercise is key, taking time for yourself every day is critical for your health, well being and longevity. It’s all in my CHAIR method I recently described in an article for Prevention.com.C stands for a deeply felt commitment to very specific goals. You see the goal; you know why you’re doing it.H is for healthier foods, healthy carbs and proteins, healthy fat. ‘Diet’ is a word I never use.  It has the word ‘die’ in it.A stands for activity.  Daily activity, daily tracking of food and exercise. If you track, you adhere. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day. But even raking leaves counts as activity.I is inner motivation—you have to have your ‘why.’  And it has to be internal to you.R is for a realistic set of goals. You need something very tangible, like you want to be off blood pressure medication—not just I want to lose some weight or tone up.At the end of the day it’s all about thinking. The ‘link’ is what you think.” When you think you don’t have the time ask yourself if what you think is True, Helpful, Inspirational, Necessary, Kind to yourself. Hey, that’s what “THINK” means! If your answer is “No,” then change your thought and get active. It only takes a minute!What tips to have to stay active?  I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Train Less. Perform Better.

  ·  3 min

Train Less. Perform Better.

A lot of the more traditional approaches to cardio look at longer distances and higher volume as the best ways to get and stay in shape. While there is certainly nothing wrong with that method, I tend to take the “less is more” philosophy into my cardio training.  This doesn’t mean I don’t lace up my running shoes as much as the next person; I simply have a much lower training volume than some people.  I do this through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  HIIT is a type of cardio involving a specified period (generally short) of very hard activity followed by a short rest period.  It’s a very effective training method, one that has helped my speed and endurance greatly over the past few years.With that, I want to give you my top 5 benefits of interval training:Increased oxidative capacity.  A muscle’s oxidative capacity is essentially its maximal ability to utilize oxygen in order to produce energy.  It is a fancy term that basically says how much oxygen a muscle is capable of using at once.  Research shows that runners can increase oxidative capacity, and thus overall endurance, in as little as two weeks of high intensity intervals.Prevent Boredom.  If you’re like me, then a long distance run on the treadmill can get a little boring.  Interval training not only requires you to change speed and intensity often, but also allows you the chance to get away from the treadmill altogether.  Running tracks, public parks, and gymnasiums all provide a different environment to keep your training fun and interesting.Burn fat.  Research agrees that the higher our exercise intensity, the more glucose we will burn during a workout.  You might be asking: “Well, when does this ‘burn more fat’ come into play?”  The answer is simple; at rest.  Yes, while we are resting.  In short, we lose a great amount of energy while burning glucose at high intensities.  The thing most people do not realize is that we must replace this energy when we are done exercising.  The fuel source for replacing energy??  You guessed it – FAT!!  So, in essence, the more glucose we use during exercise, the more fat we burn following exercise!It’s challenging.  Put down the magazine.  Quit texting.  The goal of interval training is to work as hard as you can the entire time.  If you do that, you won’t be focusing on anything but your workout – which is the way it should be!Efficient.  Interval training is efficient in terms of both time and injury prevention.  Given that your intensity is at an appropriate level, you can get an effective interval workout done in less than 20 minutes.  Because you’re putting in less time, you can avoid the constant pounding that miles and miles of distance running places upon the lower body.To give you guys a little idea of what a typical HIIT session looks like, I will leave you all with one of my favorite interval workouts.  If you need some music for this workout, I’d recommend listening to “Go Hard” by DJ Prophecy.  It’s an up-beat mix, which I prefer for interval training.Work-to-Rest Ratio – 2:1Sprint – 30 SecondsRest – 15 SecondsRound 1: 8 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 2: 6 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 3: 4 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsIt might take you a few sets to figure out what that speed is going to be if you’re on a treadmill, and that’s fine.  Just make sure you are pushing yourself on each and every set in order to get the best results possible!!Have you tried high intensity interval training?  If so, let me know what you think of it in the comments below.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.


Train Less. Perform Better.

  ·  3 min

Train Less. Perform Better.

A lot of the more traditional approaches to cardio look at longer distances and higher volume as the best ways to get and stay in shape. While there is certainly nothing wrong with that method, I tend to take the “less is more” philosophy into my cardio training.  This doesn’t mean I don’t lace up my running shoes as much as the next person; I simply have a much lower training volume than some people.  I do this through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  HIIT is a type of cardio involving a specified period (generally short) of very hard activity followed by a short rest period.  It’s a very effective training method, one that has helped my speed and endurance greatly over the past few years.With that, I want to give you my top 5 benefits of interval training:Increased oxidative capacity.  A muscle’s oxidative capacity is essentially its maximal ability to utilize oxygen in order to produce energy.  It is a fancy term that basically says how much oxygen a muscle is capable of using at once.  Research shows that runners can increase oxidative capacity, and thus overall endurance, in as little as two weeks of high intensity intervals.Prevent Boredom.  If you’re like me, then a long distance run on the treadmill can get a little boring.  Interval training not only requires you to change speed and intensity often, but also allows you the chance to get away from the treadmill altogether.  Running tracks, public parks, and gymnasiums all provide a different environment to keep your training fun and interesting.Burn fat.  Research agrees that the higher our exercise intensity, the more glucose we will burn during a workout.  You might be asking: “Well, when does this ‘burn more fat’ come into play?”  The answer is simple; at rest.  Yes, while we are resting.  In short, we lose a great amount of energy while burning glucose at high intensities.  The thing most people do not realize is that we must replace this energy when we are done exercising.  The fuel source for replacing energy??  You guessed it – FAT!!  So, in essence, the more glucose we use during exercise, the more fat we burn following exercise!It’s challenging.  Put down the magazine.  Quit texting.  The goal of interval training is to work as hard as you can the entire time.  If you do that, you won’t be focusing on anything but your workout – which is the way it should be!Efficient.  Interval training is efficient in terms of both time and injury prevention.  Given that your intensity is at an appropriate level, you can get an effective interval workout done in less than 20 minutes.  Because you’re putting in less time, you can avoid the constant pounding that miles and miles of distance running places upon the lower body.To give you guys a little idea of what a typical HIIT session looks like, I will leave you all with one of my favorite interval workouts.  If you need some music for this workout, I’d recommend listening to “Go Hard” by DJ Prophecy.  It’s an up-beat mix, which I prefer for interval training.Work-to-Rest Ratio – 2:1Sprint – 30 SecondsRest – 15 SecondsRound 1: 8 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 2: 6 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 3: 4 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsIt might take you a few sets to figure out what that speed is going to be if you’re on a treadmill, and that’s fine.  Just make sure you are pushing yourself on each and every set in order to get the best results possible!!Have you tried high intensity interval training?  If so, let me know what you think of it in the comments below.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.


Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

  ·  3 min

Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

If you are among the 29,478,000 Americans who run or jog 50 or more days a year then you know why you run. Running offers phenom­enal psychological and physical benefits and you’ve probably even experienced a “runner’s high.” You must be spreading the word too, since running shoe sales grew to a whopping $3.04 billion in 2012, up 23% from 2011.Slipping on a pair of running shoes is a common way to start the day, along with the ubiquitous headphones popping out of the ears of joggers and runners.Psychological and Physical Benefits of RunningSo what is this national, indeed international, sensation all about? What do we love about running?Perhaps we love the way we feel. After all, it is well known that the psychological benefits of running rival the physical benefits. Nearly three-quarters of runners who maintain at least a moderate level of fitness say that running keeps them in a positive, relaxed, happy, state of mind. My clients who struggle with depression find that running is a less expensive, highly preferable and equally effective mood booster, than taking side-effect prone medications.Runners report significant increases in the quality of their life, feel greater energy, patience, optimism and ambition. For many, running leads to significantly lower levels of stress, improved memory, increased verbal fluency and better cognitive functioning. Perhaps most importantly, runners report greater health benefits that include burning more calories, heart health, improved HDL cholesterol levels, a boost to the immune system, increases in bone density and improved lung capacity.Runner’s HighThen there’s always that “runner’s high.” It’s true, that invincible “what discomfort?” flow that runners feel, tied to a release of endorphins, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, with an increase in body temperature, have been fully demonstrated by endorphin and neuroscience researchers. ­­­Want to power up that output? Then you need to introduce yourself to your nucleus accumbens, your prefrontal cortex and your amygdala. These are located in your brain and go into high gear, releasing feel-good chemicals, particularly when music activates these emotion and intellectual centers.Boost Performance with MusicWant to boost the impact of running and increase the positive benefits that running brings? Be sure to choose your favorite music mixes and performance enhancing beats per minute to keep you moving along a health-promoting pace. Fitness psychologists, who study the effects of music on athletic performance and exercise, find that listening to music while working out stimulates mental arousal and enhances brain functioning, at least for a short period of time.The key, the researchers tell us, is to choose music you enjoy, and note that the faster the music, the greater the power output. It’s all about the motivating power of the music you choose and how you choose to listen to it. Louder and faster music, according to research, leads to runners dialing up their pace, while slower and quieter music is best for cool downs. Research suggests that the right music can boost endurance by 15%.  Furthermore, while exercise promotes good endothelial functioning, so important to your heart and in preventing atherosclerosis, listening to music for 30 or more minutes while running or working out turbocharges that effect on the cells that line the inside of your blood vessels.Next time you hear about a marathon, half marathon, or 5K coming to town, or a buddy asks you to go for a jog at the park, now you know why running has the growth curve it does and why so many love running. It leaves you feeling better head to toe. And with RockMyRun rocking your health benefits, well, it’s hard to imagine anything better putting a smile on your—or your doctor’s–face!Why do you run?  What are your favorite benefits?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

  ·  3 min

Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

If you are among the 29,478,000 Americans who run or jog 50 or more days a year then you know why you run. Running offers phenom­enal psychological and physical benefits and you’ve probably even experienced a “runner’s high.” You must be spreading the word too, since running shoe sales grew to a whopping $3.04 billion in 2012, up 23% from 2011.Slipping on a pair of running shoes is a common way to start the day, along with the ubiquitous headphones popping out of the ears of joggers and runners.Psychological and Physical Benefits of RunningSo what is this national, indeed international, sensation all about? What do we love about running?Perhaps we love the way we feel. After all, it is well known that the psychological benefits of running rival the physical benefits. Nearly three-quarters of runners who maintain at least a moderate level of fitness say that running keeps them in a positive, relaxed, happy, state of mind. My clients who struggle with depression find that running is a less expensive, highly preferable and equally effective mood booster, than taking side-effect prone medications.Runners report significant increases in the quality of their life, feel greater energy, patience, optimism and ambition. For many, running leads to significantly lower levels of stress, improved memory, increased verbal fluency and better cognitive functioning. Perhaps most importantly, runners report greater health benefits that include burning more calories, heart health, improved HDL cholesterol levels, a boost to the immune system, increases in bone density and improved lung capacity.Runner’s HighThen there’s always that “runner’s high.” It’s true, that invincible “what discomfort?” flow that runners feel, tied to a release of endorphins, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, with an increase in body temperature, have been fully demonstrated by endorphin and neuroscience researchers. ­­­Want to power up that output? Then you need to introduce yourself to your nucleus accumbens, your prefrontal cortex and your amygdala. These are located in your brain and go into high gear, releasing feel-good chemicals, particularly when music activates these emotion and intellectual centers.Boost Performance with MusicWant to boost the impact of running and increase the positive benefits that running brings? Be sure to choose your favorite music mixes and performance enhancing beats per minute to keep you moving along a health-promoting pace. Fitness psychologists, who study the effects of music on athletic performance and exercise, find that listening to music while working out stimulates mental arousal and enhances brain functioning, at least for a short period of time.The key, the researchers tell us, is to choose music you enjoy, and note that the faster the music, the greater the power output. It’s all about the motivating power of the music you choose and how you choose to listen to it. Louder and faster music, according to research, leads to runners dialing up their pace, while slower and quieter music is best for cool downs. Research suggests that the right music can boost endurance by 15%.  Furthermore, while exercise promotes good endothelial functioning, so important to your heart and in preventing atherosclerosis, listening to music for 30 or more minutes while running or working out turbocharges that effect on the cells that line the inside of your blood vessels.Next time you hear about a marathon, half marathon, or 5K coming to town, or a buddy asks you to go for a jog at the park, now you know why running has the growth curve it does and why so many love running. It leaves you feeling better head to toe. And with RockMyRun rocking your health benefits, well, it’s hard to imagine anything better putting a smile on your—or your doctor’s–face!Why do you run?  What are your favorite benefits?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Cold as Ice…and Still Running

  ·  4 min

Cold as Ice…and Still Running

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a Christmas song written in 1944 by Frank Loesser. It’s a conversation between a woman who has to go and a man who keeps telling her “But baby, it’s cold outside.”“I really can’t stay(But baby, it’s cold outside)I’ve got to go away(But baby, it’s cold outside)”Avoid the Common ExcusesIt’ll soon be cold out there with lots of excuses not to leave, to stay indoors, and surely not to exercise. Whether it’s Foreigner’s Cold as Ice, or Loesser’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside, there are many barriers to convince people that winter is a time to stay indoors and be sedentary.  It’s not. Of course winter activities can be challenging, but like everything else, “the link is what you think.”It’s just weather. If you think it’s a great opportunity to try new activities, to enjoy the crunch of falling leaves under your feet, to have snowball fights, or to do some hiking or jogging in the crisp fall air.  Then you’ll love the coming months and stay in shape.If you think instead that it’s too cold, that you’ll freeze to death, that you’ll get injured, that there isn’t enough daylight to be active, then you’ll surely believe it’s inevitable to put on some weight and be more sedentary.“The link is what you think.” I want you to think rationally, logically and accurately about the coming months wherever you live and use the fall and winter to think outside the box to keep your health, fitness and wellness levels up and move into next spring feeling great!Have a Positive MindsetSure some folks will deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but when the days grow short guess what helps? Running! It can promote the release of depression-fighting hormones leaving those suffering with this very real malady in better moods and feeling more positive.  And we know that positive thinking and a positive outlook, the kind that comes from physical activity, improves your overall health.Staying indoors, breathing all that heated air as many do during the colder months, isn’t the healthiest for your lungs or for your mind. Getting outside, properly dressed for the cold, enjoying the outdoor crisp air, gives you a chance to literally detox your mind and body. It doesn’t take as many changes as you might think to enjoy it all.So the first thing that’s needed is the right mindset. What do you enjoy about the fall and winter months? Keep your eye on those things.Fall and winter are great times to try on new activities, join new classes at your local gym, gain new skills, add new strength training activities and find new ways to integrate exercise and activities into your daily life.Some use the winter months to form a base, with activities that add to endurance.  Longer runs, along with swimming and cycling indoors will add to your volume.  Springtime is the time to build with added weight and resistance training, as well as more interval cardio training to increase speed and strength.  Summer and fall are great times to put it all into practice and get out there for your 5K, 10K, and marathon races.Get Prepared for Exercise OutdoorsExercising outdoors when it’s cold outside requires a bit of preparation to make your activities successful.  A few smart things you can do are:Dress properly in thin wicking insulating layers to prevent hypothermia and frostbite in some climates.Wear reflective gear or a headlamp for running in the dark.Put on a fleece or thermal hat to prevent 50% heat loss from your head.Keep your hands and feet warm with mittens, because you can lose 30% of your body heat through your extremities.Cover your face with a balaclava (ski mask).Carry some ChapStick.Plan a route with icy patches in mind.Always run with a buddy.Wear shoes that give you a bit more traction and are water-proof and socks that are wicking, not cotton, and made of wool or CoolMax.Get Active beyond Your WorkoutRemember that there are lots of everyday activities to rejuvenate you and give you more natural energy during your day, including:Shoveling snowWalking at lunchtime with friendsTaking the stairs instead of the elevatorParking further away from your destination or getting off the bus or subway a few stops earlierStaying active while indoors with physical movement during TV commercialsFind Music to Motivate YouWhen we think of the winter season, filled with holidays, music always tops the list along with food, friends and family get-togethers.  Crank up your RockMyRun mixes for the genre and beats per minute that inspire your body and soul, that promote your focus on your health and above all, to motivate you to enjoy the spirit of the season and the holidays happy, active and fit.What are your tips for staying active, once the temperatures drop outdoors?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Cold as Ice…and Still Running

  ·  4 min

Cold as Ice…and Still Running

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a Christmas song written in 1944 by Frank Loesser. It’s a conversation between a woman who has to go and a man who keeps telling her “But baby, it’s cold outside.”“I really can’t stay(But baby, it’s cold outside)I’ve got to go away(But baby, it’s cold outside)”Avoid the Common ExcusesIt’ll soon be cold out there with lots of excuses not to leave, to stay indoors, and surely not to exercise. Whether it’s Foreigner’s Cold as Ice, or Loesser’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside, there are many barriers to convince people that winter is a time to stay indoors and be sedentary.  It’s not. Of course winter activities can be challenging, but like everything else, “the link is what you think.”It’s just weather. If you think it’s a great opportunity to try new activities, to enjoy the crunch of falling leaves under your feet, to have snowball fights, or to do some hiking or jogging in the crisp fall air.  Then you’ll love the coming months and stay in shape.If you think instead that it’s too cold, that you’ll freeze to death, that you’ll get injured, that there isn’t enough daylight to be active, then you’ll surely believe it’s inevitable to put on some weight and be more sedentary.“The link is what you think.” I want you to think rationally, logically and accurately about the coming months wherever you live and use the fall and winter to think outside the box to keep your health, fitness and wellness levels up and move into next spring feeling great!Have a Positive MindsetSure some folks will deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but when the days grow short guess what helps? Running! It can promote the release of depression-fighting hormones leaving those suffering with this very real malady in better moods and feeling more positive.  And we know that positive thinking and a positive outlook, the kind that comes from physical activity, improves your overall health.Staying indoors, breathing all that heated air as many do during the colder months, isn’t the healthiest for your lungs or for your mind. Getting outside, properly dressed for the cold, enjoying the outdoor crisp air, gives you a chance to literally detox your mind and body. It doesn’t take as many changes as you might think to enjoy it all.So the first thing that’s needed is the right mindset. What do you enjoy about the fall and winter months? Keep your eye on those things.Fall and winter are great times to try on new activities, join new classes at your local gym, gain new skills, add new strength training activities and find new ways to integrate exercise and activities into your daily life.Some use the winter months to form a base, with activities that add to endurance.  Longer runs, along with swimming and cycling indoors will add to your volume.  Springtime is the time to build with added weight and resistance training, as well as more interval cardio training to increase speed and strength.  Summer and fall are great times to put it all into practice and get out there for your 5K, 10K, and marathon races.Get Prepared for Exercise OutdoorsExercising outdoors when it’s cold outside requires a bit of preparation to make your activities successful.  A few smart things you can do are:Dress properly in thin wicking insulating layers to prevent hypothermia and frostbite in some climates.Wear reflective gear or a headlamp for running in the dark.Put on a fleece or thermal hat to prevent 50% heat loss from your head.Keep your hands and feet warm with mittens, because you can lose 30% of your body heat through your extremities.Cover your face with a balaclava (ski mask).Carry some ChapStick.Plan a route with icy patches in mind.Always run with a buddy.Wear shoes that give you a bit more traction and are water-proof and socks that are wicking, not cotton, and made of wool or CoolMax.Get Active beyond Your WorkoutRemember that there are lots of everyday activities to rejuvenate you and give you more natural energy during your day, including:Shoveling snowWalking at lunchtime with friendsTaking the stairs instead of the elevatorParking further away from your destination or getting off the bus or subway a few stops earlierStaying active while indoors with physical movement during TV commercialsFind Music to Motivate YouWhen we think of the winter season, filled with holidays, music always tops the list along with food, friends and family get-togethers.  Crank up your RockMyRun mixes for the genre and beats per minute that inspire your body and soul, that promote your focus on your health and above all, to motivate you to enjoy the spirit of the season and the holidays happy, active and fit.What are your tips for staying active, once the temperatures drop outdoors?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

  ·  5 min

Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

When it comes to finding time to exercise, let’s start with some facts. Each of us has 168 hours per week in life. Many of us work about 50 or so hours per week, sleep about 50-60 hours per week, spend another 15-20 hours each week on personal care and grooming, leaving most of us about 6+ hours each day to_____________________. Fill in the blank.We fill in our time with what’s most important to us. As I said in an article I wrote for Greatest: Many people who don’t work out regularly can rattle off many reasons they’re not motivated to exercise, from not understanding the benefits of activity to thoughts like “I’m too busy,” “I’m embarrassed by how I look,” “exercise is boring,” and so on. The folks who hold these (false) self-sabotaging beliefs often believe exercise doesn’t matter; they don’t enjoy it, or they simply have no interest in doing it. And, really, who could blame them? Who would be inspired to start a physical activity with negative thoughts running through their head? A person has to believe exercise is of value in order to build motivation to do it.Benefits of ExerciseAs you already know, there are many benefits of exercise:Weight managementHealth and disease managementMood and self-confidence enhancementEnergy boosterPromotes healthy sleepPuts oomph into your sex lifeReduces stress by increasing brain soothing chemicalsHelps your brain function betterSparks creativityYour muscles, lungs, diaphragm, heart, stomach, kidneys, skin, joints, agility, balance, coordination, endurance and strength will all “smile” and say thank you many years from now. Every Minute CountsToday we know that even brief bouts of exercise, just 10 minutes at a time or less, can add a great deal to your health and well being while also slimming your waistline. The good news, remarkable really, comes from researchers at the University of Utah who found that every minute of intense movement counts towards the magic number of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity we are all supposed to achieve each week – but only 5% of us do.  That’s 150 minutes out of the 48 or so hours we have available to us each week.The findings indicate that brief periods of intense activity are effective in preventing weight gain and promoting health as well as doing 10 minute+ intervals. Moderate to vigorous activity, by the way, is walking about 3 miles per hour, or 2,020 counts per minute on an accelerometer. Clearly, every minute you spend in intense activity, counts.This suggests that the data on the best time to workout may be ignoring an important element—your life. Sure there are those who believe that for A-list athletes aiming for performance it might be better to push heavy training to alter in the morning or afternoon, the fact is that most who adhere to exercise routines are early morning exercisers. Bottom line is whenever you enjoy hitting the gym or track, do it. There’s benefit throughout the day.Get Creative about Getting ActiveHow can you get in short bouts of more intense exercise and find the time to get in your 150 minutes or so a week? Try these tested ways:Like a good scout, always be prepared. Don’t leave your home without your workout clothes packedKeep your workouts scheduled in your day planner —make an appointment for yourself! Remember that every minute counts.Wake up earlier and get your health plan moving, and your heart rate pumping, at the start of the day.Park away from your office, get off the train, subway or bus a few blocks before your normal close stopWhen you watch TV, use the commercials as reminders to do your squats, lunges, push ups, burpees, jumping jacks, planks, and crunches during the one-minute break.  Keep hand weights next to your chair/couch, ride your stationary bike and never use the remote control to change volume or channel.Make your lawn mower your newest piece of fitness equipment—ever hear of Carioca mowing? It’s all in the step!Walk to the office of the person you’d normally call and keep a jump rope in your briefcase or office drawer too!Make your chores count by scrubbing with vigor, grinding and stirring with some beats per minute, vacuum-dance with energy, wash your own car with upper body pushes, and shovel the coming snow (if your health allows) in tune with your favorite RockMyRun music mix.While exercise is key, taking time for yourself every day is critical for your health, well being and longevity. It’s all in my CHAIR method I recently described in an article for Prevention.com.C stands for a deeply felt commitment to very specific goals. You see the goal; you know why you’re doing it.H is for healthier foods, healthy carbs and proteins, healthy fat. ‘Diet’ is a word I never use.  It has the word ‘die’ in it.A stands for activity.  Daily activity, daily tracking of food and exercise. If you track, you adhere. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day. But even raking leaves counts as activity.I is inner motivation—you have to have your ‘why.’  And it has to be internal to you.R is for a realistic set of goals. You need something very tangible, like you want to be off blood pressure medication—not just I want to lose some weight or tone up.At the end of the day it’s all about thinking. The ‘link’ is what you think.” When you think you don’t have the time ask yourself if what you think is True, Helpful, Inspirational, Necessary, Kind to yourself. Hey, that’s what “THINK” means! If your answer is “No,” then change your thought and get active. It only takes a minute!What tips to have to stay active?  I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

  ·  5 min

Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

When it comes to finding time to exercise, let’s start with some facts. Each of us has 168 hours per week in life. Many of us work about 50 or so hours per week, sleep about 50-60 hours per week, spend another 15-20 hours each week on personal care and grooming, leaving most of us about 6+ hours each day to_____________________. Fill in the blank.We fill in our time with what’s most important to us. As I said in an article I wrote for Greatest: Many people who don’t work out regularly can rattle off many reasons they’re not motivated to exercise, from not understanding the benefits of activity to thoughts like “I’m too busy,” “I’m embarrassed by how I look,” “exercise is boring,” and so on. The folks who hold these (false) self-sabotaging beliefs often believe exercise doesn’t matter; they don’t enjoy it, or they simply have no interest in doing it. And, really, who could blame them? Who would be inspired to start a physical activity with negative thoughts running through their head? A person has to believe exercise is of value in order to build motivation to do it.Benefits of ExerciseAs you already know, there are many benefits of exercise:Weight managementHealth and disease managementMood and self-confidence enhancementEnergy boosterPromotes healthy sleepPuts oomph into your sex lifeReduces stress by increasing brain soothing chemicalsHelps your brain function betterSparks creativityYour muscles, lungs, diaphragm, heart, stomach, kidneys, skin, joints, agility, balance, coordination, endurance and strength will all “smile” and say thank you many years from now. Every Minute CountsToday we know that even brief bouts of exercise, just 10 minutes at a time or less, can add a great deal to your health and well being while also slimming your waistline. The good news, remarkable really, comes from researchers at the University of Utah who found that every minute of intense movement counts towards the magic number of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity we are all supposed to achieve each week – but only 5% of us do.  That’s 150 minutes out of the 48 or so hours we have available to us each week.The findings indicate that brief periods of intense activity are effective in preventing weight gain and promoting health as well as doing 10 minute+ intervals. Moderate to vigorous activity, by the way, is walking about 3 miles per hour, or 2,020 counts per minute on an accelerometer. Clearly, every minute you spend in intense activity, counts.This suggests that the data on the best time to workout may be ignoring an important element—your life. Sure there are those who believe that for A-list athletes aiming for performance it might be better to push heavy training to alter in the morning or afternoon, the fact is that most who adhere to exercise routines are early morning exercisers. Bottom line is whenever you enjoy hitting the gym or track, do it. There’s benefit throughout the day.Get Creative about Getting ActiveHow can you get in short bouts of more intense exercise and find the time to get in your 150 minutes or so a week? Try these tested ways:Like a good scout, always be prepared. Don’t leave your home without your workout clothes packedKeep your workouts scheduled in your day planner —make an appointment for yourself! Remember that every minute counts.Wake up earlier and get your health plan moving, and your heart rate pumping, at the start of the day.Park away from your office, get off the train, subway or bus a few blocks before your normal close stopWhen you watch TV, use the commercials as reminders to do your squats, lunges, push ups, burpees, jumping jacks, planks, and crunches during the one-minute break.  Keep hand weights next to your chair/couch, ride your stationary bike and never use the remote control to change volume or channel.Make your lawn mower your newest piece of fitness equipment—ever hear of Carioca mowing? It’s all in the step!Walk to the office of the person you’d normally call and keep a jump rope in your briefcase or office drawer too!Make your chores count by scrubbing with vigor, grinding and stirring with some beats per minute, vacuum-dance with energy, wash your own car with upper body pushes, and shovel the coming snow (if your health allows) in tune with your favorite RockMyRun music mix.While exercise is key, taking time for yourself every day is critical for your health, well being and longevity. It’s all in my CHAIR method I recently described in an article for Prevention.com.C stands for a deeply felt commitment to very specific goals. You see the goal; you know why you’re doing it.H is for healthier foods, healthy carbs and proteins, healthy fat. ‘Diet’ is a word I never use.  It has the word ‘die’ in it.A stands for activity.  Daily activity, daily tracking of food and exercise. If you track, you adhere. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day. But even raking leaves counts as activity.I is inner motivation—you have to have your ‘why.’  And it has to be internal to you.R is for a realistic set of goals. You need something very tangible, like you want to be off blood pressure medication—not just I want to lose some weight or tone up.At the end of the day it’s all about thinking. The ‘link’ is what you think.” When you think you don’t have the time ask yourself if what you think is True, Helpful, Inspirational, Necessary, Kind to yourself. Hey, that’s what “THINK” means! If your answer is “No,” then change your thought and get active. It only takes a minute!What tips to have to stay active?  I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


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Train Less. Perform Better.

  ·  3 min

Train Less. Perform Better.

A lot of the more traditional approaches to cardio look at longer distances and higher volume as the best ways to get and stay in shape. While there is certainly nothing wrong with that method, I tend to take the “less is more” philosophy into my cardio training.  This doesn’t mean I don’t lace up my running shoes as much as the next person; I simply have a much lower training volume than some people.  I do this through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  HIIT is a type of cardio involving a specified period (generally short) of very hard activity followed by a short rest period.  It’s a very effective training method, one that has helped my speed and endurance greatly over the past few years.With that, I want to give you my top 5 benefits of interval training:Increased oxidative capacity.  A muscle’s oxidative capacity is essentially its maximal ability to utilize oxygen in order to produce energy.  It is a fancy term that basically says how much oxygen a muscle is capable of using at once.  Research shows that runners can increase oxidative capacity, and thus overall endurance, in as little as two weeks of high intensity intervals.Prevent Boredom.  If you’re like me, then a long distance run on the treadmill can get a little boring.  Interval training not only requires you to change speed and intensity often, but also allows you the chance to get away from the treadmill altogether.  Running tracks, public parks, and gymnasiums all provide a different environment to keep your training fun and interesting.Burn fat.  Research agrees that the higher our exercise intensity, the more glucose we will burn during a workout.  You might be asking: “Well, when does this ‘burn more fat’ come into play?”  The answer is simple; at rest.  Yes, while we are resting.  In short, we lose a great amount of energy while burning glucose at high intensities.  The thing most people do not realize is that we must replace this energy when we are done exercising.  The fuel source for replacing energy??  You guessed it – FAT!!  So, in essence, the more glucose we use during exercise, the more fat we burn following exercise!It’s challenging.  Put down the magazine.  Quit texting.  The goal of interval training is to work as hard as you can the entire time.  If you do that, you won’t be focusing on anything but your workout – which is the way it should be!Efficient.  Interval training is efficient in terms of both time and injury prevention.  Given that your intensity is at an appropriate level, you can get an effective interval workout done in less than 20 minutes.  Because you’re putting in less time, you can avoid the constant pounding that miles and miles of distance running places upon the lower body.To give you guys a little idea of what a typical HIIT session looks like, I will leave you all with one of my favorite interval workouts.  If you need some music for this workout, I’d recommend listening to “Go Hard” by DJ Prophecy.  It’s an up-beat mix, which I prefer for interval training.Work-to-Rest Ratio – 2:1Sprint – 30 SecondsRest – 15 SecondsRound 1: 8 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 2: 6 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 3: 4 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsIt might take you a few sets to figure out what that speed is going to be if you’re on a treadmill, and that’s fine.  Just make sure you are pushing yourself on each and every set in order to get the best results possible!!Have you tried high intensity interval training?  If so, let me know what you think of it in the comments below.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.


Train Less. Perform Better.

  ·  3 min

Train Less. Perform Better.

A lot of the more traditional approaches to cardio look at longer distances and higher volume as the best ways to get and stay in shape. While there is certainly nothing wrong with that method, I tend to take the “less is more” philosophy into my cardio training.  This doesn’t mean I don’t lace up my running shoes as much as the next person; I simply have a much lower training volume than some people.  I do this through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  HIIT is a type of cardio involving a specified period (generally short) of very hard activity followed by a short rest period.  It’s a very effective training method, one that has helped my speed and endurance greatly over the past few years.With that, I want to give you my top 5 benefits of interval training:Increased oxidative capacity.  A muscle’s oxidative capacity is essentially its maximal ability to utilize oxygen in order to produce energy.  It is a fancy term that basically says how much oxygen a muscle is capable of using at once.  Research shows that runners can increase oxidative capacity, and thus overall endurance, in as little as two weeks of high intensity intervals.Prevent Boredom.  If you’re like me, then a long distance run on the treadmill can get a little boring.  Interval training not only requires you to change speed and intensity often, but also allows you the chance to get away from the treadmill altogether.  Running tracks, public parks, and gymnasiums all provide a different environment to keep your training fun and interesting.Burn fat.  Research agrees that the higher our exercise intensity, the more glucose we will burn during a workout.  You might be asking: “Well, when does this ‘burn more fat’ come into play?”  The answer is simple; at rest.  Yes, while we are resting.  In short, we lose a great amount of energy while burning glucose at high intensities.  The thing most people do not realize is that we must replace this energy when we are done exercising.  The fuel source for replacing energy??  You guessed it – FAT!!  So, in essence, the more glucose we use during exercise, the more fat we burn following exercise!It’s challenging.  Put down the magazine.  Quit texting.  The goal of interval training is to work as hard as you can the entire time.  If you do that, you won’t be focusing on anything but your workout – which is the way it should be!Efficient.  Interval training is efficient in terms of both time and injury prevention.  Given that your intensity is at an appropriate level, you can get an effective interval workout done in less than 20 minutes.  Because you’re putting in less time, you can avoid the constant pounding that miles and miles of distance running places upon the lower body.To give you guys a little idea of what a typical HIIT session looks like, I will leave you all with one of my favorite interval workouts.  If you need some music for this workout, I’d recommend listening to “Go Hard” by DJ Prophecy.  It’s an up-beat mix, which I prefer for interval training.Work-to-Rest Ratio – 2:1Sprint – 30 SecondsRest – 15 SecondsRound 1: 8 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 2: 6 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 3: 4 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsIt might take you a few sets to figure out what that speed is going to be if you’re on a treadmill, and that’s fine.  Just make sure you are pushing yourself on each and every set in order to get the best results possible!!Have you tried high intensity interval training?  If so, let me know what you think of it in the comments below.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.


Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

  ·  3 min

Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

If you are among the 29,478,000 Americans who run or jog 50 or more days a year then you know why you run. Running offers phenom­enal psychological and physical benefits and you’ve probably even experienced a “runner’s high.” You must be spreading the word too, since running shoe sales grew to a whopping $3.04 billion in 2012, up 23% from 2011.Slipping on a pair of running shoes is a common way to start the day, along with the ubiquitous headphones popping out of the ears of joggers and runners.Psychological and Physical Benefits of RunningSo what is this national, indeed international, sensation all about? What do we love about running?Perhaps we love the way we feel. After all, it is well known that the psychological benefits of running rival the physical benefits. Nearly three-quarters of runners who maintain at least a moderate level of fitness say that running keeps them in a positive, relaxed, happy, state of mind. My clients who struggle with depression find that running is a less expensive, highly preferable and equally effective mood booster, than taking side-effect prone medications.Runners report significant increases in the quality of their life, feel greater energy, patience, optimism and ambition. For many, running leads to significantly lower levels of stress, improved memory, increased verbal fluency and better cognitive functioning. Perhaps most importantly, runners report greater health benefits that include burning more calories, heart health, improved HDL cholesterol levels, a boost to the immune system, increases in bone density and improved lung capacity.Runner’s HighThen there’s always that “runner’s high.” It’s true, that invincible “what discomfort?” flow that runners feel, tied to a release of endorphins, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, with an increase in body temperature, have been fully demonstrated by endorphin and neuroscience researchers. ­­­Want to power up that output? Then you need to introduce yourself to your nucleus accumbens, your prefrontal cortex and your amygdala. These are located in your brain and go into high gear, releasing feel-good chemicals, particularly when music activates these emotion and intellectual centers.Boost Performance with MusicWant to boost the impact of running and increase the positive benefits that running brings? Be sure to choose your favorite music mixes and performance enhancing beats per minute to keep you moving along a health-promoting pace. Fitness psychologists, who study the effects of music on athletic performance and exercise, find that listening to music while working out stimulates mental arousal and enhances brain functioning, at least for a short period of time.The key, the researchers tell us, is to choose music you enjoy, and note that the faster the music, the greater the power output. It’s all about the motivating power of the music you choose and how you choose to listen to it. Louder and faster music, according to research, leads to runners dialing up their pace, while slower and quieter music is best for cool downs. Research suggests that the right music can boost endurance by 15%.  Furthermore, while exercise promotes good endothelial functioning, so important to your heart and in preventing atherosclerosis, listening to music for 30 or more minutes while running or working out turbocharges that effect on the cells that line the inside of your blood vessels.Next time you hear about a marathon, half marathon, or 5K coming to town, or a buddy asks you to go for a jog at the park, now you know why running has the growth curve it does and why so many love running. It leaves you feeling better head to toe. And with RockMyRun rocking your health benefits, well, it’s hard to imagine anything better putting a smile on your—or your doctor’s–face!Why do you run?  What are your favorite benefits?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

  ·  3 min

Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

If you are among the 29,478,000 Americans who run or jog 50 or more days a year then you know why you run. Running offers phenom­enal psychological and physical benefits and you’ve probably even experienced a “runner’s high.” You must be spreading the word too, since running shoe sales grew to a whopping $3.04 billion in 2012, up 23% from 2011.Slipping on a pair of running shoes is a common way to start the day, along with the ubiquitous headphones popping out of the ears of joggers and runners.Psychological and Physical Benefits of RunningSo what is this national, indeed international, sensation all about? What do we love about running?Perhaps we love the way we feel. After all, it is well known that the psychological benefits of running rival the physical benefits. Nearly three-quarters of runners who maintain at least a moderate level of fitness say that running keeps them in a positive, relaxed, happy, state of mind. My clients who struggle with depression find that running is a less expensive, highly preferable and equally effective mood booster, than taking side-effect prone medications.Runners report significant increases in the quality of their life, feel greater energy, patience, optimism and ambition. For many, running leads to significantly lower levels of stress, improved memory, increased verbal fluency and better cognitive functioning. Perhaps most importantly, runners report greater health benefits that include burning more calories, heart health, improved HDL cholesterol levels, a boost to the immune system, increases in bone density and improved lung capacity.Runner’s HighThen there’s always that “runner’s high.” It’s true, that invincible “what discomfort?” flow that runners feel, tied to a release of endorphins, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, with an increase in body temperature, have been fully demonstrated by endorphin and neuroscience researchers. ­­­Want to power up that output? Then you need to introduce yourself to your nucleus accumbens, your prefrontal cortex and your amygdala. These are located in your brain and go into high gear, releasing feel-good chemicals, particularly when music activates these emotion and intellectual centers.Boost Performance with MusicWant to boost the impact of running and increase the positive benefits that running brings? Be sure to choose your favorite music mixes and performance enhancing beats per minute to keep you moving along a health-promoting pace. Fitness psychologists, who study the effects of music on athletic performance and exercise, find that listening to music while working out stimulates mental arousal and enhances brain functioning, at least for a short period of time.The key, the researchers tell us, is to choose music you enjoy, and note that the faster the music, the greater the power output. It’s all about the motivating power of the music you choose and how you choose to listen to it. Louder and faster music, according to research, leads to runners dialing up their pace, while slower and quieter music is best for cool downs. Research suggests that the right music can boost endurance by 15%.  Furthermore, while exercise promotes good endothelial functioning, so important to your heart and in preventing atherosclerosis, listening to music for 30 or more minutes while running or working out turbocharges that effect on the cells that line the inside of your blood vessels.Next time you hear about a marathon, half marathon, or 5K coming to town, or a buddy asks you to go for a jog at the park, now you know why running has the growth curve it does and why so many love running. It leaves you feeling better head to toe. And with RockMyRun rocking your health benefits, well, it’s hard to imagine anything better putting a smile on your—or your doctor’s–face!Why do you run?  What are your favorite benefits?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Cold as Ice…and Still Running

  ·  4 min

Cold as Ice…and Still Running

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a Christmas song written in 1944 by Frank Loesser. It’s a conversation between a woman who has to go and a man who keeps telling her “But baby, it’s cold outside.”“I really can’t stay(But baby, it’s cold outside)I’ve got to go away(But baby, it’s cold outside)”Avoid the Common ExcusesIt’ll soon be cold out there with lots of excuses not to leave, to stay indoors, and surely not to exercise. Whether it’s Foreigner’s Cold as Ice, or Loesser’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside, there are many barriers to convince people that winter is a time to stay indoors and be sedentary.  It’s not. Of course winter activities can be challenging, but like everything else, “the link is what you think.”It’s just weather. If you think it’s a great opportunity to try new activities, to enjoy the crunch of falling leaves under your feet, to have snowball fights, or to do some hiking or jogging in the crisp fall air.  Then you’ll love the coming months and stay in shape.If you think instead that it’s too cold, that you’ll freeze to death, that you’ll get injured, that there isn’t enough daylight to be active, then you’ll surely believe it’s inevitable to put on some weight and be more sedentary.“The link is what you think.” I want you to think rationally, logically and accurately about the coming months wherever you live and use the fall and winter to think outside the box to keep your health, fitness and wellness levels up and move into next spring feeling great!Have a Positive MindsetSure some folks will deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but when the days grow short guess what helps? Running! It can promote the release of depression-fighting hormones leaving those suffering with this very real malady in better moods and feeling more positive.  And we know that positive thinking and a positive outlook, the kind that comes from physical activity, improves your overall health.Staying indoors, breathing all that heated air as many do during the colder months, isn’t the healthiest for your lungs or for your mind. Getting outside, properly dressed for the cold, enjoying the outdoor crisp air, gives you a chance to literally detox your mind and body. It doesn’t take as many changes as you might think to enjoy it all.So the first thing that’s needed is the right mindset. What do you enjoy about the fall and winter months? Keep your eye on those things.Fall and winter are great times to try on new activities, join new classes at your local gym, gain new skills, add new strength training activities and find new ways to integrate exercise and activities into your daily life.Some use the winter months to form a base, with activities that add to endurance.  Longer runs, along with swimming and cycling indoors will add to your volume.  Springtime is the time to build with added weight and resistance training, as well as more interval cardio training to increase speed and strength.  Summer and fall are great times to put it all into practice and get out there for your 5K, 10K, and marathon races.Get Prepared for Exercise OutdoorsExercising outdoors when it’s cold outside requires a bit of preparation to make your activities successful.  A few smart things you can do are:Dress properly in thin wicking insulating layers to prevent hypothermia and frostbite in some climates.Wear reflective gear or a headlamp for running in the dark.Put on a fleece or thermal hat to prevent 50% heat loss from your head.Keep your hands and feet warm with mittens, because you can lose 30% of your body heat through your extremities.Cover your face with a balaclava (ski mask).Carry some ChapStick.Plan a route with icy patches in mind.Always run with a buddy.Wear shoes that give you a bit more traction and are water-proof and socks that are wicking, not cotton, and made of wool or CoolMax.Get Active beyond Your WorkoutRemember that there are lots of everyday activities to rejuvenate you and give you more natural energy during your day, including:Shoveling snowWalking at lunchtime with friendsTaking the stairs instead of the elevatorParking further away from your destination or getting off the bus or subway a few stops earlierStaying active while indoors with physical movement during TV commercialsFind Music to Motivate YouWhen we think of the winter season, filled with holidays, music always tops the list along with food, friends and family get-togethers.  Crank up your RockMyRun mixes for the genre and beats per minute that inspire your body and soul, that promote your focus on your health and above all, to motivate you to enjoy the spirit of the season and the holidays happy, active and fit.What are your tips for staying active, once the temperatures drop outdoors?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Cold as Ice…and Still Running

  ·  4 min

Cold as Ice…and Still Running

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a Christmas song written in 1944 by Frank Loesser. It’s a conversation between a woman who has to go and a man who keeps telling her “But baby, it’s cold outside.”“I really can’t stay(But baby, it’s cold outside)I’ve got to go away(But baby, it’s cold outside)”Avoid the Common ExcusesIt’ll soon be cold out there with lots of excuses not to leave, to stay indoors, and surely not to exercise. Whether it’s Foreigner’s Cold as Ice, or Loesser’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside, there are many barriers to convince people that winter is a time to stay indoors and be sedentary.  It’s not. Of course winter activities can be challenging, but like everything else, “the link is what you think.”It’s just weather. If you think it’s a great opportunity to try new activities, to enjoy the crunch of falling leaves under your feet, to have snowball fights, or to do some hiking or jogging in the crisp fall air.  Then you’ll love the coming months and stay in shape.If you think instead that it’s too cold, that you’ll freeze to death, that you’ll get injured, that there isn’t enough daylight to be active, then you’ll surely believe it’s inevitable to put on some weight and be more sedentary.“The link is what you think.” I want you to think rationally, logically and accurately about the coming months wherever you live and use the fall and winter to think outside the box to keep your health, fitness and wellness levels up and move into next spring feeling great!Have a Positive MindsetSure some folks will deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but when the days grow short guess what helps? Running! It can promote the release of depression-fighting hormones leaving those suffering with this very real malady in better moods and feeling more positive.  And we know that positive thinking and a positive outlook, the kind that comes from physical activity, improves your overall health.Staying indoors, breathing all that heated air as many do during the colder months, isn’t the healthiest for your lungs or for your mind. Getting outside, properly dressed for the cold, enjoying the outdoor crisp air, gives you a chance to literally detox your mind and body. It doesn’t take as many changes as you might think to enjoy it all.So the first thing that’s needed is the right mindset. What do you enjoy about the fall and winter months? Keep your eye on those things.Fall and winter are great times to try on new activities, join new classes at your local gym, gain new skills, add new strength training activities and find new ways to integrate exercise and activities into your daily life.Some use the winter months to form a base, with activities that add to endurance.  Longer runs, along with swimming and cycling indoors will add to your volume.  Springtime is the time to build with added weight and resistance training, as well as more interval cardio training to increase speed and strength.  Summer and fall are great times to put it all into practice and get out there for your 5K, 10K, and marathon races.Get Prepared for Exercise OutdoorsExercising outdoors when it’s cold outside requires a bit of preparation to make your activities successful.  A few smart things you can do are:Dress properly in thin wicking insulating layers to prevent hypothermia and frostbite in some climates.Wear reflective gear or a headlamp for running in the dark.Put on a fleece or thermal hat to prevent 50% heat loss from your head.Keep your hands and feet warm with mittens, because you can lose 30% of your body heat through your extremities.Cover your face with a balaclava (ski mask).Carry some ChapStick.Plan a route with icy patches in mind.Always run with a buddy.Wear shoes that give you a bit more traction and are water-proof and socks that are wicking, not cotton, and made of wool or CoolMax.Get Active beyond Your WorkoutRemember that there are lots of everyday activities to rejuvenate you and give you more natural energy during your day, including:Shoveling snowWalking at lunchtime with friendsTaking the stairs instead of the elevatorParking further away from your destination or getting off the bus or subway a few stops earlierStaying active while indoors with physical movement during TV commercialsFind Music to Motivate YouWhen we think of the winter season, filled with holidays, music always tops the list along with food, friends and family get-togethers.  Crank up your RockMyRun mixes for the genre and beats per minute that inspire your body and soul, that promote your focus on your health and above all, to motivate you to enjoy the spirit of the season and the holidays happy, active and fit.What are your tips for staying active, once the temperatures drop outdoors?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

  ·  5 min

Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

When it comes to finding time to exercise, let’s start with some facts. Each of us has 168 hours per week in life. Many of us work about 50 or so hours per week, sleep about 50-60 hours per week, spend another 15-20 hours each week on personal care and grooming, leaving most of us about 6+ hours each day to_____________________. Fill in the blank.We fill in our time with what’s most important to us. As I said in an article I wrote for Greatest: Many people who don’t work out regularly can rattle off many reasons they’re not motivated to exercise, from not understanding the benefits of activity to thoughts like “I’m too busy,” “I’m embarrassed by how I look,” “exercise is boring,” and so on. The folks who hold these (false) self-sabotaging beliefs often believe exercise doesn’t matter; they don’t enjoy it, or they simply have no interest in doing it. And, really, who could blame them? Who would be inspired to start a physical activity with negative thoughts running through their head? A person has to believe exercise is of value in order to build motivation to do it.Benefits of ExerciseAs you already know, there are many benefits of exercise:Weight managementHealth and disease managementMood and self-confidence enhancementEnergy boosterPromotes healthy sleepPuts oomph into your sex lifeReduces stress by increasing brain soothing chemicalsHelps your brain function betterSparks creativityYour muscles, lungs, diaphragm, heart, stomach, kidneys, skin, joints, agility, balance, coordination, endurance and strength will all “smile” and say thank you many years from now. Every Minute CountsToday we know that even brief bouts of exercise, just 10 minutes at a time or less, can add a great deal to your health and well being while also slimming your waistline. The good news, remarkable really, comes from researchers at the University of Utah who found that every minute of intense movement counts towards the magic number of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity we are all supposed to achieve each week – but only 5% of us do.  That’s 150 minutes out of the 48 or so hours we have available to us each week.The findings indicate that brief periods of intense activity are effective in preventing weight gain and promoting health as well as doing 10 minute+ intervals. Moderate to vigorous activity, by the way, is walking about 3 miles per hour, or 2,020 counts per minute on an accelerometer. Clearly, every minute you spend in intense activity, counts.This suggests that the data on the best time to workout may be ignoring an important element—your life. Sure there are those who believe that for A-list athletes aiming for performance it might be better to push heavy training to alter in the morning or afternoon, the fact is that most who adhere to exercise routines are early morning exercisers. Bottom line is whenever you enjoy hitting the gym or track, do it. There’s benefit throughout the day.Get Creative about Getting ActiveHow can you get in short bouts of more intense exercise and find the time to get in your 150 minutes or so a week? Try these tested ways:Like a good scout, always be prepared. Don’t leave your home without your workout clothes packedKeep your workouts scheduled in your day planner —make an appointment for yourself! Remember that every minute counts.Wake up earlier and get your health plan moving, and your heart rate pumping, at the start of the day.Park away from your office, get off the train, subway or bus a few blocks before your normal close stopWhen you watch TV, use the commercials as reminders to do your squats, lunges, push ups, burpees, jumping jacks, planks, and crunches during the one-minute break.  Keep hand weights next to your chair/couch, ride your stationary bike and never use the remote control to change volume or channel.Make your lawn mower your newest piece of fitness equipment—ever hear of Carioca mowing? It’s all in the step!Walk to the office of the person you’d normally call and keep a jump rope in your briefcase or office drawer too!Make your chores count by scrubbing with vigor, grinding and stirring with some beats per minute, vacuum-dance with energy, wash your own car with upper body pushes, and shovel the coming snow (if your health allows) in tune with your favorite RockMyRun music mix.While exercise is key, taking time for yourself every day is critical for your health, well being and longevity. It’s all in my CHAIR method I recently described in an article for Prevention.com.C stands for a deeply felt commitment to very specific goals. You see the goal; you know why you’re doing it.H is for healthier foods, healthy carbs and proteins, healthy fat. ‘Diet’ is a word I never use.  It has the word ‘die’ in it.A stands for activity.  Daily activity, daily tracking of food and exercise. If you track, you adhere. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day. But even raking leaves counts as activity.I is inner motivation—you have to have your ‘why.’  And it has to be internal to you.R is for a realistic set of goals. You need something very tangible, like you want to be off blood pressure medication—not just I want to lose some weight or tone up.At the end of the day it’s all about thinking. The ‘link’ is what you think.” When you think you don’t have the time ask yourself if what you think is True, Helpful, Inspirational, Necessary, Kind to yourself. Hey, that’s what “THINK” means! If your answer is “No,” then change your thought and get active. It only takes a minute!What tips to have to stay active?  I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

  ·  5 min

Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

When it comes to finding time to exercise, let’s start with some facts. Each of us has 168 hours per week in life. Many of us work about 50 or so hours per week, sleep about 50-60 hours per week, spend another 15-20 hours each week on personal care and grooming, leaving most of us about 6+ hours each day to_____________________. Fill in the blank.We fill in our time with what’s most important to us. As I said in an article I wrote for Greatest: Many people who don’t work out regularly can rattle off many reasons they’re not motivated to exercise, from not understanding the benefits of activity to thoughts like “I’m too busy,” “I’m embarrassed by how I look,” “exercise is boring,” and so on. The folks who hold these (false) self-sabotaging beliefs often believe exercise doesn’t matter; they don’t enjoy it, or they simply have no interest in doing it. And, really, who could blame them? Who would be inspired to start a physical activity with negative thoughts running through their head? A person has to believe exercise is of value in order to build motivation to do it.Benefits of ExerciseAs you already know, there are many benefits of exercise:Weight managementHealth and disease managementMood and self-confidence enhancementEnergy boosterPromotes healthy sleepPuts oomph into your sex lifeReduces stress by increasing brain soothing chemicalsHelps your brain function betterSparks creativityYour muscles, lungs, diaphragm, heart, stomach, kidneys, skin, joints, agility, balance, coordination, endurance and strength will all “smile” and say thank you many years from now. Every Minute CountsToday we know that even brief bouts of exercise, just 10 minutes at a time or less, can add a great deal to your health and well being while also slimming your waistline. The good news, remarkable really, comes from researchers at the University of Utah who found that every minute of intense movement counts towards the magic number of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity we are all supposed to achieve each week – but only 5% of us do.  That’s 150 minutes out of the 48 or so hours we have available to us each week.The findings indicate that brief periods of intense activity are effective in preventing weight gain and promoting health as well as doing 10 minute+ intervals. Moderate to vigorous activity, by the way, is walking about 3 miles per hour, or 2,020 counts per minute on an accelerometer. Clearly, every minute you spend in intense activity, counts.This suggests that the data on the best time to workout may be ignoring an important element—your life. Sure there are those who believe that for A-list athletes aiming for performance it might be better to push heavy training to alter in the morning or afternoon, the fact is that most who adhere to exercise routines are early morning exercisers. Bottom line is whenever you enjoy hitting the gym or track, do it. There’s benefit throughout the day.Get Creative about Getting ActiveHow can you get in short bouts of more intense exercise and find the time to get in your 150 minutes or so a week? Try these tested ways:Like a good scout, always be prepared. Don’t leave your home without your workout clothes packedKeep your workouts scheduled in your day planner —make an appointment for yourself! Remember that every minute counts.Wake up earlier and get your health plan moving, and your heart rate pumping, at the start of the day.Park away from your office, get off the train, subway or bus a few blocks before your normal close stopWhen you watch TV, use the commercials as reminders to do your squats, lunges, push ups, burpees, jumping jacks, planks, and crunches during the one-minute break.  Keep hand weights next to your chair/couch, ride your stationary bike and never use the remote control to change volume or channel.Make your lawn mower your newest piece of fitness equipment—ever hear of Carioca mowing? It’s all in the step!Walk to the office of the person you’d normally call and keep a jump rope in your briefcase or office drawer too!Make your chores count by scrubbing with vigor, grinding and stirring with some beats per minute, vacuum-dance with energy, wash your own car with upper body pushes, and shovel the coming snow (if your health allows) in tune with your favorite RockMyRun music mix.While exercise is key, taking time for yourself every day is critical for your health, well being and longevity. It’s all in my CHAIR method I recently described in an article for Prevention.com.C stands for a deeply felt commitment to very specific goals. You see the goal; you know why you’re doing it.H is for healthier foods, healthy carbs and proteins, healthy fat. ‘Diet’ is a word I never use.  It has the word ‘die’ in it.A stands for activity.  Daily activity, daily tracking of food and exercise. If you track, you adhere. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day. But even raking leaves counts as activity.I is inner motivation—you have to have your ‘why.’  And it has to be internal to you.R is for a realistic set of goals. You need something very tangible, like you want to be off blood pressure medication—not just I want to lose some weight or tone up.At the end of the day it’s all about thinking. The ‘link’ is what you think.” When you think you don’t have the time ask yourself if what you think is True, Helpful, Inspirational, Necessary, Kind to yourself. Hey, that’s what “THINK” means! If your answer is “No,” then change your thought and get active. It only takes a minute!What tips to have to stay active?  I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Train Less. Perform Better.

  ·  3 min

Train Less. Perform Better.

A lot of the more traditional approaches to cardio look at longer distances and higher volume as the best ways to get and stay in shape. While there is certainly nothing wrong with that method, I tend to take the “less is more” philosophy into my cardio training.  This doesn’t mean I don’t lace up my running shoes as much as the next person; I simply have a much lower training volume than some people.  I do this through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  HIIT is a type of cardio involving a specified period (generally short) of very hard activity followed by a short rest period.  It’s a very effective training method, one that has helped my speed and endurance greatly over the past few years.With that, I want to give you my top 5 benefits of interval training:Increased oxidative capacity.  A muscle’s oxidative capacity is essentially its maximal ability to utilize oxygen in order to produce energy.  It is a fancy term that basically says how much oxygen a muscle is capable of using at once.  Research shows that runners can increase oxidative capacity, and thus overall endurance, in as little as two weeks of high intensity intervals.Prevent Boredom.  If you’re like me, then a long distance run on the treadmill can get a little boring.  Interval training not only requires you to change speed and intensity often, but also allows you the chance to get away from the treadmill altogether.  Running tracks, public parks, and gymnasiums all provide a different environment to keep your training fun and interesting.Burn fat.  Research agrees that the higher our exercise intensity, the more glucose we will burn during a workout.  You might be asking: “Well, when does this ‘burn more fat’ come into play?”  The answer is simple; at rest.  Yes, while we are resting.  In short, we lose a great amount of energy while burning glucose at high intensities.  The thing most people do not realize is that we must replace this energy when we are done exercising.  The fuel source for replacing energy??  You guessed it – FAT!!  So, in essence, the more glucose we use during exercise, the more fat we burn following exercise!It’s challenging.  Put down the magazine.  Quit texting.  The goal of interval training is to work as hard as you can the entire time.  If you do that, you won’t be focusing on anything but your workout – which is the way it should be!Efficient.  Interval training is efficient in terms of both time and injury prevention.  Given that your intensity is at an appropriate level, you can get an effective interval workout done in less than 20 minutes.  Because you’re putting in less time, you can avoid the constant pounding that miles and miles of distance running places upon the lower body.To give you guys a little idea of what a typical HIIT session looks like, I will leave you all with one of my favorite interval workouts.  If you need some music for this workout, I’d recommend listening to “Go Hard” by DJ Prophecy.  It’s an up-beat mix, which I prefer for interval training.Work-to-Rest Ratio – 2:1Sprint – 30 SecondsRest – 15 SecondsRound 1: 8 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 2: 6 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 3: 4 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsIt might take you a few sets to figure out what that speed is going to be if you’re on a treadmill, and that’s fine.  Just make sure you are pushing yourself on each and every set in order to get the best results possible!!Have you tried high intensity interval training?  If so, let me know what you think of it in the comments below.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.


Train Less. Perform Better.

  ·  3 min

Train Less. Perform Better.

A lot of the more traditional approaches to cardio look at longer distances and higher volume as the best ways to get and stay in shape. While there is certainly nothing wrong with that method, I tend to take the “less is more” philosophy into my cardio training.  This doesn’t mean I don’t lace up my running shoes as much as the next person; I simply have a much lower training volume than some people.  I do this through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  HIIT is a type of cardio involving a specified period (generally short) of very hard activity followed by a short rest period.  It’s a very effective training method, one that has helped my speed and endurance greatly over the past few years.With that, I want to give you my top 5 benefits of interval training:Increased oxidative capacity.  A muscle’s oxidative capacity is essentially its maximal ability to utilize oxygen in order to produce energy.  It is a fancy term that basically says how much oxygen a muscle is capable of using at once.  Research shows that runners can increase oxidative capacity, and thus overall endurance, in as little as two weeks of high intensity intervals.Prevent Boredom.  If you’re like me, then a long distance run on the treadmill can get a little boring.  Interval training not only requires you to change speed and intensity often, but also allows you the chance to get away from the treadmill altogether.  Running tracks, public parks, and gymnasiums all provide a different environment to keep your training fun and interesting.Burn fat.  Research agrees that the higher our exercise intensity, the more glucose we will burn during a workout.  You might be asking: “Well, when does this ‘burn more fat’ come into play?”  The answer is simple; at rest.  Yes, while we are resting.  In short, we lose a great amount of energy while burning glucose at high intensities.  The thing most people do not realize is that we must replace this energy when we are done exercising.  The fuel source for replacing energy??  You guessed it – FAT!!  So, in essence, the more glucose we use during exercise, the more fat we burn following exercise!It’s challenging.  Put down the magazine.  Quit texting.  The goal of interval training is to work as hard as you can the entire time.  If you do that, you won’t be focusing on anything but your workout – which is the way it should be!Efficient.  Interval training is efficient in terms of both time and injury prevention.  Given that your intensity is at an appropriate level, you can get an effective interval workout done in less than 20 minutes.  Because you’re putting in less time, you can avoid the constant pounding that miles and miles of distance running places upon the lower body.To give you guys a little idea of what a typical HIIT session looks like, I will leave you all with one of my favorite interval workouts.  If you need some music for this workout, I’d recommend listening to “Go Hard” by DJ Prophecy.  It’s an up-beat mix, which I prefer for interval training.Work-to-Rest Ratio – 2:1Sprint – 30 SecondsRest – 15 SecondsRound 1: 8 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 2: 6 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 3: 4 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsIt might take you a few sets to figure out what that speed is going to be if you’re on a treadmill, and that’s fine.  Just make sure you are pushing yourself on each and every set in order to get the best results possible!!Have you tried high intensity interval training?  If so, let me know what you think of it in the comments below.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.


Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

  ·  3 min

Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

If you are among the 29,478,000 Americans who run or jog 50 or more days a year then you know why you run. Running offers phenom­enal psychological and physical benefits and you’ve probably even experienced a “runner’s high.” You must be spreading the word too, since running shoe sales grew to a whopping $3.04 billion in 2012, up 23% from 2011.Slipping on a pair of running shoes is a common way to start the day, along with the ubiquitous headphones popping out of the ears of joggers and runners.Psychological and Physical Benefits of RunningSo what is this national, indeed international, sensation all about? What do we love about running?Perhaps we love the way we feel. After all, it is well known that the psychological benefits of running rival the physical benefits. Nearly three-quarters of runners who maintain at least a moderate level of fitness say that running keeps them in a positive, relaxed, happy, state of mind. My clients who struggle with depression find that running is a less expensive, highly preferable and equally effective mood booster, than taking side-effect prone medications.Runners report significant increases in the quality of their life, feel greater energy, patience, optimism and ambition. For many, running leads to significantly lower levels of stress, improved memory, increased verbal fluency and better cognitive functioning. Perhaps most importantly, runners report greater health benefits that include burning more calories, heart health, improved HDL cholesterol levels, a boost to the immune system, increases in bone density and improved lung capacity.Runner’s HighThen there’s always that “runner’s high.” It’s true, that invincible “what discomfort?” flow that runners feel, tied to a release of endorphins, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, with an increase in body temperature, have been fully demonstrated by endorphin and neuroscience researchers. ­­­Want to power up that output? Then you need to introduce yourself to your nucleus accumbens, your prefrontal cortex and your amygdala. These are located in your brain and go into high gear, releasing feel-good chemicals, particularly when music activates these emotion and intellectual centers.Boost Performance with MusicWant to boost the impact of running and increase the positive benefits that running brings? Be sure to choose your favorite music mixes and performance enhancing beats per minute to keep you moving along a health-promoting pace. Fitness psychologists, who study the effects of music on athletic performance and exercise, find that listening to music while working out stimulates mental arousal and enhances brain functioning, at least for a short period of time.The key, the researchers tell us, is to choose music you enjoy, and note that the faster the music, the greater the power output. It’s all about the motivating power of the music you choose and how you choose to listen to it. Louder and faster music, according to research, leads to runners dialing up their pace, while slower and quieter music is best for cool downs. Research suggests that the right music can boost endurance by 15%.  Furthermore, while exercise promotes good endothelial functioning, so important to your heart and in preventing atherosclerosis, listening to music for 30 or more minutes while running or working out turbocharges that effect on the cells that line the inside of your blood vessels.Next time you hear about a marathon, half marathon, or 5K coming to town, or a buddy asks you to go for a jog at the park, now you know why running has the growth curve it does and why so many love running. It leaves you feeling better head to toe. And with RockMyRun rocking your health benefits, well, it’s hard to imagine anything better putting a smile on your—or your doctor’s–face!Why do you run?  What are your favorite benefits?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

  ·  3 min

Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

If you are among the 29,478,000 Americans who run or jog 50 or more days a year then you know why you run. Running offers phenom­enal psychological and physical benefits and you’ve probably even experienced a “runner’s high.” You must be spreading the word too, since running shoe sales grew to a whopping $3.04 billion in 2012, up 23% from 2011.Slipping on a pair of running shoes is a common way to start the day, along with the ubiquitous headphones popping out of the ears of joggers and runners.Psychological and Physical Benefits of RunningSo what is this national, indeed international, sensation all about? What do we love about running?Perhaps we love the way we feel. After all, it is well known that the psychological benefits of running rival the physical benefits. Nearly three-quarters of runners who maintain at least a moderate level of fitness say that running keeps them in a positive, relaxed, happy, state of mind. My clients who struggle with depression find that running is a less expensive, highly preferable and equally effective mood booster, than taking side-effect prone medications.Runners report significant increases in the quality of their life, feel greater energy, patience, optimism and ambition. For many, running leads to significantly lower levels of stress, improved memory, increased verbal fluency and better cognitive functioning. Perhaps most importantly, runners report greater health benefits that include burning more calories, heart health, improved HDL cholesterol levels, a boost to the immune system, increases in bone density and improved lung capacity.Runner’s HighThen there’s always that “runner’s high.” It’s true, that invincible “what discomfort?” flow that runners feel, tied to a release of endorphins, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, with an increase in body temperature, have been fully demonstrated by endorphin and neuroscience researchers. ­­­Want to power up that output? Then you need to introduce yourself to your nucleus accumbens, your prefrontal cortex and your amygdala. These are located in your brain and go into high gear, releasing feel-good chemicals, particularly when music activates these emotion and intellectual centers.Boost Performance with MusicWant to boost the impact of running and increase the positive benefits that running brings? Be sure to choose your favorite music mixes and performance enhancing beats per minute to keep you moving along a health-promoting pace. Fitness psychologists, who study the effects of music on athletic performance and exercise, find that listening to music while working out stimulates mental arousal and enhances brain functioning, at least for a short period of time.The key, the researchers tell us, is to choose music you enjoy, and note that the faster the music, the greater the power output. It’s all about the motivating power of the music you choose and how you choose to listen to it. Louder and faster music, according to research, leads to runners dialing up their pace, while slower and quieter music is best for cool downs. Research suggests that the right music can boost endurance by 15%.  Furthermore, while exercise promotes good endothelial functioning, so important to your heart and in preventing atherosclerosis, listening to music for 30 or more minutes while running or working out turbocharges that effect on the cells that line the inside of your blood vessels.Next time you hear about a marathon, half marathon, or 5K coming to town, or a buddy asks you to go for a jog at the park, now you know why running has the growth curve it does and why so many love running. It leaves you feeling better head to toe. And with RockMyRun rocking your health benefits, well, it’s hard to imagine anything better putting a smile on your—or your doctor’s–face!Why do you run?  What are your favorite benefits?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Cold as Ice…and Still Running

  ·  4 min

Cold as Ice…and Still Running

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a Christmas song written in 1944 by Frank Loesser. It’s a conversation between a woman who has to go and a man who keeps telling her “But baby, it’s cold outside.”“I really can’t stay(But baby, it’s cold outside)I’ve got to go away(But baby, it’s cold outside)”Avoid the Common ExcusesIt’ll soon be cold out there with lots of excuses not to leave, to stay indoors, and surely not to exercise. Whether it’s Foreigner’s Cold as Ice, or Loesser’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside, there are many barriers to convince people that winter is a time to stay indoors and be sedentary.  It’s not. Of course winter activities can be challenging, but like everything else, “the link is what you think.”It’s just weather. If you think it’s a great opportunity to try new activities, to enjoy the crunch of falling leaves under your feet, to have snowball fights, or to do some hiking or jogging in the crisp fall air.  Then you’ll love the coming months and stay in shape.If you think instead that it’s too cold, that you’ll freeze to death, that you’ll get injured, that there isn’t enough daylight to be active, then you’ll surely believe it’s inevitable to put on some weight and be more sedentary.“The link is what you think.” I want you to think rationally, logically and accurately about the coming months wherever you live and use the fall and winter to think outside the box to keep your health, fitness and wellness levels up and move into next spring feeling great!Have a Positive MindsetSure some folks will deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but when the days grow short guess what helps? Running! It can promote the release of depression-fighting hormones leaving those suffering with this very real malady in better moods and feeling more positive.  And we know that positive thinking and a positive outlook, the kind that comes from physical activity, improves your overall health.Staying indoors, breathing all that heated air as many do during the colder months, isn’t the healthiest for your lungs or for your mind. Getting outside, properly dressed for the cold, enjoying the outdoor crisp air, gives you a chance to literally detox your mind and body. It doesn’t take as many changes as you might think to enjoy it all.So the first thing that’s needed is the right mindset. What do you enjoy about the fall and winter months? Keep your eye on those things.Fall and winter are great times to try on new activities, join new classes at your local gym, gain new skills, add new strength training activities and find new ways to integrate exercise and activities into your daily life.Some use the winter months to form a base, with activities that add to endurance.  Longer runs, along with swimming and cycling indoors will add to your volume.  Springtime is the time to build with added weight and resistance training, as well as more interval cardio training to increase speed and strength.  Summer and fall are great times to put it all into practice and get out there for your 5K, 10K, and marathon races.Get Prepared for Exercise OutdoorsExercising outdoors when it’s cold outside requires a bit of preparation to make your activities successful.  A few smart things you can do are:Dress properly in thin wicking insulating layers to prevent hypothermia and frostbite in some climates.Wear reflective gear or a headlamp for running in the dark.Put on a fleece or thermal hat to prevent 50% heat loss from your head.Keep your hands and feet warm with mittens, because you can lose 30% of your body heat through your extremities.Cover your face with a balaclava (ski mask).Carry some ChapStick.Plan a route with icy patches in mind.Always run with a buddy.Wear shoes that give you a bit more traction and are water-proof and socks that are wicking, not cotton, and made of wool or CoolMax.Get Active beyond Your WorkoutRemember that there are lots of everyday activities to rejuvenate you and give you more natural energy during your day, including:Shoveling snowWalking at lunchtime with friendsTaking the stairs instead of the elevatorParking further away from your destination or getting off the bus or subway a few stops earlierStaying active while indoors with physical movement during TV commercialsFind Music to Motivate YouWhen we think of the winter season, filled with holidays, music always tops the list along with food, friends and family get-togethers.  Crank up your RockMyRun mixes for the genre and beats per minute that inspire your body and soul, that promote your focus on your health and above all, to motivate you to enjoy the spirit of the season and the holidays happy, active and fit.What are your tips for staying active, once the temperatures drop outdoors?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Cold as Ice…and Still Running

  ·  4 min

Cold as Ice…and Still Running

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a Christmas song written in 1944 by Frank Loesser. It’s a conversation between a woman who has to go and a man who keeps telling her “But baby, it’s cold outside.”“I really can’t stay(But baby, it’s cold outside)I’ve got to go away(But baby, it’s cold outside)”Avoid the Common ExcusesIt’ll soon be cold out there with lots of excuses not to leave, to stay indoors, and surely not to exercise. Whether it’s Foreigner’s Cold as Ice, or Loesser’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside, there are many barriers to convince people that winter is a time to stay indoors and be sedentary.  It’s not. Of course winter activities can be challenging, but like everything else, “the link is what you think.”It’s just weather. If you think it’s a great opportunity to try new activities, to enjoy the crunch of falling leaves under your feet, to have snowball fights, or to do some hiking or jogging in the crisp fall air.  Then you’ll love the coming months and stay in shape.If you think instead that it’s too cold, that you’ll freeze to death, that you’ll get injured, that there isn’t enough daylight to be active, then you’ll surely believe it’s inevitable to put on some weight and be more sedentary.“The link is what you think.” I want you to think rationally, logically and accurately about the coming months wherever you live and use the fall and winter to think outside the box to keep your health, fitness and wellness levels up and move into next spring feeling great!Have a Positive MindsetSure some folks will deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but when the days grow short guess what helps? Running! It can promote the release of depression-fighting hormones leaving those suffering with this very real malady in better moods and feeling more positive.  And we know that positive thinking and a positive outlook, the kind that comes from physical activity, improves your overall health.Staying indoors, breathing all that heated air as many do during the colder months, isn’t the healthiest for your lungs or for your mind. Getting outside, properly dressed for the cold, enjoying the outdoor crisp air, gives you a chance to literally detox your mind and body. It doesn’t take as many changes as you might think to enjoy it all.So the first thing that’s needed is the right mindset. What do you enjoy about the fall and winter months? Keep your eye on those things.Fall and winter are great times to try on new activities, join new classes at your local gym, gain new skills, add new strength training activities and find new ways to integrate exercise and activities into your daily life.Some use the winter months to form a base, with activities that add to endurance.  Longer runs, along with swimming and cycling indoors will add to your volume.  Springtime is the time to build with added weight and resistance training, as well as more interval cardio training to increase speed and strength.  Summer and fall are great times to put it all into practice and get out there for your 5K, 10K, and marathon races.Get Prepared for Exercise OutdoorsExercising outdoors when it’s cold outside requires a bit of preparation to make your activities successful.  A few smart things you can do are:Dress properly in thin wicking insulating layers to prevent hypothermia and frostbite in some climates.Wear reflective gear or a headlamp for running in the dark.Put on a fleece or thermal hat to prevent 50% heat loss from your head.Keep your hands and feet warm with mittens, because you can lose 30% of your body heat through your extremities.Cover your face with a balaclava (ski mask).Carry some ChapStick.Plan a route with icy patches in mind.Always run with a buddy.Wear shoes that give you a bit more traction and are water-proof and socks that are wicking, not cotton, and made of wool or CoolMax.Get Active beyond Your WorkoutRemember that there are lots of everyday activities to rejuvenate you and give you more natural energy during your day, including:Shoveling snowWalking at lunchtime with friendsTaking the stairs instead of the elevatorParking further away from your destination or getting off the bus or subway a few stops earlierStaying active while indoors with physical movement during TV commercialsFind Music to Motivate YouWhen we think of the winter season, filled with holidays, music always tops the list along with food, friends and family get-togethers.  Crank up your RockMyRun mixes for the genre and beats per minute that inspire your body and soul, that promote your focus on your health and above all, to motivate you to enjoy the spirit of the season and the holidays happy, active and fit.What are your tips for staying active, once the temperatures drop outdoors?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

  ·  5 min

Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

When it comes to finding time to exercise, let’s start with some facts. Each of us has 168 hours per week in life. Many of us work about 50 or so hours per week, sleep about 50-60 hours per week, spend another 15-20 hours each week on personal care and grooming, leaving most of us about 6+ hours each day to_____________________. Fill in the blank.We fill in our time with what’s most important to us. As I said in an article I wrote for Greatest: Many people who don’t work out regularly can rattle off many reasons they’re not motivated to exercise, from not understanding the benefits of activity to thoughts like “I’m too busy,” “I’m embarrassed by how I look,” “exercise is boring,” and so on. The folks who hold these (false) self-sabotaging beliefs often believe exercise doesn’t matter; they don’t enjoy it, or they simply have no interest in doing it. And, really, who could blame them? Who would be inspired to start a physical activity with negative thoughts running through their head? A person has to believe exercise is of value in order to build motivation to do it.Benefits of ExerciseAs you already know, there are many benefits of exercise:Weight managementHealth and disease managementMood and self-confidence enhancementEnergy boosterPromotes healthy sleepPuts oomph into your sex lifeReduces stress by increasing brain soothing chemicalsHelps your brain function betterSparks creativityYour muscles, lungs, diaphragm, heart, stomach, kidneys, skin, joints, agility, balance, coordination, endurance and strength will all “smile” and say thank you many years from now. Every Minute CountsToday we know that even brief bouts of exercise, just 10 minutes at a time or less, can add a great deal to your health and well being while also slimming your waistline. The good news, remarkable really, comes from researchers at the University of Utah who found that every minute of intense movement counts towards the magic number of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity we are all supposed to achieve each week – but only 5% of us do.  That’s 150 minutes out of the 48 or so hours we have available to us each week.The findings indicate that brief periods of intense activity are effective in preventing weight gain and promoting health as well as doing 10 minute+ intervals. Moderate to vigorous activity, by the way, is walking about 3 miles per hour, or 2,020 counts per minute on an accelerometer. Clearly, every minute you spend in intense activity, counts.This suggests that the data on the best time to workout may be ignoring an important element—your life. Sure there are those who believe that for A-list athletes aiming for performance it might be better to push heavy training to alter in the morning or afternoon, the fact is that most who adhere to exercise routines are early morning exercisers. Bottom line is whenever you enjoy hitting the gym or track, do it. There’s benefit throughout the day.Get Creative about Getting ActiveHow can you get in short bouts of more intense exercise and find the time to get in your 150 minutes or so a week? Try these tested ways:Like a good scout, always be prepared. Don’t leave your home without your workout clothes packedKeep your workouts scheduled in your day planner —make an appointment for yourself! Remember that every minute counts.Wake up earlier and get your health plan moving, and your heart rate pumping, at the start of the day.Park away from your office, get off the train, subway or bus a few blocks before your normal close stopWhen you watch TV, use the commercials as reminders to do your squats, lunges, push ups, burpees, jumping jacks, planks, and crunches during the one-minute break.  Keep hand weights next to your chair/couch, ride your stationary bike and never use the remote control to change volume or channel.Make your lawn mower your newest piece of fitness equipment—ever hear of Carioca mowing? It’s all in the step!Walk to the office of the person you’d normally call and keep a jump rope in your briefcase or office drawer too!Make your chores count by scrubbing with vigor, grinding and stirring with some beats per minute, vacuum-dance with energy, wash your own car with upper body pushes, and shovel the coming snow (if your health allows) in tune with your favorite RockMyRun music mix.While exercise is key, taking time for yourself every day is critical for your health, well being and longevity. It’s all in my CHAIR method I recently described in an article for Prevention.com.C stands for a deeply felt commitment to very specific goals. You see the goal; you know why you’re doing it.H is for healthier foods, healthy carbs and proteins, healthy fat. ‘Diet’ is a word I never use.  It has the word ‘die’ in it.A stands for activity.  Daily activity, daily tracking of food and exercise. If you track, you adhere. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day. But even raking leaves counts as activity.I is inner motivation—you have to have your ‘why.’  And it has to be internal to you.R is for a realistic set of goals. You need something very tangible, like you want to be off blood pressure medication—not just I want to lose some weight or tone up.At the end of the day it’s all about thinking. The ‘link’ is what you think.” When you think you don’t have the time ask yourself if what you think is True, Helpful, Inspirational, Necessary, Kind to yourself. Hey, that’s what “THINK” means! If your answer is “No,” then change your thought and get active. It only takes a minute!What tips to have to stay active?  I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

  ·  5 min

Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

When it comes to finding time to exercise, let’s start with some facts. Each of us has 168 hours per week in life. Many of us work about 50 or so hours per week, sleep about 50-60 hours per week, spend another 15-20 hours each week on personal care and grooming, leaving most of us about 6+ hours each day to_____________________. Fill in the blank.We fill in our time with what’s most important to us. As I said in an article I wrote for Greatest: Many people who don’t work out regularly can rattle off many reasons they’re not motivated to exercise, from not understanding the benefits of activity to thoughts like “I’m too busy,” “I’m embarrassed by how I look,” “exercise is boring,” and so on. The folks who hold these (false) self-sabotaging beliefs often believe exercise doesn’t matter; they don’t enjoy it, or they simply have no interest in doing it. And, really, who could blame them? Who would be inspired to start a physical activity with negative thoughts running through their head? A person has to believe exercise is of value in order to build motivation to do it.Benefits of ExerciseAs you already know, there are many benefits of exercise:Weight managementHealth and disease managementMood and self-confidence enhancementEnergy boosterPromotes healthy sleepPuts oomph into your sex lifeReduces stress by increasing brain soothing chemicalsHelps your brain function betterSparks creativityYour muscles, lungs, diaphragm, heart, stomach, kidneys, skin, joints, agility, balance, coordination, endurance and strength will all “smile” and say thank you many years from now. Every Minute CountsToday we know that even brief bouts of exercise, just 10 minutes at a time or less, can add a great deal to your health and well being while also slimming your waistline. The good news, remarkable really, comes from researchers at the University of Utah who found that every minute of intense movement counts towards the magic number of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity we are all supposed to achieve each week – but only 5% of us do.  That’s 150 minutes out of the 48 or so hours we have available to us each week.The findings indicate that brief periods of intense activity are effective in preventing weight gain and promoting health as well as doing 10 minute+ intervals. Moderate to vigorous activity, by the way, is walking about 3 miles per hour, or 2,020 counts per minute on an accelerometer. Clearly, every minute you spend in intense activity, counts.This suggests that the data on the best time to workout may be ignoring an important element—your life. Sure there are those who believe that for A-list athletes aiming for performance it might be better to push heavy training to alter in the morning or afternoon, the fact is that most who adhere to exercise routines are early morning exercisers. Bottom line is whenever you enjoy hitting the gym or track, do it. There’s benefit throughout the day.Get Creative about Getting ActiveHow can you get in short bouts of more intense exercise and find the time to get in your 150 minutes or so a week? Try these tested ways:Like a good scout, always be prepared. Don’t leave your home without your workout clothes packedKeep your workouts scheduled in your day planner —make an appointment for yourself! Remember that every minute counts.Wake up earlier and get your health plan moving, and your heart rate pumping, at the start of the day.Park away from your office, get off the train, subway or bus a few blocks before your normal close stopWhen you watch TV, use the commercials as reminders to do your squats, lunges, push ups, burpees, jumping jacks, planks, and crunches during the one-minute break.  Keep hand weights next to your chair/couch, ride your stationary bike and never use the remote control to change volume or channel.Make your lawn mower your newest piece of fitness equipment—ever hear of Carioca mowing? It’s all in the step!Walk to the office of the person you’d normally call and keep a jump rope in your briefcase or office drawer too!Make your chores count by scrubbing with vigor, grinding and stirring with some beats per minute, vacuum-dance with energy, wash your own car with upper body pushes, and shovel the coming snow (if your health allows) in tune with your favorite RockMyRun music mix.While exercise is key, taking time for yourself every day is critical for your health, well being and longevity. It’s all in my CHAIR method I recently described in an article for Prevention.com.C stands for a deeply felt commitment to very specific goals. You see the goal; you know why you’re doing it.H is for healthier foods, healthy carbs and proteins, healthy fat. ‘Diet’ is a word I never use.  It has the word ‘die’ in it.A stands for activity.  Daily activity, daily tracking of food and exercise. If you track, you adhere. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day. But even raking leaves counts as activity.I is inner motivation—you have to have your ‘why.’  And it has to be internal to you.R is for a realistic set of goals. You need something very tangible, like you want to be off blood pressure medication—not just I want to lose some weight or tone up.At the end of the day it’s all about thinking. The ‘link’ is what you think.” When you think you don’t have the time ask yourself if what you think is True, Helpful, Inspirational, Necessary, Kind to yourself. Hey, that’s what “THINK” means! If your answer is “No,” then change your thought and get active. It only takes a minute!What tips to have to stay active?  I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


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Train Less. Perform Better.

  ·  3 min

Train Less. Perform Better.

A lot of the more traditional approaches to cardio look at longer distances and higher volume as the best ways to get and stay in shape. While there is certainly nothing wrong with that method, I tend to take the “less is more” philosophy into my cardio training.  This doesn’t mean I don’t lace up my running shoes as much as the next person; I simply have a much lower training volume than some people.  I do this through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  HIIT is a type of cardio involving a specified period (generally short) of very hard activity followed by a short rest period.  It’s a very effective training method, one that has helped my speed and endurance greatly over the past few years.With that, I want to give you my top 5 benefits of interval training:Increased oxidative capacity.  A muscle’s oxidative capacity is essentially its maximal ability to utilize oxygen in order to produce energy.  It is a fancy term that basically says how much oxygen a muscle is capable of using at once.  Research shows that runners can increase oxidative capacity, and thus overall endurance, in as little as two weeks of high intensity intervals.Prevent Boredom.  If you’re like me, then a long distance run on the treadmill can get a little boring.  Interval training not only requires you to change speed and intensity often, but also allows you the chance to get away from the treadmill altogether.  Running tracks, public parks, and gymnasiums all provide a different environment to keep your training fun and interesting.Burn fat.  Research agrees that the higher our exercise intensity, the more glucose we will burn during a workout.  You might be asking: “Well, when does this ‘burn more fat’ come into play?”  The answer is simple; at rest.  Yes, while we are resting.  In short, we lose a great amount of energy while burning glucose at high intensities.  The thing most people do not realize is that we must replace this energy when we are done exercising.  The fuel source for replacing energy??  You guessed it – FAT!!  So, in essence, the more glucose we use during exercise, the more fat we burn following exercise!It’s challenging.  Put down the magazine.  Quit texting.  The goal of interval training is to work as hard as you can the entire time.  If you do that, you won’t be focusing on anything but your workout – which is the way it should be!Efficient.  Interval training is efficient in terms of both time and injury prevention.  Given that your intensity is at an appropriate level, you can get an effective interval workout done in less than 20 minutes.  Because you’re putting in less time, you can avoid the constant pounding that miles and miles of distance running places upon the lower body.To give you guys a little idea of what a typical HIIT session looks like, I will leave you all with one of my favorite interval workouts.  If you need some music for this workout, I’d recommend listening to “Go Hard” by DJ Prophecy.  It’s an up-beat mix, which I prefer for interval training.Work-to-Rest Ratio – 2:1Sprint – 30 SecondsRest – 15 SecondsRound 1: 8 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 2: 6 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 3: 4 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsIt might take you a few sets to figure out what that speed is going to be if you’re on a treadmill, and that’s fine.  Just make sure you are pushing yourself on each and every set in order to get the best results possible!!Have you tried high intensity interval training?  If so, let me know what you think of it in the comments below.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.


Train Less. Perform Better.

  ·  3 min

Train Less. Perform Better.

A lot of the more traditional approaches to cardio look at longer distances and higher volume as the best ways to get and stay in shape. While there is certainly nothing wrong with that method, I tend to take the “less is more” philosophy into my cardio training.  This doesn’t mean I don’t lace up my running shoes as much as the next person; I simply have a much lower training volume than some people.  I do this through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  HIIT is a type of cardio involving a specified period (generally short) of very hard activity followed by a short rest period.  It’s a very effective training method, one that has helped my speed and endurance greatly over the past few years.With that, I want to give you my top 5 benefits of interval training:Increased oxidative capacity.  A muscle’s oxidative capacity is essentially its maximal ability to utilize oxygen in order to produce energy.  It is a fancy term that basically says how much oxygen a muscle is capable of using at once.  Research shows that runners can increase oxidative capacity, and thus overall endurance, in as little as two weeks of high intensity intervals.Prevent Boredom.  If you’re like me, then a long distance run on the treadmill can get a little boring.  Interval training not only requires you to change speed and intensity often, but also allows you the chance to get away from the treadmill altogether.  Running tracks, public parks, and gymnasiums all provide a different environment to keep your training fun and interesting.Burn fat.  Research agrees that the higher our exercise intensity, the more glucose we will burn during a workout.  You might be asking: “Well, when does this ‘burn more fat’ come into play?”  The answer is simple; at rest.  Yes, while we are resting.  In short, we lose a great amount of energy while burning glucose at high intensities.  The thing most people do not realize is that we must replace this energy when we are done exercising.  The fuel source for replacing energy??  You guessed it – FAT!!  So, in essence, the more glucose we use during exercise, the more fat we burn following exercise!It’s challenging.  Put down the magazine.  Quit texting.  The goal of interval training is to work as hard as you can the entire time.  If you do that, you won’t be focusing on anything but your workout – which is the way it should be!Efficient.  Interval training is efficient in terms of both time and injury prevention.  Given that your intensity is at an appropriate level, you can get an effective interval workout done in less than 20 minutes.  Because you’re putting in less time, you can avoid the constant pounding that miles and miles of distance running places upon the lower body.To give you guys a little idea of what a typical HIIT session looks like, I will leave you all with one of my favorite interval workouts.  If you need some music for this workout, I’d recommend listening to “Go Hard” by DJ Prophecy.  It’s an up-beat mix, which I prefer for interval training.Work-to-Rest Ratio – 2:1Sprint – 30 SecondsRest – 15 SecondsRound 1: 8 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 2: 6 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 3: 4 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsIt might take you a few sets to figure out what that speed is going to be if you’re on a treadmill, and that’s fine.  Just make sure you are pushing yourself on each and every set in order to get the best results possible!!Have you tried high intensity interval training?  If so, let me know what you think of it in the comments below.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.


Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

  ·  3 min

Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

If you are among the 29,478,000 Americans who run or jog 50 or more days a year then you know why you run. Running offers phenom­enal psychological and physical benefits and you’ve probably even experienced a “runner’s high.” You must be spreading the word too, since running shoe sales grew to a whopping $3.04 billion in 2012, up 23% from 2011.Slipping on a pair of running shoes is a common way to start the day, along with the ubiquitous headphones popping out of the ears of joggers and runners.Psychological and Physical Benefits of RunningSo what is this national, indeed international, sensation all about? What do we love about running?Perhaps we love the way we feel. After all, it is well known that the psychological benefits of running rival the physical benefits. Nearly three-quarters of runners who maintain at least a moderate level of fitness say that running keeps them in a positive, relaxed, happy, state of mind. My clients who struggle with depression find that running is a less expensive, highly preferable and equally effective mood booster, than taking side-effect prone medications.Runners report significant increases in the quality of their life, feel greater energy, patience, optimism and ambition. For many, running leads to significantly lower levels of stress, improved memory, increased verbal fluency and better cognitive functioning. Perhaps most importantly, runners report greater health benefits that include burning more calories, heart health, improved HDL cholesterol levels, a boost to the immune system, increases in bone density and improved lung capacity.Runner’s HighThen there’s always that “runner’s high.” It’s true, that invincible “what discomfort?” flow that runners feel, tied to a release of endorphins, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, with an increase in body temperature, have been fully demonstrated by endorphin and neuroscience researchers. ­­­Want to power up that output? Then you need to introduce yourself to your nucleus accumbens, your prefrontal cortex and your amygdala. These are located in your brain and go into high gear, releasing feel-good chemicals, particularly when music activates these emotion and intellectual centers.Boost Performance with MusicWant to boost the impact of running and increase the positive benefits that running brings? Be sure to choose your favorite music mixes and performance enhancing beats per minute to keep you moving along a health-promoting pace. Fitness psychologists, who study the effects of music on athletic performance and exercise, find that listening to music while working out stimulates mental arousal and enhances brain functioning, at least for a short period of time.The key, the researchers tell us, is to choose music you enjoy, and note that the faster the music, the greater the power output. It’s all about the motivating power of the music you choose and how you choose to listen to it. Louder and faster music, according to research, leads to runners dialing up their pace, while slower and quieter music is best for cool downs. Research suggests that the right music can boost endurance by 15%.  Furthermore, while exercise promotes good endothelial functioning, so important to your heart and in preventing atherosclerosis, listening to music for 30 or more minutes while running or working out turbocharges that effect on the cells that line the inside of your blood vessels.Next time you hear about a marathon, half marathon, or 5K coming to town, or a buddy asks you to go for a jog at the park, now you know why running has the growth curve it does and why so many love running. It leaves you feeling better head to toe. And with RockMyRun rocking your health benefits, well, it’s hard to imagine anything better putting a smile on your—or your doctor’s–face!Why do you run?  What are your favorite benefits?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

  ·  3 min

Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

If you are among the 29,478,000 Americans who run or jog 50 or more days a year then you know why you run. Running offers phenom­enal psychological and physical benefits and you’ve probably even experienced a “runner’s high.” You must be spreading the word too, since running shoe sales grew to a whopping $3.04 billion in 2012, up 23% from 2011.Slipping on a pair of running shoes is a common way to start the day, along with the ubiquitous headphones popping out of the ears of joggers and runners.Psychological and Physical Benefits of RunningSo what is this national, indeed international, sensation all about? What do we love about running?Perhaps we love the way we feel. After all, it is well known that the psychological benefits of running rival the physical benefits. Nearly three-quarters of runners who maintain at least a moderate level of fitness say that running keeps them in a positive, relaxed, happy, state of mind. My clients who struggle with depression find that running is a less expensive, highly preferable and equally effective mood booster, than taking side-effect prone medications.Runners report significant increases in the quality of their life, feel greater energy, patience, optimism and ambition. For many, running leads to significantly lower levels of stress, improved memory, increased verbal fluency and better cognitive functioning. Perhaps most importantly, runners report greater health benefits that include burning more calories, heart health, improved HDL cholesterol levels, a boost to the immune system, increases in bone density and improved lung capacity.Runner’s HighThen there’s always that “runner’s high.” It’s true, that invincible “what discomfort?” flow that runners feel, tied to a release of endorphins, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, with an increase in body temperature, have been fully demonstrated by endorphin and neuroscience researchers. ­­­Want to power up that output? Then you need to introduce yourself to your nucleus accumbens, your prefrontal cortex and your amygdala. These are located in your brain and go into high gear, releasing feel-good chemicals, particularly when music activates these emotion and intellectual centers.Boost Performance with MusicWant to boost the impact of running and increase the positive benefits that running brings? Be sure to choose your favorite music mixes and performance enhancing beats per minute to keep you moving along a health-promoting pace. Fitness psychologists, who study the effects of music on athletic performance and exercise, find that listening to music while working out stimulates mental arousal and enhances brain functioning, at least for a short period of time.The key, the researchers tell us, is to choose music you enjoy, and note that the faster the music, the greater the power output. It’s all about the motivating power of the music you choose and how you choose to listen to it. Louder and faster music, according to research, leads to runners dialing up their pace, while slower and quieter music is best for cool downs. Research suggests that the right music can boost endurance by 15%.  Furthermore, while exercise promotes good endothelial functioning, so important to your heart and in preventing atherosclerosis, listening to music for 30 or more minutes while running or working out turbocharges that effect on the cells that line the inside of your blood vessels.Next time you hear about a marathon, half marathon, or 5K coming to town, or a buddy asks you to go for a jog at the park, now you know why running has the growth curve it does and why so many love running. It leaves you feeling better head to toe. And with RockMyRun rocking your health benefits, well, it’s hard to imagine anything better putting a smile on your—or your doctor’s–face!Why do you run?  What are your favorite benefits?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Cold as Ice…and Still Running

  ·  4 min

Cold as Ice…and Still Running

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a Christmas song written in 1944 by Frank Loesser. It’s a conversation between a woman who has to go and a man who keeps telling her “But baby, it’s cold outside.”“I really can’t stay(But baby, it’s cold outside)I’ve got to go away(But baby, it’s cold outside)”Avoid the Common ExcusesIt’ll soon be cold out there with lots of excuses not to leave, to stay indoors, and surely not to exercise. Whether it’s Foreigner’s Cold as Ice, or Loesser’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside, there are many barriers to convince people that winter is a time to stay indoors and be sedentary.  It’s not. Of course winter activities can be challenging, but like everything else, “the link is what you think.”It’s just weather. If you think it’s a great opportunity to try new activities, to enjoy the crunch of falling leaves under your feet, to have snowball fights, or to do some hiking or jogging in the crisp fall air.  Then you’ll love the coming months and stay in shape.If you think instead that it’s too cold, that you’ll freeze to death, that you’ll get injured, that there isn’t enough daylight to be active, then you’ll surely believe it’s inevitable to put on some weight and be more sedentary.“The link is what you think.” I want you to think rationally, logically and accurately about the coming months wherever you live and use the fall and winter to think outside the box to keep your health, fitness and wellness levels up and move into next spring feeling great!Have a Positive MindsetSure some folks will deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but when the days grow short guess what helps? Running! It can promote the release of depression-fighting hormones leaving those suffering with this very real malady in better moods and feeling more positive.  And we know that positive thinking and a positive outlook, the kind that comes from physical activity, improves your overall health.Staying indoors, breathing all that heated air as many do during the colder months, isn’t the healthiest for your lungs or for your mind. Getting outside, properly dressed for the cold, enjoying the outdoor crisp air, gives you a chance to literally detox your mind and body. It doesn’t take as many changes as you might think to enjoy it all.So the first thing that’s needed is the right mindset. What do you enjoy about the fall and winter months? Keep your eye on those things.Fall and winter are great times to try on new activities, join new classes at your local gym, gain new skills, add new strength training activities and find new ways to integrate exercise and activities into your daily life.Some use the winter months to form a base, with activities that add to endurance.  Longer runs, along with swimming and cycling indoors will add to your volume.  Springtime is the time to build with added weight and resistance training, as well as more interval cardio training to increase speed and strength.  Summer and fall are great times to put it all into practice and get out there for your 5K, 10K, and marathon races.Get Prepared for Exercise OutdoorsExercising outdoors when it’s cold outside requires a bit of preparation to make your activities successful.  A few smart things you can do are:Dress properly in thin wicking insulating layers to prevent hypothermia and frostbite in some climates.Wear reflective gear or a headlamp for running in the dark.Put on a fleece or thermal hat to prevent 50% heat loss from your head.Keep your hands and feet warm with mittens, because you can lose 30% of your body heat through your extremities.Cover your face with a balaclava (ski mask).Carry some ChapStick.Plan a route with icy patches in mind.Always run with a buddy.Wear shoes that give you a bit more traction and are water-proof and socks that are wicking, not cotton, and made of wool or CoolMax.Get Active beyond Your WorkoutRemember that there are lots of everyday activities to rejuvenate you and give you more natural energy during your day, including:Shoveling snowWalking at lunchtime with friendsTaking the stairs instead of the elevatorParking further away from your destination or getting off the bus or subway a few stops earlierStaying active while indoors with physical movement during TV commercialsFind Music to Motivate YouWhen we think of the winter season, filled with holidays, music always tops the list along with food, friends and family get-togethers.  Crank up your RockMyRun mixes for the genre and beats per minute that inspire your body and soul, that promote your focus on your health and above all, to motivate you to enjoy the spirit of the season and the holidays happy, active and fit.What are your tips for staying active, once the temperatures drop outdoors?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Cold as Ice…and Still Running

  ·  4 min

Cold as Ice…and Still Running

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a Christmas song written in 1944 by Frank Loesser. It’s a conversation between a woman who has to go and a man who keeps telling her “But baby, it’s cold outside.”“I really can’t stay(But baby, it’s cold outside)I’ve got to go away(But baby, it’s cold outside)”Avoid the Common ExcusesIt’ll soon be cold out there with lots of excuses not to leave, to stay indoors, and surely not to exercise. Whether it’s Foreigner’s Cold as Ice, or Loesser’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside, there are many barriers to convince people that winter is a time to stay indoors and be sedentary.  It’s not. Of course winter activities can be challenging, but like everything else, “the link is what you think.”It’s just weather. If you think it’s a great opportunity to try new activities, to enjoy the crunch of falling leaves under your feet, to have snowball fights, or to do some hiking or jogging in the crisp fall air.  Then you’ll love the coming months and stay in shape.If you think instead that it’s too cold, that you’ll freeze to death, that you’ll get injured, that there isn’t enough daylight to be active, then you’ll surely believe it’s inevitable to put on some weight and be more sedentary.“The link is what you think.” I want you to think rationally, logically and accurately about the coming months wherever you live and use the fall and winter to think outside the box to keep your health, fitness and wellness levels up and move into next spring feeling great!Have a Positive MindsetSure some folks will deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but when the days grow short guess what helps? Running! It can promote the release of depression-fighting hormones leaving those suffering with this very real malady in better moods and feeling more positive.  And we know that positive thinking and a positive outlook, the kind that comes from physical activity, improves your overall health.Staying indoors, breathing all that heated air as many do during the colder months, isn’t the healthiest for your lungs or for your mind. Getting outside, properly dressed for the cold, enjoying the outdoor crisp air, gives you a chance to literally detox your mind and body. It doesn’t take as many changes as you might think to enjoy it all.So the first thing that’s needed is the right mindset. What do you enjoy about the fall and winter months? Keep your eye on those things.Fall and winter are great times to try on new activities, join new classes at your local gym, gain new skills, add new strength training activities and find new ways to integrate exercise and activities into your daily life.Some use the winter months to form a base, with activities that add to endurance.  Longer runs, along with swimming and cycling indoors will add to your volume.  Springtime is the time to build with added weight and resistance training, as well as more interval cardio training to increase speed and strength.  Summer and fall are great times to put it all into practice and get out there for your 5K, 10K, and marathon races.Get Prepared for Exercise OutdoorsExercising outdoors when it’s cold outside requires a bit of preparation to make your activities successful.  A few smart things you can do are:Dress properly in thin wicking insulating layers to prevent hypothermia and frostbite in some climates.Wear reflective gear or a headlamp for running in the dark.Put on a fleece or thermal hat to prevent 50% heat loss from your head.Keep your hands and feet warm with mittens, because you can lose 30% of your body heat through your extremities.Cover your face with a balaclava (ski mask).Carry some ChapStick.Plan a route with icy patches in mind.Always run with a buddy.Wear shoes that give you a bit more traction and are water-proof and socks that are wicking, not cotton, and made of wool or CoolMax.Get Active beyond Your WorkoutRemember that there are lots of everyday activities to rejuvenate you and give you more natural energy during your day, including:Shoveling snowWalking at lunchtime with friendsTaking the stairs instead of the elevatorParking further away from your destination or getting off the bus or subway a few stops earlierStaying active while indoors with physical movement during TV commercialsFind Music to Motivate YouWhen we think of the winter season, filled with holidays, music always tops the list along with food, friends and family get-togethers.  Crank up your RockMyRun mixes for the genre and beats per minute that inspire your body and soul, that promote your focus on your health and above all, to motivate you to enjoy the spirit of the season and the holidays happy, active and fit.What are your tips for staying active, once the temperatures drop outdoors?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

  ·  5 min

Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

When it comes to finding time to exercise, let’s start with some facts. Each of us has 168 hours per week in life. Many of us work about 50 or so hours per week, sleep about 50-60 hours per week, spend another 15-20 hours each week on personal care and grooming, leaving most of us about 6+ hours each day to_____________________. Fill in the blank.We fill in our time with what’s most important to us. As I said in an article I wrote for Greatest: Many people who don’t work out regularly can rattle off many reasons they’re not motivated to exercise, from not understanding the benefits of activity to thoughts like “I’m too busy,” “I’m embarrassed by how I look,” “exercise is boring,” and so on. The folks who hold these (false) self-sabotaging beliefs often believe exercise doesn’t matter; they don’t enjoy it, or they simply have no interest in doing it. And, really, who could blame them? Who would be inspired to start a physical activity with negative thoughts running through their head? A person has to believe exercise is of value in order to build motivation to do it.Benefits of ExerciseAs you already know, there are many benefits of exercise:Weight managementHealth and disease managementMood and self-confidence enhancementEnergy boosterPromotes healthy sleepPuts oomph into your sex lifeReduces stress by increasing brain soothing chemicalsHelps your brain function betterSparks creativityYour muscles, lungs, diaphragm, heart, stomach, kidneys, skin, joints, agility, balance, coordination, endurance and strength will all “smile” and say thank you many years from now. Every Minute CountsToday we know that even brief bouts of exercise, just 10 minutes at a time or less, can add a great deal to your health and well being while also slimming your waistline. The good news, remarkable really, comes from researchers at the University of Utah who found that every minute of intense movement counts towards the magic number of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity we are all supposed to achieve each week – but only 5% of us do.  That’s 150 minutes out of the 48 or so hours we have available to us each week.The findings indicate that brief periods of intense activity are effective in preventing weight gain and promoting health as well as doing 10 minute+ intervals. Moderate to vigorous activity, by the way, is walking about 3 miles per hour, or 2,020 counts per minute on an accelerometer. Clearly, every minute you spend in intense activity, counts.This suggests that the data on the best time to workout may be ignoring an important element—your life. Sure there are those who believe that for A-list athletes aiming for performance it might be better to push heavy training to alter in the morning or afternoon, the fact is that most who adhere to exercise routines are early morning exercisers. Bottom line is whenever you enjoy hitting the gym or track, do it. There’s benefit throughout the day.Get Creative about Getting ActiveHow can you get in short bouts of more intense exercise and find the time to get in your 150 minutes or so a week? Try these tested ways:Like a good scout, always be prepared. Don’t leave your home without your workout clothes packedKeep your workouts scheduled in your day planner —make an appointment for yourself! Remember that every minute counts.Wake up earlier and get your health plan moving, and your heart rate pumping, at the start of the day.Park away from your office, get off the train, subway or bus a few blocks before your normal close stopWhen you watch TV, use the commercials as reminders to do your squats, lunges, push ups, burpees, jumping jacks, planks, and crunches during the one-minute break.  Keep hand weights next to your chair/couch, ride your stationary bike and never use the remote control to change volume or channel.Make your lawn mower your newest piece of fitness equipment—ever hear of Carioca mowing? It’s all in the step!Walk to the office of the person you’d normally call and keep a jump rope in your briefcase or office drawer too!Make your chores count by scrubbing with vigor, grinding and stirring with some beats per minute, vacuum-dance with energy, wash your own car with upper body pushes, and shovel the coming snow (if your health allows) in tune with your favorite RockMyRun music mix.While exercise is key, taking time for yourself every day is critical for your health, well being and longevity. It’s all in my CHAIR method I recently described in an article for Prevention.com.C stands for a deeply felt commitment to very specific goals. You see the goal; you know why you’re doing it.H is for healthier foods, healthy carbs and proteins, healthy fat. ‘Diet’ is a word I never use.  It has the word ‘die’ in it.A stands for activity.  Daily activity, daily tracking of food and exercise. If you track, you adhere. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day. But even raking leaves counts as activity.I is inner motivation—you have to have your ‘why.’  And it has to be internal to you.R is for a realistic set of goals. You need something very tangible, like you want to be off blood pressure medication—not just I want to lose some weight or tone up.At the end of the day it’s all about thinking. The ‘link’ is what you think.” When you think you don’t have the time ask yourself if what you think is True, Helpful, Inspirational, Necessary, Kind to yourself. Hey, that’s what “THINK” means! If your answer is “No,” then change your thought and get active. It only takes a minute!What tips to have to stay active?  I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

  ·  5 min

Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

When it comes to finding time to exercise, let’s start with some facts. Each of us has 168 hours per week in life. Many of us work about 50 or so hours per week, sleep about 50-60 hours per week, spend another 15-20 hours each week on personal care and grooming, leaving most of us about 6+ hours each day to_____________________. Fill in the blank.We fill in our time with what’s most important to us. As I said in an article I wrote for Greatest: Many people who don’t work out regularly can rattle off many reasons they’re not motivated to exercise, from not understanding the benefits of activity to thoughts like “I’m too busy,” “I’m embarrassed by how I look,” “exercise is boring,” and so on. The folks who hold these (false) self-sabotaging beliefs often believe exercise doesn’t matter; they don’t enjoy it, or they simply have no interest in doing it. And, really, who could blame them? Who would be inspired to start a physical activity with negative thoughts running through their head? A person has to believe exercise is of value in order to build motivation to do it.Benefits of ExerciseAs you already know, there are many benefits of exercise:Weight managementHealth and disease managementMood and self-confidence enhancementEnergy boosterPromotes healthy sleepPuts oomph into your sex lifeReduces stress by increasing brain soothing chemicalsHelps your brain function betterSparks creativityYour muscles, lungs, diaphragm, heart, stomach, kidneys, skin, joints, agility, balance, coordination, endurance and strength will all “smile” and say thank you many years from now. Every Minute CountsToday we know that even brief bouts of exercise, just 10 minutes at a time or less, can add a great deal to your health and well being while also slimming your waistline. The good news, remarkable really, comes from researchers at the University of Utah who found that every minute of intense movement counts towards the magic number of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity we are all supposed to achieve each week – but only 5% of us do.  That’s 150 minutes out of the 48 or so hours we have available to us each week.The findings indicate that brief periods of intense activity are effective in preventing weight gain and promoting health as well as doing 10 minute+ intervals. Moderate to vigorous activity, by the way, is walking about 3 miles per hour, or 2,020 counts per minute on an accelerometer. Clearly, every minute you spend in intense activity, counts.This suggests that the data on the best time to workout may be ignoring an important element—your life. Sure there are those who believe that for A-list athletes aiming for performance it might be better to push heavy training to alter in the morning or afternoon, the fact is that most who adhere to exercise routines are early morning exercisers. Bottom line is whenever you enjoy hitting the gym or track, do it. There’s benefit throughout the day.Get Creative about Getting ActiveHow can you get in short bouts of more intense exercise and find the time to get in your 150 minutes or so a week? Try these tested ways:Like a good scout, always be prepared. Don’t leave your home without your workout clothes packedKeep your workouts scheduled in your day planner —make an appointment for yourself! Remember that every minute counts.Wake up earlier and get your health plan moving, and your heart rate pumping, at the start of the day.Park away from your office, get off the train, subway or bus a few blocks before your normal close stopWhen you watch TV, use the commercials as reminders to do your squats, lunges, push ups, burpees, jumping jacks, planks, and crunches during the one-minute break.  Keep hand weights next to your chair/couch, ride your stationary bike and never use the remote control to change volume or channel.Make your lawn mower your newest piece of fitness equipment—ever hear of Carioca mowing? It’s all in the step!Walk to the office of the person you’d normally call and keep a jump rope in your briefcase or office drawer too!Make your chores count by scrubbing with vigor, grinding and stirring with some beats per minute, vacuum-dance with energy, wash your own car with upper body pushes, and shovel the coming snow (if your health allows) in tune with your favorite RockMyRun music mix.While exercise is key, taking time for yourself every day is critical for your health, well being and longevity. It’s all in my CHAIR method I recently described in an article for Prevention.com.C stands for a deeply felt commitment to very specific goals. You see the goal; you know why you’re doing it.H is for healthier foods, healthy carbs and proteins, healthy fat. ‘Diet’ is a word I never use.  It has the word ‘die’ in it.A stands for activity.  Daily activity, daily tracking of food and exercise. If you track, you adhere. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day. But even raking leaves counts as activity.I is inner motivation—you have to have your ‘why.’  And it has to be internal to you.R is for a realistic set of goals. You need something very tangible, like you want to be off blood pressure medication—not just I want to lose some weight or tone up.At the end of the day it’s all about thinking. The ‘link’ is what you think.” When you think you don’t have the time ask yourself if what you think is True, Helpful, Inspirational, Necessary, Kind to yourself. Hey, that’s what “THINK” means! If your answer is “No,” then change your thought and get active. It only takes a minute!What tips to have to stay active?  I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Train Less. Perform Better.

  ·  3 min

Train Less. Perform Better.

A lot of the more traditional approaches to cardio look at longer distances and higher volume as the best ways to get and stay in shape. While there is certainly nothing wrong with that method, I tend to take the “less is more” philosophy into my cardio training.  This doesn’t mean I don’t lace up my running shoes as much as the next person; I simply have a much lower training volume than some people.  I do this through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  HIIT is a type of cardio involving a specified period (generally short) of very hard activity followed by a short rest period.  It’s a very effective training method, one that has helped my speed and endurance greatly over the past few years.With that, I want to give you my top 5 benefits of interval training:Increased oxidative capacity.  A muscle’s oxidative capacity is essentially its maximal ability to utilize oxygen in order to produce energy.  It is a fancy term that basically says how much oxygen a muscle is capable of using at once.  Research shows that runners can increase oxidative capacity, and thus overall endurance, in as little as two weeks of high intensity intervals.Prevent Boredom.  If you’re like me, then a long distance run on the treadmill can get a little boring.  Interval training not only requires you to change speed and intensity often, but also allows you the chance to get away from the treadmill altogether.  Running tracks, public parks, and gymnasiums all provide a different environment to keep your training fun and interesting.Burn fat.  Research agrees that the higher our exercise intensity, the more glucose we will burn during a workout.  You might be asking: “Well, when does this ‘burn more fat’ come into play?”  The answer is simple; at rest.  Yes, while we are resting.  In short, we lose a great amount of energy while burning glucose at high intensities.  The thing most people do not realize is that we must replace this energy when we are done exercising.  The fuel source for replacing energy??  You guessed it – FAT!!  So, in essence, the more glucose we use during exercise, the more fat we burn following exercise!It’s challenging.  Put down the magazine.  Quit texting.  The goal of interval training is to work as hard as you can the entire time.  If you do that, you won’t be focusing on anything but your workout – which is the way it should be!Efficient.  Interval training is efficient in terms of both time and injury prevention.  Given that your intensity is at an appropriate level, you can get an effective interval workout done in less than 20 minutes.  Because you’re putting in less time, you can avoid the constant pounding that miles and miles of distance running places upon the lower body.To give you guys a little idea of what a typical HIIT session looks like, I will leave you all with one of my favorite interval workouts.  If you need some music for this workout, I’d recommend listening to “Go Hard” by DJ Prophecy.  It’s an up-beat mix, which I prefer for interval training.Work-to-Rest Ratio – 2:1Sprint – 30 SecondsRest – 15 SecondsRound 1: 8 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 2: 6 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 3: 4 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsIt might take you a few sets to figure out what that speed is going to be if you’re on a treadmill, and that’s fine.  Just make sure you are pushing yourself on each and every set in order to get the best results possible!!Have you tried high intensity interval training?  If so, let me know what you think of it in the comments below.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.


Train Less. Perform Better.

  ·  3 min

Train Less. Perform Better.

A lot of the more traditional approaches to cardio look at longer distances and higher volume as the best ways to get and stay in shape. While there is certainly nothing wrong with that method, I tend to take the “less is more” philosophy into my cardio training.  This doesn’t mean I don’t lace up my running shoes as much as the next person; I simply have a much lower training volume than some people.  I do this through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  HIIT is a type of cardio involving a specified period (generally short) of very hard activity followed by a short rest period.  It’s a very effective training method, one that has helped my speed and endurance greatly over the past few years.With that, I want to give you my top 5 benefits of interval training:Increased oxidative capacity.  A muscle’s oxidative capacity is essentially its maximal ability to utilize oxygen in order to produce energy.  It is a fancy term that basically says how much oxygen a muscle is capable of using at once.  Research shows that runners can increase oxidative capacity, and thus overall endurance, in as little as two weeks of high intensity intervals.Prevent Boredom.  If you’re like me, then a long distance run on the treadmill can get a little boring.  Interval training not only requires you to change speed and intensity often, but also allows you the chance to get away from the treadmill altogether.  Running tracks, public parks, and gymnasiums all provide a different environment to keep your training fun and interesting.Burn fat.  Research agrees that the higher our exercise intensity, the more glucose we will burn during a workout.  You might be asking: “Well, when does this ‘burn more fat’ come into play?”  The answer is simple; at rest.  Yes, while we are resting.  In short, we lose a great amount of energy while burning glucose at high intensities.  The thing most people do not realize is that we must replace this energy when we are done exercising.  The fuel source for replacing energy??  You guessed it – FAT!!  So, in essence, the more glucose we use during exercise, the more fat we burn following exercise!It’s challenging.  Put down the magazine.  Quit texting.  The goal of interval training is to work as hard as you can the entire time.  If you do that, you won’t be focusing on anything but your workout – which is the way it should be!Efficient.  Interval training is efficient in terms of both time and injury prevention.  Given that your intensity is at an appropriate level, you can get an effective interval workout done in less than 20 minutes.  Because you’re putting in less time, you can avoid the constant pounding that miles and miles of distance running places upon the lower body.To give you guys a little idea of what a typical HIIT session looks like, I will leave you all with one of my favorite interval workouts.  If you need some music for this workout, I’d recommend listening to “Go Hard” by DJ Prophecy.  It’s an up-beat mix, which I prefer for interval training.Work-to-Rest Ratio – 2:1Sprint – 30 SecondsRest – 15 SecondsRound 1: 8 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 2: 6 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 3: 4 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsIt might take you a few sets to figure out what that speed is going to be if you’re on a treadmill, and that’s fine.  Just make sure you are pushing yourself on each and every set in order to get the best results possible!!Have you tried high intensity interval training?  If so, let me know what you think of it in the comments below.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.


Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

  ·  3 min

Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

If you are among the 29,478,000 Americans who run or jog 50 or more days a year then you know why you run. Running offers phenom­enal psychological and physical benefits and you’ve probably even experienced a “runner’s high.” You must be spreading the word too, since running shoe sales grew to a whopping $3.04 billion in 2012, up 23% from 2011.Slipping on a pair of running shoes is a common way to start the day, along with the ubiquitous headphones popping out of the ears of joggers and runners.Psychological and Physical Benefits of RunningSo what is this national, indeed international, sensation all about? What do we love about running?Perhaps we love the way we feel. After all, it is well known that the psychological benefits of running rival the physical benefits. Nearly three-quarters of runners who maintain at least a moderate level of fitness say that running keeps them in a positive, relaxed, happy, state of mind. My clients who struggle with depression find that running is a less expensive, highly preferable and equally effective mood booster, than taking side-effect prone medications.Runners report significant increases in the quality of their life, feel greater energy, patience, optimism and ambition. For many, running leads to significantly lower levels of stress, improved memory, increased verbal fluency and better cognitive functioning. Perhaps most importantly, runners report greater health benefits that include burning more calories, heart health, improved HDL cholesterol levels, a boost to the immune system, increases in bone density and improved lung capacity.Runner’s HighThen there’s always that “runner’s high.” It’s true, that invincible “what discomfort?” flow that runners feel, tied to a release of endorphins, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, with an increase in body temperature, have been fully demonstrated by endorphin and neuroscience researchers. ­­­Want to power up that output? Then you need to introduce yourself to your nucleus accumbens, your prefrontal cortex and your amygdala. These are located in your brain and go into high gear, releasing feel-good chemicals, particularly when music activates these emotion and intellectual centers.Boost Performance with MusicWant to boost the impact of running and increase the positive benefits that running brings? Be sure to choose your favorite music mixes and performance enhancing beats per minute to keep you moving along a health-promoting pace. Fitness psychologists, who study the effects of music on athletic performance and exercise, find that listening to music while working out stimulates mental arousal and enhances brain functioning, at least for a short period of time.The key, the researchers tell us, is to choose music you enjoy, and note that the faster the music, the greater the power output. It’s all about the motivating power of the music you choose and how you choose to listen to it. Louder and faster music, according to research, leads to runners dialing up their pace, while slower and quieter music is best for cool downs. Research suggests that the right music can boost endurance by 15%.  Furthermore, while exercise promotes good endothelial functioning, so important to your heart and in preventing atherosclerosis, listening to music for 30 or more minutes while running or working out turbocharges that effect on the cells that line the inside of your blood vessels.Next time you hear about a marathon, half marathon, or 5K coming to town, or a buddy asks you to go for a jog at the park, now you know why running has the growth curve it does and why so many love running. It leaves you feeling better head to toe. And with RockMyRun rocking your health benefits, well, it’s hard to imagine anything better putting a smile on your—or your doctor’s–face!Why do you run?  What are your favorite benefits?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

  ·  3 min

Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

If you are among the 29,478,000 Americans who run or jog 50 or more days a year then you know why you run. Running offers phenom­enal psychological and physical benefits and you’ve probably even experienced a “runner’s high.” You must be spreading the word too, since running shoe sales grew to a whopping $3.04 billion in 2012, up 23% from 2011.Slipping on a pair of running shoes is a common way to start the day, along with the ubiquitous headphones popping out of the ears of joggers and runners.Psychological and Physical Benefits of RunningSo what is this national, indeed international, sensation all about? What do we love about running?Perhaps we love the way we feel. After all, it is well known that the psychological benefits of running rival the physical benefits. Nearly three-quarters of runners who maintain at least a moderate level of fitness say that running keeps them in a positive, relaxed, happy, state of mind. My clients who struggle with depression find that running is a less expensive, highly preferable and equally effective mood booster, than taking side-effect prone medications.Runners report significant increases in the quality of their life, feel greater energy, patience, optimism and ambition. For many, running leads to significantly lower levels of stress, improved memory, increased verbal fluency and better cognitive functioning. Perhaps most importantly, runners report greater health benefits that include burning more calories, heart health, improved HDL cholesterol levels, a boost to the immune system, increases in bone density and improved lung capacity.Runner’s HighThen there’s always that “runner’s high.” It’s true, that invincible “what discomfort?” flow that runners feel, tied to a release of endorphins, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, with an increase in body temperature, have been fully demonstrated by endorphin and neuroscience researchers. ­­­Want to power up that output? Then you need to introduce yourself to your nucleus accumbens, your prefrontal cortex and your amygdala. These are located in your brain and go into high gear, releasing feel-good chemicals, particularly when music activates these emotion and intellectual centers.Boost Performance with MusicWant to boost the impact of running and increase the positive benefits that running brings? Be sure to choose your favorite music mixes and performance enhancing beats per minute to keep you moving along a health-promoting pace. Fitness psychologists, who study the effects of music on athletic performance and exercise, find that listening to music while working out stimulates mental arousal and enhances brain functioning, at least for a short period of time.The key, the researchers tell us, is to choose music you enjoy, and note that the faster the music, the greater the power output. It’s all about the motivating power of the music you choose and how you choose to listen to it. Louder and faster music, according to research, leads to runners dialing up their pace, while slower and quieter music is best for cool downs. Research suggests that the right music can boost endurance by 15%.  Furthermore, while exercise promotes good endothelial functioning, so important to your heart and in preventing atherosclerosis, listening to music for 30 or more minutes while running or working out turbocharges that effect on the cells that line the inside of your blood vessels.Next time you hear about a marathon, half marathon, or 5K coming to town, or a buddy asks you to go for a jog at the park, now you know why running has the growth curve it does and why so many love running. It leaves you feeling better head to toe. And with RockMyRun rocking your health benefits, well, it’s hard to imagine anything better putting a smile on your—or your doctor’s–face!Why do you run?  What are your favorite benefits?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Cold as Ice…and Still Running

  ·  4 min

Cold as Ice…and Still Running

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a Christmas song written in 1944 by Frank Loesser. It’s a conversation between a woman who has to go and a man who keeps telling her “But baby, it’s cold outside.”“I really can’t stay(But baby, it’s cold outside)I’ve got to go away(But baby, it’s cold outside)”Avoid the Common ExcusesIt’ll soon be cold out there with lots of excuses not to leave, to stay indoors, and surely not to exercise. Whether it’s Foreigner’s Cold as Ice, or Loesser’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside, there are many barriers to convince people that winter is a time to stay indoors and be sedentary.  It’s not. Of course winter activities can be challenging, but like everything else, “the link is what you think.”It’s just weather. If you think it’s a great opportunity to try new activities, to enjoy the crunch of falling leaves under your feet, to have snowball fights, or to do some hiking or jogging in the crisp fall air.  Then you’ll love the coming months and stay in shape.If you think instead that it’s too cold, that you’ll freeze to death, that you’ll get injured, that there isn’t enough daylight to be active, then you’ll surely believe it’s inevitable to put on some weight and be more sedentary.“The link is what you think.” I want you to think rationally, logically and accurately about the coming months wherever you live and use the fall and winter to think outside the box to keep your health, fitness and wellness levels up and move into next spring feeling great!Have a Positive MindsetSure some folks will deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but when the days grow short guess what helps? Running! It can promote the release of depression-fighting hormones leaving those suffering with this very real malady in better moods and feeling more positive.  And we know that positive thinking and a positive outlook, the kind that comes from physical activity, improves your overall health.Staying indoors, breathing all that heated air as many do during the colder months, isn’t the healthiest for your lungs or for your mind. Getting outside, properly dressed for the cold, enjoying the outdoor crisp air, gives you a chance to literally detox your mind and body. It doesn’t take as many changes as you might think to enjoy it all.So the first thing that’s needed is the right mindset. What do you enjoy about the fall and winter months? Keep your eye on those things.Fall and winter are great times to try on new activities, join new classes at your local gym, gain new skills, add new strength training activities and find new ways to integrate exercise and activities into your daily life.Some use the winter months to form a base, with activities that add to endurance.  Longer runs, along with swimming and cycling indoors will add to your volume.  Springtime is the time to build with added weight and resistance training, as well as more interval cardio training to increase speed and strength.  Summer and fall are great times to put it all into practice and get out there for your 5K, 10K, and marathon races.Get Prepared for Exercise OutdoorsExercising outdoors when it’s cold outside requires a bit of preparation to make your activities successful.  A few smart things you can do are:Dress properly in thin wicking insulating layers to prevent hypothermia and frostbite in some climates.Wear reflective gear or a headlamp for running in the dark.Put on a fleece or thermal hat to prevent 50% heat loss from your head.Keep your hands and feet warm with mittens, because you can lose 30% of your body heat through your extremities.Cover your face with a balaclava (ski mask).Carry some ChapStick.Plan a route with icy patches in mind.Always run with a buddy.Wear shoes that give you a bit more traction and are water-proof and socks that are wicking, not cotton, and made of wool or CoolMax.Get Active beyond Your WorkoutRemember that there are lots of everyday activities to rejuvenate you and give you more natural energy during your day, including:Shoveling snowWalking at lunchtime with friendsTaking the stairs instead of the elevatorParking further away from your destination or getting off the bus or subway a few stops earlierStaying active while indoors with physical movement during TV commercialsFind Music to Motivate YouWhen we think of the winter season, filled with holidays, music always tops the list along with food, friends and family get-togethers.  Crank up your RockMyRun mixes for the genre and beats per minute that inspire your body and soul, that promote your focus on your health and above all, to motivate you to enjoy the spirit of the season and the holidays happy, active and fit.What are your tips for staying active, once the temperatures drop outdoors?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Cold as Ice…and Still Running

  ·  4 min

Cold as Ice…and Still Running

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a Christmas song written in 1944 by Frank Loesser. It’s a conversation between a woman who has to go and a man who keeps telling her “But baby, it’s cold outside.”“I really can’t stay(But baby, it’s cold outside)I’ve got to go away(But baby, it’s cold outside)”Avoid the Common ExcusesIt’ll soon be cold out there with lots of excuses not to leave, to stay indoors, and surely not to exercise. Whether it’s Foreigner’s Cold as Ice, or Loesser’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside, there are many barriers to convince people that winter is a time to stay indoors and be sedentary.  It’s not. Of course winter activities can be challenging, but like everything else, “the link is what you think.”It’s just weather. If you think it’s a great opportunity to try new activities, to enjoy the crunch of falling leaves under your feet, to have snowball fights, or to do some hiking or jogging in the crisp fall air.  Then you’ll love the coming months and stay in shape.If you think instead that it’s too cold, that you’ll freeze to death, that you’ll get injured, that there isn’t enough daylight to be active, then you’ll surely believe it’s inevitable to put on some weight and be more sedentary.“The link is what you think.” I want you to think rationally, logically and accurately about the coming months wherever you live and use the fall and winter to think outside the box to keep your health, fitness and wellness levels up and move into next spring feeling great!Have a Positive MindsetSure some folks will deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but when the days grow short guess what helps? Running! It can promote the release of depression-fighting hormones leaving those suffering with this very real malady in better moods and feeling more positive.  And we know that positive thinking and a positive outlook, the kind that comes from physical activity, improves your overall health.Staying indoors, breathing all that heated air as many do during the colder months, isn’t the healthiest for your lungs or for your mind. Getting outside, properly dressed for the cold, enjoying the outdoor crisp air, gives you a chance to literally detox your mind and body. It doesn’t take as many changes as you might think to enjoy it all.So the first thing that’s needed is the right mindset. What do you enjoy about the fall and winter months? Keep your eye on those things.Fall and winter are great times to try on new activities, join new classes at your local gym, gain new skills, add new strength training activities and find new ways to integrate exercise and activities into your daily life.Some use the winter months to form a base, with activities that add to endurance.  Longer runs, along with swimming and cycling indoors will add to your volume.  Springtime is the time to build with added weight and resistance training, as well as more interval cardio training to increase speed and strength.  Summer and fall are great times to put it all into practice and get out there for your 5K, 10K, and marathon races.Get Prepared for Exercise OutdoorsExercising outdoors when it’s cold outside requires a bit of preparation to make your activities successful.  A few smart things you can do are:Dress properly in thin wicking insulating layers to prevent hypothermia and frostbite in some climates.Wear reflective gear or a headlamp for running in the dark.Put on a fleece or thermal hat to prevent 50% heat loss from your head.Keep your hands and feet warm with mittens, because you can lose 30% of your body heat through your extremities.Cover your face with a balaclava (ski mask).Carry some ChapStick.Plan a route with icy patches in mind.Always run with a buddy.Wear shoes that give you a bit more traction and are water-proof and socks that are wicking, not cotton, and made of wool or CoolMax.Get Active beyond Your WorkoutRemember that there are lots of everyday activities to rejuvenate you and give you more natural energy during your day, including:Shoveling snowWalking at lunchtime with friendsTaking the stairs instead of the elevatorParking further away from your destination or getting off the bus or subway a few stops earlierStaying active while indoors with physical movement during TV commercialsFind Music to Motivate YouWhen we think of the winter season, filled with holidays, music always tops the list along with food, friends and family get-togethers.  Crank up your RockMyRun mixes for the genre and beats per minute that inspire your body and soul, that promote your focus on your health and above all, to motivate you to enjoy the spirit of the season and the holidays happy, active and fit.What are your tips for staying active, once the temperatures drop outdoors?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

  ·  5 min

Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

When it comes to finding time to exercise, let’s start with some facts. Each of us has 168 hours per week in life. Many of us work about 50 or so hours per week, sleep about 50-60 hours per week, spend another 15-20 hours each week on personal care and grooming, leaving most of us about 6+ hours each day to_____________________. Fill in the blank.We fill in our time with what’s most important to us. As I said in an article I wrote for Greatest: Many people who don’t work out regularly can rattle off many reasons they’re not motivated to exercise, from not understanding the benefits of activity to thoughts like “I’m too busy,” “I’m embarrassed by how I look,” “exercise is boring,” and so on. The folks who hold these (false) self-sabotaging beliefs often believe exercise doesn’t matter; they don’t enjoy it, or they simply have no interest in doing it. And, really, who could blame them? Who would be inspired to start a physical activity with negative thoughts running through their head? A person has to believe exercise is of value in order to build motivation to do it.Benefits of ExerciseAs you already know, there are many benefits of exercise:Weight managementHealth and disease managementMood and self-confidence enhancementEnergy boosterPromotes healthy sleepPuts oomph into your sex lifeReduces stress by increasing brain soothing chemicalsHelps your brain function betterSparks creativityYour muscles, lungs, diaphragm, heart, stomach, kidneys, skin, joints, agility, balance, coordination, endurance and strength will all “smile” and say thank you many years from now. Every Minute CountsToday we know that even brief bouts of exercise, just 10 minutes at a time or less, can add a great deal to your health and well being while also slimming your waistline. The good news, remarkable really, comes from researchers at the University of Utah who found that every minute of intense movement counts towards the magic number of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity we are all supposed to achieve each week – but only 5% of us do.  That’s 150 minutes out of the 48 or so hours we have available to us each week.The findings indicate that brief periods of intense activity are effective in preventing weight gain and promoting health as well as doing 10 minute+ intervals. Moderate to vigorous activity, by the way, is walking about 3 miles per hour, or 2,020 counts per minute on an accelerometer. Clearly, every minute you spend in intense activity, counts.This suggests that the data on the best time to workout may be ignoring an important element—your life. Sure there are those who believe that for A-list athletes aiming for performance it might be better to push heavy training to alter in the morning or afternoon, the fact is that most who adhere to exercise routines are early morning exercisers. Bottom line is whenever you enjoy hitting the gym or track, do it. There’s benefit throughout the day.Get Creative about Getting ActiveHow can you get in short bouts of more intense exercise and find the time to get in your 150 minutes or so a week? Try these tested ways:Like a good scout, always be prepared. Don’t leave your home without your workout clothes packedKeep your workouts scheduled in your day planner —make an appointment for yourself! Remember that every minute counts.Wake up earlier and get your health plan moving, and your heart rate pumping, at the start of the day.Park away from your office, get off the train, subway or bus a few blocks before your normal close stopWhen you watch TV, use the commercials as reminders to do your squats, lunges, push ups, burpees, jumping jacks, planks, and crunches during the one-minute break.  Keep hand weights next to your chair/couch, ride your stationary bike and never use the remote control to change volume or channel.Make your lawn mower your newest piece of fitness equipment—ever hear of Carioca mowing? It’s all in the step!Walk to the office of the person you’d normally call and keep a jump rope in your briefcase or office drawer too!Make your chores count by scrubbing with vigor, grinding and stirring with some beats per minute, vacuum-dance with energy, wash your own car with upper body pushes, and shovel the coming snow (if your health allows) in tune with your favorite RockMyRun music mix.While exercise is key, taking time for yourself every day is critical for your health, well being and longevity. It’s all in my CHAIR method I recently described in an article for Prevention.com.C stands for a deeply felt commitment to very specific goals. You see the goal; you know why you’re doing it.H is for healthier foods, healthy carbs and proteins, healthy fat. ‘Diet’ is a word I never use.  It has the word ‘die’ in it.A stands for activity.  Daily activity, daily tracking of food and exercise. If you track, you adhere. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day. But even raking leaves counts as activity.I is inner motivation—you have to have your ‘why.’  And it has to be internal to you.R is for a realistic set of goals. You need something very tangible, like you want to be off blood pressure medication—not just I want to lose some weight or tone up.At the end of the day it’s all about thinking. The ‘link’ is what you think.” When you think you don’t have the time ask yourself if what you think is True, Helpful, Inspirational, Necessary, Kind to yourself. Hey, that’s what “THINK” means! If your answer is “No,” then change your thought and get active. It only takes a minute!What tips to have to stay active?  I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

  ·  5 min

Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

When it comes to finding time to exercise, let’s start with some facts. Each of us has 168 hours per week in life. Many of us work about 50 or so hours per week, sleep about 50-60 hours per week, spend another 15-20 hours each week on personal care and grooming, leaving most of us about 6+ hours each day to_____________________. Fill in the blank.We fill in our time with what’s most important to us. As I said in an article I wrote for Greatest: Many people who don’t work out regularly can rattle off many reasons they’re not motivated to exercise, from not understanding the benefits of activity to thoughts like “I’m too busy,” “I’m embarrassed by how I look,” “exercise is boring,” and so on. The folks who hold these (false) self-sabotaging beliefs often believe exercise doesn’t matter; they don’t enjoy it, or they simply have no interest in doing it. And, really, who could blame them? Who would be inspired to start a physical activity with negative thoughts running through their head? A person has to believe exercise is of value in order to build motivation to do it.Benefits of ExerciseAs you already know, there are many benefits of exercise:Weight managementHealth and disease managementMood and self-confidence enhancementEnergy boosterPromotes healthy sleepPuts oomph into your sex lifeReduces stress by increasing brain soothing chemicalsHelps your brain function betterSparks creativityYour muscles, lungs, diaphragm, heart, stomach, kidneys, skin, joints, agility, balance, coordination, endurance and strength will all “smile” and say thank you many years from now. Every Minute CountsToday we know that even brief bouts of exercise, just 10 minutes at a time or less, can add a great deal to your health and well being while also slimming your waistline. The good news, remarkable really, comes from researchers at the University of Utah who found that every minute of intense movement counts towards the magic number of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity we are all supposed to achieve each week – but only 5% of us do.  That’s 150 minutes out of the 48 or so hours we have available to us each week.The findings indicate that brief periods of intense activity are effective in preventing weight gain and promoting health as well as doing 10 minute+ intervals. Moderate to vigorous activity, by the way, is walking about 3 miles per hour, or 2,020 counts per minute on an accelerometer. Clearly, every minute you spend in intense activity, counts.This suggests that the data on the best time to workout may be ignoring an important element—your life. Sure there are those who believe that for A-list athletes aiming for performance it might be better to push heavy training to alter in the morning or afternoon, the fact is that most who adhere to exercise routines are early morning exercisers. Bottom line is whenever you enjoy hitting the gym or track, do it. There’s benefit throughout the day.Get Creative about Getting ActiveHow can you get in short bouts of more intense exercise and find the time to get in your 150 minutes or so a week? Try these tested ways:Like a good scout, always be prepared. Don’t leave your home without your workout clothes packedKeep your workouts scheduled in your day planner —make an appointment for yourself! Remember that every minute counts.Wake up earlier and get your health plan moving, and your heart rate pumping, at the start of the day.Park away from your office, get off the train, subway or bus a few blocks before your normal close stopWhen you watch TV, use the commercials as reminders to do your squats, lunges, push ups, burpees, jumping jacks, planks, and crunches during the one-minute break.  Keep hand weights next to your chair/couch, ride your stationary bike and never use the remote control to change volume or channel.Make your lawn mower your newest piece of fitness equipment—ever hear of Carioca mowing? It’s all in the step!Walk to the office of the person you’d normally call and keep a jump rope in your briefcase or office drawer too!Make your chores count by scrubbing with vigor, grinding and stirring with some beats per minute, vacuum-dance with energy, wash your own car with upper body pushes, and shovel the coming snow (if your health allows) in tune with your favorite RockMyRun music mix.While exercise is key, taking time for yourself every day is critical for your health, well being and longevity. It’s all in my CHAIR method I recently described in an article for Prevention.com.C stands for a deeply felt commitment to very specific goals. You see the goal; you know why you’re doing it.H is for healthier foods, healthy carbs and proteins, healthy fat. ‘Diet’ is a word I never use.  It has the word ‘die’ in it.A stands for activity.  Daily activity, daily tracking of food and exercise. If you track, you adhere. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day. But even raking leaves counts as activity.I is inner motivation—you have to have your ‘why.’  And it has to be internal to you.R is for a realistic set of goals. You need something very tangible, like you want to be off blood pressure medication—not just I want to lose some weight or tone up.At the end of the day it’s all about thinking. The ‘link’ is what you think.” When you think you don’t have the time ask yourself if what you think is True, Helpful, Inspirational, Necessary, Kind to yourself. Hey, that’s what “THINK” means! If your answer is “No,” then change your thought and get active. It only takes a minute!What tips to have to stay active?  I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


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Train Less. Perform Better.

  ·  3 min

Train Less. Perform Better.

A lot of the more traditional approaches to cardio look at longer distances and higher volume as the best ways to get and stay in shape. While there is certainly nothing wrong with that method, I tend to take the “less is more” philosophy into my cardio training.  This doesn’t mean I don’t lace up my running shoes as much as the next person; I simply have a much lower training volume than some people.  I do this through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  HIIT is a type of cardio involving a specified period (generally short) of very hard activity followed by a short rest period.  It’s a very effective training method, one that has helped my speed and endurance greatly over the past few years.With that, I want to give you my top 5 benefits of interval training:Increased oxidative capacity.  A muscle’s oxidative capacity is essentially its maximal ability to utilize oxygen in order to produce energy.  It is a fancy term that basically says how much oxygen a muscle is capable of using at once.  Research shows that runners can increase oxidative capacity, and thus overall endurance, in as little as two weeks of high intensity intervals.Prevent Boredom.  If you’re like me, then a long distance run on the treadmill can get a little boring.  Interval training not only requires you to change speed and intensity often, but also allows you the chance to get away from the treadmill altogether.  Running tracks, public parks, and gymnasiums all provide a different environment to keep your training fun and interesting.Burn fat.  Research agrees that the higher our exercise intensity, the more glucose we will burn during a workout.  You might be asking: “Well, when does this ‘burn more fat’ come into play?”  The answer is simple; at rest.  Yes, while we are resting.  In short, we lose a great amount of energy while burning glucose at high intensities.  The thing most people do not realize is that we must replace this energy when we are done exercising.  The fuel source for replacing energy??  You guessed it – FAT!!  So, in essence, the more glucose we use during exercise, the more fat we burn following exercise!It’s challenging.  Put down the magazine.  Quit texting.  The goal of interval training is to work as hard as you can the entire time.  If you do that, you won’t be focusing on anything but your workout – which is the way it should be!Efficient.  Interval training is efficient in terms of both time and injury prevention.  Given that your intensity is at an appropriate level, you can get an effective interval workout done in less than 20 minutes.  Because you’re putting in less time, you can avoid the constant pounding that miles and miles of distance running places upon the lower body.To give you guys a little idea of what a typical HIIT session looks like, I will leave you all with one of my favorite interval workouts.  If you need some music for this workout, I’d recommend listening to “Go Hard” by DJ Prophecy.  It’s an up-beat mix, which I prefer for interval training.Work-to-Rest Ratio – 2:1Sprint – 30 SecondsRest – 15 SecondsRound 1: 8 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 2: 6 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 3: 4 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsIt might take you a few sets to figure out what that speed is going to be if you’re on a treadmill, and that’s fine.  Just make sure you are pushing yourself on each and every set in order to get the best results possible!!Have you tried high intensity interval training?  If so, let me know what you think of it in the comments below.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.


Train Less. Perform Better.

  ·  3 min

Train Less. Perform Better.

A lot of the more traditional approaches to cardio look at longer distances and higher volume as the best ways to get and stay in shape. While there is certainly nothing wrong with that method, I tend to take the “less is more” philosophy into my cardio training.  This doesn’t mean I don’t lace up my running shoes as much as the next person; I simply have a much lower training volume than some people.  I do this through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  HIIT is a type of cardio involving a specified period (generally short) of very hard activity followed by a short rest period.  It’s a very effective training method, one that has helped my speed and endurance greatly over the past few years.With that, I want to give you my top 5 benefits of interval training:Increased oxidative capacity.  A muscle’s oxidative capacity is essentially its maximal ability to utilize oxygen in order to produce energy.  It is a fancy term that basically says how much oxygen a muscle is capable of using at once.  Research shows that runners can increase oxidative capacity, and thus overall endurance, in as little as two weeks of high intensity intervals.Prevent Boredom.  If you’re like me, then a long distance run on the treadmill can get a little boring.  Interval training not only requires you to change speed and intensity often, but also allows you the chance to get away from the treadmill altogether.  Running tracks, public parks, and gymnasiums all provide a different environment to keep your training fun and interesting.Burn fat.  Research agrees that the higher our exercise intensity, the more glucose we will burn during a workout.  You might be asking: “Well, when does this ‘burn more fat’ come into play?”  The answer is simple; at rest.  Yes, while we are resting.  In short, we lose a great amount of energy while burning glucose at high intensities.  The thing most people do not realize is that we must replace this energy when we are done exercising.  The fuel source for replacing energy??  You guessed it – FAT!!  So, in essence, the more glucose we use during exercise, the more fat we burn following exercise!It’s challenging.  Put down the magazine.  Quit texting.  The goal of interval training is to work as hard as you can the entire time.  If you do that, you won’t be focusing on anything but your workout – which is the way it should be!Efficient.  Interval training is efficient in terms of both time and injury prevention.  Given that your intensity is at an appropriate level, you can get an effective interval workout done in less than 20 minutes.  Because you’re putting in less time, you can avoid the constant pounding that miles and miles of distance running places upon the lower body.To give you guys a little idea of what a typical HIIT session looks like, I will leave you all with one of my favorite interval workouts.  If you need some music for this workout, I’d recommend listening to “Go Hard” by DJ Prophecy.  It’s an up-beat mix, which I prefer for interval training.Work-to-Rest Ratio – 2:1Sprint – 30 SecondsRest – 15 SecondsRound 1: 8 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 2: 6 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 3: 4 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsIt might take you a few sets to figure out what that speed is going to be if you’re on a treadmill, and that’s fine.  Just make sure you are pushing yourself on each and every set in order to get the best results possible!!Have you tried high intensity interval training?  If so, let me know what you think of it in the comments below.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.


Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

  ·  3 min

Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

If you are among the 29,478,000 Americans who run or jog 50 or more days a year then you know why you run. Running offers phenom­enal psychological and physical benefits and you’ve probably even experienced a “runner’s high.” You must be spreading the word too, since running shoe sales grew to a whopping $3.04 billion in 2012, up 23% from 2011.Slipping on a pair of running shoes is a common way to start the day, along with the ubiquitous headphones popping out of the ears of joggers and runners.Psychological and Physical Benefits of RunningSo what is this national, indeed international, sensation all about? What do we love about running?Perhaps we love the way we feel. After all, it is well known that the psychological benefits of running rival the physical benefits. Nearly three-quarters of runners who maintain at least a moderate level of fitness say that running keeps them in a positive, relaxed, happy, state of mind. My clients who struggle with depression find that running is a less expensive, highly preferable and equally effective mood booster, than taking side-effect prone medications.Runners report significant increases in the quality of their life, feel greater energy, patience, optimism and ambition. For many, running leads to significantly lower levels of stress, improved memory, increased verbal fluency and better cognitive functioning. Perhaps most importantly, runners report greater health benefits that include burning more calories, heart health, improved HDL cholesterol levels, a boost to the immune system, increases in bone density and improved lung capacity.Runner’s HighThen there’s always that “runner’s high.” It’s true, that invincible “what discomfort?” flow that runners feel, tied to a release of endorphins, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, with an increase in body temperature, have been fully demonstrated by endorphin and neuroscience researchers. ­­­Want to power up that output? Then you need to introduce yourself to your nucleus accumbens, your prefrontal cortex and your amygdala. These are located in your brain and go into high gear, releasing feel-good chemicals, particularly when music activates these emotion and intellectual centers.Boost Performance with MusicWant to boost the impact of running and increase the positive benefits that running brings? Be sure to choose your favorite music mixes and performance enhancing beats per minute to keep you moving along a health-promoting pace. Fitness psychologists, who study the effects of music on athletic performance and exercise, find that listening to music while working out stimulates mental arousal and enhances brain functioning, at least for a short period of time.The key, the researchers tell us, is to choose music you enjoy, and note that the faster the music, the greater the power output. It’s all about the motivating power of the music you choose and how you choose to listen to it. Louder and faster music, according to research, leads to runners dialing up their pace, while slower and quieter music is best for cool downs. Research suggests that the right music can boost endurance by 15%.  Furthermore, while exercise promotes good endothelial functioning, so important to your heart and in preventing atherosclerosis, listening to music for 30 or more minutes while running or working out turbocharges that effect on the cells that line the inside of your blood vessels.Next time you hear about a marathon, half marathon, or 5K coming to town, or a buddy asks you to go for a jog at the park, now you know why running has the growth curve it does and why so many love running. It leaves you feeling better head to toe. And with RockMyRun rocking your health benefits, well, it’s hard to imagine anything better putting a smile on your—or your doctor’s–face!Why do you run?  What are your favorite benefits?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

  ·  3 min

Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

If you are among the 29,478,000 Americans who run or jog 50 or more days a year then you know why you run. Running offers phenom­enal psychological and physical benefits and you’ve probably even experienced a “runner’s high.” You must be spreading the word too, since running shoe sales grew to a whopping $3.04 billion in 2012, up 23% from 2011.Slipping on a pair of running shoes is a common way to start the day, along with the ubiquitous headphones popping out of the ears of joggers and runners.Psychological and Physical Benefits of RunningSo what is this national, indeed international, sensation all about? What do we love about running?Perhaps we love the way we feel. After all, it is well known that the psychological benefits of running rival the physical benefits. Nearly three-quarters of runners who maintain at least a moderate level of fitness say that running keeps them in a positive, relaxed, happy, state of mind. My clients who struggle with depression find that running is a less expensive, highly preferable and equally effective mood booster, than taking side-effect prone medications.Runners report significant increases in the quality of their life, feel greater energy, patience, optimism and ambition. For many, running leads to significantly lower levels of stress, improved memory, increased verbal fluency and better cognitive functioning. Perhaps most importantly, runners report greater health benefits that include burning more calories, heart health, improved HDL cholesterol levels, a boost to the immune system, increases in bone density and improved lung capacity.Runner’s HighThen there’s always that “runner’s high.” It’s true, that invincible “what discomfort?” flow that runners feel, tied to a release of endorphins, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, with an increase in body temperature, have been fully demonstrated by endorphin and neuroscience researchers. ­­­Want to power up that output? Then you need to introduce yourself to your nucleus accumbens, your prefrontal cortex and your amygdala. These are located in your brain and go into high gear, releasing feel-good chemicals, particularly when music activates these emotion and intellectual centers.Boost Performance with MusicWant to boost the impact of running and increase the positive benefits that running brings? Be sure to choose your favorite music mixes and performance enhancing beats per minute to keep you moving along a health-promoting pace. Fitness psychologists, who study the effects of music on athletic performance and exercise, find that listening to music while working out stimulates mental arousal and enhances brain functioning, at least for a short period of time.The key, the researchers tell us, is to choose music you enjoy, and note that the faster the music, the greater the power output. It’s all about the motivating power of the music you choose and how you choose to listen to it. Louder and faster music, according to research, leads to runners dialing up their pace, while slower and quieter music is best for cool downs. Research suggests that the right music can boost endurance by 15%.  Furthermore, while exercise promotes good endothelial functioning, so important to your heart and in preventing atherosclerosis, listening to music for 30 or more minutes while running or working out turbocharges that effect on the cells that line the inside of your blood vessels.Next time you hear about a marathon, half marathon, or 5K coming to town, or a buddy asks you to go for a jog at the park, now you know why running has the growth curve it does and why so many love running. It leaves you feeling better head to toe. And with RockMyRun rocking your health benefits, well, it’s hard to imagine anything better putting a smile on your—or your doctor’s–face!Why do you run?  What are your favorite benefits?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Cold as Ice…and Still Running

  ·  4 min

Cold as Ice…and Still Running

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a Christmas song written in 1944 by Frank Loesser. It’s a conversation between a woman who has to go and a man who keeps telling her “But baby, it’s cold outside.”“I really can’t stay(But baby, it’s cold outside)I’ve got to go away(But baby, it’s cold outside)”Avoid the Common ExcusesIt’ll soon be cold out there with lots of excuses not to leave, to stay indoors, and surely not to exercise. Whether it’s Foreigner’s Cold as Ice, or Loesser’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside, there are many barriers to convince people that winter is a time to stay indoors and be sedentary.  It’s not. Of course winter activities can be challenging, but like everything else, “the link is what you think.”It’s just weather. If you think it’s a great opportunity to try new activities, to enjoy the crunch of falling leaves under your feet, to have snowball fights, or to do some hiking or jogging in the crisp fall air.  Then you’ll love the coming months and stay in shape.If you think instead that it’s too cold, that you’ll freeze to death, that you’ll get injured, that there isn’t enough daylight to be active, then you’ll surely believe it’s inevitable to put on some weight and be more sedentary.“The link is what you think.” I want you to think rationally, logically and accurately about the coming months wherever you live and use the fall and winter to think outside the box to keep your health, fitness and wellness levels up and move into next spring feeling great!Have a Positive MindsetSure some folks will deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but when the days grow short guess what helps? Running! It can promote the release of depression-fighting hormones leaving those suffering with this very real malady in better moods and feeling more positive.  And we know that positive thinking and a positive outlook, the kind that comes from physical activity, improves your overall health.Staying indoors, breathing all that heated air as many do during the colder months, isn’t the healthiest for your lungs or for your mind. Getting outside, properly dressed for the cold, enjoying the outdoor crisp air, gives you a chance to literally detox your mind and body. It doesn’t take as many changes as you might think to enjoy it all.So the first thing that’s needed is the right mindset. What do you enjoy about the fall and winter months? Keep your eye on those things.Fall and winter are great times to try on new activities, join new classes at your local gym, gain new skills, add new strength training activities and find new ways to integrate exercise and activities into your daily life.Some use the winter months to form a base, with activities that add to endurance.  Longer runs, along with swimming and cycling indoors will add to your volume.  Springtime is the time to build with added weight and resistance training, as well as more interval cardio training to increase speed and strength.  Summer and fall are great times to put it all into practice and get out there for your 5K, 10K, and marathon races.Get Prepared for Exercise OutdoorsExercising outdoors when it’s cold outside requires a bit of preparation to make your activities successful.  A few smart things you can do are:Dress properly in thin wicking insulating layers to prevent hypothermia and frostbite in some climates.Wear reflective gear or a headlamp for running in the dark.Put on a fleece or thermal hat to prevent 50% heat loss from your head.Keep your hands and feet warm with mittens, because you can lose 30% of your body heat through your extremities.Cover your face with a balaclava (ski mask).Carry some ChapStick.Plan a route with icy patches in mind.Always run with a buddy.Wear shoes that give you a bit more traction and are water-proof and socks that are wicking, not cotton, and made of wool or CoolMax.Get Active beyond Your WorkoutRemember that there are lots of everyday activities to rejuvenate you and give you more natural energy during your day, including:Shoveling snowWalking at lunchtime with friendsTaking the stairs instead of the elevatorParking further away from your destination or getting off the bus or subway a few stops earlierStaying active while indoors with physical movement during TV commercialsFind Music to Motivate YouWhen we think of the winter season, filled with holidays, music always tops the list along with food, friends and family get-togethers.  Crank up your RockMyRun mixes for the genre and beats per minute that inspire your body and soul, that promote your focus on your health and above all, to motivate you to enjoy the spirit of the season and the holidays happy, active and fit.What are your tips for staying active, once the temperatures drop outdoors?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Cold as Ice…and Still Running

  ·  4 min

Cold as Ice…and Still Running

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a Christmas song written in 1944 by Frank Loesser. It’s a conversation between a woman who has to go and a man who keeps telling her “But baby, it’s cold outside.”“I really can’t stay(But baby, it’s cold outside)I’ve got to go away(But baby, it’s cold outside)”Avoid the Common ExcusesIt’ll soon be cold out there with lots of excuses not to leave, to stay indoors, and surely not to exercise. Whether it’s Foreigner’s Cold as Ice, or Loesser’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside, there are many barriers to convince people that winter is a time to stay indoors and be sedentary.  It’s not. Of course winter activities can be challenging, but like everything else, “the link is what you think.”It’s just weather. If you think it’s a great opportunity to try new activities, to enjoy the crunch of falling leaves under your feet, to have snowball fights, or to do some hiking or jogging in the crisp fall air.  Then you’ll love the coming months and stay in shape.If you think instead that it’s too cold, that you’ll freeze to death, that you’ll get injured, that there isn’t enough daylight to be active, then you’ll surely believe it’s inevitable to put on some weight and be more sedentary.“The link is what you think.” I want you to think rationally, logically and accurately about the coming months wherever you live and use the fall and winter to think outside the box to keep your health, fitness and wellness levels up and move into next spring feeling great!Have a Positive MindsetSure some folks will deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but when the days grow short guess what helps? Running! It can promote the release of depression-fighting hormones leaving those suffering with this very real malady in better moods and feeling more positive.  And we know that positive thinking and a positive outlook, the kind that comes from physical activity, improves your overall health.Staying indoors, breathing all that heated air as many do during the colder months, isn’t the healthiest for your lungs or for your mind. Getting outside, properly dressed for the cold, enjoying the outdoor crisp air, gives you a chance to literally detox your mind and body. It doesn’t take as many changes as you might think to enjoy it all.So the first thing that’s needed is the right mindset. What do you enjoy about the fall and winter months? Keep your eye on those things.Fall and winter are great times to try on new activities, join new classes at your local gym, gain new skills, add new strength training activities and find new ways to integrate exercise and activities into your daily life.Some use the winter months to form a base, with activities that add to endurance.  Longer runs, along with swimming and cycling indoors will add to your volume.  Springtime is the time to build with added weight and resistance training, as well as more interval cardio training to increase speed and strength.  Summer and fall are great times to put it all into practice and get out there for your 5K, 10K, and marathon races.Get Prepared for Exercise OutdoorsExercising outdoors when it’s cold outside requires a bit of preparation to make your activities successful.  A few smart things you can do are:Dress properly in thin wicking insulating layers to prevent hypothermia and frostbite in some climates.Wear reflective gear or a headlamp for running in the dark.Put on a fleece or thermal hat to prevent 50% heat loss from your head.Keep your hands and feet warm with mittens, because you can lose 30% of your body heat through your extremities.Cover your face with a balaclava (ski mask).Carry some ChapStick.Plan a route with icy patches in mind.Always run with a buddy.Wear shoes that give you a bit more traction and are water-proof and socks that are wicking, not cotton, and made of wool or CoolMax.Get Active beyond Your WorkoutRemember that there are lots of everyday activities to rejuvenate you and give you more natural energy during your day, including:Shoveling snowWalking at lunchtime with friendsTaking the stairs instead of the elevatorParking further away from your destination or getting off the bus or subway a few stops earlierStaying active while indoors with physical movement during TV commercialsFind Music to Motivate YouWhen we think of the winter season, filled with holidays, music always tops the list along with food, friends and family get-togethers.  Crank up your RockMyRun mixes for the genre and beats per minute that inspire your body and soul, that promote your focus on your health and above all, to motivate you to enjoy the spirit of the season and the holidays happy, active and fit.What are your tips for staying active, once the temperatures drop outdoors?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

  ·  5 min

Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

When it comes to finding time to exercise, let’s start with some facts. Each of us has 168 hours per week in life. Many of us work about 50 or so hours per week, sleep about 50-60 hours per week, spend another 15-20 hours each week on personal care and grooming, leaving most of us about 6+ hours each day to_____________________. Fill in the blank.We fill in our time with what’s most important to us. As I said in an article I wrote for Greatest: Many people who don’t work out regularly can rattle off many reasons they’re not motivated to exercise, from not understanding the benefits of activity to thoughts like “I’m too busy,” “I’m embarrassed by how I look,” “exercise is boring,” and so on. The folks who hold these (false) self-sabotaging beliefs often believe exercise doesn’t matter; they don’t enjoy it, or they simply have no interest in doing it. And, really, who could blame them? Who would be inspired to start a physical activity with negative thoughts running through their head? A person has to believe exercise is of value in order to build motivation to do it.Benefits of ExerciseAs you already know, there are many benefits of exercise:Weight managementHealth and disease managementMood and self-confidence enhancementEnergy boosterPromotes healthy sleepPuts oomph into your sex lifeReduces stress by increasing brain soothing chemicalsHelps your brain function betterSparks creativityYour muscles, lungs, diaphragm, heart, stomach, kidneys, skin, joints, agility, balance, coordination, endurance and strength will all “smile” and say thank you many years from now. Every Minute CountsToday we know that even brief bouts of exercise, just 10 minutes at a time or less, can add a great deal to your health and well being while also slimming your waistline. The good news, remarkable really, comes from researchers at the University of Utah who found that every minute of intense movement counts towards the magic number of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity we are all supposed to achieve each week – but only 5% of us do.  That’s 150 minutes out of the 48 or so hours we have available to us each week.The findings indicate that brief periods of intense activity are effective in preventing weight gain and promoting health as well as doing 10 minute+ intervals. Moderate to vigorous activity, by the way, is walking about 3 miles per hour, or 2,020 counts per minute on an accelerometer. Clearly, every minute you spend in intense activity, counts.This suggests that the data on the best time to workout may be ignoring an important element—your life. Sure there are those who believe that for A-list athletes aiming for performance it might be better to push heavy training to alter in the morning or afternoon, the fact is that most who adhere to exercise routines are early morning exercisers. Bottom line is whenever you enjoy hitting the gym or track, do it. There’s benefit throughout the day.Get Creative about Getting ActiveHow can you get in short bouts of more intense exercise and find the time to get in your 150 minutes or so a week? Try these tested ways:Like a good scout, always be prepared. Don’t leave your home without your workout clothes packedKeep your workouts scheduled in your day planner —make an appointment for yourself! Remember that every minute counts.Wake up earlier and get your health plan moving, and your heart rate pumping, at the start of the day.Park away from your office, get off the train, subway or bus a few blocks before your normal close stopWhen you watch TV, use the commercials as reminders to do your squats, lunges, push ups, burpees, jumping jacks, planks, and crunches during the one-minute break.  Keep hand weights next to your chair/couch, ride your stationary bike and never use the remote control to change volume or channel.Make your lawn mower your newest piece of fitness equipment—ever hear of Carioca mowing? It’s all in the step!Walk to the office of the person you’d normally call and keep a jump rope in your briefcase or office drawer too!Make your chores count by scrubbing with vigor, grinding and stirring with some beats per minute, vacuum-dance with energy, wash your own car with upper body pushes, and shovel the coming snow (if your health allows) in tune with your favorite RockMyRun music mix.While exercise is key, taking time for yourself every day is critical for your health, well being and longevity. It’s all in my CHAIR method I recently described in an article for Prevention.com.C stands for a deeply felt commitment to very specific goals. You see the goal; you know why you’re doing it.H is for healthier foods, healthy carbs and proteins, healthy fat. ‘Diet’ is a word I never use.  It has the word ‘die’ in it.A stands for activity.  Daily activity, daily tracking of food and exercise. If you track, you adhere. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day. But even raking leaves counts as activity.I is inner motivation—you have to have your ‘why.’  And it has to be internal to you.R is for a realistic set of goals. You need something very tangible, like you want to be off blood pressure medication—not just I want to lose some weight or tone up.At the end of the day it’s all about thinking. The ‘link’ is what you think.” When you think you don’t have the time ask yourself if what you think is True, Helpful, Inspirational, Necessary, Kind to yourself. Hey, that’s what “THINK” means! If your answer is “No,” then change your thought and get active. It only takes a minute!What tips to have to stay active?  I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

  ·  5 min

Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

When it comes to finding time to exercise, let’s start with some facts. Each of us has 168 hours per week in life. Many of us work about 50 or so hours per week, sleep about 50-60 hours per week, spend another 15-20 hours each week on personal care and grooming, leaving most of us about 6+ hours each day to_____________________. Fill in the blank.We fill in our time with what’s most important to us. As I said in an article I wrote for Greatest: Many people who don’t work out regularly can rattle off many reasons they’re not motivated to exercise, from not understanding the benefits of activity to thoughts like “I’m too busy,” “I’m embarrassed by how I look,” “exercise is boring,” and so on. The folks who hold these (false) self-sabotaging beliefs often believe exercise doesn’t matter; they don’t enjoy it, or they simply have no interest in doing it. And, really, who could blame them? Who would be inspired to start a physical activity with negative thoughts running through their head? A person has to believe exercise is of value in order to build motivation to do it.Benefits of ExerciseAs you already know, there are many benefits of exercise:Weight managementHealth and disease managementMood and self-confidence enhancementEnergy boosterPromotes healthy sleepPuts oomph into your sex lifeReduces stress by increasing brain soothing chemicalsHelps your brain function betterSparks creativityYour muscles, lungs, diaphragm, heart, stomach, kidneys, skin, joints, agility, balance, coordination, endurance and strength will all “smile” and say thank you many years from now. Every Minute CountsToday we know that even brief bouts of exercise, just 10 minutes at a time or less, can add a great deal to your health and well being while also slimming your waistline. The good news, remarkable really, comes from researchers at the University of Utah who found that every minute of intense movement counts towards the magic number of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity we are all supposed to achieve each week – but only 5% of us do.  That’s 150 minutes out of the 48 or so hours we have available to us each week.The findings indicate that brief periods of intense activity are effective in preventing weight gain and promoting health as well as doing 10 minute+ intervals. Moderate to vigorous activity, by the way, is walking about 3 miles per hour, or 2,020 counts per minute on an accelerometer. Clearly, every minute you spend in intense activity, counts.This suggests that the data on the best time to workout may be ignoring an important element—your life. Sure there are those who believe that for A-list athletes aiming for performance it might be better to push heavy training to alter in the morning or afternoon, the fact is that most who adhere to exercise routines are early morning exercisers. Bottom line is whenever you enjoy hitting the gym or track, do it. There’s benefit throughout the day.Get Creative about Getting ActiveHow can you get in short bouts of more intense exercise and find the time to get in your 150 minutes or so a week? Try these tested ways:Like a good scout, always be prepared. Don’t leave your home without your workout clothes packedKeep your workouts scheduled in your day planner —make an appointment for yourself! Remember that every minute counts.Wake up earlier and get your health plan moving, and your heart rate pumping, at the start of the day.Park away from your office, get off the train, subway or bus a few blocks before your normal close stopWhen you watch TV, use the commercials as reminders to do your squats, lunges, push ups, burpees, jumping jacks, planks, and crunches during the one-minute break.  Keep hand weights next to your chair/couch, ride your stationary bike and never use the remote control to change volume or channel.Make your lawn mower your newest piece of fitness equipment—ever hear of Carioca mowing? It’s all in the step!Walk to the office of the person you’d normally call and keep a jump rope in your briefcase or office drawer too!Make your chores count by scrubbing with vigor, grinding and stirring with some beats per minute, vacuum-dance with energy, wash your own car with upper body pushes, and shovel the coming snow (if your health allows) in tune with your favorite RockMyRun music mix.While exercise is key, taking time for yourself every day is critical for your health, well being and longevity. It’s all in my CHAIR method I recently described in an article for Prevention.com.C stands for a deeply felt commitment to very specific goals. You see the goal; you know why you’re doing it.H is for healthier foods, healthy carbs and proteins, healthy fat. ‘Diet’ is a word I never use.  It has the word ‘die’ in it.A stands for activity.  Daily activity, daily tracking of food and exercise. If you track, you adhere. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day. But even raking leaves counts as activity.I is inner motivation—you have to have your ‘why.’  And it has to be internal to you.R is for a realistic set of goals. You need something very tangible, like you want to be off blood pressure medication—not just I want to lose some weight or tone up.At the end of the day it’s all about thinking. The ‘link’ is what you think.” When you think you don’t have the time ask yourself if what you think is True, Helpful, Inspirational, Necessary, Kind to yourself. Hey, that’s what “THINK” means! If your answer is “No,” then change your thought and get active. It only takes a minute!What tips to have to stay active?  I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Train Less. Perform Better.

  ·  3 min

Train Less. Perform Better.

A lot of the more traditional approaches to cardio look at longer distances and higher volume as the best ways to get and stay in shape. While there is certainly nothing wrong with that method, I tend to take the “less is more” philosophy into my cardio training.  This doesn’t mean I don’t lace up my running shoes as much as the next person; I simply have a much lower training volume than some people.  I do this through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  HIIT is a type of cardio involving a specified period (generally short) of very hard activity followed by a short rest period.  It’s a very effective training method, one that has helped my speed and endurance greatly over the past few years.With that, I want to give you my top 5 benefits of interval training:Increased oxidative capacity.  A muscle’s oxidative capacity is essentially its maximal ability to utilize oxygen in order to produce energy.  It is a fancy term that basically says how much oxygen a muscle is capable of using at once.  Research shows that runners can increase oxidative capacity, and thus overall endurance, in as little as two weeks of high intensity intervals.Prevent Boredom.  If you’re like me, then a long distance run on the treadmill can get a little boring.  Interval training not only requires you to change speed and intensity often, but also allows you the chance to get away from the treadmill altogether.  Running tracks, public parks, and gymnasiums all provide a different environment to keep your training fun and interesting.Burn fat.  Research agrees that the higher our exercise intensity, the more glucose we will burn during a workout.  You might be asking: “Well, when does this ‘burn more fat’ come into play?”  The answer is simple; at rest.  Yes, while we are resting.  In short, we lose a great amount of energy while burning glucose at high intensities.  The thing most people do not realize is that we must replace this energy when we are done exercising.  The fuel source for replacing energy??  You guessed it – FAT!!  So, in essence, the more glucose we use during exercise, the more fat we burn following exercise!It’s challenging.  Put down the magazine.  Quit texting.  The goal of interval training is to work as hard as you can the entire time.  If you do that, you won’t be focusing on anything but your workout – which is the way it should be!Efficient.  Interval training is efficient in terms of both time and injury prevention.  Given that your intensity is at an appropriate level, you can get an effective interval workout done in less than 20 minutes.  Because you’re putting in less time, you can avoid the constant pounding that miles and miles of distance running places upon the lower body.To give you guys a little idea of what a typical HIIT session looks like, I will leave you all with one of my favorite interval workouts.  If you need some music for this workout, I’d recommend listening to “Go Hard” by DJ Prophecy.  It’s an up-beat mix, which I prefer for interval training.Work-to-Rest Ratio – 2:1Sprint – 30 SecondsRest – 15 SecondsRound 1: 8 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 2: 6 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 3: 4 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsIt might take you a few sets to figure out what that speed is going to be if you’re on a treadmill, and that’s fine.  Just make sure you are pushing yourself on each and every set in order to get the best results possible!!Have you tried high intensity interval training?  If so, let me know what you think of it in the comments below.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.


Train Less. Perform Better.

  ·  3 min

Train Less. Perform Better.

A lot of the more traditional approaches to cardio look at longer distances and higher volume as the best ways to get and stay in shape. While there is certainly nothing wrong with that method, I tend to take the “less is more” philosophy into my cardio training.  This doesn’t mean I don’t lace up my running shoes as much as the next person; I simply have a much lower training volume than some people.  I do this through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  HIIT is a type of cardio involving a specified period (generally short) of very hard activity followed by a short rest period.  It’s a very effective training method, one that has helped my speed and endurance greatly over the past few years.With that, I want to give you my top 5 benefits of interval training:Increased oxidative capacity.  A muscle’s oxidative capacity is essentially its maximal ability to utilize oxygen in order to produce energy.  It is a fancy term that basically says how much oxygen a muscle is capable of using at once.  Research shows that runners can increase oxidative capacity, and thus overall endurance, in as little as two weeks of high intensity intervals.Prevent Boredom.  If you’re like me, then a long distance run on the treadmill can get a little boring.  Interval training not only requires you to change speed and intensity often, but also allows you the chance to get away from the treadmill altogether.  Running tracks, public parks, and gymnasiums all provide a different environment to keep your training fun and interesting.Burn fat.  Research agrees that the higher our exercise intensity, the more glucose we will burn during a workout.  You might be asking: “Well, when does this ‘burn more fat’ come into play?”  The answer is simple; at rest.  Yes, while we are resting.  In short, we lose a great amount of energy while burning glucose at high intensities.  The thing most people do not realize is that we must replace this energy when we are done exercising.  The fuel source for replacing energy??  You guessed it – FAT!!  So, in essence, the more glucose we use during exercise, the more fat we burn following exercise!It’s challenging.  Put down the magazine.  Quit texting.  The goal of interval training is to work as hard as you can the entire time.  If you do that, you won’t be focusing on anything but your workout – which is the way it should be!Efficient.  Interval training is efficient in terms of both time and injury prevention.  Given that your intensity is at an appropriate level, you can get an effective interval workout done in less than 20 minutes.  Because you’re putting in less time, you can avoid the constant pounding that miles and miles of distance running places upon the lower body.To give you guys a little idea of what a typical HIIT session looks like, I will leave you all with one of my favorite interval workouts.  If you need some music for this workout, I’d recommend listening to “Go Hard” by DJ Prophecy.  It’s an up-beat mix, which I prefer for interval training.Work-to-Rest Ratio – 2:1Sprint – 30 SecondsRest – 15 SecondsRound 1: 8 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 2: 6 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsRound 3: 4 Total Sets – Sprint 30 seconds – rest 15 secondsIt might take you a few sets to figure out what that speed is going to be if you’re on a treadmill, and that’s fine.  Just make sure you are pushing yourself on each and every set in order to get the best results possible!!Have you tried high intensity interval training?  If so, let me know what you think of it in the comments below.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.


Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

  ·  3 min

Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

If you are among the 29,478,000 Americans who run or jog 50 or more days a year then you know why you run. Running offers phenom­enal psychological and physical benefits and you’ve probably even experienced a “runner’s high.” You must be spreading the word too, since running shoe sales grew to a whopping $3.04 billion in 2012, up 23% from 2011.Slipping on a pair of running shoes is a common way to start the day, along with the ubiquitous headphones popping out of the ears of joggers and runners.Psychological and Physical Benefits of RunningSo what is this national, indeed international, sensation all about? What do we love about running?Perhaps we love the way we feel. After all, it is well known that the psychological benefits of running rival the physical benefits. Nearly three-quarters of runners who maintain at least a moderate level of fitness say that running keeps them in a positive, relaxed, happy, state of mind. My clients who struggle with depression find that running is a less expensive, highly preferable and equally effective mood booster, than taking side-effect prone medications.Runners report significant increases in the quality of their life, feel greater energy, patience, optimism and ambition. For many, running leads to significantly lower levels of stress, improved memory, increased verbal fluency and better cognitive functioning. Perhaps most importantly, runners report greater health benefits that include burning more calories, heart health, improved HDL cholesterol levels, a boost to the immune system, increases in bone density and improved lung capacity.Runner’s HighThen there’s always that “runner’s high.” It’s true, that invincible “what discomfort?” flow that runners feel, tied to a release of endorphins, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, with an increase in body temperature, have been fully demonstrated by endorphin and neuroscience researchers. ­­­Want to power up that output? Then you need to introduce yourself to your nucleus accumbens, your prefrontal cortex and your amygdala. These are located in your brain and go into high gear, releasing feel-good chemicals, particularly when music activates these emotion and intellectual centers.Boost Performance with MusicWant to boost the impact of running and increase the positive benefits that running brings? Be sure to choose your favorite music mixes and performance enhancing beats per minute to keep you moving along a health-promoting pace. Fitness psychologists, who study the effects of music on athletic performance and exercise, find that listening to music while working out stimulates mental arousal and enhances brain functioning, at least for a short period of time.The key, the researchers tell us, is to choose music you enjoy, and note that the faster the music, the greater the power output. It’s all about the motivating power of the music you choose and how you choose to listen to it. Louder and faster music, according to research, leads to runners dialing up their pace, while slower and quieter music is best for cool downs. Research suggests that the right music can boost endurance by 15%.  Furthermore, while exercise promotes good endothelial functioning, so important to your heart and in preventing atherosclerosis, listening to music for 30 or more minutes while running or working out turbocharges that effect on the cells that line the inside of your blood vessels.Next time you hear about a marathon, half marathon, or 5K coming to town, or a buddy asks you to go for a jog at the park, now you know why running has the growth curve it does and why so many love running. It leaves you feeling better head to toe. And with RockMyRun rocking your health benefits, well, it’s hard to imagine anything better putting a smile on your—or your doctor’s–face!Why do you run?  What are your favorite benefits?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

  ·  3 min

Why We Run: The Physical and Psychological Benefits

If you are among the 29,478,000 Americans who run or jog 50 or more days a year then you know why you run. Running offers phenom­enal psychological and physical benefits and you’ve probably even experienced a “runner’s high.” You must be spreading the word too, since running shoe sales grew to a whopping $3.04 billion in 2012, up 23% from 2011.Slipping on a pair of running shoes is a common way to start the day, along with the ubiquitous headphones popping out of the ears of joggers and runners.Psychological and Physical Benefits of RunningSo what is this national, indeed international, sensation all about? What do we love about running?Perhaps we love the way we feel. After all, it is well known that the psychological benefits of running rival the physical benefits. Nearly three-quarters of runners who maintain at least a moderate level of fitness say that running keeps them in a positive, relaxed, happy, state of mind. My clients who struggle with depression find that running is a less expensive, highly preferable and equally effective mood booster, than taking side-effect prone medications.Runners report significant increases in the quality of their life, feel greater energy, patience, optimism and ambition. For many, running leads to significantly lower levels of stress, improved memory, increased verbal fluency and better cognitive functioning. Perhaps most importantly, runners report greater health benefits that include burning more calories, heart health, improved HDL cholesterol levels, a boost to the immune system, increases in bone density and improved lung capacity.Runner’s HighThen there’s always that “runner’s high.” It’s true, that invincible “what discomfort?” flow that runners feel, tied to a release of endorphins, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, with an increase in body temperature, have been fully demonstrated by endorphin and neuroscience researchers. ­­­Want to power up that output? Then you need to introduce yourself to your nucleus accumbens, your prefrontal cortex and your amygdala. These are located in your brain and go into high gear, releasing feel-good chemicals, particularly when music activates these emotion and intellectual centers.Boost Performance with MusicWant to boost the impact of running and increase the positive benefits that running brings? Be sure to choose your favorite music mixes and performance enhancing beats per minute to keep you moving along a health-promoting pace. Fitness psychologists, who study the effects of music on athletic performance and exercise, find that listening to music while working out stimulates mental arousal and enhances brain functioning, at least for a short period of time.The key, the researchers tell us, is to choose music you enjoy, and note that the faster the music, the greater the power output. It’s all about the motivating power of the music you choose and how you choose to listen to it. Louder and faster music, according to research, leads to runners dialing up their pace, while slower and quieter music is best for cool downs. Research suggests that the right music can boost endurance by 15%.  Furthermore, while exercise promotes good endothelial functioning, so important to your heart and in preventing atherosclerosis, listening to music for 30 or more minutes while running or working out turbocharges that effect on the cells that line the inside of your blood vessels.Next time you hear about a marathon, half marathon, or 5K coming to town, or a buddy asks you to go for a jog at the park, now you know why running has the growth curve it does and why so many love running. It leaves you feeling better head to toe. And with RockMyRun rocking your health benefits, well, it’s hard to imagine anything better putting a smile on your—or your doctor’s–face!Why do you run?  What are your favorite benefits?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Cold as Ice…and Still Running

  ·  4 min

Cold as Ice…and Still Running

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a Christmas song written in 1944 by Frank Loesser. It’s a conversation between a woman who has to go and a man who keeps telling her “But baby, it’s cold outside.”“I really can’t stay(But baby, it’s cold outside)I’ve got to go away(But baby, it’s cold outside)”Avoid the Common ExcusesIt’ll soon be cold out there with lots of excuses not to leave, to stay indoors, and surely not to exercise. Whether it’s Foreigner’s Cold as Ice, or Loesser’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside, there are many barriers to convince people that winter is a time to stay indoors and be sedentary.  It’s not. Of course winter activities can be challenging, but like everything else, “the link is what you think.”It’s just weather. If you think it’s a great opportunity to try new activities, to enjoy the crunch of falling leaves under your feet, to have snowball fights, or to do some hiking or jogging in the crisp fall air.  Then you’ll love the coming months and stay in shape.If you think instead that it’s too cold, that you’ll freeze to death, that you’ll get injured, that there isn’t enough daylight to be active, then you’ll surely believe it’s inevitable to put on some weight and be more sedentary.“The link is what you think.” I want you to think rationally, logically and accurately about the coming months wherever you live and use the fall and winter to think outside the box to keep your health, fitness and wellness levels up and move into next spring feeling great!Have a Positive MindsetSure some folks will deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but when the days grow short guess what helps? Running! It can promote the release of depression-fighting hormones leaving those suffering with this very real malady in better moods and feeling more positive.  And we know that positive thinking and a positive outlook, the kind that comes from physical activity, improves your overall health.Staying indoors, breathing all that heated air as many do during the colder months, isn’t the healthiest for your lungs or for your mind. Getting outside, properly dressed for the cold, enjoying the outdoor crisp air, gives you a chance to literally detox your mind and body. It doesn’t take as many changes as you might think to enjoy it all.So the first thing that’s needed is the right mindset. What do you enjoy about the fall and winter months? Keep your eye on those things.Fall and winter are great times to try on new activities, join new classes at your local gym, gain new skills, add new strength training activities and find new ways to integrate exercise and activities into your daily life.Some use the winter months to form a base, with activities that add to endurance.  Longer runs, along with swimming and cycling indoors will add to your volume.  Springtime is the time to build with added weight and resistance training, as well as more interval cardio training to increase speed and strength.  Summer and fall are great times to put it all into practice and get out there for your 5K, 10K, and marathon races.Get Prepared for Exercise OutdoorsExercising outdoors when it’s cold outside requires a bit of preparation to make your activities successful.  A few smart things you can do are:Dress properly in thin wicking insulating layers to prevent hypothermia and frostbite in some climates.Wear reflective gear or a headlamp for running in the dark.Put on a fleece or thermal hat to prevent 50% heat loss from your head.Keep your hands and feet warm with mittens, because you can lose 30% of your body heat through your extremities.Cover your face with a balaclava (ski mask).Carry some ChapStick.Plan a route with icy patches in mind.Always run with a buddy.Wear shoes that give you a bit more traction and are water-proof and socks that are wicking, not cotton, and made of wool or CoolMax.Get Active beyond Your WorkoutRemember that there are lots of everyday activities to rejuvenate you and give you more natural energy during your day, including:Shoveling snowWalking at lunchtime with friendsTaking the stairs instead of the elevatorParking further away from your destination or getting off the bus or subway a few stops earlierStaying active while indoors with physical movement during TV commercialsFind Music to Motivate YouWhen we think of the winter season, filled with holidays, music always tops the list along with food, friends and family get-togethers.  Crank up your RockMyRun mixes for the genre and beats per minute that inspire your body and soul, that promote your focus on your health and above all, to motivate you to enjoy the spirit of the season and the holidays happy, active and fit.What are your tips for staying active, once the temperatures drop outdoors?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Cold as Ice…and Still Running

  ·  4 min

Cold as Ice…and Still Running

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a Christmas song written in 1944 by Frank Loesser. It’s a conversation between a woman who has to go and a man who keeps telling her “But baby, it’s cold outside.”“I really can’t stay(But baby, it’s cold outside)I’ve got to go away(But baby, it’s cold outside)”Avoid the Common ExcusesIt’ll soon be cold out there with lots of excuses not to leave, to stay indoors, and surely not to exercise. Whether it’s Foreigner’s Cold as Ice, or Loesser’s Baby, It’s Cold Outside, there are many barriers to convince people that winter is a time to stay indoors and be sedentary.  It’s not. Of course winter activities can be challenging, but like everything else, “the link is what you think.”It’s just weather. If you think it’s a great opportunity to try new activities, to enjoy the crunch of falling leaves under your feet, to have snowball fights, or to do some hiking or jogging in the crisp fall air.  Then you’ll love the coming months and stay in shape.If you think instead that it’s too cold, that you’ll freeze to death, that you’ll get injured, that there isn’t enough daylight to be active, then you’ll surely believe it’s inevitable to put on some weight and be more sedentary.“The link is what you think.” I want you to think rationally, logically and accurately about the coming months wherever you live and use the fall and winter to think outside the box to keep your health, fitness and wellness levels up and move into next spring feeling great!Have a Positive MindsetSure some folks will deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but when the days grow short guess what helps? Running! It can promote the release of depression-fighting hormones leaving those suffering with this very real malady in better moods and feeling more positive.  And we know that positive thinking and a positive outlook, the kind that comes from physical activity, improves your overall health.Staying indoors, breathing all that heated air as many do during the colder months, isn’t the healthiest for your lungs or for your mind. Getting outside, properly dressed for the cold, enjoying the outdoor crisp air, gives you a chance to literally detox your mind and body. It doesn’t take as many changes as you might think to enjoy it all.So the first thing that’s needed is the right mindset. What do you enjoy about the fall and winter months? Keep your eye on those things.Fall and winter are great times to try on new activities, join new classes at your local gym, gain new skills, add new strength training activities and find new ways to integrate exercise and activities into your daily life.Some use the winter months to form a base, with activities that add to endurance.  Longer runs, along with swimming and cycling indoors will add to your volume.  Springtime is the time to build with added weight and resistance training, as well as more interval cardio training to increase speed and strength.  Summer and fall are great times to put it all into practice and get out there for your 5K, 10K, and marathon races.Get Prepared for Exercise OutdoorsExercising outdoors when it’s cold outside requires a bit of preparation to make your activities successful.  A few smart things you can do are:Dress properly in thin wicking insulating layers to prevent hypothermia and frostbite in some climates.Wear reflective gear or a headlamp for running in the dark.Put on a fleece or thermal hat to prevent 50% heat loss from your head.Keep your hands and feet warm with mittens, because you can lose 30% of your body heat through your extremities.Cover your face with a balaclava (ski mask).Carry some ChapStick.Plan a route with icy patches in mind.Always run with a buddy.Wear shoes that give you a bit more traction and are water-proof and socks that are wicking, not cotton, and made of wool or CoolMax.Get Active beyond Your WorkoutRemember that there are lots of everyday activities to rejuvenate you and give you more natural energy during your day, including:Shoveling snowWalking at lunchtime with friendsTaking the stairs instead of the elevatorParking further away from your destination or getting off the bus or subway a few stops earlierStaying active while indoors with physical movement during TV commercialsFind Music to Motivate YouWhen we think of the winter season, filled with holidays, music always tops the list along with food, friends and family get-togethers.  Crank up your RockMyRun mixes for the genre and beats per minute that inspire your body and soul, that promote your focus on your health and above all, to motivate you to enjoy the spirit of the season and the holidays happy, active and fit.What are your tips for staying active, once the temperatures drop outdoors?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

  ·  5 min

Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

When it comes to finding time to exercise, let’s start with some facts. Each of us has 168 hours per week in life. Many of us work about 50 or so hours per week, sleep about 50-60 hours per week, spend another 15-20 hours each week on personal care and grooming, leaving most of us about 6+ hours each day to_____________________. Fill in the blank.We fill in our time with what’s most important to us. As I said in an article I wrote for Greatest: Many people who don’t work out regularly can rattle off many reasons they’re not motivated to exercise, from not understanding the benefits of activity to thoughts like “I’m too busy,” “I’m embarrassed by how I look,” “exercise is boring,” and so on. The folks who hold these (false) self-sabotaging beliefs often believe exercise doesn’t matter; they don’t enjoy it, or they simply have no interest in doing it. And, really, who could blame them? Who would be inspired to start a physical activity with negative thoughts running through their head? A person has to believe exercise is of value in order to build motivation to do it.Benefits of ExerciseAs you already know, there are many benefits of exercise:Weight managementHealth and disease managementMood and self-confidence enhancementEnergy boosterPromotes healthy sleepPuts oomph into your sex lifeReduces stress by increasing brain soothing chemicalsHelps your brain function betterSparks creativityYour muscles, lungs, diaphragm, heart, stomach, kidneys, skin, joints, agility, balance, coordination, endurance and strength will all “smile” and say thank you many years from now. Every Minute CountsToday we know that even brief bouts of exercise, just 10 minutes at a time or less, can add a great deal to your health and well being while also slimming your waistline. The good news, remarkable really, comes from researchers at the University of Utah who found that every minute of intense movement counts towards the magic number of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity we are all supposed to achieve each week – but only 5% of us do.  That’s 150 minutes out of the 48 or so hours we have available to us each week.The findings indicate that brief periods of intense activity are effective in preventing weight gain and promoting health as well as doing 10 minute+ intervals. Moderate to vigorous activity, by the way, is walking about 3 miles per hour, or 2,020 counts per minute on an accelerometer. Clearly, every minute you spend in intense activity, counts.This suggests that the data on the best time to workout may be ignoring an important element—your life. Sure there are those who believe that for A-list athletes aiming for performance it might be better to push heavy training to alter in the morning or afternoon, the fact is that most who adhere to exercise routines are early morning exercisers. Bottom line is whenever you enjoy hitting the gym or track, do it. There’s benefit throughout the day.Get Creative about Getting ActiveHow can you get in short bouts of more intense exercise and find the time to get in your 150 minutes or so a week? Try these tested ways:Like a good scout, always be prepared. Don’t leave your home without your workout clothes packedKeep your workouts scheduled in your day planner —make an appointment for yourself! Remember that every minute counts.Wake up earlier and get your health plan moving, and your heart rate pumping, at the start of the day.Park away from your office, get off the train, subway or bus a few blocks before your normal close stopWhen you watch TV, use the commercials as reminders to do your squats, lunges, push ups, burpees, jumping jacks, planks, and crunches during the one-minute break.  Keep hand weights next to your chair/couch, ride your stationary bike and never use the remote control to change volume or channel.Make your lawn mower your newest piece of fitness equipment—ever hear of Carioca mowing? It’s all in the step!Walk to the office of the person you’d normally call and keep a jump rope in your briefcase or office drawer too!Make your chores count by scrubbing with vigor, grinding and stirring with some beats per minute, vacuum-dance with energy, wash your own car with upper body pushes, and shovel the coming snow (if your health allows) in tune with your favorite RockMyRun music mix.While exercise is key, taking time for yourself every day is critical for your health, well being and longevity. It’s all in my CHAIR method I recently described in an article for Prevention.com.C stands for a deeply felt commitment to very specific goals. You see the goal; you know why you’re doing it.H is for healthier foods, healthy carbs and proteins, healthy fat. ‘Diet’ is a word I never use.  It has the word ‘die’ in it.A stands for activity.  Daily activity, daily tracking of food and exercise. If you track, you adhere. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day. But even raking leaves counts as activity.I is inner motivation—you have to have your ‘why.’  And it has to be internal to you.R is for a realistic set of goals. You need something very tangible, like you want to be off blood pressure medication—not just I want to lose some weight or tone up.At the end of the day it’s all about thinking. The ‘link’ is what you think.” When you think you don’t have the time ask yourself if what you think is True, Helpful, Inspirational, Necessary, Kind to yourself. Hey, that’s what “THINK” means! If your answer is “No,” then change your thought and get active. It only takes a minute!What tips to have to stay active?  I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

  ·  5 min

Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again.

When it comes to finding time to exercise, let’s start with some facts. Each of us has 168 hours per week in life. Many of us work about 50 or so hours per week, sleep about 50-60 hours per week, spend another 15-20 hours each week on personal care and grooming, leaving most of us about 6+ hours each day to_____________________. Fill in the blank.We fill in our time with what’s most important to us. As I said in an article I wrote for Greatest: Many people who don’t work out regularly can rattle off many reasons they’re not motivated to exercise, from not understanding the benefits of activity to thoughts like “I’m too busy,” “I’m embarrassed by how I look,” “exercise is boring,” and so on. The folks who hold these (false) self-sabotaging beliefs often believe exercise doesn’t matter; they don’t enjoy it, or they simply have no interest in doing it. And, really, who could blame them? Who would be inspired to start a physical activity with negative thoughts running through their head? A person has to believe exercise is of value in order to build motivation to do it.Benefits of ExerciseAs you already know, there are many benefits of exercise:Weight managementHealth and disease managementMood and self-confidence enhancementEnergy boosterPromotes healthy sleepPuts oomph into your sex lifeReduces stress by increasing brain soothing chemicalsHelps your brain function betterSparks creativityYour muscles, lungs, diaphragm, heart, stomach, kidneys, skin, joints, agility, balance, coordination, endurance and strength will all “smile” and say thank you many years from now. Every Minute CountsToday we know that even brief bouts of exercise, just 10 minutes at a time or less, can add a great deal to your health and well being while also slimming your waistline. The good news, remarkable really, comes from researchers at the University of Utah who found that every minute of intense movement counts towards the magic number of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity we are all supposed to achieve each week – but only 5% of us do.  That’s 150 minutes out of the 48 or so hours we have available to us each week.The findings indicate that brief periods of intense activity are effective in preventing weight gain and promoting health as well as doing 10 minute+ intervals. Moderate to vigorous activity, by the way, is walking about 3 miles per hour, or 2,020 counts per minute on an accelerometer. Clearly, every minute you spend in intense activity, counts.This suggests that the data on the best time to workout may be ignoring an important element—your life. Sure there are those who believe that for A-list athletes aiming for performance it might be better to push heavy training to alter in the morning or afternoon, the fact is that most who adhere to exercise routines are early morning exercisers. Bottom line is whenever you enjoy hitting the gym or track, do it. There’s benefit throughout the day.Get Creative about Getting ActiveHow can you get in short bouts of more intense exercise and find the time to get in your 150 minutes or so a week? Try these tested ways:Like a good scout, always be prepared. Don’t leave your home without your workout clothes packedKeep your workouts scheduled in your day planner —make an appointment for yourself! Remember that every minute counts.Wake up earlier and get your health plan moving, and your heart rate pumping, at the start of the day.Park away from your office, get off the train, subway or bus a few blocks before your normal close stopWhen you watch TV, use the commercials as reminders to do your squats, lunges, push ups, burpees, jumping jacks, planks, and crunches during the one-minute break.  Keep hand weights next to your chair/couch, ride your stationary bike and never use the remote control to change volume or channel.Make your lawn mower your newest piece of fitness equipment—ever hear of Carioca mowing? It’s all in the step!Walk to the office of the person you’d normally call and keep a jump rope in your briefcase or office drawer too!Make your chores count by scrubbing with vigor, grinding and stirring with some beats per minute, vacuum-dance with energy, wash your own car with upper body pushes, and shovel the coming snow (if your health allows) in tune with your favorite RockMyRun music mix.While exercise is key, taking time for yourself every day is critical for your health, well being and longevity. It’s all in my CHAIR method I recently described in an article for Prevention.com.C stands for a deeply felt commitment to very specific goals. You see the goal; you know why you’re doing it.H is for healthier foods, healthy carbs and proteins, healthy fat. ‘Diet’ is a word I never use.  It has the word ‘die’ in it.A stands for activity.  Daily activity, daily tracking of food and exercise. If you track, you adhere. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day. But even raking leaves counts as activity.I is inner motivation—you have to have your ‘why.’  And it has to be internal to you.R is for a realistic set of goals. You need something very tangible, like you want to be off blood pressure medication—not just I want to lose some weight or tone up.At the end of the day it’s all about thinking. The ‘link’ is what you think.” When you think you don’t have the time ask yourself if what you think is True, Helpful, Inspirational, Necessary, Kind to yourself. Hey, that’s what “THINK” means! If your answer is “No,” then change your thought and get active. It only takes a minute!What tips to have to stay active?  I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


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