Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)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.


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)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.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment 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.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment 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.


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?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. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?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. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)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.


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)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.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment 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.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment 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.


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?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. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?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. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


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Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)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.


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)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.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment 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.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment 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.


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?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. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?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. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)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.


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)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.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment 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.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment 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.


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?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. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?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. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


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Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)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.


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)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.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment 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.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment 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.


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?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. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?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. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)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.


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)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.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment 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.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment 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.


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?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. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?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. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


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Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)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.


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)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.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment 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.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment 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.


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?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. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?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. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)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.


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)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.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment 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.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment 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.


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?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. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?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. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


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