Getting in Shape for Winter Fun!

Dave & Deb Brown, NSCA-CPT’s

As I write this article, it is a warm and sunny blue-and-gold Fall day. Dave and I have been out hiking, mountain biking and running quite a lot; soaking up the beauty. However, in a few weeks, the snow will start flying. Will you hibernate all winter as the days grow shorter or will you make the transition to colder weather activities? Hopefully, you can continue to fully enjoy all that Colorado has to offer by staying active throughout the next several months. Here are some great ideas to help you get and stay fit for winter activities:

Build a foundation of fitness. If you have not been active recently, but plan to snowshoe, hunt, ski or snowboard, get moving now to build a base of strength and endurance. The best fitness plan combines cardio work, strength training, core training, flexibility and balance work.

Include exercises that are specific to your activity. If you are a skier or snowboarder, you will want to incorporate specific movements that mimic what you will do during your activity. For example, when training for any winter sport, you will want to include integrated strength and conditioning movements for the quads, hamstrings, glutes and the muscles in your core. The core is tricky as the goal is to make it more stable front and back and rotational. If you’ve got a great base level of fitness, plyometrics and agility training can be added, especially if you will be riding moguls in a couple months. These are the muscles you use the most when playing in winter so if you can focus on them pre-season, you will have a strong start and just continue to get stronger as the season moves forward. Make sure to consistently engage in some form of cardio work such as running, cycling or cardio machines to keep your endurance up.

Include cross training. The human body can get really good at doing the same thing over and over so it’s important to add cross training. Cross training is critical as it causes the body to move differently than in our sport or choice, thus lowering injury chances. Strength train, hit the cardio machines in the gym or just engage in different activities than your primary one. Always include consistent stretching to maintain flexibility and to help avoid injury.

Get out in the cold. Start now, while it isn’t too cold out there yet. Get out walking, hiking, snowshoeing running, or whatever you like to do. Get used to the cold weather so when you start participating in your favorite winter sport your body is more capable of handling it.

Fuel your body correctly. Make sure you are eating healthful foods to support your body’s need for energy. Limit alcohol the night before a big ski day and make sure you eat a good breakfast! Carry healthy snacks when you are out doing your activity so that you can maintain energy and don’t forget to stay adequately hydrated.

Just Get Started!

Dave Brown
NSCA Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist

get-startedSometimes the hardest thing to do is actually making the decision to start something and then taking action. This winter, I’ve had many opportunities to push myself to make the decision and secondly take action. I’m a trail runner and run in all seasons. This winter, I’ve run more outside and in snow than any previous year. On mornings when it’s as low as 8° outside it can be tough to get out of a warm bed, put on running gear and head outside. The decision can be tough and taking action can be even tougher. I know when I first walk outside the cold will sting. I can say without hesitation that every run I’ve done in the cold and snow has been more than worth it. Running in the cold is actually incredibly refreshing and invigorating.

No matter what you’re looking to do, it begins with a concrete decision to start. It could be something as small as not missing a run as in my case. It could be something life changing like starting a weight-loss program, deciding to watch less TV to have more family time, or deciding this is the year to hike your first 14er.

There is no perfect time to start something. There will always be obstacles to success that we’ll need to plan around. It’s called Life! Personally, I think when times are crazy it’s the best time to get started. If you can start a fitness program, be consistent and learn how to navigate the rough waters of life when things are crazy, imagine how you’ll do when things settle down.

By making the decision to get started, you are making the decision to put yourself first in one area of your life. For some, this will feel uncomfortable because they’ve always put their needs last. The interesting part of making a decision to get fit and healthier is that it helps to drive all other aspects of life. You’ll have more energy and a freer mind. One of the coolest things about what Deb & I do is watching clients progress through their journey to better health. Seeing someone start with a low fitness level and then through training, develop the strength and confidence to take on their first 5k or another milestone event is amazing.

Now is the time to make the decision to Just Get Started! Not next month, not next year. The decision to start is the toughest part of the journey toward a healthier you. Once you make that decision, it gets easier with each passing day. Here’s the creed Peter Twist, one of the top fitness presenters, who recently battled Stage 4 Nasopharyngeal cancer lives by; “Life is short…LIVE EVERY DAY. Today I will GIVE everything I have, what I keep inside I will lose forever.” Powerful words to live by.

Call us to get a personalized fitness plan designed around your goals and abilities. We are located in the heart of Aspen Park on the 285 frontage road. Give Dave or Deb a call for more information about our Personal Training and Coaching services at (303) 816-1426. You can visit us on the web at www.onthemovefitness.com.

Dig Deep

Deb Brown, NSCA-cpt, cns, cws

Dig_deep_462273705Have you created goals for the New Year? You may be having challenges in keeping motivated and wondering how you are going to stay the course. Are the excuses starting to pop up? If so, read on to learn how to stay motivated.

1. Examine your goal: is it realistic and measurable? How will you know when you have been successful? Does it work into your current lifestyle and schedule? Do you have a good support team?

2. Examine your obstacles? What is really getting in the way of you actively working on your goals every day? The “I’m too busy” excuse is not good enough. If you are truly committed to making your health a priority, you will find the time needed. If other things are constantly getting in the way of you working out, you need to do some soul searching and ask why you keep ending up on the bottom of your own priority list?

3. Ask yourself: what motivates you? If you are feeling ambivalent toward your goals, but feel that they are achievable, examine why you are not still excited to work on them. Ask why you are motivated to work on this goal, and then ask why again until you have distilled your true motivation.

4. Believe in yourself and abilities – look at what you have done well in the past; in what areas of life you have succeeded. What did it take to achieve success in these areas? Organization, focus, hard work? Guess what? It takes the same skills to commit to and live a healthy life. You have the skills. Now, just
harness those skills that you use at work or in other places in your life and apply to your fitness goals.

5. What is the “game-changer”? What is the one action, that if you did it every day, would lead to success? What is standing in your way? Commit and find a way to make this happen. Is it getting into the gym three times per week? Grocery shopping and meal planning over the weekend? Do it!

6. Recommit!! Refine your goals to what excites you and what is achievable. Don’t just totally give up! Push aside those goals that do not work for you and focus on what DOES work, what gives you energy. Use visualization to see where you want to get to. At your optimal level of wellness, what do you look like, feel like? What are the things that you will be able to do that you cannot do now? Write these ideas down and go back and read them when you are feeling out of focus.

If you would like support in achieving your health and fitness goals, give us a call to learn how we can help.

A Safe and Balanced Workout

Deb Brown, NSCA-cpt, cwc, cns

January will be here before you know it! As you consider your fitness for the upcoming year, make sure you are using safe and proper techniques in your exercise program.  There are many things to consider as you start a new workout program; or if you have been working out for awhile and are not seeing results.

Make sure to have a properly balanced program: a good program will include not only cardiovascular work, but also strength training, flexibility work, core work and balance. It is important to work all of these components for the best results. Also, it is critical to work opposing muscle groups. For example, pushing muscles and pulling muscles work together in our bodies and both must be addressed. We all spend quite a lot of time driving and working at our desks. This creates tension in the muscles of the neck and back due to the “forward lean”. It is important to balance out that tension with the appropriate exercises to help avoid a chronic issue or injury.

Be aware of intensity issues and proper progression. People often start working out on their own, hitting it really hard in a spurt of enthusiasm. This can lead to injury and then getting side-lined. There is no reason that you cannot reach your fitness goals without doing a high intensity workout all the time. If you injure yourself or even get too sore, it is counterproductive. If you are constantly sore from your workouts, your body is struggling to cope with inflammation, which is not healthy. Constant and severe soreness also leads to withdrawal from regular exercise.

Proper progression means to start out where you are TODAY and slowly, but steadily increase intensity. You have to give your bones, joints and muscles time to adjust to the challenge of the exercise. Warming up properly before any exercise is critical, as is stretching afterwards.

The variety of exercises is also very important. If you are continually doing the exact same movements, your body adapts accordingly and you will cease seeing gains. You want to be moving your bones and joints in different planes of motion to mimic how we move throughout the day. If you keep doing the same thing over and over, you could set yourself up for repetitive strain injury.

As you can tell, there are multiple facets that go into designing a safe and balanced workout. If you would like to learn more about how we can set you up with an appropriate fitness program, please give us a call to schedule a free consultation.

Everyday Eating Decisions and Your Health

By Deb Brown, NSCA-CPT, cwc,cns

Everyday eating decisions affect your overall health in a big way. We are all very busy and often this leads to grabbing whatever is easiest and most convenient, regardless of nutritional quality.  This leads to an intake of foods high in calories, salt and saturated fats. These foods also tend to be low on fiber and nutrients. Eating on the run also tends to mean a lower intake of fruits and vegetables, which contain very important nutrients. All of this encourages weight gain, an unbalanced intake of nutrients and a lack of sustained energy. With a little thought and planning, you can decide to eat better on a daily basis, leading to greater energy and health. Here are some eating situations we all encounter every day and some ideas on how you can make the best decisions:

  1.  Out at a restaurant with friends/family – Skip the bread, appetizers, dessert and if possible, alcohol. Just have an entree consisting of a lean protein and healthy vegetables. Practice good portion control: eat until you are satisfied and then STOP eating! Get the rest bagged up for tomorrow’s lunch.
  1.  Running errands – plan your day and bring a cooler filled with healthy snacks and a healthy lunch. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water.
  1. Late night hunger – avoid getting hungry later at night by eating a good dinner and making sure you are getting enough calories throughout the day. Try to eat something every 3 or 4 hours.
  1. Busy and stress-filled workdays: pack a healthy lunch and snacks that you will look forward to eating. Include some healthy and delicious treats that you love such as small amounts of dark chocolate, tasty yogurt or fresh berries. Eating healthy does NOT mean eating dull and boring foods.
  1. Watching TV/Movies – mindless eating can really get you into trouble here! Have some healthy snacks available and put a specific portion into a bowl to enjoy.
  1. At home: eat a good breakfast which includes healthy portions of protein, carbohydrate and some fat. Make sure your house is stocked with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables that you can grab when on the run. Whole grain crackers/bread, low-fat cheese, hummus, peanut butter, Clif Bars and hard boiled eggs are some good grab-and-go staples.

If you are wondering where to begin, first analyze your current eating patterns and look for places where you can make healthier eating decisions. Start by keeping a food log for just 7 days and then you can see just what you are putting into your body.  Little dietary changes that you can make throughout the day really do add up over the course of a week, month and year.

Let Your Fitness Power 2015

Dave Brown, NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist

mtnbiking-sedonaI love April! It’s a time of renewal and looking forward. With longer days come more opportunities to get outside and enjoy the warmth of the sun. For me personally, it’s a time when I get more opportunities to mountain bike, trail run and hike on dry trails. It’s also when I start to change my workout program so I can be stronger in those activities.

Spring is when people start making plans; vacations (fitting into summer clothes), signing-up for endurance events, hiking, deciding which fourteeners they want to do over the summer, etc. All of these have one thing in common: being in better shape makes everything more enjoyable. Let’s delve into the Why!

When we exercise we’re pushing blood flow to every part of the body. More blood flow means more energy and oxygen available to the body. This process also powers our muscles during our workouts. The longer and more consistently we exercise our muscles, including our heart, they become stronger and operate more efficiently. This is what drives the possible!

EXERCISE AND MOVEMENT

Anyone who has started a new exercise program has noticed the body is initially uncoordinated and resistant to movement. Why is that? Put simply when you’re not exercising, especially after 40, you’re becoming both weaker and  less coordinated. The term Use it or lose it! could not be more true.

Fortunately for us the body is an adaptive machine. It loves to move and rewards us greatly when we do. When we start exercising, the first thing that happens is the body starts to move more efficiently. This process is called Neuromuscular adaptations. Also, the body never uses one muscle when performing exercises. Many muscles must be able to move together in concert for efficient movement.  If you’re pushing weight while standing in an upright position, your chest, shoulder and tricep muscles work to push the weight, but if we can’t stabilize the weight with our abdominals we’ll have a tough time.

Let’s take an example of running. Most people think about just the legs working, but there’s so much more going in. We have muscles in our hips and inner thigh that help stabilize the knees. Our abdominal and back muscles must also work to stabilize our upper body. A properly designed workout program takes all of these factors into account to build a stronger runner.

THINGS BECOME POSSIBLE

When we are stronger and can move better new things become possible. The hike we once thought impossible happens. The 5K or cycling event that was once just a dream is now a reality. On vacation, you have the strength and energy to experience more, making for a more enjoyable trip.

My favorite stories from clients are when they experience new things due to their increased fitness. That can be you in 2015! All it takes is getting started.

Winter’s here (almost), what are your outdoors plans?

When the temperatures drop is the time most people stop going outdoors for activities. In my opinion some of the most magical times of the year are being missed. Every thing looks different when you add snow to it. The peaks are more beautiful, the crisp morning air is refreshing and there’s nothing like the hearing crunch of snow under your shoes.

Sure it’s cold and that first taste of the cold stings. But, the body is one incredible adaptive machine. We generally get past the initial shock within 5-10 minutes and start shedding layers within 30 minutes. I’m always surprised just how much the body heats up. Even in the teens you’ll be surprised how little gear you need if you’re hiking or running.

1947627_10203611660997861_840369565_nDid I mention layers. Absolutely critical to dress in layers. Leave your cotton at home! Depending on the temperatures and where you’ll be plan on a wicking layer (synthetic or wool), an insulating layer and some type of wind protection. Especially if you’re like me and you head to the alpine environment. Don’t forget to hydrate, we sweat more than we think when it’s cold.

Don’t imitate a bear and hibernate all winter, get outside and I promise there may be some magic around the next corner.

See you on the trails!

Dave

 

Some resource for trails:

Top Snowshoe Hikes In Colorado

Colorado’s Best Snowshoeing Trails

Snowshoe Routes: Colorado’s Front Range 2nd Edition

Snowshoeing Colorado, 3rd Ed.

Resistance Training for Endurance Athletes!

Dave Brown, NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist

iStock_000012456861MediumAre you a runner, cyclist, mountain biker or tri-athlete looking for an edge and interested in injury prevention? Have you avoided resistance training because you were afraid you would increase body weight, be too sore to train or it could reduce performance? There is a growing body of evidence and research that shows the benefits of resistance training for endurance athletes. Now that we are entering the off/lower volume season, it is the perfect time to introduce resistance training into your regimen.

Injury Prevention – As endurance athletes we have one of the highest rates of muscle imbalances because our sports move us in one direction; forward. Additionally, endurance sports are highly repetitive causing the same muscles to be worked over and over while some muscles work very little. This sets up improper length-tension relationships in the muscle. Translation: increased injury rates; IT band syndrome, low back pain, knee problems, hamstring pulls.

By incorporating a well designed resistance training program and injury prevention techniques, an athlete’s compensatory movement patterns can be overcome. Additionally, if an athlete is stronger there is less wear and tear on the joints.

Better Performance – In a review of research related to resistance training and running economy, an increase of up to 8.1% was shown (J Strength Cond Res 22(6): 2036-2044, 2008). Better running economy equals less muscle involvement, lower heart rates and better times all without the need to increase VO2.

If you’re a stronger and more efficient athlete, you’ll have better power transfer and use less muscle to perform the same tasks. On a smaller scale if you develop stronger core musculature, especially along the posterior portion of the body, you’ll have better control over spinal stabilization resulting in less low and mid-back pain and fatigue.

The Complete Athlete – When developing a resistance training program for athletes, we train movements not muscles. We break down the movements involved in sport and incorporate the principle of specificity so the athlete has the most optimal strength/power transfer. There is a balance between too much and the right amount of specificity therefore we incorporate a functional training approach to develop the complete athlete; strengthen what’s weak, optimize sports specific movements and create an efficient well oiled movement machine.

Don’t Stop – Once you start resistance training, don’t stop! To see the best results you should continue both concurrently. If you stop all gains will be lost.

I’m an avid runner, cyclist and mountain biker and have used these principles in my own training. With winter approaching, now is the best time to integrate a resistance program. Doing it now will set you up perfectly for when training kicks off in earnest this coming spring. It will also help keep the pounds off over the winter.

Give Dave a call at (303) 816-1426 to learn how we can develop a resistance training program to take your endurance performance to the next level. www.onthemovefitness.com

Being in great shape is awesome, but don’t lose your edge!

I got out for a hike on Hoosier Pass this weekend with the pups, Sadie and Lucky. When I’m out hiking enjoying everything Colorado has to offer is one of the times I most appreciate being in the physical shape to do it. Heading off trail is where the magic happens!

Everyone knows working out is a great thing, we see it in the press everyday. It’s when we can use that fitness to drive our outside activities and discover new things is when it all becomes worth it. This is the time we’re most likely to be the most at peace and our thoughts have the most clarity.  Exercise is Medicine (http://exerciseismedicine.org)!

Working out long-term can sometimes have a downside. We start to get comfortable because things that were hard are now easier, we’ve met some goals and maybe the workouts don’t feel as new and fresh as they once did. It’s inevitable that working out can at times get a tad repetitive (even for trainer’s). Now the brain starts with thoughts like; I’m in good shape, I can do the things I want, I’ll take a little break and get back to it later. Sadly we get out of shape much quicker than we get in shape. During these times is when you need to keep a laser focus to keep driving forward. Set new goals, pick a hike, look toward ski season, anything to keep driving forward. Just don’t stop!!! Trust me coming back after de-training is the worst because we remember what were capable of doing when stopped.

On that note, can you believe it’s almost time to start ski conditioning?

IMG_1820    IMG_1825 IMG_1832   IMG_1839 IMG_1835

Are You in Denial About Your Health?

Deb Brown, NSCA-cpt, cwc, cns

As personal trainers, we are on the front lines of the war against obesity and chronic health issues. A disturbing trend has emerged over the past few years: people are in denial about the status of their health. We constantly hear about how people are too busy to exercise, eat right and take care of themselves. We see people procrastinating on getting into the doctor for exams and tests they need. Many people who are striving to lose weight say they “eat healthy”, only to discover that when they keep a food journal for us, their food intake is way too much. Some people get a diagnosis of a chronic disease like diabetes and they are STILL not motivated to focus on their health. It is time to take our health more seriously! If you will not do it for yourself, do it for your family!

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you wearing a larger size in clothing than this time last year?
  • Is your stress level constantly high and if so, are you taking steps to manage or reduce it?
  • Do you rationalize being weaker then you want to be because you are “too busy with work, life, kids, etc” to pay attention to it?
  • Are you constantly putting the needs of your family in front of your own needs?
  • Do you say to yourself that you will start exercising “when x happens”?
  • Do you find the number on the scale creeping up slowly?
  • Are there activities that you used to enjoy that you cannot do because of your weight and/or health issues?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is time to take a serious look in the mirror and do a gut check. Is your health where it should be? Are you taking good care of yourself? Are you modeling healthy behaviors for your children or are you teaching them that being too busy to take care of your own health is acceptable? If you have decided that you need to make a change but are not sure how to actually start, here is what you should do:

First, talk to a trusted doctor, friend or family member. Make sure it is someone who will talk frankly (but in a supportive way) to you. Second, make a plan to address the issue. Break it down into small, actionable steps that will not overwhelm you. Third, take action. Even a small step will help you to feel better and get healthier.

No one is going to care about your health as much as you will. I encourage you to take stock of your current health situation and make whatever changes you need to make so that you can live your live at an optimal level of health. You’ll be so glad you did!