endurance

Guest Post: How to Minimize Irritation If You’re Working Out with Allergies

Exercising can feel like a hassle with a busy office schedule, a family and a social life to maintain; let alone if you have to deal with annoying allergy symptoms which can turn even your best days at the gym into a total disaster. A runny nose, incessant sneezing, coughing and wheezing if you’re lucky enough to suffer from allergy-induced asthma as well all contribute to an increased feeling of exhaustion and destroyed

However, to avoid skipping another training session or missing that PR, you can take many precautions and make the most of each one of your workouts.

What’s your kryptonite?

With spring and summer quickly setting up camp; they bring a whole range of allergens your immune system can react to during the day. Most people, unfortunately, are unsure which irritants in the air are the primary culprits of their troubles, so it’s highly advisable that you check what your system is most sensitive to and at which time of day are you most exposed to it whether you’re outside or exercising indoors.

Pollen, dust, mold, animal hair, cigarette smoke, and various plant-based irritants are the most common causes, some of which can trigger any allergic reaction such as a severe asthma attack, or only bug you with persistent sniffles and watery eyes. Either way, narrowing down your most likely perpetrator will help you determine the best exercise routine and the most suitable place to work out during allergy season.

What’s your magic potion?

The perfect set of circumstances that allows you to perform and feel your best during your workout needs to be based on the right environment, medication, nutrition and rest. Limiting your exposure to allergens with the help of an air purifier for dust and other irritants, introducing plenty of greenery in your home and switching to a diet that is based on anti-inflammatory foods will all help you reduce your symptoms significantly.

Moreover, consulting your doctor will help you learn which medication is most suitable for your symptoms and your health condition, to avoid the potential side-effects, such as sleepiness, and increase your quality of life during allergy season. You might also have to adapt your routine so that it is less strenuous on your respiratory system, and resort to other activities; such as swimming (but ideally not in water teeming with chlorine), yoga, or moderate weight training in a clean gym.

Be Prepared

Despite your best efforts, some days will be more challenging than others, and to adapt your weekly training plan, you should check the weather forecast on a regular basis and stay informed on potentially perfect workout situations. Such as right after the rain. Pollen is usually quickly dispersed when the wind blows, while rain can wash away most of it, and leave a bountiful of fresh air for your lungs to enjoy and use for a workout.

Limiting your exposure to allergens with pure indoor air, regular showers to wash off the irritants from your skin, and an adapted schedule to boost your performance when the risk of irritation is lowest will help you not only minimize your symptoms, but also take full control of your workouts and do your best no matter what your fitness forte might be.

While it can be challenging to continue your workout regime uninterrupted during the allergy season; you can manage your symptoms with the help of these guidelines, stay fit and enjoy your training as much as possible. Your fitness goals should not suffer due to a setback such as your allergies; on the contrary – use them to fuel your desire to overcome your limitations, outgrow your current mindset, and with their help, become a better, stronger athlete!

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Guest Post: Running Tips For Beginners

The beginning is always the hardest. But once you start you’ll forget how hard it was. Almost all runners have similar stories from their beginnings: they almost died in the first two hundred meters, and then it happened by chance that (considering that they are still feeling alright) they become long-distance runners, and today those moments remember with a smile on their faces. Whether you start in order to lose weight, be active, you want to do something about physical activity, or because of something else, running is the simplest, most natural and least expensive way to secure yourself a permanent good feeling. Here are some tips for this.

Start with walking and short running

Do not go fast because you will burn more quickly. Here’s a rule – slowly but surely. In this way, you prepare your body in a collision and at a certain point, you will feel when it is time to run. This will also keep you from injuries. Start with a slow addition of running to your walk. Walk four or five minutes, then add running to walking, but so that every time you refresh while you walk. Even those experienced runners are recommended to introduce parts with walking.

Listen to your body – what does it say?

Once you learn to listen to your body, you become a coach to yourself. It’s completely normal to feel pain or fatigue in the muscles, but take care when or if during or after running experience mild dizziness, pain in the chest, legs or back happen. In this case, continue to walk or stop training and rest until the pain stops. Over time you will learn to listen to the signals your body sends, when it’s time to stop, and when you can continue. You will have to pay more attention to what you eat. Some habits might have to change. Make sure you are eating light and healthy meals which are in accordance with your new physical activity.

Slower at the start – faster at the end

It is important to slowly build the base, your pace, and you will quickly get to full enjoyment in running that will later be easy. To ensure yourself a constant progress, it is better to run three to four times a week for 30 minutes rather than two hours twice a week. And that is why it is important to have a proper plan that will gradually lead you to larger distances and build your tempo. When you finish training, and you say to yourself “maybe I could have a little more” – it’s a sign that you’re running the right pace.

Heating and cooling

Heating is important because with that you are sending a clear message to your body that it is preparing for physical activity. The heart and legs are getting ready to move. Ideal heating is when you run a little bit, and then walk, and so on for a few minutes. When you are finished with your workout, do not stop suddenly, but slow down completely, and end up by walking. Be sure to stretch. Heating and cooling are important because those reduce muscle pain and possible infection, and in that way, the whole body constantly works to prevent injuries.

Set a goal and watch your real success each day

Having a goal in most cases is a safe way to persevere. If you specify the goals and timeframes, you have a clear time vision, a clear motivation, and responsibility towards yourself and your given word. You open a circle which, when you close it, brings you an amazing feeling of your own achievements. With that, you will find yourself in one of the best and most important project which aims to: health, good feeling, self-confidence, self-management, sometimes a team work, some weight loss, a change, new experiences and new people.

Change the surface where you run

Runners usually have a strictly defined path where they run. The best solution for a beginner is to simply change the running tracks. Soft surfaces are not always the best. Treadmills seem softer and therefore safer, but they also have disadvantages. Earth tracks for running are generally uneven, may have holes and other obstacles, which can be dangerous. Feel free to change: sidewalk one day, the next day a paved road, a dirt road on weekends etc.

The rule of 10%

Add as much time or distance as you need to improve your form and save yourself from injuries. But be careful, do not increase the time or the running speed for more than 10% per week. If you run 90 minutes this week, next week run 99 minutes.

We hope the tips above are helpful, but you have to bear in mind that all you really need is the will which serves as an incentive for every action of yours. Where there is a will, there is a way for everything and you will be ready for every challenge that may come across.

Guest Post: How to Maximize Muscle Mass Before, During and After a Workout

This article provides a summary of how to build muscle mass and the type of workout required, the best type of exercises to get the quickest results and the importance of diet.

Strength, Size and Endurance Training

There are three main types of workouts. Workouts designed to produce muscle strength, workouts designed to produce muscle size or mass and endurance training workouts.

If you’re training for strength it’s advised to do fewer reps per set (about 1-5), whereas for muscle endurance doing more reps per set is preferable (13-20). Focusing on building muscle mass, involves a type of muscle growth called Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy and is somewhere between this range.

It is muscle size and mass that I will concern myself with in this article and it’s the most common type of workout, designed to create a lean and bulky muscular look.

Workouts Designed to Produce Muscle Mass

To maximize muscle mass, you have to do more than just push your body to the limit through resistance training. You have to choose the right exercises, the right number of reps and the right amount of rest after each workout. All this done correctly maximizes muscle fibre engagement.

I recommend targeting different muscle groups at different times of the week giving yourself one or two days rest in between exercising that muscle group.

One effective technique is the 3 day split and involves exercising three different muscle groups on three different days of the week. This could involve exercising the legs and Abs on a Monday, taking one day rest and exercising the Chest, Shoulders & Triceps on a Wednesday, taking another days rest and exercising the Back and Biceps on a Friday. Then taking two days rest and repeating the next week.

So for example:

Monday – Work on your Legs and Abs with 3 different exercises. 4 sets for each and 12-15 reps per set

Wednesday – Work on your Chest, Shoulders & Triceps with 3 different exercises. 4 sets for each and 12-15 reps per set

Friday – Work on your Back & Biceps with 3 different exercises. 4 sets for each and 12-15 reps per set

You should pick two or three exercises for each muscle group and then perform 4 sets of between 12-15 reps for each exercise. This would work out at around 8-12 sets per day with 12-15 reps per set.

If three different exercises for each muscle group is too much you should stick to two while starting out, or you could try 2 sets instead of 4 sets for the last exercise.

Working out more than 3 days a week can mean your muscles don’t have time to recover, resulting in wasted effort.

Isolated versus Compound Exercises

You need to choose the correct exercises to maximize muscle growth. This means targeting as many muscles as possible. Compound exercises target more muscle fibres with each lift and therefore provide the most results in the shortest period of time and with the least exercises.

For example a tricep kickback will target just one group of arm muscles — the triceps on the back of the upper arm. However the bench press will target your triceps, pec muscles, and your deltoids, with your biceps acting as a dynamic stabilizer. If you’re targeting two or more muscles than it’s a compound exercise and not an isolated exercise.

By targeting a larger portion of muscle fibres, this will be more taxing on your system and result in a greater release of anabolic hormones resulting in greater muscle growth.

With compound exercises, you don’t need as many exercises per workout and you can spend less time in the gym.

Typical compound exercises include:

• Squats

• Split Squats

• Lunges

• Reverse Lunges

• Pullups

• Deadlifts

• Barbell rows

• Incline bench press

• Decline bench press

• Flat bench press

• Standing Military Press

The Role of Protein, Creatine and Glutamine

Of course nutrition and supplements play a huge role in building muscle with protein being at the top of the list for supplements needed for gaining lean muscles. Creatine and Glutamine are also very important.

Protein should be taken half an hour before a workout to provide your muscles with adequate nutrition thereby reducing the breakdown of muscle or catabolism during workouts. Also, right after a workout, when your muscles are depleted of nutrition. This will aid in muscle recovery and growth. Another important time to take protein is right before bed and upon waking when the body again is again depleted of nutrition.

Glutamine on the other hand should be taken right before bed as this boosts growth hormone levels significantly. Another good time to take glutamine is first thing after waking as this helps in the recovery process from difficult workouts.

You should take creatine about half an hour before a workout and again right after a workout as this creates an anabolic state for your muscles and helps prevent muscle breakdown.

Don’t Over-train

Don’t’ get into the bad habit of working out too long, or train too many days. When it comes to body building, often less is more. Overtraining comes with little to no gains in size or strength. You need to give your muscles time to recover, which means plenty of rest between workouts.

So combining a good workout with the right exercises and reps and the right nutrition, sufficient rest, and a solid supplementation program, you will build a great physique with the least amount of work.

The Three Types Of Fitness

When we talk about fitness, we have a tendency to use the word as a catch-all. Just fitness. While that’s useful – and we can all generally agree on the difference between being fit and not being so – it’s also a little too vague for anyone who is serious about getting their body into shape. If you want to get a beach body and then sustain it, you need to dig a little deeper into fitness.

While fitness can be broken down into many different sections if you wish to be pedantic about it, the main focus should be on three distinct areas. If you want to achieve the most from your routine and get yourself feeling as good as possible, then you need to be able to tick the boxes for all three of them.

Fitness Category #1: Endurance

Endurance is the cardio fitness that most of us focus on. It’s what makes us able to stay on the treadmill for longer, pedal up another hill, or do anything for a sustained length of time.

Endurance is important, but it’s also probably the most problematic. It takes a long time, more so than any of the other categories. It’s about doing a little bit at a time, on a daily basis, which you can then increase. Over time, it all builds up.

You should always aim to push yourself further to work on your endurance. If you usually just run for 20 minutes or do 100 laps, that’s not pushing your endurance. Week by week, you need to increase: 22 minutes, 102 laps – onwards and upwards is the ongoing trend.

Fitness Category #2: Strength

Most of us associate the idea of strength training and muscle building with the idea of becoming “ripped” – and that’s not everyone’s goal when it comes to exercise. However, getting good muscle tone is not just about the aesthetic indulgence – it’s also a form of fitness in and of itself.

You don’t need to be looking to build muscles to the point of bulging, but a good core strength will help your endurance and keep you as healthy as possible. Get into the habit of doing weights work a couple of times per week, supplementing your efforts with the likes of FitnessDeadline.com to make the most of it. Over time, you’ll feel the effects of this improvement – and you might look better too!

Fitness Category #3: Suppleness

The idea of suppleness being a factor in fitness is a relatively new one, but as we understand more and more about how the body works, it becomes more important. Endurance and strength are necessary for general life and movement, to help keep you comfortable throughout your life – but suppleness is something you have to add in there.

The simple fact is that we lose our natural, in-built suppleness throughout our life. It’s one of the major causes of disability in old age. However, if you nip it in the bud early and keep yourself as supple as possible, then you’re more likely to actually be able to enjoy your retirement.

Yoga and pilates are the standard when it comes to increasing your ability to flex and be supple. Start gently with videos from YouTube.com even if you are otherwise physically fit – if you’ve never done it before, you might be surprised at just how demanding it can be!

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Non-Running Exercises That’ll Make You Run Faster

A lot of amateur runners think that if they just run further or more often that they will improve their mile time. Unfortunately, they eventually hit a plateau, and no matter how hard they train, they can’t break through it and continue improving. The problem with this state of affairs is that it can sap motivation and lead to despair.

The good news is that you can improve your mile time. You just need to stop running and try something else. Here are some non-running exercises that’ll help you run faster.

Up Your Game With Rowing

To get better, our bodies need to be challenged in new and unusual ways. The problem for most runners is that they don’t challenge their cardiovascular system and instead run at the same pace during all their training sessions.

One way to mix up cardiovascular training is to try something different. According to https://bodygearguide.com/best-rowing-machine-reviews/ rowing machines are a great way to prepare for a triathlon. Why? Because they help to tax the cardiovascular system in different ways to regular jogging. While your body is trained to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your legs, it’s less used to providing the same level of service to your back muscles and arms. Forcing your body to adapt to rowing will help when you next go out for a run. Don’t be surprised if you find your mile time coming down.

Single-Leg Squat

When you think about it, running is actually a series of single-legged jumps, one after the other. These jumps put tremendous strain on your knee joints and leg muscles. But despite this, many runners never bother to train their legs. In so doing, they put themselves at risk of injury and cause themselves to have slower mile times.

Single-legged squats are a great way to train for running says http://www.runnersworld.com. Not only do they improve the strength of the knee joint and leg muscles, but they also help the body balance itself biomechanically. Runners who aren’t biomechanically balanced or strong enough often run in a sub-optimal way to compensate. Strengthening the legs can help  prevent suboptimal gaits and make your mile times faster.

Foam Roller Pectoral Stretch

The upper body is one of the most overlooked regions of the body for runners. But it turns out that the trunk region, as well as the upper chest, are critical when stabilizing a runner in motion.

The upper body is important for another reason too: breathing. A stiff upper body that lacks strength can lead to reduced muscle function, low lung capacity and slouching. All these issues can then result in further running issues down the road.

Doing a pectoral stretch on the foam roller can help to reverse these problems and expand the chest area. Opening up the chest helps to stretch out the chest muscle, reducing the amount of rounding in the upper back.

Stretching out the thoracic is helpful too. To do this, lie with your back on the floor and put the foam roller under your lower back. You’ll notice a stretch in your core muscles.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Guest Post: Healthy Sleep During Training is More Important than Getting Some Shut-Eye the Night Before Race Day

Do you really need a good night’s rest the night before a big run? The short answer is yes and no.

Of course getting adequate hours of sleep the night before a race is bound to make you feel ready to take on the world in the morning. And not getting enough sleep is bound to make you feel sluggish. But how much does healthy sleep or the lack of it really affect athletic performance?

A Single Night of Zero/Poor Sleep Has Little to No Effect on Physical Performance

Yep, you read that right. Getting healthy sleep the night before a big race isn’t actually that important for physiological endurance.

While it sounds crazy, it’s also backed by several scientific studies.

In one Dutch study, a control group of men who had healthy sleep and another group of men who had zero sleep the previous night were pitted against each other in 20-minute cycling time trials.

The healthy-sleep group clocked in an average of 7.68km during their trial. And while the researchers expected considerably lower results from the sleep-deprived group, they clocked in a near-identical average of 7.62km. Other physical measurements during the trial, particularly their average heart rate, also came out near-identical.

In another study in 2007, experts from the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences analyzed a variety of existing studies on how sleep affects physical performance.

Much to their surprise, the experts found that even a few days of poor sleep translated to stable physiological markers of endurance. But while leg strength, oxygen demand at various speeds, and fatigue resistance were all unaffected by a single night of poor sleep, it was mental cognition that suffered.

And it wasn’t the first time that lack of sleep resulted in poorer mental performance.

The Brain is More Dependent on Sleep than the Rest of the Body

In a 2009 study, European researchers found evidence of decreased endurance in athletes who ran after staying awake for 30 hours. However, they also found that the 30-hour lack of sleep had a very limited effect on the test subjects’ actual cardiorespiratory/thermoregulatory function and pacing. Rather, the lowered performance was a result of their altered perception of effort.

The 11 men who were involved in this study completed 2 running trials. The first trial was after they had normal sleep. The second trial happened 7 days later, and after they were kept awake for 30 hours.

While the test subjects ran farther during the first trial, they reported feeling like they ran the same distance during the second trial. This led researchers to conclude that the decreased endurance was psychological and based mostly on their altered perception of effort (especially since they found evidence that a single night of sleep deprivation had limited effects on indicators of actual physical endurance).

Several past studies also indicate that short-term sleep deprivation can result in poorer memory, longer reaction time, and an unstable mood.

You’re certainly bound to not feel good and ready if you haven’t had enough sleep the night before a big race, but don’t let that feeling fool you. While your brain is telling you that you need sleep, your body could very well be as ready as ever to perform during race day.

If you’ve been training regularly and getting adequate sleep (at least for the past week), getting little to zero sleep the night before race day is unlikely to affect your actual physical performance and endurance.

More Sleep in General is More Important than How You Slept the Previous Night

Instead of the single night before your race, what you should really be concerned about is how you sleep on a regular basis.

In a 2011 study on Stanford basketball players, researchers found that extending sleep to 10 hours per night (for 5 to 7 weeks) resulted in increased performance metrics. They also found similar increases when the study was repeated in other sports like tennis, football, and swimming.

As Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory researcher (and study author) Cheri Mah explains, it’s not just about how you slept for one or two nights. Rather, it’s about “prioritizing sleep over the whole season.

While one night without sleep can be slightly detrimental to your endurance, there are some athletes who say that it makes no difference at all. One of these athletes is American long-distance runner Bobby Curtis, who won the NCAA title for 5,000 meters during his senior year on a somewhat irregular sleep schedule.

Curtis says that while not sleeping a few nights before the race didn’t affect his performance when he won the title, his training did suffer when he didn’t get enough sleep over the last couple weeks.

As Stanford’s Cheri Mah rightly suggests, it’s important for athletes to maintain a consistent sleep schedule that ensures they get adequate sleep.

So instead of worrying about how you’ll be too excited to sleep the night before your big race, focus on getting enough sleep during training. That’s when sleep really counts.

What You Need to Know About Pre-Workout Supplements

One thing that many wonder about when they start getting serious about their training, it’s supplements. Pre-workout, post-workout, metabolism boosters, lean muscle builders, etc., etc., etc. It can quickly become overwhelming, and although I don’t use supplements to help with training, I thought I’d clarify some of the misinformation out there about them to help you decide if they’re right for you. Here the rundown on what you need to know about pre-workout supplements.

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Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

5 Tips to Build Up Your Stamina

Recently I’ve been trying to build my stamina back up, and so far… it’s been pretty easy. A challenge of course, but compared to past years of returning post-injury, it hasn’t been as hard. Before it was a lot of trial and error, but I’ve finally figured out what works best for me. Which translates to clocking better times than I ever have; granted, I promised myself not to be concerned with the numbers, but it’s a great tool to gauge how training is going. Here are my five tips to build stamina.

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Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

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