Training

How to Pick a Protein Powder

Most at some point wonder if they need a protein powder to help their training efforts, and that depends on your goals and current diet. Endurance based athletes have different needs from power/strength based athletes. Due to this I decided to write a post detailing what protein powder is, if you need it, and how to pick a safe protein powder.

Sponsored post by Naked Nutrition, all opinions are 100% my own

What Are Protein Powders?

Protein powders come in various forms. If you stop by your local health store and you’ll see rows of protein powders. The main ones are whey, soy, and casein protein. Of course, there are many others, but these tend to be the most common, specifical whey due to it being a water-soluble protein.

Along with types of protein powders they also come with varying price points, and this is due to the varying quality of the protein powders. For the casual athlete who doesn’t have a specific need at a certain time, the less expensive and more commercial proteins will be enough.

For those understand certain training schedules protein powder can be useful. They’re an easy and convenient source of complete, high-quality protein.

When Use Them?

When you’re growing. A teenager is going to need more protein to help fuel his workouts because his body is still growing and using more protein in general

When you’re starting a workout regimen. If working out is new to you and you’re trying to build muscle, you’ll require more protein than you normally would.

When you’re amping up your workouts. If you normally work out for thirty minutes a couple times a week, but you’ve switched to training for a half-marathon, your body will naturally require more protein.

When you’re recovering from an injury. Athletes with sports injuries will need more protein to help aide the body in the healing process.

If you’re going vegan. People who pursue a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle end up eliminating a majority of common protein sources from their diet, including meat, chicken, and fish, and sometimes dairy and eggs as well.  

Protein Math

Even though the above are valid reasons for trying to incorporate more protein into your diet, it may not be necessary. It doesn’t take that much protein to achieve the average goals. Most Americans already get about 15% of their daily calories in protein. To build a pound of muscle, the body needs between 10 and 14 additional grams of protein per day. Which really isn’t a lot, especially since some powders have 80 grams of protein per serving. You don’t need that, your body can’t even process that much in a serving.

So how can you tell if you’re getting enough? Do the math.

The following recommendation come from the American College of Sports Medicine and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

  • The average adult needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
  • Those taking part in recreational athletics need 1.1 to 1.4 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight.
  • Competitive athletes need 1.2 to 1.4 grams, and those involved in ultra-endurance sports may need up to 2.0g per kilogram per day.

Say you’re an adult athlete who wants to build muscle mass, and you weigh about 75 kilograms (165 pounds). The most protein you would need per day is 150 grams. That sounds like a lot. But one 4-ounce hamburger contains 30 grams of protein, 6 ounces of tuna has 40 grams, and a single ounce of cheddar cheese has 7 grams.

How to Use Protein Powders

If you calculate your intake and determine that you’re not getting enough for your athletic needs (some signs of too-low protein intake: you’re unusually fatigued, feel weak when lifting weight or doing other strenuous activity, or are recovering from injuries slowly) how can you best use protein powders to help you improve your performance?

First, ignore those who say to take protein right after a workout. Before, during, and after a workout your body needs carbs. They fuel your body and it’s what your muscles run on. This isn’t to say protein isn’t important, but research is showing that at that point the body needs fuel with a 4-1 to 5-1 ratio of carbs to protein. Given that most protein powders have at least 20 grams of protein per scoop, you’d need about 80 grams of carbs to go with that scoop to get the proportion of nutrients right.

It’s due to this ratio that many recommend chocolate milk after a workout since it hits this ratio. 

How to Pick a Safe On

When choosing your protein powder the type (whey, casein, soy, etc.) depends on when you plan to consume it. Beyond that, there are other criteria that are a bit more important. 

For example, some protein powder’s have fillers, lack essential amino acids, and don’t use quality ingredients in general. Because of this, I trust Naked Nutrition to deliver the purest ingredients with all of the essential amino acids without any artificial sweeteners or colors. 

My personal favorite is the Naked Chocolate Peanut Butter protein powder. It tastes great and mixes perfectly into my post-workout smoothie. Since adding the Naked Chocolate PB to my recovery routine I’ve noticed a difference in my recovery time between training sessions, and when coming back from an injury this is even more crucial than normal. So if you’re looking for a quality protein poweder that you can rely on, I highly recommend one form Naked Nutrition.

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 with a Sports Management minor.

10 Reasons Yoga is a Better Workout Than the Gym

Physical exercise is good for health since it helps the body to remain fit. Regular exercise also helps the mind to stay in sound condition because it controls all the organs of the body.  As such, yoga is believed to be a better workout than gym due to different reasons.

Yoga is not a very new discipline in the area of fitness but is gaining significant recognition in different places. Yoga includes meditation, breath control as well as practicing different body postures and it has a strong link to Hindu spiritualism.

Many people interested in improving their spirit, physical health, state of mind as well as lower hypertension are turning to yoga.  It is also interesting to note that research shows that yoga also helps to reduce risks of heart disease, depression, anxiety, diabetes, and other cancer-related disorders.  

There are also other benefits of yoga, and this article highlights ten significant reasons why the form of workout is better than the gym.

Yoga Reduces Stress

Yoga is effective in reducing stress levels among different individuals.  It includes meditation which is helpful in clearing the stress effects of the day. On the other hand, the gym is characterized by heavy lifts and loud music that can contribute to your stress level.

Yoga also benefits the mind by infusing the spirit with positive energy. With a good mood and state of mind, there are high chances of living a healthy lifestyle. Gym primarily focuses on the physical fitness of the body but excludes vital elements like wellness of the mind and spirit.  

You Can Gain Self-Confidence From Yoga

The other important aspect about yoga is that it focuses on the “self.” It is designed to teach you about issues such as accepting your weaknesses and strategies to turn them into strengths. When you visit a yoga studio, you realize that there are no mirrors such that you focus on yourself most of the time.  

When you are practicing yoga, you tend to appreciate yourself. In a gym, some mirrors can divert your attention to look at what other people are doing. Gym classes can create that impression of failure if you do not manage to complete all tasks. However, yoga encourages you to do better.

Yoga Improves The Whole Body

Yoga practice is good for the digestive, circulatory as well as the nervous system. Through twisting and stretching, yoga helps the operations in the body to function normally. It helps the body to detox while at the same time improving the cardiovascular system.

At the same time, muscles in different parts of the body can also gain strength through yoga practice. A gym workout mainly aims at strengthening the muscles as well as boosting cardio. Yoga seems to be good for the whole body.

Yoga Makes Your Body Lean

By stretching different muscles of your body through yoga practice, you are making them stronger. A lean body is good since it gives you the flexibility you need to perform various tasks.

Gym workout, on the other hand, makes you muscles bulk due to heavyweights. Bulk tissues can affect the structure of your body. Some people feel comfortable with slim bodies since they give them a lot of advantages. A thin body, for example, has good stamina and it can react quickly compared to a bulk body structure.  

You Can Practice Yoga Anywhere

Yoga is different from gym workout in that you can do it anywhere. The portable thing you may require is a yoga mate and small space at home. You can practice yoga either indoors or outside as long as you have enough space to perform different styles of exercise.

A gym requires a big space as well as a lot of equipment.   If you want to design a gym workout studio at home, you must ensure that you have enough space more significant than a room. The issue of space might pose a challenge to those who live in apartments with limited space. However, yoga is possible anywhere.

Yoga is Efficient

You do not require weights as well as other equipment mainly used in gym classes. Yoga primarily relies on your body to perform different postures.  The whole body benefits through yoga, unlike gym classes where you work each muscle individually.

Gym classes take a lot of time to strengthen the muscles, unlike yoga that works the entire body simultaneously. There is also a need for specific equipment to work each part of the body, and this can be costly at the end of the day.  

Yoga Improves Breathing

Yoga is right for your health because it improves your breathing. When you perform different postures, the muscles around the nasal passage also flex. The other issue is that yoga focuses on breath since you take deep breaths along the exercise.

In stressful situations, deep breaths are essential since they help to calm the body. Gym workout can strain to breathe as a result of the weight exerted on the body. Gym class can build tension which affects breathing while yoga releases explicitly stress.

Everyone Can Practice Yoga

The other issue that makes yoga outstanding compared to gym workout is that anyone can practice it. The point of age does not affect one from practicing yoga. Yoga is beneficial to people with ailments and also helps the elderly adults to improve their health.

However, gym classes are not friendly to the senior people since their muscles cannot sustain the heavyweights. Yoga is also perfect for women since they can also perform a variety of postures without straining their muscles. The main benefit of yoga is that it does not twist the body with heavy workouts.

Yoga Soothes The Muscles

Gym workout is intense, and it causes pain to the tissues due to heavy lifts. On the other hand, yoga soothes the muscles by improving their flexibility. As you slowly perform different postures, the energy channels open thereby easing pains and aches.

If you practice yoga, you are improving your health instead of causing pain like gym workouts. Yoga helps the muscles to positively respond to pressure while at the same time soothing pain.    

Concentration Improves as a Result of Yoga

The other benefit of yoga is that it helps to improve your level of attention. The practice focuses on the state of the mind, spirit, and body. When you have a stress free memory, you can think properly, and this helps you to gain concentration.

While yoga is good for health, one thing that it cannot do is to burn large quantities of calories. Physical exercises like gym workouts are useful since they improve the process of burning the calories to improve overall health. Loads of calories in the body can affect the quality of sleep if the digestive system does not correctly function.

It is essential to perform traditional exercises on top of yoga to achieve quality health status. All the same, you need to sleep on the best mattress for long and peacefully rest. Visit our website for different types of best online mattresses can suit your comfort needs after performing some routine exercises that are good for your health.

Reference Links:

http://www.doyouyoga.com/15-reasons-yoga-is-better-than-the-gym/

http://time.com/4185626/yoga-exercise-workout/

https://sleepdelivered.com/best-mattress




Trish, which is her pen name, is a New Orleans native who works in the insurance industry. She is married and enjoys reviewing and testing out new mattresses in a quest for the best night’s sleep. She is honest and upfront without being pushy or sales driven. Read more.

Will My Teeth Hurt When Running at Elevation

Elevation changes may lead to tooth pain or a condition known as barodontalgia. If you are an avid runner, you may find that your teeth hurt every time you run at elevation. In many cases, the pain associated with a high altitude toothaches is caused by air that is trapped inside of a filling or cavity. Due to the fact that teeth cannot expand to accommodate pressure changes, the buildup of pressure may lead to intense pain in fillings or root canals that have been performed poorly.

You may notice that when you return to ground level, your pain completely stops. Even if this is true, it’s essential to visit a dentist as soon as possible, if you experience barodontalgia. A dentist can evaluate your teeth, mouth, and gums and determine whether there is an underlying condition that is causing your pain.

Fortunately, there are ways you can prevent this condition. Be sure to practice good oral hygiene and brush and floss your teeth on a regular basis. Also, visit the dentist every six months or so for regular exams and cleanings.

Although running is a great exercise that can help you maintain a healthy weight and improve your cardiovascular health, you shouldn’t continue to run at elevation if your teeth hurt until you find out the underlying condition that’s causing it and take certain steps to prevent the pain.

If you have further questions about teeth pain and running at elevation, feel free to contact Dr. Brian Levitin at Mile High Smiles.

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 with a Sports Management minor.

Can I Wear Invisalign to Play Sports

Many Invisalign patients lead active lives and play a variety of sports. If you play sports and are considering Invisalign or are currently undergoing treatment, you may be asking yourself if you can wear Invisalign to play sports.

The answer to this question depends on the type of sport you play. If you play a contact sport such as football, you should wear a mouth guard. In addition to reducing your risk of injury or trauma such as broken teeth, a mouth guard can protect you from a serious head injury like a concussion.

Therefore, if you play a contact sport, it’s wise to remove your Invisalign aligners before you put on your mouth guard. Do not wear your Invisalign aligners underneath your mouth guard so that your mouth guard can provide optimal protection for your teeth and lips.

The majority of school sports teams and athletic organizations require participants to wear mouth guards. While Invisalign may seem like a good substitute for a mouth guard, it cannot provide you with the complete protection you need while playing contact sports.

If you play a sport such as golf that does not require a mouth guard, you can keep your aligners in your mouth. You won’t have to worry about any sharp brackets or wires hurting your mouth during the game and can continue treatment without any issues.

As long as you wear your Invisalign aligners for at least 22 hours a day, you’ll enjoy great results at the end of your treatment. For further information about Invisalign and sports, reach out to Raleigh Orthodontist Dr. Jason Gladwell of Gladwell Orthodontics.

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 with a Sports Management minor.

How Soon After Wisdom Teeth Removal Can I Run?

While wisdom tooth removal is a common procedure, it is still considered a surgery that comes with certain postoperative care directions. If you’re a runner, you may be wondering how wisdom teeth removal will impact your running schedule.

After your procedure, you should avoid your regular running routine for about a week. If you do wish to run, try to plan a light run that includes a longer warm up and a jog rather than a full-blown run. When you run, be sure you are not clenching your jaw and keep your posture upright.

Once a few weeks since your wisdom teeth removal have passed, you should be able to get back to your regular running routine. When you do so, remember to warm up, drink plenty of water, and stretch once you’ve completed your run. It’s also wise to focus on your core so that you can strengthen your abs and back and reduce stress on your neck, lower back, and jaw.

Since every patient’s wisdom teeth removal experience is different, you should wait until your dentist or oral surgeon has cleared you for exercise before resuming your running routine. If your wisdom teeth were non-impacted, you will likely be allowed to get back to running quickly. In the event they were impacted, your dentist or oral surgeon may advise you to wait a bit longer.

If you have further questions about running and wisdom tooth removal, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Brett Wells of Wells Family Dental Group.

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 with a Sports Management minor.

How to Improve Your Cadence

When it comes to cadence, we’ve all heard that the magic number is 180 – why is this though? At the 1984 Olympics, famed coach and running researcher Jack Daniels counted the strides of distance runners as they raced, and discovered that nearly all of them took at least 180 steps per minute. Many experts have cited Daniel’s work in suggesting to minimize overstriding, lessen impact forces on the legs, and maintain forward momentum, runners should always aim to hit that number. However, your cadence is hinged on your pace. Even Olympians take fewer steps per minute when they run at a slower speed. As a matter of fact, your easy and 5K paces may differ by up to 20 steps per minute. With that being said though if your cadence at 5K pace is below 180, it needs a boost. Here’s how to improve your cadence at every pace.

Take Notes:

First, establish your baseline cadence for all of your training speeds. On a treadmill, begin at warm-up pace and increase the speed by one minute per mile until you’re at 5K pace. As you reach each training pace (easy, marathon, temp, etc.) give yourself a minute or so to adjust to the speed, then begin counting your steps for 30 seconds. Multiply by two, record the number, then accelerate to your next pace. You should see that as your speed increases, your cadence increases. You can also do this on the track using intervals of 800 to 1200 meters.

Set a Target:

Add five percent to each of your recorded numbers. This is your goal cadence for each pace. According to biomechanics researchers, five percent is an attainable target that is still big enough to significantly reduce impact. So for example, if your easy run cadence was 160, aim for 168; if your tempo was 166, strive to hit 174.

Practice it:

One of the easiest ways to quicken your step is to run with a metronome (there’s an app for that!). You can also use things like JogTunes to find music with beats that match your desired turnover. Otherwise, monitor your progress with a 30-second cadence check every couple of miles. To accelerate the transition, schedule a workout like downhill sprints (Check “Get in Stride” below). If you’re struggling with the new target, lower it by two to three percent. Practice that revised cadence for three weeks, and then bump it back up again.

Get in Stride:

Here are some weekly workouts to train your legs for a faster turnover:

The Workout: Downhill Sprints

Details: After an easy run, do five accelerating sprints (strides) down a gentle grade of 150 to 200 meters, reaching top speed at the bottom. Walk back up for recovery.

The Workout: Fast Feet

Details: Using short, quick strides, take as many steps as you can in 10 meters. Keep your ground contact as short as possible. Jog for 10 meters. Repeat five times.

The Workout: Race-Pacer Tester

Details: Run fartleks of 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minute, and 1 minute at 5K pace. Jog one minute between reps. Do two sets. Count your steps or use a metronome during each rep of the second set.

 

Get Your FREE Guide to Improve Your Cadence

Want an easy way to refer back to this information? Get our FREE guide!

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 with a Sports Management minor.

Guest Post: The Best Time, Surface, and Distance to Run (According to Science)

What is the best time to run? What about even the surface or distance?

These are three biggest questions you probably have as a runner. Is it the predawn or afternoon? Grass or sand? 5k or 10k? Setting all personal preferences aside, is there scientific evidence to choose one option above another?

Let’s see what science has to say about it.

1) Best time to run:

It is hard to pinpoint a time that ticks all the right boxes. The optimal time will differ based on your goals or what you are trying to achieve. If you are concerned about performance, running in the evening will be a better option. If you are looking for a healthy lifestyle, running in the morning is what I recommend.

Benefits of running in the evening:

It is not easy to get up early in the morning and go out for a run. If you are not a morning person, you will find it hard to get out of bed, let alone running the miles. It’s relatively easy to keep up a running routine in the evening.

Second, you are more likely to achieve performance-based targets like better speed or distance in the evenings.

Our circadian biological clock has an effect on our energy levels. It decides when we are more alert or sleepy. Most of us have the highest energy levels around 6 PM in the evening. So, running at this time will yield much better results.

Similarly, our body temperature increases as the day goes by. High-temperature results in more blood flow towards lower extremities. Not only that, but our body produces more testosterone in the evening. The lungs are also functioning better at this time.

Keeping all these factors in mind, it is safe to assume that most of us will perform better in physical activities like running, cycling, or swimming in the evening. This is confirmed by several studies. For example, this study observed that swimmers improved their timing as the day progresses. They were significantly faster at 10 PM compared to 6:30 in the morning. Another study found markedly better performance in the evening.

Benefits of running in the morning:

Ever wondered why running is an integral part of military life? Because waking up early and going out to run is the most effective method to cultivate self-discipline. A very recent research suggests that morning people live longer than night owls.

It is not easy but that’s the main point. You must get out of your comfort zone.

A morning run means that you are done with the most important (and probably the hardest) part of your daily routine (i.e. physical exercise) even before others leave the bed. You will start your day with a great sense of achievement.

Waking up early will drag you to sleep early. It means that the relatively unproductive nighttime will be replaced with the more productive time in the morning.

Running in the natural environment is good for your mental health as well. Going out for the run when the sun is rising will help your body produce cortisol. It’s the hormone that keeps you alert. With all this extra time and energy, you will achieve a lot more during the day.

If you are living in some hot and humid region, early morning is usually the coolest time to run. There’s not much traffic and the air is relatively fresh. I couldn’t find a sizable body of research but this one suggests that the air quality is the best between 5 am to 10 am.

You are more likely to choose healthy diet after long bursts of running. So, a morning routine can be an ideal start to a healthy lifestyle.

That doesn’t mean you will have to compromise on performance. Your body will gradually adjust to your exercise routine and you will be able to perform better. Remember, most marathon or half marathon races take place in the morning. Your body will be better prepared.

2) Best Surface to run

Running is a convenient form of exercise because you can do it at any place and at any time. You can run on concrete, find a jogging track, or do it on the beach. Heck, you can run on mountains if you want.

The only concern is the impact or injury risk with different surfaces. Let’s see if you should really be concerned.

Hard surfaces vs. Soft surfaces:

You might think that there’s a greater chance of injury on the harder surface because of the impact.

Right? Actually not.

Our muscles and ligaments are more capable of adjusting than you may have thought. What actually happens is that we alter the stride and force according to the surface. When we are running on a hard surface, we will be gentle with our stride. And when we are running on softer surfaces, we will hit the ground harder.

That resonates with the findings in our meta-analysis of 150+ studies about arch support. It was observed that runners hit the ground harder when wearing shoes with extra cushion. Not only that, but we tend to land on rear-foot while wearing cushioned shoes, which is not the most efficient way of landing.

It means that choosing a soft surface will usually not result in reduced injuries. This is what scientists found when they observed 291 runners. More than half reported overuse injuries or anterior knee pain. However, different types of surfaces didn’t make a considerable difference to injury rates.

It’s not that the surface doesn’t make any difference. A softer surface like the grass is gentle to your feet and less likely to cause feet or ankle injuries. Stiff surfaces can result in a greater load on Achilles tendon. However, the overall injury rate will stay the same. You might avoid injuries in specific regions like ankle or foot but the load will shift to another part.

In fact, running on relatively hard surfaces like road or asphalt have certain advantages.

First, it is smooth and there’s no chance of injuries caused by an irregular surface like an ankle sprain. Second, you will better prepare for long distance races that usually take place on roads. You will also be able to maintain and improve your form over time.

3) Best Distance to run:

They say, too much of a good thing can be bad and running is no different. Question is, how much running can be considered too much?

The answer will differ from one person to another. It also depends on your age and fitness level. Many competitive runners can run more than 50 miles a week. You don’t need to run that much if you are just looking for the health benefits.

Moderation is the best policy:

There are studies that suggest running just 5 miles a week will give considerable health benefits and significantly reduce the risk of death. The same study found that mortality rate starts to increase as the runners go beyond 20 miles a week.

However, this is not conclusive and there are studies refuting this claim. For example, this one found that health benefits do not exhibit a point of diminishing return at less than 50 miles a week.

Truth is that you shouldn’t be too concerned about the miles. If you are just starting, don’t look at anything more than 1 or 2 miles. Don’t push your body too hard and stop before you feel totally exhausted.

Think of increasing the distance after some weeks. It should be a gradual process. Go for longer distance just once or twice a week and see if your body is coping well. If you feel good after the occasional long runs, you can make it a daily routine.

Remember, it’s better to run 5 miles on a consistent basis than trying to run 10 miles and breaking down. There are exceptions of course. You might have to run much longer distances in the peak weeks when preparing for a marathon. It all depends on your objective, fitness, and stamina. The sweet spot is something between 3 – 6 miles for an average person.

Now you know what science tells us about the best time, surface, or distance to run. Even if you can’t get to run at a time or surface of your choice, don’t use it as an excuse to not run.

Importance of a Dynamic Warm-up

Bye-bye-bye static stretching, and hello dynamic stretching! If you’ve read a few of my posts then you probably know how I feel about static stretching. Considering it can reduce performance and increase injury risk while presenting few benefits to runners, I’m not a fan – I’ll cover this more in-depth in an injury prevention series coming soon!

So, if you’re not supposed to stretch before a run, then what do you do? Well… it’s simple: a series of dynamic warm-up exercises that prepares your body to run.

Which if you think about it, static stretching doesn’t even accomplish what a good series of warm-up exercises should, like:

  • Increased heart rate and respiration (prepping your body for work)
  • Improved range of motion and lubricates joints
  • Increased capillary activation (fancy way of saying it’s delivering oxygen to your muscles)
  • More elasticity in your tendons and ligaments (reducing chance of tears)
  • Enhanced performance

That last point is what I really want to stress; I mean a simple series of warm-up exercises can help you run faster? Sign me up!

For some research behind this, in 2015 the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research published a study showing that male runners who were well-trained, run faster after a dynamic warm-up

Maybe more importantly, after years of evidence from runners (myself included) who have simply felt better after a dynamic warm-up, I’m a big believer in these types of dynamic warm-up exercises

Which brings me to share my favorite dynamic warm-up with you:

The Dynamic Sole Warm-up

This routine requires no equipment and can be done almost anywhere.

Since the routines in the Easy Injury Prevention for Runners (Coming Soon!) are all plays on the blog name, so is this warm-up.

Most of these exercises are done standing, so if you’re running a muddy trail, or from your car in the rain, just skip the first couple of exercises (Also, Q&A below!)

Below are instructions on how to complete the warm-up exercises in the routine (PDF w/ photos and instructions coming soon!).

#1. Hurdle Mobility:

In a table position – hands under shoulder, knees under hips – lift your leg so that your thigh is parallel to the ground and shin is at a 90-degree angle from your thigh. Make a circular motion with your knee like you’re moving your thigh over a hurdle.

The next movement is exactly the same, except in the opposite direction.

#2. Cross Over:

Lie in a supine position (on your back) with your arms out to your sides and swing your right leg across your torso up to your left hand. The goal is to keep your shoulder and chest as flat against the ground as possible. There will be a good amount of rotation in your torso and hips as you swing your leg toward your hand. Repeat the same movement for the left leg.

#3. Scorpion:

Lie in a prone position (on stomach) with your arms out to your sides and swing your right leg across your back up to your left hand. Keep your shoulders and chest as flat against the ground as possible. Like Cross Over, there will be a good amount of rotation in your torso and hips as you swing your leg over. Repeat the same movement for the left leg.

#4. Squat:

Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and your toes pointing straight ahead. It’s okay if your toes are pointing slightly outward. Sit back with your butt like you’re sitting down in a chair until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Drive your heels down and return to the standing position, ensuring your lower back stays in a neutral position.

#5. Walking Lunge

Step forward with your right leg, flexing the knees and dropping your hips. Descend until your left knee almost touches the ground. Drive your right heel into the ground and push yourself back to a standing position while taking a step forward. Repeat with the opposite leg. Maintain a tall posture, and ensure your knee does not go too far beyond the toes while lunging.

#6. Walking Leg Swings (Zombie Walk)

With your hands straight out in front of you (like a zombie!), swing your right leg up toward your right hand. Keep both knees as straight as possible, and repeat on the opposite side.

#7. High-knee Skips:

Skip forward and drive your right knee up so it’s about parallel to the ground and drive your foot back down to the ground. Alternate each leg. Keep you back ball with an exaggerated arm swing and make sure you don’t slam your feet on the ground.

#8. Side Leg Swings

While standing in front of a wall or pole for suppost, swing your leg parallel to the support so your foot comes up about hip level. Make sure to swing your leg fully extended but not forcefully locked.

Dynamic Warm-up Q&A

To help get you started, I answered some of the most common questions you have asked me regarding dynamic warm-ups, stretching, and when you should do these exercises.

When Should I do This Routine?

This is dynamic warm-up so it’s done before you run, preferably right before running.

If you are traveling somewhere to run (like so many of us do) and won’t be able to get on the ground to do the first couple of exerises, just do the floor exercises at home and the standing exercises when you arrive right before you start running.

How Many Times Per Week Can I do This Routine?

Personally, I consider this an “easy” warm-up routine, so it’s best used before short, easy runs.

For faster workouts, long runs, and other challenging runs (like races), I suggest a more standard warm-up (coming soon!)

Is The Order of Exercises Important?

Absolutely! The sequence goes from general to more specific (floor to standing); simple to complex.

One of The Exercises Causes Pain – What Should I Do?

Skip it. None of these exercises should cause any discomfort, pain (especially sharp or stabbing pain), or hurt in any way.

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 with a Sports Management minor.

Guest Post: 6 Strategies for Post-Workout Recovery

If you want to get the most out of your workout routine, you have to know how to recover properly. Your body needs some time to repair itself after every workout session, but you can speed up your healing if you include some critical actions in your post-workout period. We are bringing you a short list of actions you should take into consideration to restore your body more efficiently.

Eat Healthily

It is important to know how to manage your diet in order to get the best result. You need carbohydrates to get energy for your actions, so it is recommended to have them roughly two hours before the exercise. You will need them after your workout to regain your energy but in a smaller amount.

Working out creates micro-tears in your muscle tissue and you need protein to recover. It is crucial to consume enough protein right after your training because this is a critical period if you want to build up your muscles.

Rehydrate

75 percent of your muscle tissue is water. You have to rehydrate constantly during your workout to keep the performance of your muscles on a high level. Water stimulates your metabolism and expels toxins, so it is important to keep hydrating after a workout in order to prevent cramps and reduce muscle soreness.

You are losing a lot of water through sweat, especially if your workout routine is very exhausting. In that case, you should consider taking some sports beverages to substitute lost electrolytes

Take Extra Vitamins and Minerals

You should consume additional vitamins and minerals during your post-workout period in order to enhance the recovery of your muscle tissue and to reduce muscle soreness. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant and its consumption right after training speeds up your recovery. Minerals like zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium also help repair bones and muscle tissue after a workout. Magnesium is especially important during the post-workout period. It is important for many functions of your body, including the creation of the chemical called ATP. When you are exercising, ATP releases energy that serves as fuel to your body. It is important to control the level of magnesium in your body after exercising in order to prevent muscle cramps and loss of energy. You can easily control it by taking magnesium supplements after your workout sessions.

Get Enough Sleep

There is no quality workout without quality sleep. Your body and mind need an everyday reset in order to work properly. It is recommended to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. A good 8-hour sleep is the right amount of time for your body to balance the hormones level and eliminate the feeling of mental and physical tiredness. Anabolic hormones, which are important for muscle building, accumulate during sleep, and catabolic hormones, which are responsible for muscle wasting, accumulate if you lack sleep. So make sure to get a good sleep every night in order to properly recover your muscle tissue.

Massage

Massages can be very helpful during the post-workout period. It helps your body recover more efficiently because it improves blood circulation, reduces muscle soreness and provides you with a feeling of relaxation. You can combine massages with aromatherapy to get beneficial results. Aromatherapy massages provide you a unique experience of total physical and emotional relaxation. During this type of massage, you are being exposed to the calming scent of essential oils and a gentle massage provided by a professional therapist.

Meditate

The post-workout period is the right time for meditation. After you have got rid of stress and feel exhaustion and happiness caused by endorphins, it is much easier to concentrate and dive in to find your inner self. It is important to calm down and find ourselves in this fast-paced world and the feeling of fulfillment when you accomplish that during meditation is thrilling. You will get in touch with your inner self faster and deeper if you meditate after your workout. You will be more aware of every part of your body, so just close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing.

You don’t have to work out hard in order to get the results. Instead of that, you should work smart. Create a schedule of your weekly activities. Find enough room during the week for proper sleep, meditation, workout sessions, quality meals, and always find enough time to recover from a good workout.

Scarlet is a passionate writer and regular contributor at highstylife.com interested in fashion, lifestyle, and health. She loves traveling, you could say that she is a real travel addict, especially when she has a chance to visit some exotic destinations. She would tell you that inspiration can be found in the most unexpected places.

Reflection on 2017 and What’s to Come in 2018

First, Happy New Year! Although I’ve been MIA for a solid minute, I’m hoping to be back for a while. I wanted to start back this year with a little reflection on 2017 and sharing some goals and changes to the blog for 2018.

#1. If you had to describe your 2017 in three words, what would they be?

They would be: Exciting, Adventurous, challenging

#2. What, or who, are you most thankful for?

My friends for supporting me through the ups and downs that I’ve faced the past few months.

#3. What new things did you discover about yourself?

I learned a lot of things, but the main would be, when I put my mind to something, I’ll achieve it.

#4. What single achievement are you most proud of?

I’ve achieved a lot this year, but honestly, the thing I’m most proud of is my volunteering twice a week with Reading Partners and helping my RP become a better and stronger reader.

#5. What was the best news you received?

That I got accepted into the University I’m attending, which was my first choice #ReignCane!

#6. What was your favorite place that you visited in 2017?

Panama City, Panama. Hands down an amazing country with amazing food and people.

#7. Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?

I’m going to say friendliness. Starting college requires you to go out of your way and be friendly to people since everyone’s trying to make friends.

#8. Which new skills did you learn?

I learned how to ask for help.

#9. What was the most important lesson you learned in 2017?

The only thing stopping you from doing something is you.

#10. What advice would you give your early 2017 self if you could?

Be excited about opportunities, and enjoy the adventure along the way.

Getting Excited About 2018

Despite the fact that any day of the year you can set a goal to achieve, January 1st seems to be the day we all choose to do so. I have three main goals this year. I’ve already been working on these goals whether I’ve actually started working on them, or I’ve just been planning the steps needed to achieve it. Here are the three goals I’m hoping to achieve or start the journey to achieve in 2018.

#1: Do well in college

I’m not going to lie. College is hard. There’s a transitional period that nobody tells you about. Which is that it takes you about half of your first semester to learn how to study in college because mid-terms and finals in high school are comparable to that of quizzes in college. So my goal is to keep my head above water this year, and the next couple of years ahead of me.

#2: Run a sub-2hr half marathon

I ran my first half-marathon this year. It was an amazing experience, and I did it with relatively little training. Don’t worry, that sentence makes me cringe too. At the time of which would’ve been time to train for it, I was on a D1 collegiate rowing team. Due to rowing being an endurance sport that requires a lot of strength, I was able to pull off a decent finish for my first half-marathon. With the races I’ve signed up for this year including 2 half marathons, I’m going to truly train for them.

#3: The Next Phase for RunningSoleGirl

It’s crazy to think I started RunningSoleGirl as a freshman in high school, and I want to continue on with it as a freshman in college. RunningSoleGirl has always focused on empowering women when it comes to health and fitness, and my mission is to continue that. However, I want to change it up a bit, but this has to do with my other two goals to begin working on in 2018. I plan on posting my training logs as well as tips to survive college. The usual health and fitness posts will continue on, but there will be some variety now. This makes it easier for me to continue posting on here, and I hope you lovelies support it.

Here’s to the journey that 2018 will bring us on!

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 with a Sports Management minor.

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