Thursday, April 24, 2014

Signing up for a mud run? Try these.

Throwback Thursday: Warrior Dash '11
The rise in popularity of mud runs has seen an explosion of these kinds of races in the last few years, from the shorter Warrior Dash and Spartan Race to the longer and more grueling Tough Mudder. And no wonder! They break up the monotony of the work week, are filled with obstacles, involve a certain camaraderie, remind us a little of our days on a playground rather than a cubicle, and some (more than a few) end with a beer for those of us old enough to enjoy one.

But how do you go about training for a race like this? It involves more than just forward running, with obstacles ranging from wall climbs to electrically charged wire pits to barbed wire you have to crawl under through thick mud. And while going out on distance runs is a good idea to build a nice endurance base for the 3-12 miles you may be running (sometimes up mountains), there are other things to consider adding, both to improve performance, and to avoid injuries on the course. Most trainers suggest at least 7-12 weeks of training for a race--more, if you've never done much like this before.

Rope climbs

Sit on the floor, feet in front, holding the rope in both hands, and pull yourself up to a standing position hand over hand. Then, lower yourself down to the starting position. That's one! These will help you climb up over the walls, and builds upper body strength. 

Box jumps

Start in an athletic position (shoulders over knees, knees and hips bent), slightly bend your knees and jump onto the box/platform, absorbing the landing evenly in the same athletic stance you started in. Step down, and go again!

Monkey bars

Straight from the playground! This is great, since you'll see these on some of the courses, and are great for upper body strength as well.

Planks/side planks

Important for core strength, which you'll need when crawling under those wires. Hold a plank position for as long as you can without losing form. Keep adding time as you go along through your training. Don't forget side planks; your middle is made of more than just one muscle.

Blog post by Ashley Crosby.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Adult Nationals Weekly Series #6: Paul Wylie’s Presentation

Paul with National Champion Dawn Feest

The U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championship Week was full of amazing skating performances, S.T.A.R.S. Off-Ice Testing, a Dick Button book signing, and award ceremonies crowning National Champions.

A highlight of the weekend was a presentation by American figure skater and 1992 Olympic silver medalist Paul Wylie.

Paul used to train at the Tony Kent Arena in South Dennis under Olympic and World Skating coaches Evy and Mary Scotvold and has also worked with the famous Dr. Igor Burdenko, developer of the Burdenko Method.  Paul made a quick visit to the Hyannis Youth and Community Center in Hyannis, MA for just enough time to speak about functional training, different training approaches, and fitness as a lifelong journey.

“The Burdenko Method is a natural part of what I do.  I incorporate his exercises into my warm up routine backstage before I go on the ice,” said Paul.  Burdenko exercises are dynamic and very sport-specific. 

“Working the whole body in different directions and at different speeds are principles of the Burdenko Method that translate exceptionally well for figure skaters who work slowly and gracefully and move into fast dynamic movements while changing directions,” said Joe Carroll PT DPT, owner of Cape Cod Rehab Physical Therapy and Master Burdenko Method Instructor.

When Paul first began skating, training was about trial and error and driven by urgency.  Paul admitted to overtraining and little to no recovery time. 

His quote of the day was, “Stress without recovery is the enemy!” 

Training “in the olden days” was like cramming for a test.  If there was a competition coming up, skaters went through their routines time after time, jump after jumps.  They knew they had to incorporate weight lifting and ballet but no one knew how much or how often.  He was on rollercoaster battling body weight and body image.  Too much weight lifting would bulk up a skater and too much ballet would also harm skating aesthetics.  It was about trial and error and seeing what didn’t work.

Now training figure skaters has taken a more integrated approach driven by goals and personal plans.  Everything is sport-specific and individualized.  Skaters work with a team of professionals working toward a common goal.  A plan is developed for the season, off-season, career, and a plan for WHEN they get injured – because it’s going to happen at some point!

Paul credited Dr. Burdenko’s 6 Essential Qualities of Life and Sport:
  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • Flexibility
  • Endurance
  • Speed/Quickness
  • Strength

“Build on the basics to become extraordinary from the ground up,” said Paul.

A lot of figure skating and sport is mental.  Motivation requires 3 things: competence, autonomy (“it’s my choice”), and relatedness.  There are certain questions you need to ask yourself every time you walk into the gym or ice rink.

“What can I accomplish today?”
“What excuses do I make on a daily basis?”
“Who do I admire?  What qualities do I admire about them?”
“How can I continuously improve?”

Paul’s talk was very motivational and encouraging.  If you ever have a chance to hear him speak, you won’t want to miss it.

Final thoughts from Paul: Ballet was the Russian Secret Weapon.

Blog post by Jen Skiba.

Monday, April 21, 2014

TRX Training for Runners

Everyone can benefit from TRX suspension training. It is a great way to develop core strength, as well as stability in joints and muscles. The TRX is easy to use and can be set up almost anywhere, which makes it a great piece of equipment to add to your workout routine. You chose how easy or how tough your workout will be by simply changing your body angle or the length of the straps making it a great tool for beginners as well as seasoned athletes.

TRX training for runners will allow you to focus on building up your running performance and get you ready to take on longer runs and can actually help to improve your running time. If it's done right, a TRX workout can elevated your heart rate as much a normal run would. This makes it a great tool to mix up your workouts helping to decrease risk of injury and help with recovery.

Suspension training can help to target key areas that benefit runners. It mobilizes the thoracic spine, increases hip mobility, and engages the glutes, which are often ignored by runners. A strong core is important for runners and TRX training is a great way to build up strength and stability in that area.

Try a TRX workout and see what it can do for you. Your workout should be designed with runner-specific exercises to improve your body’s strength, stability, and flexibility. Here are some different exercises that engage the core and work on building strength throughout the whole body. Aim to do 8-15 reps of each exercise and make sure that you can maintain good form and posture throughout the entire motion.

Sprinter Start

Face away from anchor point. Step forward with right leg. Lean into TRX at approximately a 45-degree angle. Drive off front leg and bring rear knee forward. Return to start position. Repeat with other leg.

Suspended Lunge

Face away from anchor point. Place one foot into both foot cradles at once, toes in. Plant left foot approximately three feet in front of anchor point. Lower hips into lunge position. Suspended leg will move back.  Pressing down on heel of grounded foot, return to start position. Maintain balance and upright body posture.  Repeat with other leg.

Hamstring Curl

Place heels in foot cradles directly under anchor point. Lie on back with arms at sides and palms flat on ground. Use core and glutes to lift hips into a bridge. Draw heels toward hips while lifting hips and squeezing glutes. Return to start position with control.

Squat Rows

Face anchor point with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold handles with arms extended. Lean back and walk feet forward to appropriate resistance angle. Lower into a squat. Stand up from the squat keeping shoulders pulled down and back. Pull body toward anchor point using back and arms. Return to start position with slow, controlled movement.

Did you know that it's been 10 years since the TRX burst into the fitness world in 2004?  How do you incorporate the TRX into your training?

Blog post by Catie Furbush CSCS.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Easter Candy Reality

Did you know that Easter is one of biggest candy consuming holidays in the U.S. coming in second only to Halloween?  Every year American’s spend over $2 billion on Easter candy!  About 70 percent of all Easter candy sold is chocolate. 

Before you head to the candy aisle at your local grocery store, let’s take a look at some Easter candy favorites and we’ll let you decide if all those calories and sugar is worth it.

Marshmallow Peeps

Serving Size 5 chicks
Calories 140, Total Fat 0g, Sat Fat 0g, Sodium 15g, Total Carb 36g, Sugars 34g

No Easter basket is complete without Marshmallow Peeps!  You may be thinking - wow, no fat! And each Peep is only 28 calories? - but have you noticed how much sugar makes up this marshmallow goodness?  The are 36g carbohydrates (0g fiber), which is about 12% your recommended daily value.  To burn off one serving of Marshallow Peeps, you would have to perform Circuit Training for approximately 16 minutes*.  If you’re like me and can’t pass them up, buy the single serving pack to avoid overindulging!

Reece’s Peanut Butter Egg

Serving Size 1 egg
Calories 190, Total Fat 10g, Sat Fat 3g, Sodium 135mg, Total Carb 18g, Sugars 16g

Each individually wrapped egg is 190 calories and contains a lot of fat, sodium, carbohydrates, and sugars.  They are highly processed and you would have to walk or run about 2 miles* to burn off each one of these delicious eggs.

Reece’s Pieces Peanut Butter Eggs

Serving Size 12 eggs
Calories 190, Total Fat 9g, Sat Fat 8g, Sodium 45mg, Total Carb 24g, Sugars 21g

Check out the amount of saturated fat!  Saturated fats are fatty acids with a single bond between the carbon atoms.  They increase LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and consuming too much can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.  The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of saturated fat to less than 7% of daily calorie totals (or approximately 140 calories in a 2,000 calorie/day diet).  Burn off these calories by jumping rope for about 16 minutes* or spend 19 minutes* stair climbing.

Cadbury Mini Eggs

Serving Size 12 eggs
Calories 190, Total Fat 8g, Sat Fat 5g, Sodium 30mg, Total Carb 28g, Sugars 27g

Cadbury Eggs are a very popular Easter candy but they boast a high calorie count, high fat content, high in carbohydrates (only 1g fiber), and contain a lot of sugar.  If you eat Cadbury Mini Eggs, you should spend about 25 minutes* on the Rowing Machine or 28 minutes* on the Elliptical.

Starburst Jelly Beans

Serving Size 1.5oz (about 1/4 cup)
Calories 150, Total Fat 0g, Sat Fat 0g, Sodium 20mg, Total Carb 37g, Sugars 29g

How can anyone resist Jelly Beans on Easter Sunday?  The positive is there is no fat in the Starburst version.  The negative is the high carbohydrate and sugar content.  To burn 150 calories, try aqua jogging for about 13 minutes* or hit the driving range for 40 minutes*.  Like all candy, eat in moderation!

Happy Easter!

*All suggestions are based off an estimate calorie burn for a 140 pound female.  Exercise intensity, body weight, gender, age, and fitness levels can affect on the actual amount burned.

Blog post by Jen Skiba.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Adult Nationals Weekly Series #5: Meet Carolyn

Week 2 we met Briana Lackenby, Cape Cod Rehab Physical Therapist and Yarmouth Ice Club coach.  Weeks 3 and 4 we featured two of our local skaters: Dawn Feest and Becky Hamlin.  This week, we will be learning about the other side of figure skating as we meet Carolyn, co-chair for the 2014 U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships and United States Figure Skating (USFS) Judge.

About Carolyn

Carolyn Pierce has been a judge for United States Figure Skating for nearly 35 years.  She is the Vice President of the Yarmouth Ice Club and the Co-Chair at this month’s Adult Nationals alongside Donna Wunder, President of the Yarmouth Ice Club.

Carolyn has been around the sport of figure skating for almost her whole life.  She started skating at the old Kennedy Ice Rink in Hyannis.  The facility was built when Carolyn was a freshman in high school and she has been hooked ever since it was built.  At the time, there were no coaches on the Cape so Carolyn had to travel to Boston for lessons.  Carolyn noted, “My skating was forgettable but that’s when I fell in love.”

Carolyn’s career as a figure skater ended when she attended college in Florida but her involvement in the sport continued.  “Our family was absorbed in skating,” said Carolyn.  She became a judge for USFA after watching her daughter, a nationally ranked figure skater.  Carolyn’s niece was an 11-time National Competitor, competing in both singles and pairs and went on to become a World and Olympic Judge and National Chair for Technical Skating for USFS.

Physical Therapy & Barnstable Fitness

The ties between the Yarmouth Ice Club and Cape Cod Rehab continue with Carolyn.  She has been a patient of Cape Cod Rehab, a member of the Barnstable Fitness Center and was even a judge for Cape Cod Rehab’s physical therapist Briana when she was a kid.

A retired Barnstable High School Accounting and Law teacher, Carolyn now faces strenuous hours on her feet during competition weeks followed by long flights and long hours of sitting in the cold ice rink when she’s judging all over the country.  Over the years she’s had her fair share of injuries and surgeries.  She had both knees replaced, has two bad hips, two bad shoulders that can’t be fixed, along with severe osteoarthris.

Carolyn spends a few months at a time in physical therapy with Briana before meeting with Eric Chandler, Barnstable Fitness Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist for personal training.  Eric sets Carolyn up with an independent exercise program based on The Burdenko Method in the pool.  She truly believes that “the pool is saving my life!”

Yarmouth Ice Club Hosting a Major Event

Carolyn and Donna will co-chair Adult Nationals this month at the HYCC in Hyannis, MA.  Carolyn has been the chair or co-chair at every single Yarmouth Ice Club event and has judged 5 Adult National Competitions.

Adult Nationals is one of four National Championships held in the United States.  The others include U.S. Championships (which was held in Boston to decide the 2012 Sochi Olympic Team), U.S. Collegiate Championships (which the Yarmouth Ice Club hosted in 2012), and U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships.

To host a major competition, the Yarmouth Ice Club submitted a bid to USFS 18 months ago.  To submit a bid, the rink, hotels, and all the details had to be under contract and in place if they were chosen.  Carolyn and Donna have met at least 2 times per week for the last 18 months and more recently every day to plan and discuss the details of the event.  In 2012, they ran not one but three major figure skating competitions.  “Yeah, we’re crazy!” said Carolyn.

Since interviewing Carolyn, the Yarmouth Ice Club has announced they will be the host of the 2015 Theatre on Ice.

Adult Nationals

Carolyn says that adult figure skaters are amazing.  They are competing because they want to be there.  “It’s crazy and fun but also very intense.  You will see former competitive skaters performing double axels and triples and then there are lower levels where adults show their love for skating.”  She said these skaters will surprise a lot of people and added, “Everyone is cheering and the camaraderie between the skaters is incredible.”

Blog post by Jen Skiba.