Staying in Shape is Easier Than Getting In Shape

The running path in Lakes Park, Fort Myers, Florida - so many of our Geared Up! athletes run this beautiful path to stay in shape.  Join us if you'd like!

The holidays are typically extremely busy and extremely indulgent.

All the holiday dinners coupled with holiday hospitality events and in short, health and fitness are not generally found at the top of Santa's list.

With December’s month long celebrations, often in excess, many people find themselves committing to firm New Year’s resolutions to get fit and lose weight.

It’s not surprising that many people struggle to maintain a healthy focus in December.

To enjoy the holiday celebrations and maintain a healthy focus, follow a few festive fitness guides and you’ll be ahead come January 1.

It is paramount you maintain your fitness program. One of the hardest things to do when your time is in short supply is to maintain an exercise routine.

If you usually exercise a few times a week, the additional...

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Top Performance Requires Mental Training, Too

Ask any coach what distinguishes a good athlete from a great one and they’ll tell you that great athletes are both physically and mentally trained.

In fact, mental training or the mind games we play with ourselves is one of the most overlooked aspects of a well-rounded training program.

We give the topic a lot of lip service but rarely do we actively engage in training to make us mentally stronger.

We could debate physical preparedness vs mental readiness for hours.

I believe that since we associate the physicality we are seeing when watching a sports event, we learn to train the body and ignore the mind.

I went to university on a track and field scholarship and never once did a coach or mentor mention the value of being mentally prepared.

However, learning to cognitively look at physical performance, just as you practice interval sets or tennis volley’s, will enhance your overall performance and better prepare you for whatever obstacles or challenges you may face.

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Managing Disc Injuries with Healthy Exercise

back pain exercises health Nov 17, 2019

Sitting at my desk, researching this article, I come across so much information about disc (spine) injuries.

It seems that ‘Google’ is extremely good at defining what a disc herniation is, how it happens and when to go to a doctor, but not so good at providing helpful information regarding management of the injury.

Most of the websites veer towards recommendations of bed rest, NSAIDS (anti-inflammatory drugs) and cortisone injections, with a visit to your GP if pain persists.

In a nutshell, rest and drugs.

There are very few sites that encourage people to seek some hands-on treatment, and even fewer that provide any information about specific exercise programs for disc injuries.

Let’s change that by focusing on some preventative exercises you can add to any existing program.

However, if you currently have a disc injury, remember to always consult a health care professional (doctor or physical therapist) for diagnosis and advice prior to starting an exercise program....

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The Impact of Goal Setting

It is widely accepted that setting goals is a successful way to encourage adherence to long term-exercise.

Ask any athlete and they will tell you that goal setting enables them to track their achievements and maintain activity levels, particularly when training becomes more challenging.

Choosing the most effective goal setting approach; be it outcome, process or performance based goals depends on each individual and personal motivation factors.

Before you make any lifestyle changes, you should know why you want to change your fitness and you should be consciously making that decision for yourself.

Write down 3 goals you want to achieve, why you want to achieve them and what it will mean to you once you do.

Also, recognize what it would mean if you don’t reach those goals.

Now post your goals some where you can see and review them every day. Having a crystal-clear vision of what you want to achieve and why is imperative for success.

Now that you’ve clarified why you want...

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Respiratory Muscles Need Conditioning to Maximize Performance

On a recent run, several athletes complained of acute tightness in their chests which I speculated was partly pollen induced and an increase in humidity.

However, upon further examination, I noticed they were breathing very shallowly and part of their weakness was due to good ole laziness of the respiratory muscles.

Correct breathing techniques can help improve performance, delay the perception of fatigue and reduce recovery time … but it takes work.

Research has shown that inefficient breathing and respiratory muscle weakness can lead to a low tolerance of exercise and a misconception of fatigue.

Unfortunately, this misreading of fatigue often leads to prematurely quitting a training session or exercise set and ultimately prevents individuals from breaking plateaus and reaching their goals.

Correct breathing occurs when the volume and rate of oxygen uptake matches the muscle tension for a given activity level.

This means that as intensity or duration of activity increases,...

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Harness Power to Develop Running Efficiency

Harness training involving weighted sleds, parachutes and resisted and assisted partner sprinting is becoming increasingly prevalent in gym and outdoor training environments.

However, before it filtered across to mainstream fitness, it had its origins in sport-specific training.

Track and field has been utilizing such training methods for nearly the past 3 decades, and it has become more prevalent in elite team sports such a football, soccer and hockey.

The application of harness training really excels in the development of running speed, stride efficiency and acceleration.

Pretty much any type of resisted sprinting activity, whether it’s with a sled, a chute or partner training, works on force development, because to overcome the given resistance, you must generate more force while you’re in contact with the ground.

In addition, by slowing movement down using resistance, participants can feel the correct body position they are striving to achieve and improve their...

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Fueling on the Run, Finding Balance for Busy Lifestyles

Angie sharing delicious things & ideas in the kitchen, filming the 14 Day Fit & Fresh Challenge (a bonus in our fantastic Monthly Program!)

For those of us with busy and active lifestyles, it can be a real challenge to keep the body sufficiently fueled day after day.

Between work, working out and the rest of life, we can end up eating on the run more than we would like to. Cue food preparation.

You’ve probably heard or read that you increase your chances of eating poorly if you are caught out without food and that advance meal prepping is absolutely the answer.

For some, perhaps, but not everyone wants to spend their Sunday afternoons chopping onions, weighing out chicken and adding just enough cheese to keep the food calculator happy.

For many, especially those who have only recently embarked on a training program, food prepping can be a source of stress and even the most hardcore food preppers would be pushed to admit they will do this forever. Life eventually gets in...

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Don't Get Twisted Out of Sorts by an Ankle Sprain

Angie in the Fitness Center - helping, teaching and sharing best practices.

Ankle sprains account for approximately 40% of all athletic injuries and are the most common injury in sports.

Ankle sprains are most likely to occur during activities that involve running, jumping or quick directional changes.

The key to avoid ankle sprains and staying off the injured reserve list is exercise management to improve both muscular strength and muscle proprioception.

Most ankle sprains fall into one of two categories: acute and chronic.

Acute injuries make up roughly 85% of all ankle sprains and occur when the foot is inverted and planter-flexed. This means while your toes are pointed and the ankle rolls away from the body. This could occur to the basketball player landing off a jump with poor proprioception or to a runner cutting the tangent to make a light (who me?) with weak muscular strength in the ankle.  

The remaining 15% of sprains are commonly classified as chronic ankle...

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8 Essential Exercises for Athletes with Arthritic Knees

Jason, Angie and Heidi helping, teaching and showing you best practices in the 20 Day Core Challenge (available in our Monthly Membership program!)

Stronger muscles can relieve the load on your joints and reduce arthritis pain and inflammation...

Here's how:

Just because you have arthritis doesn't mean you have to say goodbye to exercise.

But many people with this condition aren't meeting the recommended federal guidelines of 2.5 hours of moderate movement each week — and that's a shame, because physical activity is one of the best ways to combat the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.

"A lot of people with arthritis stop moving."

says Lee Kaplan, MD, associate professor of clinical orthopedics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida.

In fact, he emphasizes, people should be doing just the opposite — seeking exercise and actively strength-training their muscles in order to reduce the load on their joints, which in turn can cut down on...

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Running Strategies for Success

"A great afternoon run in Lakes Park, Fort Myers, Florida..."

Fabulous temperatures, coupled with New Year’s Resolutions, inspire many an athlete to take their running to task and try a 5K, a new distance or set a new personal record.

Whatever your goal, heed a few top tips and running strategies to ensure your running success:

  1. Start with a dynamic warm-up and save the stretches for the end. Runners often experience tightness in certain muscles like the gluteus maximus that can lead to inefficient movement patterns and decreased performance. Begin all runs with a dynamic warm up simulating the movements/range of motion your muscles will go through during your run. Not only will this promote flexibility but also it will help reduce the risk of injury. Save the deep static stretches until after your run when your muscles are most pliable and always hold stretches for at least 30 seconds.
  2. Maintain good cadence. Running with shorter, quicker strides will mean that your body...
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