Running the 2012 New York Warrior Dash

2012-08-28 by . 7 comments
Matt Chan runs the Warrior Dash

I may have pretended to run just for this photo opportunity.

It had been over a year ago when my friend first orchestrated getting a group of college buddies together to go to this event. Two weekends ago I finally ran the Warrior Dash in the mountains of Windham, NY. The event is an outdoor 5K race through a mountainous and muddy path and comprised of various obstacles along the way, but also a day of fun and challenge to enjoy and share with friends, family, and total strangers.

Why did I decide to run the Warrior Dash?

As a practicing martial artist, I am continuously discovering how my body physically moves and have been improving my performance and technique over time. Once I began to become consciously aware of what I was doing, I have been wanting to see what kind of limits I could push myself outside of martial arts. A friend of mine invited me to participate in this fun event with him, and I saw this as an opportunity to see how my training has affected me in my overall physical fitness. Growing up, I hardly did any physical activity at all, was very out of shape, and could not even run a quarter mile without feeling winded. more »

Maintaining Your Fitness Motivation

2012-03-19 by . 13 comments

Starting a new and exciting prospect always brings this feeling of exhilaration and wonder. Drumming up the nerve and getting that initial high is easy, but maintaining that interest afterwards is not. Fitness is no different, and working towards a healthy and active lifestyle is no easy feat. Breaking your New Year’s resolutions is only discouraging and wanes your motivation to pursue that choice.

If you’re falling out of your current fitness plan, then perhaps re-evaluating your fitness goals will help you get back on your feet. Setting small goals (while keeping the overall big picture goal in mind) helps keeps things realistically attainable. We may become too focused on the little things and sometimes forget the what the long-term plan is. Willpower alone will not remedy the lack of motivation. Having the desire to become fit is great, but what we think in our minds, ideal as it may be, doesn’t always reflect the actual reality around us and vice versa. Sometimes we just need a little extra help in reaching our goal.

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Juggling for Fitness

2012-03-02 by . 11 comments

Juggling is not one of the first things to come to mind when designing a fitness plan, but the surprising benefits of this exercise make it a great addition to any routine. Juggling provides cardiovascular exercise, stress relief, enhanced coordination, a brain workout, and more. It’s also an engaging, goal-based workout that can spice things up and make it easy to fit in quick bouts of exercise at various points throughout your day.

Common Misconceptions About Juggling

Let’s start off by dispelling a few of the common misconceptions about juggling.

  • It’s not exercise. All it takes is five minutes of trying your hand at juggling to realize it is a cardio exercise. Practicing juggling burns up to 280 calories an hour (depending on body weight), similar to walking. Using proper stance and engaging core muscles increases the exercise factor of juggling.
  • It’s just for clowns. Chances are that at least one of your friends or family members knows how to juggle. It’s for people of all ages and body types. Many professional athletes use juggling to improve coordination, reaction time, and sharpen focus. A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals even credits his amazing catching ability to juggling.
  • It’s difficult to learn and is for coordinated people.  Just like with anything, the key to learning to juggle is using the right resources that teach the skill in a simple way. If something isn’t working, switch methods or teachers.  Coordination is by no means required to juggle; in fact, juggling is one of the best ways to increase coordination, an important but often overlooked element of fitness. Having taught people from ages four to eighty four, including pro athletes and people with Parkinson’s disease, I’ve found that anyone can learn to juggle.

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Share Fitness.SE Questions with the RunKeeper Healthy Button!

2012-02-13 by . 7 comments

I’m excited to announce that Fitness.SE is among RunKeeper‘s initial launch partners for the release of their new Healthy Button! Much like the buttons that allow you to share a post on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus, the RunKeeper Healthy Button allows you to share “fitness tips, inspiring stories and healthy food recipes” with your RunKeeper friends (your “street teammates”).

Here’s what it looks like on our site:

healthy button mockup

For those of you who haven’t used RunKeeper, it’s a really cool smart phone app that helps you track your workouts using GPS. It eliminates the need to plan out the route for your runs and bike rides – you can just go and RunKeeper will give you updates on distance, average speed, and calories burned. Everyone who signs up for RunKeeper also has a profile page that showcases your workouts. You can connect with your friends to see what they’ve been up to, comment, and help motivate each other. With the addition of the healthy button, you’ll now be able to share posts relating to healthy living with your friends as well!

So what does this mean for us? Basically, it’s a great new way for us to share Fitness.SE content with our RunKeeper friends. Sharing to Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus are all great for getting the word out to a really large network, but the RunKeeper network is more targeted towards people who are looking specifically for content like what we have – tips about exercise, nutrition, and healthy living. So every time you read a great post on fitness.stackexchange.com, hit that Healthy Button and share it with your RunKeeper friends!

 

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Open Jars with Ease – A SportGrips SideWinder Review

2012-02-09 by . 0 comments

Do you have trouble opening jars of sauce? Trying to scoop rock-hard ice cream? Throwing gutter balls when bowling with your friends? Our hands are used for interacting with the world around us, and strengthening our wrists is a important matter that should be part of our workouts. The applications that require wrist strength apply to a wide variety of activities even if they are not sports or fitness related.

SportGrips SideWinder models

The SideWinder comes in three varying sizes and weights.

The SideWinder exerciser is a tool developed by Frank Nieman, an Illinois woodsman who was climbing trees for a living. He saw the need for strengthening his crew’s grips for climbing and created the device. It comes in three models of varying sizes and weight which accommodates different hand dimensions and strength requirements.

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Getting Started with Yoga

2012-01-31 by . 3 comments

Still trying to keep that New Year’s resolution? Today’s Fitness 101 post comes from guest Elyse Familant, a personal trainer with over 25 years of experience in the fitness world, who teaches core, yoga, and spinning classes. Here, she gives us an overview of what yoga is and its benefits. If you are starting off the New Year looking for a workout, give yoga a try!

Yoga, the 5000 year old practice has become one of the hottest exercise trends with almost 11 million Americans participating. Everybody seems to be doing it and touting the benefits. Locally, yoga studios and gyms have seen their class sizes expand dramatically.

And for good reason. Practicing the postures, breathing exercises and meditation makes your mind, body and spirit run like a well-oiled machine. Yoga makes you healthier, happier and gets you in shape — all at the same time.

But don’t take my word for it, there are hundreds of studies and scientific research that show that yoga helps manage or control anxiety, arthritis, asthma, back pain, blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, headaches, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, stress and more.

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Filed under 101, yoga

Defining Your Fitness Goals

2012-01-19 by . 18 comments

As anyone knows, starting a fitness regimen can be hard when you have a multitude of questions floating around in your head  as you try to take on your New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, they aren’t simple to answer, and situations vary from person to person. Addressing weight loss and workout sessions and everything in between all at once will become overwhelming, hard to track, and the failure will only be demotivating.

Let’s start with some typical New Year’s resolutions. They tend to sound like this:

  • “I want to be fit.”
  • “I want to be healthy.”
  • “I want to lose weight.”

What is wrong with these statements? They are overly broad, generalized, vague statements that are unfocused, open to interpretation, and don’t say anything specific about what you really want or should do. Note that asking general questions like these also don’t make very good questions on the Fitness Stack Exchange and are likely to be closed. Without sitting down and really putting the mental effort into saying what you want, losing sight of your New Year’s resolution becomes very easy.

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Keeping your New Year’s Resolution with Fitness 101

2012-01-04 by . 4 comments

Here at the Fitness Stack Exchange, we believe that exercise and proper nutrition is vital for a healthy lifestyle. Even though some of us are enthusiastic about staying fit, we realize that not everyone has an idea of what to do or where to start. So to help everyone who has made a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight or get started with exercise and healthy living, we have devised a Fitness 101 series to offer tips and resources.

Fitness 101 is not a full-fledged fitness program or exercise regimen; it is a starting point and guide for people to venture on their own paths. We want people to pursue their own goals, stay active, and hopefully learn more about themselves. The Fitness 101 series and our Fitness & Nutrition Q&A site will be great resources for people doing that. We welcome and encourage everyone to visit our site and ask whatever questions they have about fitness, and we as a community will do our best to give you good advice.

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Introduction to Zumba Fitness 2

2011-12-28 by . 4 comments

I failed ballroom dancing in college. Believe me. I have the transcript to prove it. Having practiced martial arts for years, dancing is still my downfall. Imagine my apprehension when I recently received Zumba Fitness 2 for the Wii.

What is Zumba Fitness 2 for the Wii? It’s a game based on Zumba, the popular dance fitness program. Once you enter the disc, you create a profile, and then you’re ready to go! You can choose to do a single Zumba song, a full Zumba class, or create your own custom routines. Zumba workouts vary in length and intensity that you can choose for your own needs. Included with the game is a promotion to try out a weeks’ worth of Zumba classes for free at a 24 Hour Fitness location.

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Filed under games, review

Interview with Get Fit Guy

2011-11-22 by . 2 comments

The second in our series of interviews with fitness buffs and nutritionists is with Ben Greenfield, also known as “Get Fit Guy” of the Quick and Dirty Tips network that includes Nutrition Diva and Grammar Girl. Ben has been on the fitness and exercise track ever since playing tennis in high school and college. He enjoyed playing tennis so much that he decided to major in sports science, get a master’s degree in exercise physiology and human nutrition, and make a career out of being a personal trainer and sports nutritionist.

Currently Ben holds down several part-time gigs as a blogger and podcaster. In addition to being Get Fit Guy, Ben has his own blog and podcast at Ben Greenfield Fitness, and actively contributes to Endurance Planet, Rockstar Triathlete Academy, and Train for Top Dollar.

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Filed under interview, tips