Blitz Conditioning http://blitzconditioning.com Community Oriented Fitness Fri, 15 Jul 2016 16:31:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Global TV Segment July 6, 2016: Partner Banded Exercises http://blitzconditioning.com/global-tv-segment-july-6-2016-partner-banded-exercises/ http://blitzconditioning.com/global-tv-segment-july-6-2016-partner-banded-exercises/#respond Tue, 05 Jul 2016 17:18:11 +0000 http://blitzconditioning.com/?p=12926 Partner exercises can be a fun addition to any workout! The partner offers a more dynamic challenge to the movement since you have to react to something unpredictable. When your partner is the anchor they have to try and resist as much as they can to keep everything as stable as possible. Some exercises also force both partners to counter each other’s movements in the opposite direction.

Check out the following exercises we featured on Global TV this week:

Partner Torso Twists:

Partner Banded Torso Twist 01 Partner Banded Torso Twist 02

  • Both partners should have their feet staggered shoulder height and arms fully extended.
  • One partner twists through the torso while the other partner tries to keep as still as possible.
  • You can either have one partner perform all of the repetitions at the same time or alternate.

Partner Squat to Row:

  • Partner Banded Rows 01 Partner Banded Rows 02One partner holds the middle of the band while the other partner holds the two handles.
  • One partner holds a squat position with arms fully extended.
  • That partner rows with both hands and attempts to bring the cable towards the sternum.
  • Hold for a few moments and return the cable back to the initial position.
  • You can either have one partner perform all of the repetitions at the same time or alternate.

Side Plank to One Arm Row:

Partner Banded Side plank to Row 01 Partner Banded Side plank to Row 02

  • Cable is held by both partners while one person is holding a side plank (can be done with variations: on knees or on hand).
  • The partner holding the side plank rows the cable back while keeping their core tight.
  • Hold for a moment and then return the cable to the original position.

Squat Jump to Torso Twist:

Partner Banded Squat Jump to Torso Twist 01 Partner Banded Squat Jump to Torso Twist 02

  • Both partners start the exercise off facing the same way in a squat position while holding the cable with arms fully extended.
  • During the jump, both partners twist away from each other and return back to the original position (hands in front) before landing on the ground in a squat.
  • Keep your core tight and make sure you are initiating the move through your torso.
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Life on the Single Track: Learning to Mountain Bike in Edmonton http://blitzconditioning.com/life-on-the-single-track-learning-to-mountain-bike-in-edmonton/ http://blitzconditioning.com/life-on-the-single-track-learning-to-mountain-bike-in-edmonton/#comments Mon, 06 Jun 2016 21:20:28 +0000 http://blitzconditioning.com/?p=12887  

pre-rideEdmonton boasts the largest urban green space in North America, and one of the best ways to experience it is by bike. You can escape the noisy city—even for a little while—on the expansive single and double track trail system that makes you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere.

Mountain biking is sure popular here, but watching fearless riders bomb down hills and fly over jumps may leave you wondering if this sport is for you. Trust me when I say that anyone who has a big love of nature and a little spirit of adventure can be a mountain biker. It may be the hardest sport I’ve ever tried, but it’s easily the most fun.

Besides the trail system, another great thing about mountain biking Edmonton is the community. If you’re new to the sport, there’s no shortage of community groups and learn-to-ride events. Many experienced cyclists are enthusiastic about growing the sport and helping beginners master the skills they need on the trails.

Mountain biking was traditionally a male-dominated sport, and so women’s riding groups like Edmonton’s DirtGirls were started to bring the smaller (but always growing) community together and encourage more women to join the sport. Now, we have a seemingly endless pick of women’s clinics, bike camps, and getaways. Recently, Bell Helmets initiated the Bell Joy Ride program.

intermediate-group2

Bell Joy Ride events have been popping up in cities across North America, and the first one was held in Edmonton this spring. The program was established to build a fun and safe environment for women to learn the sport, and for women of all levels to meet, have fun, and challenge each other.

Every month this summer will see a free event at a different location, hosted by local cycling enthusiast and Bell Joy Ride ambassador Nina Karpoff. The second Edmonton ride was held on May 15th at Louise McKinney Park.

It was a beautiful morning, and everyone was smiling, mingling, and sampling the snacks as we waited for things to get rolling, so to speak. The event started off with a presentation on basic bike maintenance by Mountain Equipment Co-op. We were then instructed to get in a big circle, where we received instruction in properly adjusting our helmets (many of us underestimate how snug our helmets should fit. If you can easily roll your helmet around your head or lift it so that only the chin strap is keeping it on, then you better tighten that sucker, because it’s not adjusted correctly).

Our lesson was followed by a warm-up and stretching session. Persistently stiff and sore since I’ve started biking, I happily joined in, until I looked down and noticed the ratchet on my cycling shoe was busted. I wandered over to the MEC tent to ask for help.

Mountain bikers are some of the friendliest, most helpful people I’ve met. Here’s one example: the event photographer was also a mountain biker and, as it turns out, an eager handyman. When he heard about my problem, he promptly laid down his camera, dug around in the MEC toolbox like he owned it, and had me all fixed up in no time!

After the stretching session, we split into our groups. You sign up for your skill level, from new rider to advanced, when you register for the event. I went with the intermediate group this time, which was divided into two smaller groups so we could cover more ground.

Our leader Tracy made everyone feel comfortable. She asked about our skill levels prior to taking off, gave us tips before we attempted difficult sections, and continually checked in to make sure we weren’t tired, dehydrated, or too freaked out by a technical descent. All in all, it was a terrific environment to build skills and gain confidence.

Two hours is not enough time to explore all the trails that Edmonton has to offer, so I’m looking forward to the next event, and of course all the times in between.

bell-joy-ride-leaders

Whether you’re interested in learning to mountain bike, or already ride and want to gain confidence on the trails and new bike skills, you should register for the next ride, which will be held on Saturday, June 11th at Emily Murphy Park. Sign up soon, because there’s a lot of interest in these free events. See you on the trails!

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Stability Ball Workout: June 1 2016 Global TV Segment http://blitzconditioning.com/stability-ball-workout-june-1-2016-global-tv-segment/ http://blitzconditioning.com/stability-ball-workout-june-1-2016-global-tv-segment/#respond Mon, 30 May 2016 21:53:57 +0000 http://blitzconditioning.com/?p=12885 I featured a classic piece of equipment on Global TV this week: The stability or swiss ball.

Here are a few workouts you can do that are a little different compared to the norm. Unstable surfaces like the ball allow you to challenge balance and core and can step up the challenge for many conventional exercises.

Push Up:

Stability Ball Push UP 01

Stability Ball Push UP 02

  1. Place you hands should width apart.
  2. Bend at the elbows to perform a push up
  3. The top of the ball should be at your sternum
  4. Press through your palms to return to the top of the push up

The ball can be placed against a wall to increase the stability. Make sure you keep your core tight throughout the exercise.

One Legged Lunge:

Stability Ball Lunge 01

Stability Ball Lunge 02

  1. Place one leg on the top of the ball
  2. Bend the planted leg and move the leg on the ball backwards to lunge
  3. Stand up from the lunge by bringing your rear foot back towards your body

Try and keep your torso as upright as you possibly can, ideally your torso should be at least 45 degrees from an upright position.

Toe Taps:Stability Ball Toe Touch 01

Stability Ball Toe Touch 02

  1. To begin: keep both feet on top of the ball
  2. Transfer your body weight to one foot and reposition it so it is now on top of the ball
  3. Bring the other foot down to briefly touch the ground
  4. Bring the foot back to the top of the ball
  5. Shift your body weight to the other foot
  6. Repeat on the other side

Torso Twist:

Stability Ball Torso Twist 01

Stability Ball Torso Twist 02

  1. Start in a bridge position while lying on the ball – keep your upper back on the top of the ball and your neck should be relaxed
  2. Keep your arms fully extended
  3. Bend at the elbows
  4. Twist through your abdominals (keep your core tight at the same time) so you roll onto your triceps and then onto your elbows
  5. Hold this position for a few seconds
  6. Twist back to the original position
  7. Repeat on the other side

 

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What does it feel like to run 80km? http://blitzconditioning.com/what-does-it-feel-like-to-run-80km/ http://blitzconditioning.com/what-does-it-feel-like-to-run-80km/#respond Mon, 30 May 2016 13:59:33 +0000 http://blitzconditioning.com/?p=12872 A couple of weeks ago, along with 3 others, I ran 80km!

Seans Really Long Run to End MS Andre Lessard Jen Ference Chris Tse

I’m not sure I can adequately describe the feelings experienced as Chris Tse, Andre Lessard, and I supported Sean Wingrave and his Really Long Run to End MS. Arriving in Camrose, 12 hours after leaving Nisku with 9 ½ hours of feet pounding pavement, was incredible! I will admit however there were times during the day that I wondered how I got myself into this.

How far are you running?!
How long will it take you?
Why are you doing this?
How far are you running??!!

These were the questions I faced as I prepared for The Really Long Run to End MS – many times question I asked myself as I prepared to attempt this run.

How far are you running?!
“(nervous chuckle)…80km…ummm…yup, 80km..(more nervous laughter)”
It’s 30km further then I have ever run before and 37km further than I had run this year. Because it was such a large number it was hard comprehend how far it actually was. I know what driving 80km feels like, I even know what biking 80km feels like having cycled this route for the MS bike ride but running 80km, I had no clue! It was difficult to actually understand what travelling on pavement for that distance would be like. That also made it a tough event to train for. To prepare, I continued with my regular weekend long runs of 18-22 km and did one “dry run”, a 43km morning where Chris and I practiced doing 2-20kms with the 20k checkpoints. I wanted to try out my nutrition plan, making sure my gut would handle the simple rice mix I would eat run day. I went into that morning reminding myself, it’s only 4-20ks or 8-10ks, breaking it down into manageable distances both calmed me and caused me some angst but checking off each of those segments during the day was a mini accomplishment. Sticking to our run plan of run 5km – walk 1km – nutrition & rest stop every 20km broke that 80km down and is how I mentally got through the day.

How long will it take you?
“As long as it takes to run 80km…” Such a simple answer and yet a powerful mindset that allowed my body to sustain itself over the day. There weren’t any cut off times, there weren’t any paces that needed to be maintained, in fact it was actually quite a liberating feeling to just run, slow and steady. Running at an easy, sustainable pace was the only way we would accomplish the end goal making it from Nisku to Camrose. It wasn’t going to matter if we ran the first 20 km in under 2 hours or kept a 5:30/km pace if we tapped out at 40 km. Just as I broke down the entire 80km distance to mentally make it through the day, keeping our focus on the 80km end goal and managing our bodies to sustain that distance is how I physically got through the day.

Why are you doing this?
My mother-in-law, Eileen, has Multiple Sclerosis and I watch her bravely live with this debilitating disease.
I want to support others who are working hard to increase awareness for MS. I have participated in the MS Bike Ride from Leduc to Camrose for years and last year met Sean Wingrave and heard about his Really Long Run to End MS. After running a 20km leg of the run with Sean last year I was incredibly inspired, so inspired that I committed to doing the entire distance with him this year. Chris’ continuous positive affirmations that we would do the whole 80km also kept me committed as the date got closer and closer and I began to doubt my sanity. The day of the run, I drew strength during the tough moments by thinking about Eileen and what she battles everyday, knowing that my current discomfort would end but for her, MS is lifelong. Here’s hoping that by raising awareness and money, we can one day End MS.

How far are you running??!!

80 km Seans Really Long Run to End MS
80km!!

In a couple weeks I will be riding in the MS Bike Ride, cycling on the same road that we ran. I think that will be a pretty cool moment.

Thank you to the Blitz Conditioning community for supporting the MS Ride with Friday’s karma classes and for all who will be cycling on June 11 & 12.

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Baby Steps to Healthy Living http://blitzconditioning.com/baby-steps-to-healthy-living/ http://blitzconditioning.com/baby-steps-to-healthy-living/#respond Sun, 29 May 2016 14:15:46 +0000 http://blitzconditioning.com/?p=12866 Run-2

Dear Reader,

Are you having troubles getting started with leading a healthy lifestyle? Are you finding it overwhelming to know where you should start? Keep reading. This blog is tailored to you, the beginner. We know that eating a healthy and well balanced diet paired with physical activity is what will classify us as leading a healthy life, however we often have a difficult time knowing where to begin. Changing everything about your routine at once may work for a few days however, we find sometimes “too much too fast” can lead to an individual becoming overwhelmed, discouraged, and then finding themselves back at square one. Small gradual changes over time will build to a big overall change, which will elicit permanent results.

So where do we start? I recommend choosing one or the other first and slowly building onto it. Let’s discuss changes we can make for both aspects of healthy living.

Transitioning to a Healthy Diet:

  • Coffee: Are you a morning coffee drinker? Try limiting yourself to one cup of coffee a day with whichever sweeteners you like. If you are a 2-3 cup of coffee type of person, treat yourself to your regular coffee, and for the remainder only drink it black. This will eliminate the amount of sugar and unwanted calories from your diet. Eventually we would want to transition to having just a black coffee, or a fruit smoothie to start your day.
  • Milk: If you tend to grab whole or 2% milk at the grocery store, try 1% or skim milk. Milk in general is packed with vitamin D, A, calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin B-12 however whole or 2% milk have a higher saturated fat content vs. 1% or skim. Saturated fats are dangerous to the body as they are the “unhealthy fats” and can lead to further weight gain, and put you at a higher risk of having cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, etc. Eventually you can transition to Almond or Coconut Milk which is less than half the calories compared to other forms of milk.
  • Breads/Pastas/Rice: Switch from white to whole wheat. White bread, pasta or rice have been refined which leads to many nutrients being processed out of the food product. Having whole wheat will contain all of the original nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein and fiber. Another great substitution for pasta is spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash is jam packed with antioxidants, vitamin A and C, Potassium, Folate, as well as Omega-3 and 6. Check out this recipe here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/231457/pesto-spaghetti-squash/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringId=16675&referringContentType=recipe%20hub
  • Meat/Seafood: Stay away from meats higher in fat content such as beef, ham, salami, pepperoni, and replace it with chicken, ground turkey, salmon or tuna. These are higher in protein and lower in fats.
  • Dressings: Replace creamy salad dressings with vinaigrette dressings to lower the amount of unwanted calories.
  • Eat more frequently with smaller portion sizing: This is crucial to your metabolic system. If you eat every 2-3 hours, your metabolic and digestive system will always be working to process food and will be ready to digest the next meal that is coming. This makes your metabolic and digestive systems more efficient at processing food, which will increase the speed at which your metabolic system works. Waiting hours and hours without a meal, and then filling up causes your body to be in a starvation mode. In starvation mode, since your body has to go a long duration without a meal, it will store the meals you do intake as fat. While some may think eating less will help them lose weight, this is not the way to do it.
  • Drink more water! Water is crucial for all systems of the body.

Again, do not put the pressure onto yourself to make all of these changes at once. We want to ensure that you are successful in this transition. Make the goal of changing 2-3 habits a week.

Transitioning into Exercise

People often face several barriers when approaching exercise and incorporating it into their daily lives. Whether that barrier be time, money, or energy levels, we have the solution for you. Try starting off by walking for 15 minutes a day, 4 songs worth. This accounts for only 1% of your day! Make a playlist of your favorite songs, invite a friend or family member along with you to catch up on your day, or walk somewhere with a beautiful view. The important thing here is that it needs to be enjoyable, or you won’t have the motivation to stick with it. Start incorporating at home exercises that only require body weight such as a squat, lunge, wall push up, or a chair dip. If you have stairs at home, try side stepping up them, taking a double step, or even jogging up them to get your heart rate up. The end goal is to progress to doing 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise/week which is 30 minutes of activity, 5 days a week (2% of your day  ).

If you work a desk job, try standing every 20 minutes to stretch out your legs and hips. Sitting for too long leads to very tight muscles of the hip and can result in low back pain. You can try to incorporate exercises and stretches at your desk to do as a way to transition as well. Encourage others to join in with you!

Once you feel comfortable enough to enter a gym setting, make sure to give yourself positive affirmations as to why this is going to help improve your life. Get a new workout outfit you feel good in. Meet with a certified personal fitness trainer to determine what type of programming will be best suited to your goals.

Congratulations on taking your first step into healthy living by taking the time to read the contents of this blog. Time to get started!

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Food Crawl! http://blitzconditioning.com/crawl/ http://blitzconditioning.com/crawl/#respond Mon, 23 May 2016 21:54:14 +0000 http://blitzconditioning.com/?p=12863 Food Crawl June 8 2016

We’re so excited to be holding our second food crawl with the help of Edmonton Economic Development Centre!

This time we’re doing it a bit differently:

At this ride the rainbow edition guests are required to bring their own bike, skateboard or rollerblades. At the final stop of the food crawl, guests can work off that dinner by biking home, or arrange for their own transportation.

Cost will be $45 and trust us, it’s worth it!

*If you are rollerblading, don’t forget your shoes for inside the restaurants

**All guests are encouraged to bring their helmets

At 6:00 pm, guests arrive at End of Steel Park, meet the Blitz Team and get signed in. There will be three stops on the tour:

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/pop-up-food-crawlride-the-rainbow-tickets-25408430299?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&utm-source=cp&utm-term=listing

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Cross-training For Endurance Athletes http://blitzconditioning.com/cross-training-for-endurance-athletes/ http://blitzconditioning.com/cross-training-for-endurance-athletes/#respond Sun, 22 May 2016 22:37:39 +0000 http://blitzconditioning.com/?p=12855 BarbellLungeErin

Cross training can be defined as a supplementary style of fitness training that is different from ones sport. There are a lot of misconceptions regarding the term “cross-training.” Cross-training is meant to target a specific energy system in the body, i.e. endurance/long duration activities target the aerobic system; therefore the style of cross training you would want to choose would not be exercises that continue to tax the aerobic system. This is how over-training and overuse injuries occur.  You want to continue to excel in your sport, right? Well, this is where including a resistance training routine comes in to play, as it utilizes the other systems ATP-PC, alactic, and lactic systems (depending on how you use resistance training) (Plowman, & Smith, 2013). I won’t go into a breakdown because that would be a whole other post, but each of these systems are for shorter duration activities, i.e. a squat, capping each set at a max of around 2 minutes give or take. Not only will resistance training allow you to train within the other energy systems, but it will also aid in strengthening your muscles, connective tissues and bones, as well as allowing for greater communication within the central nervous system.

Sport Specificity

The style of cross training that you utilize should be specific to your sport. As mentioned above, this is a supplementary style of workout used in order to see improvements, it should be well planned and structured in order to see optimal results and to avoid injury. For running you will want to utilize resistance training in order to strengthen the muscles that are commonly weak (i.e. glutes), work on mobility, loosening tight muscles and improve range of motion. Supplementing running with another aerobic activity like cycling, swimming or an elliptical for example isn’t going to cross over into increasing running performance (Perks of Cross-Training, 2011). This is because these activities do not train the muscles the same way as running would, yet you still end up taxing the aerobic system (Perks of Cross-Training, 2011). Resistance training can be imperative for producing a strong functioning body that allows you to continue performing in your sport. A recent study has shown that weight lifting could help to increase performance in runners because it trains supporting muscle fibers (Storen, Helgerud, Stoa, & Hoff, 2008). What this could mean is that these muscles will get recruited and utilized when fatigue starts to set in (Storen, et. al, 2008). This could reduce the risk of overuse injuries, as having a strong base of supportive muscular will be key, not just for runners but for other sports as well.

The Plan

Develop a plan, this part is crucial, whether you out source a professional or you do your own research. Having a plan to follow will help guide you so that you know what to do while performing your cross-training. It is important to work on musculature that is often seen as weaker than the dominating muscles surrounding it. You do not need to go into the gym and crush 3-4 resistance training workouts a week where you are isolating specific muscle groups, all the while pounding the pavement with kilometers. You likely will be achy and sore and not be able to put on the same amount of kilometers that you desire. That is why the plan needs to be specific. Spend 30+ minutes a few times a week working on your weak points, as well as rolling and stretching to help you not only achieve your goals, but help push you further to set and reach even bigger ones. If you enjoy other activities such as cycling, swimming or swimming you can still do them! The only way to one hundred percent avoid a sports injury is to not do that sport, but the training you supplement that sport with can help reduce the risks.

Thanks for reading, if you have any questions shoot me an email at erin@blitzconditioning.com!

 

Perks of Cross-Training May End Before Finish Line (n.d.). Retrieved May 19, 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/16/health/16best.html?_r=0

Plowman, S. A., & Smith, D. L. (2013). Exercise physiology for health fitness and performance. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Storen, O., Helgerud, J., Stoa, E. M., & Hoff, J. (2008). Maximal strength training improves running economy in distance runners. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 40(6), 1087.

 

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Why I picked the Garmin. http://blitzconditioning.com/why-i-picked-the-garmin/ http://blitzconditioning.com/why-i-picked-the-garmin/#comments Wed, 18 May 2016 17:28:05 +0000 http://blitzconditioning.com/?p=12850

There was a lot if talk last week about sports watches first with Beto’s Pick on the Garmin and then Chris’ CBC segment comparing a variety of watches that help keep you fit.

It made sense because it is that time of year where many runners dust off their shoes, get off the treadmill and hit the trails. We have entered the beginning of race season where you start to set goals, you begin your training programs and the transition to shorts, tanks and sunglasses is in full affect. It is no surprise that sports watches are top of mind but figuring out if the investment is right for you is probably the conversation you are having with yourself. I don’t think there is a clear answer but hopefully my story can reassure you that sometimes may investments go a long way.

Disclaimer: I have been running endurance since my first year University (I will avoid mentioning the exact date) so my switch to a sports watch happened many years ago. This was before the era of receiving text messages to your watch and before you could sync it to an app that tells everyone how far and how fast you ran. I decided I was ready to stop calling myself a “leisurely runner” and ready to invest in my commitment to the sport. I chose the Garmin then and still choose it today. Thankfully, they are no longer the size of a small clock and sync easily with most sports apps – making them as applicable to running needs today as they were then.

I learned what training with and without a Garmin looks like as I bought my Garmin after my first two marathons – which were run with a Timex on my wrist. I remember hesitating about the purchase, as I am sure a lot of university students would have, because I was not completely clear on all of the benefit or exactly what I really needed it for. Regardless, I made the leap – rapidly learning how much easier it made my running life (especially the patience associated with mapping routes and tracking mileage).

As I sit here and date myself, you may see differences between yourself and someone contemplating the same thing “a while ago”. I cannot argue that there are some differences but I can guarantee the purpose and results are similar. If you are ready to get a little more serious with your training (or already have) and you are looking for something that would help you stay accountable – you are exactly where I was when I decided to purchase my first running watch.

Looking back – I am very glad I chose to invest sooner rather than later.

It has made me a more informed runner and I believe, as a result, made me a better runner because I was able to see progress and really understand what type of training I needed. My Garmin allowed me to retire my methods of relying on mapmyrun.com to plan routes. It replaced my Timex and the process where I would calculate my average pace based on the time it took, after I got home. I no longer had to think about anything – the watch did it for me. I still track my mileage by writing down my distance on a calendar I keep on my fridge but that’s more habit and desire to be constantly reminded of my workouts past and future.

Don’t get me wrong – I am happy with the product but I wasn’t an overnight convert. It wasn’t until I moved to Edmonton a few years ago that I really starting using all the features. Once I started running with the group I ran with now (we have grown a little) I really learned how to properly train – including the importance of tempo runs and interval training. I ever started programming my workouts into my watch the night before so I had one less thing to do in the morning and a way to hold myself accountable to getting up and meeting the group for a run.

This was actually something I took for granted until a few weeks back when I watched one friend teach the other friend how to program their Garmin for intervals before a workout. Knowing this friend would soon experience the simplicity of running until you hear five little beeps telling you that interval was over – brought me comfort. I know a feature like that may sound like a minimal selling feature but trust me when I say it is a game changer. When you want to focus on hitting paces, when you are tired and dread that last set, and when you want to avoid constantly checking your watch – this really makes a difference and allows you to focus on the bigger picture.

What I am trying to say is that I didn’t wait until I was training as much as I do now before I bought my first running watch. I loved running, I loved seeing improvements and I wanted something that would help me be accountable to meeting my goals. I chose the Garmin but that doesn’t mean you have to. I bought it because there wasn’t many options at the time and it was sold at most retailers but now that I have the chose – I still choose the Garmin because it is reliable, accurate and meets every one of my running needs.

Go find what meets your need. Go beyond being a “leisurely runner”. And go crush some goals.

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Head to Head Comparison: Smart Watch vs. Activity Trackers vs. GPS Running Watches http://blitzconditioning.com/gps-vs-activity-monitor-watches/ http://blitzconditioning.com/gps-vs-activity-monitor-watches/#respond Thu, 12 May 2016 05:15:15 +0000 http://blitzconditioning.com/?p=12824 Garmin Forerunner 230 VS vivofit

Want to get more activity in during the day? If you walk into any fitness store, or grocery store for that matter, you can now buy an activity monitor like a Fitbit, Jawbone, or a smart watch like the Apple iWatch thinking it’s going to change your life. Activity monitors have become pretty complex: they measure steps, distance ran, sleep pattern, calories burnt, measure heart rate, read text messages and emails. But how do these activity trackers actually function?

Many of these activity trackers record movement using a digital accelerometer; this computer measures the swing of your hand and, through a mathematical algorithm, translates this into a step, a run, or even a jump. The same accelerometer measures sleep patterns as your body is more calm while you are sleeping. The sensors precision varies depending on it’s quality, that’s one of the reasons why the price ranges of these trackers can vary. The gold standard of movement measurements is GPS. These watches are based on satellite readings and can be very accurate depending on the price. Most of the higher-end running and activity watches use GPS and leverage this to map out precise locations, distances ran, speed, cadence, and even finding your way back to the starting point. These monitors, however, do have a problem in that cloud cover and tall buildings can get in the way of their readings but the sensitivity has improved a great deal.

In activity monitors like the Fitbit, heart rate is generally measured by light refraction: an LED shines against the skin and sensors measure the reflection of blood flowing through veins or capillaries. Mathematical algorithms are used to cancel out things like movement, sensor placement, and many other variables that lead to inaccurate measurements. These sensors have their limitations as they are dependent on prolonged contact with the skin and a lack of movement. Heart rate is most accurately measured through a chest strap. The strap measures electrical impulses created by the heart and transfers these readings to the watch. These measurements have been known to be almost as accurate as clinical heart rate monitors and can be used in almost any condition. The straps, however aren’t as comfortable to wear for prolonged periods of time and have been known to cause chaffing for different body types.

These sensors can be pretty small so they tend to be able to fit into almost any fashionable wristband. The issue has always been accuracy in measurement: many people don’t calibrate the accelerometer for stride length and their own  movement patterns (if the unit has the ability to measure it), and each person’s running patterns can vary too. The heart rate monitors can vary wildly depending on their placement, how still the person is, and sweat on the skin.

The ideal running and activity watch is something that measures with all four sensors. Thankfully most, if not all of the current brands in this market place have watches that can do this at a price between $150 to $350 depending on the added options you would like. Options can include: bluetooth connectivity, reading text messages, emails, social media, movement goal setting, and the list goes on. Before buying it’s important to factor in a few things:

  • Type of activity you’ll be primarily using it for: a lower cost alternative may work perfectly if you are monitoring light activities like walking and general movement. If you are thinking of running or more vigorous activity then a chest strap monitor and a GPS watch may be a better option.
  • Fit: This is more especially with the light-based heart rate monitors. The strap should fit snugly on the wrist without exposing too much of the sensors.
  • Fashion/style: it’s so very true that this matters. If you aren’t going to wear it then there’s no use in buying it.
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Multiple Sclerosis and Exercise http://blitzconditioning.com/multiple-sclerosis-and-exercise/ http://blitzconditioning.com/multiple-sclerosis-and-exercise/#respond Mon, 09 May 2016 15:56:03 +0000 http://blitzconditioning.com/?p=12812 Jen Ference Nadim Chin Run

It is well known that exercise can help reduce the risk of chronic illness whether you are pre-disposed to it or not. But, what many don’t realize is the positive effects that exercise can have on someone that is living with a chronic condition. Many people have adopted the idea that they should not exercise because of said condition fearing that exercise will make it worse or that they are not physically able. With the MS bike tour coming up soon, I want to give a brief breakdown of what multiple sclerosis (MS) is, why it is important for someone with MS to exercise and what types of exercises are beneficial.

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada (2016) classifies multiple sclerosis as an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord); where the immune system attacks the myelin (the protective covering around nerve fibers) causing damage and inflammation which disrupts the communication between the brain and the rest of the body. The degree to which the myelin is damaged will determine the severity and category of the condition. As a result MS patients can experience various symptoms such as lack of coordination/muscle spasticity, extreme fatigue, impaired sensation and cognitive impairment (MS Society of Canada, 2016).

There are three different categories of the disease: Relapsing Remitting MS (RRMS), Progressive MS (PMS) characterized as primary and secondary, and Progressive Relapsing MS; RRMS being the most common occurring in 85% of those diagnosed. RRMS is classified by cycles of relapses and recovery which can last from a few days to a few months (MS Society of Canada, 2016). During the recovery phase remyelination occurs, repairing destroyed tissue and allowing for neurological function to begin improving (Williamson, 2011).

Exercise Benefits (Williamson, 2011).

  • Reduced risk of other chronic diseases; heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes
  • Lowered blood pressure, improved heart function, and inhibits bone loss
  • Improved muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, balance, and joint stability
  • Improved mood and confidence
  • Improved neural function
  • Weight management

Types of Exercise and Precautions (Williamson, 2011).

Warm up: Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes at a low intensity to allow for blood to flow to the muscles and loosen up tight joints to avoid injury. Treadmills or stationary bikes provide an effective warm up.

Aerobic training: Cardiovascular activity should be performed 2 to 3 times per week, for approximately 30 minutes at a time at a low-moderate intensity to avoid overheating. Cycling, walking/walking at an incline and low-moderate intensity jogging (if jogging can be achieved without overexertion) are recommended. Swimming can last up to an hour because it will help keep them cool. Remember to keep progressions gradual.

Resistance training: Full body resistance training should be performed 2 to 3 times per week and include at least one exercise per muscle group beginning with the larger muscles to avoid fatiguing the smaller muscles first. Light resistance and higher reps should be used (20-25 reps), perform 2-3 sets with 30-90 seconds between sets. Bands, machines and dumbbells can be used. Use precaution with dumbbells in overhead movements, bands, machines or a spotter is recommended to avoid risk of injury. Core strength, proper form and technique are crucial in avoiding injury and allowing for proper muscle adaptations.

Rest: Allow for 48 hours for muscle recovery between resistance training sessions.

Stretching: Stretching should be performed after activity; stretch each muscle group used during the workout.

Alternate methods: Yoga and water aerobics classes may also be beneficial. Including other physical activity in to your every day life such as gardening, housework, going for walks etc. can help lead to a more active lifestyle.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Progressions should be gradual for all types of activity.
  • Make sure to drink plenty of water and take rest as needed.
  • Seek out guidance from an exercise professional to make sure that proper technique is used to reap the most benefits and avoid injury.
  • Find a workout buddy to help motivate you and make exercise enjoyable.

 

Thank you for reading and keep your eyes open for a post to follow discussing specific resistance training exercises that can be done for someone that has MS! Any questions? Send an email to me at erin@blitzconditioning.com.

 

 

 

References

Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved May 01, 2016, from https://mssociety.ca/about-ms/what-is-ms

Williamson, P. (2011). Exercise for special populations. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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