Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


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Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


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Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


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Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Ready, Set, THINK!

  ·  4 min

Ready, Set, THINK!

Does this sound familiar? You are about to start a marathon, Ironman race, tennis match or basketball league game, and all you keep thinking about is that you “must be the best.” By the time you get to the start of your competition you are so filled with anxiety and pressure, that you feel frozen and have to force your way into your competition.That’s where self-talk—the internal conversation that constantly runs through your head—comes in as a barrier or boost to your performance. In the above example, self-talk is obviously a barrier. Your performance hinges almost entirely on your thoughts, expectations, self-talk and mental focus, assuming a certain level of skill.It’s been estimated that humans have anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The diagram below shows how these thoughts impact us. Our self-talk includes all of these beliefs and thoughts—whether focused, random, positive, negative or neutral—that run through our minds every day.  They tell us what to do, where to focus our energies, and can be key sources of positive motivation. However, they can also be totally demotivating. It’s not “if” we have these thoughts, but rather we “do” have these thoughts – our task is to keep them rational, realistic, accurate and logical, in order to enhance our performance in sports and in life.Often, athletes incorrectly focus on the past or future: “I was so bad in practice, I’ll do really bad in this upcoming event.” They focus on weaknesses while in an event: “Darn, I started too slow.” They focus on outcome goals instead of process goals: “ I MUST come in first!” They focus on uncontrollable elements: “I can’t stand that there are so many people watching me run.” Last, and worst, they often demand perfection: “My time MUST be perfect.”So here you are in your most comfortable running shoes, listening to your favorite RockMyRun mix, with your friends cheering you on, and you realize that you are frozen and having to force your performance.Enter thought stopping. With thought stopping you become aware of your self-talk and are able to manage it. The steps to do this are: 1) catch it, put the cover on the cage of that parrot that keeps chirping negative, inaccurate thoughts in your head, 2) challenge and check it, replace it with accurate, positive thoughts instead, 3) change it. Catch it, check it, change it.The key is to stop your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones, then to use cue words to control your awareness if you happen to start down the negative self-talk path.Keep in mind that the link is what you think when it comes to performance in athletics, and in life. What you tell yourself becomes your reality. Tell yourself you are too tired to go for a run or hit the gym, and guess what? You’ll start to yawn. Research at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise this past fall, demonstrated this principle with cyclists.In the study, one group was taught to engage in positive self-talk while pedaling to near exhaustion, with phrases such as, “You’re doing well” or “I’m feeling good.” The researchers discovered that positive, accurate self-talk bolstered the cyclists’ feelings, made pedaling feel easier, and improved performance by enabling them to pedal longer, despite physiological measures showing the same high levels of physical exertion as their initial ride before learning positive, accurate self-talk. This study is the first to demonstrate that self-talk significantly reduces the rating of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance.Physical exhaustion develops in your head. Using the right combination of positive and accurate self-talk, as well as repeating the phrases consistently or even on a schedule, is motivating and improves endurance performance, compared to not using it, according to the researchers. The findings illustrate that psychobiological interventions, specifically self-talk, designed to target favorable changes in perception of effort, are beneficial to endurance performance.Next time you go for a run, enter a competition or just hit the gym for a routine workout, be sure your laces are tied and your thoughts are tight too.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” 


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Weight Training for Runners

  ·  3 min

Weight Training for Runners

From the 6-minute miler to the recreational runner who is doing good to break a 10-minute pace, one thing that seems to be neglected by many runners is weight training. Some runners can’t, or simply don’t want to, make time for it.  Others believe that resistance training will cause them to bulk and thus slow their running time.  In reality just the opposite is true.  Weight training, if implemented properly, can increase muscle strength and stamina, improve posture, and prevent injuries.In order to get the most out of your weight training, here are a few quick tips for your next trip to the gym:Repetition Range For the most part, runners need to stick to a moderate rep range for most exercises.  This range is between 8 and 20 reps per movement.  The lower end (8-10) will lead to more strength gains, while the higher end (15-20) will result in more muscle endurance and stamina.Whether you are training for strength or endurance, the last 4-5 reps of each set should be challenging for you.  My general rule is that the weight should be heavy enough to prevent you from carrying on a conversation during the exercise.  With that said, however, we don’t want any aneurisms in the weight room.  Don’t make it so heavy that you bust a blood vessel from straining.  Leave just enough in the tank so that you can not only finish your workout, but be ready for your training run the next day.Full Body WorkoutsI am a huge fan of full body workouts.  In fact, I complete full body workouts with every one of my personal training clients.  It’s simple, really.  Runners don’t need to do 10 sets of bench press, but they don’t need to focus completely on the lower body either.  Instead, the focus should be primarily on the major muscles of the legs, upper body, and core.  With that in mind, however, the secondary muscles shouldn’t be neglected.  Start your workout with the larger muscles (chest, back, quads, hamstrings, etc.) and finish with the smaller muscles (abdominals, obliques, hip flexors, etc.)Short/Off Days If you’re a runner, then it makes sense that your primary focus should be on running.  Keep that in mind, and don’t let weights interfere with your training.  The best way to do this is to add weight training on days that you have a shorter run or rest already planned.  If you have 2-3 short or off days during the week, then add 2 days of weight training.  If you only have 1-2 short or off days, then add in 1 day of weight training.  You still need at least one full day of rest, so plan your training runs and weights ahead of time.To give you a little idea of what an appropriate running-specific weight training session would look like, I have put together a few for you.  These workouts not only hit most of the major muscle groups, but target some of the smaller areas that are important for runners.Three Sample Full-Body WorkoutsWorkout 1Dumbbell or Barbell Squat – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×15(each leg)Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3×15Dumbbell Front Raise – 3×20Tricep Dip – 3×10-20Situps – 4×25Prone Single Leg Raise (Hip Flexor) 4×25Workout 2Barbell Deadlift – 3×10Barbell or Dumbbell Bent Over Row – 3×15Box Step Up – 3×15(each leg)Seated Leg Extension – 3×15Seated Row/Pulldown – 3×15DB Lateral Raise – 3×20Pushups – 3×20 (elevate feet for added difficulty)Prone Leg Raise – 3×20-25Plank Hold – 3×1-2 MinWorkout 3Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift (SLDL) – 3×15Dumbbell or Barbell Squat and Press (Thruster) – 3×15Dumbbell Chest Press – 3×15Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 3×10 (each leg)Dumbbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press – 3×15Seated Hamstring Curl – 3×15Leg Kickback (from hands and knees) – 3×20 (each leg)Prone Hip Thrust – 3×20 (single leg for added difficulty)Side Plank Hold – 3×30-45 Seconds (each side)Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Rocking Your First 5K

  ·  3 min

Rocking Your First 5K

You see your friends’ photos on the Internet with them proudly displaying medals around their necks from whatever race they just ran. Their ecstatic glow and flushed complexion are things that you find yourself wanting, but you think to yourself, “I wish I could do that.” Why can’t you? Everyone starts somewhere, and rocking a 5k race is a great place to begin! Some simple steps and pointers can help you go from zero to 5k in no time!Where to StartRecruit a friend. It is no secret that people tend to expect more of themselves when there is someone else who expects the same behavior as well. Running with another person makes you less likely to skip a day and more likely to increase your motivation. One tip that is more and more common amongst runners is posting their progress in training for a goal on social media sites. It can have a similar effect as running with a friend, as long as you are honest about your progress.Set a realistic goal. As motivated as you may be at first, choosing to run a half marathon before you can even run around the block is a bad decision. Set goals that are attainable. This way, you’re setting yourself up for success, motivated by your goal instead of being intimidated by it.Don’t be intimidated by regimented training plans. You may find yourself exploring different training plans that are very structured and regimented. Although this may help, it may also make you stray from your plan. We have good days and bad days. If on a particular day, you have a difficult time following the plan, don’t beat yourself up over it. Create a more realistic plan and take things slowly. Otherwise you will be disappointed in yourself and avoid the activity all together since it creates a sense of self-doubt.Warm up and stretch before each run. Cool down after. Runners need to be flexible in order to avoid injury. This means stretching before and after a run, as well as warming up with a walk for at least 5 minutes.Make it fun. You should look forward to your runs, not dread them! Some awesome running music like our mixes can help push you through when you need motivation. And if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to want to do it on a regular basis. Eventually it will turn into a habit – a fun habit at that.On Race DayEat! Don’t just eat, but eat right. Approximately three hours before the 5k, eat something that will not sit like a brick in your stomach. Good energy sources are bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.Use the same music you used in training. Music has inherent mental and emotional cues to it. Listening to the same running music you listened to while training will help you feel confident on race day.Find your mark! For your first 5k, you might be excited to start right at the front of the line. But you’ll feel less intimidated if you stay away from the most congested area. Try the middle or back of the pack.Save your energy. You’ll need to find a pace that works for you, not just for the people around you.Listen to your body. Running is sometimes accompanied by leg cramps and fatigue. Don’t be ashamed to walk when you need a break. There will be other 5k’s through which you can run nonstop. Take things one race at a time.Be proud of yourself. Even if you struggled, be proud that you made it through your first finish line. Take in the moment and bask in the greatness of of your accomplishment.Helpful TipsOnce you decide to run a 5k, running will most likely become a habit in your life. You must remember a few things. First, do not become intimidated by anyone who finishes before you. You have the right to finish the race as well. Also, when you start to doubt yourself, remember that you’re still doing better than those who aren’t doing it at all.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


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