Hey everyone, Trish and Toby here. This month we've created a guide to our best seasonal articles to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the holidays. No matter what your active passion may be, we've got you covered.
With holiday feasts right around the corner and weather that can diminish our motivation to train, it is not uncommon to pack on a few extra pounds this time of year. Active Expert Charles Stuart Platkin’s article, The Diet Detective: Fall Into Healthy Eating Habits, offers valuable tips for maintaining fitness without a compromise in performance at winter races and ensures a return to peak form in the spring.
Have you ever heard the saying, “athletes are made in the off season”? Now's the time to target your weaknesses and build proper technique and habits to lead into a successful racing season. Check out Boost Your Endurance in 7 Simple Steps and get the most from your off-season training.
Basketball season is upon us and it’s time for fundamental workouts with and without the basketball. Mississippi State basketball coach, Sharon Fanning, shares a 45-minute Workout that will developing confidence, coordination, strength, timing, and stamina on the hardwood.
Indoor Climbing Gyms Offer Year-round Fun Fitness and a nice break from the treadmill and stationary bike routine. Don’t let the winter elements take you off belay—utilize indoor climbing gyms to build stamina and confidence in a controlled environment. When the weather warms enough to head outdoors, you’ll be in peak condition.
Activities of Interest:
Check out Sacramento Winter Softball Camp by Olympic gold medalists Tairia Flowers and Natasha Watleyto hone your softball skills at the plate and in the field. Focus will be on increasing offensive power, slapping techniques, defensive fundamentals and pitching development. This camp will also feature practice-structure tips and drills along with valuable college recruiting advice from the pros.
Take advantage of The Classic Y-100, one of the last century rides of the year on November 25 in Ormond Beach, Florida. Crank out 100 in this inaugural ride that promises a beautiful route leading north along the Intracoastal waterway through parks and along the Atlantic coast. This event features a great safe route for beginners as well as 65- and 35-mile routes.
Folks in Southern California have already begun to register for the 2008 Carlsbad Marathon and Half Marathon on January 20. This was Toby’s first half marathon back in 2006 and he recommends it for runners of all abilities because of the fast course and beautiful ocean view.
See your training bear fruit at the oldest Ironman-distance triathlon held in the continental United States. Check out one of five 2008 Vineman events: Ironman 70.3, full Vineman, sprint tri at sundown, women's half or Aquabike during this weekend-long triathlon celebration.
Hey everyone, Trish and Toby here. We’re firm believers that the active lifestyle involves more than just being physically active--it’s about being intellectually and socially active too. We compiled a list of 10 tips for being active in all areas of life. Because no matter what stage of life you are in, you should always strive to be the best version of yourself.
1. Maintain a positive mental outlook. There's a clear connection between living well and having a cheerful outlook on life. Research has found that people who think positively about life live an average of seven and a half years longer than negative thinkers.
2. Avoid processed food. Eating processed, boxed, canned and frozen meals guarantee that you are eating unnecessary chemicals, sodium, sugar and fat. Eat fresh, natural food and eliminate trans fat from your diet.
3. Reduce stress. We're so focused on being go-getters that we often forget to de-stress. Spend 30 minutes a day doing something you like--walk on the beach or in a park, read a book, visit a friend, play with your dog, listen to soothing music or watch a funny movie. Don't forget to take some time to focus on clearing your thoughts and giving your mind, body and spirit a chance to rejuvenate.
4. Invest in a quality pair of shoes and socks. Visit a specialty store that understands that every foot and foot strike is unique. When your feet are happy, so are you. Comfortable, supportive and well-fitting shoes and synthetic socks are worth the investment of time and money.
5. Socialize. Having a social network is important to the body, mind and spirit. People who are socially active tend to be healthier, happier and less likely to become depressed. To stay socially active, make a point of getting out of the house. Make plans with your friends to go out to lunch or better yet, make plans to exercise regularly with a friend or group of friends. Exercising with others is usually more fun than exercising on your own--and it can help you stick with your exercise program. Try joining our online community today!
6. Exercise your brain. The key to keeping your memory sharp is continuing to challenge it. Having a book on hand and discussing what you’ve read with friends or a book club is one way to keep your brain in good shape. Crosswords, Sudoku and puzzles are also excellent ways to keep your brain agile. There is always more learning to do. Find out what works for you.
7. Volunteer. Donating your time at an aid station during a race or soup kitchen over the holidays, puts life into perspective. Be thankful for all you have and give to others who are less fortunate.
8. Omit high fructose corn syrup from your diet. Widespread use of this highly modified sweetener is making us and our children unhealthy. High fructose corn syrup bypasses the digestive process and goes straight to the liver, where it gets turned into fat. Combined with the typical American high-fat diet, the result is increased danger of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Try using honey as sweetener instead. As an added bonus, ingesting locally grown honey before allergy season helps your body acclimate to some pollen levels in advance.
9. Maintain close relationships. Make a point to strengthen ties with your family, friends and loved ones. Volunteer work, religious ties, even petsanything that keeps you involved with othersreduces stress and enhances health. Having a strong network of family and friends and a broad range of activities will support your health.
10. Give yoga a try. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes when your body is limber and flexible. Plus, yoga reduces the chances of injury. Try a beginning yoga class to enjoy the wide range of benefits--your mind and body will both thank you.
Comments are encouraged--please share your tips for staying healthy and active with the rest of us.
Active's 2007 Ironman World Championship special section is alive and kickin'! We're going to be updating daily with training tips, feature stories, blogs and video--taking you all the way through the midnight cut-off time on Saturday, the 13th.
Right now, you can check out:
Active Expert Gale Bernhardt's guide to training for your first Ironman. Her 13-week program is tailored to triathletes looking to step up to long-distance racing.
Last night I attended an interview of Normann Stadler, the two-time reining Ironman world champion. The interview was organized by Competitor Magazine and the Triathlon Club of San Diego. The newly-opened Coastal Sports & Wellness Medical Center was kind enough to host the couple hundred triathletes who showed up for the Chipotle burritos and live interview with host Bob Babbitt.
Stadler kept the audience entertained with his German accent and anecdotes of his younger days winning races in his homeland. It was amusing to learn that Stadler actually fears swimming in the ocean and trains primarily in the pool. Among recapping last year’s win in Kona, the controversy between him and Chris McCormick resurfaced once again, because we all love drama and it’s good for the sport, right?
It was interesting to learn that Germany, Stadler’s country of origin, has developed quite the following for triathlon. In fact, last year Germany broadcasted live race-day coverage from Kona, Hawaii--logging over 23-million viewers! The third weekend of October, Germany will again broadcast the Ironman world championship as the sport continues to grow in popularity. Last year, coverage aired in the US on December 9 with a similar schedule expected this year. You can always log-on to the web for live race-day coverage (check out the Ironman website for more info).
What I think worth mentioning is the fact that in most parts of the country (except, perhaps, San Diego, birthplace of triathlon), most people wouldn't recognize this international icon if they passed him on the street. But to the room full of triathletes who gathered for the interview, Stadler represents the pinnacle of triathlon excellence. Each individual in that room who trains and aspires to compete in races of all distances is inspired by what Stadler stands for.
Thus, leaving the interview I was fired up and excited for the weekend as I am an Active Warrior! I drove straight to my local bike shop and picked up my bicycle, which just had the chain replaced. When I got home and flipped-on the television to an interview of Lokelani McMichael, the youngest female Ironman competitor. This got me even more pumped-up so I organized and set out my cycling gear on the floor of my room for my ride into work this morning before calling it a night.
So ask yourself this: What inspires you? I mean, what makes your heart beat fast and gives you goose-bumps? What stirs those bottled up emotions in a call-to-action? What does it take to get you off that couch and outside? Find that heart and feed it what it needs to strive and take you places: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Last month we addressed the importance of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals for ensuring a path to success. Whether your goal is to run a marathon, shed some pounds or help your team make the playoffs, staying motivated will get you there. I teamed up with Trish Oberhaus, the team sports specialist, to discuss strategies that will keep you on track to reach your goals.
There will always be obstacles along the way to reaching your goal. When you encounter hardships or setbacks, stay focused by using positive self-talk. Self-talk is the internal dialog that reflects and creates our emotional states. Your self-talk can influence your self-esteem, energy level, performance and even your health.
According to sports psychologist Dr. Andrew Jacobs, a study on negativity and positive thinking found that the average person requires 12 positive statements to overcome one negative statement. For example, if you say that hitting a certain pitcher is "too difficult," you have to say "I can hit this pitcher" 12 times in order to give you a better chance to make it.
So what is the solution? Use awareness and practice to change your negative self-talk. The first step in beating the cycle is recognizing how often you think negatively. The second step is substituting positive thoughts for the negative ones. Instead of telling yourself "I feel slow and tired" remind yourself that "I will keep my pace and finish strong."
In addition to saying the positive statement, visualize yourself being successful in your mind, and see yourself doing it over and over. Once you become aware of your negative thinking, and substitute the negative thoughts with positive ones, you will have a much greater chance at succeeding.
Tuesday, September 11, is the beginning of the inaugural Tour of Missouri. It's also the final chance for American cycling fans to see the Discovery Channel team compete. The team, which announced earlier this year that they will be disbanding following the 2007 season, will include Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, U.S.A. Cycling National Championship winner Levi Leipheimer and runner-up George Hincapie, and Yaroslav Papovych, who finished eighth at this year's Tour de France.
The Tour of Missouri begins in Kansas City and will cover 600 miles before finishing in St. Louis on Sunday, September 16th. More info at www.tourofmissouri.com. Versus looks to be airing taped coverage on Saturday, September 22 and Wednesday, the 26th.
Despite cycling's recent struggles and scandals, it's still sad that a great team like Discovery can buckle under the pressure of securing sponsorship. While they are one of the more expensive teams competing, they're also one of the more visible. From Lance Armstrong to Contador, Discovery has claimed several Tour de France podium spots since taking over sponsorship of the team from the U.S. Postal Service. Currently, they're the only American team competing on the international tour.
It'll be a tough void to fill. The team earned its following through victories--largely due to Armstrong. Team Slipstream, which prides itself on a rigorous drug-testing policy, has since signed several top tier riders but may not compete in the Tour de France until 2009. The Toyota-United Cycling Team has a very visible presence in American cycling, but doesn't compete internationally.
I'm jealous of the lucky fans who will line the roads of Missouri in the next several days. This is, however, an inaugural race. Along with the young Tour of California, perhaps we're seeing a resurgence of stage racing in America. Maybe without the cycling landscape here dominated by how well Discovery will do, new faces and teams will emerge, bringing with them younger, more eager fans.
The Triathlon One O One series, which began this past May in Bradenton, Florida, has been canceled. Their website, www.trioneoone.com shows only the following text:
Billed on its website as "bringing a new brand of world class long-distance racing to the multisport world," the series sought to fill the gap between the Ironman and half-Iron distances. Each race offered a $50,000 prize purse, with $10,000 going to the first place finisher in each gender. The series finale in The Woodlands, Texaspreviously scheduled for Novemberwas offering a $150,000 purse.
No other information on why the series ended was readily available. The site had previously postponed a race in Halifax, originally scheduled for this September. The announcement on the website read:
"IMPORTANT: Triathlon One O One regrets that this year's Triathlon One O One Halifax event has been postponed until August 31st, 2008. The reason for the postponement is due to a recent resignation by our local race management company several days ago."
Whether the series is truly canceled or just on hiatus is still to be determined. The news does raise a few questions, however: Can a series of national long-distance races not under the Ironman umbrella compete with the globally-recognized brand? Are triathletes, both professionals and age-groupers alike, more likely to sign up for a race because of potential prize money or because of other factors that characterize a race?
While the initial Bradenton race was met with good reviews, the problems that plagued Tri One O One may suggest that a national series of races might be better served by starting off small as it cultivates regulars and grows within the triathlon community rather than exploding on the scene before bonking halfway through the season.
The Life Time Fitness Triathlon Series is more a collective of nationally prominent Olympic-distance races than a schedule of races born of one company. But for long-distance tri's, one has few choices outside of Ironman sponsored races. The question remains, does this benefit the sport?
Ive read quite a few articles in endurance sports publications on the benefits and disadvantages of caffeine on athletic performance. It seems as though there are always new studies being conducted that disprove the latest theory.
Our very own Active Expert, Matt Fitzgerald, has saved us all the hassle of sifting through the most recent studies to find the facts in his article, The Caffeinated Runner.
Dan Sheret, who is attempting to cycle around the world, dipped the front wheel of his bicycle into the Pacific Ocean on August 16 after pedaling 4,120 miles across the country.
Sheret is an amputee who is riding to raise awareness for Clear Path International’s work with landmine and bomb survivors. Sponsored by the Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team, he began his trip in Washington, D.C. escorted by Toyota-United riders Henk Vogels and Ivan Stevic. During the journey, Sheret stopped several times for media appearances, including an interview with CNN's Larry King.
Sheret leaves September 3 for the United Kingdom to begin the second part of his 16,000-mile Ability Trek 2007.
“I am going to trade the bike for my kayak and spend a couple of days on a beach eating crab and oysters,” Sheret said from his North Carolina home last week. More info on the ride can be found at www.abilitytrek.org .
Today, August 8th, begins the one-year countdown to the 2008 Olympics Games in Beijing, China. Spending more money than any other host city ever, Beijing's venues are nearly ready for competition, with several staging test events in the next six months. To say that China is excited to show itself off to the world would be an understatement.
Fans of the Olympics should also be excited to learn that NBC will broadcast over 3,600 hours of coverage. The majority of it will be available via live streaming video online, a first for American viewers. This amount of coverage is more than the total of all previous Summer Games combined. Prime-time coverage will feature live swimming, gymnastics and beach volleyball.
Setting goals is one of the most effective ways to motivate an athlete. Goals provide a sense of direction while increasing effort and quality of performance. Teams and endurance athletes alike must choose goals carefully to follow a path towards success. I joined up with Trish Oberhaus, our team sports specialist, to provide a useful guide for setting S.M.A.R.T. goals in athletics.
1. Specific: These goals are most clearly defined by the five “W” questions: who, what, where, when, why? The answers to these questions will begin to bring your goals into focus.
2. Measurable: By establishing a system for measuring progress toward each goal you set, you will increase motivation by experiencing a sense of achievement when reaching the smaller incremental goals along the way. To prevent ambiguity and vagueness, make sure to incorporate an assessable time frame allowing you to carry out those steps and feel successful.
3. Attainable: Once goals are identified and specific increments are achieved, the larger goals that used to seem far away begin to grow closer as you grow as a person. It's truly amazing how one begins to figure out ways to make goals become reality. Previously overlooked opportunities manifest themselves and bring you closer to attaining your goals, all the while, new attitudes, abilities, skills and strategies develop to help you to reach them.
4. Realistic: By truly believing that your goal can be accomplished, your target will be realistic. This is something that you and you alone must decide. Be sure to set each goal so it represents ample growth. By following these guidelines, higher goals often prove easier to reach than lower goals, because lower goals produce a lower level of motivational energy.
5. Timely: Goals should be set with a starting point, ending point and fixed intervals along the way. This will perpetuate a sense of urgency for you to act as target dates approach. Goals without deadlines tend to fade in importance and fall in rank of priority where less commitment is established.
No matter what skill level, goals that follow this outline will facilitate the growth of the athlete. Experiencing incremental progress during the journey toward your dreams and desires provides a steady reward that has the power to maintain motivation--as long as you keep in mind what you want to accomplish and how you plan to get there.
My teammates and I competed in the Solana Beach Triathlon on Sunday morning. Our team, Active.com, won the mixed relay division and posted the best relay time overall. Swimmer, Carrie Smith handled the ¼-mile in 6 minutes, 59 seconds; our cyclist, Airey Baringer, biked the nine miles in 24:45; and I ran the 5K in 18:43 for a total team time of 50:27. Our performance ranked 15th place overall on the day.
Our team is satisfied with the outcome of the race and weve already begun planning our next event. I think we were most excited for the opportunity to compete as a team because weve each become used to training and competing on an individual basis. The camaraderie of the team environment proved motivational and I recommend this experience for anyone looking to get involved in the sport of triathlon or to gain valuable race-pace experience in any of the individual disciplines.
Individually, I set a PR because it was actually my first 5K distance. I felt extremely powerful throughout the 3.1 miles, and Ive recovered well already. Its interesting to note that on Sunday I raced at a six-minutes-per mile pace and on August 11 I will be attempting the Mount Disappointment 50-mile ultra marathon, which demands a conservative pace of approximately 10-minute miles of mixed running and fast hiking.
Here is a video I made of the event using the video editing technology, Jumpcut, which is a new feature of Active.com
For anybody looking for something a little more uplifting in the cycling world than the news coming out of France, tune in to "Larry King Live" on CNN Friday, July 27 (9pm ET, 6pm PT).
A segment called "Against All Odds" will feature Daniel Sheret, an endurance cyclist and below-the knee amputee attempting an around-the-world trip to raise money and awareness for Clear Path International and their work with landmine and bomb survivors. Sheret, who is sponsored by the Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team, left Washington, D.C. on June 1. He is currently finishing up his trip across America in California.
Valmir Nunes, a 43-year-old Brazilian ultrarunner, was the first to complete the 135-mile run from Death Valley to the portal at Mount Whitney this morning. Nunes finished what some call the world’s most difficult race in 22 hours, 51 minutes, 29 seconds--almost two hours better than the previous course record set in 2005 by American Scott Jurek (24:36:08). Some say that the break in temperature had much to do with the time improvements. Yesterday, with a chance of thunderstorms, temperatures in the desert were a mild 112 degrees Fahrenheit compared to the average of 120 degrees. This year marked the 30th anniversary of Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon.