Category Archives: Fitness

WHY IS THE HALF MARATHON SO POPULAR?

By Jeff Galloway

From Jeff Galloway’s Blog, “Running and Walking Until You’re 100–Injury Free!

• Even after a difficult 13.1 mile (21K) race, runners can usually celebrate that evening

• Beginners who yearn to run a marathon see this distance as the first big step

• Marathoners find that the “half” keeps them in shape for their next “full”

• The distance is enough of a challenge to keep runners focused and energized

• Increasing long runs towards a half marathon race results in faster times at 5K, 10K, etc.

After studying findings of experts who specialize in ancient man, I’ve come to believe that training for long distances connects us directly to our roots. Primitive man had to walk and run for survival—thousands of miles a year. Through millions of years of evolution, the muscles, tendons, bones, energy systems and cardiovascular capacity adapted and expanded. A series of psychological rewards also developed, which make us feel good about ourselves when we run and walk at the correct pace in a consistent training program.

The primary goal of ancient migration was to reach the next destination. Likewise, the greatest joy for half marathoners comes in crossing the finish line.  Finishing 13.1 miles is an elite achievement: only four tenths of one percent of the population does this each year.  The satisfaction and accomplishment are similar to that experienced from the marathon.

Bristol Half Marathon, by Steve GregoryImage via Wikipedia

There are quite a few lessons to be learned as one extends one’s endurance limit beyond 13 miles or 21K: conservation of resources, pacing, fluid intake, blood sugar maintenance, etc. But making a mistake during “half” training does not incur the injury risk or the down time experienced after marathon errors. If you find a way to enjoy a part of every run, your half marathon training can bring joy, satisfaction, achievement, and a positive sense of focus. For many, the challenge teaches individuals that they have unused hidden resources that can be used to deal with other challenges in life. Much of the success and joy comes from a unique endurance blending of body, mind and spirit.

I salute all who put themselves to a realistic challenge, such as the half marathon. If you haven’t done this before, you have one of life’s great rewards waiting for you as you discover that you have much more strength inside than you envisioned.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Olympian Jeff Galloway has helped over a million runners and walkers achieve their endurance goals and has written the popular books HALF MARATHON and RUNNING UNTIL YOU’RE 100.  Sign up for his free e-newsletter at www.JeffGalloway.com

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Running on ZENERGO

Zenergo is a free activities-focused social manager for active adults networking through their real-life interests. On Zenergo you can create activities, groups and events around Running, Jogging, and Walking, and other sports and fitness activities — as well as health, social, group, family, civic, and hobbyist activities. Please visit the site at http://www.zenergo.com to learn how more about how Zenergo can Activate Your Life.

How Do I Start a Fitness Program?

By Mac McCarthy, Zenergo.com

When you’re young, still in school, you might be involved in sports or otherwise getting a lot of exercise. Then one fine day you realize you’ve spentthe last few years sitting at a desk, hunched over, working all day — and not getting any exercise at all. You feel out of shape, flabby, tired, run down. Sitting around has ‘deconditioned’ your body–and it shows.

So you decide: It’s time to get back into shape!

Or maybe you never have been in shape, but now it’s time to finally start doing something about getting healthier. We all know the health risks — heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more — that can develop due to a lack of exercise. And you don’t need to look overweight to have a higher percentage of fat in your body than is good for you.

Starting a fitness program will be the best thing you’ve done for yourself.

But how do you get started?

Matt Larkin and Jorge Aguirre, certified fitness trainers, post in front of Overtime Fitness gym wall logo

Matt Larkin and Jorge Aguirre, certified fitness trainers, pose in the Overtime Fitness gym.

We asked that question of four professional trainers, Jorge Aguirre and Matt Larkin, certified fitness trainers, an Julie Yokoshima, Fitness Director at Overtime Fitness in Mountain View, California, and Carlos Melara, an independent personal trainer who runs his own fitness business, “Love the Burn Fitness.” Here’s what they told us.

* Join a Fitness Group

Find a local fitness group, or get together with friends, to help keep you on track. (You’ll find the Fitness activity on Zenergo.com, which will help you find people in your area who share your interest in getting and staying fit, as well as finding local fitness groups and fitness centers.) Friends can help keep you motivated as you get started, and you can learn from their experience.

* Take Group Fitness Classes

Change it up to keep it interesting: Incorporate one or two group classes a week — such as spinning, step-and-sculpt, butts-and-guts, fitness boot camp, cardio kickboxing, yoga.

* Learn from Books, DVDs, and YouTube

There is a lot of information out there on getting and staying fit: books and DVDs, of course, as well as videos on YouTube.

* Change It Up

Keep it fun by changing it up — take two different kinds of group classes per week — to keep you motivated. Your class instructor is also a great resource for questions or tips in developing your own fitness program.

* Join a Gym

If you have the discipline, you can take advantage of your local gym’s facilities.

* Get a Personal Trainer

The benefits can include tailoring a regime specific to your needs and helping deal with any special issues you may have, and motivating you to keep at it — having regular appointments with your personal trainer is a great incentive to keep on your program. (You can reduce your training cost by getting one or more friends and booking training sessions together.)

* Pay Attention to The Fitness Trifecta

You must make sure you create a fitness program for yourself that balances what Jorge calls “the Trifecta: CardioStrength Training — and Nutrition.”

Carlos Melara, independent trainer, "Love the Burn Fitness"

Carlos Melara, independent trainer, "Love the Burn Fitness," trains his clients at Overtime Fitness.

You can’t just put all your focus into one of them, says Carlos. “With just one, at some point your body will peak; you need to keep up on all three to get the most out of your fitness program.”

“Guys often focus too much on strength,” said Jorge, “and don’t pay enough attention to cardio, or neglect their nutrition. You’ve got to have all three things going. I tell my clients, if you skip any one, you won’t achieve the results you want. You can work out really hard but don’t pay attention to good nutrition, and you could end up being one of those guys who have big upper-body muscles, but then they also have big guts — because they’re focusing too much on the strength training and not doing cardio workouts, and not watching their diets.”

Women, on the other hand, focus too much on nutrition and not enough on strength training. “They want to focus on their butts and their legs and their waist, but they don’t want to do their upper bodies because they think they’ll get ugly muscles. They don’t quite get that they aren’t likely to bulk up like men because they don’t have the testosterone. But if they neglect their strength training, they’ll lose calcium from their bones over time. So they have to pay attention to all three elements just like the men do.”

* Patience!

Sometimes people starting out are impatient: They want to get fit now, lose weight right away, build muscle overnight. But fitness takes time — fitness is a lifestyle, and a journey, not a quick fix.

* Develop new habits

Developing new habits is critical to your success in sticking with your fitness program. Fitness is a process, something that should be a requirement that is built into your schedule. Just as going to work is not an option — going for your workout should not be an option either.

“The hardest part is getting to the gym door,” explains Carlos. “Once you’re inside the gym, you have a good time. So you have to work fitness training into your schedule, get to the gym door.”

Fitness is a way of life, not just a one-time thing. It’s not something with a start point and an end point — it’s something you want to be doing for the rest of your life. So you have to set goals along the way. It’s not, ‘OK, I’ve lost the 20 pounds, now I’m done.’ No — Create a new goal; or, ‘I love where I’m at with my weight — now I want to stay there, and here’s my program to do that.’ ”

“Anybody can do this,” insists Carlos. “It’s just the desire. You can do this — focus on your goals of health, fitness, and feeling good about yourself.”

Julie Yokoshima, Fitness Director at Overtime Fitness

Julie Yokoshima is Fitness Director at Overtime Fitness

* Set realistic goals

Losing a certain amount of weight in this particular period, for example; or training for a 5K run or a philanthropic walk. This can give you a sense of achievement that is highly motivating.

* Don’t obsess over the weight scale!

Fitness is about more than just losing weight. When you get regular, healthy exercise, you build muscle mass in addition to losing fat — you may not actually see lower numbers on the scale — but your clothes will fit better, that stomach won’t protrude as much, you won’t feel as fatigued as before, you’ll start feeling better. That’s the goal — the numbers on the scale are just a byproduct of patience application of your new good habits.

* Beware of Fads

People get caught up in fitness fads — but you’re better off focusing on the basics.  “As professional trainers, we check out the latest fitness ideas and innovations,” says Matt, “to see where there may be some value, some ideas we can add to our programs. But it’s easy to get caught up in some fad that’s actually going to damage you. And maybe cost you money in buying training materials and nutrition goods. Be careful!”

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Jorge Aguirre and Matt Larkin, Certified Fitness Trainers, and Julie Yokoshima, Fitness Director, can be reached at Overtime Fitness, http://OverTimeFitness.com, 1525 North Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View, CA 94043. Carlos Melara, Independent Personal Trainer and Nutritional Consultant, can be reached at LuvTheBurnFitness@gmail.com
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How Zenergo Can Help Your Fitness Program!

Think of Zenergo as the social manager for your fitness program.

Zenergo is an online service focusing on activities — you can find others to work with, trainers and fitness clubs to help, formal and informal groups to join. If you have a group or a fitness program or offer fitness services, Zenergo is a great place to find people most interested in your specific offerings.

Zenergo covers a wide range of activities. In the general category of fitness, you will find Fitness & Workouts, as well as Running, Walking, Bodybuilding, Weight Training, Yoga and Tai Chi, and much more. Each activity lets you specify your interests — as shown in this screen capture of part of the ‘Fitness and Workout Activity Profile.’

Zgo Activity-Fitness-Profile

You should join Zenergo today — it’s free, and it’s easy — and look for some of the activities you enjoy most — then look for others who share your passion for that activity, interest, hobby, or art or craft — as well as related groups and events. Calendars, picture-posting features, document storage, and group and event invitations form a complete system for managing your social — and fitness — life! Try it!

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Have you had success with your fitness program? Share your top fitness tip in ‘Comments.’