strength training: an essential part of a runner’s regimen

We all know strength training is essential to toning and sculpting an appealing physique.  It builds muscles, decreases body fat and increases lean body mass.  But why does any of this matter if you’re a runner?

“When you build your muscles you are able to go longer distances and you don’t get as fatigued.” – Kaitlyn Mello, a runner currently training for the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon.

She’s right. Strength training consistently (2-3 times a week) increases your running economy (how efficiently your body uses oxygen).  The stronger your muscles are, the less effort running will require.  Less effort means less energy burned at a given speed or distance, allowing you to run farther and faster.

In addition to improved performance, strength training dramatically reduces the risk of injury to runners.  Running has a way of pinpointing weakness in the body.  The goal of a runner should be to target these particular muscle groups, creating balance from head to toe.

The trick is to start small.  Utilize the weight of your own body, performing basic exercises like squats, lunges, pushups and sit-ups.  Once this becomes easy, begin to incorporate weights (they should be heavy enough to challenge you, but not so heavy as to induce strain).  Ideally one should work their way to exercises that require unilateral movements, as these will most closely mimic the biomechanics of running.

Burn 60 Trainer Anna Renderer demonstrates key strengthening exercises for runners here.

Sources:

Holland, Tom. “Strength Training for Runners”. Active. The Active Network, Inc. Web. 28 August 2013.

Thapoung, Kenny. “Run Your Fastest Race Yet”. Women’s Health Blog. 6 August 2013. Rodale, Inc.  Web. 28 August 2013.

re-fueling post cardio: BURN 60 trainer anna renderer shares her tips

The best way to refuel post cardio workout is to replenish electrolytes and provide a balance of carbs and proteins. Since cardio exercise depletes our electrolytes and sugar stores from the blood and muscles, it's important to give that back to the body in moderation.

Our goal is to feed the body what's necessary to balance our blood sugars and give the cells hydration and electrolyte balance. These sugars should be in the form of complex carbs or even sugars from hearty fruits like apples, pears, or bananas.  Avoid too much sugar since we only need to replenish our bodies back to balance, not over saturate the blood and muscles with sugar. This is why we also include protein in the post recovery meal or snack since protein will help rebuild the muscles post workout.

In summary remember to eat a snack or meal that has both sugars and proteins along with electrolytes for cellular hydration. Water is great but drinks like coconut water provide more potassium which will allow your body to hydrate at a cellular level. Adding lemon to your water is also another way to decrease the body's acidity post workout which will increase your recovery time.

Anna's favorite post work out snacks and meals:

  • Ezekiel toast with almond butter and an apple
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt with 1/4 cup homemade granola and raisins
  • Chocolate Shakeology with 1/2 frozen banana and almond milk
  • Baked yam with 1 tbsp greek yogurt (tastes like sour cream) salt n pepper to taste
  • Two boiled eggs, yolk removed and hummus replacing the yolk (deviled hummus egg)

For more of Anna's tips, check out her new site here!

eating for exercise: how to nourish your body BEFORE, DURING and AFTER a workout

Believe it or not, food is your friend and when it comes to working out, it may very well be the best friend you have.  Your body requires energy to perform at its peak. Energy comes in the form of calories and calories come in the form of food.  Therefore, you should think of food as fuel - a necessary source of energy which will allow you to maximize your efforts and power through your exercise routine. However, there is a small catch.

While a big slice of chocolate cake may ring in high on the caloric scale, providing an immediate surge of energy in the form of a massive "sugar rush" or a rise in glucose levels, the inevitable result will be fatigue.  When glucose levels increase too quickly, insulin begins to rapidly secrete throughout the body. The glucose, in turn, is consumed by the body's tissues and depleted from the blood - a process more commonly referred to as a "sugar crash".  Calorie consumption, while important, is not the answer.  The key to eating for exercise is consuming the right foods at the right time.

What to Eat Before A Workout:

A pre-workout meal is required to provide your body with - you guessed it - energy!  It should consist of both simple and complex carbs.  This will allow for an even, sustainable release of energy for the duration of your routine.  Avoid foods that are high in fat (heart healthy fats like nuts and avocados are acceptable) and fiber.

Try: Oatmeal topped with fresh fruit, trail mix, or nut butter

What to Eat During A Workout:

Unless you are mid marathon, triathlon or something else requiring a great deal of stamina over an extended period of time, eating during a workout is unnecessary. Hydration however, is of upmost importance.  Water is the ultimate source of hydration and the perfect beverage choice for the average, 60 minute workout.  If you are planning to exercise for more than an hour or are doing so in exceedingly hot or humid conditions, you will need to replenish your body's energy source.  A low sugar sports drink will provide you with carbohydrates and sodium in addition to hydration.

What to Eat After A Workout:

Post workout your muscles require protein for recovery and growth.  No need to go overboard - a meal containing 10 to 20 grams of protein will provide your muscles with all the amino acids they need!

Try: 8 Ounces of Low-Fat Chocolate Milk

teach your body to BURN fat

Burn 60 is focused on helping you to become an efficient fat burning machine, in order for you to reach your health and fitness goals. Changing your physiology is not something that happens overnight, however it is possible. Teaching your body to utilize fat over carbohydrate or sugar (glucose) stored in the body will allow you to sustain your daily activities, increase your exercise intensity, and achieve your optimum body weight.

 Speed Up Your Rate of Burning Calories with this tips below.

  • Build muscle: increase the amount of muscle in your body. For every extra pound of muscle you put on, your body uses around 50 extra calories a day.
  • Be active: the average person burns about 30 percent of calories through daily activity; sedentary people only use about 15 percent. Taking every opportunity to move can make quite a difference to the amount of calories you burn.
  • Eat spicy foods: spices, especially chili, can raise the metabolic rate by up to 50 percent for up to 3 hours after you’ve eaten a spicy meal.
  • Aerobic exercise: high-intensity exercise makes you burn more calories during exercise and for several hours afterwards. Interval training can be one of the most effective ways to burn calories fast!
  • Eat little often: eating healthy small regular meals will keep your metabolism going faster than larger, less frequent meals and often helps control hunger, making you less likely to binge.
  • Choose one day to do a "long slow" aerobic workout. This workout is usually in a lower heart rate zone (aerobic development zone) and lasts about 1-4 hours long. This will increase your aerobic base and teach your body to use fat as fuel.

Quick Tips: Doing just 10 minutes a week of Plyometrics (jumping drills) can make a difference in your fitness by making you faster and more agile.

Try this move: SPLIT LUNGE JUMP (Burn 60 trainer ANNA RENDERER demonstrates)

going green

We all know how important it is to eat our veggies, but do you know why?  In addition to being low in fat and calories, vegetables contain important nutrients such as potassium, fiber, folate and Vitamins A and C.  When eaten as recommended (approx. 3 cups daily) and as part of an overall healthy diet, this single food group packs a big punch-maintaining blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, and protecting against heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even cancer.

Given all their amazing benefits, we should be piling vegetables on our plates at every meal, but during these hot mid-summer months a heaping side of veggies, roasted steamed or otherwise, tends to lack  appeal.  Care to substitute with a big bowl fresh leafy greens? No, thanks. That's rabbit food.

So how then do we reap their rewards?  Insert the latest trend in health food: The Green Smoothie.

The process is quite simple: Begin with a liquid base (basically anything non-dairy will do), select your choice of greens (many MANY options here, but spinach has the perfect subtle taste for the first time smoothie maker).  Next, add some fruit for flavor, then play around with other nutrients (think protein found in nut butter) and sweeteners (NOT sugar).  Put everything in a blender and, well, BLEND!

The possibilities are endless, but here is a great recipe to get you started (courtesy of Two Peas and Their Pod)

Pineapple Mango Green Smoothie*

1 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice) 1/2 banana, frozen 1 cup chopped mango 1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple 2 cups fresh spinach 1/2 cup of ice

Combine all ingredients into a blender, BLEND, then serve (makes one large smoothie)

*For more Green Smoothie recipes visit Burn 60's Whole Eating board on Pinterest.

3 fitness tips for a sexy summer body

1. Cut Calories During Happy Hour! Summer is a social time for everyone! Who doesn’t like cold refreshments with friends? Ways to cut calories when out to eat or socializing at a party: • Try a spritzer! By adding soda water to your white wine or beer, you can eliminate several unnecessary calories. • Add water! By alternating a glass of water in between your beer or wine, you will slow down on drinking that extra two or three high calorie drinks and stay hydrated instead. Not only will you eliminate a hangover from staying hydrated, you will feel ready for a great workout the next day! • Avoid the mixers! All those fancy cocktails that sound so delicious are like eating a candy bar! It’s about 250 calories of mostly sugar…so avoid them and stick to fresh ingredients for flavor such as fresh lime, lemon, mint, or berries.

2. Add variety by enjoying the outdoors and cross train with different modes of activity: In order to change your fitness, it’s important to challenge the body in different ways.

• If you tend to mix strength training and running for a workout plan (Burn 60), try a swim or bike on the alternative days. This will make a workout feel new and effective. • If you are a runner that goes on 8-10 mile runs for an average workout, try incorporating some bodyweight lunges, squats, push ups, and core exercises during your runs. This will be a light strength workout but will add variety and challenge to your routine. • Go hiking! Pick a trail with hills and that has a distance similar to or half that of an average cardio workout. Hiking challenges strength and cardiovascular endurance and you can do intervals of running and walking to add intensity. This is also a great way to spend time with friends or enjoy a date!

3. Participate in circuit training at least 2 days per week.

WHY: Circuit training gives more benefits than traditional cardio because it places a higher demand on the muscular, nervous, and metabolic systems while still emphasizing the cardiovascular benefits of traditional cardio. Circuit training will challenge your strength, coordination, reaction, heart rate, breathing rate, and overall physical demand which in essence is the goal in trying to stay lean and toned.

WHAT is Circuit Training: Performing a series of strength training exercises that challenge different muscle groups in a consistent and repetitive pattern. An example would be to perform 10 push ups followed by 15 squat jumps, 10 bench dips, 15 burpees, and 20 leg lifts. Then repeating this circuit again for about 3 sets. Burn 60 is a great form of circuit training!

VARIETY is the SPICE of LIFE

Every spring brings change and new growth! The west coasters start to forget the seasons because it doesn't feel as drastic when winter ends and spring begins. But when the seasons change so do people. It's a great part about human nature and you can't forget to embrace what change can do for your mind, body, and soul! Ever heard the phrase "Variety is the spice of life"? Well now you have. Every fitness professional, every nutritionist, every therapist will tell you...change it up or you will always stay the same.

Trying to lose weight and you can't seem to drop that last 10lbs? Have you been doing the same workout routine with the same trainer and eating the same foods at every meal? CHANGE IT UP BURNERS! Even trying the yoga or pilates class once a week will give your body a feeling of change. Overtraining can be a reason why the body doesn't let go of pounds! Try a new class with a different instructor to give the body variety and challenges that its' not already used to! Routine is good but variety is necessary!

Same goes with your diet! If you eat healthy and can't seem to shed those extra pounds then switch it up. Eat something different for breakfast every morning (an egg scramble one day, oat bran with raisins another day, toast and almond butter the next day, yogurt with blueberries, hard-boiled eggs and avocado with toast) Give your body variety and it will change for you!

Anna Renderer, MS Fitness Director, Burn 60

fighting fatigue: tips for runners

Whether you are running to lose weight or compete in a road race, it’s important to learn about how to get the most from your running workout. It can be frustrating to hit a wall halfway through your goal distance, or feel like a ton of bricks on your first lap around the track. Feeling sore and tired for a few days after a run can also be unmotivating. Some simple facts can help you learn how to help that muscle fatigue and soreness to improve your endurance and keep you going strong! Lactate threshold, around 85% Max Heart Rate is the best predictor of your running endurance. This physiological variable will tell your fastest sustainable aerobic speed. In other words, how long you can run without hitting that wall where your legs feel like led and just need to stop. Trial and error can get you in the appropriate training zone but if you want to start getting results right away your lactate threshold can be measured with VO2 Metabolic Testing. Staying within your lactate threshold will allow you to continue running for longer distances which is vital when training for a road race and important when trying to lose weight.

For runners that start a race/run off too fast (> 85% MHR), it is almost impossible to keep that same pace going the entire time and you will hit a wall shortly into it. Run a Negative Split: Begin at the pace you can maintain the entire race/run and then for the second half of the race/run try to run the same pace or faster.

It is imperative to eat, drink, and rest correctly before and after running. This has the greatest effect on muscle fatigue and soreness. You’ve all heard the myth, “I’m sore because of the lactic acid in my muscles”. Lactic acid does not cause fatigue or soreness! Lactic Acid is simply a byproduct of muscle working in an anaerobic state (oxygen supply doesn’t meet the muscles oxygen demand). Soreness is causes by muscle tears and inflammation from exercise along with some important physiological changes such as dehydration, glycogen depletion, acidosis, and metabolic byproducts such as H, K, and ADP. The way you fuel and rest your body will influence many of these physiological changes. Remember: Adaptations to training occur during recovery not during training itself. After the workout your body is weaker, not stronger than it was coming in. The hours following exercise, your body adapts and physiologically overcompensates so that the same exercise intensity will not cause the same degree of muscle fatigue or soreness. In short, your fitness has improved.

Dehydration is among the most common nutritional cause of performance decline. Being hydrated will make a huge difference during your run and post recovery. It is most important to drink water when not working out because if you are dehydrated before your run it is impossible to reverse those effects during your workout. During exercise, the average athlete requires ½ - 1 liter of water and 200-1000 mg of sodium each hour of training or racing. Remember to drink at least ½ your body weight in fluid ounces per day.

Carbohydrate is your friend: Endurance exercise is strongly influenced by pre-glycogen stores in the muscle and liver. Intense exercise decreases these glycogen stores and is directly related to fatigue. Eating a balance of carbohydrates and protein will help give you a better workout and prevent you from losing energy during a run.

Between workouts, low glycemic foods are optimal. This yields a better recovery for the muscles and promotes fat burn during exercise. For information on glycemic index, visit www.glycemicindex.com. Deep color fruits and vegetables contain several phytonutrients that provide ani-inflammatory benefit to the muscles. Including these foods in your diet will help reduce soreness.

Long Distance Runners: Before a long run lasting over 2 hours, carbo-loading can be helpful. For the best results, increase carbohydrates to 55-60% of daily intake for the 2-3 weeks before a long run. Then increase carbohydrate concentration by 25% while maintaining a caloric balance for the final 3 days leading up to the race. Popular carbohydrate foods include pasta, potato, cereal, energy bars, bananas, fruit juice, pretzels, rice, and low-fat yogurt. The pre-race meal is critical to prevent low blood sugars and early fatigue. A good balance is to include up to 25 grams of protein (2 eggs with toast), 20 grams of fat (2 Tbsp of nut butter) and at least 50-70 grams of carbohydrates about 2 hours leading up to the race.

The only way to be a better runner is to run more! The amount of blood pumped by your heart per minute (cardiac output) and the muscles capillary and mitochondrial densities are ultimately responsible for your endurance and both improve by running. Adding a well balanced diet and staying hydrated will help to improve your endurance and recovery but it is with training that you will ultimately become a stronger and faster runner.

Anna Renderer, MS Fitness Director, Burn 60

References Karp, Jason R. (2008). Physiological Secrets of Distance Running. VO2 Max Distance Running Clinic, San Diego. www.RunCoachJason.com.

Mueller, Kim. (2008). Optimal Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes, Top 10 Tips for Peak Performance. kim@Fuel-Factor.com.

stretch it out

Stretching is sometimes neglected and is usually the number one reason for injury. Two reasons people usually get injured; chronically tight muscles or overuse injuries. Burn 60 clients are more susceptible to muscle pulls during class when they have chronically tight muscles. It can be several muscles or one in particular that can cause a pulled hamstring, quadriceps, calf, or back muscle. In addition, you can perform at higher levels when you are more flexible. To avoid a pulled muscle and maximize your performance in class it is essential to stretch and increase your flexibility post workout. It's equally important to do a Dynamic Warm Up (mobility stretches) pre workout.

Take the extra 10 minutes after class to perform these few important stretches! 1. Downward Dog- Place the hands shoulder width apart and feet shoulder width apart. Lift hips towards the sky keeping the legs and back straight. Extend the heels towards the floor and lengthen the hamstrings, calves and low back. 2. Hip Flexor Stretch- Bring the left leg in a 90 degree position on the floor and right leg fully extended with just the toes on the floor. Pull belly button inward to avoid an anterior tilt of the pelvis and tighten the right glute for maximal stretch of the right hip flexor. Repeat on the other side. 3. Piriformis Stretch (figure 4 stretch, or pigeon pose)- In a seated position on the floor with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor, place your hands behind you to support your body. Bring your right ankle across your left thigh near the knee. You should feel the stretch in your hip and upper glute on the right side. Repeat on the left side. 4. Laying Trunk Rotation- Lying flat on your back, bring both knees up at 90 degrees and rotate them to the left, bringing them to the floor. Hold this stretch and repeat on the right side.

Best in Health, Anna Renderer, MS Fitness Director, Burn 60

emotional eating + fitness: helpful advice from anna renderer

I have an emotional relationship with both my food and my exercise! There's just no way around it! We all have emotional changes, some good days or bad days depending on life, love, job, family, or whatever.  Since I eat everyday and do some form of activity everyday to stay fit, ultimately my emotions will effect my eating and fitness. Luckily my relationship is healthy with food and exercise.

How is your relationship?

EATING and EXERCISING when upset, happy, stressed, nervous, anxious, tired, bored, etc will change your behavior.  Think about your behavior during these emotions and how that carries over into your diet and exercise.

If emotion is taking over your healthy diet and consistent exercise then take a few steps to get better. I would recommend trying the following:

1. Make note of what you are eating during each emotion. Sounds funny but try it! May take a while depending on how moody you are. Hahaha!

2. Write down a healthier alternative food or meal to replace some of the bad choices you make during a time of weakness. I eat ice cream when I'm tired and just want to be a slug, so i'm going to replace it with a yogurt parfait (yogurt, honey, and strawberries).

3. Take 5 deep breaths and relax before each meal! It improves your digestion which is the ultimate goal.

4. Commit to exercising especially on days that you feel depressed, stressed, or sluggish! These are the days where exercise is most needed. You release endorphins and seritonin which improve mood and  you will less likely binge eat all the junk food you crave during stressful days.

Remember that your mood can sometimes take over your good judgement and healthy behavior. Fight it with all you can and don't let your MOOD limit your fitness goals!

Health and Happiness,

Anna Renderer, MS

Fitness Director, Burn 60

fight the holiday weight: 10 tips from anna renderer

Here are some inside tips that I use during the Holidays! See if you can use some better judgment this Holiday season and avoid any extra weight gain!

  1. Snack on a big plate of veggies before going to a Christmas party or dinner. This will fill you up on the good stuff, and then you’re not starving at the dinner.
  2. When making a plate of food, take a smaller portion than normal and plan on maybe having seconds if you’re still hungry. Plus, this will force you to eat more slowly.
  3. Drink a glass of water between each glass of wine or cocktail. This makes you less hungry and less thirsty for alcohol.
  4. If you’re craving the sweets have just 1 of your favorites and eat slowly, enjoy it completely. If possible, eat half of it and save the other half for later to feel that your sweet tooth can get another taste but without the extra calories.
  5. When making a plate for dinner, fill half your plate with the good healthy stuff (veggies, fruit, salad, etc.) and the other half with a mix of your carbs and protein.
  6. Eat slowly during your meals to allow yourself to enjoy the meal and not overeat! It is about 15 minutes after you eat that your body feels the fullness completely. Eating slowly allows the body to feel its fullness before you’ve eaten too much.
  7. When tempted to have seconds, wait for at least 15 minutes after eating to make a final decision. Most likely you will feel too full by then.
  8. Encourage your family and friends to engage in a nice walk around the neighborhood after dinner. This helps digestion tremendously and will help burn off a couple hundred calories from dinner. If we can do it in Massachusetts 5-degree weather, SO CAN YOU!
  9. Exercise every day! Try and walk or run for at least 30 minutes every day. This is the best way to keep your metabolism running high and to burn hundreds of extra calories!
  10. Before taking a cookie, piece of chocolate, piece of pie, candy, or any sweet, make a deal with yourself…. For every one that you eat, you owe yourself 15 minutes of cardio exercise that day!

Happy Holidays! Anna Renderer, MS

tune up + stretch

Stretching is highly underutilized by human beings! So many people walk around with a hunched back, shoulders rolled forward, and low back tightness. Most have no idea that their poor posture is due to tight muscles such as chest, shoulders, hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes, and many more. Whatever your condition may be, tight muscles in those areas are making it impossible to get better. WAKE UP PEOPLE! It's time to stretch. Your body is your daily machine. It gets you to work, runs all day so that you can breathe, eat, and think. Then it works extra hard to exercise, elevate the heart rate, burn calories, and use muscle. This machine that helps you live and thrive each day needs "Tune Ups"! A "Tune Up" for the body is stretching the muscles, tendons and joints. Using a foam roller to release tightness in the muscle tissue from a build up of repetitive movement. When you neglect this "Tune Up" for months at a time, it will be like a late oil change; only hurts a new car a little, but as that car ages and continues to get late oil changes, it will begin to run poorly.

Stretching and foam rolling once a month is not good enough! Your body is your machine for life, no replacement! Lucky are some, who will get a new heart, kidney, or liver if that someday fails. There is no replacing your spinal muscles, quads, hamstrings, and gluteals. People can now replace their knees and hips, yet it is painful for many years before that happens and your quality of life is compromised. Be good to your body, it's good to you! Stretch!

Health and Happiness, Anna Renderer, MS