Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Exercise isn't all or nothing

Are you an 'all or nothing' kind of person?  There's a lot of you out there.
When I consult with new clients I come across this attitude a lot.  Guess what - it's a great way to set yourself up to fail!

Break it down.  If you have an all or nothing attitude, when your workouts aren't 'all' (you missed one workout) you're most likely going to choose 'nothing' (skip the next, and next, and next) because you feel it's not worth doing.  Right?  Not true!

No one is perfect.  We're going to have off days, off workouts, off weeks.  So if you think you're going to continuously make perfect choices day after day, week after week for eternity...wrong!  If you stay on the couch one night instead of taking a walk, your whole week isn't shot.  Get up the next day & start new.

Maybe this is familiar:  since you ate one cookie, everything is ruined so you might as well eat anything and everything.  Wrong! 

Making a healthy lifestyle change (or any change) will never stick if you're mindset is all or nothing.  

The point of fitness or making healthy lifestyle changes is to keep going.  Just keep moving, keep trying to stay healthy.  Keep growing and learning.  

Successful people don't have a magic potion.  They're just like everyone else except they just don't quit.

Check your attitude.  Are you all or nothing?  If so, the next time you start thinking about chucking it all because you had one bad decision, stop & remember to step back, take a breath & keep moving forward.

Need help?  We're here and we can help no matter where you live.  Contact us emily@ontrackfitness.net  or 928-446-2344

Monday, February 27, 2012

Walk a mile with a friend

"If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two." - Matthew 5:41

This bible verse isn't necessarily talking about exercise, but it applies to anything in life.

It's common knowledge that when a person is trying to change their life, a support system is absolutely vital.  Studies show that support from friends and family is one of the most important things a person can have when making a change.  Have you found this to be true?

In our beginners half marathon program, our runners have each other to run with.  They encourage each other as they run side by side - maybe not even with words.  Just having someone to run with is encouragement.

Each person in our program is going through the same trials.  Every week our mileage is increasing.  Long runs can be scary.  The unknown is lurking - "can I actually do this?"  Having someone there who's going through the same thing makes it a little easier to keep going mile after mile.

You might not be training for a half marathon, but everyone can be an encouragement to someone else.  Look around you.  See anyone who could use someone at their side to walk a mile with?  Maybe you're just the person they need.  Or maybe there's someone in your own life that has been there for you.  Take a moment to thank them.  It may be just what THEY needed!

If you need someone to walk with you, let us know.  It's what we do!  Contact us at 928-446-2344 or email us here

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Exercise relapse

Relapse from regular physical activity participation is extremely common, especially as we're in the middle of making a healthy lifestyle change (see our blog about the stages of behavior change).

It's important to understand that relapse can happen at any time and at any stage, not just for the beginner.  If we understand this & know it's actually part of the process, when relapse does occur we simply deal with it and move forward.  So many people think if there's relapse, it's over.  I call this the 'all or nothing mentality' and it's a disastrous mentality.

Here are a few triggers that can cause relapse (see if you've noticed this in your life):

  • Moving
  • Starting school or a new job
  • Injury 
  • Illness
  • Divorce or marriage
  • Vacations & holidays
  • Schedule changes

Remember that relapse doesn't mean lack of commitment.  It's just part of the process of changing.

Let's talk relapse prevention.  There are several things we can prepare ourselves to prevent relapse, or learn so we may get back on track if it happens.

Here are a few strategies for relapse prevention:
  • Have social support
  • Be assertive & honest with your thoughts, feelings & beliefs about your progress & struggles.  We must be honest with ourselves before we can make a change.
  • Become 'self regulated,' meaning work on your schedule, priorities, time so that you arrange activity to be high on your list. 
Take a look and see what you think will work for you.  Think of some other strategies that will personally work for you to prevent relapse or help you get back on track quickly.  And when/if this happens to you, don't beat yourself up.  Just pick it back up and keep moving forward.

Need help making a lifestyle change?  We can help and we offer long distance training, so if you're not in the Yuma area, no problem.  Email us here

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The long run

For beginner long distance runners, the long run is terrifying.  Ok, the long run is terrifying to even non beginners too!  So, why do it?

Well, there are the obvious reasons like if you're going to run a half marathon you're going to have to run some long distances.  But, let's talk about what's really going on when we do long distance training.

There are several mental & physical benefits to the long run:
  • It trains the body to be more efficient at using energy stores 
  • Strengthens muscles & joints to handle stress of running
  • Teaches us runners to be patient.  Running 5, 10, 15 miles is going to take a while!
  • Teaches us how to handle the emotional stress & discomfort of extended mental & physical efforts.  
One thing that can make a long run absolutely miserable is going too fast.  Remember, this isn't the time to work on speed.  So, slow down - way down & enjoy your time outside.  Take in the scenery, enjoy a conversation with your friend if you're running with someone.  

One last thing.  Most people think they have to run the entire time.  Don't be afraid to do a bit of walking on your long run.  A 1 minute walk interval every 10 minutes or so can do wonders to our training, especially for beginners.

So what are you waiting for?  Get out there & enjoy your run!  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Immediate benefits of exercse

When I meet with a new client we discuss their fitness goals, we set specific short & long term goals to work toward and list rewards for when the goals are met.

Everyone knows setting goals are good & it's common sense that setting fitness goals & rewards will help a person keep working.  
What people don't think about is the immediate benefits they experience from exercising - and that can be just the thing to help spur someone along until the next goal is met.

Here are a few immediate benefits of exercise:
  • Increased energy 
  • Improved mood
  • Enhanced mastery of the exercise (such as running or tennis)
Can you think of a few benefits you get from exercise?  We would love to hear them!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Rest to get fitter

How often do you hear a fitness trainer tell you to rest?  Are you surprised that's what I'm saying?  Don't be.  Rest days are equally important as training days!

It makes sense when you think about it.  As we train and work our body, the muscles are breaking down, we're putting our skeleton & soft tissue through impact and rigor.  If we continue to do this day after day, week after week, it won't be long until there's overtraining which leads to injury, low energy, less calorie burn & the list goes on.

In order for our body to gain the benefits of training, we must give it time to do just that.  It can't gain benefits if it's always being broken down. 

Take 1-2 days off every week and one week every 3-4 weeks to do some recovery or easy cross training.

So, rest time equals a fitter & stronger body, less injury and more energy!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Making time for exercise

Do you know what the most common excuse is for not being physically active?  it's a perceived lack of time.  Maybe you've felt this way yourself before.  

I say 'perceived' lack of time because often in our lives we make time for what's most important to us, right?

Not having enough time to exercise/activity is often a reflection of lack of interest or enjoyment of the activity, or simply not being ready to commit to the activity program.
The good news about this problem?  The perceived lack of time can be overcome.  Once a person gets to the point where they're ready to start making a healthier lifestyle, they can change through goal setting, time management & prioritizing.  Also, it's important to find a physical activity that's enjoyable.

Remember, we make time for what's most important to us.

Want more on this topic?  Read our posts about prioritizing life:   
Daily priorities & Priorities

If you're ready to make a healthier lifestyle change, we're ready to help.  Contact us: emily@ontrackfitness.net

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Eat after exercising

Don't forget to have a snack after you have an intense exercise session.  No, you won't ruin the effort you just put in.  Here's what Pamela Nisevich (RD), nutrition coach for Swim, Bike, Run, Eat says:

"During exercise, muscles are broken down and glycogen stores are often depleted. For these reasons alone, recovery is crucial to the endurance athlete.
 Daily training without attention paid to recovery can be disastrous.
recovery can lead to fatigue, malaise and susceptibility to injury."

There's no need to eat hundreds of calories (save that for your meals), but a small snack immediately after a workout will refuel your muscles.  Remember, they just used their stores of energy up & need to be replenished.  This will lead to quicker recovery AND better performance on your next workout!
One of my favorite snacks is a piece of whole wheat toast with a bit of natural peanut butter.  But, you can choose any of your favorite healthy carbohydrate (muscles fuel) with a bit of protein.

And, of course, don't forget to hydrate!  

For more information on healthy eating, exercise & wellness, contact us here.

Monday, February 13, 2012


If you're training for a race event (for example a half marathon or triathlon) familiarize yourself with the term 'Periodization.'

A training system that separates the year into distinct phases with specific training & competitive goal(s) for each phase.

Let's say you're training for a half marathon several months from now.  Instead of just running every day with only the goal of doing the race, break down your training into phases & goals to train toward with in the ultimate goal of crossing the finish line.  Think of a staircase, each step builds on the next one to reach your goal. 
Why periodization:
*Periodization helps you skip hitting plateaus.  *You run less risk of injury because you're building properly.  *It optimizes your training time.

Phases of periodization:

Phase I - Base training
Easy mileage plus weekly strides (approx 8-12 weeks)

Phase II - Strength training
Fartlek, tempo & hills (approx 4-8 weeks)

Phase III - Speed workouts
4-8 weeks (approx 4-8 weeks)

Phase IV - Racing
Add some races before the big day (4-6 weeks) 

Phase V - Rest/recovery
Take time off after the big race to allow your body to recovery (1-4 weeks)

Simple?  It really is!  It takes a bit of planning, though.  So, sit down and look at your upcoming season and start your periodization right now.  Good luck!

If you need assistance in your training plan itself or in your actual training, let us know.  It's what we do!  

Email Emily Collins, Owner of OnTrack Fitness

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cross training

Cross training.  Do you do it?  If you're a one sport person (like a runner or walker), you should be cross training, too.

Cross training is adding different modes of exercises into your routine.  For example: if your only form of cardio is running, add an extra day of swimming or spin class.  

Here are just a few benefits of cross training: 
  • By using your muscles differently (and in some cases, different muscles) you run less risk of injury/over training. 
  • You develop a new set of skills.  
  • Helps you maintain, and probably improve, your fitness level.
  • Reduces boredom of doing the same thing all the time.
  • Helps you to stay flexible in your schedule.  
Here are some examples of modes of exercises you can use:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Elliptical
  • Spin class
  • Row machine
  • Cycling
Strength training/other
  • Machines & free weights
  • Tubes, bands & stability ball
  • Pilates, yoga
  • Calisthenics (pushups, pullups, crunches, etc) 
  • Circuit training, plyometrics

Give yourself one day per week to try a new exercise and reap the rewards of being overall fit, healthy and injury free!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

RICE and relaxing

Here's a little pop quiz for you.  Do you remember the acronym RICE stands for? 


Just about everyone who's an athlete has become familiar with this at some point.   

First rest your body.  Ice the affected area.  You may need to wrap it in an ACE bandage, and of course, don't forget to elevate.  

I'm not saying that you're going to become injured if you participate in our programs, far from it!  Hopefully you won't ever need this advice, but you may be interested in knowing you can rest, ice and elevate, even when you're not injured.  

Let me tell you what I like to do when I come home from a particularly taxing run or bike, you might want to try it.  

Lie down and prop your feet up on a few pillows.  Put some ice on your knees, or wherever you feel like you can use some relief (the picture shows the athlete icing their quads).  It feels great to relax as the blood flows back down your legs and the ice pack is working it's magic.  Try it and see what you think!  

See also: ice baths!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Daily priorities

Whether we write them down or not, we all have priorities and goals. Family time, church, work - whatever they are, these things take first place in our life

Spend a moment thinking about what's important in your life. Do these things fit with what you do every day, or do the day to day tasks sort of just take over? It's easy to let daily life get in the way, isn't it? What's left is a tired, sometimes unhealthy you that feels let down and run over (see picture!)

Make a list of your top 5 priorities. When unexpected things come up in your day that seem important, check it against your list. If it doesn't fit, maybe it's not that urgent!