Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekly Fitness Challenge - Week of 10.19.09

Why Drinking Water Is Important For Health and Fitness:

It is a fact that you need water long before you feel thirsty. If you feel thirst – you are already dehydrated.

Your body is estimated to be about 60-70% water. Blood is mostly water, and your muscles, lungs, and brain all contain a lot of water. Your body needs water to regulate body temp. and provides the means for nutrients to travel to your organs. Water transports oxygen to your cells, removes waste, and protects your joints and organs.

You lose water through urination, talking, breathing, and by sweating. If you are very active, you lose more water than if you are sedentary. Drinking coffee, alcohol and/or taking diuretics or diet pills result in the need to drink more. These things actually dehydrate you, but make your body think that you actually are getting the amount of water that you need.
Symptoms of mild dehydration include chronic pains in joints and muscles, lower back pain, headaches, constipation and fatigue. A strong odor to your urine, along with a yellow or amber color indicates that you may not be getting enough water. Note that riboflavin, a B Vitamin, will make your urine bright yellow. Thirst is an obvious sign of dehydration.

How Much Water do You Need to Drink?

To Calculate Your Exact Hydration Needs Pertaining To Your Exercise Duration, The Weather and Your Weight Go To:

Twenty percent of your water need should come from the foods you eat. The rest of your water need should come from the beverages you drink. Water is the best choice.

Drinking Enough Water

It may be difficult to drink enough water on a busy day. Be sure you have water handy at all times by keeping a bottle for water with you when you are working, traveling, or exercising. If you get bored with plain water, add a bit of lemon or lime for a touch of flavor. There are some brands of flavored water available, but watch for extra calories.

Spigt MG, Kuijper EC, Schayck CP, Troost J, Knipschild PG, Linssen VM, Knottnerus JA. "Increasing the daily water intake for the prophylactic treatment of headache: a pilot trial." Eur J Neurol. 2005 Sep;12(9):715-8.
Armstrong LE, Pumerantz AC, Roti MW, Judelson DA, Watson G, Dias JC, Sokmen B, Casa DJ, Maresh CM, Lieberman H, Kellogg M. "Fluid, electrolyte, and renal indices of hydration during 11 days of controlled caffeine consumption." Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2005 Jun;15(3):252-65.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Think You're Running Correctly? No more aches and pains!

Many of us have been running for years, but have you stopped to see if you are running correctly? If you experience foot pain, knee pain, shin pain and even back pain when you run, it is very likely that your body is out of alignment and putting unnecessary pressure on joints and muscles by over-compensating. I gave out this article to the Core Fitness Runners and felt that it was important to share with everyone.

Developing proper running form is somewhat complex since each person is different. It seems as though some people are born with good running mechanics while others are not. There are some who believe running form should not be manipulated and cardiovascular fitness should be the emphasis of a training program to become more “fit.” However, not addressing the simple biomechanics of running will lead to poor economy.

The overall goal for running, besides preventing injury, should be to improve economy, which means decreasing the amount of oxygen that is used to move the body over distance. Improving economy can have a positive impact on performance and, for some, requires retraining the neuromuscular system. Retraining the way the brain initiates complex muscular movements can produce a decrease in performance in the short term. However, taking the time to train the body to run properly will lead to more positive gains in the long term and thus will help to improve a person’s economy as well as reduce the risk of injury.

The initial steps in developing a more economical run form include training the body to run more efficiently. Whenever running form is needed to be improved, running to practice should be the emphasis and more importantly, adequate time should be allowed to schedule the retraining of the neuromuscular system. Fitness will be a byproduct of running to practice and can be later developed once proper mechanics are learned.

Here are some basic guidelines that will help to improve overall run form:

  1. Place head in a neutral position without looking up or down. Focus on looking at the horizon and relax the neck and facial muscles.
  2. Maintain a slight forward lean (initiated from the hips with the butt “tucked in”) but not too much to where it would increase braking forces and stress to the hips, knees and back. Too much of a forward lean will cause a decrease in stride length because the hips will be rotated backward. Keep the hips forward by imagining someone is pulling you forward with a rope tied around your waist.
  3. Keep your arms moving in a straight line (or close to) to minimize the amount of side to side motion as it wastes energy and could negatively affect hip mechanics.
  4. Decrease heel striking (emphasize midfoot striking) to minimize the braking and impact forces that are placed on the lower extremities. To do this, increase cadence to around 90 strides per minute (measured on a single leg) and plant the foot as close to under the body and the center of gravity as possible.
  5. Minimize vertical oscillation or bouncing. In other words, run forward and not up and down.

Here are some running drills to teach proper run mechanics:

  1. Butt kicks. To do these properly, don’t simply kick the butt with the heel. Rather, initiate the kick by lifting the knee first so that your heel kicks your butt but your hip is flexed and not extended. These should be done without forward movement until the technique is first learned. Then progression to a slow jog can be initiated for 50 to 100 yards. Remember to land on the mid/forefoot when placing the foot back on the ground.
  2. High knees. Begin standing without forward movement and slowly raise the knee up and bring the foot down to the ground to strike the mid/forefoot. The emphasis should be on a high knee lift by engaging the hip muscles and the ground strike to teach proper foot placement mechanics. Progress from a slower to quicker speed, first done in place then progressing to a run of about 50 to 100 yards.

The above two drills are the most basic but fundamental of all running drills. There are many other advanced drills that can be incorporated after these are mastered.

  1. Strides. These are short bursts of increasing speed over about 10 to 15 seconds of running. Perform these after a few sessions of butt kicks and high knees so that those two drills are learned first. Strides teach the neuromuscular system how to initiate and respond faster and increase overall cadence. Begin with no more than three to four sets of strides.

Following these general guidelines will begin the process of developing a more economical run form. These principles along with the running drills should be completed at least two to three times per week before scheduled run training or as stand-alone neuromuscular training sessions.

Remember, run to practice first. Improved fitness and economy will develop throughout practice.

If you need help with running or just want to get some extra cardio, ask about Core's Fitness Runners!

Source: PT on the Net

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Quadriceps exercises are important in keeping your legs strong to alllungeow for the highest level of flexibility, as well as to prevent injury. Developing your quadriceps not only helps to guard against muscle injuries, but can also help to support the knee joint and protect it from injury.


Squats are undeniably the king of all quadriceps exercises and tops the list as the Most Effective Quadriceps Exercise. Squats involve more than 256 muscles in one movement! Squats will not only build your quadriceps, Squats will also help build the hamstrings and lower back as they are two of the major secondary muscles being use. Besides developing your quadriceps, the huge testosterone boost an intense set of squats will give you will even help you build your upper body.

Muscles targeted while performing Squats are the Quadriceps. Secondary muscles (Synergists/Stabilizers) used while performing Squats are Gluteus Maximus, Adductor Magnus, Soleus, Hamstrings, Gastrocnemius, Erector Spinae, Rectus Abdominis and Obliques.

Barbell Lunge

Barbell Lunges are an intense quadriceps exercise that you can use to tone and shape your legs. Barbell Lunges focuses on the quadriceps muscles and also works the hamstrings and gluteus maximus muscles in the process. While we all strive to develop our quadriceps, some are known to overlook the less obvious muscle groups. The hip adductors and abductors are prime examples of overlooked muscle groups. Although they are relatively small and barely visible, when compared to the overall quadriceps, they add to the hip stability and over all thigh mass and are critical to athletic performance. Barbell Lunges are known to be a great quadriceps exercise while also contributing significantly to the development of hips adductors and abductors. For those reasons Barbell Lunges is rated one of the Most Effective Quadriceps Exercises.

Muscles targeted while performing Barbell Lunges are the Quadriceps. Secondary muscles (Synergists/Stabilizers) used while performing Barbell Lunges are Gluteus Maximus, Adductor Magnus, Soleus, Hamstrings, Gastrocnemius, Erector Spinae, Tibialis Anterior, Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus.

Keep changing your variations of the exercises and the weight to keep your muscles guessing! These also work your core! Anything were you have to hold your form yourself and not use a machine, incorporates you core muscles!! ;o)