Ultimate Body Centre-Core Muscles

Runners know how important it is to have a strong core to run with a proper form and avoid getting injured. Without a strong core, runners can’t run as fast or strong as they could with strong abdominals, lower back and glutes. These muscles provide stability, power and endurance that runners need to run faster, strongly uphill, fast downhill, improve endurance and reduce fatigue. When your core is strong, everything else will connect, muscles and movements will follow. Core is the foundation for all your movements, for all running levels.
Quality core exercises are not easy, but a 15 minute core workout 2-3 times per week (4-5 exercises, 2 sets, 1 minute each) is a great investment that will give you all the benefits of being stronger, more balanced and protecting you from running injuries. Focus on the quality of the exercise, not the speed.

Training Mistakes to Avoid:

  1. Don’t focus on basic crunches that don’t strengthen and work on the deep core muscles that provide strength and stability. Include all types of core exercises to balance the muscle strengthening.
  2. Don’t sink into the same routine, mix it up, vary the exercises regularly to strengthen and balance all the muscles.
  3. Don’t fly through your workout, don’t rush your exercises, focus on the form and movement to trigger all the proper muscles and even reassess your form halfway through the exercise to re-engage the muscles.
  4. Don’t forget about your lower back. The lower back is often out of sight, you can’t see the form while training or running. Try to target and build up your lower back, when performing bridges, planks, superman, make sure you don’t arch your lower back. Occasionally, try to do some core exercises in front of a mirror to evaluate your form.

Basic Core Exercises:

  • Planks (Transversus Abdominis, Lower Back, Glutes)- Low Plank, Side Plank, Low Plank Leg-Lift, Side Plank Hip Dip, High Plank Rotation.
  • Bridge (Glutes and Hamstrings)- Basic Bridge, Single Leg Bridge, Single-Leg Bridge on Heels, Single-Leg Bridge with Mini Resistance Band
  • Superman (Transversus Abdominis, Lower Back)- Basic Superman, lift both arms and legs at the same time. Superman Swimmer, lift opposite arm and leg. Superman Row, lift torso and legs and pull arms back.
  • Squats (Glutes, Lower Back, Abdominals)- Basic Squat, Sumo Squat, Lateral Walking Squat with Mini Resistance Band, Single Leg Squat, Single Leg Deadlift.
  • Lunges (Glutes, Lower Back, Abdominals)- Forward Lunge, Reverse Lunge, Lateral Lunge, Lunge Pulses.
  • Abdominals (Transversus Abdominis, Rectus and Lower Rectus Abdominis, External Oblique)- V-Sits, Russian Twists, Crunch Up Toe Tap, Crunch Up Hug your Knees, Reverse Crunches Upward Leg Kicks, Diamond Crunches Toe Tap.

Core Muscles that are triggered during different running movements

Speed Running- When you increase your speed, cadence, pick up your speed, your lower abs, lower back and glutes are the main core and stable muscles required for more force when pushing off the ground, and generate power.

Uphill- If you have a strong core running uphill, your legs will have a more stable plane of motion to power up the ascent. As you push off the ground uphill, your glutes and hamstrings are engaged. To save your hamstrings, your glutes need to be strong.

Downhill- Running downhill involves a lot of impact. Without a strong core your quads and knee joints will bear the impact and extra pounding, which can lead to pain and knee injury. The glutes need to be strong to absorb the impact and counter the momentum of the forward motion.

Endurance- When running long-distance, your body gets tired, you start feeling fatigue and muscle imbalance. A weak core can put too much stress on your hips, knees and shins. During long endurance runs, your lower back and lower abdominal muscles are triggered and need to be strong.

Lateral Movement- During a run, whenever you have to suddenly move to the side, your oblique muscles are triggered if they are strong. If your core is weak, you might lean into a movement which will put excess weight and strain on joints, feet and legs.

Strong Core, Strong Runner, Healthy Body!


Natural Detoxification

Detoxification is the physiological removal of toxic substances from within your body, your lymph and circulatory system detoxify your individual cells. Detoxification on a broader natural scale is carried out by your liver, kidneys and intestine. Other organs such as your bowel, lungs and skin also play a part in excreting toxins from your body. Our body takes care of our detoxification naturally, but sometimes if we have higher levels of toxins, we might start to feel more fatigue, brain fog, muscle and joint soreness. Add the nice foods to your daily diet to help your body with the natural process of toxins. 
What is toxicity?
A chemical substance or a particular mixture of substances can damage your body in any way. A toxin is a poisonous substance to your body, which include heavy metals, pesticides, pollutants, GMO’s, food additives and many other chemicals. We can get these toxins from water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we eat, cleaning products etc. The accumulation of toxins in our body can increase chronic conditions such as asthma, allergies, cancer, mental conditions and many auto immune issues.
For example, when we eat non-organic meat, we also consume antibiotics, growth hormones, herbicides and pesticides. The recommendation is to eat organic grass-fed meat.
To reduce the consumption of toxins:

  1. Use air filters
  2. Drink filtered water
  3. Eat clean and organic food
  4. Use clean household cleaning products
  5. Drink lots of water to help your body eliminate toxins

Top foods for natural detoxification:

  1. Chlorella- One of the top detoxifying foods. Full of:  Phytonutrients, amino acids, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin A, protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, B-complex vitamins. It helps your body detox and get rid of heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, uranium, and keeps them from being reabsorbed.
  2. Spirulina- Another superfood full of nutrients that offers strong detox support to your body. It is also a great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods which helps with cell oxidative damage. Full of: Protein, B complex vitamins, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese.
  3. Turmeric- Contains a phytochemical called curcumin. This amazing spice helps support detoxification for our body. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory spice. Curcumin helps the liver process metabolic waste and toxins. Turmeric contains 2-5% curcumin, taking curcumin supplements can be more efficient. Adding turmeric to your daily recipes will be a powerful tool for detox. Healthy fat found in coconut oil helps, the body absorb curcumin. That is why Golden Milk is a powerful drink to help with detox and inflammation.
  4. Ginger- Full of: Antioxidants and is an anti-inflammatory spice. Ginger is another food to help your body detoxify and cleanse. It stimulates digestion, circulation and sweating, which are your body’s three ways to detox.
  5. Leafy greens- These are great foods to support our body’s natural detoxification, so add them to as many meals as you can. Spinach, kale, Moringa leaf or powder, alfalfa leaf. These greens are full of minerals, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, C, E. All these nutrients help with detoxification.
  6. Apples- Provide amazing detoxification support for the liver. Especially the Granny Smith green apples, which contain pectin and malic acid which help to get rid of toxins. It also helps remove the cholesterol and toxins from the blood. Organic apples are very important.
  7. Broccoli sprouts- Eat more broccoli, but especially broccoli sprouts. It contains sulforaphane, which fights malignant cancer cells in the body. Light cooking of cruciferous vegetables is even more efficient.
  8. Beets- This is a great blood-cleansing and purifying food, which our liver loves. Beets help increase the nutrient production in our body. They are high in antioxidants and nutrients such as folate, pectin fiber, iron, betaine, betalain, betacyanin, and betanin.
Train Hard, Eat Right, Feel Great!

Why runners should do “Strides” training

What are strides?

Strides are 100m accelerations where you accelerate gradually over 25m, you start at a jog pace, then increase to about 95% of your max speed and then gradually slow to a stop. One stride should take about 20-30 secs, take a 45-60 seconds’ break between each stride, either jog slowly or walk. Perform strides on a flat terrain, and to avoid injuries make sure you increase your speed gradually. You can start by doing four strides for the first 2-3 weeks then increase to six, and then eight.

Benefits of running strides

Strides help runners work on their running form and biomechanics in short manageable ways. It’s easier to focus on running form during a 100m stride than when you are running longer distances and your body is more tired. Running strides will also help train mentally, reminding your brain how you should be running when fatigue sets in, especially during a long-distance run or race.

Before a race or training run, but not a long-distance one, running a series of strides is a great way to warm up and prepare your body both physically and mentally for a faster pace. Strides will help elevate your heart rate, increase the blood circulation to your muscles. For long-distance runners who train a lot in aerobic mode, strides are a good way to add some speed work by recruiting the fast twitch muscles without the side effects of high-intensity speedwork sessions that require more recovery time, and can increase the risk of injuries.

Strides are also beneficial for recovery and releasing stiff leg muscles, especially the day after a high-intensity session or long-distance run. You can add a few strides to a recovery run.

When to run strides

Strides can be added to your run in two ways:

  1. After an easy run- After running a slow or base run, or long-distance run, to add four strides at the end of your run will help increase your range of motion, improve your running form, releasing some muscle tightness you might feel after running a long-distance, as you use your muscle differently. Stride can help you feel better for your next run.
  2. Before a training session or a race– Running strides can prepare your body to run faster, with a better form, they also help your body sustain harder running. It also warms up not only your body but your brain as well, to be ready to run in a proper pace and form. Before a long-distance race, you can do a few longer and slower strides to help warm up properly.

After adding some strides training, after 3-4 weeks, many runners are able to run faster, with less effort, which is also very beneficial for long-distance runners.

Train Hard, Eat Right, Feel Great!

Tips to Run for your Whole Life Injury-Free Part 2

In order to keep running for your whole life, and staying injury free, runners need to focus on some essential elements to stay motivated, focus on a healthy balanced lifestyle and look after their body. If runners train for a while then stop for months, then train, then stop, then train, the body goes up and down, gets weaker on the months without exercising, and in order to avoid injuries, runners have to focus once again on strengthening and balancing their body. To keep exercising regularly, keeps our whole system and metabolism healthy and balanced, runners don’t have to train or push hard, as long as they follow a proper schedule according to their set goals and daily life schedule. Social runners can join running groups to stay motivated and not give up. Runners who need to relieve some stress or enjoy running on their own can use each run as a nice stress reliever and relaxation. There are so many benefits of running for our whole life, as long as you enjoy running most of the time, just keep going:)

10 Essential Elements to Run our Whole Life- Injury Free

  1. Pre-assess yourself: Make sure you have no health issues, no muscle imbalance or joint issue. If you think you might have any problems, see a health professional or sports physio, depending on the issue.
  2. Follow the general principles of healthy running: Build some strength and endurance progressively, focus on proper running form and reassess regularly, keep moving, and listen to your body’s feedback.
  3. Give yourself positive affirmations and quotes: Create your own set of affirmations and repeat them regularly. For example: I am strong, I can keep going…
  4. Pre-run warm up: Take 5 minutes before you start running to warm up the muscles, activate the gluteus medius, loosen the joints. Once you start running, the first 5-10 minutes you should run at a slower pace until you feel your body’s energy kicking in.
  5. Keep moving: Throughout the day, you should make sure you move. Work at a stand-up desk, go for a walk at lunchtime or to the gym, or do some core strength and mobility exercises at home. You can always find 20-30 mins a few times/week to add some exercises. Don’t sit for hours/day as this will tighten the hip flexors, weaken the glutes and the whole metabolism.
  6. Prevent injury: Including strength training, mobility, stretching, foam rolling exercises in your training schedule will balance your body and prevent runner’s injuries. Getting a sport massage is also very helpful. If you have any muscle or joint issues, make sure you see a professional sport physio therapist to get a diagnosis and recommendations.
  7. Recover: If you train for some races, or enjoy long-distance runs, or fast runs, make sure you add some recovery days in your training schedule. Make sure you get enough sleep as well, 7-8hrs/night.
  8. Monitor your improvements: By monitoring your running improvements allows you to adapt and adjust your training plan and schedule according to how your body reacts and feels.
  9. Eat well: Make sure you follow a healthy and balanced diet you can sustain and enjoy for your whole life. Listen to your body, and focus on healthy fresh foods and nutrients your body is happy with. Balance the nutrients for each meal, protein, healthy fats, healthy carbohydrates and vegetables. Avoid any processed foods and sugars.
  10. Set a goal: Think about what you want to achieve in different times in your life and set some regular goals to keep your motivation and positive energy going.

Focusing on injury prevention, healthy running, longevity will make you happier, stronger, faster and help you enjoy some adventures.

Train Hard, Eat Right, Feel Great!

Tipe to Run for your Whole Life- Injury Free- Part 1

Running regularly is so beneficial for our health, heart, metabolism, bones, joints, mental health and happiness. To make sure that we can keep running for the rest of our life, whether it is short or long distance, road or trail, if you add a few essential elements to your daily routine, you will protect, strengthen your body and avoid injuries.

4 Essential Elements

  1. Improve and focus on your running form

Fixing your running form according to your body will allow you to stay injury-free, run healthy, even run faster with an easier sense.

Head Tilt- How you hold your head is key to overall posture, which determines how efficiently you run. Let your gaze guide you. Look ahead naturally, not down at your feet, and scan the horizon.

Shoulders- Shoulders play an important role in keeping your upper body relaxed while you run, which is critical to maintaining efficient running posture. For optimum performance, your shoulders should be low and loose, not high and tight. As you tire on a run, don’t let them creep up toward your ears, make sure you loosen them.

Arms- Your hands control the tension in your upper body, while your arm swing works in conjunction with your leg stride to drive you forward. Keep your hands in an unclenched fist, with your fingers lightly touching your palms. Your arms should swing mostly forward and back, not across your body, between waist and lower-chest level. Your elbows should be bent at about a 90-degree angle.

Torso- The position of your torso while running is affected by the position of your head and shoulders. With your head up and looking ahead and your shoulders low and loose, your torso and back naturally straighten to allow you to run in an efficient, upright position that promotes optimal lung capacity and stride length. Running tall with a natural forward lean is ideal, when you get tired and crunch over, open the chest and take a deep breath to loosen the torso.

Hips- Your hips are your center of gravity, so they’re key to good running posture. The proper position of your torso while running helps to ensure your hips will also be in the ideal position. With your torso and back comfortably upright and straight, your hips naturally fall into proper alignment, pointing you straight ahead. If you allow your torso to hunch over or lean too far forward during a run, your pelvis will tilt forward as well, which can put pressure on your lower back and throw the rest of your lower body out of alignment.

Legs/Stride- While sprinters need to lift their knees high to achieve maximum leg power, distance runners don’t need such a high knee lift, it’s simply too hard to sustain for any length of time. Instead, efficient endurance running requires just a slight knee lift, a quick leg turnover, and a short stride. Together, these will facilitate fluid forward movement instead of diverting (and wasting) energy. When running with the proper stride length, your feet should land directly underneath your body. As your foot strikes the ground, your knee should be slightly flexed so that it can bend naturally on impact. If your lower leg (below the knee) extends out in front of your body, your stride is too long.

Ankles/Feet- To run well, you need to push off the ground with maximum force. With each step, your foot should hit the ground lightly, landing between your heel and midfoot, then quickly roll forward. Keep your ankle flexed as your foot rolls forward to create more force for push-off. As you roll onto your toes, try to spring off the ground. You should feel your calf muscles propelling you forward on each step.

  1. Improve your mobility

To strengthen and balance your body, mobility exercises are very important. Include some strength, core and mobility exercises in your weekly schedule. Work on core, planks, lunges, squats, bridge, single-leg exercises. Weight training is very beneficial, stronger muscles will help balance the running form and give you more power. Including regular stretching sessions will loosen the joints, muscles and increase the mobility.

  1. Balanced training and lifestyle

Focus on a balanced and sustainable training schedule. Over-training will only have negative effects. A healthy lifestyle will help with the lifetime running.

  • Follow a healthy, mindful, balanced diet, no extreme diet. Eat healthy proteins and fat, healthy grains and carbohydrates, lots of vegetables especially green, healthy fruits are a great source of carbs for runners. Avoid processed sugars and processed foods.
  • Get enough sleep. Sleeping 7-8 hours/night not only helps with energy, but also with healthy weight maintenance, overall health and disease prevention, and also recovery from running and training.
  1. Include some cross-training

Once a week, to include some cross-training exercises such as cycling, swimming, yoga, elliptical trainer, and foam rolling sessions, will help to balance the muscles and help with running recovery. We also need to look after our tendons and fascia, as we get older they grow stiffer and less pliable, which can cause injuries. Foam rolling and stretching sessions will look after those tissues.

Train Hard, Eat Right, Feel Great!