10 Fitness Goals We Need To Focus On For Our Overall Wellbeing

To find and focus on some fitness goals can help us feel better physically and mentally. Fitness goals are about finding what we aim to improve, our bodyweight, strength, fitness level, or overall well-being, which will make us feel much better and even reduce stress.

To set and schedule some fitness goals can help us monitor our progress, motivate us to push through some light discomfort, but mainly to feel the accomplishment and delight of reaching our fitness goal, feeling much better.

 

Our fitness goals should be personal, according to our fitness level, life schedule, and body type. We need to find the right type of strength exercises, the running distances and speed, eating the right healthy foods according to our body type and training. We just need to focus on getting healthier, stronger, and happier.

 

10 Fitness Goals

 

  1. Cardiovascular Goals– Plan to spend 3-4 hours/week performing some type of cardiovascular exercises, it could be running, cycling, swimming, hiking, walking, jump rope. Perform 3-5 sessions/week at about 70-90% of your max heart rate.
  2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)– To perform 1-2 HIIT workout sessions per week can be very helpful to increase strength and cardio levels.
  3. Plan for Minimum of 10,000 Steps/Day– More sedentary lifestyle and work lifestyle can affect our metabolism and whole body. To add some steps/day, to move our body while at work to avoid sitting all day will protect our overall health. Walk, walk, walk.
  4. Strength Training Sessions– Target building up every major muscle group by performing 2-3 sessions/week. Building up our muscles increases bone health, muscles quality, body strength and endurance. Strength exercises can be combined with HIIT sessions.
  5. Perform Stretches Regularly– Regular stretching improves our range of motion, prepares our muscles and joints for intense activity and running, improves our flexibility and increases our recovery by reducing post-training aches and pain.
  6. Decrease Body Fat– Having a healthy BMI is an important health factor, it can reduce the risk of many diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, it also helps to reduce inflammation, enhance the functions of our joints and tendons, which is crucial to support running sessions.
  7. Reduce or Avoid Sugar– Cutting sugar from our diet will help improve our health and health issues. We can provide our body with natural healthy carbohydrates to support our training activities.
  8. Eat More Vegetables– To eat healthy green vegetables is essential in a healthy eating plan. Eating lots of dark, leafy green vegetables can provide us with many nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which will support our body to perform at its best.
  9. Drink Enough Water– Water is essential to keep us fit and healthy. We need to make sure we stay well hydrated throughout the day. Aim to drink 2.5L of water minimum/day.
  10. 7-8 Hours of Sleep– Proper sleep pattern and schedule should be part of our fitness goal, as it is crucial for achieving our fitness goal and support our training energy and strength. Enough sleep such as 7-8 hours, speeds up recovery and the muscle rebuilding, as well as boost up our energy tank for the next training session.

GREAT FITNESS GOALS, MORE MOTIVATION, STRONGER AND BETTER RUN & HEALTH!

KATIA

Gluteus Medius Activation and Stretching for Injury-Free Running

In order to run with proper form and injury free, our glute muscles have to be fired up properly, and activated before other muscles such as hamstrings. The gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus are the three key muscles in our backside. When we spend a long period of time sitting, the glutes disactivate, making it harder and slower to activate when running.

Glutes are the key drivers in the running gate cycle.

Weak Glutes = Poor Running Form = Possible Injuries

When the glutes are not activated, other muscles take over and compensate, such as hamstrings and IT Band. The IT Band (inserted in the TFL hip flexor) is a poor controller of the knee, and hamstrings are poor hip extensors compared to the gluteus maximus. The compensation of these muscles can lead to knee pain from a tight IT Band, and hamstring tendinopathy.

By activating our glute muscles, we can  also prevent or alleviate back pain. So if we have to spend a lot of time sitting throughout the day, we have to make sure that we stretch our hip flexors regularly, and perform exercises to activate our glute muscles.

TEST:
To find out if your glutes fire up before your hamstring, perform this test:

  1. Lie on your front.
  2. Place a set of fingertips on the gluteus maximus (your buttock), and the other on the hamstring on the same side.
  3. Lift your leg up, keeping it straight, and feel which muscle fired first and with the most strength. If your hamstring fired up before your glute kicked in, then your glute muscle is weak. Then you need to perform some glute activation exercises regularly.

 

For a perfect running form, the ankle is supposed to be mobile, the knee stable, the hip mobile, the lower back stable. If a runner is experiencing knee pain, the problem could be that one of the stable joints has become mobile, or a mobile joint has become too unstable (hypermobile). The joint above the knee is the hip, which should be mobile enough to absorb the forces from the foot strike. If the gluteus medius is too weak, the hip becomes hypermobile, then the hip is unable to absorb the force and instead will pass it to the knee or lower back.

One of the most common symptoms of a weak gluteus medius is a condition called Trendelenburg Gait. Trendelenburg Gait is a condition that happens when one foot hits the ground but the opposite hip with the foot off the ground drops. You can see that running form from behind when the hips drop side to side. The main issue with the hip drop is with the leg with the foot on the ground, you will see an inward collapse of the  knee as the opposite hip drops. This motion will put a lot of pressure on the ACL ligament and alter the knee cap motion between the upper leg and lower leg. The result of the failure of the gluteus medius to control the inward collapse of the knee will produce other issues such as IT Band syndrome, one of the most common runner’s injury.

Training the gluteus medius by performing the proper exercises regularly will help prevent any knees injuries. The goal is to train the gluteus medius to resist the inward collapse of the knee. By taking care of your gluteus medius muscles you will not only see an increase in your performance, but also in injury prevention.

 

BASIC GLUTE EXERCISES

  • Bridge (single Leg)
  • Fire Hydrant
  • Clams
  • Lateral Walking Squat with a resistance band around the ankles.
  • Plank Opposite Arm and Leg
  • Bird Dog
  • Side Plank with Leg Lift
  • Reverse Plank
  • Donkey Kicks
  • Lunges
  • Step Ups
  • Squats

 

GLUTE STRENGTH EXERCISES

  • Barbell Squat
  • Dumbbell Step Up
  • Bodyweight Walking Lunge
  • Bodyweight Squat
  • Donkey Kicks
  • Dumbbell Lunges
  • Dumbbell Side Lunge
  • Dumbbell Squat Thruster
  • Fire Hydrants
  • Goblet Squat
  • Single Leg Bridge

To perform glute and hips stretches is very important, even after every run we should include some basic glute stretches.

GLUTE STRETCHES

 

STRENGTHEN, STRETCH, ENJOY A GOOD & STRONG RUNNING FORM!
KATIA

 

 

 

 

 

Hot to Prevent Adductor Muscle Pain

Adductor muscles pain is a common issue with many sports, but also very common with runners, especially trail runners. Our adductors are complex tendons, muscles and ligaments attached to the pelvis, which stabilizes the hips and legs with side to side motion. For trail runners, having to deal with more technical trail, uphill, downhill with rocks can cause more adductor issues than only road running, especially for new trail runners. Improper training, or overtraining can also affect the adductors. Most of the time, we feel adductor tightness or soreness after the run, if we feel some adductor pain during a run, that could be symptoms of some torn ligament or tendon. All levels of runners, beginners to elite runners get adductor tightness.

 

Luckily, to perform some basic adductor stretches regularly and after our run, will prevent any injuries, and provide faster recovery.

 

Symptoms of Adductor Injury or Tension

 

  • Pain in the lower abdomen that we also can feel in the upper and inner thigh.
  • Pain when we engage our abs, sneeze or cough.
  • Pain in the inner groins.
  • Pain in the upper and inner thigh while running in different range of motions uphill, downhill, or on the trail.
  • Pain after running or often the next morning.

 

Causes of Adductor Pain after Running

 

  • Weak Hips and Glutes– These weak muscles cause imbalances that affect our running form. Having weak glutes forces our hips to drag our legs forward instead of pushing off from the forefoot.
  • Overstriding– Overstriding, especially during speedwork sessions can lead to adductor pain or injuries. With overstrides, our extended legs are straight and stiff which affects our body’s ability to cushion the hard impact on the foot landing.
  • Lack of Recovery– Not including proper muscle stretches, including adductors post-run will cause more tight, tired and inflamed muscles. After a while the muscle tightness will increase which can lead to injury.
  • Tight Hips– With our current lifestyle, sitting at a desk for many hours daily, affects our body in many ways, but especially tight hips, and hunched over back. We have to make sure that we perform daily hip stretches to loosen our tight hips and correct our posture.
  • Overtraining– Increasing our running distance or speed too quickly without a proper training plan, can lead to many injuries. Focusing on easy runs weekly and only 2 days of harder runs (speed or uphill training) will save our muscle soreness and injuries.

 

How to Prevent Adductor Pain from Running

 

  • Check your stride, make sure it’s a proper stride and running form
  • Improve the hip flexibility
  • Improve the hip strength with some lower body/core exercises
  • Get a physio therapy session

 

How to Recover from Adductor Pain or Injuries

 

  1. Rest– Avoid running for a few days. If the adductors are still painful after some recovery days, that could be a sign of injury. Perform light stretches if the pain is intense. Adductor injuries can take up to 6 weeks for healing without running.
  2. Add Strength Training– With adductor soreness or mild pain, often the factor is from the imbalance of the glutes, hip flexors, pelvic muscles. To perform some good hip and glute strengthening exercises will prevent adductor pain and create a better running form.
  3. Return to Running Slowly– After recovery, we need to start running shorter distances, more easy runs without too much elevation. We need to increase our running pace and distance gradually, as long as we feel comfortable and no pain.

Perform These Basic Adductor Stretches Regularly

Perform Stretches, Improve Flexibility, Enjoy Great Runs!

KATIA

Basic Foods for Better Performance and Health

Runners following restricted, unhealthy, or imbalanced nutrition habits, will affect their performance, and even heart health. According to some research, runners who eat foods high in potassium, magnesium and healthy fats with the right amount of protein and healthy carbs and calories, according to their lifestyle and training, will increase and support their performance and energy level. Eating enough nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables full of these vitamins and minerals will provide healthy fat, magnesium and potassium, and fiber. According to the results of this research done in 2016, the fast runners who were eating the right portions of healthy foods full of magnesium, potassium and healthy fats, weighted less than the slower runners, they trained more distance (15-20km extra), had better cholesterol levels and also had less muscle and heart damage issues after long-distance runs or marathons.

 

Runners who consume the right amount of unsaturated fat, potassium, and magnesium, perform better and have much better cardiovascular health. The slower runners with not as healthy diets, had more muscle damage and inflammation, which can cause more injuries, and not the proper weight. The foods with high levels of these vitamins and minerals can be also efficient for many types of training and sports. Runners following very strict diet or intense intermittent fasting, according to some research, the results also showed some negative side effects on their performance, endurance and energy levels.

 

MARATHON RUNNERS-RESEARCH RESULTS

 

Healthy Fats

The average of healthy fats runners should consume- 50-70 grams a day. We do know that the less processed fats we consume is better for our overall health and performance.

 

Unsaturated Fats

Unsaturated fats are made up of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated lipids.

These are the good sources of fat.

Their benefits include:

Decreasing total cholesterol, LDL (low density lipid) cholesterol and has no effect on HDL (high density lipid)-cholesterol.

 

Healthy Fat-Rich Foods

  • Olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Nuts – pine, Brazil, almonds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, pistachios, cashews
  • Seeds – sesame, sunflower, flaxseed, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds
  • Natural nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew)
  • Fish fat (Omega-3 fatty acids), salmon, mackerel, halibut
  • Egg yolk

 

Magnesium-Rich Foods

  • Dark Chocolate (85%+)– Magnesium (16% serving), iron, copper, manganese, prebiotic fiber, antioxidants.
  • Avocados– Magnesium (15% serving), potassium, healthy fat, vitamin B, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, fiber, anti-inflammatory.
  • Nuts– Magnesium (20% serving), healthy fat, fiber, anti-inflammatory.
  • Seeds (pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds)- Magnesium (37% serving), iron, healthy fat, Omega-3’s, fiber, antioxidants.
  • Legumes– Magnesium (30% serving), potassium, iron, protein, vitamin K2.
  • Tofu– Magnesium (13% serving), protein, calcium, iron, manganese, selenium.
  • Whole Grains (quinoa, oats, buckwheat, barley, wheat)- Magnesium (16% serving), vitamin B, selenium, manganese, fiber.
  • Fatty Fish (salmon, mackerel, halibut)- Magnesium (13% serving), protein, Omega-3’s, potassium, selenium, vitamin B.
  • Bananas– Magnesium (9% serving), potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, fiber, antioxidants.
  • Leafy Greens (kale, spinach, collard greens)- Magnesium (39% serving), iron, manganese, Vitamin A, C, and K.

 

Potassium-Rich Foods

  • Bananas– Potassium (12% serving), magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, fiber, antioxidants.
  • Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes– Potassium (34%-18% serving), magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, manganese, fiber.
  • Beets– Potassium (11% serving), folate, manganese, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory.
  • Spinach– Potassium (30% serving), vitamin A, vitamin K, calcium, manganese, antioxidants.
  • Swiss Chard– Potassium (21% serving), vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, fiber.
  • Tomato Sauce– Potassium (17% serving), vitamin A, C, E, B6, copper, anti-inflammatory.
  • Oranges– Potassium (11% serving), folate, vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, thiamine, antioxidants.
  • Avocados– Potassium (20% serving), healthy fat, fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, anti-inflammatory.
  • White Beans– Potassium (18% serving), magnesium, manganese, iron, protein, folate, thiamine, anti-inflammatory.
  • Plain Unsweetened Yogurt – Potassium (11% serving), calcium, riboflavin, healthy bacteria for gut health.
  • Salmon– Potassium (15% serving), Omega-3’s fats, vitamin B12, vitamin D, protein, selenium, antioxidants.
  • Coconut Water– Potassium (13% serving), high in electrolytes

Eat Well, Feel Great, Run Strong!

KATIA

 

 

 

Better Sleep Pattern for Runners

Sleep is one of the very important component that is usually not into our running training plans. But it should be. Most runners training for longer distances or running regularly, according to our working schedule, we either have to run very early in the morning or later at night which can affect our sleep schedule. As runners, if we don’t get enough sleep, eventually it will affect our running strength, energy and performance, we need to also focus on our sleep schedule which can also be a challenge. According to some sleep research for athletes, the results showed that the runners who increased their sleep time, ran better and faster than when they followed their usual sleep time.

 

Benefits of Enough Good Sleep

  • Sleep is when our body produces growth hormone which stimulates muscle growth and repair.
  • In sleep deprivation we produce less HGH (human growth hormones) and our muscles pay the price (slower progress).
  • Sleep is when our body synthesizes protein, creates new cells and repairs tissue, boosts our immune system.

 

Side Effects of Sleep Deprivation

  • Sleep deprivation combined with workout exertion you’re more likely to get sick and of course all your runs feel tough.
  • In sleep deprivation, we feel hungrier add that to distance running and it explains the never ending hunger.
  • In sleep deprivation the body is less effective at converting carbs to glycogen, our body will hit the wall and crash.

 

How Much Sleep do Runners Need

The general rule is to add 1 minute per 1 mile/1.6K we run per week. If we ask more of our body, we need to give it more to recover.

Recommendation:

Weekly running distance 68Km (40.6 miles)

  • If we need 7 hours of sleep to feel well rested when we don’t train too much, and now we are running 65km/week, we should aim for 7h40mins minutes of sleep.
  • If we need 8 hours of sleep to feel well rested when we don’t train too much, and now we are running 65km/week, we should aim for 8h40mins.

 

Weekly running distance 90Km (56.2 miles)

  • If we need 7 hours of sleep to feel well rested when we don’t train too much, now we are running 90km/week, we should aim for 7h56mins of sleep.
  • If we need 8 hours of sleep to feel well rested when we don’t train too much, now we are running 90km/week, we should aim for 8h56mins of sleep.

 

Natural Sleeping Aids

To help our sleeping pattern we can focus on some natural sleeping tips.

 

  • Take magnesium supplements at night. Magnesium is a vitamin that many runners are depleted of. Taking magnesium supplements helps to promote better sleep, more relaxation, and reduces muscle soreness.
  • Drink some chamomile tea at night. It relaxes our body and we feel much more calm.
  • Perform some meditation before bedtime. Meditation lowers our heart rate, improves our breathing, and relaxes our body and mind for much better sleep.
  • Perform some restorative yoga poses before sleep, which is part of meditation.
  • Avoid screen time 1-2 hours before bedtime. Screen time affects our sleeping pattern, some people take more time to fall asleep, others wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall asleep for too long.

 

Best Foods for Better Sleep

 

To eat fresh healthy foods, will help provide our body with vitamins and minerals such as serotonin, magnesium, calcium, vitamin B6, fiber, that will help to increase our sleeping pattern and quality.

 

  • Kiwi- Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate, which helps with better sleep.
  • Soy Foods- Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso, edamame are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleeping cycle.
  • Fiber-Rich Foods- Eating more fiber provides better sleep. Fiber prevents blood sugar spikes that may lower melatonin. Eat fiber rich vegetables, beans, quinoa, healthy grains.
  • Fish- Salmon, tuna, halibut provide Omega 3’s, vitamin B6, which are body needs to create melatonin.
  • Tart Cherry Juice- Tart cherry juice is melatonin-rich which is a sleep inducing hormone. Tart cherry juice helps prevent insomnia.
  • Yogurt- If your body can tolerate dairy, yogurt or milk helps provide calcium which helps with better sleep. When our body is depleted of calcium, it also affects our sleeping pattern, not only our bone health. To take calcium supplements with the magnesium supplements will improve our sleeping quality.
  • Whole Grains- Bulgur, barley and other healthy whole grains are magnesium-rich.
  • Kale- Leafy greens such as kale and collards are calcium-rich vegetables, providing higher quality sleep.
  • Bananas- A fruit rich in potassium, vitamin B6, which our body needs to create melatonin.

Sleep Well, Recover Well, Feel Good, Run Strong!

KATIA