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To Train Well, Train Your Brain: The Difference Between Finishing and Failing

Famous athletes are often admired for their great skill, superhuman strength, or fantastic endurance. What many forget that there is something an athlete needs even more than these attributes: a trained mind.

Mental preparation has increasingly become important as sports have evolved. Sports psychology is a discipline completely devoted to the study, and adages like “mind over matter” are common in everyday speech. Although there is still much to learn about how the brain works in connection with fitness, athletes can learn many mental strategies to help improve their game.

Endurance athletes know how important keeping one’s mind in control is. In long races, the body will eventually send messages of pain to the brain and the athlete will want to stop. To finish, you must be able to not only keep going, but also keep up a good pace. Pain and injuries are inevitable; giving up is not.
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Talk Test Found to be a Powerful Tool for Endurance Athletes

As a runner, I love to run in groups. The time passes by faster as we all share stories, get to know each other better, and typically laugh the miles away. I’ve grown accustom to talking while I run. In fact, I often fear I talk too much when I run. However, new studies have been conducted regarding talking while exercising and the findings may have me upping my chatter for the sake of my fitness.

Recently, exercise scientists from the University of New Hampshire confirmed the effectiveness of the “talk test”- a relatively simple and low-tech method used to measure exercise intensity.

The rather simple test required the participants to recite the Pledge of Allegiance while exercising at different intensity levels. Their heart rates and maximal oxygen consumption, or V02 max, were measured during the test. Those who spoke comfortably were at their lower end of exercise intensity. Those who could no longer speak comfortably were at the upper end of the intensity guidelines.


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Pre-season Yoga for Skiers

There is nothing worse than spending the rest of your glorious ski vacation in bed because your legs are too sore to do anything else. You want to keep skiing, to do a little shopping or go out dancing after a day on the slopes, but that is just not going to happen if you are out of shape. The black diamond advanced moguls, blue intermediate groomed runs or green beginner bunny slopes will get the best of you if you do not prepare ahead of time.

Whether you are a hot shot on the hill or you just want to look hot in your brand new ski outfit, the following yoga pose and its equivalent rating of intensity will help keep you on your feet.


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Sprint Your Way to Heart Health

We’ve all heard at one time or another that exercise is good for heart health and preventing cardiovascular disease. In fact, that’s why we call it “cardio.” For many years, doctors and fitness professionals (including me!)  have told patients and clients to be sure to get regular steady state cardio most days of the week for at least 30 minutes a day. While this advice is still solid, new research is showing that when it comes to exercise and heart health, sometimes a sprint is better than a marathon.

According to new research recently published in the American Journal of Human Biology, when it comes to preventing cardiovascular disease in adolescents, short-duration high-intensity exercise may be more beneficial for the heart than traditional endurance training that emphasizes a lower intensity for a longer amount of time. Researchers from the University of the West of Scotland recruited a group of volunteer school-aged children, and found that after seven weeks of regular exercise, those adolescents who did a short series of 20-meter sprints that only took minutes had just as many heart-health benefits as students who ran at a moderate intensity for 20 minutes, three times a week.


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Your Ultimate 10 to 1 Workout

Are you searching for a new exercise routine to get motivated again? There are hundreds upon hundreds of different workout routines and the goal is to find one that works for you. Again, I can never emphasize this enough: the exercise routine that works for your friend or spouse may not work for you. Every “body” is different. So, I recommend searching different styles of workouts until you find one that you enjoy and get the best results from.

The 10 to 1 workout (or 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 workout) was designed to target the entire body as a whole while increasing your heart rate, stamina, and improving your cardiovascular endurance level. The exercises below are coupled together and to be completed as a super-set: do one exercise immediately followed by the other starting at ten repetitions and working your way down to one repetition. For example, the first two exercises are reverse pull-ups and squat jumps. Start by performing ten reverse pull-ups followed by ten squats jumps then move immediately to nine, eight, seven and so on of each exercise without stopping. This will blow your heart rate out of the water and get that sweat dripping right off the end of your nose.


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