The great thing about running is the fact that you do not have to define yourself as a specific type of runner. As Shape Magazine explored, running really is an “every man sport.” There are so many different types of runners out there, so naturally, each type of runner needs equipment that will help them out! Let’s explore what each runner needs to perfect their sport.
Best Gear: Minimalist Running Shoes
Barefoot runners are tough, you guys. As the word “barefoot” implies, these are the people who prefer to run as naturally as they were born — without sneakers or anything! According to DietsInReview’s Kelly Turner, trainer and fitness journalist, barefoot runners need the proper shoes and socks. Check out minimalist running shoes to protect your feet — there are lots of choices out there.
WINTER WEATHER RUNNERS
Best Gear: Layers
Some people are tough enough to handle the rain, sleet, and snow. If you are one of these awesome people, make sure you layer — something that is not a natural thought before you head out on a run. Also, consider a hat and a water resistant jacket if you live in a rainy part of the country.
Best Gear: Trackers and monitors
Marathon runners are definitely not the casual type. If you are a marathoner, you are likely interested in keeping track of your personal data, which is why you will need to invest in a mileage tracker, a heart rate monitor, or even just an app on your phone, (find the best trackers here) which are often built into phones these days. Don’t forget a running belt so you don’t have to carry your water or fuel snacks. Your arms will get tired eventually.
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Each year the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) surveys its membership of fitness professionals (myself included) to identify the top trends in fitness. The 2015 list was recently published with, in my opinion, only a few surprises.
What did surprise me on this list? Outdoor activities are #12! I see and hear a lot about running in fitness circles, but not much else. Most popular classes and activities take place in some sort of gym, be it a commercial one or the budget home gym you created in the spare bedroom. I would love to see more people get off the spin bike and on the bike path. Hiking is a new love of mine and, unlike the treadmill, it does wonders for your body and soul. Boot camps are last on the ACSM list at #20. They are still very popular in the Midwest so I am curious what group fitness trend will be taking their place. What are you seeing where you live?
Agree or disagree, here are five “big” fitness trends you can look forward to in the coming year.
1. Body weight training and High Intensity Interval Training came in #1 and #2, respectively, on the ACSM list. This worries me for two reasons. One, the high rate of injury that goes along with beginners starting at too high of intensity as well as over-training, and two, the level of burnout that often follows. I think body weight exercises are great. They can be some of the most challenging exercises you can do, but if proper form isn’t developed before adding the explosive intensity of popular programs like Insanity or P90X you may be asking for trouble.
Trend tip: Perfect your form on squats, push-ups and other body weight exercises slowly before adding weight or plyometrics.
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Megan grew up in what some might consider an idealistic environment. They were a seemingly typical middle-class, Caucasian family; mom stayed home with her and her sister, and dad made it to all of her soccer games. Megan was first chair violin and graduated from high school as part of the National Honor Society. Her parents have been married more than 30 years and the family attended church regularly. However, after an abusive five-year marriage, she was left alone to support two small children. Her naivety and vulnerability, both emotionally and financially, put her at risk for sexual trafficking.
“Human trafficking is a very complex issue, and a lot of times people think that it’s something you can just ‘get out’ of. Unfortunately, it is not always that easy because there are social and economic obstacles, as well as mental and physical safety that all must come together. It is often, as in my case, a long process to fully get away from a predator and the subculture entirely,” shared Megan. “In short, I was able to leave my pimp and move back across the country, but it took another six months until I was in a place I could leave the sex industry entirely, and it has been almost two years of intensive recovery since then.”
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TaVona Boggs spent most of her adult life on a diet. When she wasn’t on one, she was thinking she probably should be. Finally, she learned how to make peace with food and gave up on what she calls the, “all or nothing” mentality. After an 82-pound weight loss, TaVona is competing in duathlons and inspiring other women to break out of their comfort zones.
When did your weight struggles begin. As early as age 10, I remember begging my mom to buy me a thigh master. Throughout high school I kept my weight in check with physical activity, like cheer leading, volleyball and more, but once I entered an intensive physical therapy program in college, the weight crept back on.
What habits specifically led you to gain weight? I did not know how to eat properly. My solution was to eat what college kids ate and when the weight escalated, I would diet down to what I thought was an appropriate weight only to gain it back once I stopped dieting.
What prompted the change? I stepped on the scale one day and it said 224 pounds. At that point I had become so sick of dieting I couldn’t do it one more time so I said to myself, “I have to learn how to eat real food, and still enjoy myself.”
How did you lose the weight? With my mother’s encouragement, I decided to join a commercial weight loss program. With the support of the ladies in my group and my mentor, I was able to get to my goal of 155 pounds. After a while, counting points and managing my weight through exercise only got me so far. I oscillated, then got stuck and eventually saw the weight starting to come back on.
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Two friends train for a marathon. They follow the same training plan and meet for long runs on Saturday mornings, keeping each other accountable to their goals. When the big day arrives one crosses the finish line with a smile on her face and arms raised in triumph. The other hobbles across, much later, ready to collapse in pain.
Our late finisher didn’t get injured. She trained hard but she neglected to pay attention to her fuel and her rest. Rest and recovery are THE difference makers not just in race training but also in fat loss, fitness and overall health. Giving your muscles time to recover and rebuild is key to a healthy and strong body that will carry you wherever you want to go. Getting plenty of quality sleep and including scheduled rest days gives the body time to recharge, repair and be ready for the next workout.
Finding the right calorie balance to meet your training level is just as important as finding the right running shoe. A balanced plate MUST be part of the training and recovery plan. Lean protein, smart carbs, and healthy fats provide fuel to replenish energy stores and rebuild muscle. Eating too little can leave you drained, while eating too much of the wrong things (like over carb-loading or surviving off fast food) can also leave you feeling sluggish.
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