Gladiator Assault Challenge

picGladiator Assault Challenge

All my life I’ve been pretty mediocre at sports. That’s probably not the best way to start a fitness blog, but it’s the truth. Everything I tried seemed to not be a fit for me, so I started running. Running is the ultimate body workout where I never have to worrying about getting hit in the head with a ball. Lately, I’ve seen a lot of friends and families get into not just running by themselves, but doing races. The color run, Tough Mudder, Glow Run, these are all races I’d like to do… but getting the courage to actually sign up took a lot longer then I expected.

Two weekends ago I finally completed my first 5k. No, it wasn’t a marathon, but you’ve got to start somewhere, right? I chose to do the Gladiator Assault Challenge, which is by far not your average 5k.  With 30 military style obstacles interlaced into the run, there is something surprising around every corner.

The race took started on top of a ski hill. Yes, on top of a ski hill. At the top, there was a DJ and loud music playing to pump you up and get you going. When the horns went off, myself and 50 other people in my heat headed down the hill and into the woods. Right off the bat we were met with a pile of mud that we had to crawl through while a military official sprayed us down with a hose. It was at this point I realized that this run was going to be a dirty dirty 5k. We climbed up wooden structures, over rope walls, through mud up to our ears, and under barbed wire. We jumped through fire, ran off a 15-foot structure into a lake, and crawled through black tubes. This race was intense.

Although the race was nothing I’d ever experienced before, the whole time I was more excited to complete an obstacle than worry about getting dirty. With each challenge, I felt stronger and more confident than the last one. I kept thinking, if I can complete this I can complete anything. After running up and down the ski hill countless of times, the race finally came to a finish. There to greet our muddy and soaking wet bodies were loud music and volunteer workers handing out beer and fruit. They also had a gear tent where you could buy different t-shirts and athletic gear at the finish line. The weather that day was in the high 50s, so after running a race in mud and water, our main mission was to dry off and change clothes. Once dry, we ate a banana, finished our beer and headed out. Although the weather didn’t allow us to stick around for very long after the race, with our participant medal in hand we marched proudly to the car.

Over all I think that the experience of doing a mud run is something you cannot describe. It is dirty and challenging, but once in the moment all that is going through your mind is “I can do this.” I felt more accomplished after running those 3 miles than I did running any of my runs over the last year. If you are someone who wants to start challenging yourself to a race more intense than just running, I strongly recommend a mud run. There are plenty of different options to try out!pic 2

Another recommendation is running the race with a buddy. Not only does it keep the race fun, but also having someone there to help push you along the way makes the whole race seem easier. Plus you can laugh at each other as you’re trudging through mud.

If you have any more questions or comments about the Gladiator Assualt Challenge check out their website!

Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.

Mary Marren

So You Want to Run a 5K?

picMaybe you’ve run multiple 5k’s and want to improve your time. Maybe you ran your first 5k and now you are addicted. Maybe you’ve never run a day in your life and want to try your first 5k. No matter what your story is, training for a 5k is always beneficial. Personally, I have ran more 5k’s than I could count and I have trained for almost each of them, whether it be with a team or on my own. And I’ll be the first one to tell you, that the most painful and worst 5k’s were the ones where I had no previous training.

Each person is a different skill level and that makes it hard to say where you start training. If you need help finding a training program to help you achieve your goals, this would be a good place to start. But finding the training program isn’t the hard part. The hard part, in my opinion, is sticking to the training plan and eating the part.

If you’re serious about wanting to do a 5k and do it well these are the tips I’d have for you:

Get a pair of running shoes. Before you start training, I would get a good pair of running shoes. Check out this website to see what type of shoe you should be wearing. A lot of running injuries result from wearing shoes that aren’t meant for your type of foot. The last thing you want to do is get a running injury before you even get the chance to do your run.

Get a running buddy. Now this may not be for everyone, but if you like having someone to help push you and talk to on your runs, then I would highly suggest finding someone who will do just that.

Get new music or running gear. Having new stuff helps you get the motivation to take the hardest, first step out of the door. The new music will help you keep going once you get out there. Try and make a running playlist that has more upbeat music that will keep you going at a good pace and keep your focused. Having music playing will also help you from hearing how hard you’re breathing and will keep your mind off of how tired you actually are.

Make friends that are running the 5k with you. If you surround yourself with people that also are going to train, it will make finding a running partner that much easier. Not to mention that when you two hang out you probably won’t be going out for unhealthy food and beer. The hardest part of staying in shape for races for me is eating healthy. If you have friends that want to eat healthy too you guys will be good influences on each other. Hopefully.

Post Running Routine. If there were anything that I truly learned from running, it would be the importance of caring for your body after running. The general rule of thumb is to stretch each muscle for about 45 seconds, deepening the stretch as you go. Here are five great stretches for runners. Another thing I found out the hard way would be to ice. If it hurts, ice it. 15 minutes on 15 minutes off. I’m not a doctor so I can’t tell you that it will work for everything, but in my cases most of my injuries would have been prevented if I stretched properly and iced more often when I felt pain. After you’re putting mile after mile on your legs, your muscles develop scar tissue and tension that need to be taken care of. If you’re starting to feel pain and don’t know what to do, here is a good website.

I hope that I have had a positive impact on someone to try a 5k or better their time in a 5k.

Also, if you are from the Whitewater area, I would highly recommend this run, September 21st. Whitewater does a wonderful job organizing this and has multiple options for races including the half marathon, 5k walk/run, and fit kid shuffle. I partook in the 5k last year and will be doing in again this year. I hope to see some of you there.

-Yesterday You Said Tomorrow

Eric Hess

How to get your “Beach Bod”

Beach Bod PhotoBy: Eric Hess

With beach season around the corner (hopefully), we are all trying to perfect our ‘beach bod’. And even though we seem to be putting in the hours, we still can’t get to the point where we want. Now why is that?

The number one reason is probably that most of us are eating like crap. Hoping for a perfect body while eating McDonalds every day is like trying to become a billionaire by staring at a wall. In order to lose weight, we need to burn more calories than we are taking in, and we should make sure that they are “good” calories…nutrient-dense calories. I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times but looking good all starts in the kitchen. And remember to drink more water! In a study done the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it proves that nearly half of Americans do not drink enough water daily! Drinking water has endless benefits and is so easy to do.

If your diet isn’t the problem, maybe you are being too simple with your workouts. Add weight to your workouts, or get off of the floor when you do your workouts. Adding resistance to your workouts is what stimulates your muscle fibers and really promotes the growth you are looking for. Exercises that require you to be more mobile and utilize a full range of motion will strengthen your stability and balance abilities rather that if you are laying flat on the ground. Try using medicine balls for the extra weight during your usual core workouts or try some new ones like these.

Remember the importance of cardio. Cardio is left out in a lot of people’s weekly workout routines. Cardio doesn’t have to be boring or dreadful either. Play a sport you enjoy with some friends if that’s what you like. Join a club that will keep you active or start walking every morning. Anything that will burn calories and get your heart going will be beneficial to help you achieve the ‘beach bod’ you are looking for.

Another thing that can be hurting you is overdoing your core workouts. Even your core needs time to regenerate and rest. Doing core workouts ever single day isn’t going to help the process. On the days that you aren’t doing core, go for a run instead.

Now you also have to realize that like anything, progress takes time. You cannot expect huge results after only a week. Patience is a virtue, especially when in comes to something like working out. Don’t give up. Eat clean. Work hard. Drink lots of water.

Yesterday you said tomorrow
-Eric Hess

Aaacchooo!! Spring allergies return.

Spring Allergies PhotoBy: Abbey Bowen

Sneezes, runny noses and itchy eyes. Ah, the symptoms of spring allergies!

Spring allergies are mainly triggered by pollen release from trees, grasses and weeds. Your immune system mistakes pollen as a foreign antibody and attacks the allergens. This attack releases chemicals known as histamines into the blood. Histamines cause runny noses, itchy eyes, etc.

Allergic rhinitis (allergies) affects 10 to 30 percent of adults and almost 40 percent of children. With high percentage like this, there’s a good chance you suffer from allergies of some kind.

So, what can you do to alleviate your symptoms?  Dr. Andy Nish, and allergist in Georgia, recommends changing your environment before going on medication. Nish says to limit your outdoor activity to the times in which pollen levels are the lowest. Such levels can be found by checking local weather reports.

According to Joanna Broder, of Webmd.com, it can also be helpful to keep the windows of your home and car closed at all times. She also suggests running your air conditioning to filter the air.

If simply avoiding the outdoors and fresh air doesn’t work, over-the-counter, non-sedating medications with antihistamine can help rid you of your symptoms, Dr. Paul Enright, allergy specialist, says. Look for “antihistamine” on labels when looking for eye drops, and decongestants. If your nose continues to run, however, saline nose sprays may also provide relief.

While it can help to avoid the outdoors, spring allergies should not throw off your workout routine! Like mentioned before, you can always check pollen counts before heading outside, or you can work out from the indoor comfort of the Weight Room in the Williams Center or University Fitness in the basement of Wells resident hall.

However, asthma triggered by allergies is a whole other story. Asthma is a chronic disease that causes inflammation in both the small and large airways, which are known as the branches that carry air into the lungs. Symptoms of asthma include wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing. For some sufferers, these symptoms become worsened when exposed to allergens. Asthma can be controlled through the use of inhalers and nebulizer treatments.

It’s hard to say whether it is “safe” or not to work out when asthma symptoms flair, but for the most part it’s best to just listen to your own body.

It’s safe to say that allergies stink, but there are things you can do to combat your symptoms! Most importantly, don’t let them interfere with your normal workout routine. If I missed any information you think is of key importance, please e-mail me at BowenAK15@uww.edu.

~Remember, you have to learn to love yourself before you can truly love someone else~
Abbey :]