Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Tyler Sult

Recent Posts by Tyler Sult:

Preparing for Your First Obstacle Race

Signing up for a Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder or a Spartan Race can seem like a daunting task at first glance. You often hear of these races and envision many mileWoman_PushUps-1.jpgs of treacherous landscape and countless obstacles to push you to your limits. Some people jump right into a challenge like this.  But if you're on the fence about signing up because you're not sure if you're ready, you're not alone. While it is typical to feel a little anxious before a race (I did!), I am here to provide you with some tips that I gave my group fitness team, and that I also used myself for my first obstacle race that made it an awesome experience! It is my hope that after reading this, you will make it a goal to sign up for one race in 2018 if you haven’t participated before. You won’t regret it and you will have a blast doing it! Here we go with some some race tips.  

Don’t Run Against the Clock!

Did I say that loud enough? Good. A common concern for people leading up to an obstacle event is whether or not you are fast enough to participate.  “What does my mile time have to be to enter?” or “I don’t want to get last place so I don’t think I should sign up.” These were thoughts I heard many times leading up to our runs. It is important to know that these runs are about the journey and having fun while you do it. You should complete them for you and nobody else. While there are often “competitive waves” that are chasing a great time on the course, that doesn’t mean you need to sign up for them! Most “standard waves” are filled with people just like you who are doing something new for the first time or who are looking for a new workout challenge. Don’t worry about your time and run to have fun!

Master Your Body Weight

While most races are at a minimum of 5k, or 3.1 miles, it certainly helps to do some running before joining an obstacle race. However, there are other important areas of your physical fitness readiness that you will want to address. Body weight circuits are a great way to prepare for an obstacle race and it is something I trained my classes on frequently before heading out to the course. Areas that I recommend you focus on are:

  • Core – Isometric exercises like Planks and Back Extensions (Superman) to stabilize as well as dynamic exercises like Bear Crawls, Army Crawls, Wood Choppers, Leg Lifts and Crunches are all great choices. These core exercises help you maintain your balance on uneven ground or slippery surfaces.
  • Grip – Most races will require you to hang during an obstacle, which requires more grip strength than you would expect. Spend time at a pull-up bar working on hanging and supporting your body weight in space. If you can execute pull-ups, even better. For those who are unable to hang or do a pull-up, no sweat!! Most races offer an option of walking around or through an event that requires action on the monkey bars.
  • StrengthPush-ups and Squats will give you a foundation to conquer most obstacles you will face. Make it a goal to get comfortable performing high repetition sets of these exercises.
  • Conditioning – In addition to running and incline walking (most courses are going to have hills) you want to be ready for anything thrown your way. Try to incorporate exercises like burpees, jump roping and mountain climbers into your routine. Some races like the Spartan issue penalty burpees for missing an obstacle so always read through the race rules depending on which race you join according to your fitness levels!

Grab a Buddy & Enjoy the Day!

This may be the most important factor of them all if you are interested in joining a race. I had an incredible time running races in 2017 mainly because of the great group of people who attend my Bootcamp classes. Each race we completed as a group, helping each other through difficult obstacles, competing with one another and motivating each other. If you have a training group (as the trainer or participant) or even just one workout buddy who you frequently train with, consider signing up together! You will without a doubt find the experience much more enjoyable with a group of like-minded people. Your group will feel more like a team than ever before after completing a race together! Also, realize that it isn’t just about the race itself. Most races give you a ticket to a festival the day of the race as well! Those event are filled with music, food, drinks and activities. The post-run festivities are a great time to relax and enjoy the company of friends, reminiscing about all the challenges and excitement that the day offered. 

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Topics: beginner training for obstacle races team training obstacle races

NIFS: 9 Tips for Overcoming Shin Splints

leg_painDuring my days as a track athlete, I came to know shins splints a little too well.  The constant running and pounding will undoubtedly bring about some discomfort in your lower legs.   But I am here to tell you don’t panic!  There are ways to fight back against the pain you are feeling and get back to running that doesn’t require you to completely take time off.  Follow these tips to understand how to sooth your shins and get back on track!

  • Progress Gradually - This may sound like a no-brainer, but many people tend to dive in to running and do a little more than their bodies can handle.  Build strength and endurance first and slowly increase mileage.
  • The Shoe Matters - Make sure your shoes fit and that they have proper cushioning.  Yes, those minimalist shoes you wear may be the cause of your shin splints.  Shoes with improper support will cause over pronating and rolling of your foot.  Visit a local running store to get some expert advice on shoes and get the right fit.
  • Cross Training - This is especially important if you are already experiencing shin splints.  By cycling, swimming, or rowing you can maintain your fitness level and log miles while taking it easy on the shins.  If you currently run 5 day per week, try a 3/2 training ratio.  Run 3 times per week and cross train 2 times per week.  You will notice relief quickly!
  • Mid-Foot Striking - Resist the urge to run up on your toes or to heel strike!  Flat, mid-foot striking will encourage correct biomechanics, help you run with a proper gait and prevent injury.
  • Don’t Over Stride - The usual culprits here are people who tend to strike heel first.  Think to slow down your cadence and run with proper mid-foot striking form.  This will help you perform with proper body mechanics.
  • Use Ice - Ice those shins!  The ice will bring recovery to the area and help reduce swelling and discomfort.  You can ice for up to 10-15 minutes every hour.
  • Stretch and Foam Roll - Stretch out those calf muscles and get to work foam rolling them as well.  Tight muscles are going to contribute to the pain you are feeling in the shin.  Work on both loosening the calves and strengthening them.
  • Switch Running Surfaces - While recovering from shin splints, look for softer ground to train on.  Find a field and do running workouts in the grass to give your legs a break from the pounding taking place on the road and tracks.
  • Consider Orthotics - Consider visiting your doctor to get some recommendations on orthotics for your shoes.  These can sometimes be a life saver and can be customized to your feet providing that added support you may be missing!

Remember that the key to getting past shin splints is patience!  Take your time, listen to your body, take steps to heal, and get back out there better than before!

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Topics: running injury health and fitness

Corporate Fitness: 5 Tips for Staying Motivated

couple_working_outWe all know that exercising is good for us.  It keeps us full of energy, lowers our risk for disease and helps us look our best.  For some people, these reasons alone are enough to keep them going and motivated to stay on track with their fitness goals.  On the other hand, we all know somebody who struggles to stay motivated enough to adhere to, or even begin a fitness regimen.  Maybe this person is a family member, a friend, a co-worker or even yourself!  Whatever the case may be, I am here to offer five tips that can help even the most unmotivated individual get going. 

Change your Perspective!

Look at your time exercising as your time away from all other distractions.  This is a time that you have set aside for your own personal gain and shouldn’t be spent stressing or worrying about daily issues!  Allow this time be a highlight of your day and use different means to find something that works for you!

Use Your Pets

One of the easiest ways to stay motivated to get some extra activity in is to use your dog!  They will always be a friendly reminder of when nature calls and this can be a cue for you to get up and take a walk around the neighborhood.  This is a great way to get going and enjoy time with your pet while keeping the intensity low and being able to enjoy the outdoors.

Grab a Buddy

Sometimes all you need is that little nudge to get you going.  Get with a friend or co-worker to help keep you honest and agree on a weekly exercise schedule and hold each other accountable!  Support each other on walks or jogs, play a sport or game, or head to the corporate fitness center together to work out and encourage one another.  Work together to make it fun!

Grab Some Headphones/Find a book!

Music is a great motivational tool to finish that cardio session or to finish that last repetition.  Pick some music you can enjoy with a higher tempo you can follow along with.  Are you the type who would rather be swept up in a good story?  Pick up a couple audio books by your favorite author and make a goal to listen to so many chapters during your session.

Be an Inspiration!

Maybe you have children, family members, or friends that would also benefit from developing positive health choices and fitness routines.  Seeing you succeed and commit to a regular exercise routine could be all that a loved one needs to also make a positive change in their lives as well!  What is better than being someone else’s inspiration!

I encourage you to be a motivator, grab fellow employees and go for a walk at lunch, or head to your corporate fitness center to make today your day to live a healthier lifestyle. 

Guide to Successful Corporate Fitness Centers

Topics: corporate fitness employee health and fitness