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Wednesday
May162012

Barefoot Running Infographic

Interesting infographic from one of our favorite places, dailyinfographic.com. This one has been put together by the folks over at XRayTechnicianSchools.net. 

Check out the infographic and leave a comment answering the question, "Should we run shod or barefoot?".

Thursday
Apr192012

3 Unconventional Ways To Dominate Your Running Form

You could pick up the same running magazine you have been reading for years, doing the same workouts and getting the same results.

Or you could be like a freshman in college and try something new.

Check out three unconventional methods to add a little something to your running.  Better balance, posture and natural stability aren’t that hard to find if you know where to look.

1)  You Gotta Rock The Rope

“Cinderella dressed in yellow, made a mistake….”

If it has been a long while since you have rocked the jump rope…what are you waiting for.  I could make a strong case that jumping rope might be the best activity to develop the systems used to become a much more efficient running.  When you jump rope you HAVE to do a few things that will translate big time into running efficiency

  • Dominate good posture:  It is almost impossible to jump rope with bad posture.  When you do you get a flying rope in the back of your neck.  Now that will teach you to be efficient!
  • Land in the optimal spot:  You’d never land on your heels and you won’t last long if you land only on your toes.  A good jumper lands softly on the middle part of the foot.
  • Elastic fantastic:  To jump for a long period of time, you engage more of your ligaments and tendons vs. using only muscles.  When loaded appropriately your body is able to store, then release energy.

2)  Get your butt out of your seat!

“Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.”-Kettering

We spend a ton of time sitting.  Between work, driving, going out to eat, watching TV andordering shoes on your computer  you spend a ton of time sitting down.

If you are working hard on your mobility, alignment and doing all the extra things in your workouts to make your body more efficient, sitting down for 80% of your waking day will make it nearly impossible to progress.

Standing actively engages your muscles, stimulate balance and makes you look taller than if you were sitting:)  There are quite a few studies on the health benefits of standing, and the health implications associated with loving your chair.  Standing always wins.

The following moments are great chances to stand up;

  • In your office:  Stand any time you can.  Rearrange your desk or get rid of it entirely (not a joke, we both know you don’t use most of the stuff in there).
  • In a meeting:  For go the chair and take a power stance.  When some one offers you a seat, confidently decline.  Standing up straight like a warrior is not only healthy for you, but it sends a strong message.
  • The commute:  An active commute sets the stage for an active day.  You may not be able to eliminate driving completely, but do what you can to minimize the sitting and maximize the moving.  Park far away, start a running carpool to get the kiddos and walk to the store. 
3) Strategic nakedness of your feet

The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.”-DaVinci

Spend more time barefoot, as much as your body can safely handle.  When we spend time in our default state (barefoot) we make the systems that support that state stronger.

Your feet are like any other muscle in your body.  If you don’t use them, they get lazy.

If you are a naked foot newbie, start by just kicking your shoes off for extended periods of time around the house.  You can progress to a light walk around the block.  Listen to your body and you’ll be just fine.

As a population we have been convinced we are fragile beings and that only with the protection of the almighty athletic shoe can we do anything worth while.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  You are perfectly engineered, you just have to develop those systems.

If you are looking to implement barefoot training as a tool for other athletic endeavors, here are a few ways to introduce it.

  • Light running:  Find a football, soccer field or the holy grail of barefootedness…the almighty golf course.  Start with five minutes of low intensity running.  Don’t worry about distance or pace, just run very controlled and tuned in to all the messages your feet are sending to the rest of your body.  Progress from here with caution and confidence.  A good measure is to start with this twice a week and add time and frequency ONLY as the body is adapting.
  • Form drills:  To add another element to your running drills, try them barefoot.  Find a flat, grassy surface and introduce a few of your favorite drills after your run.  Start with low duration and intensity.  How well your body can handle barefoot drills after a run and tell you a ton about how resilient your body is.
  • Strength training:  Another easy way to introduce your naked feet to the rest of your athletic body is to engage in “body weight” strength exercises.  Start with a few squats and lunges.  Developing a “naturally” strong and technically sound foundation for strength training, will pay you dividends as you add weight and intensity.

There you have it, three easy and free tricks to become a more efficient runner without pounding out the miles.

If you have an uncommon strategy of your own, be sure to drop us a line in the comments section.

Cheers,

Patton Gleason

About Patton Gleason: He is president and founder of NaturalRunningStore.com and works with crossfit boxes across the country teaching Flow Running.  He is a running industry veteran and loves the irony of promoting barefoot running and owning a store that sells shoes.  He lives in McKinney, Texas with his beautiful wife and three children.  He has got a thing for long runs, burpees, pumpkin pie and bluegrass music.  Seriously send him some pie.

Friday
Mar162012

The Perfect enduraFIT Day

Looking to max out your points? Here's a perfect day on the enduraFIT challenge...you can't get better than this! 

  • Wake up nice and rested. This 8.5 hours of sleep feels pretty good!
  • Record resting heart rate and drink 8oz of water. (You've lost that much water while sleeping)
  • Eat your first Paleo/Zone meal (breakfast or snack) within an hour of waking and have some fish oil. Might as well have 16 oz of water too!
  • Workout at a time that is most convenient for you. Before you start the workout, check out the whiteboard and do the pre-workout mobility exercises. Bring 100% to the workout. Grab the foam roller and roll out after the workout. Why you're rolling, grab your PWO snack and chase it down with 8 oz water.
  • Eat a Paleo/Zone lunch. (Try to make each meal contain one carb block of veggies) Down 16 oz water...you're thirsty.
  • Got a little extra time on your lunch break? Take a 20-30 minute nap.
  • Take a little time off in the afternoon to get a massage. Crunched for time? Hop on over to the IceLAB for a cyrotherapy session. (less than 10 minutes)
  • Has it been more than 4 hours since your last meal? Better grab a Zone/Paleo snack if you're not going to have dinner in the next couple of hours. Oh yeah...have another 8 oz of water. 
  • Eat a Paleo/Zone dinner and 16 oz water. Yes, this is more food than you expected.
  • Go for a walk with the family. (Helps with relaxation and makes sure you get a little time in the sun)
  • Get to bed early. You want to make sure you get that beauty sleep!
  • Smell that? That's the smell of victory!

 

Friday
Mar162012

What the Heck is a Block and How Many Do I Need?

The talk around the enduraFIT challenge is all about Zone Diet. We thought we'd take a little time to explain the in-and-outs on Zone.

The Background:

The Zone Diet was created by Dr. Barry Sears and shares some of the same principles with the Paleo Diet. For instance, that our genes haven't changed for the past 100,000 years. Our digestive systems were based on a diet of low-fat protein, low-density carbohydrate fruits and fiber-rich vegetables...not grains. The goal of the diet? To get in the Zone and reduce the cellular inflammation that makes us - gain weight, accelerate the development of chronic disease, and decrease our physical performance. This is achieved by eating equal amounts of macronutrient (protein, carbohydrate, fat) blocks to maintain the body's hormonal response.

So What the Heck is a Block?

A block is essentially a measuring tool for each of your macronutrient blocks. 

  • 1 Block of Protein = 7 grams
  • 1 Block of Carbs = 9 grams
  • 1 Block of Fat = 1.5 grams

Some quick tips on food labels... 

  • Protein: Divide by 7 and that is how many blocks you have. Easy peasy.
  • Carbohydrates: Take the total carbs (on the label), subtract the fiber (soluble & insoluble), and divide by 9
  • Fat: If the package includes both protein and fat, divide by 3 to get your fat blocks. Otherwise, divide by 1.5.

Here's a great resource for you: The Zone Block Calculator (with traditional & Paleo friendly foods)

How Many Blocks Do I Need?

We start with your protein requirements. We calculate this number by first determining your lean body mass. This can be done with several different methods of body composition testing: from calipers to charts on the web (not very accurate) to underwater weighing. Once we have our lean body mass we are halfway there.

Now for the activity level. (Go figure that this diet would depend on how active you are!) We're going to take our lean body mass and multiply by the appropriate activity factor from the list below.

  • Sedentary - multiply lbs of lean body mass by .5
  • Light activity (e.g. walking) - multiply by .6
  • Moderate (30 minutes of vigorous activity 3 days per week) - .7
  • Active (1 hour per day 5 days per week) - .8
  • Very Active (10 hours of vigorous activity per week) - .9
  • Athlete - multiply by 1.0

For all you ladies with babies or baby bumps,

  • If you're pregnant increase your activity level by two. For example, from Light Activity to Active.
  • If you're nursing increase your activity level by one.
Once we've taken our lean body mass and multiplied it by the activity level, we'll divide that by seven to get our daily blocks.
Now we have our daily blocks! We'll be eating equal amounts of daily macronutrient blocks.
We want to divide this up into 5 meals (2 snacks, Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner) throughout the day with the goal of less than 5 hours in between meals. If you're daily blocks are:
  • Less than 14: Main meals at 3 blocks and supplement with snacks to get total daily blocks
  • 14-16: Main meals at 4 blocks and supplement with snacks to get total daily blocks
  • 17-25: Main meals at 5 blocks and supplement with snacks to get total daily blocks
CrossFit simplifies this a bit, but if you don't have your lean body mass this is a good resource to calculate your blocks.
 

Please let us know if you have any questions. We are here to help you through this enduraFIT challenge!

Monday
Mar122012

Everything in Moderation...

We've gotten a lot of questions about our enduraFIT challenge and why we're pushing the Paleo/Zone diet. Our answer to this is that we want the best results for our athletes and that "everything in moderation" applies to the Paleo Diet too. We think that the Paleo diet has gotten a little out of control lately. You often hear that you don't have to worry about what you eat or how much as long as they're "paleo-friendly" foods. While we'd rather see you loading up on lean meats, veggies, nuts, and berries instead of potato chips and candy, you can still be unhealthy on paleo...really. 

With the Zone Diet we're able to balance our body's hormonal response. This is a very important thing when we start looking at performance and overall health. We can achieve this balance by eating an equal number of macronutrient "blocks". The amount of blocks that you consume is based on your lean body mass and activity level. (Doesn't that make a little more sense than just eating as much as you want?)

But doesn't the Zone Diet allow grains, legumes, and dairy? 

That's why we're utilizing Paleo to construct our macronutrient blocks. We know that getting our carbohydrate blocks from mainly veggies will be a considerable challenge, but we're up for it!

To make sure we give our challengers the tools to succeed, we are going on an enduraFIT grocery shopping field trip. We will take you through the grocery store and answer any questions you may have. We will also have recipe books and paleo/zone portioned snacks for sale at the LAB for your convenience. We look forward to this journey with each of you!