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Training On The Go

How do you train for a race if you’re always on the go? Here are some hotel room workouts that do not require any equipment and will keep you on track, by Protima Tiwary.

Fitness isn’t a seasonal hobby, it is not something you can put away when you’re traveling, or taking a vacation or neck deep in work. Fitness is a lifestyle that trains your mind to accept commitment and discipline before laziness and excuses, it shows you the way towards great physical, mental and emotional health. Being fit isn’t only about looking good. It’s about the focus to be committed towards your fitness routine.

So how does one stick to a regime when they’re stressed with deadlines, or traveling, or on vacation? How does one stick to a plan when they realise their makeshift gym has dumbbells that weigh *gulp* not more than 10kgs?

Athletes all over the world are faced with this dilemma, and it’s after years of trying and testing exercises and fitness regimes, the experts have come up with a list of basic exercises that are all that an athlete needs when he is traveling. If a hotel room is all that you’ve got, here is how you make use of it to give you the best possible workout. You don’t need TRX bands or dumbbells- these bodyweight exercises will see you through.

Jumping Jacks

Easy, light and super convenient, 100 of these should be enough to get your heart pumping. This is just the beginning. Don’t forget to turn off the fan, you might hit your head if you jump up too high!

Burpees

If you’re an athlete, at some point in your training career you might have done these as a punishment. Yes, burpees are those dreaded exercises that have the best of us huffing and puffing by the end of round 1. Guess what? It is now time to embrace them with open arms because burpees are one of the best ways to kickstart your body and get yourselves warmed up!

Squats                 

Once your body is warmed up, nothing better to get your core and glutes activated than with some squats. Open up your leg muscles and get the blood flowing to your quads and inner thighs with different variations of squats – regular squats, wide legged squats and sumo squats.

If you have weights in the room, nothing like it. Maybe hold your traveling bag and do some front squats?

Bulgarian Split Squats

Are you missing leg day at the gym? No need to fret, because you can get in a leg workout in a hotel room, without using any machines! Place one foot on the chair, and go down in a squat. Hold a bag or a lightweight to increase resistance. You will feel the burn on your quads soon, and end up having a killer indoor leg workout!

Push Up

Get your upper body ready with some basic push-ups. Best part? You can always try variations to improve your upper body strength, even on normal training days! Got the hang of the regular push up? How about trying the diamond push up next? Or how about adding a bag on your back and then going in for a quick set? Have you tried the decline push ups yet? Keep your legs on the chair and try your luck!

Tricep Dips

Get creative with furniture! You might not always get a cable or dumbbells to do any tricep curls or overhead extensions, but you can always use that chair at the study table or kitchenette to do those Tricep dips and get your tricep muscles popping.

Plank

Easiest exercise to do practically anywhere and one of the most effective exercises that get major muscle groups activated and working. Your core is of utmost importance no matter what sport you play. Nothing better to train your core than to get a few minutes of planks daily, isn’t it?

De-stress with hotel room yoga

Cool down after a rough day and killer workout with some of your favorite stretches, right in your hotel room! Legs up the wall pose, hip flexor stretch, downward dog, cat-cow pose, spinal twists are all stretches that will help you relax at the end of the workout.

 How many reps should I be doing?

The answer to this depends on your fitness levels. If you want a good strength training and cardio workout, experts recommend going in for a large number of repetitions. If you’re just about starting your fitness routine and do not wish to miss a workout, you can go easy on the reps.

Full body workouts are usually possible without any equipment, even on days when you’re traveling. Don’t let that worry you- ask your trainer to design specific routines based on these simple exercises, and you’ll see how you can enjoy a workout as good as one in the gym.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

An Army kid who wishes to travel the world one wellness vacation at a time, Protima Tiwary is a freelance content writer by day and Dumbbells and Drama, a fitness blogger by night. High on love and life, she is mildly obsessed about traveling and to-do lists and loves her long gym sessions like a fat kid loves cake.

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Run to Finish

The right mental boost can get you across every finish line, writes Nandini Reddy.

Being in a corral full of enthusiastic runners with the announcer calling time and music blaring and flags swinging, it’s only natural that you get pumped up and rush right out at a faster pace than you planned earlier. The swift start can hold for a while but you will tire out and eventually miss your goal time or even give up before the finish line. So is there a more efficient way to run?

Yes, there is. Instead of bursting out of the gates you should run conservatively. Save your energy for the end and the last few miles will not seem as impossible as they do. So here is what you need to do in order to finish strong.

Set the Pace

The idea is to start at an easy pace and then speed up. As a rough guideline start at a pace that is 30 seconds slower than usual and then build up to your goal time. The longer the distance the more time you can reduce from your initial distance. As you slowly increase the speed your confidence builds. Going out too fast may cause you will hit fatigue fast as well.

Turn it Up

Break the distance into parts. Set a particular pace target for each part. The idea is the run the last few km at an even pace. Splitting the running distance is a great way to approach the course and finishing each section will boost your confidence level and take you across the final finish line with ease.

Push the Boundaries

Practice the splits during your training runs. You can always make up the lost seconds in the first few split parts towards the end. Gaining a couple of seconds in the last few km will put you back on track to finish in your goal timing. For example, if you are 25 seconds off during the first km then you need to make up by 2 seconds for every mile after to compensate.

Run Better

You should ideally be able to talk comfortably when you are running. That is the right pace you need to be running at. If you are running out of breath or unable to talk comfortably then your pace is all wrong.

Gradually build your confidence during the training runs and be more prudent about how you use your energy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.

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The Cooling Towel you Need

Deepthi Velkur talks about the Mission Enduracool Techknit Cooling Towel that has become a constant companion.

It doesn’t matter where you live, some parts of your season are just way hotter than others. It isn’t just the heat but also the high humidity means that running here can be just as challenging. There are several ways you can go about mitigating the effect of the heat during your long runs.

First and foremost is hydration; your body cannot function if you neglect your fluid intake. Second is pacing your run and finally we come down to accessories, things which you can use to reduce the effect of heat on your body and in turn improving your performance.

One of these accessories is cooling towels which is a must-have in your running kit. They are extremely light, compact and convenient to carry around and can keep you cool for several hours at a time.

The Mission EnduraCool Techknit cooling towel is a light-weight, soft and breathable multi-sport towel made from proprietary performance fabric. These new cooling towels beat the heat around you when it is dampened and draped around your head, neck or other hot zones. These colourful towels are quite popular with sporting greats like Serena Williams (tennis), Sergio Garcia (golf), Dwayne Wade (basketball) and of course nearly all world-class marathon runners.

Let’s take a quick look at some features that make this towel a super buy (after 3 months of using it, I love it!).

Proprietary Techknit performance fabric – The thermoregulating technology inside the towel works by absorbing moisture and perspiration in the fabric where the unique fibers circulate water molecules. This in turn regulates the rate of evaporation to create a prolonged cooling effect.

Instant chilling capability – This durable and soft towel is made of evaporative and breathable mesh material that gets activated when it comes in contact with water and will cool to about 30 degrees below your average body temperature lasting up to 2 hours. As long as the towel is damp and has airflow, it will remain cool and keep you comfortable. Additionally, this towel also provides UPF 50 sun protection.

Chemical Free, reusable and machine washableThe towel is made of chemical-free soft mesh material which can be reused any number of times and can be easily washed.        

Price 

This towel is probably one of the best cooling towels available in the market today retailing at INR 2000 (post discount on www.amazon.in). The price tag is definitely a tad expensive but considering the benefits and its longevity, the EnduraCool Techknit cooling tower is a worthwhile investment.

It’s been 3 months since I got myself one of these towels and I use it not just on a run but also on the occasional camping trips around Bangalore where a long day in the sun can get you really edgy. These towels sure are a life-saver and I’m glad I made it an addition to my summer survival tool kit.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Deepthi Velkur is a former sprinter who is trying her hand at various sports today. A tennis fanatic, who believes that sleep should never be compromised.

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Should you listen to music during a run?

There is an impact from listening to music during your run, so should you or shouldn’t you, asks Nandini Reddy.

Science supports listening to music while you run. But there are several pros and cons that you need to consider before pumping up the jam. Music can be a huge motivator especially when you need to keep motivation up. But let us consider two kinds of people – those who don’t listen to music and those who do.

Don’t Listen to Music

Runners who used to run with music have now stopped because of the constant irritation and distraction of the headphones. For some people the music works more as a barrier than an enhancement as it diverts their attention from their body. A lot of runners even consider it a safety hazard as we don’t pay attention to the ambient noises that might be important for our safety. Trail runners do not use music and they want to enjoy being part of nature.

Breathing

We need to focus on our breathing while we run. Runners should have a deep breathing technique that involves diaphragmatic breathing. When your mind is distracted by music it is less likely that you will focus on your breathing. That means you switch to breathing from your chest. This sort of shallow breathing limits the delivery and circulation of oxygen.

The pain of Earphones

There are earphones that are particularly built for running. But despite all the design enhancements earphone can be an irritation and a distraction. The time runners spend in adjusting and setting the earphones in a comfortable position distracts them from the task of running.

In Favour of Music

There is a science behind using music to enhance your running performance. Research has shown that music increases concentration and provides ongoing motivation. Runners have also said that it feels like less effort when they run to music. They are also able to maintain a comfortable tempo when the right kind of music is played. Fast paced and motivating music is the key to a positive run.

A list of the pros of running with music

  • Pumps you up for your runs
  • Sets a consistent tempo
  • Runs feel easier
  • Motivated to run more
  • Positive Influence on mood

While we consider the pros we also need to consider the cons

  • Might not help you get the right pace for your race
  • Distraction from headphones
  • Unsafe as it blocks out your surrounding noise
  • Disconnects you from nature
  • Might undermine the benefits of the running experience

Music or no music – whichever you choose just enjoy your run.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.

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Dread Running? How do you start?

If you have never run before you probably dread running but there is a way to start, writes Nandini Reddy.

If you ask a seasoned runner how they started running, most will tell you that they just started with much of a preamble. You do not have to be athletic to start running. Most regular runners today probably started running when they were at their most unfit stage. Running is a high intensity activity and you can ease your way into it. It is a great activity if you want to lose weight or like being outdoors for an activity instead of being cooped up in gyms.

Marathons are advertised constantly and you certainly would have a few friends who train consistently for it. But while that might seem daunting if you haven’t run ever in your life you might be surprised that it isn’t so hard. Here are a few things you can do to get started.

Start Slow

First start walking at a brisk pace for at least an hour till you work up a sweat. The idea is to get used to moving around at a brisk pace and getting your muscles working. Trying walking every alternate day to start with and then everyday. That way you body will be better prepared to start running.

From Walking to Running

The transition from walking to running can be done using interval training. You can start with a walk-jog combination and then progress to a jog-run combination. The idea is to gradually build your pace and stamina. A sudden rush of trying to run might wind you and also discourage you from trying but if you work your way up to it then you will be able be more comfortable.

Right Running Gear

The right shoes will make all the difference to your run. You will need to buy the right shoes if you want to pursue running even as a hobby. You get options across various price ranges so you can look for one that suits your current motivation. If you run early in the morning or evenings then you need to ensure that you are wearing bright neon T-shirts for safety reasons. You need not go all out an invest into expensive running gear, just a the basics of shoes and a running belt if you want to carry your phone, keys and water while you run.

Running Plan

Ask a runner friend or a coach to help you come up with a plan. It is always best to work with a plan to ensure that you are on the right track. You cannot always feel like running every morning, so its better to have a dedicated plan that will tell you how much and for how long you need to train.

Schedule a Run

Pick a time of day for your run. Keep it constant so that you are mentally prepared for it. If you want to run early morning then ensure you get to the bed early so that you have more energy to run in the morning. If you want to run after work then pack a bag that you take along and you can complete your run before you get home in the evening. The idea is the ensure that you block out a time in your routine for running.

Nutrition

If you have included a stressful activity like running into your schedule then you also need to fuel your body right to ensure that you have enough energy to complete your runs. Eat proteins and vegetables to ensure that your muscles recover and your gut stays healthy. If you are finding it difficult to identify the right foods then you need to consider visiting a nutritionist who can balance your diet.

Injury – Free

Staying injury free is an important part of running. You shouldn’t overdo running and burn yourself out either. The idea is to run to build your stamina and not destroy your muscles. Only when you are injury free can you continue to run. Running releases endorphins and you will definitely experience a runner’s high when you finish. If you want to keep experiencing these highs then you need to ensure that you take care of your body.

Running is a great activity and considered one of the cheapest ways to stay fit. So get off that couch and give it a try – who knows, you might fall in love with it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.

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Foods Runners should Avoid

If you want to improve your running performance there are certain foods that you need to exclude from your diet, writes Nandini Reddy.

Food is the fuel that helps us achieve our running goals. Then we need to have only high quality fuel in order to get the best performance. The right food promotes better recovery and provides the right kind of energy to improve running performance.

There are certain foods that we eat without considering the effect they might have on our body. The wrong food means inadequate repair and longer recovery periods. It could also mean that you would get certain muscle related injuries. If you are looking to achieve the best performance while you run then here are certain foods that you should keep out of your diet.

High Sugar Foods

High sugar foods are never healthy. You may feel that it is necessary to boost your energy but you can avoid the cakes and cookies. Energy need not come directly from eating high sugar foods. You can get energy even from complex carbohydrates like whole grains.

Oily & Fried Foods

Fried food is a definite no-no when it comes to a good diet. Another thing to remember is many of us consume too much oil without realising that our regular food. If oil can be seen in the food you cooked even at home, it means its not healthy for you. Use oil prudently and you will be able to enjoy your food always. Fried foods and oily foods also take longer to digest and can create gastrointestinal distress.

Sugary Sodas

Caramel coloured bubbly sodas may be momentarily satisfying but can also lead to dehydration and increased sugar cravings. They do not really satisfy your thirst. These can be hard on your stomach and can derail your training energy. So for these drinks instead of moderation, you can just clean avoid them.

Artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose need to be strictly avoided. They can lead to dehydration and increase sugar cravings. These sweeteners are also known to cause weight gain. These sweeteners also tend to confuse the body signals about insulin and it is never a good idea to do that.

Full fat Diary

Full fat diary is a good consideration if you want to grain weight. If you want to lose weight and feel lighter then its not a great option to include in your diet. If you like your glass of milk then look for those that are 3% fat or less. You can also choose alternatives like rice milk and nut milk.

Alcohol

With alcohol its not about elimination but moderation. Having too much can cause slowed reaction times and dehydration and thus leading to decrease in performance. But before the race you need to definitely avoid alcohol of any sort including beer. You can consider beer for a celebratory drink after your finish the big race.

White grains

White grains are not high in fibre. If you consume whole grains along with the carbohydrates you will also receive adequate fibre. A healthy gut is important to ensure that you are a good runner. White grains also tend to raise your insulin levels and that can cause your energy to plummet. Whole grains give you more lasting energy.

Processed Meat

Processed meat is high in nitrates. Increasing their intake also carried other health risks such as colon cancer but most importantly it doesn’t do anything for improving your running performance. It might seem easier to reach for a cold cut of meat instead of cooking fresh but by doing so you are severely jeopardizing you nutrition.

The key to a healthy running career is a healthy diet, so limiting or avoiding these foods will do you a whole lot of good.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.

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Do you have the right running gear?

Choosing the right running gear can improve your comfort, performance and keep you injury free, writes Nandini Reddy.

The right running gear can be the determining point between a comfortable run or a run fraught with discomfort. If you are a new runner then it is best to visit a specialist store to ensure that you get the right kind of gear. Even if you are not a serious runner investing into good gear will always make running a pleasurable experience. R

Technical Clothing

If you are running in humid weather then you need to dri-fit clothes. In cold weather ensure your wear thicker clothing or cold resistant clothing. These fabrics know how to handle sweat and adjust your body temperature. If you practice layering you can also adapt to the weather by adding or removing items of clothing.

Sunglasses

When you are running in summer or running a long trail run ensure you carry a pair of sunglasses that are light. You get frame-less options that are made for running. These prevent your eyes from getting tired and also prevent dust from irritating your eyes while you run.

Socks

Socks are very important for runners. The right socks can ensure that you have a comfortable run. Compression socks are worn by a few runners while running to enhance blood flow. You can check with your trainer before using them. Invest into a few pairs of athletic socks. Remember to buy your socks and shoes together so that you know how comfortable you are using them in combination.

Drink Belt

This belt should be multi-purpose. It should hold your bottle, keys and phone. Most of us need to carry all these items when we run so its impractical to invest into two different items for them. You will get good quality belts that can hold all these items. You can also ask experienced runners for recommendations.

Sports Bra

Choose a sports bra that has adjustable straps and can wick moisture. No female runner should run without a comfortable and supportive sports bra. You can get more recommendations based on your type of activity from www.lessbounce.com

Water Bottle

Invest into a light weight sipper style bottle. It should hold at least 500ml of water. You don’t need a bigger bottle during your training and during a race you are likely to come across water stations. Ensure that you bottle fits securely in the belt and doesn’t disturb your running flow.

Right Shoes

If you want to learn how to pick the right shoes then read our article Pick the Right Kicks

GPS Watch

Ensure you get a GPS watch with a Heart Rate Monitor so that you can check if you are working in the right heart rate zone. These watches will also help you monitor pace, distance and timing and track your progress.

Read Potential of the Running Watch to know how best you can use your running watch.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.

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Keep your Running Motivation Up

 Keeping up your running motivation is crucial to keep running, writes Nandini Reddy.

The training schedules leading up to the big race are long and tiring. Many runners loose their inspiration and motivation along the way. The novelty of the first few days have worn off and all good intentions go up in smoke. But once your motivation fades what can you do to keep your spirits up and continue running.

Create a personal running habit – Choose one big race that you want to run every year. Keep that as your goal race and work your daily running habit around it. Goal distance or goal time can be set according to your last race performance. Work with that as a singular goal instead of a spreading yourself thin. Display your inspiration to finish the run prominently.

Plan and Prepare – Keep all your running gear in one place so that it is easy to find. You can also keep another bag in the car to ensure that you never have a excuse not to run. If you are prepared you are more likely to get even a short run for 30 mins in every day.

Don’t Skip a Monday – Starting out a week running sets the tone for the rest of the week. If you finish your run on a Monday you have already started your account for the week and you are more likely to achieve your goal.

Run for Fun – Running a great stress reliever. A few times you can run without looking at your GPS watch or clocking in the time and kms. Enjoy the run without thinking about the training and you will feel a lot more positive about your training.

Run in the Morning – Mornings are a calmer time to run and you are more likely to fit your goals. You will also get the run done for the day and have the rest of the day open without constantly thinking about running.

Take a Training Break – To consistently run you need to take a break from your training. The break can even be a week long. Even in a weekly schedule you need to have recovery days so that you don’t get burned out.

Do other workouts – Add other endurance workouts like swimming, cycling and cross-training, so that you improve your stamina and strength. You will feel better both mentally and physically. You can even try new routes or running options like trail running, stair running or hill running.

Focus on these measures to ensure that you stay motivated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.

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Tension free with TriggerPoint Foam Roller

The TriggerPoint GRID X Foam Roller is the best in the market if you are looking for something to aid your running recovery, writes Nandini Reddy.

Mobility is one of the most important components of fitness and recovery for runners needs the extra assistance and foam rollers are the go to product. TriggerPoint’s new Grid X upgrade for it foam roller is a hollow core foam roller that definitely gets the job done. The high quality of the GRID has helped make it a #1 tool of physical therapists, massage therapists, athletic trainers and professional athletes. The GRID is meant to be used for rolling your tight muscles, knots & kinks to eliminate / reduce soreness and increase range of motion by achieving greater mobility.

The Grid X Roller

The new version of the roller delivers a basic design which is hollow inside and bumpy outside. The new roller is an upgrade from the original roller as its twice as firm and defined for athletes who want to target dense muscle tissues.

The GRID roller has 3 different surfaces for you to utilize:

  1. The Flat Surface – Simulating the palms of the hands of a massage therapist.
  2. The Long Tubular Surface – For a deep tissue massage.
  3. The Small And Firm Surface – This is the surface that is the most aggressive and reaches the deepest into your tissue.

The TriggerPoint roller is known for its durability due to its rigid core.

  • This roller rolls better without slipping from underneath you
  • It is compact and travel-friendly
  • It is sturdy
  • Its design allows a finger-like feel
  • Perfect for deep tissue relief

The GRID comes in a variety of models – which vary in size – and also comes in a number of different colors. The way to differentiate between different firmnesses with GRID rollers is to look at the color of the inner core. GRID rollers with black cores are the standard, moderate firmness. The GRID X is extra-firm, and features a red core.

Sizes 

The products are available in three different sizes and two densities. Regular density models include:

  1. The original 13-inch GRID
  2. The 26-inch GRID 2.0
  3. And the 4-inch travel-friendly GRID Mini.
  4. The 13-inch GRID X features extra dense foam for working the tightest muscles.

Price

Its priced at Rs 2516.40 after a 20% price drop on Amazon.in. Its higher priced than the other rollers in the market.

Its constructed to be tough and sturdy. It is also the perfect roller for deep tissue muscle relief.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.

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