7 Wonders of the Fitness World

Twas 7 nights before Christmas, when all through the land
Not a person was exercising, no workouts were planned.
The ham was carved, candy eaten without care,
10 pounds later we complain life isn’t fair.

This holiday season, before you snuggle into your bed,
Make sure to have a Holiday plan in your head.
Fitdigits is sharing the year’s best fitness tips,
To help you avoid adding winter weight to your hips.

7th Day- 7 Wonders of the Fitness World

This list is a bit different then the classic 7 Wonders of the World, which are more reserved for awe inspiring spectacles. Instead, this will be using the literal meaning of the word “wonder”. Allow me to use an antiquated literary technique, and provide the Merriam-Webster definition of the word wonder:

  • something or someone that is very surprising, beautiful, amazing, etc.
  • a feeling caused by seeing something that is very surprising, beautiful, amazing, etc.
  • something that is surprising or hard to believe

With these definitions in mind, the 7 Wonders of the Fitness World are going to be often overlooked and surprising aspects that are helpful in making sure you are in tip-top shape.

  1. Sleep– Sleep is an essential component of working out. You could be doing everything else perfectly, but without enough Zzz’s you can find that you will not make the gains you should be. For more information, check out an article on Health.com on the 11 Health Benefits of Sleep.
  2. Interval Training– Interval training should be a key component in the toolbox of anyone who is focused on Fitness. By having your heart rate alternate from high to low, you see benefits you wouldn’t otherwise, as outlined in this Mayo Clinic Article on Interval Training. Create your own custom Interval Workouts in the Fitdigits app with Custom Routines.
  3. Breakfast– I’m guessing you have heard the saying “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. Do you know why you have heard this ad nauseum for years now? Probably because it is true! Break the 7-9 hour fast of sleep with a balanced and nutritious breakfast, which will leave you full longer and get your metabolism going. Try oatmeal with blueberries to get lasting energy, antioxidants and more to fuel your day.
  4. Hydration– Water is one of the most overlooked fitness supplements out there. Everyone is rushing to grab the newest fad or craze from the nutrition world, but good old water still is needed and necessary for workouts and recovery. Men’s Health does a great job outlining 5 Reasons to Never Neglect Water.
  5. Recovery/Rest– Sometimes the want and need to workout can be overwhelming. You have goals that seem so far away on the horizon, and you just want to keep pushing until you reach them. However, not paying attention to your bodies recovery and overextending yourself can be a detriment to your goals. Learn more about The Importance of Recovery.
  6. Pre-Workout Meals– What you eat before a workout can go a long way towards determining how effective that workout will be. Make sure to have a meal heavy in complex carbohydrates, low in simple sugars and laden with vitamins and nutrients. A great example is an Almond Butter, Blueberry Preserves, and Banana Sandwich.
  7. Core Workouts– Core workouts are the forgotten pillar of working out. While core workouts have numerous health benefits, too often they are shrugged off as a waste of time. False! Core workouts are a, ahem, core part of any workout routine. Learn more about How Core Fitness Exercise Benefits the Entire Body.

9 Ways to Talk About Fitness

Twas 9 nights before Christmas, when all through the land
Not a person was exercising, no workouts were planned.
The ham was carved, candy eaten without care,
10 pounds later we complain life isn’t fair.

This holiday season, before you snuggle into your bed,
Make sure to have a Holiday plan in your head.
Fitdigits is sharing the year’s best fitness tips,
To help you avoid adding winter weight to your hips.

9th Day- 9 Ways to Talk About Fitness

I loved watching Breaking Bad. While it was an obviously compelling show in of itself, a big part of the fun was discussing what happened on Sunday night and Monday morning . I would call friends, chat at the water cooler, and scour online for thoughts on what occurred, what it means and what might come next.

The same goes for Health and Fitness.

Find outlets to discuss your workouts and diet with. Collaborating with others is a great way to “stir the pot” and uncover new ideas and plans, find motivation, or even further shape your own thoughts. It can be deeply rewarding to find other people who are enthusiastic on the subject.

Unless those people are secretly dangerous, meth cooking drug dealers…

I wonder if he has tried interval training?

Without further ado, 9 Ways to Talk About Fitness:

  1. Talk to Friends, Family and Co-Workers– Many of your friends and family are active and have nutrition tips and tricks. All you have to do is ask! Mine the golden information all around you to increase your knowledge, or help those hiding in the desolate blackness of ignorance find the light.
  2. Join a Running Group– What better way to find people who are excited to talk about health and fitness then to join a running group. One of our personal favorites is Moms In Motion, a group for Moms to get out, exercise, and give back to the community. Find a Moms In Motion group today!
  3. Find Your Favorite Fitness Site– The internet is a virtual cornucopia of knowledge, especially when it comes to fitness. Find a few sites or authors you really like, and check back a few times a week to find new articles and tips. Write in to the site if you have questions.
  4. Share Your Workouts– If you track workouts with a Fitdigits app, share your workouts. Fitdigits allows you to share workouts by Email, Facebook, Twitter, various health and fitness sites and more! Tag a friend in a Facebook post, and see if they can beat your best run.
  5. Create a Fitdigits Group– If you upgrade to Fitdigits MVP you have the ability to create groups with fellow fitness fanatics. These groups allow you to view each others workouts, have a group leaderboard, share blog posts and link to a Facebook group. Keep in touch with workout wizards around the world.
  6. Be Social at the Gym– Working out on the gym can sometimes feel like you are exercising on an island. Everyone has headphones in, is sweating, and generally look like they do not want to be bothered. I have found that nothing can be farther from the truth. Everyone is proud of the knowledge they have built through years of experimentation with exercise and nutrition, and you will find that if you ask those around you questions they will be more than happy to respond. Next thing you know, the gym feels like Cheers and everyone knows your name!
  7. Online Forums– Many health and fitness websites have interactive forums to discuss anything and everything health and fitness related. MyFitnessPal has a great forum.
  8. Take a Spinning Class– Great music, great instructors, a great workout. Join a Spinning class at your local gym and find people who live in your neighborhood who share a similar passion for smashing calories.
  9. Talk to Fitdigits– We love to hear from our users! Whether you want to share a success story, talk training routines or have nutrition questions, contact us! We are not necessarily “experts”, but we are passionate about getting fit and staying healthy, and we workout regularly.

Exercise, Nutrition and Activity: The Weight Loss Triad

Losing weight is hard. I do not need to throw on a stethoscope and a white lab coat to break that news to you. It takes discipline, motivation, dedication and a game plan.

In order to execute without guessing all over the place, you need to gather information. Armed with the proper weapons in the battle vs. the bulge, you will be able to appropriately plan both how often you workout and what you eat. You might as well call Fitdigits the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden because we are straight dropping knowledge on all you information seekers.

We call it the Weight Loss Triad, formed via the perfect partnership between exercise, nutrition and activity. When properly utilized, you will be able to see the exact deficit between how many calories you eat and burn. For example, one pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories, meaning in order to lose an entire pound of fat you will need to burn 3500 more calories than you eat. If you want to burn a lb of fat every two weeks, that means on average you will need a caloric deficit of 250 calories a day. That is where the Triad comes in.

Exercise

Use Fitdigits to track all of your workouts. If you want the most accurate calorie count, it is essential to use a Heart Rate Monitor along with a Fitdigits Fitness Assessment. Now you will have custom heart rate zones and a Fitness level that will help get incredibly accurate caloric burn during workouts. Fitdigits also will act as the central data collecting hub for Nutrition and Activity Trackers.

Activity

Choose from one of the many Fitdigits compatible activity monitors to track your daily activity, so when you walk around the grocery store or do chores around the house, you will get credit for the steps you took and calories burned. Fitdigits is compatible with Fitbit, Jawbone, Misfit, Withings and Garmin Vivofit devices, as well as the apps that come with most iOS devices (Apple Health) or Android (Google Fit). You have quite a few options to work with, including those that are free with the phone you bought.

These trackers works great in conjunction with the workout data collected by Fitdigits. Begin by linking your Fitdigits account with your activity monitor. Now all of your Fitdigits and activity monitor calories will be collected in one spot. Don’t worry, you can wear your monitor while also recording with Fitdigits and the calories will not count twice.

Nutrition

The final piece of the equation is tracking nutrition with MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal takes inventory of everything you eat. Enter in your meals using MyFitnessPal’s enormous library of foods, and it will tell you how many calories you ingested. You can also set weight loss goals so that MyFitnessPal will instruct you on how many calories you can eat based on how much you are working out. If you already have linked Fitdigits to your activity tracker, then all you need to do is link your activity tracker account with MyFitnessPal.

We have found that linking Fitdigits with activity tracker, then the activity tracker with MyFitnessPal is the best way to link the three partners. If you try to link them a different way, problems will occur. For more details, read our blog post on Linking MyFitnessPal and Fitdigits.

With these three tools you are in the drivers seat when it comes to weight loss. All you need to do is turn the key, shift into drive and get started!

Click to download MyFitnessPal from the App Store

Click to download MyFitnessPal from the Google Play Store

He Said, We Said: How To Meet Your Fitness Goals

Meet Izzy Mandelbaum. Izzy, of Seinfeld fame, is definitely old school. He started as a personal trainer back when the only smart phone could be seen on Star Trek, and is still going strong today. Izzy means well, but his training regimen and advice are a bit… prehistoric. Regardless, he is opinionated and has a few tips on how to meet your fitness goals. We disagree with pretty much everything Izzy has to say, and wrote our opinions beneath his answers. Without further ado:

On Setting Goals

He said

Listen here jellybeans, you need to go big or go home. If you want to lose 5 pounds, double it and try to lose 10. Only some kind of Nancy would make a goal as low as 5 pounds. I except you to spend more time in the gym than a Hypochondriac spends in a CAT scan. If you can’t reach your goal, then your parents were right about you. You are a failure.

We said

Set realistic goals. Be true to yourself and set goals that can be attainable. The worst thing you can do is overextend yourself, and if you set a goal that is unrealistic, makes it that much easier to get discouraged and scrap it altogether. Start small, and if you reach your goal you can always set a new, more ambitious goal!

On Planning Your Workouts

He said

What do you mean “plan” a workout? Only thing you should plan on is me putting a size-10 boot directly to your rear end if you mention that sewage drain of an idea again. All you need is to go out there and work out until you feel like your body wil explode. Work out as hard as you can for about three hours and you should be fine.

We said

Create a detailed workout plan. You should plan ahead of time when you are going to work out, for how long, and what kind of workout (i.e. strength training, cardio, etc.). The worst thing to do is to go into a workout without a plan, because once the workout gets difficult it becomes that much easier to quit.

On Eating Habits

He said

Ignore all of those fancy-dancy nutritionists, I got the secret for you right here: eat protein and drink whiskey. The protein will help you build up your muscle mass and the whiskey will put some hair on your chest. I think Rosie O’Donnell has a more impressive chest-fro than those set of naked mole rats you call your pectorals.

We said

Get your eating habits under control. Without proper nutrition, your workouts might not see their full potential. Tailor your diet based on your health and fitness goals. We strongly suggest consulting a nutritionist or a (non-Mandelbaum) trainer to find out what kinds of food will best complement your workout regimen.

On Injuries

He said

Tell me this sailor, are you hurt or injured? Being hurt means a sore hammy after a hard run, while being injured means you snapped your femur in two like a wishbone. If you are hurt, rub some dirt on it and get back to working out. No pain, no gain. If you are injured, find yourself a wood plank to bite down on because I’m snapping that puppy back into place faster than you can say medical malpractice.

We said

If you just came back from a long layoff, take it easy if you are too sore or get a minor injury. Pushing through an early injury or soreness can lead to long term effects and ultimately become a roadblock in your quest for success. Don’t let short term gains get in the way of long term goals.

On Time Management

He said

So you are too busy for the Mandelbaum regimen. If that is the case, you must be some hot shot. Do you have to give God a memo before you go to sleep to make sure the world keeps spinning? If you can’t find 2 hours of your precious day to get your sweat on Mandelbaum style, then I better not see you in my gym.

We said

We understand you have a very busy life, but try to find any time you can to workout. Sometimes an intense 15 minute workout can be as good as an hour long workout. Tired? Then just try a nice, easy workout session for about 12-15 minutes. Something is better than nothing and keeps you in the habit of working out.

On Motivation

He said

Want some motivation? Take a look at me. I am 80 years old and have not missed a day of working out since J Edgar Hoover was prancing around Washington in a tube top and mini skirt. I can still curl twice my body weight at 80, and you are worried about finding ways to drag yourself into the gym? If you want more motivation, how about a knuckle sandwich with a side of your teeth?

I’m all the motivation you need!

We said

A great way to stay motivate is reward yourself for hitting milestones on the way to your goal. Had a personal best workout? Buy yourself a new outfit. Lost 3 pounds? Pamper yourself and get a massage. Too often we tend to bask in failure and ignore small victories. Remember to celebrate your success!

On Variety in Workouts

He said

I got three workouts and three workouts only. Squatting, Curling and Running. Anything else is just some new-age mumbo jumbo that is about as real as my fake hip. If you are getting bored with my workouts, then you can go take a long walk on a short pier.

We said

Mix things up! Doing the same thing over and over gets boring and your body will not adjust. This can lead to your body becoming stagnate and you will no longer find yourself making any progress. Try anything and everything, from kettle ball workouts to Boxing to Pilates.

On Being Perfect

He said

I do not tolerate anything less than perfection. If you fail once, I’m dropping you from my regimen. Your generation has gone soft. I once ran from France to Russia without having a single misstep. In the middle of winter. During WW2. I think even a butterfly-hunting toddler like you can make it through a year without messing up.

We said

You can’t be perfect! Try your best to do every workout and eat right, but if life gets in the way of your grand plan don’t get down in the dumps. Just make sure you make it to the next workout, or that the next meal is healthy. The worst thing you can do is let one misstep completely derail you from your goal.

On Recording Your Nutrition and Workouts

He said

What is with you people nowadays? What with your Face-googling and Twitts, you do not even rely on yourself to remember how many pounds you squat. If that wastebasket you call a brain is not smart enough to remember that you ate 12 raw eggs for breakfast, then I may have to grab a pillow, put it to your face, and put you out of your misery.

We said

The best way to make yourself accountable is to record your workouts and nutrition. You will find that if you make recording your nutrition and workouts a habit, it will always be in the back of your mind and you will be more aware of what good and bad meals and workouts are.

On Being Knowledgable

He said

The only information you need to know is what comes out of my two lips. I don’t want you polluting your head with all of that word-vomit people will spew at you. As far as training goes, I am the Shepard and you are my sheep. I am the sun and you are my planets.

We said

Arm yourself with as much information as possible. Consult a nutritionist, trainer, or anyone else who can help. It is liberating to not only know what you are doing, but why you are doing it. If you become educated about health and fitness, you can not only reach your goals but completely change your lifestyle!

Nutritional Tips for a Healthy Recovery Phase

23 September 2010
By USAT Coach Andrew Johnson (featured in the TrainingPeaks Official Blog)

Overtraining is often seen as pushing your body too far in training, but it can also be due to poor recovery. That is, had the athlete been more attentive to their recovery, they may not have pushed their body into that depleted state. Rather than overtraining, the athlete has actually under-recovered. This is why one of my favorite sayings as a coach is “the only thing you need to take more seriously than your training is your recovery”. This singular statement illustrates how important recovery really is.

I put recovery into two categories, micro and macro. Micro recovery is the day to day cycle of refueling and repairing your body while macro recovery refers to a period when an athlete is in need of a longer period of recovery. Poor micro recovery leads to more and longer periods of macro recovery. Basically, if you don’t pay attention to the day to day needs of your body, it will catch up with you in the end.

By now, the science of recovery has been well established. Post workout, an athlete needs to ingest a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins, anti-oxidants and vitamins and minerals. A ratio of approximately 4 to 1 carbohydrates to protein has been shown to be the most effective. Your carbohydrates should come from good sources like whole grains and fruits and vegetables. Good protein choices include almond butter, cottage cheese, nuts or Greek style yogurt. In addition to good carbohydrates, fruits provide anti-oxidants as well as vitamins and minerals. Some of the best out there are blackberries, blueberries, apples and pomegranates. One of my favorite post workout meals is quinoa (a simple whole grain that also has a full spectrum of amino acids), a mix of berries, walnuts, cinnamon (very high in anti-oxidants) and bit of honey. For those that cannot stomach whole foods after a workout, there are several good recovery drinks and shakes that will do the trick.
The second step is to make good nutritional choices throughout the day. Again, choose foods that have high nutritional values like fruits and vegetables and whole grains. There is no secret here, eat what your mother told you to! This helps to keep your body ready for the coming workout. Sound nutrition on a daily basis will help you avoid pushing your body into a deep hole.

No matter how good your daily routine might be, you will need periods of macro recovery. Usually planned for after a major race or at the end of the season, this period is also key. Since training is at a minimum, good nutrition is a major factor. Here is a fantastic article by Joe Friel, that breaks down the essential nutritional needs of your body during the different phases of training.

If you are still in training season and the recovery cycle is a planned period in your training plan, your nutrition should essentially remain unchanged. Your body is still in need of quality calories to re-build itself. This is not the time to start eating junk food or gorging on pizza. Macro recovery nutrition only differs in that you may need to add more calorie dense foods to your diet. If you have lost significant weight due to heavy training, you may need to add some foods you haven’t eaten in awhile.

While training for an Ironman a few years back, I was told that I was losing too much weight. The solution was to calorie dense foods back into my diet. I found the healthiest options I could, this meant adding cheese to my salads, eating more nuts, peanut butter and I switched to regular butter. I even ate organic pop tarts and while not the healthiest thing, they provided me with much needed calories.

Athletes also need to take a break at the end of the season, or after a major race. This period is typically longer than if the athlete were in season and allows the athlete to fully recover from a summer spent racing. Many athletes will start by digging into the foods they avoided during training. The ice cream, candy and soda suddenly come back into your routine. I believe this is as much mental as it is physical. Having avoided sweets or cheese for so long, your mind is somehow comforted by eating these foods. I know what it’s like to crave a burger or pizza for weeks and then have it placed in front of you after a race. It’s a great feeling because you’ve earned it. While I believe that you have to give into this, it has to be in moderation. So go ahead and indulge some, just don’t do it for every meal of the day. You should still try to eat healthy and limit your intake of less than healthy food. I know that if I’m going to go out and have that pizza I’ve been craving, I will have a big salad at lunch to get in some good calories. A small measure of restraint and forethought goes a long way in avoiding major weight gain.

Nutrition is a key element to performance. It provides you with the means to repair your body and stay healthy. Following a few simple guidelines will help you train longer and recover faster. If you find yourself in need of some help with nutritional planning, check out the plans available through TrainingPeaks. It is a super convenient way to get expert nutritional advice every day. As you know, one of the features of the TrainingPeaks tool is the delivery of daily emails. Contained in those emails are your workouts as well as any meals you might have planned. It is a seriously easy way to stay nutritionally balanced during the different phases of training as well as during the all-important recovery phase.

AJ Johnson is a USA Triathlon and USA Cycling Certified Coach based in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. He has worked with D3 Multisport for the past seven years coaching athletes of all levels and abilities. He has completed 13 Ironman races, including three Ironman World Championships. Along with triathlon he also competes in mountain bike races, ski events, biathlons, cyclocross and any other event that intrigues him. You can follow him on his blog and find out more about his coaching.

Read the original post at TrainingPeaks.