Saturday, January 31, 2009

Steal Kate Winslet’s Workout (Or Another Celebrity Health Secret)

So, are you seeking Hollywood’s latest and greatest workout plan?

Well, here’s one that Kate Winslet is reported to use. This post from Nicole Nichols on http://www.sparkpeople.com/ highlights some of the activities she’s used and her philosophy behind them -- http://tinyurl.com/76jakz. Here’s another blogpost from http://www.thatsfit.com/ about how Micky Rourke bulked up for his role in “The Wrestler” -- http://tinyurl.com/c7vu9v.

By now, you’re probably thinking the latest “celebrity workout” fad is a little hokey. That may be true to a certain extent, but it’s also very healthy.

There is no doubt in my mind that Jane Fonda’s workout videos and Oprah Winfrey’s journey through marathon training made many Americans healthier based on a couple of simple premises. First, these celebrity health adventures produced quantifiable results. Secondly, the “star power” of these celebrities brought a heightened awareness to the importance of personal fitness.

While you might think the health trend you spot in your latest edition of People might be misleading, check it out. Perhaps there are parts of the latest celebrity health craze that make sense for you.

Speaking for myself, I HAD to check out the “300 Workout” that was made famous by the buff stars of the film “300” a few years ago. As I researched the workout, I found it wasn’t realistic to do the exercises as presented in the plan, but I did find some of the exercises useful and adopted them into some of my weight routines.

So don’t hold your nose when you read about what keeps Kate Winslet one of the country’s hottest movie celebrities!

Stay tuned for a post on Monday that gives you a chance to win $100 worth of Arbonne products. If you post a comment to the blog by 6 p.m. Tuesday, you’ll be eligible to win this prize. Check in Monday evening after 8 p.m. CST.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bosu Ball Exercises Great For A Change Of Pace

So go ahead; be like everyone else and ask the question – “What in the hell is a bosu ball?”

I get that a lot when I talk about using a bosu ball for exercise purposes. The folks at the BOSU company tout it this way – “The BOSU® acronym stands for ‘Both Sides Utilized,’ and has evolved beyond the original BOSU® Balance Trainer product. It now represents an approach to exercise that is more mindful than traditional training.”

It’s essentially a half of an “ab fit” ball fitted into a hard plastic base. The resulting product can be run up on, sat up on, jumped on and on and on and on. Check it out on the product’s website -- http://www.bosu.com/.

I find it to be a great tool to use to do cardiovascular exercise in an “out of the box” fashion. It really forces you to use muscles that probably don’t normally receive as much attention in your traditional workouts. Plus, it represents a true change in your routine. Finally, with outdoor activities limited in the winter months, bosu is a great indoor alternative.

If you belong to a health club with group fitness activities, ask if a bosu class is available. You can purchase these at Target for $75 to $100 when they are on sale if you just want to try it at home.

Check out YouTube for some interesting bosu workouts – http://tinyurl.com/5scfq7 -- and give it a try today!

Don’t forget – Monday evening, I will be putting up a post where you will have a chance to win a $100 gift certificate good for Arbonne products if you post a comment. Stay tuned for more details.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Have Athletic Shoes To Donate?


Tired of seeing that collection of running shoes build up in your closet? Numerous ultimatums have been issued to me to “get rid of some of those shoes!”

If you’re in this predicament, then the following post from Christine Luff is worth sharing -- http://tinyurl.com/dfoka6.

Christine’s list includes Shoe Bank, Soles4Shoes and Shoes for Africa.

These are great causes to consider in donating your old shoes, but think locally on this too. Goodwill Industries and other worthy charitable organizations regularly accept these donations for resale in their second-hand retail stores. Other worthy non-profits like Catholic Charities are seeking these types of donations for their program beneficiaries. Numerous Veterans’ organizations accept these donations even to the point of picking them up at your door!

With a little research and effort, you can get that old pile of shoes off quickly to the worthiest cause of your choosing!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Resist Super Bowl Eating “Binge”

The annual rite of the winter tradition we refer to as the “Super Bowl” usually means gatherings and parties. And gatherings and parties usually spell the potential for a post-new year eating “binge”.

If you’ve been making post-new year strides with fitness and weight loss, use some strategies to resist this temptation. First off, a good early-day workout will make you feel good about yourself and less willing to pillage through the snack table. Second, make sure to eat a healthy meal heavy with protein before leaving for the Super Bowl party. This strategy will make you less hungry and less likely to want to binge. Finally, there are usually some healthier options available at these gatherings such as veggies, chips and salsa, etc.

If you eat healthier foods and exercise some discretion with your portions, you should be in good shape! For more suggestions on healthy Super Bowl eating, check out Kristen Seymour’s post on http://www.thatsfit.com/ -- http://tinyurl.com/dyt4x9.



We’re going to try something new here – be watching next Monday. I’m going to make a post where you can comment and have a chance to win a FABULOUS prize. Stay tuned for details.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Recruiting Of Youth Athletes Reaches All-Time Low

It’s pretty sad I’m writing this. You may not even believe it after you read it.

The NCAA recently changed its rules to include seventh and eighth-grade athletes as “prospective athletes”. Check out this post from the always-provocative content provided in journalist Mark Hyman’s blog http://youthsportsparents.blogspot.com/ -- http://tinyurl.com/8q5c2j.

Wow! If you’re like me, you’re wondering why such a rule would even be necessary in coaching. It stands to show how low the road to the recruiting of college athletes is traveled. Apparently, the road has enough ruts in it that the NCAA felt it was necessary to protect these young athletes from predatory coaches who ought to know better.

The business of recruiting college athletes is not for the faint-hearted. Consider this – when I recently visited a friend in Dallas who is a former high school coach, he pointed out a list that is regularly published in the sports section of the Dallas Morning News. The list includes the names of the top 100 high school football players in the Dallas area and the colleges to which they have committed or are considering for commitment. If there are 100 high school football players from the Dallas area being seriously considered by BCS-conference schools, then Houston, San Antonio and other large Texas metros probably have similar lists as well. That’s pretty serious business.

Personally, I’d be surprised if there are 100 high school students that annually receive full athletic scholarships at major universities across ALL athletics, but you understand my point.

It’s a little disturbing the NCAA has to go to such lengths to protect these young athletes.

Sometimes Athletes Need A Little Inspiration


Recently, I ran across a great post with some quotes of motivation specifically for athletes -- http://tinyurl.com/bmtrq5.


I regularly read Christine Luff’s posts and this was another great source of information. While most of the quotes are from great faces in the national running community, they apply to most training and athletic situations. For me, it’s great to take a step back and read good quotes like these to help put things in the right perspective!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Programming A Playlist For Your Ipod

I ran across the following post - http://www.dailyspark.com/ about programming music for motivation
on your Ipod -http://tinyurl.com/bkewqh.

If you haven’t taken time to learn more about using Itunes and an Ipod, you should. It’s a great way to provide yourself an edge of motivation in your training efforts. Whenever I hear a new song that really gets me moving, it provides for a great opportunity to build a new “playlist” around that song.

It’s also a good idea to utilize good sources for learning about new music. With a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old at home, it’s not too tough for me. I’ve also found a couple of my fitness instructors at my health club to be great sources for new music ideas.

One other item to consider – if you’re a runner, invest in the Nike+ attachment for your Ipod. It keeps track of your runs, pace, distance among other functions. It’s available at most sporting good stores for about $30.

Here’s another post you might want to check out -- http://tinyurl.com/ck9wgv. This is another post from Nicole Nichols that lists the “100 Best Workout Songs of 2008”.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Value Of Hydration

How much water should you drink?

My wife tells me I drink TOO much water, but I’ve been drinking nearly a gallon of water a day every day since 1997. For me, I truly believe the benefits are extremely positive. I feel staying hydrated the way I do, I avoid illness and I help myself maintain weight loss.

There’s no doubt water is critical to your health as our bodies are made up of 60 to 70 percent water. If you aggressively exercise, you need to supplement the water your body loses due to excessive sweat.

I thought I would address this topic as there has more recently been information released from studies to show that drinking too much water may not be all that healthy. I think these two articles from the http://www.mayoclinic.com/ and http://www.about.com/ provide an accurate balance of information on this topic --http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283
http://nutrition.about.com/od/hydrationwater/a/waterarticle.htm

Also, one very important recommendation I make in coaching – always make sure you provide a cooler of water at every practice for young athletes. You never know who might forget a water bottle and it’s too important not to have water available for everyone!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Is A Marathon In Your Future?


I truly salute those who commit to training for a marathon event. Having trained and competed in a variety of marathon and half-marathon events, I know the commitment required to meet this objective.

Maybe you are like Andrew here -- http://tinyurl.com/8sjc76 -- and you’ve committed to training for a marathon event this year. If so, I have a couple of suggestions.

First, I would highly recommend reading Hal Higdon’s “Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide”. This is a wonderful reference to the “ins and outs” of preparing for this event. Personally, my copy is a little tattered from me lending it to a number of my friends as they have prepared for races. While you may find you are more comfortable using training plans different from what Higdon suggests, his advice on event preparation is phenomenal. The beginning marathoner needs to be familiar with what to expect and this guide will prepare you accordingly.

I also might suggest grabbing a copy of Dean Karnazes’ “50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons In 50 Days- And How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance”. While I’m not advising running 50 marathons in 50 days by making this recommendation, the book is a great source of inspiration and advice for distance training. I was the lucky recipient of this book as a Christmas gift from my wife, Betsy, and it was easy-to-read in no time and very enjoyable!

If a marathon is in your future, take a look at these two references for some quick and helpful guidance.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Designing A Successful Training Week


This content might be a little more complex than some might desire, but it’s GREAT information. Read this entry from the http://www.mytriathlontraining.com/ blog site -- http://tinyurl.com/847dvy.

This entry details the philosophy behind the training outlined in the book “Run Strong”, by Kevin Beck. The article discusses the importance of high activity days, low activity days, rest, recovery and other important issues.

This information is really important toward developing training programs where you are trying to achieve a certain goal. If you absorb the philosophies here, you should have success.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tips For Running On The Treadmill


Ah, the treadmill!

Love it or hate it, it’s certainly a top weapon of the arsenal of running and training indoors during winter.

The biggest complaint I hear about treadmills is “It’s so boring.” Yes, that’s true, but try the following strategies to reduce the boredom –

· Run on a treadmill next to a friend. Some conversation breaks up the monotony.

· Break it up with some track running. If you run at a club that features a track, you can break up your run.

· Bring the earplugs or Ipod. Listen to your personal music device or hook into the television/audio system at your health club.

· Vary the workout with some sprints or hills. Take advantage of those valuable features on the treadmill.

Steven M. Cohen recently wrote an article about some additional helpful treadmill training tips posted on http://www.suite101.com/ at -- http://tinyurl.com/6c5978. He writes about running at an incline on a treadmill to accurately simulate running outdoors. There are widely varying opinions on this topic. I think it’s safe to say that you should follow what feels most comfortable for your needs.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Are You Running Safe?

Two women I regularly see at my health club greeted me recently saying they were leaving to run outside – by themselves. Initially, this was nothing unusual until I thought – maybe it’s not a good idea for them to run alone in the darkness of the 5 a.m. Des Moines sky.

I turned around to catch up with them and said, “How about if I run along?” Of course, they welcomed the company of a fellow runner.

I certainly don’t want to scare anyone. However, my point of telling this story is to offer a reminder that sometimes we can be safer in our running activities. There are often too many things we take for granted in this arena. So ask yourself sometimes – Should you be running with others? Do you have identification on your person? Do you need a cell phone? Can motorists see you based on what you’re wearing?

My friends and I discussed along our run how, even though we live a safe community, it’s probably not entirely smart for woman to run by herself in the darkness of a very early morning. If running at night or early morning, it’s generally a good idea for anyone to have a “buddy” running along. Two or more runners is a sure deterrent against any potentially dangerous situation.

Runners and bikers should always have some form of identification with them. I find the Road-id bracelet to be an effective form to use in my fitness activities (check them out on the web -- http://www.roadid.com/). God forbid -- if you’re by yourself and something awful happens, how are others supposed to know who you are and how to contact your family if you’re incapable of providing that information?

Would you possibly need a mobile phone? Generally, if I’m headed to a remote area of some kind, I’m packing my mobile phone along. This is especially necessary for biking excursions where you may travel quite a distance into remote areas where you may need assistance.

If you’re running at dark, always make sure you have bright-colored gear allowing for motorists to see you. This is especially helpful in heavier traffic areas. Christine Luff recently wrote about some of the most up-to-date reflective gear available -- http://tinyurl.com/8zu9dq. And here’s another article on running safety from www.sugarfit.com -- http://tinyurl.com/8ospqp.

With a little thinking ahead, we can all be safer in our fitness endeavors.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Play Ball!


Okay, so are you as tired of winter as I am?

I thought so. How about a post to get us thinking about summer?

Recently, I found this website to be a helpful reference for youth baseball drills -- http://www.baseball-tutorials.com/.

The site is regularly updated and features information from a variety of sources. If you’re coaching youth baseball, you can’t get enough new feedback on ideas for different practice drills.

Additionally, if you are looking for a “break” from basketball and you can find some open gym time, we’ve found a quick hour or two of fundamental baseball drills keeps the skills sharp. Even if it’s just once a week or every two weeks, a quick indoor baseball practice can really help break up the “cabin fever”.

Cap your practice off with a 15 to 20-minute game of wiffle ball – the kids don’t even realize they are keeping their skills sharp because they are having fun!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Have You Set Fitness Goals This Year?


The New Year. Time for celebration, resolutions and goal setting. What weight-loss or training goals have you set that have already been tossed to the side? Be honest.

By mid-January, most of us have already forgotten the plans we made for the new year. This is no reason to despair. The confines of winter make for a good time to pause and set fitness goals for the coming year. This is time that you can use to commit to more long-term and realistic goals. Goals that perhaps six to seven months from now will be realistically met.

What about completing a 5K or a 10K race? What about just running 5 miles continuously without interruption? If you’re just getting started with a successful running program, any one of these goals is very realistic. What about losing 20 pounds by July 1? Again, if you’re committed to a successful training program, this is a realistic goal. Are you an experienced runner thinking “this is the year for the marathon”? Go for it! If you have already competed in a variety of races at varying lengths, there’s plenty of time to do the appropriate research and plan for the training needed to complete a marathon this fall.

This year, I have pledged to compete in the Hy-Vee Triathlon, an Olympic-distance event held here in Des Moines. After participating in this event in 2007 as part of a relay team, I’d like to do it all on my own. Three of my regular workout friends and I are in the process of developing a training plan right now. Additionally, I plan to participate in a half-marathon event in the later part of the year.

Both Don Allison and Christine Luff have written articles that provide great direction toward setting fitness and training goals in the coming year. Allison’s article can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/8s7hyj. Luff’s article can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/8kpaop.

Read these articles, be inspired and get to work on your plans and goals!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Are Active Kids Happier Or Healthier?

This is an interesting topic subject to endless debate.

Stumbling upon the blog of journalist Mark Hyman; who regularly writes about parents, children and youth athletic activities, shed some interesting information about this issue. Hyman cites a recent study that seems to suggest while active children may be happier, they may not necessarily be healthier in life. You can learn more of the details by logging on to his blog at http://tinyurl.com/9nlclq and draw your own conclusions.

I know I can speak from my own subjective experience that my children and my family are happier as a result of athletic activities. Because the members of our family regularly participate in a variety of physical fitness activities, it brings us together in an effort toward supporting one another. In my mind, this practice has made us all closer.

The big difference maker for our family is that each of us is doing what we enjoy – no one is forced into a sport, training or physical fitness endeavor we don’t want to do. We’re each passionate about our endeavors and that passion becomes infectious in our activities to follow one another at a game, tournament or race event.

I’m certainly not na├»ve enough to think that some families observe our busy schedule and wonder, “How the heck do the Hrdlickas keep that up?” Sometimes we wonder that among ourselves, but I think we all recognize that supporting one another in our objectives and learning to meet goals has made us happier – and STRONGER as a family!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The ‘Plan B’ Workout

I thought many readers could relate to the common dilemma of having to miss a workout due to the latest “crisis du ‘jour” in our busy lives.

You name it – sick child, unexpected project at work and on and on. There are so many things that can come up to divert attention from training. For example, I will be traveling for a day this week for work. By looking ahead, you can adjust your workout routine for the week by doing activities in the facilities the hotel may have available in a fitness center or simply make that travel day a “rest day” in your schedule.

Nicole Nichols comes to the rescue here with some other great ideas to assist in your “Plan B” approach to staying fit at http://www.sparkpeople.com/. Check it out here -- http://tinyurl.com/6purpu.

It’s amazing how a little creativity can help us maintain health and fitness in our busy lives!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Winter Workout Kit

This article by Nicole Nichols on http://www.sparkpeople.com/ was a perfect follow up to my recent entry about training tips for staying fit during the winter -- http://tinyurl.com/54pwwd. Check it out.

She discusses a “winter workout kit” that features a variety of exercise balls, bands and other products that are affordable and easy-to-use. In fact, you can even order one on the website if they are still available.

Hopefully, this can get you off on the right foot as we look for ways to be fit while suffering from “cabin fever”.

New Year Humor

If you're living in a part of the world where the weather is like where the author of this post lives, you're probably not enjoying it so much.

So, in reviewing a recent open letter to the weather on the Run, Girl, Run blog; I thought I would pass along this bit of sarcastic humor.

Most athletes can deal with some mild winter weather adjustments, but not blizzard snowstorm conditions. We also know the other implications these storms can have on our personal lives, so laugh out loud at this post http://tinyurl.com/yh3ntav.

New Year Boot Camp

Looking for a new fitness challenge this new year?

Then try the Sparkpeople "Spark Your Body" Bootcamp Fitness Challenge. All you need are some dumbbells and a stability ball. Check this post form Nicole Nichols for more information at http://tinyurl.com/ykvgtzn.

This program offers workouts for seven days per week accompanied by videos for guidance. You can also participate in a contest to win prizes like including a ipod products.

This just might be the spark your body needs to get kicked into gear. Don't waste time because the challenge begins on Jan. 3!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Staying In Shape In The Offseason


I’m back and glad to be back! Wow – 80 degree warmth in Texas sure made it difficult to return home to Iowa, but here we are!

As any of you who live in the Upper Midwest know, it’s hard to stay focused on training activities with our often harsh winters. Moving through the winter, I’ll try to post some tips for keeping fit during the holidays, traveling or just plain “blah”-type weather.

But it’s the New Year – make an effort to start a training activity that helps you meet a certain fitness goal.

For starters, Christine Luff recently posted some informative pointers about how much physical fitness activity will keep you fit in the offseason -- http://tinyurl.com/558yfd.

To identify fitness activities that are ideal while we’re struggling with “cabin fever”, the possibilities are endless. There are cardio fitness machines for the home, health clubs, workout videos and other tools available to help us elevate our heart rates through the winter. Even a simple BOSU ball is an easy tool to use for all type of cardio exercises.

Hopefully, this information gets you started on thinking about what activities might be best suited for you. I could write for a long time about the various tools available on this front, but I’ll spare you and gradually share these ideas in future entries as we move through the winter.