Smiling can impact your running

Training your facial muscles can affect your results Last year, Eliud Kipchoge ran 26.2 miles in just two hours and 25 seconds in Monza, Italy, as part of Nike’s Breaking2 Project. His time, although not record-eligible, is the fastest marathon time ever recorded, and the effort required to clock it was undoubtedly grueling. Yet Kipchoge…

Smiling can impact your running was originally published on Self Evolve

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Training your facial muscles can affect your results

Last year, Eliud Kipchoge ran 26.2 miles in just two hours and 25 seconds in Monza, Italy, as part of Nike’s Breaking2 Project. His time, although not record-eligible, is the fastest marathon time ever recorded, and the effort required to clock it was undoubtedly grueling. Yet Kipchoge never let it show on his face. In fact, it appeared as if he was actually grinning at times. He later told reporters that he was smiling in order to relax and work through the pain. While it may seem silly, science backs up the fact that smiling does have an effect on our performance.

Smile to run further

Studies have shown that when we enrich our workout with a smile, we feel that the effort we put out is far less than the effort we exert when we frown while exercising. But no research had seriously looked into the effects of manipulating our facial expressions by smiling or frowning on our running economy until now. Researchers at Ulster University in Northern Ireland and Swansea University in Wales asked a group of 24 runners to wear a breathing mask to measure oxygen consumption and then complete four six-minute running blocks on a treadmill while smiling and while frowning. The study found that runners who smiled used less oxygen, ran more economically, and had a lowered perceived rate of exertion than those who frowned and those in the control group.

“They were 2.8 percent more economical when smiling than when frowning,” says Noel Brick, Ph. D., lecturer in sport and exercise physiology at the University of Ulster and coauthor of the study. The reason has to do with facial feedback. This little trick becomes especially useful for runners who need to conserve energy over the course of a long-distance run. When talking marathon distance, you can easily shave 5 minutes off your finish time just by smiling. And that smile doesn’t even have to be genuine. Fake it till you make it!

Throw your brain an endorphins party

A smile instantly boosts positivity, relaxes the body, and in turn, makes you more self-aware. When it comes to running, mentality and self-awareness will take you a long way – literally. In the end, mustering up a smile even when you don’t feel like it is just a matter of training, like any other habit. Besides, there’s not much to lose by giving grinning a shot. If nothing else, at least you’ll end up with better race photos.

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Smiling can impact your running was originally published on Self Evolve

Find your power: get explosive by adding plyometrics

Get plyometric! Jumping isn’t only for basketball players. The right explosive exercises can help make your next run feel lighter and faster than ever. Most runners think about speed work, hills, and strength training to improve their run times, but often overlook adding power. Adding plyometrics- explosive, energy-honing exercises- to your training can make your…

Find your power: get explosive by adding plyometrics was originally published on Self Evolve

Get plyometric!

Jumping isn’t only for basketball players. The right explosive exercises can help make your next run feel lighter and faster than ever. Most runners think about speed work, hills, and strength training to improve their run times, but often overlook adding power. Adding plyometrics- explosive, energy-honing exercises- to your training can make your usual miles feel like you’ve switched to warp-speed mode. Plyometrics help convert strength into speed and explosive power.

What is it?

“Plyometrics involve a fast, high-intensity, involuntary eccentric contraction of the muscles and tendons, followed by an immediate, powerful concentric contraction,” Adam Rosante, strength and performance coach and founder of the Montauk Barbell Club. There are a lot of exercises that may look plyometric (i.e. box jumps, squat jumps, jumping lunges) but don’t fit the true definition. In order for it to be considered plyo, it has to be executed in less than two-tenths of a second. This is the amount of time in which your body can experience the shock that elicits the involuntary stretch, and use the accumulated energy for the returned action. The key to doing this well is a small number of good reps.

Slash seconds off your time

Studies show that just a month of performing traditional, resistance, or assisted plyo programs two to three times a week cuts seconds off sprint and agility times. They also show an increase in running economy and performance. But the right exercises are needed in order for this to be effective. When incorporating plyometrics into your workout routine, be sure to do them at the beginning of a strength-training day, before a run, or on it’s own for a quick power session. Then give yourself a 2 to 3 days break from plyos. Try this routine (do 3 sets of each exercise):

  • Depth jumps. Stand on a raised platform, such as a box or bench, toes on the edge. Step out and drop straight down (don’t jump). When you land, immediately jump straight up. Land softly. Do 6 to 8 reps.
  • Hurdle hops. Set up four to six 10 to 12 inch hurdles in a straight line, one in front of the other. Leave about 3 feet of space between each. Lower into a quarter-squat and explosively jump over each hurdle, making minimal contact with the ground and moving as fast as possible. Do 4 to 6 reps. To increase difficulty, move the hurdles either closer together or further apart. Change is up by not putting them in a straight line and incorporating lateral hops as well.
  • Depth jump into med-ball throw. Stand at the edge of a raised platform, holding a medicine ball with an underhand grip. Step off the platform and drop straight down. As soon as your feet hit the floor, jump up and throw the ball as high and far behind you as possible. Do 6 to 8 reps. Try not to throw the ball at anyone nearby.
  • Ankle jumps. Stand tall with both feet together. Bend knees slightly and jump straight up. While in the air, pull your toes toward your shins, emphasizing flexion at the ankle joint. You won’t jump very high, due to limited knee involvement. Do 6 to 8 reps.
  • Running leaps. From standing, take a few approach steps, keeping your body as low as possible, then leap off your left leg. Land on right leg and immediately push off again as quickly as possible (it should look like an exaggerated running form). That’s 1 rep. Do 6 to 8 reps.

Do you incorporate plyometrics in your workouts?

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Find your power: get explosive by adding plyometrics was originally published on Self Evolve

Pro Results: New Year New You!

New Year’s Resolutions! Next week is not only a new week, it’s also a brand new year. With the new year, many people set out new goals to get back into shape, lose weight, or start eating healthier.  New year new you! Almost everyone sets out with great goals, but many fall short of achieving…

Pro Results: New Year New You! was originally published on Self Evolve

New Year’s Resolutions!

new year new youNext week is not only a new week, it’s also a brand new year. With the new year, many people set out new goals to get back into shape, lose weight, or start eating healthier.  New year new you! Almost everyone sets out with great goals, but many fall short of achieving them. Today I’m going to go over some great ways to set up your new year goals and to achieve them this year.

Resolution tips

  • Write down all of your New Year resolutions. Writing your goals down is the first step in making them real. Keep your list short: starting out with one goal makes it more achievable rather than overwhelming yourself with too many goals.
  • Put a number on it! For every resolution, give it an amount by a certain time. For example, if you want to run, write “I will run 3 miles a week starting January 1st and until March 31st.” Or, if you want to eat better, write “I will cook at home 5 days a week starting January 1st.” These are action items to lead you to your overall goals.
  • Bite-sized pieces. Break your overall big goals into bite-sized pieces. Don’t expect to completely change your life overnight. Instead, cut back on certain indulgences as you ease into eating healthier. For example, write “I will lose 5 pounds by February 1st.” Then, once you achieve your first goal, you can create a new goal. Build upon your success rather than setting yourself up for failure.
  • Start now! Don’t wait for the new year! There are some amazing deals going on at all gyms, and prices generally increase for the new year. Also, clothes are on sale as well. You can stock up on all your gear, shoes included, before the new year!

New Year New You!

The best part of starting out your new goals is seeing the results. Once you start seeing and feeling better, you’ll be fueled to continue on your New Year’s resolution. And with the money you’re saving from not eating out at fast food restaurants all the time you can treat yourself, perhaps with a spa day or a nice weekend trip somewhere. The best part is getting friends and family in to join you at the gym. LA Fitness in Oak Brook, IL has a special going on right now where you can add a family member to your account for only $10!

We also have very affordable Personal Training packages, some coming in the lowest they’ve been all year! Come visit me today to go over your fitness and health goals for the new years. I’ll take you through a killer workout as well!

Call me at 630-684-0176 for more information. Just ask for Jen, I’m there almost every day of the week and weekends too!

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Pro Results: New Year New You! was originally published on Self Evolve

Running for beginners

Are you looking to increase your cardio? Are you looking to get into running but don’t know where to start? Do you hate running but want a runner’s body? If you answered yes, this article is for you. Some background on me, I used to hate running with a passion. Despite being good at it,…

Running for beginners was originally published on Self Evolve

Are you looking to increase your cardio? Are you looking to get into running but don’t know where to start? Do you hate running but want a runner’s body? If you answered yes, this article is for you. Some background on me, I used to hate running with a passion. Despite being good at it,…

Running for beginners was originally published on Self Evolve