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Sgt.’s 101-mile race tips | How he went from barely a finisher to ultramarathon winner in 2 years

Sgt.’s 101-mile race tips | How he went from barely a finisher to ultramarathon winner in 2 years

Never mind that Army Sgt. Kyle Curtin just won a 101-mile ultramarathon. Or that he beat the trail race record by about an hour.

Or that — even with the fastest time yet — he was still running nonstop, through cold creeks, across rocky ridgelines and up and down 10 Empire State Buildings’ worth of Missouri highlands, for more than 17 hours straight.

If nothing else impresses, be amazed that he ran the Ozark Trail 100 without inflicting a single blister on his otherwise slightly sore feet. Not so much as a hotspot.

That’s a far cry from the first time he tried to run a 100-mile race, just two years ago, also at the Ozark ultrarun.

2015 fitness forecast | Old is new, and CrossFit is not on the list

2015 fitness forecast | Old is new, and CrossFit is not on the list

The top trend in fitness is one of the oldest workouts around, according to the American College of Sports Medicine’s 2015 fitness tracking forecast.

“Body Weight Training” — pushups, situps, squats and the like — reigns supreme as the most popular way to bring the burn.

Each year, ACSM pings more than 3,500 health and fitness experts across the globe as a pulse-check on what’s hot — and what’s not — in the workout world. The survey results were released in the most recent issue of ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal.

“It’s no surprise to see body weight training claiming the top spot this year,” said lead author Walter R. Thompson of Georgia State University. “These kinds of exercises provide the benefit of requiring little to no equipment and are incorporated into many fitness programs that are currently popular.”

If you’re wondering where CrossFit falls on the list, it doesn’t — at least, not by name.

While brand-specific trends such as Zumba and Pilates have been tracked by ACSM for years, CrossFit isn’t unique enough to make the list, according to ACSM officials. Instead, it gets lumped under the umbrella of “High Intensity Interval Training.”

Command CrossFit | Who’s already doing it — plus how to start at your unit

Command CrossFit | Who’s already doing it — plus how to start at your unit

Army 1st Sgt. Shawn Jarvis doesn’t need a fancy four-year fitness study — like the one pitting CrossFit against unit PT at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas — to tell him what he already knows: CrossFit works better than traditional unit PT.

“I drank the CrossFit Kool-Aid because I’ve seen the results, not only with myself, but with my soldiers,” says Jarvis, assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division.

Since his unit — yes, his entire unit — adopted CrossFit as its primary mode of physical training about a year ago, PT test scores have gone up and injury rates have gone down, he says.

“I consider PT the most important part of the day, because it’s the one time you can make or break motivation for the rest of the day,” says Jarvis, the top enlisted leader for Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment. “So we do CrossFit every morning, except on Thursdays, which is our road-march day.”

Anyone who knows the difference between a kettlebell and a medicine ball knows the cult of CrossFit has drawn a huge following among those in uniform.

Just witness the explosion of official “military affiliate” CrossFit “boxes” — as most CrossFitters like to call their Spartan houses of pain. From the Pentagon to the combat zones, on-base boxes have jumped from about 60 affiliates four years ago to more than 160 now.

But most, if not all, are for individuals looking to augment their regular unit PT. Now, however, entire units across all services are dumping their standard PT playbooks, in whole or in part, for CrossFit workouts.

PT365 Run Plans | Yin yoga relaxes soft tissues that get tight from running

PT365 Run Plans | Yin yoga relaxes soft tissues that get tight from running

Runners work their bodies hard. They pound the pavement, or trails, with repetitive movements that engage and strengthen the leg muscles, core and lower back. But when muscles are engaged repeatedly, they can shorten, which creates tightness and limits mobility. Yoga is a great exercise to counter the effects of running on the body, but especially yin yoga.

Many people are familiar with yoga classes that flow, in which each pose is held for a few breaths before moving on to the next pose. But yin takes a different approach.

In yin yoga, poses are held for three to five minutes so that the muscles relax, allowing practitioners to work into the connective tissue. Connective tissues include the fascia, which surround our muscles; tendons, which connect muscles to bones; and ligaments, which connect bones to bones. By putting gentle stress on the connective tissue, we allow it to slowly relax, increasing flexibility and restoring some range of motion if it has been compromised.

For the following poses, gather a few blankets and pillows, and find a quiet place to practice on the floor.

Military Muscle | Deadlifts are the universal go-to for muscle-building. Get the max benefit with good form & variations

Military Muscle | Deadlifts are the universal go-to for muscle-building. Get the max benefit with good form & variations

The deadlift is considered to be the best “total body” lift there is. It hits almost all the muscles — legs, glutes, back, shoulders, etc. — and is at the top of the charts for developing overall strength.

It’s also one of the easiest to do incorrectly. Many lifters in the gym don’t get close enough to the bar, and when they reach down to grip it, their back is out of alignment. First check point (repeated below) is to look down and see that the bar crosses over the balls of your feet.

Here’s what you need to do:

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