Thursday
Oct262017

Supercross Fitness!

What Supercross Racers Can Teach You About Your Own Fitness

"I don't think anyone realizes the exertion these guys manage during a race."

October 26, 2017

motocross heart rate
AMA Supercross

When you're racing a motorcycle, your heart beats as fast as humanly possible. Whether you're hopping along the straightaways or jumping a bike 20 feet in the air, you need to stay focused and ward off the distractions of a roaring crowd and constant fireworks.

At the Monster Energy AMA Supercross in Las Vegas, rider Marvin Musquin overcame all of those challenges and more to take home $1 million — the second rider ever to claim a seven-figure check from the competition. This year's competition was also unique in another respect: for the first time, every racer on the dirt wore heart monitors that not only recorded their exertion levels throughout the race for trainer analysis, but also broadcasted that same real-time data to the stadium’s screens.

motocross heart rate
Photograph courtesy of AMA Supercross

During the competition in Las Vegas, riders wrestled 200+ pound bikes around banked turns and over 20-foot jumps, their hearts spiking above the 190 BPM mark and staying there for 15 laps. The heart rate displays showed this spike in real time, providing a fun gimmick to bring fans closer to their favorite riders.

The race organizers hoped the heart monitors would help fans understand how hard the racers work. But the data also served another purpose: to help trainers and medical professionals understand heart function and recovery during any athletic competition.

The tracking tech was created by LITPro, a Temecula, Calif.-based developer of race-tracking software. LITPro President Michael Ford says LITPro needed to upgrade its existing technology before its new heart monitors could work. Using a form of GPS, LITPro had to track the racers' rapidly beating hearts, turn to turn and jump to jump.

“We had to reinvent GPS as it currently only offers a data point every second," Ford explained. "Our HD GPS now reports 20 times per second. That allows us to add other metrics such as acceleration and G-force to our heart rate monitoring.”

Examining heart rate and recovery offers tremendous insight into how efficiently the human body works. Musquin, for instance, utilizes LITPro’s heart rate monitoring technology for races, practices and time trials, but he also has the unit attached while exercising with fitness expert Aldon Baker.

“We’re learning that the primary signs of fitness are heart rate and recovery,” Baker told Men's Health. "The biggest challenge I face is trying to find ways to train Supercross athletes up to the same heart rates as when they race. These guys have been racing since they were five years old, so they’re not afraid out there during a race. But their heart rates are still higher at race time than at any other time. That’s all adrenaline — all competition.”

To push his riders’ fitness levels as close to race conditions as he can, Baker has them switch between practice riding to intense cardio and strength training days. Regardless, the athletes do some cardio every day unless they are injured.

motocross heart rate
 

Ford and Baker foresee all of this training and racing data finding its way into the mainstream fitness realm. After collecting and analyzing all of the heart rate data, Ford and LitPRO want to take their findings to other circuits and sports beyond motor-racing to aid a wider swath of athletes in training.

Still, there's something exceptional about Supercross.

“I don’t think anyone realizes the exertion these guys manage during a race,” Ford said. “Football players get a break after every play. Basketball players stop for fouls. Our racers have to manage that bike with the throttle wide open, against G-forces and through all the impacts. That’s why this is the perfect sport to drive this research.”

Sunday
Oct222017

Maybe You Just Need a Bigger Bike!

Ride Your Gut Off with These 3 Training Tips

Here’s how to use your bike to shed that dangerous spare tire

 

Image result for belly fat pictures      Image result for belly fat pictures

Belly fat is bad news. While researchers debate the real health risks of a higher body mass index (BMI) or carrying a few extra pounds, everyone agrees that wearing too much weight around your waist is largely detrimental to your health. 

Research shows that a waistline over 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women puts you at risk for heart disease even if you’re not technically overweight and otherwise in good health. Belly fat has also been linked to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and diabetes. Again, bad news.

The good news is that you already own the best tool for shedding that bad-news belly fat: your bike. The key is performing a variety of workouts that build your fat-burning engine, rev your metabolism and the production of fat-burning hormones, suppress your appetite, and help you burn more fat and calories all day long. Yep, your bike can do all that. Here’s how. (Read Bike Your Butt Off! for a fully guided weight-loss plan for cyclists.)

     Go hardDo interval training once or twice a week (no need for more; stick to one day if you race or go hard on weekends). Numerous studies have found that high-intensity training significantly reduces total abdominal fat, including dangerous visceral (belly) fat more effectively than lower-intensity exercise. There are endless ways to do interval training. One simple example:

•Warm up: 10 to 15 minutes
•Pick up your effort so you’re working hard (a nine on a One-to-10 scale; you’re breathing hard, but not gasping) for 30 seconds to one minute. 
•Go easy for one minute.
•Repeat a total of five times.
•Cool down for two to three minutes.

Research shows your body also unleashes human growth hormone, which helps you burn fat and maintain muscle, after just 10 to 30 seconds of high-intensity exercise. High-intensity exercise also appears to help curb your appetite and trigger hormones that regulate feelings of hunger and fullness better than lower-intensity exercise, so you’re less likely to overeat. 

Keep it controlled and comfortable. Yes. We just told you to go hard to burn off unwanted belly fat—but don’t overdo it. Going hard all the time stresses your body and leaves you chronically inflamed, which can backfire by contributing to belly-fat storage. Cap the intensity to a couple times a week and take the rest of your weekly rides at a controlled, comfortable pace. “Most recreational cyclists are doing too much high intensity training and they’re not getting leaner or faster,” says Iñigo San Millán, PhD, the director of the Exercise Physiology and Human Performance Lab at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “Many of your rides should be in Zone 2,” he says. That’s an intensity where you can talk the whole time—about a five to six on that One-to-10 scale. “This is usually the intensity that elicits the highest fat oxidation for energy purposes,” says San Millán. These rides are not only good for burning fat, but also for building your slow-twitch, endurance muscle fibers; increasing capillary development; improving your ability to use lactate for energy; and making you a better fat-burner all the way around.

Aim for about 80/20. A number of coaches prescribe what is known as the “80/20 rule,” also called polarized training, for balancing training intensity. It’s definitely worth a try for burning off belly fat as well as for getting fitter and faster. The goal is to spend 80 percent of riding time at low intensity and 20 percent at moderate to hard intensity. That way, when it’s time to go hard, you have the freshness and energy reserves to go hard enough to maximize those interval efforts.

Hitting both intensities actually improves your abilities all around: Your slow-twitch muscle fibers do the work of recycling the lactate your high-intensity, fast-twitch fibers produce. so when you spend time building them, the payoff is being able to work harder at high intensity—which in turn stimulates more fat burning. Research shows this intensity combo also makes you faster. In a 2013 study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers found that when cyclists performed six weeks of 80/20-style training, they more than doubled their power and performance gains, such as lactate threshold, compared to when they spent more time in moderate training zones.

Saturday
Sep232017

Why Cycling is the Best Way to Lose Weight

 

Want to lose weight and keep it off? Here’s why ​the first fitness machine you ever owned is still the best

By ​Selene Yeager September 22, 2017

 

Having worked as a certified fitness trainer for 21 years, I’ve long since come to the conclusion that if you’re looking for the best exercise to shed a few pounds—and keep them off—nothing beats cycling. Over the years, I’ve seen clients shed half their size and heard from readers who have lost more than 100 pounds by adding cycling to their weight loss arsenal, which, yes, must include a healthy diet. (But you already knew that.)

So what makes cycling so special? In short, it makes you happy, says Jimmy Weber, of Enid, Oklahoma, who at 6’2” and 260 pounds is not a small rider, but is now 150 pounds lighter than his max weight of 410 pounds seven years ago. He initially shed weight through bariatric surgery and walking—a lot of walking. But walking his usual seven miles a day got boring and running was out of the question—“I’m too big and the impact would damage me more than benefit me,” he says. Although he has a membership to the Y, he says he has a hard time making himself go. The bike, however, is another story entirely.

Weber bought his first bike in more than 20 years in 2011 and has clocked more than 20,000 miles in the five years that followed, including numerous club and charity rides along the way.

“Bike riding is diverse when it comes to weight management,” he says. “You can go hard and fast and burn a lot of carbs, or slow and steady to burn a lot of fat. Plus I would not be as happy if I had to maintain my weight with diet alone.”

Weber speaks the truth. In case you need more convincing, here’s more great reasons why cycling rules for weight loss.

 Because it’s not all about “exercise.”

The research is pretty conclusive: Most people who exercise only because they know they should, don’t—at least not for very long. Up to 80 percent of people who start exercising throw in the towel within a year. The novelty quickly wears off and they become bored and find things that are more fun to do. But riding a bike makes you feel like a kid. You can go places and explore, pedal through pretty scenery, and feel the fresh air wash over you. You’re not looking at the clock willing your obligatory 30 minutes to go by. You’re enjoying the ride. Oh, and getting some exercise.

 It’s easy to HIIT it hard, no matter your size.

Exercise science shows that high intensity interval training (HIIT) is a fast way to boost your fitness, rev your metabolism, and stimulate human growth hormone, all of which help you ultimately fry more fat. There’s no better place to push those max intervals than on a bike because there’s zero impact, just effort. Just find a quiet stretch of road or path, especially if it’s on a bit of an incline and go. Push as hard as you can for 10 to 20 seconds, go easy for double that time (so 20 to 40), and repeat 8 times. Rest 4 or 5 minutes and do it again.

It’s gentle on the joints.

Cycling is so gentle on your joints it is often recommended as the exercise of choice for people with arthritis and other joint ailments. You need to be sure you have a proper bike fit, of course. But with the right fit and a good warmup, you can push the pace without stressing your hips and knees.

You’ll find friends to get fit with.

Research shows that social support—especially having a workout buddy or two—dramatically increases the likelihood that you’ll stick with your routine, and consistency is key to improving your fitness and shedding unwanted weight. Cycling is such a social sport that, like herds of buffalo and flocks of geese, there’s even a special name for a group of us: a peloton. It doesn’t take more than a quick search to find local cycling clubs where you can meet riders of your same fitness and ability to pedal with.

Even indoors can be really fun.

Most outdoor activities are pretty dreadful when you bring them inside (see: running on a treadmill). But indoor cycling apps like Zwift, Sufferfest, and TrainerRoad, as well as studio cycling classes actually make stationary cycling fun and entertaining. That means you’re less likely to fall out of routine when the weather turns bad.

You can do it all day.

What else can you do for 100 miles? Burning fat was never so much fun as spinning along and chitchatting with your riding buddies for a few hours. Just be smart and limit your snacking to about 200 calories an hour and you’ll create a pound-shedding calorie deficit in no time.

It can fit seamlessly into your life.

The beauty of bikes is that you can get exercise while you’re doing other things rather than having to reserve a chunk of your day to use them for “working out.” By riding your bike to the store, bike commuting to work, and riding instead of driving for other errands, you can slip in hours of activity every week doing the things you’d normally do anyway—and helping achieve a healthy weight while you’re at it.

 

Thursday
Apr062017

Move It or Lose It!

5 Inspiring Older Athletes That Could Totally Kick Your Ass


Over 50 and still goin’ strong.

Younger athletes at this year’s Olympics like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt might be household names, but here at Huff/Post 50 we think the older athletes are even more inspiring. They, too, hit the pavement, push themselves to the limit and are in the best shape of their lives.

Here are some older athletes who prove age can’t keep us from accomplishing some pretty incredible things:

1. Hidekichi Miyazaki 

KYODO Kyodo / Reuters

If you thought breaking a Guinness World Record was cool, imagine doing it at 105. Last September, Japanese centenarian Hidekichi Miyazaki ran a 100-meter dash in a cool 42.2 seconds, making him the oldest competitive sprinter in the world. 

But what’s most inspiring about Miyazaki is that he didn’t even start running competitively until his 90s! With ever the competitive spirit, he says he wished he’d been able to run the dash faster, but not to worry ― he still plans to keep at it for another couple of years. 

2. Charles Eugster

At 97, Charles Eugster has the enviable physique you might expect to see on someone decades younger. But if you ask him, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have a “beach body” at any age. Eugster has said he wants to be turning heads no matter how old he is, but jokes aside, he takes his fitness seriously. 

And his story is truly inspiring. Eugster is the world’s fastest sprinter in the 95-plus category, though he only started running in his 90s. At age 95, he smashed the world record for the 200-meter dash in his age category. His motivation? “Our perception of age is completely faulty ... you can start something new at any age.”

3. Johanna Quaas

Dominik Bindl via Getty Images

Just watching Johanna Quaas on the bars will make your core hurt. The 90-year-old is the world’s oldest gymnast and still looks better in a leotard than most people could ever hope to. The retired gym teacher says there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to tumble, balance and tuck at every age as long as you keep up with your fitness regimen. 

For her, that means practicing gymnastics twice a week and walking or swimming for an hour every day otherwise. 

4. Fred Winter

Rebekah Romero/ Brooks Institute

Struggling to do a single push-up? There’s a centenarian that can do more than you. That’s at least 100 to be exact. WWII veteran Fred Winter is in the best shape of his life at 101 years young. After deciding to get in shape after turning 70, Winter has been crushing it, competing at various senior fitness competitions and the National Senior Games. Last year he became the oldest person to run the 100-meter dash at the games and took home a few gold medals. 

So how does he do it? Winter is a self-described “health nut” and reportedly still does 100 pushups every day, watches his diet and makes sure to get plenty of exercise. 

5. Lew Hollander

This 86-year-old man of steel, er, iron has completed the ultimate test of endurance and fitness. Hollander holds the record for being the oldest person to complete the famed Ironman competition at 82. He’s kept biking, swimming and running ever since, even competing last year. 

“Move it or lose it,” is his mantra, and he doesn’t take it lightly. Hollander’s fitness routine includes strength training for his body, but he also keeps his mind sharp by playing ping-pong. 

Wednesday
Apr052017

Cardiologist Speaks

 

Running Helped This Cardiologist Get off His Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Medications

“I now talk to my patients about lifestyle—especially walking and running—as a way to control and even reverse their chronic illnesses and get off of some of their medications.”

By Harvey S. Hahn Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 2:46 pm