Things I found while looking around — 10/10/13

By | October 10, 2013 1:09 am | 0 Comments

Worth Reading

 * Herald Sun: The truth about modelling: What I wish I’d said to my fans . While this isn’t running related, it’s quite interesting.

* The Reebooted Body: The Health and Fitness Industry is Dead (And That Includes You, Paleo). A must-read for anyone concerned about their own health, diet and fitness, you know…like you. ;)

* How to balance running and strength training (and, yes, you should be strength training!)

Video

* Downhill running tips (If you’re unaware there’s a technique to running downhill, it’s possible you’re doing it wrong. These tips are really helpful.)

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T-shirt of the week

For your favorite athletic supporter:

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Available here in various styles starting at about $22.

A new use for your foam roller

By | February 6, 2013 1:42 am | 0 Comments

Did you happen to notice that an Erie native was quoted in the January issue of Runner’s World magazine (above)?

Tyler Travis is the executive director of the LECOM Wellness Center and he was quoted on “The Body Shop” page, in which he teaches us a whole new way to use every runner’s best friend — the foam roller.

Known to most runners to be a useful post-run stretching and massaging tool, the foam roller can also be used to build strength, as Tyler showed us in the magazine.

I talked to Tyler to find out more about his career path, his fitness philosophy, and how he ended up in the pages of Runner’s World magazine.

How did you end up the executive director of the LECOM Wellness center?

I was the past Fitness Manager of the Wellness Center. I was bestowed the task of hiring the Center’s fitness specialist and served on our facility management team. I worked with our fitness team to manage and implemented the launch of a New Medical Fitness & Wellness Center. I facilitated and assessed over 700 medical students in the first three months of operations. I helped develop the assessment and training system for incoming member population and was responsible for the development of the center’s safety policy and procedures.

I served in the Fitness Manager role for 2 years. The experience, teamwork and staff support was instrumental in my opportunity to interview for the Director position when it became available.

What does your job entail?

I provide leadership to center team through direct accountability of the development, programming marketing and operations of the Wellness Center. I provide direction and support to the management team concerning center policies and procedures and plan and conduct regularly scheduled management team meetings. I assist managers and the administrative/accounting coordinator in determining HR needs and job responsibilities. I am responsible for managing center operations and goals within the approved operating budget. I present a section on cardiac rehab and exercise physiology to 2nd year medical students annually.

I also facilitate annual preseason movement screenings and communication with coaching staff of NBA-D League Team, the Erie Bayhawks. A large portion of my role is to also help facilitate health fairs and promote community involvement. I also continue to serve with performing member assessments, personal training, and program design.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I really enjoy the interactions and relationships of the people I serve. It is truly humbling to be a part of a team that is driven to empower others to improve health and wellness each day. I still really enjoy applying my education and teaching others how to improve their health and athletic performance through strength and conditioning.

What is your  educational background? And, how does it  help you in your current position?

I have an undergraduate degree in psychology from Penn State Behrend, 2001, and a master’s degree in exercise physiology from Minnesota State University, Mankato, 2003.

The fundamental requirements for anyone who wants to enter the health and fitness industry is education. The unique aspect of a medical fitness and wellness center is that we are balancing science with customer service. Our employees must have a passion for people. The health and fitness of one of our members can only be improved when the fitness professional/exercise physiologist knows how to treat the customer well.

My graduate degree in Exercise Physiology has provided me with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to evaluate and develop exercise programming for special population ranging from those with cardiovascular disease to the professional athlete. My psychology degree from Behrend served as the foundation that I needed to understand how to help new exercisers adhere to an exercise program and how our nervous system is crucial in understanding the way we think and move.

Are you a runner?

I run for leisure, but do not compete like when I ran cross country and track in college. I have a lot of fun participating in a variety of conditioning. I play ice hockey throughout the year and strength train on most days of the week. I also enjoy playing in a basketball league from time to time.

Any PR you want to share (any distance)?

My PR’s in college were 16:04 for the 5k and 4:12 for the 1500meter.

How did you end up with a feature in the January issue of Runner’s World magazine?

Nicole Falcone, a writer for Runner’s World, asked me to create a series of exercises using foam rollers. Nicole is a member of our Wellness Center and she approached me last fall and asked if I would like to be a resource for a future article. Nicole happens to be in Erie because her boyfriend is a LECOM Medical Student.

Is that you in the photos?

No. They took photos of me at the Wellness Center performing the exercises. The photos were then sent and duplicated by a model for the magazine.

Most runners are familiar with the foam roller as a way to stretch/massage sort muscles, but you say
it’s also good for building muscles?

Yes, and the foam rolling strength routine is a great way to get runners to do strength training. Most runners own a foam roller. The exercises that I suggest can be done anywhere from the beginning of the runner’s warm-up or at the end of the run. It can be done in the office or simply at the track. The foam roller is very portable.

And why should runners do strength training? Isn’t running enough?

It is well known in the world of strength & conditioning that runners are very asymmetrical. Many runners tend to be desk jockeys (let’s face it, our society as whole is moving less and sitting more.) The typical running pattern is what we call very sagital plane dominant. This plane is the same pattern we are in when we sit – hip flexed, knee flexed, ankle dorsiflexed.

Distance runners especially have weaker core muscles, glutes, tight hamstrings and hips flexors. Many runners unfortunately do not take time to balance their running with strength training.

A strength-training program can help improve areas of weakness commonly found in runners. The hips are the power source for runners. Hips should be strong and mobile. Any compromise in the hips can lead to low back or knee issues.

The next area that should be considered is the core, which supports the spine, and hips. Many runners have tight anterior deltoids/shoulders that need stretched and posterior deltoids/shoulders that need strengthened.

What one thing can a runner do to improve their performance?

Runners should make sure they are moving correctly. Moving repetitively, as a runner does mile after mile, can put their body in a compromised risk for future injuries if the movement is not correct. My recommendation is to be evaluated by having a Functional Movement Screen. The screen identifies the risk factor level for non-impact injuries. Corrective exercises can then be developed to improve movement and asymmetries.

What is your personal workout routine?

It’s much like what I suggested above. I am still guilty of having some of same asymmetries above. I like to strength train on most days of the week. I like to break up my cardiovascular workouts with circuits that utilize the ultra slide board, jumping rope, and kettlebell.

The slide board is a great tool that all runners should use from time to time. It helps open the hips and improve mobility and strength of the adductors and abductors (inside and outside of the legs.) I picked up ice hockey for that reason as well. It is a great high intensity workout that increases hip and glute strength.

What is your diet like (i.e. do you do the “paleo” thing or anything like that)?

I do not adhere to any specific diet and encourage balance. My family and I eat very clean. We focus mostly on plant-based food. The benefits of phytochemicals are tremendous. They help with combating oxidative stress that can be detrimental to the cells of our body. We balance the fruits and vegetables with lean meats such as turkey, chicken and fish. We avoid red meat except with the occasional buffalo burger. We really try to eat as little processed food as possible. Our favorite bread is Ezekiel bread.

Family (wife, kids?): My wife, Beth, is a 3rd grade teacher, and we have a son Matthew Dennis Travis, 8 months. We also have a yellow lab named Sidney who is typically by my side when I take runs or even when I’m simply working in the yard.

Erie’s Mizikowski Competing in CrossFit Games

By | July 10, 2012 3:17 am | 0 Comments

Christopher Millette/Erie Times-News

 

If, like me, you’ve been wondering where Erie’s uber-athlete, Debbie Mizikowski, has been. The front page of  the sports section in today’s Erie Times-News clears things up. She’s been in the gym — a lot. And, now she’s headed west to compete in the CrossFit Games this weekend (which would explain her absence at the Quad games this year).

See a video and read all about Debbie’s latest challenge here. She is one amazing athlete. Best of luck — if anyone can do it, Debbie can!

Common weight training mistakes

By | January 31, 2012 4:33 am | 1 Comment

We’ve been blessed with some fantastic winter running weather this year, but when the white stuff does pile up and makes outdoor running difficult/miserable/hell-on-Earth, most runners would do well to spend some time in the weight room at the gym.

Runners often think they don’t need weight training, but most do. Ever heard of the phrase “skinny fat?”  Though it’s a horrible term, it applies to many runners — myself included. (sigh).

So, I’ve added weight training into my routine. I’ve been doing it pretty regularly for about 6 months now and I’ve yet to see any flip-your-lid, check-out-her-6-pack results, but it could be because I was making some of these 14 common weight training mistakes. (The vintage photos illustrating each “mistake” are awesome).

It could also be that it just takes time …and I need to lift heavier …and get over my aversion to working out in the free weight room at the YMCA with the no-neck, ultimate-fighter-types that grunt with every effort and leave sweat trails behind them.

* Do you do weight training on days you don’t run? Have you seen results?

* Does the term “skinny-fat” make you homicidal…or is it just my skinny-fat ass?

* Are you intimidated disgusted by grunting, profusely sweating guys who leave 100 lb. weights on the freakin’ leg press?

 

 

Q&A with Joe Kitts, Warrior Dash finisher

By | October 13, 2011 4:51 am | 0 Comments

Joe Kitts, North East, after finishing the Ohio II Warrior Dash on Sept. 10

1.  Where/when was the Warrior dash you participated in?

I participated in the Ohio II Warrior Dash in Carrollton, Ohio, on September 10th.

2. Was the location hard to find?

The location was in the middle of nowhere but the directions to the race were really good.

3. How did you hear about it?

Friends at the gym (iRock Fitness) and word-of-mouth.

4. Why did you want to participate?

Looked like a good time, and I thought it would be a challenge, too.

5. How many participants were there?

10,943!!! It was crazy but very organized and well run.

6. Was it heavily skewed toward male runners…or were there a lot of females, too?

It didn’t seem like there were more men. Seemed pretty evenly divided. There were lots of large groups of friends running together.

7.  What is the race distance?

3.1 miles

8. Did you bring any special gear or were you told to bring anything special?

No special gear, but they did suggest wearing shoes you were willing to part with. They also suggested bringing extra clothes and garbage bag for dirty clothes.

9.  What was the course like?

I went late in the day and the course was very muddy and slick. There were a lot of hills but the obstacles were well spread out.

10.   Tell me about some of the obstacles.

The deadweight drifter was a good start to get dirty, the chaotic crossover or rope bridge was challenging, and the other obstacles were equally good. Some of the obstacles were interesting as other runners helped each other to finish them. There was a real sense of camaraderie which was very different than other races. See the obstacles here.

11. What obstacle did you not care for? Why?

Hell’s hill was way too slippery; I couldn’t even walk up it. That had to do more with the time of the day that I went, but it was probably brutal even earlier in the day.

12.   What obstacle was fun? Why?

The Warrior roast & Muddy mayhem at the end of the race were awesome. A great way to end the race.

13. How long did it take you to finish the course?

1:02:53

14. Would you do it again? Why?

Absolutely and bring lots of friends to experience the most fun at a race ever.

15. How muddy did you get?

See the pictures!

16.  What was the premium ?

T-Shirt, Viking hat, a medal, and free beer!

17.  What do you wish you’d known going into this? (anything you’d have done differently?)

I would have signed up earlier in the day to race to avoid the slop at the end of the day. And then we could have enjoyed all the bands throughout day.

18. Any advice for others who might want to try this?

The more competitive you are, the earlier in the day you should race. If you are going to have fun, run later in the day.

19. Who should try a Warrior Dash?

People that have run before and done some cross training, but there were all types of athletes there.

20. What was the most fun moment of the day?

Running and finishing with a friend that went with me.

Finish line

 

The most fearsome duo at the race — the Kitts kids. How CUTE is this photo?

BY THE WAY….Joe’s wife Suze is a runner, too, and she is the race director of the Pump-kin Run at Gannon University on Oct. 29 — another unusual race (A 5K combined with a weight-lifting challenge that can shave seconds off your race time).

7 laws of leanness hold true

By | September 29, 2011 5:14 am | 0 Comments

When a friend posted a Facebook link to this article promising the “7 Laws of Leanness,” I clicked on it with a snort and an eye roll.

I expected to see the usual crap like,”write down every single thing you eat,” and “don’t eat after 7 p.m.” and “choose low-fat versions of your favorite foods”  — all things that I’ve found to be bunk.

But, instead, this article has 7 solid “laws” that are actually true.

These are all things that I do, though some — like eating lots of protein and giving up all the fat-free foods — took me years to understand.

Don’t underestimate LAW #7: Lean People Watch Less TV — you’d be surprised how much of your life you get back if you stop watching TV every night and you really won’t miss it much.