Who Should Stretch?

Those who lift weights should spot stretch between lifts to elongate muscles, prevent soreness and injury, and improve circulation. For stretches between exercises, holding a mere 15-20 seconds is sufficient, this is called stretching for recovery. After cardio or at the end of a lifting session, a more complete stretching routine is in order to improve flexibility. The most effective stretches begin with the largest muscles: quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors, calves and low back after leg day or cardio; upper back, chest, shoulders, biceps and triceps on upper body days or after swimming or racquet sports. Of course, so long as muscles are warm when stretched, it is better to stretch too many muscles than too few. Hold end of workout stretches for 30-60 seconds each. Don’t wear a watch? No problem. Sing “Happy Birthday” or the ABCs through twice...that’s about the right amount of time to hold a stretch.
When Should One Stretch?

A stretch is the mindful lengthening of a muscle. Being aware and making sure not to hold the breath while stretching is important since the blood and oxygen need to work together to ensure recovery in the muscle. Between exercises and after exercise are both appropriate times to stretch. Never stretch before warming up. Wait at least three to five minutes after warming up and/or working out before stretching. Stretching a cold muscle can actually increase risk of injury. Also, avoid “locking” joints. Make sure there is a slight bend in the knee or elbow for the duration of the stretch. Otherwise, one risks taking the focus off the muscle and placing it in the joint. Stretching is supposed to protect joints by allowing for full range of motion after loosening stiff muscles.
Where Should One Stretch?

Please, find a place out of the way. Avoid walkways between pieces of equipment, high traffic areas, the railing of the track, and remaining on a piece of equipment. In these locations it is easy to feel rushed, conspicuous, or annoyed. Move to the side of the track, the grass, an empty room, or a designated stretching area.
Why Should One Stretch?

Stretching provides the opportunity to return the muscle to its original pre-workout length. Lifting and training cause muscles to respond by contracting and sometimes becoming engorged with blood. Stretching has been shown to alleviate the stress this causes within the muscle and the joint. It further reduces the likelihood of injury and soreness by releasing the pooled blood, lengthening tired fibers, and allowing re-oxygenation of the muscle
When stretching between exercises, stretch the muscle just worked. After the bench press, stretch the chest. After squats, stretch the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. For post-workout stretching, work from large to small muscles and hold for 30-60 seconds. Stretch glutes, low back, hamstrings, quadriceps first; then upper back, hip flexors, calves, chest, shoulders, triceps, and biceps, for example. Stretch the neck as well but very gently. Never put pressure on the neck and never “roll” the head to the back. Put an ear on the same-side shoulder, roll forward placing chin to chest, and then repeat the ear to shoulder on the other side.

For optimal health and safety, add a brief stretch to each workout. Most find they feel more relaxed both mentally and physically. Many find they are injured less often and seem to recover from bouts of exercise more quickly. Once results from stretching are achieved, check out Pilates or yoga to further improve flexibility and functional strength. New exercisers should find a group fitness instructor or personal trainer to help develop a routine that is appropriate.

5 Reasons to Get Started With the Wonder Fruit Today!

If you haven't begun with partaking in this Amazonian wonder's benefits though, here are 5 reasons why you should get started with it right away:

1. It Would Cut That Layer Of Flab From Your Body

Acai berry is essentially a weight loss supplement. But did you know that it is not like those fat loss pills or potions that trigger nausea, stomach aches and similar side-effects and do not budge those flabby deposits the least? These berries are naturally composed and deliver side-effects free fat burn results by boosting the bodily metabolic levels and at the same time suppressing appetite to help you to take control of those binging urges. The best part is that you need not slog out at the gym for hours at stretch or crash diet to enjoy acai's slimming effects. Simple acai juice consumption or pill intake can get you to jumpstart this journey.

2. Wrinkles, Fine-lines and Other Symptoms Of Ageing Are Taken Care Of Too

The acai berry has one more fantastic credit to it- the food is a rich source of antioxidants like anthocyanins and polyphenols which together work towards countering aging. The results experienced are lovely- ranging from inhibited cell degeneration within to a rejuvenated outward appearance.

3. It Boosts Overall Energy Levels

The berries are also known as the "ultimate energy boosters". Acai users have known to benefit off the instant energy boost that overall detox and antioxidant revitalization effects of the berries provide with.

4. Heart Health Becomes Secure

For those haunted by heart troubles and living under the fear that health supplements could aggravate their woes, acai provides a relief. The supplement is fraught with health boosters like essential fatty acids, omega oils and monosaturated fats that regulate insulin levels and contribute towards steadying blood sugar levels and an excellent heart health in general.

5. Cancer Prevention

The deadliest disease that has been taking a toll on thousands of life each year has a remedy in acai. The acai berries are known to inhibit cancer and tumor growths with a special enzyme present in them. A host of other degenerative diseases too can be countered with these miracle berries. The world of acai benefits is too huge though and the positives cannot be listed in a single attempt.

Nonetheless, I am sure that you would have got enough reasons to begin with acai berry consumption now. What are you waiting for then? Get started with it before those deadly diseases and health concerns out to find targets grip you.

Nutrition and Health:forward

Nutrition, a key component to good health, is as important as adequate exercise and quality sleep. Because of that, I have collected sound advice from nutritionists, vitamin experts and books to better advise my patients.

Many nutrition experts agree a balanced diet is the foundation of good health and many books emphasize food as a way of healing the body instead of using drugs. However, one must consider the mineral and vitamin content of today’s topsoil. Did you know a serving of spinach in the 1920s equals 70 servings of today’s spinach? Vitamin content of foods are affected by time, sunlight and cooking process. Fresher is better, but do we always eat fresh fruits and vegetables in the recommended amounts of five or more servings per day? Pollution, stress and lifestyle also affect your vitamin and mineral needs.

As a general guideline, vitamins and minerals need to be taken in their proper ratios. Taking too much of one can cause a deficiency of another. Prevention Magazine’s book Healing with Vitamins lists key vitamins, amounts needed daily, good food sources and suggestions for specific conditions.
Here is one example: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome–Biotin 300 micrograms; Riboflavin 25 milligrams; Vitamin B6 50-200 milligrams. They also have a Medical Alert stating that vitamin B6 in amounts over 100 milligrams should only be taken under the supervision of your doctor.

How vitamins are made may make a difference in how the body absorbs them. A vitamin expert suggests using pharmaceutical grade vitamins. Usually these single vitamins come in gel capsules versus multivitamin tablets which are pressed together. Sometimes the pressed tablets are compacted so tightly they never dissolve in the digestive tract, and the substances used to bind the vitamins together can cause allergic reactions. (A UCLA study showed better results with a 50-milligram pharmaceutical grade product compared to a 75-milligram pressed tablet.) He also suggested using a complete pre-packaged set of vitamins rather than trying to determine your own combinations, unless you know how to combine vitamins in the proper ratios, or else you need to get a vitamin prescription from a qualified person.
The amount of information can be overwhelming, but with a little careful study and observing your body’s reaction to a particular diet, vitamin and/or supplementation program, you can develop a very workable program. The results of taking the time to do this may dramatically improve your health and quality of life.

new fitness club ,dance studio

A three-story modern fitness club and new dance studio are headed to Toringdon Circle, a mixed-use development in the Ballantyne area, on Johnston Road just north of Interstate 485. Medical offices at the four-year-old center are 98 percent occupied, and the retail space is working its way back from the blow struck by the recession, said Marla Sessoms of Brackett Co., who handles leasing for the property. The development is owned by Nationwide Realty Investors of Columbus, Ohio, and also includes Pike Nursery and Hickory Tavern, Sticky Fingers and Ruby Tuesday restaurants.

The biggest addition is a 42,000-square-foot Urban Active fitness club, the first North Carolina location and 36th overall for a Lexington, Ky.-based chain. Set to open in the fall, the $8 million to $13 million gym aims to be cutting-edge, with distinct amenities. Among them: A surround-sound "cardio movie theater" that will show sporting events, concerts and movies on a wall-sized projection screen, in a darkened room full of cardio equipment. The gym will also include a kids' playroom to serve different age groups, tanning beds, a pro shop, a smoothie bar, a women's-only fitness area, racquetball courts, a lap pool and a Spinning studio. All cardio equipment will include an individual flat-screen television. (The Charlotte location will resemble a new Urban Active in Columbus, Ohio, shown above. Snow, presumably, is not included.)

"The demographics are perfect for us," said KT Remus, Urban Active's marketing director. She noted the chain's more established markets have multiple locations, and that it is looking for the opportunity to grow further in the Carolinas. A preview center selling memberships will open nearby in April, Remus said. Prices generally range from $35 to $55 a month, with discounted rates before the club opens.

Also on the way is Carolina Dance Capital, a 8,600-square-foot dance studio slated to open in August. The company has been operating as Weir Dancin' in Matthews for the last decade, and the Ballantyne location will be its second studio. The school offers all styles of dance training for ages 2 to adult, and will have six state-of-the-art studios at the new location, according to a news release. It will occupy a space that originally consisted of five storefronts, three of which were vacant, Sessoms said. The other two housed a coffee house and a health resource center, but they closed - largely due to the recession, which has led to considerable turnover in Ballantyne, as many new, small businesses were unprepared to weather the dropoff, Sessoms said. A gourmet foods store in the center also closed, and some spaces have never been filled.

"I think the timing really was the key, and it's the key now to turn it around," Sessoms said. She's been recruiting tenants to bolster the center, and aiming to give it a fitness flavor.

Other changes at Toringdon Circle within the last year include the opening of Cru Wine Shop, which is in the former Vintage Wine Cellar space, the arrival of State Farm insurance agent Wil Brooks' office and the opening of Rullo di Pasta Italian Cafe & Bakery in a space that had been vacant.

Fitness Month 2010

Early Saturday morning, our power went out. It took no time at all for our warm and toasty 70 degree home to become 44 teeth chattering degrees. Outside, it was 9 degrees, as the wind whipped around the house, pushing the inside temperatures further downward. My husband is not only physically fit but a former top gun member of law enforcement. Upon realizing the seriousness of the situation, we both went into survival mode. We smartly got hotel reservations for several nights at a hotel we could hike to within a mile. That's the good news. The bad news is that it lost power shortly thereafter. As fast as you can blink an eye, all of the other hotels were sold out. We were left to fend for ourselves. Close by, there was a condo complex made available to us to get warm, microwave some food, and charge up our countless weapons of mass distraction. But first, you had to navigate a blizzard to get to it. I'm here to tell you that many people remained stuck in their frigid homes because they were not fit enough to hike to warmth. It was a memorable hike but a life-saving one if you wanted to eat, drink water and warm yourself. You needed balance, flexibility, strength and endurance to make the trek. Mental tenacity was required to pull it off.

In survival mode, there's no time for what I call BMW - bitch, moan and whine. Survivors don't complain. They just do what they need to do and get the job done. When we returned to our now frozen home, we entered the door and immediately realized how cold it really was when we spoke and could see our breath. Now it was time to shovel snow before we had mountains of the stuff to contend with. Hours of shoveling, pushing and pulling was grueling but necessary. Those hours of weight lifting paid back in spades. Walking through thigh-high snow drifts was a sweaty, exhausting challenge, but again, those workouts had prepared our bodies for this snowy outdoor boot camp.

Sleeping in front of a fireplace bundled in three layers of clothes, socks and a hat made for quite a nocturnal experience. But, we survived. The question is, could you?

This whole wintery scenario is why I wrote Fit to Live, and why it became the Discovery Health TV series, Could You Survive? I wrote this book and hosted the series to give further meaning and motivation for staying in mental and physical shape throughout your life. I was inspired by the 9/11 and Katrina disasters. How many people lost their lives because they simply did not have the physical fitness to survive? I watched in horror as people, too weak to hold onto a tree's bough, were swept away by the rising waters of the hurricane. Countless men and women died in the towers because they didn't have the strength or endurance to race down 70 flights of stairs or run fast enough out of the buildings to escape the falling debris. Then, I thought about our daily lives. Do you have what it takes to run up a flight of stairs if a fire broke out and you needed to save your life or that of a loved one? If your child or grandchild was running toward traffic and couldn't hear you, would you be able to run fast enough to grab that child and lift him/her up in your arms to safety? Finally, if you were at the airport and were delayed, but absolutely had to make your connecting flight in order to secure your dream job in another city, could you run fast enough hauling your briefcase/purse and roller luggage?

Being Fit to Live is about fitness with a survival twist. I began the book with my favorite quote from Charles Darwin: "It is not the strongest of the species who survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." I wrapped the book around teaching people how to adapt and adjust to life's ever changing environment. It is those who can do this who will have the greatest chance of survival and living optimally. Here's how you can become Fit to Live your best life.

You know by now my three pillars of healthy lifestyle habits - MIND: mental, MOUTH: nutritional and MUSCLE: physical fitness. Want to see how you fare? Click into Could You Survive? and test your strength, endurance and nutritional fitness. Here's an example from the Strength Assessment:

The following will test your Fit to Live strength level:

1. From a full standing position, get down flat on the floor. Can you get up again with no help?
a. "Swimming in sweat"
b. "Breaking a sweat"
c. "No sweat!"

2. Count how many times you can stand up from a chair with your arms folded across your chest in 30 seconds. Can do at least 8?
a. "Swimming in sweat"
b. "Breaking a sweat"
c. "No sweat!"

Now try a few challenges from the Endurance Assessment:

1. Without holding onto the railings, can you climb 20 stair steps in 40 seconds?
a. "Swimming in sweat"
b. "Breaking a sweat"
c. "No sweat!"

2. Time yourself in a 1-mile fast-paced walk on a flat surface. Compare your time against the One Mile Walk Chart.
a. Slower than you should be or can't do it at all
b. At age and gender level
c. Above average for age and gender

3. Time yourself in a 1.5-mile run on a flat surface. Compare your time against the appropriate "1.5-Mile Run" chart for women or men.
a. Slower than you should be or can't do it at all
b. At age and gender level
c. Above average for age and gender

After completing the assessments, some of you may see that there's a bit of room for improvement if you want to feel optimally Fit to Live your dreams as well as survive whatever life throws your way. Don't wait to get in shape. You never know when your very life, and the lives of others, may depend upon it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get ready for Round Two. That's right, another blizzard is heading toward Washington and it's time to flex my Fit to Live mental and physical muscles once again.

Enlisting for fitness

For those constantly fighting the battle of the bulge, it might be wise to enlist a little help.

Which is where Drill Instructor Rodney Carson, creator of the Basic Training fitness program, and Kendra Cendana, creator of the FitChix boot camp in Rocklin, come in handy.

Basic Training

Carson, a former correctional facility drill instructor, leads an intense military-style boot camp for civilians looking to get in tip top physical shape. Not for anyone used to kid gloves, the program is true to its name and intense in nature.

“We’re not trying to condition the civilian out of people, that’s the military’s job,” Carson said. “But we are working to get in peak condition and see results fast.”

The format of the regime-style boot camp is all encompassing, from calisthenic exercises, motivation and discipline, cardiovascular conditioning and nutrition education.

The Basic Training program is popular with Police Academy recruits, soldiers out on medical leave and soccer moms looking for an intense, whole body workout that will push them to their limits.

And for some, the limits includes using the “throw up bucket.”

“Just about every recruit has used it at one time or another,” said Senior Recruiter Gary Throm. “It’s kind of like a rite of passage.”

At first glance, Carson looks nothing like the crusty, hardened sergeants of the movies. But once the boot camp begins at 6:00 sharp, a metamorphosis begins with the first shout of instruction followed by a bellowing “hoo-ah.”

Dressed in drill instructor uniform complete with combat boots and campaign cover (the official term for the drill instructor hat) Carson marches through the lines of recruits reminding them to “keep your knees up” or “get off the ground” during exercises.

Jeanine Denison, an Auburn resident, heard about Basic Training on the radio and decided to enlist after growing bored of the health club scene.

“I need this kind of motivation and instruction to get in shape,” Denison said. “Plus if I’m not changing up my routine, I get bored.”

Denison swapped her street clothes for black yoga pants and the regulation issue olive-green Basic Training T-shirt and, after being introduced to the rest of the recruits, found her spot in the formation.

“Everyone is really tight, they encourage each other on. It’s like a real platoon,” Carson said. “They work hard together and support and push each other because they want to see everyone succeed.”


Don’t be fooled by the pink workout gear and room full of women, once Kendra Cendana gets started, it’s evident that FitChix boot camp isn’t for sissys.

“I hear all the time ‘she works us hard,’ like they’re surprised,” said Cendana, creator of the FitChix boot camp for women. “It’s a boot camp, it’s supposed to be a little hard.”

Cendana started offering her total body boot camp to women in 2008 with two sold out classes and has since added sessions to serve clients in Rocklin, Roseville and Granite Bay.

“The classes are more intense and comprehensive than if you were just working out alone at home or at a gym,” Cendana said. “We do a little of everything-running, weight training, cardio, pilates, yoga every week and every workout is different.”

Cendana also provides her recruits with diet plans and nutrition education, requiring each member to keep a food journal, which they turn in regularly for analysis and comments by Cendana.

“Knowing that they have to see what they’re eating on paper and then turn it in for me to see keeps them accountable,” Cendana said.

The food journals and diet plan have been especially helpful for FitChix recruit Paulette Horner, who turned to the boot camp to get back in shape after a stroke left her sidelined.

“They told me it was unlikely that I’d ever walk again,” Horner said. “I have no peripheral vision and I’m numb on my left side, but I keep up the best I can and it’s getting me active again.”

Horner says the intense, rigorous program has whittled away 25 pounds and has trained her to compete in half marathons, something she never thought possible after the stroke.

“It’s as intense as you want it to be,” Horner said. “There’s no one yelling in your face, it’s more supportive than that, but you work hard and are rewarded by results.”

What: Basic Training

When: 6 -7 p.m. Tues. and Thurs. 8:30 –9:30 a.m. Saturday

Open enlistment 1 through 10 of each month

Bodyglide Lubricant and Anti-Chafing Products

Chafing is a common complaint of many distance runners. Running is a repetitive motion that forces skin to rub against clothing, causing irritation. To prevent this irritation, joggers can use anti-chafing skin lubricants and specially-designed running apparel.

Anti-chafing sticks, like the Bodyglide Anti-Blister and Chafing Stick, can be applied to any areas that rub against clothing. The stick looks like a deodorant stick, but contains a non-greasy lubricant that reduces friction on skin and apparel. The lubricant can be rubbed onto areas that commonly experience chafing like underarms, inner thighs, shoulders, waist and nipples.

For women, selecting the right sports bra can also help to decrease chafing. Champion creates a seamless fitness sports bra that creates a smoother surface in the underarm area. Seams can produce more friction and create skin burns, but the no-seam design of the Champion bra helps to reduce irritation and improve comfort.
Anti-Blister Treatments and Apparel

It is an inevitability that all runners will have a blister at some point in their training. To prevent and heal blisters, runners can use tailored apparel and products that stop blisters and ease pain.
Runners should wear anti-blister socks every time they run to try to limit the amount of blisters they develop. The texture of normal socks can grind into skin while running. Anti-blister socks are created using a special fabric that is woven in such a way to provide extra padding and prevent irritation. Wearing these special socks will prevent and reduce the severity of foot blisters.

If a blister does occur, runners can use blister treatment bandages to speed healing and cushion the blister. Both Dr. Scholl's and Band Aid create blister treatment bandages that cushion the blister with added padding and shield it from bacteria that can cause infection. By wearing these blister treatment cushions, feet can heal faster and runners can spend more time training.

Runners can also suffer from blackened toes due to repetitive pounding and rubbing against running shoes. Wonder guards are pads that can be worn on toes that help to cushion the toes during extensive workouts. The pads can be washed and reused. They simply slide over the toe and provide a padded shell that protects the toe. These cushions can help to lessen the foot damage produced by daily distance running.
Buy the Best Running Gear for Protection and Comfort

By choosing the best running products, runners can prevent and lessen damage to the body during lengthy workouts. With constant use, these products can help runners to train longer and harder. By making some intelligent product choices, runners can maximize workouts and minimize discomfort and damage

Traditional Medicine is Tried and Tested

Ignorant presumptions about traditional healing methods still abound; they are seen as unnecessary with the availability of new technology. However, approximately three-fourths of the world's population still relies largely on traditional medicine. And while modern allopathic medicine expands in technology and pharmaceutical drugs, illness has still not diminished. The answer to what is lacking may lie in treating the inner disquiet and outer disharmony, not just primarily blocking or covering symptoms of disease.

As with most holistic or “whole” healing traditions, Chinese medicine recognizes illness and cure to be a combination of physical, mental, psychological, emotional, social, environmental and even spiritual factors. There is no single standard remedy for an ailment, but treatments are tailored to the individual. The primary role of the physician is to prevent illness from occurring, not simply treating its symptoms.
Pressure Points Important in Treating, Preventing Disease

While the earliest known medical text of Chinese medicine dates back to 540 BC, its roots predate this evidence by thousands of years. Acupuncture arose when the Chinese people discovered that pressing or stimulating certain points on the body relieved pain in the proximal area as well as benefited areas of the body far remote from that pressure point. Gradually, other locations on the body were found, often by accident. These potent points not only alleviated pain but benefited the functioning of various internal organs and systems, provided mental clarity, emotional stability and even rid the body of persistent symptoms of disease and distress.

In Chinese medicine, the force or energy Qi or Chi is the vital essence of everything and flows in an enclosed system of channels or meridians through the body. The meridian network gives Qi passage to all tissues and organs of the body, immersing them in its vital force. If the flow is weakened or blocked in any way, the ensuing loss of nourishment, warmth and energy to parts of the body will manifest as illness or pain.

breaking into fitness centers, stealing valuables

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — An Annadale teen is responsible for a string of thefts and break-ins at two Staten Island fitness centers, police allege.

Anthony L. Iavarone, 18, made several trips to the LA Fitness at 145 East Service Rd. in Travis in December, raiding at least three lockers to find car keys, cash and credit cards, police allege.

Whenever he found keys, he’d go into the parking lot to check their cars for valuables, police allege.

Court papers link three such thefts to Iavarone — on Dec. 9, 15 and 16.

In each case, police allege, he took a car key from a locker, found a credit card inside the vehicle, and used the card at a store at the Staten Island Mall the same day, buying merchandise at Foot Locker, Pro Image and Lidz.

Iavarone also used a stolen gym membership card for the Planet Fitness at 1775 South Ave. to enter the gym on Saturday and wander in and out of the men’s locker room.

When police arrested Iavarone Saturday, he was carrying someone else’s driver’s license, with his photo and address pasted on top.

Iavarone faces a slew of felony and misdemeanor charges — three counts each of third-degree burglary, second-degree forgery, fourth-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property; four counts of third-degree identity theft, and single counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and third-degree criminal trespass, said William J. Smith, a spokesman for District Attorney Daniel Donovan.

Everything You Know Is Wrong

It’s the truth. Everything you know is wrong. If you think diets don’t work, then you’re wrong. If you think exercise makes you hungry, then you’re wrong. If you think your diet is the perfect one for everybody, then you’re wrong. If you think hard exercise is the best way to lose weight, then you’re wrong. No matter what you think about diet and fitness, you’re wrong. There is always someone out there who does well on a wacky diet. There is always someone out there who reacts to exercise differently. We are such a diverse species that there is a way for everything to work and there is a way for everything to fail.

You need to find what works for you and keep doing it until it doesn’t work anymore and then start the process all over again.

The next time that you feel like you can’t follow your diet anymore, repeat to yourself, “Everything you know is wrong.” The next time you feel like you are going to stop your workout before it’s finished, repeat to yourself, “Everything you know is wrong.” Make it your mantra any time that little voice inside your head is telling you that you cannot do something and you’ll find out all the different ways you have been wrong your entire life.

Walk yourself to pregnancy fitness with our weekly step-by-step workout

Now you're we'll into your pregnancy fitness regime it's time to start adding intervals into your weekly walking workout. This will increase intensity to really kick-start your metabolism and prevent any fitness plateaus. You'll need to find a new, hilly route, or walk on a gradient on a treadmill.
Session 1

Three minutes building up to a moderate speed, followed be seven minutes uphill walking - make sure you gently swing your arms and take slightly wider strides. Repeat.
Session 2

Five minutes walking on the flat at a moderate pace, then two minutes of brisk up-hill walking. Do this a total of three times.
Session 3

Start with seven minutes of moderate-paced walking, walk uphill for five minutes, then walk quickly for five minutes. Repeat.

Gym Touts Hula Hoop-Based Fitness

Some may consider the hula-hoop a child’s toy, but the Hudsucker Posse will tell you otherwise. The rhythmic beat of a dozen drums echoes through Bloomington’s Stone Belt gym. The hula-hooping members of the Hudsucker Posse swing their hips and groove to the music.

“Hooping burns 600 calories an hour and it combines a cardio workout with resistance training. If you use a weighted hoop, it combines a weight workout and resistance and cardio, so it’s a total fitness core workout,” said Paula Chambers, co-founder of the Hudsucker Posse.

“After a day of work, I’m totaling dying to get over here and do hooping. I’ve been here every Sunday since,” added Hudsucker Posse newbie, Pam MacLaughlin.

The hula-hoops used by the Hudsucker Posse aren’t your typical store-bought hula-hoops. They’re homemade out of polyethylene tubing wrapped in multicolored tape for decoration.

For the Hudsucker Posse, hooping is more than just exercise. It’s a passion, said Huducker member Jane Griffin.

“When I hoop, it makes me feel like I’m a dancer and I’m participating in the music and I’m doing something creative and that just makes me feel really good.”

Degrees and careers in sport, sport and fitness

One of the biggest emerging fields in which there is a career in research field combined sports, recreation and fitness. While some other professions and markets are shrinking, this career path is to continue to grow and expand and have more things, more opportunities and brighter and better people.

In order to succeed in the career potential in sport, leisure and fitness facilities there are different types of qualifications that someone could use to its advantage. While the budgetThey can also serve other areas in this field is that some of the best, if you follow up to a certain aspect of a recreation or athletic career. While graduate school is not usually a prerequisite for obtaining employment in these sectors, This is an increasingly competitive, so that getting more education, the better prepared you will get to be engaged and successful.

Business degrees (Bachelor of Business or MBA)

In most sports and recreation businesses, companies andOrganizations are not only looking for people with a sports background. In order not to be a former athlete or a long-standing relationship in sports, fitness and relaxation to be successful. Increasingly, sport and leisure companies in search of the best minds that can find people with a strong business background and meaning. Therefore, it is possible a certain degree of business will be of great utility in this area. Career in the budget is possible for: sports agentGeneral Manager of the team, stadium or service, etc.

Sport Management Degrees

A sports management degree will give you some knowledge of business while they are directly connected to the world of sports business. Are on topics such as sports marketing and apply business principles to learn the real world awaited sporting or recreational settings. These include sports teams, recreation facilities and of course, much more. Careers that a sports managementDegree can help you: everything in the world of sports marketing, sports marketing and public relations, to manage recreational groups or leagues, etc.

Exercise Physiology and Titles

If you love sports and also love of science, or just a passion for staying in shape, this might be the right option for you. A closure in accordance with the movement and physiology you will get a heads-up on many aspects of community fitness and is required for certain positions.Career could be expected to continue with this background: personal trainer, team trainer or doctor, sports nutritionist, etc.

Here is a sampling extensive career in sport, leisure and fitness area to pursue a degree at any of the above (or from additional environments, educations and centers of interest) holds:

1. Sports agent: When most people think of a career in sport the first thing you think about a sports agent. This is an extremely difficult field thathighly competitive and crowded. However, if you're a sports agent, is found to be extremely profitable as you can, a percentage of your customers 'orders'.

2. General Manager / Senior Management teams, leagues and sporting achievements: Have a strong sense of business development, or sport or can be applied to specific situations leading to what many people a dream job, that a general manager for a team. Of course it can also mean that the acts of management, stadiums, leagues,Groups and departments. Since these are the high-level positions, you can expect anywhere from $ 75,000 to make millions of dollars in annual salaries. Of course, in cases like the smaller teams in the minor league, their wages would be significantly lower.

3. Team doctor, sports trainer or nutritionist, if you're a doctor or a fitness background, there are lots of possibilities, the formation of individual customers around the team, rehabbing injured athletes or creating andproper implementation of food for them. Depending on the degree and experience, you can rate equal to or greater than what would be a typical doctor.

4. Sports marketing, sponsorships and public relations: This is not what first comes to mind for many people, this is perhaps the greatest area of potential employment opportunities and leisure, sports and fitness. Athletes and teams need sponsorship and must be brought to the public. In addition, some products mustmarketed especially for sports. This creates many jobs in these areas and can grow your income if you sell more sponsorship and market our customers more successful.

Child Care

For an additional fee Fitness 19 gives parents the opportunity to work out while their children are being watched in the kids room. The kids room is staffed by Fitness 19 employees. Fitness 19 boast its kids room is clean, safe, has toys safe for children three and under, and also has a TV and DVD player.
Few Amenities

Fitness 19 does lack certain amenities that other gyms have. There is no pool or sauna at Fitness 19. There are also no showers or locker rooms available to members. Members of Fitness 19 do have access to a changing room and can store items in a locker area located on one wall of the gym. Members must bring their own locks to secure items in lockers.

Fitness 19 is good for individuals looking for a place to workout without interest in a lot of extras. There is high quality equipment that can be used for low fee and Fitness 19 is an excellent choice for an individual whose one goal is to get a good workout.

No Contract

Fitness 19 uses Life Fitness cardio equipment to help make sure members get the most effective and safest workout possible. Types of cardio equipment available include treadmills, stair climbers, lifecycles, and eliptical cross trainers. Depending on the time of day and day of the week it can sometimes be difficult to get the machine a member desires to use, but with the other options available this is usually not a problem for many individuals. There is usually always some form of cardio equipment not being used.
Strength Training

Fitness 19 has a strength training area that consists of free weights, and different equipment designed on working out each and every area of the body. Fitness 19 uses Life Fitness and MTS Hammer equipment. Regardless of when a member is working out he usually has no problem finding an open piece of equipment that he desires to use. The strength training area of the gym is usually less crowded than the cardio area.
Personal Training

Fitness 19 gives members the opportunity to work with qualified personal trainers for one-on-one support. A member who wants to be assigned a personal trainer will be required to pay an additional fee.

Reaching milestones is sweet

Monday might tell a different story, but this weekend I reached a milestone that made me happy.

I dipped below 200 pounds for the first time in 12 years. The scale read 199.5 pounds. It might not read that Monday after I treat myself to pizza for Super Bowl Sunday, but for one day I dipped below 200 and I plan to be below 200 when we end 40 days and 40 nights Wednesday morning.

That is a day we will celebrate the end of no fried foods, alcohol, desserts and regular soda. We are near the end and it is great to see people reaching goals.

It is great when you accomplish something. It does not matter if you are dipping below 200 pounds or 300 pounds for the first time in a while. We all have our own personal battles.

I feel pretty good about going below 200. It was tough, but it is something that needed to be done. I began this journey at 234 pounds and at one point I had gotten up to 243 pounds. My friends say I didn't look that bad then. I always wonder if they were being nice or if they meant it.

We have big goals we want to reach and within those goals are small battles. My ultimate goal is to reach 185 although my loving trainer and I are having a dispute about that. She does not want me to go below 190 because she claims she can give me a six pack of muscle by the end of summer and wants the additional five pounds.

I told her I didn't have a six pack when I was 16 so it is not happening now. I love goals, but let's be realistic.

Today will be a tough day for many. I am going to eat salad early in the day but my Super Bowl treat is pizza. I will have pepperoni on my pizza, but it also will be loaded with vegetables and I will have no more than three pieces all day.

I have already put in an hour of exercise and will drink two gallons of water today.

Good luck and enjoy the game. But don't go overboard. We still have goals to meet.

Ricky Ponting & The Brain Fitness

Guess what! I have just watched Ricky Ponting, the Australian cricket captain, being interviewed on TV. He was man of the match and Australia had won the series against Pakistan in Hobart, Tasmania.


In an earlier post (the Building Blocks of the BFP, December 2009) I said that I could never understand a word Ponting said because he spoke so quickly….it was just a gabble to me (and it is not my hearing that’s the problem!) Well, as he received the trophy, his speech was at breakneck speed, his interview was just as hurried, but I understood every word he said! I was astonished and even turned down the TV volume to halfway to check. But I could still follow his responses with ease….

My auditory pathways seem to have had a surprising tune-up! If I was looking for evidence of any transfer of training from the BFP to everyday experience that would be the obvious one for me. But I don’t think there is a Ph.d in this observation!

By the way cricket is only of passing interest…I prefer watching tennis at the Australian Open.

B.F.A. Editor Note: That is very exciting news, Margaret! Many people begin to notice the positive benefits from the Post Science Brain Fitness Program Classic after they have completed the sessions. As with so many things in life, they often appear when we are not looking for them (like lost keys and ladybirds)

The Grand Del Mar in San Diego offers fitness classes for golfers

WHAT: There's much more to golf than cruising the course in a cart. In fact, to achieve consistency and distance in their swing, golfers require strength, flexibility, balance, endurance and stamina.

Masterminded by fitness and golf experts, The Grand Del Mar's two new golf fitness classes are tailored to help attain peak performance on the course - and equip golfers for powerful play.

Golf Fitness Class - The Grand Del Mar's PGA-certified Director of Golf, Shawn Cox, developed this intensive course in tandem with fitness pro, Kimberly Wagner. A veteran yoga and Pilates instructor, as well as a certified medical exercise and post-rehab specialist, Wagner conducts the 60-minute class which includes stretches to improve overall flexibility, help lower handicaps and prevent injury - with specific pelvic stability exercises to build core strength and improve the golf swing without back pain. Balance exercises are also incorporated to help players focus on the course.

Golf Flex Class - Taught by fitness expert, Kasey Salgado, certified by The American Council of Exercise and American Institute of Fitness Educators, this 45-minute class works on seven key stretches with a focus on the hips and shoulders, each essential for increasing range of movement and fostering flexibility for golfers.

Classes are complimentary for in-house guests and The Grand Golf Club members;

Tips for Proper Training and Ab Fitness

Proper training involves a mind body aspect and all around general fitness. You want a balance in the development of the muscles all the way around your core because otherwise more developed muscles compensate for weaker ones, resulting in muscles strain, fatigue and possible injury. Hiring a personal trainer as a one time consultant to set you up on a good program is a great way to ensure you get the results you are looking for.

Maintaining your ideal weight will help a great deal in allowing freshly trained abs to show. Healthy weight loss allows your hard work to give a personal reward. Despite common misconception, it is not possible to lose weight only from your stomach simply by doing even huge numbers of crunches.

A few specifics on the do and don't aspects:

* Do not do crunches lifting your back up past the point of lifting your shoulder blades off the floor.
* Do always support your neck
* Do not use momentum as a lifting force, go slower and use your muscles.
* Do make sure your eyes are looking at the ceiling for proper neck position
* Do take a full breath in and out with each repetition, crunches, side-lifts etc.
* Do use a fitness ball to increase auxiliary muscle development.
* Do buy an abs DVD if it helps motivate you.

Having a fit core is a vital component in maintaining a healthy body. With regular workouts you will reduce back pain, increase your lung capacity and improve athletic performance. You will also reap the rewards of having great posture and a more toned midsection. There is no downside to taking the time to take proper care of yourself.

A Brief Anatomy Review

There are actually a fairly large group of muscles which make up your core and they should all be worked to have optimal health and fitness. These muscles are as follows:

* erector spinae---run from the neck to the lower back
* multifidus--under the erector spinae
* hip flexors---pectineus,psoas major, rectus femoris,illiacus and sartorius
* rectus abdominus---the so-called "six pack" muscles
* external obliques---the sides of the waist and "vertical lines"
* internal obliques---under external obliques
* transverse abdominus---under obliques and surrounding the spine

The University of New Mexico professor Dr. Kravitz has some outstanding diagrams which allow you to see exactly where these are all located.
The Benefits of Proper Core Fitness

Proper training of your core muscles is much more important than just the aesthetic aspects of a flat, defined stomach. One of the most important factors is that the balanced training of your core alleviate a large amount of back pain. Sufferers of back pain know just how physically limiting it can be. Simple tasks like picking up a baby or bending over when you drop something become a challenge. Good training can relieve a large portion of back pain for many people. Another benefit is that proper training of the transverse abdominus can actually increase breathing capacity. Improved posture will yield physical benefits as well as making you look better. Of course, a great looking set of abs in and of itself is a great benefits.

Athletic performance, especially in sports which use a lot of rotational movements, will improve when your core is in peak condition. Is a faster tennis serve a goal? Perhaps you want to add more distance to your golf drive, a solid core workout will do both of those. Ask Tiger Woods, he actually does Pilates, which is a great workout both all around and for your core.
Your balance and posture will both improve with regular scheduled core training. Even if you do not play sports, you will still reap rewards. Climb a ladder around the house without fear, rescue your child's kitten when it is stuck in a tree or clean those rain gutters with confidence. Core training helps everyone, not just well-paid athletes.

Bringing fitness to the mall

For Steve Kettelberger, the Optimal Sport Health Club at the Burlington Center Mall is convenient as well as friendly.

“It’s a friendly atmosphere. The trainers are good here” Kettelberger, 45, said during a break in his workout at the gym on the second floor of the mall on Route 541 in Burlington Township.

Kettelberger, a Bucks County, Pa. resident who owns the Blue Rock Construction co. in Burlington Township, said he works out about three times a week at a gym that seems to be a rarity in the region’s mall marketplace.

The owners of Optimal Sport believe there is plenty of demand for a place to work out. in fact, Optimal Sport -with gyms at the Burlington Center in Newtown, Bucks County, and in Philadelphia – has seen the clubs grow.

According to one of the business partners, Domenic Gallelli, the Philadelphia-based company started at the Burlington mall in July 2007.

Gallelli, company president Jeffrey D. Shablin, 45, and their other partner, Yul Giraldo, 35, were personal fitness trainers who met in Philadelphia, where they all live, Gallelli said.

Given their backgrounds and interests, it made sense to join forces, said the 36-year-old Gallelli. “We could be more productive if we could combine resources,” he said.

They opened their gym at the Burlington Center in July 2007.

Gallelli said an official from Jager Management, the Jenkintown, Pa., company that owns the mall, had visited the partners’ gym in Philadelphia and was impressed. “They asked us if we would look at the Burlington Center,” he said.

The trio, who had their first facility in Center City Philadelphia, was impressed with the mall and the surrounding area and signed a 10-year lease with the mall owners.

Optimal Sport replaced the gym leased by longtime fitness guru Joe Tete, a former state bodybuilding champion who had briefly occupied that spot at the mall. Optimal has all the usual weightlifting equipment plus group classes, day care and personal training.

Health clubs often are found in strip shopping centers and standalone locations, but they’re uncommon in the region’s malls. at the shopping venues owned by Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust – in Moorestown, Cherry Hill and Voorhees – there are no gyms, though there are ample sporting goods stores. in Pennsylvania, neither Neshaminy Mall in Bensalem nor Oxford Valley Mall in Middletown has a health club.

According to one industry analyst, the fitness sector – despite the difficulties imposed by the recession – has enjoyed healthy revenue growth as people look to fitness for fun and health. Figures from the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association show there are 30,000 health clubs nationwide, with 45 million members as of January 2009.

That number doesn’t surprise Gallelli, who has a master’s of business administration from the University of Pennsylvania. He said Optimal Sport’s membership has grown from about 150 three years ago to more than 3,000 at the three gyms.

The company’s newest spot is Optimal Sport on South Eagle Road in Newtown, which opened in January 2009. The Newtown health club is the largest of the three, at 14,500 square feet, Gallelli said.

Bringing in new customers is the key to success, Gallelli said.

“We want people to feel good about themselves,” he said. “There’s got to be some measure of loyalty.”

Facial Exercises for Health

xercising the facial muscles will not save lives in the same way that working the heart muscle might, but toning the face for at least five to 10 minutes every three days or so improves blood circulation and provides needed nutrients to facial skin for a healthier complexion. Facial exercises also help the skin absorb moisture which strengthens connective tissues.
Facial Exercises for a Youthful Appearance

When a body is well exercised, it looks younger. In the same way, when the muscles of the face are exercised, they become firm and toned, giving a more youthful appearance. When the muscles become tighter, sagging is reduced or eliminated, the chin, mouth and cheeks become firmer, the complexion becomes brighter. There is no guarantee that facial exercises will make an exerciser look 10 or 15 years younger, although that is certainly possible in many cases. But facial exercises will make a person look healthy and toned, regardless of age, whether they are 20 or 80.
Excuses for Not Exercising the Face

Facial exercises were once considered ineffective by the health and wellness community, but more frequently exercises for the face are being recognized as an important part of total body fitness. The arguments that facial exercises don't work are being repudiated by the "proof in the pudding" results of those who perform them.

Another excuse for not doing facial exercises is that they take up too much time. Indeed, some advocates of facial exercise suggest doing them three times a day! But most facial exercises only take five to ten minutes, and need only be done a few days a week.

Calorie counts for five popular Super Bowl party favorites

o you’re thinking Super Bowl halftime activities. Forget The Who and Lingerie Bowl VII.

pizzaYou’re thinking food and brews, because it’s only been five weeks since America’s last food orgy (read: Christmas), and the guacamole and chips you’ll be shoveling in won’t be enough.

Here’s a calorie scorecard to keep track of five party favorites:

1. Beer: Those 12 fluid ounces total 103 calories for a typical light brew, 153 for high-octane.
2. Wings: Judging by KFC’s Fiery Buffalo Wings, each one will set you back 80 calories.
3. Pizza: A 14-inch thick-crust pepperoni will cost you 2,826 calories (unless you share with seven others — then it’s just 353 per slice!). Go thin and you’ll save a few calories (2,647 for the whole pie; 330 a slice).
4. Brats: A veal brat will cost you about 286 calories, a beef hot dog about 188. Add another 100 or so calories for the bun. And we won’t even get into the condiment issue.
5. Quesadillas, chicken edition: Plan to share. Orders range from 2,140 calories (at Outback Steakhouse it serves four) to 1,550 (Chili’s bacon ranch).

So fill up on cherry tomatoes (3 calories each) — our next national eat-a-thon is a week away, and you know there’s no shortage of calories in a box of Valentine’s Day chocolates.

fitness files

nother in a regular series of entirely self-indulgent posts updating my major fitness goals for 2010: Complete at least one 15K run (9.3 miles) and get my weight down to 175 lbs.

Well ... this was a bit of a rough week. It was very busy at work with a lot of long days, so I made my workouts a lot less physically challenging in order to not injure myself. Heck, on Thursday night, I walked for 30 minutes on the treadmill because after a 12-hour day, I had zero energy for running. But I didn't miss a workout, and I managed to get my weight down to 176.6 lbs., so I'm within striking distance of my 175 immediate goal (although realistically, I now want to get to 170 lbs so I can challenge Georges St. Pierre for the UFC welterweight title). (That's a joke, by the way.)

Move of the Day - Olympian Kikkan Randall's Tank Top Toner!

Countdown alert: The opening ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games are just a week away! (Sorry, football fans - this eclipses Super Bowl excitement, in my book).

Today's move of the day comes from our awesome Olympic tone-up featured in our February issue and, more specifically, from cross-country skiing superstar Kikkan Randall. (Go for the gold, Kikkan!) The Alaskan's secret for staying super-fit? Working out first thing in the morning! Setting her alarm ensures she'll never skip an end-of-the-day workout because she's too tired. Sounds like a smart strategy.

Try Kikkan's favorite sculptor, the Tank Top Toner. You'll work your chest, arms and abs.

Obesity Studies Weak Without Fitness

important is fitness in studying obesity cases? Very, according to professor Steven Blair of the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. Blair argues that that the government's focus on obesity has sidelined the importance of fitness; his research shows that fitness can trump obesity, and that moderately fit obese people have nearly the same prospects as thin people.

Blair discussed with National Journal the importance of recognizing fitness when looking at obesity.

NJ: Are we gaining weight because of modern conveniences such as elevators, air conditioning, etc.?

Blair: The major cause of the obesity epidemic has been declining levels of energy expenditure brought about by all sorts of modern conveniences at home, at work, etc. Now, that's my opinion, because we have never seen fit to actually collect really good data on energy balance to know which side of the energy balance equation is really driving the weight gain. So I don't see how we'll ever get effective strategies for dealing with it until we nail [it] down a little better. Is it increased intake or decreased expenditure? I put my bet on the latter.

NJ: How useful are the studies of a population's obesity if those studies do not examine the fitness of heavy people?

Blair: I think any research that purports to examine overweight, obesity, fat distribution and any health outcome that fails to measure physical activity objectively, accurately or measure fitness accurately -- if they don't do that, it's junk science. And you should just simply ignore it. Because in studies such as ours, where we have objective measures of adiposity and fat distribution, an objective laboratory test of fitness, when we look at fatness and mortality and adjust for fitness, it eliminates the association between fatness and early mortality, mortality from cardiovascular disease, a wide range of health problems. We've got to study these two things equally or it's junk science. I would never submit a paper on activity or fitness and any health outcome without at least height and weight, if not measures of adiposity.

NJ: Why are the fitness companies apparently uninterested in marketing fitness to older and heavier people?

Blair: I'm a little amazed by that [laughs]. The fitness companies seem to focus their attention on the younger, the fit, the athletes. You know, there are an awful lot of people in my generation who could benefit from being more active. And you occasionally see a little interest from the fitness companies, whether that's shoes or equipment and the like. I'm a little surprised that they aren't more actively engaged in a public health effort to promote physical activity and fitness for people of all ages.

Sneaky Weapon Retention When Fighting in Built Up Areas

You often have very little room to maneuver when you're fighting in built up areas like urban or suburban environments. Battlefields, defending against a home-invasion robbery and facing off against a violent urban attacker all place you at greater risk because your maneuvering space can be so restricted.

When you're fighting in built up areas, gaining access to a weapon is one of the most important survival principles. Urban areas should always provide plenty of improvised weapons, including nearby sticks, metal bars, bricks and other objects. Soldiers will probably already have their weapons with them while fighting. In built up areas, however, the confined spaces you're fighting in make it extremely easy to drop or even lose your weapon.

Tripping, falling, banging into a wall or encountering some other obstacle is easy when you're fighting in built up areas. You have a greater chance of losing your weapon when space is tight, but so does your opponent. Either one of you could drop your weapon during a close-quarters struggle. If that happens, your initial impulse will be to try to get it back. Doing this can be a mistake and actually get you killed. Here's why...

When fighting in built up areas, almost every fighter, especially one that lacks training, makes the mistake of focusing on the weapon rather than the true threat. The weapon can't harm you by itself, but your attacker can and he's your real threat. Here are some tips to follow if it looks like you'll be in a life-or-death struggle for a loose weapon, especially when your maneuvering room is restricted:

Weapons Tip # 1 for Fighting in Built Up Areas: Quit being concerned about the weapon and concentrate on your real enemy. Your weapon won't be able to harm you as long as it's still on the ground or the floor.

Weapons Tip # 2 for Fighting in Built Up Areas: Use your opponent's survival instincts as a weapon against him. Use the loose weapon as bait, because he'll go for it instinctively. You'll be able to target him more effectively while he's focusing on the weapon.

Weapons Tips # 3 for Fighting in Built Up Areas: Use everything you can fight with. Kick your assailant while he's trying to get the loose weapon. Pour on the hammerfist blows. Slam him with your knee. He'll never reach the weapon but you'll be able to overwhelm him while he's trying.

Weapons Tip # 4 for Fighting in Built Up Areas: When your enemy is on the defensive you'll be able to get the weapon yourself. Then, either let him escape or finish him off if legally justified.

The hazards you face might be different when you're fighting in built up areas. Think outside the box with your self-defense training and the environment you usually train in.

Is Walking the Best Way to Lose Weight?

Hello Everybody,

If you have looked in the mirror, and decided to lose weight before you look again, you will have wondered what is the best way to lose weight. You will need to change your diet and get daily exercise. But what sort of exercise? There are many ways of doing it. I recommend walking but is walking really the best way to lose weight?

Let us look some of the options.

Going to the Gym. This is fine for some, and certainly can be an enjoyable social event. There are many types of exercise available in a gym that you cannot do at home. But be aware that high impact exercise can have a bad effect on the joints, bones and muscles of the over fifties. So choose what you do carefully. The cost might be high, but having paid to join there is an incentive to carry on and get your money’s worth.

Exercising at Home. I think of this as the hardest of all. Not only can it become boring and easy to give up, but you may even increase your weight by snacking afterwards. You are always close to the fridge. However if it is the only way you can exercise do it. Avoid the snacks and it will help you lose weight.

Cycling. This is excellent. If you can cycle on a regular basis you will get good aerobic exercise. It will combat heart disease, high blood pressure and type- 2 diabetes. An hour’s cycling will burn off 300 calories - the equivalent of a chocolate bar. It improves leg strength and in older people helps balance, which in turn makes them less likely to fall and sustain bone fractures. Of course, a fall from a bicycle may be more dramatic than a fall on an icy pavement. So I would not recommend cycling to people who are really elderly and unfit. Also a bicycle costs money, it may be a good investment and better for you in the long run than a coach trip to see the Lion King, but bicycles are not cheap. Some people just cannot afford them.

Swimming. This is another good way of exercising and can be enjoyed well into old age. The support water gives the body allows for safe, easy exercise with less stress on joints and muscles. It improves cardiovascular conditioning, increases muscle strength and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Also swimming can be a social form of exercise and most pools have a coffee shop where you can go to meet friends and make new ones. The cost of a daily swim is not high and I recommend it. The downside of course, is that you need easy access to a swimming pool. For some people this is not possible and so swimming may not be an option.

Walking. I think walking is the best and easiest option. I would say that wouldn’t I, but let us look more closely. Walking, so long as you do enough of it each day, is an aerobic exercise that gives all the benefits of improved fitness. It combats heart disease, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes and some cancers like the other forms of exercise. But you do not need to pay for a gym, get bored at home, buy a bicycle or have a long journey to a swimming pool. If you want to socialise join a walking club, if you like stress get a dog, if you like your own company you can have it. I will not say walking costs nothing. You will need to buy a pair of boots and maybe some other clothes.. But once you have your kit you have it for a long time. So for me the best way of losing weight really is walking. Try it.

Developing the Moves

Marco Borges: Well, really the catalyst that sort of sparked the interest in creating this program was because on a daily basis, people in Miami and south Florida are pretty health-conscious and are very physically fit and active. I was constantly getting requests from friends, family members, clients and people in general -- everyone wants to start a new exercise program, or at least engage in some sort of regular exercise, they just never really know how to get started. And finally I thought to myself, why not teach people how to use their body? Maybe if I taught people that by activating certain joints they would essentially be working different muscle groups, then that would allow people to understand how the machines work a bit easier. So I broke it down into the four major joints of the body that control all major muscle groups.

Suite101: Your programs are sophisticated but also very minimalist in terms of what you need beyond your natural body weight .

Marco Borges: You really don’t need a lot, and the truth of the matter is I think exercise really needs to be fun. At the end of the day, we all should be doing some sort of exercise, some sort of physical training on a daily basis, or at least three to four times a week. Most people don’t want to become trainers, they don’t want to become exercise physiologists, they just want to empower themselves with the knowledge necessary to create workouts for themselves, so they can go on with their daily activities. If you make it too difficult and complicated, yes, you’ll engage them for a day or two because of that wow factor but after a couple of days, everyone falls off – because in the back of their mind, they have so many other things that they really believe they should be thinking about instead. That’s the one thing about running or walking that people love the most – you don’t have to be thinking about the next exercise, you don’t have to think about piece of equipment, you don’t need to stand by a machine, you just put on a pair of running or walking shoes and just let your mind be free. I thought if I could take that approach to resistance training, which is very necessary, then I might be able to have something – and I believe that we nailed it.
Marco Borges: Yes, I was looking for just that. And I think because of the fact that I was born and raised in Miami but my work takes me also all over the world and I spend a great deal of the year in different continents. I spend half of my week in New York City every week, so I’m on at least two planes a week. I live in Miami, and I don’t understand why people want to run on treadmills when it’s beautiful outside, but then I also live in New York where it’s freezing for a large portion of the year. So yes, that portability is essential in having a program that if you’re looking for permanence, you have to have something that is extremely portable, that’s extremely easy to do and that’s very effective in a very short period of time – that is exactly what I try to do with every single one of the workouts, from the NoExcuse Workout to the Maintain/Stay in the Game even to Warrior Workouts that are geared toward more to the fitness enthusiast, I’m still conscious of the fact that these guys might be die-hard but they might want to work out at home just with a fit ball and a set of dumbbells. So I try to keep it as simple and bare bones as possible while producing the biggest results.

sleeping disorder

This is a sleeping disorder that in America alone affects
over 14 million people, and is characterized by pauses in
breathing during sleep. These pauses can last for 20 to 30
seconds or more. During an hour these sleep apnea episodes
can occur five to thirty times and can cause disruptions to
sleep. The condition is usually associated with snorting,
choking and loud snoring and it generally affects men and
older people but women and even children can suffer from it.

Those with sleep apnea are not always due to the nature of
the condition, aware that they have a sleeping disorder.
Because of that it is said that 80% to 90% of those
suffering are undiagnosed. It is generally the case that
their partners notice the condition and bring it to their

Types of sleep apnea

There are two types. The more common type is called
obstructive sleep apnea, and as the name suggests involves
a blocked airway, which can be the result of over-relaxed
throat muscles and tongue, obesity, and facial and bone
structure deformities. The blockage causes breathing to
stop and the person begins to struggle for breath and snort.

When a blockage occurs, the oxygen level decreases, while
the carbon dioxide level increases. This in turn stimulates
the brain to normalize the breathing process and prompts
the person to wake up and to open the airway by adjusting
the tongue and throat muscles. Breathing then returns to
normal accompanied usually by loud snoring. This usually
occurs without the person's knowledge and they may not
remember being awake for a short time or even be aware of
their gasps for air.

The second type is called central sleep apnea which is the
result of the brain's delayed signals to the breathing
muscles. This causes the breathing to stop and as a result
the oxygen level starts to drop. This condition is less
common than obstructive sleep apnea and is a nervous system
disorder brought on by an injury or a disease that involves
the brainstem. This could be in the form of a stroke or
brain tumour amongst other things. Although those with this
condition may not typically snore, they may experience
shortness of breath.

Although both types have different causes, their effects
are the same: low level of oxygen in the brain, poor sleep,
excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and sometimes as a
result, depression. Side effects of the disorder can be
high blood pressure and heart irregularities when the
oxygen levels become dangerously low. The condition can be
extremely disturbing to bed partners due to the loud
snoring and pauses in breath and can lead to the partner
suffering from sleep deprivation.

What to do

Since the condition occurs only during sleep it is hard for
a person to know they have sleep apnea. If a person
suspects they have the condition, especially if they
display signs of the symptoms, they can opt to have their
sleeping patterns documented. For example, the person's
partner could be asked to record episodes of breath pauses,
snoring, choking, snorting etc. If alone, the person can
video themselves sleeping to see if the symptoms are
displayed. By doing this the findings would determine if
seeing a doctor or sleep specialist was required.

When diagnosed, either the doctor or the sleep specialist
would put forward treatments or surgeries depending on the
severity of the condition. But do not despair. To overcome
minor sleep apnea,making some lifestyle changes or
behavioural treatments can, and are, very helpful. For
example, reducing or avoiding alcohol and tobacco, loosing
weight and ensuring that one has regular sleeping hours.

If diagnosed with sleep apnea, professional advice from a
doctor or sleep specialist will be necessary to treat the
condition satisfactorily.

Aficionados of cold water swimming claim

Tough Guy Challenge, is the original and toughest test of its kind anywhere in the World. Run on the last Sunday in January, you will need every last ounce of mental and physical strength you can muster to rise to this challenge. Your fear of heights, tight spaces, fire, water and electricity will be tested to the max. The Tough Guy Challenge is the ultimate endurance test and has the reputation of the most dangerous in the world. It’s been established for over 23 years, and now attracts over 6,000 willing athletes ready to give it a go and earn some money for charity.

The 13km army style assault course starts with a 10k cross country run, followed by a stretch of over 20 different obstacles including high dives into freezing cold lakes. Participants then climb up 20 foot cargo net towers, crawl through mud beneath barbed wire and conquer the dreaded under water caverns. The phenomena of Tough Guy has now evolved into cult status with mythical legends to a world wide audience and competitors from every continent join in to try to conquer the course. Each year a new theme is built into Tough Guy to ensure that it remains the world’s safest, most dangerous taste of mental and physical endurance.

It is the only one in the world which boasts over 100 man made assault and tree clambers.

* Behemoth is 200 ft x 50 ft x 24 ft high rope crossing.
* Sky Walk is 200 ft x 50 ft x 40 ft high.
* Gurkha Grand National
* Fiery Holes Battle of the Somme
* Stalag Escape Razor Wire.
* Anaconda.
* Vietcong Tunnels of Fear.
* Viagra Falls.
* Underwater Caverns Tour.

You’ll need to be in good physical condition, and be prepared to receive some broken limbs, torn flesh, bruises, cuts and infections. Last year, there was 1 broken neck, a dozen broken or dislocated bones and 600 people struck down with hypothermia! On the Tough Guy website, they ask you to sign a waiver. It reads:
“I confirm that if I should die on the Tough Guy route in 2009, that it is my own bloody fault for coming.” The prize is a free funeral and full honours worth £5000 exchangeable for cash in the box.

Tough Guy 2009 : overall winner was James Appleton who was overtaken just before the finish by Vito Graffagnino, but Vito was later disqualified for cheating.

Testimonial from Rob: “I would like to thank….. those marshals and St John’s ambulance staff who rescued me so efficiently from the bottom of Viagra Falls (where it turned out I had fractured my fibula) and took care of me afterwards. Despite the fact that I will be in plaster for the next 6 weeks I don’t regret it for a second and will be back to compete again soon.” (2009)

For more information and registration details visit : www.toughguy.co.uk
For extra help : www.doctordanger.com

2. The Death Race
Death Race, Vermont

Death Race, Vermont

Photo : www.flickr.com, Jamie from Montreal’s photostream

Riverside Farm, Pittsfield, Vermont, USA.
June, 2010

The Death Race is a true test of physical stamina and inner determination…. only about 10% of the competitors actually get to cross the finish line. It’s the brainchild of Joe DeSena, whose farm serves as both a base camp for the competitors and site of several of the 14 challenges along the 9.8-mile race route.

At the start of the race, each competitor must have a mountain bike, a shovel, a bucket (later filled with water or rocks), and an axe. However, the bike is not ridden for the first part of the race – the frame has to be carried….. as well as a tree stump!

Competitors aren’t given a race itinerary; they’re simply told to go from one task to the next, and all 14 challenges must be complete within 24-hours.

* The Death Race festivities actually start the day before, when Racers hike up the Riverside Hill with their bikes, but return only with their frames, leaving the wheels and chains behind.
* 4am on Race Day, competitors must find a tree stump (identified by their race bib), hack it out of the ground, and carry it with them the entire day.
* They must pick up their bike frames and, after negotiating two barbed-wire sections, jog a mile upstream in the Tweed River.
* Next is the wood-chopping station, where Racers must split 20 logs, then hike a mile uphill.
* They must find a raw egg, create a fire from scratch, boil water, and eat the egg. Only then can they retrieve their bike wheels.
* A volunteer then tosses their bike chain into the river, and the racers must dive in, find the chain, and reassemble their bikes.
* After a brief 300-yard pedal, they exchange the bike for a 40-pound bucket of rocks, which they must drag 1,000 feet straight up Joe’s Hill through “the ravine.’’

Death Race 2009 had co-winners – Richard Lee, a 27-year-old former British Royal Marine Commander, and Tom Worthington, a 22-year-old Second Lt. of the United States Marine Corps. Somewhere in the Labyrinth, the two Marines had agreed to cross the finishing line together. Their winning time was 11 hours 31 minutes.

For more information and registration details visit : www.peakraces.com/deathrace

3. The Barkley 100 Trail Race
The Barkley 100 Trail Race

The Barkley 100 Trail Race

Photo : www.daveharper.com

Frozen Head State Park, Near Wartburg, Tennessee, USA
March/April, 2010

The Barkley race motto is, “The race that eats its young.” This is a true purist’s ultramarathon. There are no aid stations, no fans, hardly any trail and tons of elevation, briars and insane weather. It has 52,900 feet of climb (and 52,900 feet of descent), which is more than any other 100 mile race.

The Barkley was started in 1986 as a 50 mile race, but there were no finishers until 1988. In 1995, it was extended to a 100 mile race, which now consists of a 20-mile (32 km) loop with water stations at two points along the route. Competitors must run this loop five times, with loops three and four being run in the opposite direction, and loop five being runner’s choice. The cut-off time for the 100 Mile race is 12 hours per loop.

The route consists of grim-sounding obsticles such as Coffin Springs, Rat Jaw, Leonard’s Butt Slide and Little Hell, Testicle Spectacle, Danger Dave’s Climbing Wall and Pig Head Trail. In addition to running, competitors must find between nine and 11 books (varies per year) and remove a page from each book as proof of completion. All this must be completed in rain, snow, sleet, and sometimes fog.

Only eight runners out of more than 650 have completed the 100 Mile race within the official 60 hour cut-off:
1995 Mark Williams,
2001 David Horton and Blake Wood
2003 Ted “Cave Dog” Keizer
2004 Jim Nelson and Mike Tilden
2008 Brian Robinson (course record 55:42:27)
2009 Andrew Thompson

Best woman achievement is Sue Johnston’s 66 miles (106 km) in 2001.

The race is limited to 35 runners and usually fills up quickly the day registration opens. Potential entrants must complete an essay on “Why I Should be Allowed to Run in the Barkley.”

For more information and registration details visit : www.mattmahoney.net/barkley/
More info at : www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barkley_Marathons

4. Raid Gauloises
Raid Gauloises - Oman 1992

Raid Gauloises - Oman 1992

Photo : http://www.flickr.com Frederic Noel’s photostream

Anywhere on the Planet!
Any time, any place

The Raid Gauloises or The Raid is considered by many to be the first modern advanture race and was first held in 1989. Its creator, Gerald Fusil, took the existing concept of long distance endurance races, and focused on the team aspects, requiring each competitor to be part of a five person, co-ed team. The Raid is not merely an endurance contest, as the course forces competitors to use their natural resourcefulness, knowledge and technical skills, as well as testing their stamina and mental toughness. Indeed, setting out on the Raid Gauloises adventure means creating a project, putting together a team, being physically ready, getting the equipment together, and going all the way to the finish line.

The Raid features various disciplines depending on the terrain present in the given course. These can include:
kayaking, hydro speed, in-line skating, snow shoeing, mountain biking, orienteering, canoeing, horse riding, camel riding, skiing, canyoning, caving, mountaineering, rafting, glacier traversing ,cycling, trekking sea, kayaking.

The rules are quite simple. There is a start and a finish, with a few checkpoints usually located at difficult spots. Each team has two helpers who will only meet them at checkpoints determined by the organizers. They are in charge of transporting food supplies, as well as a complete first aid kit and other equipment required for the event. The winning team is the one that finishes the race in the shortest amount of time.

Original Raid Gauloises events:
1989 – New Zealand
1990 – Costa Rica
1991 – New Caledonia
1992 – Oman
1993 – Madagascar
1994 – Malaysia
1995 – Argentina
1996 – not held
1997 – South Africa
1998 – Ecuador
1999 – not held
2000 – Tibet, Nepal
2001 – not held
2002 – Bac Ha, Vietnam
2003 – Kyrgyzstan

“The Raid” (since 2004)
The current format is a series of events called The Raid World Cup culminating in a world championship event called The Raid World Championship.

The Raid World Cup:
- The only global circuit of adventure racing events, with identical rules, format and management
- 50 co-ed teams, in each regional event, covering over 200km of mixed terrain
- 30 teams qualify for Raid World Championship

The Raid World Championship:
- An equitable global qualifying system
- The World’s 30 top teams
- An innovative and technical race course
- A stunning and challenging venue

Final Raid World Championship events:
2004 – Argentina
2005 – France / Italy / Switzerland
2006 – Canada
2007 – Not held

For more information visit : www.raidseries.com

5. Ironman
Ironman - Perth, Australia 2009

Ironman - Perth, Australia 2009

Photo : www.flickr.com, im.obrien’s photostream

Hawaii, USA
October 2010

The idea for the original Ironman Triathlon arose during the awards ceremony for the 1977 “Oahu Perimeter Relay”. Among the participants were numerous representatives of the Mid-Pacific Road Runners and the Waikiki Swim Club, whose members had long been debating which athletes were more fit, runners or swimmers. As a result, the Ironman Triathlon was born! It became the first major competition to develop the triathlon into an extreme endurance event.

“Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life”

The Ironman World Championship has been held annually in Hawaii since 1978. Originally held on the island of Oahu, the race was moved to Big Isalnd in 1981. The race consists of:

* The swim in Kailua-Kona Bay
* The bike ride across the Hawaiian lava desert to Hawi and back
* The marathon along the coast of the Big Island, from Keauhau to Keahole Point, to Kailua-Kona, finishing on Ali’i Drive.

The “Kona Ironman” is held in conditions which are uniquely punishing for endurance racing: the Hawaii water is warm enough that helpfully buoyant wetsuits are not allowed; though the cycling hills have only moderate gradients they are normally crossed by strong and gusting winds; and the marathon leg of the race is usually extremely hot.

Other races have their own difficulties, characteristic of their setting and season. The Ironman race starts at 7am and all finishers must complete their marathon by midnight. All Ironman events have a strict time limit of 17 hours to complete the race. Qualification into the The Ironman World Championship is decided though a series of 21 Ironman events held around the world, leading to the World Championship race in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Anyone completing one of these races within the time limit is entitled to call themself an Ironman (the term being gender-neutral).

The current Ironman Hawaii course record was set in 1996 by Luc Van Lierde (Belgium), whose winning time was 8 hrs 4 mins 8 sec. Chrissie Wellington (Great Britain), set the women’s course record in 2009 with a winning time of 8 hrs 54 mins 2 sec.

Ironman Triathlon races throughout the world:
USA : Arizona, Idaho, Florida, Lake Placid, New York, Wisconsin, Kentucky
Europe : France, Germany, Switzerland, UK, Spain, Austria
Asia : Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, China
Other countries : Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, South Africa, Mexico

The sport of Triathlon became an Olympic sport at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, but as a shorter distance race (1,500-metre (0.93 mi) swim, 40-kilometre (25 mi) cycle, 10-kilometre (6.2 mi) run).

For more information and registration details visit : www.ironman.com
More info at : www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ironman_Triathlon

6. The Jungle Marathon
Amazon Rainforest

Amazon Rainforest

Photo : www.flickr.com, dschmidts’ photostream

Santarem, Brazil
October, 2010

Competitors from around the globe will once again battle it out on tracks and trails through the Jungle in Brazil. The Jungle Marathon will take place in the area of Santarem in the state of Para, Brazil, in October 2010. Due to the isolated location and extreme conditions of this race, places are limited. Be a part of this incredible adventure!

The total distance to be covered is 200km in 6 stages over 7 days. Difficulty on the Jungle Marathon is not measured by distance, but by terrain. The stage distances are approximately as follows:

* Stage One – 16.3km
* Stage two – 24.5km
* Stage Three – 31.1km
* Stage Four – 18.4km
* Stage five – 87km – non stop overnight stage
* Stage Six – 24.8km finish

The course route is along pre-existing paths, trails and tracks through primary jungle. There will be natural obstacles to pass including streams and shallow rivers. The route will be well marked using coloured tape, paint markings and the use of landmarks to find your way. The night stage will be clearly illuminated and along easily navigable routes. Competitors are required to be self-sufficient from their arrival in Brazil until the finish at the end of the 200km stage. Runners are required to carry their foods and provisions during the race. The organisers will provide bottled water at designated checkpoints.

Jungle Safety:
Prior to the race, there is a detailed briefing given to runners by a military jungle specialist who will highlight dangers in the jungle and how to avoid them. This includes encountering wildlife, dealing with the terrain, dangerous and poisonous plants to avoid and your action plan if you are lost. There is a medical team at base at all times, ready to be deployed in the case of medical emergency.

Important Jungle Info:
Officially, October is the dry season in the Amazon, but you can expect showers every day. Competitors must take plenty of mosquito repellent, and practice how to hang a hammock and mosquito net so that no insects can find their way in.

For more information and registration details visit : www.junglemarathon.com

7. XPD Australia
Jen Segger, XPD Australia, 2007

Jen Segger, XPD Australia, 2007

Photo : www.challenge-by-choice.blogspot.com

Cairns and Tropical North Queensland, Australia
May, 2010

XPD is Australia’s own expedition length adventure race, and is held every 18 months in remote and exciting locations across Australia. Organisers plan to take competitors through the Great Barrier Reef and nearby islands, the rich and diverse rainforests of the wet tropics, over waterfalls and cascades that feed crystal clear rivers, across lakes of the tablelands and through eucalypt woodlands of the Eastern savannah country.

The 2010 XPD Adventure Race will bring over 200 national and international athletes to Australia. 50 teams of 4 competitors will push themselves to the ultimate limits of human endurance in this world renowned expedition. These adventurers will race day and night over a 700km course, in harsh and remote environments, and in all weather conditions. It will be “as much an expedition as a race”.

Teams are provided a course booklet and maps 24hrs before the start. The course booklet contains the location of each of the race checkpoints. To complete the course teams must navigate through all the checkpoints and arrive at the finish line at Race HQ. There will be no support crews and no outside assistance permitted at any stage. It is expected that the winning team will complete the course in 4-5 days. All other teams will be permitted up to 10 days to complete the course.

Teams must have good navigation skills. The course is not marked and teams are required to navigate their way (using map and compass) through all the checkpoints to the finish. Teams must carry and know how to use a Global Positioning System (GPS) in case of an emergency. At all other times the GPS will be sealed.

Teams will need to be competent trekkers and have good outdoor skills. Trekking will be over diverse terrains including tracks, cross country, coasteering, mountains and much more.

This may take place on inland rivers and lakes, on the ocean, or white water if the location suits.

Mountain Biking
Competitors should be prepared for a range of riding including fire trails, steep hills, unsealed roads, cross country, sealed roads and single track.

……. each edition may include additional disciplines applicable to the location.

For more information and registration details visit : www.xpd.com.au

8. World Winter Swimming Championship
Winter Swimming - Aleksandrs Jakovlevs, Latvia

Winter Swimming - Aleksandrs Jakovlevs, Latvia

Photo : www.2010winterswimming.com

Bled, Slovenia
January, 2010

There is no better place to host the Winter Swimming Championships, as the waters of Lake Bled are usually frozen in January. This means the temperature is just perfect for Winter Swimming! Athletes can test their mettle in some pretty jaw-locking, head-splitting, teeth-chattering races.

Aficionados of cold water swimming claim it gives them the ultimate high, making them feel invigorated, even euphoric. Swimming in the depths of winter is popular in Russia, China and Scandinavia. Finland has held the Winter Swimming Championships for several years, and these competitions attracted thousands of entrants who willingly plunged into pools carved from the ice, while the air temperature plummeted to as low as minus 45C.

The 2010 World Championship will include more then 700 winter swimmers from almost 20 countries. There will be 25m / 50m individual races, the 4 x 25m relay, and the endurance swim competition.

The rules of cold water swimming dictate that competitors can only wear normal costume or trunks, along with a hat and goggles. The only permissible stroke is head-up breast-stroke, as the head may not be submerged at any time.

For more information and registration details visit : www.2010winterswimming.com

9. Marathon des Sables
Crossing the Sahara Desert

Crossing the Sahara Desert

Photo: www.flickr.com, AlastairHumphreys photostream

Sahara Desert, Morocco
April, 2010

The “Marathon of the Sands” is regarded by many as the Toughest Footrace on Earth. It is a six-day, 254 km (156 mile) ultramarathon, which is the equivalent to six regular marathons. The longest single stage (2009) is 91 km (55 miles) long.

600 competitors from about 30 countries on six continents take part in this annual event. Competitors will traverse across the Sahara Desert of Morocco over seven days while carrying all their food and gear. Only a ration of nine litres of water and an open-sided Berber tent will be provided daily to competitors.

During the 1994 race, Italian police officer Maura Prosperi lost his way during a sand storm and wandered lost for more than 9 days, losing over 13 kg (30 lb) of body weight. Since 2007, two competitors have died during the race. Therefore, carrying a survival kit is important. This must include:

* A Distress flare
* Salt tablets
* luminous signal stick (non-stop stage)
* Anti-Venom pump (insect poison remover)

The 25th Marathon des Sables in 2010
James Cracknell, from Great Britain, will be the first Olympic Gold medalist at the starting line.
- 29 woman
- 246 men
- Age of youngest competitor : 16
- Age of oldest competitor : 71

For more information and registration details visit : www.darbaroud.com

10. Namibian 24h Ultra Marathon
Namibian 24h Ultramarathon

Namibian 24h Ultramarathon

Photo : www.nowpublic.net

Namib Desert, Namibia
April/May 2010

If you like extreme challenges….. then don’t miss the second edition of the Namibia 24Hour Ultra Marathon. This race is of such extreme nature that it will be a serious undertaking to train hard enough to cope with the onslaught of the Namib on your body. This 24 hour ultrmarathon takes the participants through one of the oldest deserts on earth, the Namib Desert, where temperatures can reach above 45 degrees Celsius during the day, and drop as low as 0 degrees Celsius at night. During the 2009 race, many runners felt the extreme heat was just too much with runners pulling out mainly due to heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Participants in this gruelling race must cover 126 km, a distance equivalent to three marathons, in 24 hours. Contestants will be completely self reliant from the start of the race till the end, and will need to carry their food and equipment on their backs. Water stations and medical tents will be provided at 20km intervals along the route.

Testimonial from Nick, 20/04/09
“Team Men’s Fitness” post-race blog : www.mensfitness.co.uk
“When I started the Namibia Ultra, I was still thinking of it as just a running race. By the end I was under no illusions – this was the most brutal physical challenge I have ever experienced and one that will live with me forever.”

For more information visit : www.acrossthedivide.com

11. Extreme Sports Week, Norway
Voss - Josh Neilson racing on the Brandseth

Voss - Josh Neilson racing on the Brandseth

Photo : Marit Stensby, www.whitewater-koa.blogspot.com

Voss, Norway
June/July 2010

Ekstremsportveko is the biggest sport and music festival of its kind, hosted every year in Voss, Western Norway. Thousands of people travel to this world famous extreme sports week. There are competitions in kayaking, rafting, mtb-bmx, kiting, skydiving, paragliding, hanggliding, multisport, free-ride, big air, climbing, BASE and longboarding. Events, competitions, demonstrations and activities also take place throughout the week, with live music and parties each evening, making this one of Norway’s coolest events.

Unique to Ekstremsportveko is the “Horgi Ned” (Lønahorgi Down). This is an untraditional version of a triathlon, where they´ve swapped running with downhill skiing, road biking with downhill biking and swimming with white water kayaking.

Part 1- Skiing
The competition starts at Lønahorgi (1400 metres above sea level), one of the highest mountains around Voss. The first part of the competition is downhill skiing from Lønahorgi down a marked track to Afdalsstølen. This part of the competition takes approximately 10-15 minutes.

Part 2 – Biking
After you´ve finished skiing at Afdalsstøen (800 metres above sea level), you have to quickly change your gear and jump on a mountain bike. From here you have to bike a medium technical track, a gravel road and up a sealed road to Villmarksleiren (Wilderness Camp). This takes approximately 10-15 minutes.

Part 3 – Kayaking
Get into your smelly kayaking gear at Villmarksleiren. The kayaking section starts here and ends by the rapid “Kåre”. At a medium water level the hardest rapids on this section is grade 4, thus you have to be an intermediate/expert kayaker with a reliable roll. This takes approximately 7-10 minutes.

Due to lots of logistical problems, there are only places for 20 teams and 20 individual athletes….. so register early for “Horgi Ned” to avoid disappointment!

For more information and registration details visit : www.ekstremsportveko.com

12. Everest Marathon
Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp

Photo : www.mountainkingdoms.com

Mount Everest, Nepal
November, 2011

The Everest Marathon is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the highest marathon in the world. The start line is at Gorak Shep 5184m (17,000 feet), close to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. The finish is at the Sherpa town of Namche Bazaar at 3446m (11,300 feet) and the course is a measured 42 km (26.2 miles) over rough mountain trails. It is the world’s most spectacular race and has been held twelve times since 1987.

There may be snow and ice on the upper part and there is considerable exposure along much of the route. For this reason the race is only suitable for runners with recent experience of cross country, fell or mountain running and endurance events. Experience of rough terrain is essential and road marathon experience is not sufficient.

The terrain is also very varied: boulders, grass, sandy scree, stone staircases, trails through forest and exposed paths which contour the mountain sides. The trails will seem quite good to experienced mountain or fell runners, but there are additional hazards by way of narrow suspension bridges and yak trains. The race course is not marked and it is the responsibility of each runner to learn the route on the trek up.

There are aid posts approximately every 3 miles each staffed by a marshal who can provide refreshments. Doctors are also available at some aid posts to provide medical cover. In order to acclimatise naturally to the high altitude, the race is preceded by a 16 day trek in the Everest region. This allows time for high altitude training under medical supervision.

For more information and registration details visit : www.everestmarathon.org.uk

13. Arctic Circle Race
The Arctic Circle Race

The Arctic Circle Race

Photo : www.peakraces.com/peak100/arctic-circle-race

Sisimuit, Greenland
April, 2010

The Arctic Circle Race was created in 1998 and is now one of the regular annual events on the international sporting calendar for cross-country skiing enthusiasts. It’s been called the world’s toughest ski run, and is an extreme physical challenge. The race takes place through the magnificent countryside around Sisimiut on Greenland’s west coast approx. 65 km north of the Arctic Circle.

The total race distance is 160 km, which takes place over 3 days. Good physical fitness, mental strength and a real spirit of adventure are the most important qualities for competitors. At night the skiers sleep in tents in the middle of the Arctic wilderness, whilst during the race itself they are accompanied by dogsleds for safety reasons.

Survival in arctic areas
The wind-chill factor increases the cold effect drastically, which can cause hypothermia, local frostbite, and snow blindness. In case of a sudden storm and white out, competitors should be able to take care of themselves for at least 24 hours until rescue personnel can reach them. Therefore, each skiier should always have a first-aid kit, and an emergency ration of food for at least 24 hours. Thankfully, a doctor will be on the track to take care of injuries during the race.