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Runners: Pump Up Your Power with RUN STRONG and Ultra-Marathoner Robin Arzon

Written on January 6, 2014 at 3:07 pm , by

Strength is power, ladies. Want to scale those hills on race day without losing steam? You know what to do. (Photo courtesy of Fred Goris)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Fit moms, triathletes, power lifters and gym-goers looking for functional training have all benefited from the recent surge of small group workout classes tailored specifically to their goals and needs. And now, it’s the runner’s turn! Ultra-marathoner Robin Arzon knows first-hand about the proper training regimen required for a powerful runner. She’s also aware that plenty of people pounding the pavement aren’t always getting what they need. That’s why she teamed with celebrity trainer and founder of the new, New York-based S10 Training club, Stephen Cheuk, to create RUN STRONG, a series of strength and conditioning classes designed with the runner in mind.

Now you might be thinking, running only requires being in good cardiovascular shape and a little leg muscle to keep moving, right? Not quite. Core, quad and glute strength is critical for any runner looking to cover substantial distance with power and protect the body from injury at the same time.

“Too many runners can’t even do a single push-up. That’s about to change,” says Arzon, who recently ran five marathons in five days for MS Run the US. “RUN STRONG is about challenging a runner’s body with weight-bearing exercises that don’t add bulk, and VO2 Max drills that can’t even be replicated on the track.”

As the spring race season approaches, there is no better time to take your training to the next level (especially if you’re giving the More/Fitness Women’s Half Marathon a go on April 13!). Each class is limited to eight people, which helps inspire an encouraging yet competitive environment, and ensures individualized assistance from Arzon herself.  Visit the S10 Training website for available class times at the downtown Manhattan studio.

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McDreamy Gets Dreamier (Believe It!) for Cancer Hope and Healing

Written on October 1, 2013 at 12:23 pm , by

Run/ride like Patrick Dempsey is waiting at the finish line. Oh wait, he is! (Photo credit: Patrick McCarthy)

Known for making scrubs look sexy with ease is none other than McDreamy, and now Patrick Dempsey has fit gals like us weak in the knees by getting his sweat on in bike shorts. Why? Not that we really need a reason, but it’s for a good cause. So yes, he’s good-looking, talented, in incredible shape and philanthropic. (Insert extra swoon here.)

Clearly, biking has become more than just a joy ride for this star. It’s become a passion and family affair with his wife and three kids, plus a way to raise funds for The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing. “I’m not a big fan of running—I really love cycling and the sense that you can go somewhere,” he recently dished, while reminiscing about pedaling around as a kid, the only way for him to get from point A to B at a young age. “Growing up in the country, it was a form of escape and freedom.”

On October 12 and 13, runners, walkers and riders—including Dempsey—will come together for the fifth-annual Dempsey Challenge in Lewiston, Maine to support his center. Founded in 2008 after the actor’s mother battled three bouts of ovarian cancer, the safe haven provides free support, education and integrative medicine services for those impacted by cancer. “The last four years, we’ve raised over a million dollars in the event. It’s incredible,” Dempsey says. “It’s amazing the amount of support and commitment people have to the challenge. We’re going to have fun things around, like food trucks and entertainment, to celebrate. Plus, everyone gets lobster and beer at the end!”

Between his time on the big screen, a little show called Grey’s Anatomy and now the race track—he clearly has a need for speed—finding time to get his sweat on can be tough, the Clif Bar lover admits. (His fave flavors? Crunchy Peanut Butter and Blueberry Crisp.) “I try to balance it between going to the gym and getting a good core workout in. And then getting out on the bike for at least an hour, hour and half if I can, three or four times a week.” Hikes in the mountains surrounding Santa Monica and barefoot runs along the beach are also a part of his training. “I find that to be low impact on my body,” he says. “The sand helps stabilize your core!” Uh huh, drink in that image…

To learn more about this year’s challenge and their incredible partnerships—Dempsey raved about Positive Tracks, a New Hampshire-based non-profit that encourages the youth to get active and give back through charitable athletic efforts—be sure to head over to their website, ‘like’ their Facebook page and follow the event on Twitter.

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Kara DioGuardi Takes Charge of Her Health—For the Long Run

Written on September 20, 2013 at 11:09 am , by

“Being proactive can be lifesaving,” Kara said, urging women to consult with their doctors about being tested. (Photo courtesy of Stephen J. Finfer)

Songwriter, producer and Warner Brothers exec Kara DioGuardi was living in Manhattan playing Roxie Hart in the Broadway musical Chicago when she saw a life-changing (and arguably life-saving) news report. It was WABC-TV New York’s Stacy Sager’s story that struck a familiar chord with Kara, as the journalist discussed her breast and ovarian cancer family history and the proactive test that determines carriers of the hereditary gene mutation. (The same exam Angelina Jolie made headlines with back in Maywhich positive results led to her preventative double mastectomy.)

“I tested positive for BRCA2which meant I had up to an 80 percent chance of getting breast cancer, and a 40 percent chance of ovarian cancerand subsequently underwent a complete laporoscopic hysterectomy last December [2012] to reduce my likelihood of breast and/or ovarian cancer by fifty percent,” Kara recently told us. In January, the former American Idol judge plans to further lower her risk by having a prophylactic mastectomy.

“I feel great,” she says. “I had a great doctor and support system who mentally and physically prepared me for the surgery. I urge anyone with breast or ovarian cancer in their families (mother or father’s side) to get tested. As cliché as it sounds, knowledge is power.”

Now a healthy mom of eight-month-old Greyson (she and husband Mike McCuddy turned to surrogacy following five years of fertility issues), Kara is back in the swing of things teaching for a second year at Berklee College of Music in Boston, running her publishing company, Arthouse, and finding new talent for her Warner Brothers affiliated record label.

Her best sweat secret to finding fit time between all of the juggling? “I recently started P90X and if I hadn’t, I am not sure I would be able to lift my big boy as easily,” she reveals. “I love it because it has taught me exercises I can do anywhere at anytimeeven getting 20 minutes in a day is enough!”

Check out that pretty start line full of supporters! (Photo courtesy of Angela Daves)

Besides following Tony Horton’s regimen (and her upper body workout of a son), Kara is now gearing up for the inaugural Run for Her New York Walk on October 27 in support of ovarian cancer research. Lucky for us East Coasters, the popular Los Angeles walk’s growth sparked the organization of this year’s New York City event to continue raising funds for advancing medical discoveries and treatments, alongside awareness of the fifth-leading cause of cancer deaths in women.

“This event is very important to me as it brings the ongoing battle of ovarian cancer to the forefront,” Kara says. “I will run in honor of my mother, Carol DioGuardi, who died of ovarian cancer at 58. She was not given the option of genetic testing. It may have saved her life. Although running has never been my strong suit, I plan on completing the 5K for all those women out there who have been affected by this insidious disease.”

Sign up now (early registration costs only $35!) to join Kara at the Hudson River Park and support the Women’s Cancer Program at Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. West Coast gals, be sure to get moving for the cause in L.A. November 10.

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Tough Mudder Tips: Forget Fear, Whining and Inhibition

Written on November 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm , by

Sprinting through the electroshock wasn’t as bad as I had expected…but it still stung! (Photo courtesy of AeroShot Energy)

500,000 worldwide participants. 12 miles. 22 death-defying obstacles designed by British Special Forces to test your physical strength, stamina and mental toughness. Fun or just darn crazy? After tackling my biggest fears in this year’s Tri-Sate Tough Mudder, I would have to say a little of both. I’m claustrophobic, afraid of heights and, like most people, don’t do well in the cold but I pledged to overcome these anxieties with my three fellow AeroShot teammates so I did—10,000 volts of electricity, mud, ice water and all.

I’m officially a proud survivor and even considering signing up for another adventure race—preferably during a summer in the future—now that I’ve scrubbed off all traces of mud. It’s funny how your perception can change for the better after a hot shower and rest! Is a Tough Mudder a fit feat you have had your eye on? Save up for the hefty entrance fee (it’s worth it!), sign that waiver and vow to conquer your fears in support of the Wounded Warrior Project. Here are a few tips to completing the course so you, too, will be on your way to earning that orange headband and beer at the finish line.

1. Endurance-Ready. Team Aero was fortunate enough to have recruited former champion boxer and fitness expert, Michael Olajide, Jr., as their trainer. In between his toning sessions with some of our favorite Victoria’s Secret models, Michael had us sparring, jump roping and overall strengthening our way to Tough Mudder-status. Check out his at-home training regimen here or give the Tough Mudder Boot Camp Training a try. Thanks to AeroShot Energy, we were also outfitted with the new air-based caffeine supplements, which gave us the boost we needed during our training and event. New to adventure races? Take your training to the trails and incorporate hill work into your cardio routine.

The post-race, muddy shot of Team AeroShot, made up of Blood Sweat and Cheers’ Erin Kelly, myself, The Roosevelt’s Stephen Gebhardt and SHAPE Magazine’s Abby Lerner. (Photo courtesy of AeroShot Energy).

2. Rally a team. Although fellow participants are more than willing to lend a hand, banding together a hardcore team that has your back helps. Plus, boosting your besties over 12-foot walls makes things all the more fun! Our small group of four was ideal, in terms of sticking together and facing the grueling challenges head on. Camaraderie plays an integral part in the race so be sure to bring your positive, “give it your best shot” attitude and strive to be a team player.

3. It’s not a “race.” Yes, you read that right—time doesn’t matter. As the event’s official website says, “We sincerely believe that worrying too much about your time takes away from some of the most important parts of Tough Mudder. Namely, camaraderie and teamwork.” Since time is on your side, be sure to stay fueled and hydrated along the course, taking advantage of the water/First Aid stations. It’s an arduous three hours of non-stop action so tucking an energy pick-me-up like GU in a pocket is a great idea. Also, there’s no shame in skipping an obstacle you don’t feel comfortable with. Your personal safety is the number one priority! The point is to feel accomplished at the end and if that means walking around the terrifying “Trench Warfare,” like I did, so be it.

4. Don’t dress to impress. Weather conditions may vary but one thing is for sure, comfort can make or break you wading through water and trekking through muck. In other words, save showing off that 6-pack for another time, unless you want to go home with a scraped up belly. As I learned the hard way with my heavy hoodie, less is more. If chilly temps are in the forecast, layer tight-fitted cold gear that will dry and wick away sweat quickly. Long sleeves, sweatbands (to pull over your elbows), weight-training gloves and leggings will prevent injuries while crawling, climbing, etc. You will most likely toss your shoes after crossing the finish line so sport a pair of older sneaks that sill have tread for grip and tie them extra tight or the mud will swallow them up! To avoid losing any diamonds in the roughage, leave your valuables at home.

5. Mudder Must-Haves: All races have a bag drop so be sure to pack post-race essentials alongside your adventure gear, photo ID and confirmation email for registration. Combat the elements event day with Chapstick and moisturizer with SPF. Extra water, nutrition, towel, a change of clothing/shoes and a hat—to hide muddy, tangled hair—are all highly recommended, too. Soothe any stinging wounds with Band Aids, Neosporin and retail therapy (after-party food, drinks and swag).

Now tell us: Have you competed in a Tough Mudder or other obstacle event? What tips do you have to share?


Exercising in the Heat

Written on June 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm , by

Read this before you hit the streets on a hot day.

So I woke up this morning for my run, headed out the door… and ran smack into a wall of 80-degree heat, with 90 percent humidity. At 6 a.m.? Really? Really. Exercising in the heat is a challenge, but it’s also a potential health risk if you’re not smart about it. Check out these tips, courtesy of our friends over at New York Road Runners:

Respect your limits. Heat and humidity increase the physical challenge of running, and health problems can occur when you push beyond what your body can handle. Do not aim for a personal best on a warm, sticky day, particularly if you are not used to such conditions.

Acclimate. It takes 10 days to two weeks for the body to acclimate to keeping cool at higher temperatures. Give your body time to adjust.

Know the signs of heat problems. If you feel faint, dizzy, disoriented, or your skin is clammy and abnormally hot or cold, slow down or stop running. If symptoms continue, sit or lie down in the shade and seek medical help.

Drink enough. Drink throughout the day, so that your urine remains plentiful and pale yellow. Even mild dehydration (scant, dark-yellow urine) will make you feel sluggish and tire early during exercise, and can increase the risk of heat-related problems during exercise. In the heat, sports drinks are even better than water because the sugar and salt they contain form an “active pump” that transports fluid to cells more quickly than water alone. Before workouts lasting longer than one hour in the heat, drink 16 ounces of fluid several hours in advance, another 16 ounces in the hour before, and more just before the start if your urine isn’t pale.

Don’t drink too much. Overhydrating before and during exercise can cause a dangerous condition known as hyponatremia (water intoxication). This drop in the body’s sodium levels can cause nausea, fatigue, vomiting, weakness, and in the most severe cases, seizures, coma, and death. To avoid hyponatremia, do not overdrink, include pretzels or a salted bagel in your pre-run meal, and use a sports drink that contains sodium. During exercise, drink no more than a cup of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes.

Protect yourself from the sun. Wear a cap or visor to shield your head, face, and eyes from the sun’s burning rays, and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Use sunscreen on exposed skin, even on overcast days.

Check your meds. Do not consume products like cold medicines, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or anti-diarrhea medicines with dehydrating agents in them. They may increase your risk for heat illness. Caffeine products are only OK in doses you are used to taking on training day. Do not start taking a caffeine product on race day.

Wear synthetic fabrics. Unlike cotton, synthetics wick moisture from your skin so cooling evaporation can occur. Synthetics also decrease chafing and don’t cling and cause a chill. Look for loose-fitting garments with mesh inserts under the arms, on the sides of the torso, down the arms, and on the outer thighs. Acrylic socks keep feet dry and cool.