Jeri Villareal: The Hijabi Iron Woman

Jeri Villareal is a modest and committed triathlete from St. Louis, Missouri. Working in the Information Technology Service Lead, this incredible 41 year-old mother is also an urban farmer. Her races usually include three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines which are swimming, cycling and running or better known as triathlon.

Nashata team regularly received Jeri’s pictures on Instagram account, @nashatadotcom wearing Hooda Sports Hijab while competing in her triathlon events. After following her account @modestlytri.ing for some time we knew that she is one of the amazing sportswomen that could inspire people to live with passion. Let’s follow our interview to learn more about Jeri’s incredible journey.

N: Nashata
J: Jeri

“I hadn’t ridden a bike in over 20 years.”

N: Do you remember your first triathlon? Tell us how you became a triathlete.
J: My very first triathlon was a small local race. It consisted of a 300 yard pool swim, 20 mile bike and 4 mile run. My swim was somewhat slow but steady but I got on my bike and was able to pass a couple of people. Unfortunately, I missed the turn off and ended riding an additional 4 miles. I was so upset but ended up continuing on to the run and finish last. I learned to always review the course before the race. There is nothing worse than getting lost during a competition.

N: What inspires you to become a triathlete?
J: I first started running. Running was something that I never thought I would be any good at. However, I used it as a way to ward off depression that developed for me in the short days of the winter months. Running outside made me happy and in the cool months, my hijab was comfortable. It was a great fit. I found that the more I ran, the better I became and I progressed from running in my neighbourhood, to running a 5K then 10K and half marathons. One day a friend of my family asked me if I had ever considered triathlon. I told her I hadn’t ridden a bike in over 20 years. However she told me that if she could compete at age 60, surely I could compete. I took up the challenge and learned to ride a bike and worked on my swim stroke. 7 months later, I competed in my first triathlon.

N: Where do you usually train?
J: I train at my local gym and also I created a workout room in my basement so there is no excuse for missing my training. I have a treadmill, a bike trainer, rowing machine, resistance bands and weights.

N: Did you have a coach when you first participate in your first triathlon event?
J: At the time of my first event. I did not have a coach. However, I did get a coach soon afterwards.

N: How different is it to train by yourself and with a coach for the event?
J: It is so helpful to train with a coach because they can see the small things that you do that could cause injury or they can make changes to your form so that you are more effective. Also they can give you specific exercises or workout to help improve your particular limitation to help your reach your personal goals quickly.

N: Which is the hardest part of triathlon?
J: For me, it’s open water swim. Especially in a lake. It make me a bit anxious when all I see is darkness in the water. I learned to overcome that fear by swimming in the pool with my eyes closed and only open my eyes when taking a breath. That exercise helps me relax once I get into the murky waters of a lake.

N: How do you tackled getting out of a wetsuit quickly? Is it an issue for a hijabis triathlete?
J: While many triathlons have “wetsuit strippers”, kind volunteers that will assist you in getting out of your wetsuit quickly. I avoid their help with the wetsuit. Their good intentions could result in uncovering more than of your body than you would want. I use a two-piece wetsuit consisting of pants with bibs and then a wetsuit top that goes over that. When I was exiting the water, I can unzip and remove the top without concern of revealing anything and I take the bib straps off of my shoulders. By the time I get to transition, I just have to roll down the pants and slip them over my feet. To me, the two-piece wetsuit is not only easy to get in and out of, it also is less constricting over your chest which can be helpful for those that feel chest constriction with traditional wetsuits.

“The hijab that has truly given me so much freedom in my life.”

N: As a Muslim triathlete who wears a hijab, have you ever experienced bitter moments where people would be prejudice about your religion? Do share your story with us.
J: The triathlon community is a very kind one in general. However I think a very well-meaning woman made a comment that she has seen me at several triathlons and she always “felt sorry for me” because I seems so uncomfortable. I didn’t even know how to respond. The last thing I expected was anyone to pity me for the chose that I made as a Muslim woman to wear hijab. The hijab that has truly given me so much freedom in my life. The comment sat with me for a long time and it really did affect me. I feel sorry for her that she didn’t understand the beauty of hijab.

“A quick conversation upfront can keep you from having a frustrating conversation with race officials on race day.”

N: What is your advice to the other Muslim women who are participating in triathlon event?
J: Speak to the race director to ensure that they are aware that will be competing fully covered. There are sometimes rules about how much of your body you can cover. A quick conversation upfront can keep you from having a frustrating conversation with race officials on race day. You do not need to ask “permission” to practice your religion. This conversation is simply to educate those that may not understand why they can’t write your race number on your leg or your arm. Or why you must cover your legs and arms during the swim when wetsuits are not allowed.

N: When is your upcoming event?
A: I just finished Ironman Cartagena 70.3 on December 3rd. That was my last event of the year. In 2018, I look forward to the local St. Louis Triathlon Olympic distance occurring in May. Later in the summer there is Ironman Steelhead 70.3 and Ironman Brazil 70.3

N: How is your diet like today? Was it different with what you usually have before being a triathlete?
J: Today I follow a fairly paleo diet. I enjoy eating lots of vegetables, some low-sugar fruits, meats and healthy fats but only consume ancient and sprouted grains sparingly me. Sweets are my weakness and I avoid sugar while training for a race. I usually tighten my diet 8 weeks from race day. Before becoming a triathlete I ate so much sugar. It was in everything and I didn’t even realize it. I was always a lover of green leafy vegetables though.

N: Describe the training process for a triathlon. How did you prepare–both mentally and physically?
J: Training for a triathlon means training for 3 sports. Additionally, as an athlete over 40 years old, it is vital to incorporate recovery into my schedule. I have 2-3 weekly swim workouts, 2-3 run workouts and 2-3 bike workouts. One of the workout will be either a speed or strength building workout like hill training or interval speed work. Also one of the workout will be endurance-based like a long run (5+ miles), a long bike (20+ miles) or a straight swim (2,000+ yards). I also do yoga twice per week for recovery and weight training twice per week.
During a heavy training load, 10 hours or more a week, I tend to get deep tissue massages. I also have tried alternative recovery techniques to combat inflammation such as cryotherapy and relaxing in an infrared sauna.

“I wear my Nashata Hooda Sports hijab while biking and running. It is thin and lightweight while keeping me dry.”

N: What do you wear for your triathlon event? Do you prepare specific sports gear for each of the activities?
J: I wear what is called a triathlon kit, which is a one-piece outfit with short-sleeves and shorts. The bottom of this kit includes a thin, waterproof pad for additional comfort on the bike. Under the kit, I have leg coolers and Nashata arm coolers. Each piece is designed for air-flow and a cooling effect. These extra pieces also provide coverage for modesty as well. Outside of the water, I put on a skirt for additional modesty while biking and running.
In the water, I wear polarized, prescription goggles. My vision is poor and these goggles are a lifesaver. While they come in clear and smoke lenses, the smoke lenses are my choice because they keep the sun and glare out my eyes when swimming.
I have bike shoes that have cleats on the bottom to connect my feet to my special bicycle pedals. This allows me to apply for force at a faster rate without fear that my feet will fly off of the pedals. My bike helmet is an extremely lightweight, aerodynamic helmet which is designed for speed and performance.
I wear my Nashata Hooda Sports hijab while biking and running. It is thin and lightweight while keeping me dry. The airflow is perfect for me on the bike because I am usually still wet from the swim.

N: We’ve seen you wearing Hooda Sports Hijab in your Instagram posts. Tell us your favourite Nashata wear.
A: Just one? Honestly, I love all of the options that Nashata provides! However I think Hooda is my favorite because of its practicality. It is also lightweight, quick-drying and provides wonderful airflow. These are all things that are vital to making a triathlete comfortable.

“In Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina, you can practice bike skills such as climbing and descending on the bike.”

N: Where would you suggest new triathletes to go for a practice in The United States? Tell us the nicest spots you’ve ever been to.
A: There are so many options for practicing and building your skills in many areas of the United States. In Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina, you can practice bike skills such as climbing and descending on the bike. This is usually a skill that is built with a lot of practice. The locations have long inclines for triathletes to build their climbing endurance. In Florida, there is an immersive swimming technique class for triathletes that can get them ready for open water swim by practicing certain techniques in the pool. Areas like southern Texas, Florida and California are great locations for triathletes in the rest of the country to practice in the very late or early season due to their mild winters. When it’s snowing in December in Missouri, I can swim outdoors in Orlando, Florida.

“I tried to leave every Colombian I met with a good impression of Muslims, Islam and Muslim women in sports.”

N: Have you ever participated a triathlon in a different country? What was it like?
A: December 3rd, I travelled to Cartagena, Colombia to compete in a Half Ironman. The experience was absolutely amazing. Arriving in the country I immediately noticed that people were very curious about me. They took photos of me and requested that I be in photos with them. The children that watched the race were very fascinated with me and called out to me specifically to cheer me on and told me that they loved me and referred to me as “Aunty”. As a Muslim woman competing in hijab in a foreign and predominantly Christian country, I know I am an ambassador for all Muslims whether I want to be or not. It is an honour that I take very seriously and I tried to leave every Colombian I met with a good impression of Muslims, Islam and Muslim women in sports.

N: What do you find to be the most rewarding thing about triathlon?
J: The challenge of triathlon is so great. I enjoy that fact that there are so many facets to the race. You can have an excellent swim and a difficult bike and turn everything around while running. There are people that are good at all three sports or some that find they excel in one particular sport over the other two. Regardless of your level of skill you will never participate in a triathlon and not hear a perfect stranger cheer for you and say encouraging words. When triathletes see someone struggling, that is they cheer for them the loudest. This sport is kind.

N: What is your advice to the new triathletes?
J: Remember that you don’t have to be better than anyone on the course, just be the best version of yourself. Be better than yesterday and keep moving forward.

N: What do you wish for in the future?
J: I would like to work on improving my swim and run times and work on my climbing skills. I believe I can be a better version of myself and look forward to seeing her very soon.

N: We wish you the best of luck in life! Thank you so much for agreeing to do the interview with us. We gained a lot of information from your wonderful experiences.
J: Thank you so much!

Sometimes we are too busy competing with other people that we overlook what’s truly important, to be the best version of ourselves. Be better than yesterday and keep moving forward. Thank you Jeri for the wonderful reminder!

Kickboxing: The New Fitness Workout

Self-defense awareness has been widely spread globally. This is specified on women whom men look at as a very easy victim of their wrong doings. In the previous blog post, we’ve already talked on self-defense majoring in Taekwondo. Since I’ve been joining Kickboxing Class for a month, I’ll share with you my experience joining this stand-up combat sports class.

WHAT IS KICKBOXING?

Kickboxing is a type of martial arts that is based on kicking and punching. Kickboxing focuses on everything from cardio conditioning to self-defense and martial arts. Anyone who wants a perfect total body workout would enjoy this type of sports as it requires the whole body movement.

WHY KICKBOXING?

Initially, the only intention why I joined kickboxing was to just fill in my free time, meet new people, plus it’s located within walking distance from my office. The training place is called HammerFist Fight Club, Cyberjaya. As I started to watch the kickboxing lessons, I was friendly-asked by the trainer, Benny, to join the class as a free trial class. I wasn’t ready but on second thought, it’s now or never. So, I decided to join and for the first time in my life I’ve never felt like drenching in my own sweat.

With the coaches, Benny (left) and Ravshan (right)

Gearing up

Outfit wise, it’s better to wear comfortable clothing which is not to tight (so it won’t block your blood circulation) and not too loose to allow full movement in the arms and legs during training.

My fav outfit for kickboxing – Hooda Ellipse Sports, Ultra Top and Riada Active Pants

These are the gears I used when training:

Hand wrap bandage for extra protection

Bandages – Hand wraps are generally worn underneath the gloves to help support the wrist, fist and knuckles when training. It serves as an extra protection inside.

A Pro Training Glove of 16 oz

Gloves – The most essential gear during training. It protects the hands and provide some protection to the opponent against your hit force.

Shin guards – Shin guards are usually only used for training purposes. They are compulsory for amateur kickboxing bouts, but not always during professional play. I’m an amateur so I’ll be needing it.

 

Warming Up

Before we start the core lesson, 15 minutes warm up session is a must to loosen up the joints, increase blood circulations by increasing the heart rates and that’ll make you less prone to injury and will make your muscle easier to stretch whenever you’re striking or training. Basically, we start from head to toe; turn heads side to side and up and down, shoulder rotation, body stretching, and jogging and sprinting in circle.

Here are few clips of getting-fit workouts I’ve managed to share:

Cardio Workout – Legs toning

Battle Rope Workout – For arms, shoulder and abs toning

The Core Training

After the warm up, the best part begins; The Core Training. Here, I learn the basics of Kickboxing movement: Jab, Cross, Hook, Uppercut, Front Kick, Side Kick and more to go.

Here are some clips of training I did:

Jab and Cross Training

Jab, Cross and Side Kick Training

WHAT I GET FROM KICKBOXING

  • A lot of things gained from this training which I only thought it’s all about self-defense. I used to have a very low self-esteem which always keeps me holding back from what I want to do in life. Not anymore, kickboxing class has changed me a lot. During training, endorphins, a natural booster are released which boost up my self-esteem. Along the training, it helps me to stand tall and improves my self-confidence.
  • The ability to use different parts of the body together really improves my focus and coordination which I needed the most (especially at work).
  • It’s also a fun and faster way to burn fat. At least I get to prevent those monotonous routine of gym boredom. Kickboxing has the added benefit of including an exciting and unusual cross-training element to your normal workouts.

     

    “It’s an incredibly efficient workout. Kickboxing alone burns about 750 calories in an hour,” says Sammie Kennedy, CEO and creator of Femme Fitale, Ontario’s newest women’s-only kickboxing and mixed martial arts program (MMA). “Add in jump rope and conditioning drills, and you could burn anywhere from 750 to 900 calories in an hour.”

     

  • The good thing about this training is because it’s one of the ways of releasing stress by releasing those pent up frustrations with a high-energy routine. As my concentration levels improves, it also enables me to focus on stressing less.

Not much of things to share as I am just a newbie. I hope you guys get the idea of what kickboxing is. Maybe you guys should try it too. Better try than just wondering, it could be the best sports you’ve ever engaged in. Thanks for reading! 🙂

Credits:

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/fitness/benefits-of-kickboxing-for-women/

 

 

Throw Them Off With Taekwondo

Tired of feeling weak and helpless? Scared of walking home alone? Is there someone you want to tell off but don’t know how?

No need to fear, martial arts is here!

There’s karate, judo, aikido, taekwondo, boxing, wushu, and a whole lot more you can learn about just by a click of your mouse. But simply learning from a book or a website and playing it out a couple times won’t cut it. You have to get up and train for at least half an hour per week. After all, self-defense is a skill. And skills are not perfected in a blink of an eye, but by sheer sweat and determined practice.

Self-defense does not just ward off unwanted creepers, but could also potentially save your life. Places like Texas, where women are being targeted and attacked, strongly encourage Muslims to take up self-defense and learn how to protect themselves. With the current Islamophobia and hate against Muslims, it is essential that you, as a Muslim woman (especially if you wear hijab), know how to fend for yourself when encountered by any sort of threat – big or small.

In some middle eastern countries like Jordan, harassment is not uncommon. Despite women covering themselves modestly and wearing hijabs and headscarves, they are still targeted and attacked without hesitation. According to islam.ru, an islamic information portal based in Russia, some women in England are even attacked by muggers taking the pins off their hijab and stabbing their heads with it. So as we can see from here, how we dress is not the issue. It’s how we protect ourselves and how we deal with the ambiguous jaws of the world.

Among all self-defense techniques and martial arts, let’s zoom into one particular art: Taekwondo.

Kick as high as the sky. Reference: Edward Lim, (2016), Wallace Lai Yen Theng [ONLINE]. Available at: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10210164033279633&set=pb.1302833662.-2207520000.1499930670.&type=3&theater [Accessed 13 July 2017].

Kick high to the sky.
Reference: Edward Lim, (2016), Wallace Lai Yen Theng [ONLINE]. [Accessed 13 July 2017].

Taekwondo, as the name distinctly provides, is a Korean martial art. The word can be broken down into three: “tae”, “kwon”, and “do”. The definition of “tae” is foot, “kwon” is hand, and “do” is art. It generally can be broken down into two categories: poomsae, and sparring. Poomsae is a series of moves – both defense and attack – put together in one. On the other hand, sparring is your typical two-minute fight on the training mat.

This martial art consists of many moves and techniques. The few basic ones are kicks, blocks, and strikes.

Here are a few examples:

The basic kick in Taekwondo: front kick.

 

Basic blocks and strikes: punch, higher-section block, lower-section block, inner block, outer block, ridge hand strike, and knife hand strike.

Sparring technique: Chopping kick.

 

There are some centres available in Malaysia:

Other places to learn self-defense around the world:

Don’t be afraid because you are small and frail or physically unfit. With determination, comes great results. Remember: we are not inferior to men, but a sole equal. And sometimes, we may be even better.

– Nukey

No motivation ?? Here are 5 tips to motivate you to run ?

Find motivation to run

Stop giving excuses

Have you ever felt so lazy that you couldn’t put on your running attire,  lace up your sport shoes, to get off your lazy ass or to go for your routine run?

And you start to blame the weather,..“it is too hot today and I might get sunburn”, or “since it is windy, i better take a nap” …and you start thinking of thousand reasons to escape your run..

Actually, There’s nothing wrong with you, except…YOU’VE LOST YOUR MOTIVATION.

So, here are 5 tips to motivate you to keep running 😉

1. Set your goal. 

Plan your mileage target for every month wisely. Write them BIG and paste it at an area you can easily see. This will motivate you and get you to be more responsible towards your goal.

IMG_4141

2. Register for a race.

Once you click the ‘register’ button, you definitely feel like,..“Soon, I will run for this event, and yes, I should start run today”. You will start to find time to train and become consistent as the ‘race day’ comes nearer.

At the REPC..I'm very excited to run soon!

3. Remember, it’s for your health.

Do not run because your friends are running too, and that if you’re not running with them,..you’d be left behind and have no friends. Do not run because you wanna have the slimmest figure among your fat colleagues, do not run because it is a trend. Run because you feel good and fresh after accomplish your goal. Run because it is definitely the best stress reliever. And yes, remember that after you run, you can eat like a MONSTER!

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

4. Find running buddies. 

Running alone will sometime make you feel demotivated. You will feel bored, lonely and distracted. Get a running buddy, set up your goal together, plan and train. It will be even more fun if you guys sign up for a race and compete together. Your performance will be improve if you guys aim and train hard.

They are doing well today ;) Congrats guys!

Running sisters

5. Put your best attire on

Introduce variety into your running wardrobe so that you will be more excited to run everyday. Everybody wants look good and nice in whatever they’re wearing, so do you when you run. And yes, your running selfie definitely would be gorgeous too. Make sure you are comfortable and confident in your attires.

Capture

Till then, we’ll meet again, keep fit and be inspired! ?

AIA Malaysia Presents the Largest Night Run Series

Can’t have enough for just one run? Well, big surprise for you!

Men’s Health Women’s Health Night Run by AIA Vitality offers you three night runs in Penang, Putrajaya and Johor. Here we are announcing you the running events details.

The age limit of the running events is 18 and above that consists of three categories. For true runners you can join the competitive run (12km and 21km), while for the beginners who’s interested in running just for a start, you can join the fun run (5km).

 

  • You can appreciate darkness and the beauty of the sky and sound of nocturnal animals while  running at night

Why Night Run?

  •  Night run offers a different running experience, be it temperature, humidity and heat level. If you want to experience a different running atmosphere, try night run as you would be running together with a group of people instead of alone
  • You can appreciate darkness and the beauty of the sky and sound of nocturnal animals while  running at night
  • Running at night keeps you away from UV rays. Over exposure to UV rays can cause skin cancer and damage your eyes. So if you plan to run for long hours and sensitive to the sun, night runs may work for you.

Review & Tips for Night Run

 

Below is the summary of the events.

Event Summary

 

First Night Run – 2nd April 2016 Penang (Saturday)

Second Night Run – 30 July 2016 Putrajaya (Saturday)

Third Night Run – 7 January 2017 Johor (Saturday)

 

Date: April 2, 2016

Starting point: Queensbay Mall

penang

 

Date: July 30, 2016

Starting point: Dataran Putrajaya, Presint 3

putrajaya

 

Date: January 7, 2017

Starting point: To be announced

johor

RACE KITS

Race kit consists of runners T-Shirt, a number bib attached with timing chip, safety pins and race guides (if any).

The theme color for the Penang, Putrajaya & Johor Night Runs are orange, red and blue respectively.

Runners who do complete all three runs will also be rewarded with a unique “trifecta” medal – a three-in-one medal that clips together – as a special memento to commemorate the experience and achievement.

MHWH Medal

 

Quickly register before the registration close for the all the three locations. The run in Penang will be held on 2 April 2016. The flag-off will be at 8pm and the starting point will be at Queensbay Mall in George Town, Penang.

Running Shirt

So, what are you waiting for? Register here now!

 

2016 Summer Olympics

As we delve into 2016 we’re that much closer to the Summer Olympics. In 205 days more than 10,500 athletes from around the world will be lined up in Rio de Janerio, Brazil competing for their Olympic title. Rio will become the first city in South America to host the Summer Olympics. The other finalists included Madrid, Spain; Chicago, United States; and Tokyo, Japan.

The opening ceremony will take place on August 5 at Maracanã Stadium. While the opening ceremonies are often known to be quite extravagant, especially the ceremonies put on earlier in London (2012) and Bejing (2008), this year will be a low-budget production based on the countries current recession.

This year the Olympic program will feature 28 sports. The sports include: Aquatics, Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Canoeing, Cycling, Equestrian, Fencing, Field Hockey, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Handball, Judo, Modern pentathlon, Rowing, Rigby sevens, Sailing, Shooting, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Triathlon, Volleyball, Weightlifting, and Wrestling. I don’t follow too many Olympic sports but I absolutely love watching track and field, gymnastics and diving. I love the athleticism and determination that radiates off out of these sports. I know I’ll never be an Olympic athlete, but watching them definitely gets me motivated to be my best.

Will you be watching the Olympics this year? And if so, what are your favorite sports!?


Featured Image Credit

 

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A Proper Cool Down

This is going to be my last post for my #workoutwednesday series. I thought it was a good idea to close it out with a cool down routine, which is often the most overlooked aspect of exercise, although it is equally as important as the warm-up.

 

The Importance of a Cool Down

A cool down takes place after a workout with the goal of slowly getting the heart-rate, breathing, and body temperature back to its pre-exercise state. A proper cool down usually lasts for about 5-10 minutes, and should start off with some low-intensity exercises followed by stretches.

The benefits of cooling down include

  • Bringing the body’s physiological state back to normal
  • Reduces the risk for muscle cramps and spasms
  • Helps to offset some muscle soreness
  • Aids in muscle recovery
  • Removes waste build-up (like lactic acid) that occurs during physical activity
  • Prevents dizziness and fainting after exercise

 

How to Cool Down

Step 1: Light Activity

The first part of a quality cool down should start off with about 3-5 minutes of light activity. This can differ depending on the individuals workout.

Here are some examples:

  • After a run you might take a light jog for 2-3 minutes, followed by a 2-3 minute walk.
  • After a spin or bike workout you might pedal on a flat road (light resistance) for 3-4 minutes, followed by 1-2 minutes pedaling with no resistance whatsoever.
  • After a strength training workout it’s a good idea to do 3-5 minutes of dynamic stretching, like we saw in our warm-up routine, or even some yoga poses.
  • After a swimming workout one can swim a few leisurely laps around the pool.
  • Instructor-led fitness classes typically have a warm-up and cool down built into the routine.

Step 2: Stretching

The second and last part of a quality cool down will consist of stretching for another 3-5 minutes. You want to make sure you are focusing on the muscles that were being activated during the workout. In order to incorporate relaxation into my cool-down routine, I like to hold each stretch for 5 deep breaths.

Here are some examples of stretches:

Front Shoulders Stretch 

rotator-cuff-stretches-0

Triceps Stretch 

tricep-stretches

Standing Side Stretch

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Chest Opener Stretch 

chest-opener

The Forward Hang 

Forward-Hang-strench

Upper Back Stretch 

Upper-back-stretch

Quad Stretch 

Best-Quad-Stretches

Calf Stretch 

41107-1_asl

Forward Fold

Standing Forward Bend Yoga(1)

Glute Stretch 

glute-stretch

Hip-Flexor Stretch  

hip_flexor_stretch_214__1

Lower Back Stretch 

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Cobra Stretch 

Super-Cobra-Stretch

I truly hope that you all enjoyed this series! The aim of #workoutwednesday was to share some information related to proper exercise, promote a healthy lifestyle, give ideas of some different types of workouts, and most importantly, to inspire you to exercise and take control of your health!

Please keep checking back on this blog for more health and fitness posts, and possibly a new series =).

Enjoy your cool down and don’t forget to incorporate it after every workout. If you are short on time, modify; something is always better than nothing.

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Women and Weights Part 3: Strength Training for the Runner

Many people consider weight training and cardio as two separate entities; cardio is for burning calories while strength training is for gaining weight, right? Well, not necessarily. If you’ve been following this series of “Women and Weights” you’ve learned that strength training may in fact be an altogether superior method of fat burning (I’d like to point out that when I refer to weights I am using it as a general term to describe any type of resistance training, including free-weights, machines, resistance bands, or bodyweight). This is not to say that running, or any other type of steady-state cardio is ‘bad,’ but it certainly isn’t the only way of reaching your fitness goals. In fact, hitting the weights can actually improve running and other athletic performance significantly. Here’s how:

 

IMPROVED SPEED

Strength training has been shown to help improve speed in both short and long distance runners.  As you build and grow your muscles they become better able to exert more runner-546896_640force in quicker time periods. Strong legs help with that extra push, a strong core aids in balance and stability, and upper body strength helps maintain that speed. This was proven in a study done that tested the correlation between explosive strength training and 5-km running time in endurance athletes. In the experiment, 18 endurance athletes trained for 9 weeks. While both groups kept the same training volume, 10 of these subjects trained with simultaneous explosive strength training and endurance training, while the other 8 subjects participated in endurance training only. 5K time was improved in the well-trained endurance athletes who participated in simultaneous explosive strength training and endurance training due to improved neuromuscular characteristics.

 

IMPROVED CARDIOVASCULAR ENDURANCE

Cardiovascular endurance is the ability of your heart, lungs and blood vessels to efficiently deliver oxygen to your body tissues for use as energy. Believe it or not, resistance training actually increases the body’s ability to use oxygen. In one study that tested the effects of concurrent endurance and strength training on running economy, endurance athletes who incorporated both running and strength training into their routine improved their performance whereas endurance athletes who did not incorporate strength training had no change in performance. These results are congruent with many other previous studies of the same nature.

 

DECREASE BODY FAT WHILE MAINTAINING MUSCLE

Lifting weights isphysiotherapy-595529_640 a great way to burn body fat. Now, cardio certainly does burn a significant amount of calories, however, those calories stop burning off as soon as that hour or so of cardio is finished. With strength training, lean muscle mass is built, which aides in the body not only burning calories during periods of exercise, but also while that person is at rest! Clearly, a body with more lean muscle and less fat is going to be lighter, aiding in speed and also in better body composition.

It is well known that many runners, especially elite runners who engage in intense bouts of physical activity, burn off a lot of muscle due to the extreme forms of cardio. Strength training can help to counter this problem, but won’t result in a significant amount of muscle gain because the continued endurance training will hinder muscle hypertrophy. So for those distance athletes who do not want gains to slow them down, no worries, strength training won’t add on significant size!

 

INJURY PREVENTION

Engaging in resistance training not only helps to strengthen and build the muscles, but it also helps to equalize them. Many times people are weaker on their left (or non-dominant) side which can cause a runners stride to be off key, or they have muscle imbalances somewhere in the body. Lifting weights helps to equalize strength and power within the legs and the rest of the body, which helps prevent future injuries. The benefits of strength training on injury prevention was shown in a study testing hamstring injury occurrence in elite soccer players after preseason strength training with eccentric overload. The study revealed that preseason strength training for the hamstrings would have positive impacts on the player’s performance and injury prevention.

 

Strength training is one of the most beneficial workouts to engage in, especially when combined with other forms of working out such as endurance running, sprinting, and other types of cardio. It helps to improve many aspects of performance including speed, cardiovascular fitness, proportion of lean muscle to body fat, and to decrease likelihood of injury. To all of my runners out there, take even just 3 days per week and add some resistance training to your fitness regiment and see how you can benefit!

 

 

 

 

 

References

Askling, Carl, Jon Karlsson, and Alf Thorstensson. “Hamstring injury occurrence in elite soccer players after preseason strength training with eccentric overload.” Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports 13.4 (2003): 244-250.

 

Millet, G. P., Jaouen, B. E. R. N. A. R. D., Borrani, F. A. B. I. O., & Candau, R. O. B. I. N. (2002). Effects of concurrent endurance and strength training on running economy and VO~ 2 kinetics. Medicine and science in sports and exercise34(8), 1351-1359.

 

Paavolainen, L., Häkkinen, K., Hämäläinen, I., Nummela, A., & Rusko, H. (1999). Explosive-strength training improves 5-km running time by improving running economy and muscle power. Journal of applied physiology86(5), 1527-1533.

The Weekend Runner: Free Training Resources

Running can be an expensive hobby. There are good shoes to buy, equipments to be upgraded,  and races are getting expensive. Not to mention gym memberships or personal trainers! There are some running expenditures worth investing, however, I am also a big believer that the best things in life are free. I have compiled my top 4 favourite free training resources to help you train for an upcoming race of any distance. Keep in mind that all of these resources are only useful if you utilize your most important asset of all: mental and physical consistency to stick to the training plan.

1)     Apps

Ideally, I would like a Garmin or Suunto to keep track of my distance, elevation, and calories when I run. Thankfully, there is a cheaper substitute if you already have a smartphone: free apps. Plus, most running apps will include a free training program for any race. There are plenty of free apps in the market, my personal favourite is Run Keeper. I love Run Keeper because it is simple to use, yet it is pretty accurate and detailed in tracking my daily runs.

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The interface. Picture courtesy of Runner’s World.

 

2)     Free downloadable training programmes

If you don’t have a smartphone or prefer a hard copy of a program, head to Hal Higdon’s website . Print the program of your choice, and stick in on your wall. Now your running schedule is all sorted out! I love having hard copies of a training program because it serves as a constant reminder whenever I look at it on my bedroom wall.

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Print screen of the website. Different types of programs to suit your needs.

 

3)     Join a running club

The social aspect of running is important because it is a motivation factor. Your running buddies are your support system, and nothing like some friendly competition to keep you going! Check around your neighbourhood if there are any running groups. Alternatively, observe and network in races; “Hey, you run pretty fast! With whom do you train with?”

Or if there aren’t any running clubs around, just form your own group!

IMG_9306The usual faces from Track Tuesday.

 

4)     Youtube

Youtube is a world of tutorials, from make up gurus to cooking shows. It is no surprise that some elite athletes have their own youtube channel, so watch their videos to improve on your form and fine-tune your techniques. Plus, their achievements are inspiring to keep you motivated. Besides professional runners, there are some regular runners as well who does reviews on what’s hot and what’s not in the world of equipments, gels, energy bar, etc., and some document their personal experience in popular races such as the Boston Marathon. My personal favourite are Sage Cannaday and The Ginger Runner.

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Sage Cannaday is the professional athelete behind VO2Max Productions.

 

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 8.20.48 PMI love Ginger Runner for being very candid and open about non-athletes who just simply enjoy running, just like you and me.

 

For cross-training days, there are plenty of videos of HIIT, weights, or yoga for you to follow. I love Fitness Blender or Lululemon for their tutorials. They provide step-by-step training clips, so now you have a personal trainer right at your fingertips!

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Thanks to youtube, you can now work out at the comfort of your home.

 

I hope the resources are helpful if you are a runner on a budget like I am. The road to obtaining your personal best timing, conquering a new distance, or improving your fitness level need not be expensive and complicated.

 

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.

Atlet wanita Malaysia Yang Hebat di Sukan Komanwel 2014

Beribu sukan atlet dari 70 buah negara yang menyertai sukan komanwel yang diadakan di Glasgow pada tahun ini. Sukan ini merupakan acara terbesar bagi para atlet yang akan berlangsung selama 11 hari.

Tarikh Bermula : 23 Julai (Rabu) – 3 Ogos 2014 (Ahad)

Jadual Sukan Komanwel

Tempat perlawanan di adakan di 4 tempat yang berbeza :

1) East End Cluster

hi-res-a1f9f83cf9cbf73ecb25cdbef4c8d14c_crop_exact Acara perasmian akan di adakan di Celtic Park yang menjadi simbol stadium bola sepak di United Kingdom. Stadium ini juga akan di gunakan bagi semua acara yang melibatkan sukan berbasikal.

Perlawanan sukan hoki pula diadakan di Glasgow Green Hockey Centre manakala acara renang pula di adakan di Tollcross International Swimming Centre.

2) South Side Cluster

hi-res-05336d80cd0f511ef33d4cc28db19b4a_crop_exact2 stadium terbesar di Glasgow terdapat di South Side Cluster ini iaitu Ibrox Stadium dan Hampden Park. Segala acara yang melibatkan track dan acara padang akan di adakan disini dan juga acara majlis penutup yang akan berlangsung pada hari Ahad, 3 Ogos 2014. Permainan Ragbi, Berbasikal gunung dan larian akan diadakan di stadium Ibrox.

 3) West End Cluster

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Acara Gusti, Wrestling, Judo, Gimnastik dalam air dan Bola Jaring akan diadakan di dalam dewan The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.  Manakala acara angkat berat pula di Clyde Auditorium. Sukan Tennis dan Squash pula di adakan di Scotstoun Stadium.

4) Satellite Venue

Ada 3 acara lain yang di pertandingkan di luar Glasgow iaitu triathlon di Strathclyde Country Park in Motherwell, acara menyelam di Edinburgh’s Royal Commonwealth Pool dan acara  Menembak di Barry Buddon Shooting Centre in Barry.

Kini sudah masuk hari ke-8 sukan Komanwel berlangsung dan tinggal beberapa hari sahaja lagi akan sampai ke acara penutup. Keputusan terbaru yang di peoleh setakat ini ialah Malaysia berjaya mendapat 4 pingat emas untuk acara sukan badminton, renang, squash dan angkat berat. 6 pingat perak ; 2 perak untuk sukan bowling, renang, gimnastik, tenis dan angkat berat. 5 pingat gangsa dari Malaysia ; berbasikal, renang, 2 gangsa dari acara gimnastik dan juga acara menembak.

Sementara kita di sini rakyat Malaysia menyambut Hari Raya bersama keluarga dan sanak saudara, Para atlet kita sanggup berkorban di Glasgow demi berjuang mengharungkan nama Malaysia di pentas sukan dunia. Sebanyak 60% atlet wanita berjaya merangkul pingat kemenangan untuk sukan Komanwel kali ini. Antara atlet-atlet wanita tersebut adalah :

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Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi wakil penembak Malaysia sekali lagi berjaya merangkul pingat gangsa untuk acara tembak : Senapang udara 10M untuk wanita dengan scorenya sebanyak 184.4

060 copyPandelela Rinong Pamg dan Nur Dhabitah Sabri berjaya menempatkan diri dalam pingat gangsa dengan pungutan mata sebanyak 300.12 untuk acara sukan menyelam secara bersama di atas platfom setinggi 10M.

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Nicole David pemain Squash Malaysia masih lagi  mengekalkan kejuaraannya untuk merebut pingat emas dan berjaya mengalahkan Laura Massaro pemain dari England sebanyak 3 – 0 untuk ketegori pemain wanita perseorangan Squash

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Lee Rou You, Ho Ying, Ng Sock Khim, dan Beh Wee We memenangi pingat perak dalam ketegori Ping Pong Wanita Berkumpulan

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Azlina Arshad, Nor Hashimah Ismail, Fidrah Nur Noh dan Emma Firyana Saroji mereka semua ini telah meranggkul pingat perak dalam acara sukan Squad Bowling Padang

Fatin+Zakirah+Jalany+Zain+20th+Commonwealth+xhoG6-nMBmElFatin Zakirah Jalany Zain Jalany, Wong Poh San dan Amy Kwan Dict Weng merangkul pingat gangsa dalam acara Gimnastik Berirama Wanita Berkumpulan. Wong Poh San juga memenangi pingat perak dalam kategori gimnastik ribon berirama.

Hebat kan? Ramai atlet kaum wanita Malaysia yang merangkul banyak pingat kemenangan membuktikan wanita juga berkebolehan dan mampu bergiat aktif setanding dengan lelaki. Ikuti acara penutup sukan Komanwel ini pada hari Ahad ini 3 Ogos 2014 untuk mengetahui ulasan keseluruhan sepanjang tempoh perlawanan diadakan.

Gambar-gambar di ambil dari sumber : zimbio.com, gettyimages and other different sources