Upcoming SoCal Races

Ready for a summer run? These guys are!

Ready for a summer run? These guys are!

With summer coming around soon, lots of people are gonna want to challenge their physical limits. Fortunately for those of you out there who want that, there are a some awesome running events happening that will surely challenge you. Be sure to apply early though, you don’t want to lose your potential spot or pay more when the time comes up.

The first on the list is The San Diego Zoo Safari Park Half Marathon and 10k run, which begins May 4th! Now I know it technically won’t be summer yet, I had to bring this up because you get to see some of the animals from the San Diego Zoo. Honestly, I think that’s pretty awesome, especially if you’re an animal lover. Now the entrance fees are a bit high, with the Half Marathon costing roughly 95$ at the moment, but the 10k runs a little cheaper at 75$. Keep in mind, that the entry fee pays for your race, a free race technical shirt, medal, and free admission to the zoo! Not just that, but you can even have the opportunity to name a cheetah cub if you register to be a wildlife champion. Now, from my knowledge, the wildlife champion isn’t a race, but an opportunity to fundraise for the zoo. the minimum is 500$, but the more money you raise, the more exclusive benefits you can earn! Check out their Wildlife Champions section here for more information.

Second in our list of summer events is the San Diego Epic Summer Run. Starting June 1st, this marathon/ half-marathon & relay will definitely test your endurance. Registering gives you some pretty sweet benefits too! Not only will you have an amazing view of the area as you run, but you’ll get a cool medal upon completion, a gear bag and technical participant shirt, and access to a 2 day health & fitness expo too! Not just that, but you’ll have access to the post race festival and concert  as well! Prices now start at 155$ for the marathon event and 140$ for the half marathon. If you’re interested in the 2 person half marathon relay, the prices start at 180$. Register now to save yourself some cash because the prices will only go up as time passes! Check out here for registration and other information!

These last two events seem too intense? Why not try the Wrigley River 5k Run/walk and 10k run in Long Beach then?  Not only is it light on your feet, but it’s also easy on the wallet. Starting at 30$ for the early bird registration, this race will give you a great run at your own pace. You won’t get all the fancy exclusives and goodies that the other events offer, but you do have a chance to win a medal if you finish top 3 in the race. They do offer tech fiber shirts for an additional 5 dollars, if you are interested in that as well. Live music will be present at the event, so you can enjoy some lively tunes while you run to your hearts content. At bib pick up, you will also receive a goodie bag, which seems to be a bit lacking in information on the website. So take it as a surprise and see what you get! If you do have a question regarding that, feel free to contact the admins on their race website here.

Here’s an intense run that will get you dirty too. The Mach 1 Mud Run on June 21st is not just any running event, it’s also a brutal obstacle course that will test your strength and endurace. You can go in as an individual runner (which is apparently heavy on the competitiveness) or with a team of 4. The obstacles that you will encounter include a mud pit, monkey bars, wall climb, and other crazy boot camp-like obstacles. You get a t-shirt and a medal just for participating, with more awards for making the top 3 and even for having a creative costume as your attire during your obstacle run! There’s also a foam shower station that you can wash up with your buddies after the race, so you don’t have to worry about driving or walking home muddy. Like the other events, prices will go up the longer you wait, with individual entry fees starting at 55$ and team fees at 200$ for a team of four. Check out their website for more information!

And running up on the last of this list is the 4th of July Warrior Run in Tehachapi California. Tehachapi is a bit out of the way, but the run will be worth it. Registering will reward you with a pancake breakfast, finisher’s medal and a swag bag. Though a 5k run, you will enjoy a nice scenic rural townscape with lovely weather as well. According to the event site, a percentage of the proceeds will go to the Kern County Wounded Heroes Fund. There will be music, food, drink and games during the day, so be sure to stay around! The entrance fee is 30$, so be sure to check it out here for more info on this race and any other races!

You know what, let me throw out one hiking run event for you hikers out there. There is an intense hiking event called the Bulldog 50k Ultra & 25k Trail run in the Santa Monica mountains happening August 23, 2014. Be quick to decide because the early bird registration ends April 30th. Both the 50k Ultra and 25k trail run will be conducted simultaneously, so be sure to choose your pick. There will be a few training sessions before the main event, the dates being as follows:

  • Saturday, July 12 @ 7:00am

  • Saturday, July 26 @ 7:00am

  • Saturday, August 9 @ 7:00am

Be sure to check out the area and test yourself before the big event. There will be awards following the race for reaching a particular milestone such as fastest time within varying age groups as well. There isn’t much regarding goodies, but who cares? This event is gonna be one to test your limits! There’s a lot of helpful information and advice for potential participants in their website, so be sure to check it out here to get the latest info on the event. Early bird prices go from 80$ for the 25k run to 100$ for the 50k ultra, so be sure to apply before the 30th or the prices will go up. Also note that there is no race day registration, so don’t wait until the last minute!

Using Phones to Get Fit

Fit PhoneThere has been some talk lately of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the new health features it includes. But what are they? And, more importantly, do they matter? Fitness and phones are not commonly referenced together, but the Galaxy S5 seeks to lessen the gap between the two topics. Let’s take a look at what is being referred to as “S Health,” which helps you to, “Take better care of yourself by tracking your workouts and what you eat.”

First, what are these S Health features?

In short, they consist of a built-in heart rate monitor, pedometer, and fitness tracker—the first of which, Verizon Wireless reports, is a first for smartphones. There are also diet and exercise records you can manage as you care for your body.

S Health 3.0 is an app that works with the built-in features to help you stay in shape. The heart rate monitor is great if you’re working on strengthening your cardiology system. Those who do aerobic exercises might find this most useful of all the features. Located under the phone’s camera flash, the sensor can take up to eight seconds to read your finger after it has been placed.

The pedometer is self explanatory—it will help you record how far you’ve walked. For those who jog or walk for a hobby, play sports, or simply commute by foot to work everyday, this could be a beneficial tool.

As far as the tracking features go, the included subscription services might interest you. The S5 is bundled with a year-long subscription to RunKeeper, a fitness tracking service, and a year-long subscription to Lark, a personal health and wellness assistant. There are also two six-month trials to MapMyFitness, a workout tracker, and Skimble, a personal workout trainer.

One important aspect of the S5′s health features is that they can sync with blood pressure monitors and glucose meters through Bluetooth. The phone can also sync to other products like the Samsung Gear Fit. With this synchronization, you can gain a more comprehensive understanding of your body’s current state.

So do they matter?

It depends on what you want from your mobile device. If you carry your phone around a lot—even when you work out—these features might make the phone stand out more. Rather than just being a way to listen to your usual exercise music, the phone will actually help you work out, provided you take advantage of what it has to offer. Some people likely won’t use these capabilities at all, and for those individuals, the phone’s fitness features simply won’t matter.

The S Health features present an interesting dichotomy between mobile devices and personal health. On the one hand, phones can certainly encourage people to remain stagnant lives, not requiring any more out of them than to simply tap, swipe, and scroll with a single finger. Yet on the other hand, the S5 is showing that phones and fitness can coalesce. It’s possible that what this smartphone is doing will be reflective of the future of phones in relation to exercise.

Fitness On The Go with Daily Burn

If you watch TV, you’ve probably seen commercials for the Daily Burn program. Now, I learned that I shouldn’t trust any of the fitness commercials that are out there without proper research, but I was surprised to see how potentially good Daily Burn might be. So I decided to check it out and dig up some info on it and I learned that the program is actually very fun and time friendly for everyone.

Daily Burn is unique to me as most, if not all, of the workout stuff is online. Once you have successfully made your account and set up your workout schedule, you’re given a huge variety of workouts that range in time and type of workout. The website helps you fine tune your workout routine via the time schedules. The program doesn’t stop there though; it even comes with a diet program that compliments your workout. According to their website, the program was tested for 90 days, exercising 6 days a week with a balanced diet. According to them, these users were losing about 2 pounds a week, which doesn’t too unrealistic at all considering that they’re combining a balanced diet with exercise.

One of the things that makes this program so awesome is that you have access to it anywhere. When they show the commercial, they’re not kidding when they say you can use it on your phone, tablet, and other mobile devices. I have some hesitation when it comes to smaller scale usage just because I have a hard time seeing myself looking at my phone or tablet without getting annoyed or potentially screwing up my form. This goes further as the Daily Burn program also has an iPhone app that you can use to track your workout progress. I’m also enjoying the fact that they give you 30 days to try this out in case its not your thing. They don’t promise you amazingly impossible weight loss or instant muscles, but they do give you the opportunity to work around your busy schedule. Some workouts utilize the HIIT method of exercise, which allows you to burn fat in less workout time per day. Others range from strength workouts and weights to yoga and intense cardio exercises, all ranging from 7 minutes to an hour for your convenience. I would definitely suggest to try this out, it doesn’t hurt since its free for a month.

Considering Beachbody’s Turbo Fire

DVD workouts can be tricky. For one, you can start with full enthusiasm and motivation, but after your first session, you can just chuck that DVD into the abyss. Sometimes you get overwhelmed by the intensity, or even lack of, that the videos can dish out. Some of them can even be completely useless and not show any improvement to your health. But I’ve seen and tried a couple and I find that Beachbody Turbo Fire program is pretty neat. Typically I avoid these kinds of programs because there’s always the issues of needing to buy more things in order for your workout to mean anything, but Turbo Fire doesn’t require a whole lot, despite the company using several other workout and dietary programs that typically compliment each other. But when I found out that this workout just needs some space and a resistance band, I figured it’s worth the check.

The workout utilizes high intensity interval training, making your body burn fast. The rest in between the workouts- about a few seconds per one minute of exercising- is supposed to aid in “kick starting” your metabolism. The neat thing about the workout is that its only a 4 minute exercise. Apparently, according to the official Beachbody website, doing for minutes of the high intensity interval training is better than 30-40 minutes of regular cardio. I did some research and found that even though initially regular cardio tends to burn about twice the calories as performing HIIT workouts, the amount of fat loss per calorie is exponentially higher for people utilizing the HIIT exercises. The 90 day program utilizes this HIIT program to help people lose some weight and put some toning on the muscle groups that you work out. With positive reviews and a sale going on for it right now, Turbo Fire seems like a good starter to losing weight. However, if you’re just not into the whole DVD workout thing, there are always plenty of reliable resources to build your own HIIT workout regimen as well.

One of my initial concerns with this workout DVD was the potential issue with the need to purchase all the Beachbody patented equipment and dietary supplements with the package, as some DVD workouts tend to do. However, I was surprised to see that you don’t need anything but the workout. Though Turbo Fire does tend to be on the pricey side, you get a ton of DVDs with several workouts. You also get a Yoga session to help stretch your muscles and reduce pain and/or injury.

Don’t Give Up This Year!

If you’ve been hitting the gym lately, you might have started seeing the New Years resolution people not coming as often anymore. Like every other year, this tends to happen and it sucks for people who actually try to make the effort but fall short in the end. Maybe people who finally decide to workout don’t do enough research and just burn out.

From my experience, if you have a fitness/health goal, you would think that aiming for a final goal would be the most motivating thing you can do. In reality, that’s not true simply because you will be overwhelmed, especially if you’re new to weight loss and exercise management. The fitness resolutions I usually hear is “I’m going to the gym EVERY day and not stop till I’m really fit!” but the problem with that is that there’s absolutely no research behind HOW to get to that goal. When I plan my workout and diet I always start small. If you start small, you can make stepping stones to the ultimate goal, so keep it small. Instead of, lets say, saying you’re going to lose 100 pounds, start with 15 and get adjusted to the changes you have to commit to in your diet and physical activity. You can’t just  jump into eating less and  hoping you’re gonna shed the weight, you’ll only exhaust yourself and ruin your metabolism. Starving yourself won’t do you any better as well. For whatever reason, some people who start dieting for the first time think that not eating will be good for weight loss. That’s exactly why you fail your resolution, you can’t handle the unnecessary strain you put on your body. There are diets that give you ample foods to eat, it’s just a matter of weighing yourself, checking your current eating habits, and how to control it and choose healthier alternatives. Sleeping well and making a good eating schedule makes a huge difference too. Again, this all has to start small, otherwise you’re just going to give up.

Again, research is imperative and you have to ease into your routines. Don’t expect to just get on a treadmill or bike and expect everything is good. Of course, 45 minutes of cardio is great, but it’s no good if your form is poor and you’re just not putting resistance or effort. For the aspiring weight lifters who want muscle AND weight loss, it’s probably best you don’t just hope that your resolution of getting buff will be it. I’ve seen people jerk and tug weights thinking they’re doing the right thing because they can feel the “burn” but they’re only causing more unnecessary strain and possible injury. The very first thing anyone should do is look up what exercises you need to do and make sure how to do the form to prevent injury. Next, make a schedule of days of when you are going to do a specific workout. Don’t measure your weight through a scale always when you’re weightlifting for definition and weight loss too. Sometimes its also very effective to measure the areas  you are working out to see if they are smaller. If you’re looking for weight loss and definition, then you’re doing well since the fat is being burned off and the muscle is becoming more defined through the weight training.

Sometimes its hard to keep these resolutions, but you have to also remember that weight loss is not just something you dictate to be a resolution. It is also a matter of making  long-term lifestyle changes that you have to dedicate too. There aren’t any shortcuts to this, so before you even consider making it a resolution, you have to be aware of that fact. It will save you money if you consider your commitments first because then you can avoid the hassle of signing up to a gym and paying for it, only to quit not even halfway through your progress.

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