Controlling Late-Night Cravings

And getting control over your waistline at the same time.

DietYou’ve probably heard of diets that force dieters to avoid eating after a certain time of the day. That’s because eating lots of food right before going to bed makes it more likely that your body will store up fat when you’re not burning calories by moving around. How can you fend off those late-night cravings that bring unwanted calories to your most vulnerable soft spots?

Go to Bed

One of the easiest ways to avoid late-night cravings is to cut the late nights out of your life. This is as easy. Simply brush your teeth, wash your face, and get in bed well before your cravings usually kick in. To make sure you don’t find yourself lying in bed for hours and suffering the same late-night desires that you’re trying to avoid, don’t read or watch television in bed. It may take a few nights to grow accustomed to an earlier bedtime, but your physical and emotional health will improve from hitting the hay at a decent hour.

Eat Later

This may seem contradictory if you’re trying to beat late-night eating, but pushing dinner back an hour or so will help you stay full later into the night, ultimately leading to no more late-night cravings. This can be a difficult adjustment if you have a hungry household, so be prepared to allow plenty of snacking leading up to dinnertime.

Stop Sitting Around

For the most part, cravings kick in when you’re sitting around not doing anything. Instead of opening the door for boredom-induced snacking, find something to do and do it well! Whether you decide to finally clean out the kitchen pantry or want to get yourself involve in a crossword puzzle or putting together a quilt, staying busy will help you sidestep any potential temptations that arise in the late hours.

Decompress the Stress

Stress is a key reason you may find yourself eating when you know you shouldn’t. Stress can throw off your levels of certain hormones responsible for food cravings, so staying away from stress can’t be stressed enough. Beat stress with controlled breathing, regular exercise, and sleep. If you’re still feeling stressed, take a close look at your life and reprioritize. You may be putting too much emphasis on things that aren’t important.

Give In

Have no control over your need for late-night foods? Give in, but give in healthily by substituting your unhealthy ice cream and candy corn for carrot sticks, celery sticks, or apple slices. Once you’ve made the switch, you may have to take another step and toss the ranch dressing you’re dipping it in. Anything that diminishes the health perks of your food must be done away with. Your waistline requires it!

Get Wet

Being thirsty or dehydrated is often mistaken for hunger, so getting some water in your system may be just what your belly wants. So before you give in to your hunger, you need to quench your thirst. Any time you find yourself faced with an insatiable desire to snack on some late-night goodies, drink a couple glasses of water and wait a few minutes. If your hunger is still growing after a healthy dose of H2O, go for one of the healthy snacks mentioned above.

More Mousey Research

A recent study gave more proof that late-night snacking is a bad idea for anyone who wants to keep a tight reign on his or her waistline. During the study, mice fed during the day (they normally eat at night) gained 7.8 percent more weight than mice fed at the appropriate time. In other words, eat at the right time, get the results you want.

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Energy Drinks and Alcohol Anyone?

Diet

A dangerous and even deadly combination.

Combining alcohol and other everyday drinks is nothing new. From soda to tomato juice to lemon juice, there are as many options as there are taste buds. One of the newest combos to hit lips in your town is alcohol and energy drinks.

During the early days of energy drinks, there was some skepticism that they were not safe for regular consumption. As more energy drink companies began promoting their products and regular people began safely drinking them on a regular basis, the public has become less wary. Now, the energy-boosting beverages are treated like ordinary soft drinks. Unfortunately, not handling these caffeinated cans with care can lead to some serious issues. Especially when mixed with alcohol.

A Collegiate Conundrum

College students and college-aged individuals are at the highest risk for chasing energy drinks with alcohol, a phenomenon known as AMED (alcohol mixed with energy drinks). In fact, it has become commonplace for these youngsters to mix energy drinks and alcohol into a caffeinated, alcoholic cocktail. To the drinkers, the mixture seems heaven-sent. The desired alcoholic buzz is achieved, but the energy drink keeps them from growing tired.

What many of these AMED drinkers don’t know is that while they’re not getting tired, the other effects of alcohol remain the same. That means that while downing an energy drink and a beer may leave the drinker wide awake, the alcohol still results in impaired judgment, lapses in social graces, vision problems, and slowed reflexes. And surprisingly, though the caffeine in energy drinks keeps folks drinking longer and stronger, it actually increases intoxication.

Dangers Abound

When these regular effects of alcohol are ignored and the drinker decides to depend on the energy drink for good judgment and reflexes, the results can be catastrophic. AMED cocktail drinkers are more likely to leave a bar with high levels of alcohol in their system, putting them at risk for serious automobile accidents that result in injury or even death.

During a small study, it was found that people who drank AMED cocktails or who drank energy drinks and alcohol separately consumed more alcohol and drank for longer time periods. But the dangers don’t stop there.

Sipping on an AMED also puts you at increased risk for heart problems. As an energy drink and alcoholic beverage each do different things to your heart (one slows it down, while the other speeds it up), these mixed messages confuse the heart and can result in dangerous heart palpitations. These drinks also increased the likelihood of becoming dangerously dehydrated, as alcohol causes dehydration and caffeine is a diuretic – a.k.a. a dehydration-causing factory.

Still considering chasing a few beers with an energy drink? Remember this: those who drink AMED cocktails are more likely to attempt to take advantage of someone else or be taken advantage of in a sexual manner.

A New Confusing Danger

As if there aren’t enough problems keeping kids away from alcoholic beverages, some companies have made it even more difficult with new marketing techniques. With the energy drink market firmly established, some alcohol companies are marketing their drinks in packaging that is ridiculously close to that used by energy drink products.

The potential result? Underage children buying alcoholic beverages on purpose or on accident, without anyone being alarmed. In order to prevent this from happening on a large scale, businesses that sell both types of drinks will require extensive and ongoing education on all products available to ensure underage juveniles don’t purchase the wrong drink. Parents should also be aware of the differences and be on the lookout for premixed alcohol-energy drink cocktails.

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Good Health Starts Young

Good nutrition in the early years is vital to a healthy life. So what are you feeding your kids?

DietYour children are the most precious gifts you’ll ever receive, so you should handle them with care. While you worked hard to give them the best breast milk or formula when they were tiny, you may be at a loss once they begin eating solid foods – especially if you have a picky eater on your hands.

To help your little ones have the best jumpstart on a healthy and happy life, it’s important that they get the same well-balanced diet that you’re getting – with some slight modifications. Here are a few things to keep in mind when feeding your young and hungry little ones.

1. Know the Basics

You know your child needs a solid foundation of healthy foods. What does that mean? It means plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein products. Childhood is the best time to develop a taste for whole and raw foods. With that in mind, give your child plenty of apple slices, carrots, and grapes. When your little one is in her littlest stages, go for applesauce and other baby foods that don’t have sugar or other flavor-changing additives. This way, your child learns to develop a taste for food the way nature intended, which just happens to be healthiest.

2. Believe in Your Child

One mistake when feeding your child is expecting him to have the same food preferences as you. So if you didn’t like broccoli or pinto beans as a child, you’re not going to feed your child those foods, because you don’t expect him to like them. However, while your son might have your dimples and sense of humor, he didn’t come with your taste buds. Encourage him to try a variety of healthy foods – including the ones you didn’t like as a child. Who knows? You may be pleasantly surprised to find out your finicky son likes asparagus.

3. Prepare the Options

Dinnertime should not be a battle zone. If your child simply won’t swallow her cherry tomatoes, don’t give up. Instead, be ready with another option. Swap a piece of whole grain toast for a cup of yogurt, or offer the choice of a green salad or a carrot salad. And avoid the temptation to force your child to eat every bite of every bit of food on her plate – especially if you know she hates a certain food. On the other hand, if your daughter is resisting a new food she’s never tried, it’s a good idea to require her to take a bite or two on occasion. And remember – taste buds change over time, so it’s okay to have your child taste something she’s not eaten in a while.

4. Train with Tricker

Sometimes, your son isn’t going to want to eat anything except cookies, butter popcorn, popsicles, and ice cream. You may want to throw your hands up in the air and give up on any hopes you had of having a healthy child. Don’t. Just be smarter than your child. How? By taking healthy foods and burying them in what he thinks is unhealthy. Make banana-nut muffin to feed his need for cupcakes, strawberry smoothies to answer his begging for a milkshake, and whole-grain pancakes – minus the whipped cream and chocolate syrup on top.

Helping your children turn into healthy adults starts today, so don’t waste any time giving your children the healthy start they deserve!

Resourceful Cooking

You’ve been cooking whole-wheat pancakes every morning and have made so many batches of ants on a log* that you’re starting to feel them crawling up your leg. Now your children are begging for something else to eat and you’ve run out of ideas. Fortunately, KidsHealth.org is here to save the day!

Loaded with fantastic, kid-friendly recipes, KidsHealth.org is a great place to turn when your cooking energies are depleted. On top of tips for you, there are recipes that your son or daughter can help with.

To get straight to the recipes, visit http://kidshealth.org/kid/recipes/index.html and get ready for some great cooking!

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First Step of Food Safety

What you should know about food safety before it hits your plate.

HealthIt’s a great day. The entire family is out on a picnic at the park, enjoying great conversation, a friendly game of badminton, and some of Uncle James’ world-famous potato salad. On the ride home, your cell phone rings and you find out your sister is feeling sick. Two minutes later, another call. Your cousin feels the same way. By the time you get home, you sprint to the bathroom and realize that you, too, fell victim to food poisoning.

While the need for food safety on the grill and on the way to your mouth is often discussed, you may not realize how much danger your food may be in before it ever leaves your house. What can you do to keep your food safe, sound, and ready to be gobbled down safely at the next family outing?

Do This: Refrigerate

Any time you bring a food item into your home that requires refrigeration or freezing, it should be put in the proper place immediately. If you get in a crunch and have cold foods that can’t get in cold storage immediately, never allow it to stay out longer than two hours at room temperature. In the event you’re in an environment that is much warmer than typical room temperature, get the food refrigerated much faster or prepare to toss the food in the garbage.

Do This: Enjoy

Instead of letting lunchmeats, hot dogs, and other ready-to-eat foods sit in the fridge for weeks and months, eat them today. Allowing them to stay in the refrigerator puts your cold meats at increased risk for carrying dangerous bacteria. So sidestep this unwanted food issue by chowing down as soon as possible.

Do This: Research

In order to get the right foods in the right place, you have to know where they go. If you’re unsure where a certain food item should be placed, look at the label. Every food that requires refrigeration or freezing will be labeled appropriately, so figuring out what goes in the fridge, freezer, or pantry is usually no problem. Once you know what belongs in the cold, put it there.

Do This: Trash

Have something in the refrigerator that doesn’t quite look right? Smells a little funny? Don’t run the risk of food poisoning and other food-related illnesses by eating it to spite your eyes and nose. Instead, take the potentially hazardous food and throw it in the trash. Even if it doesn’t make you sick, old food that may have a little mold on it tastes awful.

Do This: Reset

To ensure your foods are kept at the right temperature, it’s important to have your refrigerator and freezer set at the right temperature. The ideal temperature for a refrigerator is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower and the freezer should stay at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a good idea to check the temperature in both every once in a while and adjust the temperature as needed.

Beyond the Fridge

As you probably know, food safety hazards aren’t limited to foods that require refrigerating or freezing. The canned goods sitting in your pantry can also be home to some rather nasty little bacteria that can cause you to be on sick leave for quite a while.

Fortunately, avoiding contamination in non-refrigerated foods is relatively easy. Here’s what to do.

  • Avoid storing foods under your kitchen sink. You may not see any leaks under there, but if there is a small leak, your potatoes, onions, apples, and other foods can grow gross in no time.
  • Store food away from dangerous chemicals. Just because rat poison and toilet cleaning liquids have lids on them doesn’t mean they won’t affect food nearby. To avoid any potential contamination, keep your household cleaning supplies and other potential hazards away from all foods at all times.
  • Keep an eye out for damaged canned goods. If you see any kind of damage – whether the can has a visible hole or is dented severely, be food smart and toss it in the garbage.
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Underwater Dangers

The risks of playing in, swimming in, and drinking water found in lakes, rivers, and ponds.

HealthThere are few things more relaxing than getting out for a day on the water. From fishing at a nearby river, skiing on the lake, and swimming in your neighbor’s pond, spending time on and in the water is a pastime like no other. Unfortunately, that water isn’t always just fun and games. Lurking beneath the surface of your favorite pond, lake, and river are all sorts of frightening things that are waiting to get you. Should you be worried? Read on to find out.

Dangers Explained

In a body of water, there is a constant cycle of life and death taking place. While most dying plants and animals are consumed by fish, turtles, and other water creatures, some will rot for a long period, emitting all kinds of unpleasantness into the water. At the same time, all of the live animals are busy using the water as their personal bathroom. A few centuries ago, this ecologically sound grossness wasn’t too dangerous. But as people have purposefully or accidentally put harmful substances in the water, that has all changed.

One of the most feared bacteria, E. coli is frequently found in waters used for recreation. Water parasites also live in some of your favorite water playgrounds (including chlorinated pools), and the dreadful bacteria botulism can be found in practically any body of water. And there are the very real manmade dangers of toxins produced by a number of factories that produce toxic chemicals that get released into the air or are even deposited in bodies of water.

Along with bacteria and toxins, large bodies of water may experience some turbulence. Regardless of how strong a swimmer you may be or how great a boat you’re driving, water turbulence can put you at incredible risk for drowning.

Safety Tips

The best way to keep unwanted pathogens and toxins in the water and out of your body is to stay out of polluted waters. Since it is virtually impossible to find any perfectly clean water, you may want a different option. If you can’t keep out of the water, always keep your mouth and eyes closed when swimming. You should also avoid excessively warm water, as warmer water breeds more dangerous bacterium, such as botulism.

With regards to drowning safety, always wear an appropriate life vest. You should also be aware of dam release schedules so you’ll know when the water is going to start getting more dangerous. Any time the waters are turbulent, do the smart thing and stay away.

Just in Case

So you’ve done everything necessary to stay safe in the water, but someone in your group has wound up with stomach pains, fever, or vomiting, and you’re unsure what to do. Since the problem could be from any number of bacteria and toxins, the best first step is to seek medical attention as soon as possible. While the person with the troublesome symptoms probably won’t suffer any long-term consequences, you’re better off playing it safe.

Drink It Up

In addition to the water found in lakes, ponds, and rivers, there are occasionally dangers associated with the water that comes shooting out of your kitchen sink. While tap water is usually closely regulated to protect against harmful substances from seeping in, you should be wary of water that contains any of the following:

  • bacteria
  • lead
  • nitrate
  • viruses

To find out if your drinking water contains any of the above, contact your local water provider. If your drinking water comes out of a well or other non-regulated source, you can purchase water testing kits that will help you determine the various agents at work in your water source, notifying you of whether you should be concerned or if you are free to drink without fear.

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Sip Your Way Thin

Tea for two
Image by naama via Flickr

Drink This Not That

Changing what you drink just may be the magic weight loss bullet you’ve been looking for.

David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding sure think so. But then they did write the book on it: Drink This Not That. They’ve even gone so far as to claim that you could lose up to 32 pounds in a year just by changing what you drink.

What most people don’t know is that it’s a lot easier to drink extra calories than to eat it. So you really need to pay attention to what you’re sipping on.

Here is a sampling of what their book has to offer. The following are 5 of the worst things to drink, followed by 5 slimming alternatives.

Breakfast
While a cup of hot coffee or a glass of lowfat milk are both great ways to start your day, beware of the smoothie trap. More often than not smoothies are closer to milkshakes than protein shakes.

Worst beverage: Smoothie King Peanut Power Plus Grape (40oz)

  • 1,498 calories / 44g fat / 214g sugar

Drink This Instead: Smoothie King High Protein Banana (20oz)

  • 322 calories / 9g fat / 23g sugar

Lunch
A study done at Virginia Polytechnic Institute showed that people who drink 17oz of water before sitting down for a meal ended up eating 9 percent fewer calories. Those calories can really add up over time.

Worst beverage:

SoBe Green Tea (20oz)

  • 240 calories / 0g fat / 61g sugar

Drink This Instead: Honest Tea Organic Honey Green Tea (16oz)

  • 74 calories / 0g fat / 18g sugar

Afternoon
When the afternoon rolls around most of us are ready for a pick-me-up. Too often these caffeinated drinks are loaded with waist-expanding calories.

Worst beverage: Starbucks Venti Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with whipped cream

  • 660 calories / 22g fat / 95g sugar

Drink This Instead: Starbucks Venti Caramel Cappuccino

  • 170 calories / 6g fat / 18g sugar

Postworkout
There’s no good reason to follow up a great workout with a sugar-filled beverage, even if it makes claims for quick recovery and muscle growth. After exercise your body is in need of protein, carbohydrates and potassium, so choose a beverage filled with these three.

Worst beverage: Naked Protein Juice Smoothie (15.2oz)

  • 418 calories / 4g fat / 53g sugar

Drink This Instead: Horizon Organic Chocolate Reduced Fat Milk (8oz)

  • 180 calories / 5g fat / 27g sugar

Alcoholic beverages
There are known benefits to drinking alcohol in moderation (one or two drinks per day) such as raised HDL (good) cholesterol, boost in bloodflow, and improved sugar metabolism. A recent study in the journal BMC Public Health reported that people who have a daily drink were 54 percent less likely to be obese. However, it’s called a beer belly for good reason, since many alcoholic beverages are loaded with calories.

Worst beverage: Red Lobster Traditional Lobsterita

  • 890 calories / 183g carbohydrates

Drink This Instead: Red Lobster Classic Martini with Gin

  • 140 calories / 0g carbohydrates

Recent studies are reporting that most of us drink 21 percent of our daily calories. That adds up to an average of 460 calories each day. It’s easy to see how these calories quickly add up into unwanted pounds.

Pay extra attention to what you drink throughout each day. Make it a habit to pass on the calorie-packed drinks and to focus on drinking lots of water.

Remember that small changes to your lifestyle over time will make the difference.

I’m always available to help – call or email me to set up your free consultation.

Protect Your Back

A few easy steps to ensure your back’s good health when you’re working out.

BodyYou’re having an amazing workout, when suddenly everything stops. A stinging sensation moves from your leg all the way up your back, sending paralyzing pain through your body. Could the pain have been prevented? Probably. Here are two tips to help you do just that.

Stretch It Out

Before beginning an exercise routine, stretching your body out slowly is still one of the best ways to prevent injury. To stretch out your back, try the following:

  • Lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground, knees bent, and both hands resting on your chest. Then allow both legs to fall gently to one side of your body, while keeping your body in its original position. Raise your legs back to the starting position and allow them to fall to the other side. Hold each stretch for 5 to 10 seconds.
  • Lie on your back, feet flat on the ground, knees bent. Pull one knee to your chest at a time, holding for 15 seconds. Repeat for the other leg, and then pull both knees to your chest for one or two repetitions.
  • Resting on your hands and knees, relax your back and let it sag toward the ground while keeping your arms and legs in their original position. Once your back is as far down as it is going to be, bring your back to its original position and slowly arch your back like a cat toward the ceiling. Repeat two or three times.

Strengthen Your Core

In addition to stretching out your back, you should also actively work to strengthen your back. To do this, you’ll need to strengthen the muscles that protect your back – the core muscles. However, if you’re suffering from back pain, you should avoid some of the most common exercises that focus on the abdominal muscles, such as sit-ups (both regular and partial sit-ups) and lifting both of your legs in the air while lying on your back. You should also avoid other exercises that result in back pain or demand a lot from your back, such as standing toe touches.

If you aren’t experiencing back pain, any exercise that helps your core grow stronger is going to help you avoid back pain in the future. At the same time, you can go a long way toward protecting your back by performing other exercises properly and not involving your back in exercises that aren’t meant to work the back.

When Prevention Isn’t Enough

Despite your greatest attempts, you won’t be able to avoid back pain every time. When you begin to hurt in your back, you can often help your back pain feel better at home. A good first step is to ice your back. After a couple of days, you can alternate ice with heat.

While you may think staying in bed will help your back recover, taking bed rest will actually prolong the time it takes for your back to feel better. Instead, stay moderately active, being careful not to further injure your back. In the event your back pain doesn’t go away after a couple of weeks, seek medical attention, as it may require more intensive care than you can provide on your own.

When the Pain Is Too Much

If you’re suffering from unbearable back pain but want to stay fit, there’s good news. Getting some exercise is one of the best things for your back pain. You just have to choose carefully.

For most people with back pain, walking is a great way to stay active. But for those who can’t handle walking because of never-ending back pain, swimming in a pool is a great alternative that is usually tolerable no matter how much pain you’re in on land. So when the pain becomes too much for you to bear exercise, hit the pool!

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Easy Chilled Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a cold tomato-based soup that originated in Spain. What better time to enjoy a chilled bowl of gazpacho than on a hot summer day? Use fresh ingredients for the best possible taste.
Servings: 6

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 cups tomato juice
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 sweet green bell pepper, seeded and quartered
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Fresh ground salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tomatoes & 2 cucumbers chopped for garnish
  1. Place all of the ingredients, except tomato and cucumber garnish, in a high speed blender. Turn on high speed for 40 seconds.
  2. Chill the soup for 30-60 minutes.
  3. Place chopped cucumber and tomato in each serving dish and fill with soup. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 85 calories, 2.5g fat, 15g carbohydrate, 2.5g fiber, and 3g protein.

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Introducing the Class Card and New Prices!

You asked and we answered! And we’re pleased to announce the following changes to Maplewood Boot Camps!

Introducing the Camp Class Card!
When we surveyed campers, we heard from everyone that they would like to have the option to pay for boot camp via a class card. Many people who want to sign up for camp can’t commit to the 4-week timeframe due to travel and other commitments. To meet those needs and provide the ultimate in flexibility, the class card will be good for 10 camps and can be used at any time within a 3 month period.

$217 10-Camp Class Card

New Price for 3-Day a Week Camp!
We’re still offering the option of buying a 4-week session of camp, for those who want to make the commitment to 4 weeks of exercise to achieve their fitness goals. And we’re introducing a new, reduced price for 3-days-a-week (12 sessions) of boot camp.

$197 for 3-day a week camp

To celebrate these two new offerings, for a limited time we’re offering 15% off on the Camp Class Card, the 3-Day-a-Week Camp and the 2-Day-a-Week Camp.

Enter code “AWESOME” at checkout to receive 15% off.

Camps are offered at the following times and locations – attend the ones that fit best with your schedule!
Mon, Wed and Friday at 6 and 9:30 in Memorial Park in Maplewood
Tues and Thursday at 9:30 am at the Baird Recreational Center in South Orange
Saturday and Sunday at 8:30 am in Memorial Park in Maplewood

Any questions, please ask, and thank you again for taking time to give us your feedback so that we can serve you better!
Coach Carlos

Are You Running Right?

Run faster, better, longer, safer.

BodyRunning is one of the easiest ways to get in your daily 30 minutes of exercise. It requires no special equipment, and you can do it anywhere you find yourself. However, to get the best workout, you’ve got to do it right. Grab your running shoes, your favorite shorts, and have a seat. It’s time for a brief refresher in running that’ll have you running faster, better, longer, and safer than ever before.

Warmer Legs

Any time you start exercising without warming up, you put yourself in harm’s way. As you may guess, this is also true for running. Before going full force on the trail, sidewalk, or treadmill, take a little time to get your leg muscles warmed up nice and slow. A great way to do this is to walk for a minute or two, go into a light jog, and work your way up to the top speed you want to use most of your time running. Also, when you’re done running, don’t stop cold turkey. Walk it off for a few minutes to allow your body to cool down in the safest way possible.

Relax – It’s Just Running

When you’re trying to push your body to superhuman speeds, you may find yourself tensing every muscle in your body in an effort to muscle your way across the finish line. But you may want to change your tense-running ways. One of the tricks to running fast is learning to relax. Start out by sitting in front of a mirror and letting your entire face go loose. Pay attention to how your face looks and feels. The next time you go running, take a quick peek in the mirror before heading out the door and remember to keep loose while running, and you’ll feel better during and after your run, while keeping yourself from many bothersome injuries that are more common when you’re tense.

I always loved running. It was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs. – Jesse Owens

Listen to Your Body

Just like every other workout routine, you should pay close attention to what your body is saying when you’re out for a run. If you feel your body is about to collapse during a run, it’s time to stop. Instead of pushing yourself over the point of no return, stop running when your body tells you to, and increase your running distance gradually. If you do it right, you should be able to increase your total running distance by 50 percent every four weeks until you hit your maximum running distance.

Pick up the Pace

Plan on getting in on the next big race in your community? You’ve got to pick up the pace in your own workout. After all, if you don’t make yourself run fast during your workouts, you’re not going to be able to run fast in a race. A great way to determine if you’re increasing your speed is to count how many times your right foot hits the ground each minute and work to increase that number. A good goal is 80 touches a minute, though it may take a while to get there.

Toes and Hands

To get the most effective push forward when running, use the big toe on each foot to catapult your weight. Doing this will move you faster and help your heels avoid some of the abuse that is often the result of frequent running. At the same time you’re pushing ahead with your toes, make sure your arms are moving in the right direction: directly in front of you. Though you may naturally swing your arms left to right, doing this causes your entire body to turn with each step, resulting in extra energy being used and less energy being saved up to help you in the final leg of the race.

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