Benefits of Being a Triathlete

With July coming and going far too quickly the summer with all its heat is in full swing. This has many of us looking for ways to stay active without being frustrated and/or bored. One great solution is to start training for a triathlon. A traditional triathlon has 3 components: running, cycling and open water swimming. This makes it the perfect summer activity because you can be refreshed with the swimming while also working the more flexible sports of running and cycling into your daily routine. Today we’d like to talk about some of the benefits to becoming a triathlete:

  1. Making Friends- Compared with running which can be done alone preparing for a triathlon is a group experience. We never recommend open water swimming alone and so at the very least the swimming component requires a group to enjoy. This is a great thing because it helps us make friends which is positive on so many levels and makes us more likely to complete our goals. 
  2. Easy Way to Exercise in the Summer- Working out in the summer can be difficult because it is easy to get overheated. Fortunately with triathlon training you can always go swimming to cool off! Even if it is just a few laps it can be very relaxing and important to your overall training for your race. Make sure when you are participating in running or cycling that you keep fully hydrated and take breaks if needed with the high summer heat. 
  3. All-around Body Workout- with 3 sports a triathlete is a well rounded athlete. Each sport works out different muscle groups and pushes the body in unique ways (be ready with Zim’s Max Freeze Pro Formula for some of that post workout recovery)
  4. Never Bored- working on 3 sports keeps things fun and it should ensure you are never bored with your workouts. If you are getting tired running just try cycling for a while or go for a swim! There’s plenty to do for triathletes
  5. Easy to Start- it may be surprising to some but triathlons are actually very accessible to all fitness levels. There are the high fitness Iron Man type events but there are also shorter events with just a 200m swim, 10km cycle, 2km run. Most complete these events within an hour or two  
  6. Ease on Muscles- because swimming and cycling are both non-weight bearing sports they can be great for people with chronic pain and other auto-immune problems. Plus, when you are working out if one muscle group is in pain you can focus on one of the other activities to give your body variety and rest. 
  7. Triathlons are Fun- as mentioned competing in triathlons is a social endeavor both in training and the actual event. This is not a serious sport or at least it doesn’t have to be. At triathlons you will see people cheering each other on and having a good time. It’s challenging but also a really fun time. Almost everyone who enters the world of triathlons keeps at it because it is such a positive experience. 
  8. Healthy You- as with any workout regime preparing for a triathlon will help your body become healthier and will help you to be happier making for a better you both mentally and physically. 

So there you have it! We hope you have enjoyed looking at the positive aspects of signing up for a triathlon. It may appear intimidating but it is actually a super fun sport that should be a great positive in your life both physically and socially. It’s got 3 sports which give it 3 times the enjoyment factor! 

Have you ever participated in a triathlon? What tips would you give to training or racing? We’d love to hear in the comments section. 

Happy 4th: Exercising Like the Founding Fathers

Happy 4th of July from all of us at Zims! We hope our customers in the US have a wonderful day with family and friends and perhaps get some fireworks watching in by the end of the day. As we began thinking about how we could celebrate this holiday in a way that could help us achieve our fitness goals we came across an article at menshealth.com that was too perfect not to share.  It is entitled ‘4 Ways People Stayed Fit in 1776’ by Will Levith, and it is quite fascinating! Underneath all those wigs and ascots the Founding Fathers found creative ways to exercise and keep fit- even Ben Franklin who is known for being on the portly side did his fair share of physical activity. 

When we see pictures of the men at the Continental Congress we get the impression they’d had no interest in sports when that is far from the truth. In fact, in the First Continental Congress they had to pass an agreement that the colonies would discontinue ‘and discourage every species of extravagance and dissipation, especially all horse racing, and all kinds of gaming…”  Riding appears to be a particular favorite activity of the group as well as fishing and even swimming (In the 1820s John Quincy Adams was famous for swimming in the Potomac each Summer morning).

Surprisingly there are also records of weight lifting (or the use of ‘dumb bells’) to exercise as early as 1711. According to Levith “these are quite different than the ones you’re familiar with today. ‘It would be like a cord on a pulley and a weight that you’d pull- kind of like a lat pull-down at a modern gym”

Everyone knows about the duels between gentleman of the era (especially with the popularity of Broadway shows like Hamilton) but boxing, sword duels, fencing and pistol shooting were also popular. Most of the time this fighting was friendly and for sport but it occasionally became deadly as in the case with Founding Father’s Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.

The last aspect of exercise in the 1700s is more a necessity than an extra-curricular activity: it’s simply the exertion needed to exist in that era. An average person walked 3 to 8 miles a day in their various activities. Plus, chores like farming, housekeeping, cooking, laundering required 5 times the effort that it does today. Something we take for granted now like drinking a cup of milk required many steps to make a reality. We sometimes forget how much technology blesses are lives but hopefully those blessings don’t make us too lazy!

So, if you want to get into the true spirit of Independence Day try going for a walk instead of driving or maybe splurge and go horseback riding. You’ll have fun and connect with the past all at the same time!

What do you like to do to connect with the past and stay fit? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below

Happy 4th of July! 

 

The Perfect Workout Playlist

We all know the importance regular exercise is in our lives but often it can be difficult to find the motivation especially with this super hot weather we have been having this summer. Something that can help us get pumped up is the right playlist of music. Whether it be soothing tunes for yoga or dance jams for aerobics, the right songs can help us exercise to the best of our abilities. The website/app Spotify is a great place to get playlists of music, and in their Workout section they have over 65 playlists to choose from specifically designed for exercising. With so many to chose from we thought it would be fun to share our favorite of these playlists for all different kinds of workouts. Let us know which ones you enjoy! 

80s Workout

Spotify is perhaps more well known amongst youth but it has a ton of fun throwback playlists for young and old to enjoy. One of the best is the 80s workout with some great peppy songs like ‘Celebration’ from Kool & the Gang, ‘It’s Raining Men’ from The Weather Girls, ‘Holiday’ from Madonna. These songs will put a smile on your face while you are exercising!

 

Pumped Pop

The Pumped Pop playlist is a great choice for your moderate workouts. The songs are bubbly but with calming moments. This would not be the choice for a Zumba routine but if you wanted some beat without being too crazy it would be great. Some highlights are ‘Rewrite the Stars’ from The Greatest Showman, Party for One from Carly Rae Jepsen, ‘One Last Time’ by Ariana Grande, and ‘Sucker’ by the Jonas Brothers.


Throwback Workout

To be honest most of the club themed playlists felt a little lacking to me in getting that dance tempo and tone. The best in my opinion is Throwback Workout which is billed as a throwback to the “biggest hits of the 2000s”. I don’t know how much of a throwback that really is but with songs from TLC, Destiny’s Child, T-Pain, and Missy Elliott you should be able to get a pretty good workout listening to it.

Fun Run 150-165 BPM

A good playlist to accompany your run is ‘Fun Run 150-165 BPM’. As stated in the title these songs all have a beat per minute perfect for the pace of a long run. There are a number of BPM playlists but this was my favorite. This includes songs like ‘Titanium’ by David Guetta and Sia, ‘Harder to Breathe’ by Maroon 5 and ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams. They even have ‘Run, Run, Run’ by Celeste Buckingham, which will be the perfect fit!

Indie Workout-

The Indie Workout playlist probably isn’t ideal for a hard core workout but if you are looking for something pleasant with a decent beat this is the choice. I love indie music so it is definitely one of my favorite including bands like The Shins, Arcade Fire and Maggie Rogers.

Yoga and Meditation-

I wasn’t over the moon about any of the yoga playlists to be honest but the Yoga & Meditation offering sounded the least synthetic, so it was my favorite. It has some nice violin pieces like ‘The Sleeper’ by Claes Nilsson or ‘Calming Violin’ by Pierre Koenigs. So, if you are looking to relax and get your chakras on this is the best one!

One word of caution about the Spotify lists: some contain songs with explicit language. In fact, in the Workout Twerkout list every song is labeled explicit so you might want to think twice before playing the music in a public place or gym.

Other than that, the Spotify playlists can be a fun way to spice up or calm down your exercise routine depending on the need.

What are some of your favorite playlists or songs in general to exercise with? We’d love to hear in the comments section. Happy exercising!



Presidents Day and the Presidential Physical Fitness Test

Today many are enjoying a day off of work in honor of some of America’s greatest presidents with the President’s Day holiday. This got us at Zims reminiscing about a memorable era of fitness directed by the president himself: the Presidential Physical Fitness Test. Could this rite of passage in gym classes for so many years be a gauge of fitness today? Let’s take a look.

The Presidential Physical Fitness Test has an interesting backstory. It started in 1956 when President Eisenhower created the President’s Council on Youth Fitness (current name President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition). In 1966 President Johnson created the Presidential Physical Fitness Award which created the idea of the test in schools. It originally included a softball throw, a broad jump, a 50-yard dash and a 600-yard walk/run.

However, where many of us probably first heard about the test is in the late 80s and early 90s when President HW Bush put an emphasis on it and appointed actor Arnold Schwarzenegger to lead the initiative.

At that time the test included 5 main components:

(expected numbers listed are for 10 year old boys and girls)

Pull ups (or sometimes push ups)- 6 for boys, 2 for girls

Sit-and-Reach- 30 for boys, 33 for girls

Sit ups (or curls)- 45 for boys, 40 for girls

30 ft Shuttle Run- 10.3 for boys, 10.8 for girls

One-Mile Run (wasn’t this the bane of every kids existence growing up?)- 8 min for boys, 9 minutes for girls

The problem  with the Presidential Fitness Test is its competitive nature. Instead of focusing on individual health and improvement it pitted kids against each other. By declaring certain kids as athletic and others as below average it may have discouraged athletic participation more than it helped.

However, the test itself is interesting. It covers upper body strength with pull up, flexibility with sit and reach, cardiovascular strength and endurance with the runs and muscle strength with the sit-ups. Theoretically if we worked on these areas we would be a very healthy person.

There isn’t a trainer alive who would argue focusing on these 5 areas is a good basis for physical fitness. The problem is when we compare our results to others and get discouraged. Nevertheless, if you added an element of each of the fitness categories covered to your workout you’d be a healthier person.

This Presidents Day hopefully we can get some inspiration from our past presidents and the Presidential Physical Fitness Test. It’s a fun part of recent American History and a helpful tool in designing a workout program.

Do you have memories of taking the Presidential Physical Fitness Test as a child? Hopefully they aren’t too traumatizing to share with all of us in the comments section!

Happy Valentines: Why Couples Workouts Work

Happy Valentines Day! Here at Zims we believe in cultivating a healthy active lifestyle, and if we are lucky enough to have a significant other this Valentines Day he or she can be a big help in achieving our fitness goals.

There are several benefits to setting fitness goals with our partners:

  1. Companionship- ever since Adam was lonely in the Garden of Eden human beings have worked best in teams rather than solo journeys. A partner or friend can help encourage us when the fitness is difficult. They can distract us with fun conversation. Studies have even shown we can fall in love with our partner more as we exercise together! (Psychology Today, 2014).
  2. Accountability- setting a fitness goal with another person, especially a spouse, is a great way to keep us accountable for our goals. Some mornings it’s hard to wake up and get going. The last thing we want to do is exercise but the helpful encouragement of a person we love can get us out the door. They can also get us to put down that donut and reach for the fruit at the neighborhood potluck. We can fudge details to a trainer or dietician but not to our spouse


  3.  Better workouts- According to Psychology Today working out with another person actually gives us more energy and makes us exercise harder than we do alone. “Even if you already feel competent doing a particular exercise, bringing along your romantic partner may be a fantastic way to boost your energy output. Your partner’s presence will improve your speed, without you necessarily being aware of their influence” (Psychology Today, 2014)
  4. Shared Memories- exercise goals are a lot of work and rather than sharing this intense experience with bland people at the gym why not share it with the person you love most? For example, if you have a goal to run a marathon, doing it with your partner will not only give you a shared memory of finishing the race but all the mini-runs along the way to prepare.

There are many other reasons that exercising with your partner is a great idea and perhaps the most romantic way to celebrate Valentine’s Day the whole year round! If you want some fun ideas for specific workouts you can do together as a couple check out this article from Cosmo magazine click here.

Have you had success exercising with your partner? Does it make it more fun or do you prefer a solo fitness regimen? Let us know in the comments section!