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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

11 Greatest Running Tips And Tricks

11 Greatest Running Tips And Tricks

Running is the new thing. People who never dreamed they would be runners are hammering out 5Ks and training for half-marathons. I am included in this recent running phenomenon. I could never run the full-mile test in gym class, but in the past couple of years I caught the running bug. I have learned a few running tips since I started. You might want to check these out if you are beginning to run yourself.

Running Tip #1: Safety first.

Make sure to check with your doctor if you have any medical conditions that might prevent you from running safely.

Running Tip #2: Get some quality running shoes.

Nothing is worse than shin splints. Shin splints tend to happen when you do not have proper running shoes. You will probably already be sore starting a new exercise, but you do not want to add insult to injury by lacing up with the wrong footwear.

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Running Tip #3: Start slow.

There is no need to try to run 10 miles on your first run. Try the five on, five off method. Run for five minutes and walk for five minutes, for a total of 30 minutes. After a couple of weeks, you can slowly increase the running time and decrease the walking time.

Running Tip #4: Know that it is okay to walk.

It drives me nuts when new runners have a goal of “running x miles without stopping.” What they mean is, they don’t want to “stop” and walk during their run. The thing is, it is completely okay to walk. During the half-marathon I ran in May, I walked all of the water stations and I was glad I did. Walking during your running allows your body to take a small break and build up energy for your muscles to use while running. This method helps to prevent injuries that can easily occur while running long distances.

Running Tip #5: Sign up for a race.

There is nothing more motivating than a race. When you know that you have already spent the money and will have to be able to physically run x number of miles on that day, it is easier to get out the door and complete your training.

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Running Tip #6: Be sure to keep up with your strength-training and cross-training.

If you only perform one exercise over and over and over, the muscles you are not using, the supporting muscles, will become weak. These weakened muscles that are needed to support the main running muscles leave you wide open for injury. Get in strength-training sessions twice a week. Also make sure to do cross-training such as biking, stairs, or elliptical training once or twice a week to prevent injury.

Running Tip #7: Design a training plan.

If you are signed up for a race, you will need a plan. You have to run, strength-train, cross-train and have rest days each week, so it is best to come up with a way to accomplish all of this. I have always used Hal Higdon training plans since they are designed by experts. You can print them out and check off each day or even download them to your phone. They even have running training apps you can download to your phone.

Running Tip #8: Figure out your proper fueling.

Every body is different. Some runners are not able to eat certain foods right before running, while others have iron stomachs that never get sick. A basic rule of thumb is to eat something with carbohydrates an hour before running (it can even be a meal if you can stomach it), then eat more carbohydrates plus protein to replenish the energy lost when running within 30 minutes of finishing your run. When you are running for over an hour, you should consider taking Gatorade or something similar to replenish the sodium and potassium lost through sweat. If you are running over 90 minutes, it is time to consider refueling with a mixture of carbohydrates, sodium and potassium.

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Running Tip #9: Hydrate properly.

This is another one where it depends on your body. Most bodies require hydration every 30 minutes of exercise. Hydration during running also depends on the weather. Is it dry? Is it humid? Are you sweating like a maniac upon walking out your front door? I always have water with me and take small sips when I feel thirsty to ensure I do not get dehydrated.

Running Tip #10: Listen to your body.

If you are so sore you can hardly walk, maybe sit it out for a day or two. If you feel like you can run a little further than you planned, try it out! That is part of the fun of running—testing yourself.

Running Tip #11: Lastly, have fun.

It is hard to get motivated to exercise when you are not enjoying it. Figure out the way you enjoy running the most and stick with it. If you hit a running rut, try running with a friend, alternating between the treadmill and the outdoors, find a new trail, or even take a break to come back refreshed. The bottom line is: you do not have to run. You should exercise the way you like and the way that is safe for you. If running proves to be your choice of exercise, then join the club and run your heart out!

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Featured photo credit: Capstone Events via unsplash.com

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Amanda DeWitt

Writer. Photographer. Instagrammer. Future Educator.

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Last Updated on December 28, 2020

How to Build Muscle Fast: 5 Fitness and Nutrition Hacks

How to Build Muscle Fast: 5 Fitness and Nutrition Hacks

Building muscle isn’t rocket science. All it takes is repeatedly doing the things that are proven in the lab and gym to work. This article provides 5 great ways to build muscle fast.

None of them requires you to spend lots of money on fancy fitness equipment or nutritional supplements. All you have to be willing to do is make a few adjustments to your diet, workout, and supplement routines. Put forth the effort, and you’ll be able to gain 5-10 lbs. of muscle in a month or two.

1. Eat Enough Protein Every Day

Contrary to what advertisements for protein powders say, you don’t need to eat and drink hundreds of grams daily to build muscle. The truth is, eating this amount won’t help you build muscle faster. It can actually be stored as fat.

All you really need is enough to meet your body’s daily needs and then a little more to stimulate muscle gain. This works out to about .8 grams per pound of body weight. So, if you weigh 150 lbs., you need to eat about 120 grams of protein daily.

Don’t stress too much over exactly how many grams of protein are in everything you eat. Use the eyeball method instead. 

This is done by looking at the protein on your plate and picturing an amount that’s the size of the palm of your hand. This amount contains about 28 grams of protein[1]. Do this every time you eat, and you’ll easily be able to make sure you eat enough.

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What does 25 grams of protein look like?

    You also need to know which foods are protein rich. They include: beef, eggs, poultry, pork, and seafood. Drink a protein shake if you’re having trouble eating enough of these foods. The best type of shake for building muscle is one that uses whey and casein proteins as its primary sources.

    Research shows these are the best protein powders for building muscle. One study also shows that drinking a shake that contains casein protein before bed can actually turn on the muscle building process[2].

    2. Do “Big” Lifts

    Forget exercises like curls, shoulder presses, and flyes and training individual body parts (chest, back, biceps, etc.) if building muscle is your goal. Instead, perform strength training exercises that train several muscle groups at once. Scientific studies show that exercises that do this are better for building muscle than the aforementioned isolation movements[3].

    Exercises you should do often include: dips, deadlifts, farmers walks, kettlebell swings, military presses, and pull ups. These are the movements that will really stimulate your body to build muscle fast.

    This video below will teach you how to perform my favorite muscle building exercise: farmer’s walks.

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    3. Train Hard Often

    You don’t have to work out every day for hours at a time to build muscle fast. What you need to do is train using the exercises I mentioned above often enough to stimulate muscle growth. Lifting weights 3 to 4 times a week is plenty. Give yourself a day’s rest after every 1-2 workouts.

    Your workouts only need to have 4-6 of these exercises. Choose an exercise for every major muscle group at each workout, and you’re set. This includes your legs (squats, deadlifts, lunges), chest/shoulders/triceps (bench press, dips, military press, push ups), and back (bent over rows, pull ups).

    I like to include a total body exercise every workout, too. I find that they are the best exercises for building muscle fast. This includes exercises like kettlebell swings, kettlebell throws, and farmer’s walks.

    Perform 3-5 sets of each exercise for 6-10 reps. Use a weight that makes it difficult to do the last rep of each set but not so hard that you cannot do it without using good form. Increase the weight you use when you can do every rep of each set.

    4. Rest and Recover Between Your Workouts

    Working out breaks down your muscles and eats into your ability to recover. You build muscle when you aren’t exercising. Therefore, proper rest and recovery can speed the muscle building process.

    The best way is to get enough sleep. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night will enable you to train harder and longer, and build muscle faster. If you can’t get this much sleep daily, take a 45 minute nap during the day to make up the difference.

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    Another way to recover faster and build muscle fast is to back off a little bit with regard to the number of sets and reps you do at each workout every once in awhile. Studies show that reducing the workout volume (sets and reps) by about 50% every 8-12 weeks can help you make progress significantly faster[4].

    This means that instead of doing 12 total sets at a workout, you’ll only do 6 using the same weight. Do this for a week, and then go back to your normal routine.

    Cutting back every once in a while will help you stay mentally fresh, too. This, in turn, gives you more energy to put into your future workouts.

    5. Take Nutritional Supplements That Are Proven To Work

    Once you have the four other tips in place, you can consider taking nutritional supplements to help you build muscle fast. The key thing is to use products that work. Through my research, I have found that there are three that work best: branched-chain amino acids, creatine monohydrate, and fish oil.

    The first supplement, branched-chain amino acids, are shown in several research studies to give you energy during your workout, decrease muscle soreness, and “turn on” the muscle-building process within your body. I find that they help me increase my energy and decrease post-workout soreness. You should take about .05 grams per pound of body weight before and after working out for the best results.

    Next is my favorite, creatine monohydrate. If you’re only going to take one supplement to build muscle, this is the one. This is because there are dozens, if not hundreds, of scientific studies that show it safely helps you build muscle and get stronger[5].

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    If you decide to give it a try, make sure you buy a product that is tested and guaranteed to include nothing but creatine monohydrate to ensure its purity. When you take creatine, follow what’s referred to as the loading phase, which is taking 10-20 grams a day for 5-7 days for the best results.

    Research shows this is the best way to get as creatine into your cells as quickly as possible. You can then back off to 5 grams a day to keep getting benefits[6].

    Last but not least is fish oil. In addition to being good for the health of your brain and heart, it can also help you build muscle fast. In one study, subjects taking 2 grams of fish oil daily for 6 weeks added a couple pounds of muscle[7].

    They lost body fat, too, and all without changing their diet or exercising at all. When shopping for a fish oil supplement, make sure you buy a concentrated source that’s tested to be free of impurities and pesticides.

    The Bottom Line

    Getting fit and building muscle doesn’t happen overnight, but with some simple changes to your diet and exercise routine, you can still build muscle fast when you build from a place of motivation and persistence.

    Whether you’re working out at home or at the gym, apply the above tips and watch your muscles grow week after week.

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    Featured photo credit: Anastase Maragos via unsplash.com

    Reference

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