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  • Are you planning to get in shape in the New Year?


    By Travis Steffen on Tuesday, December 29, 2009 2 comments

    coupleThere are only three more sleeps until January 1st and we all know what that means right? The party’s over and the diet starts!

    For most of us January is the time we plan to get really serious about improving our health, losing weight and getting in the best shape of our lives. Gym membership sales skyrocket, diet books fly off the shelves of bookstores and the word carbohydrate takes a serious bashing. If you are one of the many that made a New Years resolution to shed some fat in 2010, I’ve got some tips to make things just a little easier and less painful for you.

  • How to avoid holiday weight gain


    By Travis Steffen on Saturday, December 19, 2009 No comments

    The most wonderful time of the year is well underway again. ‘Tis the season of  twinkling lights, eggnog lattes, Christmas carols, good will towards men and almost undoubtedly…holiday weight gain.  Every year between the end of November and the first of January, the average person adds seven pounds to the junk residing in their trunks. During the holidays our lives revolve around social commitments (which of course always involve food and drink), Christmas shopping, recitals, and trying to balance the countless other tasks required of us in order to prepare for a joyous celebration. All of this put together is indeed a recipe for weight gain and when you factor in the abundance of cookies, cocktails and canapés coming at you from left, right and center you’d better have a decent plan of attack if you intend on buttoning those pants in the new year.
    1) Plan ahead. People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan. You know you’re going to have a long day of shopping at the mall so pack some food to take with you or you’ll end up famished 5 hours in and hit the food court, devouring greasy Chinese and a side of trans fatty fries. Before you leave the house, throw some veggies and fruit in a ziplock, grab some almonds, fix a sandwich or stash some low fat granola bars in your purse. Now you’re prepared to re-energize yourself for more shopping and you’ve saved yourself upwards of 500 calories! Your thighs thank you.
    2) Accept and embrace reality. Let’s face it…you are NOT going to resist temptation every single time! Perhaps the worst thing you can do is expect yourself to plan total abstinence from all of the delicious edible goodies that surround us this time of year. The key word here is moderation. Indulge in the shortbread, sip a rum and eggnog and pour some gravy on your mashed potatoes, just do it with moderation in mind. If you do happen to go a little overboard in your participation of the festivities don’t beat yourself up, just carry on with a new day.
    3) Get off that escalator. Ok, so you may miss a few workouts this month but it’s not the end of the world. Try burning some extra calories through incidental activity.
    Don’t take the escalator, use the stairs.
    Park further from the entrance of the mall.
    Go for a brisk 10 minute walk on your lunch break.
    If you take the bus, get off a stop or two early.
    Ignore the remote and get off your butt to change the channel.
    Give the kid at the grocery store a break and carry your own bags to the car.
    Take the dog for an extra or a longer walk and maybe add a steep hill in there too.
    Last but not least, remember that January 1st is less than 2 weeks away. If your pants are a little tighter by then WorkoutBOX will help you shed the evidence of all the festive fun. Here’s wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a safe, healthy, prosperous New Year! Cheers!

    1The most wonderful time of the year is well underway again. ‘Tis the season of  twinkling lights, eggnog lattes, Christmas carols, good will towards men and almost undoubtedly…holiday weight gain.

    Every year between the end of November and the first of January, the average person adds seven pounds to the junk residing in their trunks. During the holidays our lives revolve

  • How to own the body of a triathlete


    By Travis Steffen on Wednesday, December 9, 2009 2 comments

    Triathlon. An endurance event comprised of swimming, cycling and running in quick succession and varying distances. A physically and mentally demanding sport designed to test an athlete’s commitment, patience, pain threshold and passion.
    For me, it’s something that offers immense joy. It’s hard work, highly competitive and can be exhausting, while at the same time energizing, exhilarating, gratifying and thrilling. It is an independent yet socially supportive sport that requires self discipline, knowledgeable physical training and immense desire. The triathlon allows for ultimate calorie burning potential while building cyclist’s quads, swimmer’s abs and giving you a runner’s high. With all of that you can also expect missing toenails, chaffed thighs, a helmet head hair do and possibly meeting the occasional lake snake.
    In my mind the triathlon is really a metaphor for life. It can be long, it can be short, there will be joyful times and there will be agonizing times. Along the way you’ll see beauty and you’ll see pain. There will be uphill climbs and downhill coasts. Sometimes you’ll do better than you’d hoped for and sometimes you won’t. You can count on falling down or getting a flat every now and then, but you can also rest assured that someone will feel compassion and stop to help you. When it comes right down to it, the only one responsible for getting you across that finish line is you, but there are always friends and family lining the sidewalks, cheering you on.
    In the triathlon, the goal is all about time. Ideally you’ll need to swim, cycle and run your best times while also getting through the transitions as organized and quickly as possible. Aside from the exercise routine there really is a lot of organization involved in getting prepared for a race. While the swim, bike and run training is the meat of the program, triathletes also need to practice shedding the wetsuit as fast as possible, mounting their bike and changing shoes all while performing these things in the proper order so as not to get disqualified. This may explain why so many triathletes are Type A personalities.
    Triathlons come in many various distances. The most popular are the Sprint, Olympic, Half Iron and Ironman. The Sprint Triathlon (also known as the puke fest due to the short duration yet extreme intensity) consists of a 750 M swim followed by a 20 KM bike and then a 5Km run. Since the distances are short, the intensity is high and ideally all three events are performed at the highest level of exertion.
    The Olympic distance is the most popular and begins with a 1.5 KM swim, followed by a 40 KM bike and a 10 KM run.
    The half Iron is half the length of an Ironman with a 1.9 KM swim, 90 KM bike and 21 KM (half marathon length) run.
    The Ironman which is probably the most famous is also the longest starting with a 3.8 KM swim, 180 KM bike and 42 KM run which is a full marathon in itself.
    When it comes to choosing a length it’s basically just ‘different strokes for different folks’. Personally I am a fan of the Sprint triathlons because I like to go really really fast!! This distance allows me to put in a full, all-out effort for a short amount of time. The Olympic is also suitable for me because although you can’t go as hard as the Sprint, it’s faster paced than the Iron or Half Iron. The Iron and the Half Iron are extremely long and require an immense capability of endurance. Just imagine a 3.8 KM crowded open water swim immediately followed by a hot, long bike ride that equals the distance from Los Angeles to San Diego, all while sitting on a very small, hard seat. Once you’re done that, hurry up and change your shoes because you have a marathon to finish! Wow! That takes some serious passion and dedication. Yet if you talk to any Ironman or triathlete competing in any distance for that matter, they will likely tell you that they live for it! The training and discipline becomes a way of life, almost an addiction.
    Have you ever thought about it? It’s such a great sport and a true test of physical, mental and emotional strength. If triathlon is something you have ever considered doing, I highly recommend it! You’ll learn a lot about yourself and feel the intense confidence that comes with crossing that finish line! Most communities offer a Mini tri or a ‘Try a tri’ for beginners interested in getting their feet wet (pun intended). The Mini tri is usually half the length of the Sprint so it is short enough to see how the sport fits before committing too much to it. Keep it fun and try not to take things too seriously which is often easier said than done. Just focus on the completion and not the time on the clock. Check with your local running store, sporting goods store or athletic club for information on how you can get started in the world of triathlon!
    images1Triathlon. An endurance event comprised of swimming, cycling and running in quick succession and varying distances. A physically and mentally demanding sport designed to test an athlete’s commitment, patience, pain threshold and passion.
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