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Courtney Gardner’s Track Workout Tips

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Photo by LHGFX

Fitness Gurls Athlete Courtney Gardner knows a thing or two about track workouts. She was an Oregon High School 800M State Champion and a NCAA D1 cross country and track athlete. Find out how she incorporates track workouts into her gym routine to maintain a fit, lean physique year round.

Tired of your gym routine? Hit the track! The track, whether indoor or outdoor provides a break in the monotonous gym routine and makes you get creative with different types of training. Courtney often incorporates track workouts into her normal lifting regiment to challenge her mind and push her body. “If I get in a bit of a funk or hit a plateau, the first place I turn to is the track,” she explains. Her HIIT (high-intensity interval training) track and stadium workout is a combination of strength, speed, and explosiveness resulting in a calorie-burning, muscle-engaging workout.

“This is the workout I do when I really want to sweat and focus on building my booty! Have you seen Olympic sprinters? They all have large glutes and that’s for good reason. In order to be successful at their event, they must have explosive strength.” Her workout below is a great combination of explosive exercises to engage the fast twitch muscles and high-intensity intervals to elevate the heart rate.

Unlike trotting away on the treadmill at the gym where the conveyor belts aids in propelling your legs through the movement, outdoor running, especially sprinting forces your body to contract and engage your hamstrings, quads, glutes, calves, core, and arms to drive yourself forward. Add in the elements such as wind and inclines, you will have even more of a challenging workout!

In order to prevent injury and to properly warm up, Courtney recommends jogging two laps before getting into the dynamic warm up listed below. “You will engage multiple muscle groups in these exercises, therefore it’s very important to get a good warm up in.”

Enjoy the fresh air, the variety of exercises, and a great fat-burning, muscle building HIIT track workout!

Courtney’s 7 Go-To Track-Based Workout
Dynamic Warm Up (In Field)
High Knees- 20 yards x3
Butt Kicks- 20 yards x3
Body weight lunges-
20 yards x 3
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Track Workout:
Straightaways and Corners:
Sprint the straightaways (100Ms) and Jog the curve of the track for recovery.
Complete 4 laps in total
Fast starts:
Start in the sprinter postion. Focus on exploding forward for ten quick steps. Jog
back to your starting line and repeat for 10.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Stadium work out:
Stair Sprints:
Sprint up the length of the stadium as fast as you can, jog down the stair for
recovery. Repeat 10 times.
Stair Jumps:
Start in a squat position, explode up two steps at a time. Complete 10 jumps, jog
down stairs for recovery. Repeat 5 times.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Bleacher step ups:
Stand at the bottom bleacher and step up, driving your opposing knee high towards
your chest. Step up on the same leg 10 times, complete 10 step ups on the opposite
leg. Rest for 1 minute, repeat 3 times.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Sprint 250 meters and walk back to the start
Rest 2 minutes
Repeat sprint 5 times with
2 minute rests
Aim for 30 seconds or less

For More Courtney Gardner
IG @courtgard
Courtner Gardner is a Fitness Gurls Athlete

Health & Fitness

5 Moves to Target the Lower Abs

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It’s no secret that not all exercises that target the lower abs are created equal; some are more effective than others. For anyone that’s wanting to target the lower abs, it can be very frustrating, to say the least. However, targeting and strengthening the lower abs is possible. The trick is finding the best moves for you to build muscle and flatten or chisel the stomach the way you desire.

Also: Why the Glute Bridge Is Great for After an Abs Workout

Move 1: Rolling Plank
The plank in itself is a great move for the stomach area as a whole. However, this rolling plank works the entire core including the lower abdominal. It will also build strength in the lower back.

Here’s how to do it. Start in a plank position with the body making a straight line from feet to shoulders. Rotate the body to a right side plank and hold for about 10 to 15 seconds. Then repeat on the left side. 10 reps are recommended, 5 on each side.

Move 2: Hanging Leg Raise
Deep muscles are worked during this move as well as the lower back and abdominal area. The only equipment necessary is a chin-up bar. Simply hang from the bar with the feet together and knees bent slightly. Bend the knees and raise the hips at the same time and lift the thighs up to the chest. Pause then lower back to the start position. Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps each.

Move 3: Roll Up
The classic roll-up still can’t be beaten when it comes to the best move to build muscle in the lower tummy. Lay flat on your back, arms stretched straight above the head. Slowly bring them straight up, and raise off the floor to touch the toes. Slowly lower back down. Do 3 sets, 10 reps each.

Move 4: Leg Drop
Lift both legs to the ceiling. Make the abdominals tight then lower the legs slowly until they are a few inches above the floor. When the lower back starts lifting you’ve gone too far. Then raise them back up, and repeat. Do 10 reps and 3 sets.

Move 5: Scissors
Lift both legs straight to the ceiling. Lower the right leg until it’s just a bit off the floor, then switch legs. Do the move quickly with no breaks. Complete 3 sets of 10 reps each. For added benefits lift the head and shoulders off the floor.

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Health & Fitness

The importance of eating a diet high in alkaline foods and water

Alkaline for the Body

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I am sure that many of you have been told of the importance of eating a diet high in alkaline foods and water. What is not as often mentioned is just how alkaline foods and water work to ensure optimal health.

Also: How can I Stay Motivated when it comes to Home Exercise?

To begin with, the consumption of an alkaline diet regulates the body’s PH factor. The body’s PH is measured on a scale from 0 to 14. When the body’s PH is kept at just above 7.0 a variety of bodily functions work more efficiently. The resulting health benefits are both numerous and of great importance.

– A diet high in alkaline foods and water is an excellent buffer against cardiovascular disease. Alkaline diets are great for reducing inflammation, the result of this is often the lowering of both cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

– A diet high in alkaline foods and water lowers the chronic pain effects for a variety of ailments. Another benefit of an alkaline diet’s inflammation lowering qualities is a great reduction in chronic pain symptoms. Alkaline foods and water can provide significant relief for chronic sufferers of chronic back pain, headaches, muscle spasms, and joint pain.

– A diet high in alkaline foods and water provides protection of bone density. Alkaline diets provide excellent mineral balance which facilitates bone growth and health. In addition, alkaline diets promote the production of growth hormone and the absorption of Vitamin D which provides further protection for bones.

– A diet high in alkaline foods and water reduces the risk of cancer. Alkaline diets provide an abundance of antioxidant protection against cancer. Also, alkaline environments are not conducive to the growth of cancer cells.

– A diet high in alkaline foods and water prevents the development of diabetes. The pancreas is a bodily organ provided with the task of regulating the body’s blood sugar. The pancreas is dependent on an alkaline environment to function properly. One study, focusing on the effects of alkaline water on blood sugar, showed that just a month of drinking alkaline water can bring the blood sugar of diabetics to a normal level.

The health benefits of eating a diet high in alkaline foods and water cannot be understated. I am sure that after reading just a few of these benefits you will agree that making a conscious effort to incorporate alkaline foods and water into your diet is well worth the effort.

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Health & Fitness

Prevent Muscle Loss During Fasted Cardio with BCAA Supplements

BCAAs to Start Your Day

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Photo by Nicole De Khors

One of the most popular forms of extreme fat loss is fasted cardio. Usually done in the morning, this exercise method consists of working out the body anaerobically on an empty stomach, as opposed to full of calories from prior meals. The benefit of fasted cardio all lies in the specific targeting of fat reserves. More specifically, after eating a large meal, insulin levels are raised within the body. As cortisol levels are very high in the morning, they will target muscle cells with the increase in insulin. However, during a fasted state, those high cortisol levels in the morning can be utilized to target fat reserves as opposed to the muscle as the insulin levels will be greatly diminished during that fasting time. As explained by Men’s Fitness, “if you are fasted, insulin is low and cortisol will then go after body fat reserves”.

Also: Increasing Longevity Through Better Nutrition

For those looking to optimize their fat loss while still maintaining all of their hard-earned muscle, fasted exercise is not the only part of the equation. A healthy amount of Branch Chain Amino Acid’s to start your day will help to maintain all of that muscle that has taken so many dedicated hours in the gym to pack on. BCAA are essentially the very building blocks of muscles themselves. According to Layne Norton, experienced bodybuilder, and Ph.D., “BCAAs not only increase the rate of protein synthesis, but they also increase the cell’s capacity for protein synthesis”. So not only can this aminos help to you to maintain your muscles, it can also provide your muscles with a greater capacity for growth by targeting the actual muscle cells. But within a fasted state in the morning, we are primarily concerned with the rate of protein breakdown that may occur. Lucky for us, BCAA supplements can answer for this too. BCAA’s are also very capable of decreasing the rate at which protein breaks down. As explained again by Dr. Layne Norton, this can be explained by the aminos “decreasing the activity of the components of the protein breakdown pathway”.

In short, starting your days with a BCAA supplement is a great way to ensure that your muscle gains are not lost during fasted exercise. BCAA’s are one of the most well-researched supplements on the market and therefore finding a wealth of knowledge on them is not difficult. A simple search engine will guide you through a host of well documented and researched information. Additionally, these supplements are easy to find at any local supplement store or more simply online.

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