Sunday, October 24, 2010

Walk, Don't Run...

"Walk, Don't Run" - Not just one of my favorite tunes from the legendary band, "The Ventures"...

... it's also the title of the latest installment on the PR Fitness blog written by PRF Coach, Richard Stent.

To improve your running, you may want to try walking. At the recent Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, the women's 20 kilometer walk was won in one hour and 32 minutes, and the lady finishing 4th, was 42 years old, and turned in a time of one hour and 40 minutes. So that is basically your half marathon distance, and those are times we would love to turn in as runners. The "small" difference is that there is a "big" difference between race walking and normal, fast walking. Race walking is a difficult technique to master and tough on lower portion of the body. However, hard walking (not race walking ) is what we were born to do, way more than running. You can walk at a good pace all day, and be recovered to do it again day after day. You have none of the pounding that comes with running, and if you are walking hard (and that means swinging your arms like runners/race walkers ), your metabolism gets a massive boost, as does your strength and overall fitness. You can spend long hours on your feet....which is critical to longer running races.

Another major benefit is that if you are a traditional heel/toe runner, it's mechanically the same, heel to toe. Irrespective of how you run, you can use walking as a recovery from running, or as serious training for a race. Try walking as hard as you can for two hours one weekend, you will be amazed at how tough it initially is, but also how good you feel afterwards. You can walk a half marathon in "normal" style, as long as you swing those arms, in around 2 and a half hours. Often, ego prevents us from this type of training. You know.." hey, I'm a runner, can't let people see I'm walking!" Hard walking is a good way to recover from the post running race BLUES. You have that depressed feeling, with no motivation to train. So, get out and walk and see how your mood recovers along with your body.

Once you graduate to marathons and Ultras, you will find that walking hard in training is invaluable, because of the time on your feet, and also because you will very much feel the need to walk during a long race, and hard and skillful walking will ensure you eat up the miles as well as resting vital running muscles. As you become a better runner, you will be able to outpace runners!

Hard walking will keep you seriously fit AND healthy. Runners tend to overdo training, especially the wrong training, and are fit but most often not healthy. Try it. Most runners ARE NOT doing it must be good!

Coach Richard is PR Fitness' Lead Personal Trainer, offering the best one-on-one coaching you will find in the area. He also teaches the PR Fitness "Intro" program, which all new PR Fitness athletes must complete.
Richard is a lifetime athlete, competing in various sports as well as endurance racing that includes multiple finishes of the Comrades Marathon (difficult 56 mile race), Ironman distance triathlons, multi-day kayak races, and more. He is also a veteran of the elite Rhodesian Light Infantry, a legendary airborne commando unit of the Rhodesian Army.
To schedule a consultation or appointment with Richard, email him at:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Body Bewildered

By, PR Fitness Athlete, Kelly Rota-Autry.

I can make my body do a lot of things, especially now, after a year of PR Fitness training.

  • I can make my core and arms lift really heavy stuff off the ground, sometimes even over my head.
  • I can make my legs run 13.1 miles on a crowded Indianapolis street or a hilly Eagle Creek trail.
  • I can drag a 100 pound tire behind me, throw a 14 pound medicine ball high against a wall, pull my chin up over a bar (with a little help from my rubber-band friend)
  • I can hold a crane pose – even side crane sometimes – and stand on my head.
  • I can wash away the day’s stress and funk in a bath of sweat, wood pellets and chalk dust – and my body just keeps saying "yes, yes, yes".
  • I can make my face smile through all of this, because quite frankly, it just makes me smile

But, here’s the rub:

  • I can’t make my uterus bleed.
  • I can’t command my hair to stop graying.
  • I can’t summon my sweat glands to stop soaking my t-shirts as I wrestle with sleep.
  • I can’t tell my body that it is not time to stop ovulating, not time to make THAT change.

I can find the mental focus to count down reps from 21 to 15 to 9, (even while lifting heavy stuff), but I can’t seem to control the urge to scream, to cry, or to not blank out at the most unpredictable moments.

I love all foods "paleo", yet crave to eat my weight in Pixie Stix (and would, given the time and the pixie stix!) I am so powerful, yet so powerless over this new phase of my life as a woman.

I remember in my 20s, how much damage I did to my body – no sleep, no real food, smoke, sporadic exercise and other unhealthy extracurriculars. Still, with a few sit-ups, a short run now and again, and a fad diet - BAM!, things were not perfect, but better (at least looking better).

Then, in my 30s I became a mother and lost any real connection to my body. It was just something I threw clothes on to get out the door and floated behind the children in a family photo. I did less damage, but also paid less attention. And under the weight of work and family and my own neglect, my body swelled – perhaps to fill the space left by my inattention, insecurity, and invisibility.

I'm now smack dab in the middle of my 40s, and my body is one big question mark. “Yes,” it says agreeably, “I will lighten up and tone up. But I will also ache all day for no apparent reason. I will wrinkle and blotch and sag in all the wrong places (is there a right place?) I will play ping-pong with your emotions and tease you with tireless energy and endless exhaustion. Game on, watch the curveballs … “

For a time, I was in denial, thinking "any day now, my period will start and life will go back to its pre, pre-menopausal state." And when it didn’t, I sent my husband on a 6 a.m. run to the pharmacy for a pregnancy test, just to be sure. Yep, certain now that this endless state of PMS is not going to end in a maternity leave, I accept this transition; it's not welcome and it's not not pretty. In between the tears and rages and melancholy, I know it is not hard, either. Losing loved ones is hard. Being a parent is hard. Balancing work and family is hard. Aging is not hard. It just is. And it is ironic to know that, along with the mania, there are some perks:

  • The beautiful strong women I am surrounded by who are aging right along with me.
  • The opportunity to share sage wisdom and life experiences with those who will listen, those who want to know.
  • The crazy confidence to finally live life in real time: To wear a bathing suit without shorts or a sarong! To speak my mind. To share my heart. To follow my gut.

If you read this, and you get it, awesome. I hope this speaks to you, in whatever life stage you are in, whatever change you face; whether you embrace it, or ignore it, it will happen. I’m just trying to live the best way I know – with an open heart, a kettlebell, a Paleo cookbook, a great community, and a wrinkly smile.



Kelly is a PR Fitness "O.G." - one of the Crew that has been there since Day 1. Kelly started her training with Chris several years ago as one of his Power Yoga students, seeking better health and life balance. In 2008 she enrolled in Chris' 12 week wellness program, "Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap" (BTWG). BTWG was a transformative experience for her and a true awakening. Not only did she lose unwanted fat and become more fit, she truly changed her life in all facets of wellness. Kelly has gone on to compete in sprint triathlons, road and trail half marathons, a 100K team relay ultramarathon, and more. These days you can find Kelly, and her husband, Matt, kicking butt in the workouts at PR Fitness, running the trails of central Indiana, and walking the talk of health, fitness, and well-being. Check out her BTWG blog by clicking HERE

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

'Tis the Season...

For allergies...

Many of us here in the Mid-West suffer from seasonal related allergies and turn to over-the-counter medicines or prescription medications to offer relief. However, there are several practices and tools you can employ to help reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies, or in many cases, avoid them all together. The following tips have helped many of my clients overcome serious seasonal allergy issues and I'm confident they will help you as well. If you don't suffer from allergies, read on and incorporate these practices as well for good health!

Among other things, allergens trigger inflammation in the body. If you already have elevated levels of inflammation you are more prone to the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Additionally, if your immune system is deficient, you will not be able to naturally defend against the allergens present. Therefore, it is crucial to keep your immunity strong and inflammation low. Here are a few basics:
  • Clean up your diet - a diet that is high in starchy carbohydrates, especially grain-based carbs and sugar promotes inflammation. Wheat is a major culprit and should be avoided by seasonal allergy sufferers (or, in my opinion, avoided at all times!). I also suggest keeping dairy to a minimum if you suffer from seasonal allergies as milk can compound the problem of excess mucus.
  • Fish Oil - Omega 3 fish oil has many health benefits, including strong anti-inflammatory properties. I suggest taking 3-5 grams of high quality Omega 3 fish oil on a daily basis.
  • Train smart, rest well - As previous posts on this blog have suggested, recovery and knowing when to back off are essential to avoiding the pitfalls of over training syndrome (aka - under-resting). One of the many side effects of inadequate rest and recovery is inflammation. Include silent time/meditation into your weekly practice along with self-care and intelligent training to avoid unnecessary inflammation.
  • Green and/or White Tea - Both green tea and white tea are high in antioxidants which support immune function and good health. I suggest drinking at least 2 cups per day.
And, of course, I had to add my "secret weapon" for keeping the sinuses clear at all times, regardless of the season, yet it's also a powerful tool in the seasonal allergy fight...

Neti pot
- Well, it's not such a secret anymore, thanks to the likes of Dr. Oz, Dr. Andrew Weil, but just a few short years ago if you mentioned the neti pot people looked at you like you had two heads. If you told them what it was and what you did with it, they ran the other way. Looking much like a genie bottle, you simply add a mixture of warm water and sea salt, lean over the sink, insert the spout into your nostril, tilt your head to the side and pour. Allow the water to run into one nostril and out the other. It takes some practice and getting used to, but once you get the hang of it you will quickly see the value of doing the neti pot on a daily basis.
The dastardly Neti Pot. Get one, rub the side, and make a wish for clear sinuses and allergy relief. If that doesn't work, read the instructions on the box, use it, and see what happens.

The neti pot is a practice that stems from yoga and has been used for countless years by yogis to keep the nostrils and sinuses clear and healthy. For the yogi, this enhances the practice of pranayama (breath work) and the ability for one to uptake Prana (Prana, as in life force, not the climbing apparel). For us, the neti pot is a simple, drug free manner in which to flush allergens from the nostrils. Additionally, the high sodium content solution works to kill viruses and dry up mucus (lovely, right?). Of all the tips suggested in this article, the neti pot is superior to each and every one. Many of my clients/students have found total relief from allergies by simply using the neti pot on a daily basis.

Even if you do not suffer from seasonal allergies, I recommend using the neti pot year-round. Daily, we pick up dirt and debris from the air and environment. I find the use of a neti pot highly beneficial after a long trail run, after mowing the lawn, or after being outside for a long period of time where we are exposed to airborne particles. Along with keeping dust, dirt, and allergens out of the nostrils, keeping the breathing passages clear and healthy enhances nasal breathing during training sessions (running, gym workouts, yoga, meditation, et al.) which is vital to performance.

There was a time when you could only find a neti pot at a yoga studio, or perhaps a real-deal health food store. These days you can find them at just about any pharmacy - I've seen them in Kroger's, Marsh, CVS, and Walgreen's, so there is no excuse for you to not have one and get started using it today!

Let me know if you have questions!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Crash and Burn...

"Crash and Burn",
by PR Fitness Coach, Richard Stent

This is a subject that Chris has touched on, and is always aware of, when scheduling the workouts. " Crash and burn".

Look at the long road ahead, with regard to training. If you want to be training as intensely in 50 years, then learn to back off when appropriate. It is not a lack of character when you back off training, but the opposite. You need to know yourself, and how quickly you as an individual can recover, and how hard you can push in the next session. You need to regard yourself as an athlete, and most of the top athletes who are consistent over years, back off when needed. Backing off is sometimes a complete rest, or most often exercising to a point well short of maximum. If you are a hardcore daily trainer, this is essential: Push, relax, push, relax. One of the hardest things to do is to convince a " hardcore specialist" to follow this principle.

The consequences of consistently hammering yourself, without adequate rest ( which includes nutrition ), can be devastating. Chemicals in the brain change over time, and this can creep up on you oh so softly (see the related links below).

Explosive lifts in the gym, along with multiple sets of jumps, and exercises like kipping pull ups, place your joints under huge stress. Something will always give, sooner or later if you lack intelligence in your training or if you ignore the needs of your body when it comes time to back off.
If you have a love affair with training and pushing yourself, then just like the real thing:-D......a whole bunch of common sense is needed.

Click HERE and HERE for additional reading.

Coach Richard is PR Fitness' Lead Personal Trainer, offering the best one-on-one coaching you will find in the area. He also teaches the PR Fitness "Intro" program, which all new PR Fitness athletes must complete.
Richard is a lifetime athlete, competing in various sports as well as endurance racing that includes multiple finishes of the Comrades Marathon (difficult 56 mile race), Ironman distance triathlons, multi-day kayak races, and more. He is also a veteran of the elite Rodesian Light Infantry, a legendary airborne commando unit of the Rodesian Army.
To schedule a consultation or appointment with Richard, email him at:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What The...?

"Yoga Toes" and compression tights, a great combo for recovery and healthy feet.
Coach Chris' funky feet after Sunday's trail run. Read more to get the scoop on what's up with that!

Recovery is crucial to progress: Quality nutrition, rest, hydration, mobility/flexibility work, massage/self-care, and meditation/time in silence all play key rolls in getting the most bang from your training buck. As you probably know, it isn't just the workout that makes you more fit, it's also determined by how well you recover. The same truth applies after a race (such as last weekends 1/2 and full trail marathon), how well you recover is key to how quickly you can resume training at 100%.

Training at PR Fitness delivers the goods which allows you to train hard on a regular basis and you are more durable for endurance efforts and you remain injury free. Yet it all hinges on proper rest and recovery; without it, sooner or later you will have to pay the piper (advice I continue to learn and follow!)

Much like tapering before a race, or preparing for a workout, how you recover is a very personal and individualized thing, however there are certain things that work well for everyone and you can research that on various web sites and training guides. What I have to offer here are a few of my "secret weapons":
  • Chris' Home Brew (No not that kind!) - It's a well known fact there is a window of opportunity, post-exercise, when the body is primed for amino acid and glycogen uptake, both of which are key to rebuilding, replenishing, and optimizing recovery. While this window extends to about 1 hour post-exercise, it is ideal to begin replenishment within 30 minutes, or less. I use a post-workout "home brew" which is a concoction of quality whey protein powder, mixed with cranberry juice (8-12 ounces), and olive oil (about 3 teaspoons). A tolled it delivers around 40 grams of protein, 40 grams of simple carbs and around 15 grams of quality fat. Occasionally I will use other juice or adjust the volume of ingredients, but this mixture has worked well for me and it tastes relatively good as well.
  • Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplements - while holding several health benefits, taking additional Omega 3's aids recovery.
  • Ice Bath - I don't do this as often as I should, however, it really works (as much as it REALLY SUCKS!). Just fill your tub with cold water and if you can stand it, throw in some ice. Say a prayer, hop in, and stay in for as long as you can stand it (no more than 15 minutes). Parka and wool hat are optional. If you don't have time for an ice bath, showering with cold water for a few minutes offers some recovery value as well.
  • Okay, now that you are all smirking and thinking what I'm thinking about cold showers, let's move on...
  • Foam Rolling/Massage/Tennis Balls - if you can afford the massage by a pro, do it. Otherwise, spend time on the foam roller and tennis balls. Priceless and super effective for getting rid of residue, shuttling in fresh blood and facilitating lymphatic function.
  • Get Inverted - if you can do headstands, do it - otherwise simply prop your legs up the wall and rest here for 10-15 minutes. If doing headstand, shoot for up to 5 minutes, followed by another 5 with your legs proped up on the wall.
  • Compression tights - While I use these during long runs, I also find them exceptionally helpful for recovery. Get some! Wear them around the house or while you are inverted. After a bigger event or when my legs are more fatigued, I occasionally will sleep in my Skins-brand "Sox" (yeah, I'm weird).
  • Yoga Toes - Perhaps my biggest "secret weapon" - and the most unusual. One of my former coaches turned me on to Yoga Toes about 6 years ago and they have been a mainstay for me since. At $40, they are not exactly cheap, however, I've had the same pair for over 6 years and, they have a lifetime guarantee. Toe spreaders help to properly align the bones of your feet which are abused when crammed into footwear for hours on end. Yoga Toes also help to enhance circulation, neural function, and they facilitate recovery. I can tell you that after Sunday's 5.5 hour trail run, putting on my Yoga Toes felt like getting a full body adjustment from a chiropractor. Click HERE to visit their web site.
So, that's how I roll (no pun intended): Post workout recovery drink, ice bath, throw on the compression gear and Yoga Toes, spend some time on the foam rollers/tennis balls, and finish it up with some inversion work.

Let me know what works for you, or if you have questions.

Be Well,