Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

  ·  7 min

Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

Here at RockMyRun, we’ve initiated a series of blog posts featuring our awesome Run Rocker family. Each post will be rapid-fire questions that not only showcases the RockMyRun spirit but also presents unique perspectives on the sport of running, how music plays a role, and hopefully offers some tips on challenges you may experience in your journeys. For the second in our series of runner interviews from our inspirational RockMyRun family, we are proud to introduce Run Rocker, Misty Phillips. This time, we did it half marathon style, with 13(.1)   questions for Misty who offered some fantastic advice, ranging from improving marathon time to juggling running with family life. 1. How long have you classified yourself as a “runner” (or do you?)I started running when I was about ten years old.  I competed in cross country a couple of years in high school.  I also ran sporadically over the years and competed in local 5K races and a few 10K races here and there.  I really got away from the sport in my twenties when my children were small.  I became a serious runner in May, 2011, when I signed up for my first marathon. 2. How often do you run weekly/monthly?My current training plan consists of 5-6 runs in a 7 day time period. 3. In which conditions you prefer to run (time in the day, indoors/outdoors…)?I love to run on the road.  All-weather conditions are OK with me – except heavy rain.  Although I am not a morning person, I am growing to love early morning runs.  There’s less traffic and much more to observe in nature – I like to watch deer, birds, and squirrels. 4. What running accomplishment are you most proud of? Or what is your best running experience?I signed up to run my first marathon about two years ago.  My goal for that race was finishing.  However, the experience left such an impression that I wanted to go back to the drawing board, get a solid training plan together, and really see what I was made of.  I was afforded the opportunity to work with a wonderful “Koach” who provided me with a plan and weekly feedback.  Incidentally, he provides running tips via twitter @Marathon Koach to over 9,000 followers!  With his help and my dedication to that goal – I have improved my marathon time from 5:06 (October 2011 – Marine Corps Marathon) to 4:17 (October 2012 – Chicago Marathon) and six weeks later I was able to run 4:07 (December 2012-St. Jude Marathon).  Improving my marathon finish time by nearly an hour is my greatest accomplishment at this point.  5. Do you have any running-related goals for 2013? If so what are your plans for reaching them?2012 will be a tough year to beat, and I know that.  But, I am very optimistic about my ability to continue to improve.  One of the most fascinating aspects of marathoning to me, personally, is that it is possible to get faster and better with time and training.  I have a long term goal – I visualize this each time I run – that one day I will run in the Boston Marathon.  As for this year, I have a few marathons I am considering and I would love to break 4 hours.  I think it is reasonable and attainable if I can stay injury-free. 6. Since you started running, what is the biggest change in yourself, either physical or emotional that you’ve noticed?The most significant change I am aware of is my self-perception.  I used to think of myself as a back of the pack runner. As hard as it was to realize, I had to give myself credit for improving speed and endurance.  I needed to select the right starting corral in marathons to keep from being held back – and in 5 and 10K’s I needed to edge my way a little closer to the front before the gun is fired.  THAT has been tough for me – seeing myself as a competitive runner. When I look back at my Chicago finish time and (4:17) and compare that to my St. Jude finish time (4:07) – I realized that I positioned myself more accurately in the starting corral in Memphis (St. Jude).  In Chicago I was in the back of the 5:30 corral (which slowed my first few miles way down).  I learned from this and moved up to the 4:30 corral in Memphis at St. Jude. 7. What motivates you to run?I like the isolation of the training run.  I feel free from every care in the world. 8. What kind of music inspires you while running?I am a child of the ‘80s so most of what is on my MP3 player is from that era. There’s a lot of U2, INXS, The Police, etc.  The type of music depends on the type of run: for shorter and faster runs, I prefer faster-paced music like rap and hip-hop. I’ll sometimes dig into whatever my teenage son is listening to for help here.  My longer runs tend to be mellower; I love to listen to BB King in the dead heat of the Mississippi summer when the humidity hangs in the air like a curtain. 9. What one tip would you share with runners everywhere if you could?Surround yourself with other runners for support and encouragement. People who don’t run won’t understand what you are going through – good or bad! 10. How do you squeeze running time into your schedule?It’s tough.  Physically and emotionally running can literally tear you down if you’re not careful.  I am very fortunate that my family supports and encourages my endeavors, so sometimes I get away with a few household chores slipping here and there.  At the end of any given day, I will have run 10-15 miles and still have to make a trip to the grocery store and attend a girl scouts meeting.  When you are runner, it’s part of your day, so you have to figure out how to do IT ALL. 11. What words would you use to describe how you feel while running?When I run I feel very happy and peaceful.  There’s a certain clarity that comes to my mind when I am on the road.  I get my best ideas, dream up new goals and think about what I am truly grateful for in that moment. 12. How do you fight that “I don’t want to run today” feeling?I have learned to listen to my body.  Sometimes the “not want to run feeling” is a sign of fatigue.  That may be a call to prop up my feet and read a book instead.   MOST of the time I can start putting on my running shoes and I start feeling better about going. 13.  How do you power through tough stretches of a run?You absolutely MUST be your own best friend.  You must learn to encourage yourself to keep going, push harder and never give up.  You also have to learn to not be too hard on yourself too – it’s critical after a training run or race to reflect on THREE positive aspects of the experience before looking for areas of improvement.  Otherwise, you’ll burn out. 13.1 Which RockMyRun mixes truly rock your runs?DJ Little Fever’s Brooks RockMyRun Mix is my all-time favorite.  I had the opportunity to train with this mix a few times prior to the Chicago Marathon in October 2012.  On race day – the mix ended up starting at mile 23.  The end of the marathon was by far one of the most intense experiences of my life – hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the streets and as I neared mile 25, I was running like the wind (Marshall Tucker Band)!  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that I can now listen to the playlist and the music brings back very vivid memories of the end of the race.


Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

  ·  7 min

Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

Here at RockMyRun, we’ve initiated a series of blog posts featuring our awesome Run Rocker family. Each post will be rapid-fire questions that not only showcases the RockMyRun spirit but also presents unique perspectives on the sport of running, how music plays a role, and hopefully offers some tips on challenges you may experience in your journeys. For the second in our series of runner interviews from our inspirational RockMyRun family, we are proud to introduce Run Rocker, Misty Phillips. This time, we did it half marathon style, with 13(.1)   questions for Misty who offered some fantastic advice, ranging from improving marathon time to juggling running with family life. 1. How long have you classified yourself as a “runner” (or do you?)I started running when I was about ten years old.  I competed in cross country a couple of years in high school.  I also ran sporadically over the years and competed in local 5K races and a few 10K races here and there.  I really got away from the sport in my twenties when my children were small.  I became a serious runner in May, 2011, when I signed up for my first marathon. 2. How often do you run weekly/monthly?My current training plan consists of 5-6 runs in a 7 day time period. 3. In which conditions you prefer to run (time in the day, indoors/outdoors…)?I love to run on the road.  All-weather conditions are OK with me – except heavy rain.  Although I am not a morning person, I am growing to love early morning runs.  There’s less traffic and much more to observe in nature – I like to watch deer, birds, and squirrels. 4. What running accomplishment are you most proud of? Or what is your best running experience?I signed up to run my first marathon about two years ago.  My goal for that race was finishing.  However, the experience left such an impression that I wanted to go back to the drawing board, get a solid training plan together, and really see what I was made of.  I was afforded the opportunity to work with a wonderful “Koach” who provided me with a plan and weekly feedback.  Incidentally, he provides running tips via twitter @Marathon Koach to over 9,000 followers!  With his help and my dedication to that goal – I have improved my marathon time from 5:06 (October 2011 – Marine Corps Marathon) to 4:17 (October 2012 – Chicago Marathon) and six weeks later I was able to run 4:07 (December 2012-St. Jude Marathon).  Improving my marathon finish time by nearly an hour is my greatest accomplishment at this point.  5. Do you have any running-related goals for 2013? If so what are your plans for reaching them?2012 will be a tough year to beat, and I know that.  But, I am very optimistic about my ability to continue to improve.  One of the most fascinating aspects of marathoning to me, personally, is that it is possible to get faster and better with time and training.  I have a long term goal – I visualize this each time I run – that one day I will run in the Boston Marathon.  As for this year, I have a few marathons I am considering and I would love to break 4 hours.  I think it is reasonable and attainable if I can stay injury-free. 6. Since you started running, what is the biggest change in yourself, either physical or emotional that you’ve noticed?The most significant change I am aware of is my self-perception.  I used to think of myself as a back of the pack runner. As hard as it was to realize, I had to give myself credit for improving speed and endurance.  I needed to select the right starting corral in marathons to keep from being held back – and in 5 and 10K’s I needed to edge my way a little closer to the front before the gun is fired.  THAT has been tough for me – seeing myself as a competitive runner. When I look back at my Chicago finish time and (4:17) and compare that to my St. Jude finish time (4:07) – I realized that I positioned myself more accurately in the starting corral in Memphis (St. Jude).  In Chicago I was in the back of the 5:30 corral (which slowed my first few miles way down).  I learned from this and moved up to the 4:30 corral in Memphis at St. Jude. 7. What motivates you to run?I like the isolation of the training run.  I feel free from every care in the world. 8. What kind of music inspires you while running?I am a child of the ‘80s so most of what is on my MP3 player is from that era. There’s a lot of U2, INXS, The Police, etc.  The type of music depends on the type of run: for shorter and faster runs, I prefer faster-paced music like rap and hip-hop. I’ll sometimes dig into whatever my teenage son is listening to for help here.  My longer runs tend to be mellower; I love to listen to BB King in the dead heat of the Mississippi summer when the humidity hangs in the air like a curtain. 9. What one tip would you share with runners everywhere if you could?Surround yourself with other runners for support and encouragement. People who don’t run won’t understand what you are going through – good or bad! 10. How do you squeeze running time into your schedule?It’s tough.  Physically and emotionally running can literally tear you down if you’re not careful.  I am very fortunate that my family supports and encourages my endeavors, so sometimes I get away with a few household chores slipping here and there.  At the end of any given day, I will have run 10-15 miles and still have to make a trip to the grocery store and attend a girl scouts meeting.  When you are runner, it’s part of your day, so you have to figure out how to do IT ALL. 11. What words would you use to describe how you feel while running?When I run I feel very happy and peaceful.  There’s a certain clarity that comes to my mind when I am on the road.  I get my best ideas, dream up new goals and think about what I am truly grateful for in that moment. 12. How do you fight that “I don’t want to run today” feeling?I have learned to listen to my body.  Sometimes the “not want to run feeling” is a sign of fatigue.  That may be a call to prop up my feet and read a book instead.   MOST of the time I can start putting on my running shoes and I start feeling better about going. 13.  How do you power through tough stretches of a run?You absolutely MUST be your own best friend.  You must learn to encourage yourself to keep going, push harder and never give up.  You also have to learn to not be too hard on yourself too – it’s critical after a training run or race to reflect on THREE positive aspects of the experience before looking for areas of improvement.  Otherwise, you’ll burn out. 13.1 Which RockMyRun mixes truly rock your runs?DJ Little Fever’s Brooks RockMyRun Mix is my all-time favorite.  I had the opportunity to train with this mix a few times prior to the Chicago Marathon in October 2012.  On race day – the mix ended up starting at mile 23.  The end of the marathon was by far one of the most intense experiences of my life – hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the streets and as I neared mile 25, I was running like the wind (Marshall Tucker Band)!  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that I can now listen to the playlist and the music brings back very vivid memories of the end of the race.


Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

  ·  3 min

Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

The time is again upon us when we set off on our year-long journey to improve something about ourselves. Our goals and resolutions have been set, and we are off with the “New Year, New Me” attitude.  I personally think this mindset can be beneficial for many people, given that they continue to work toward their goal.  The one problem I see, however, is how people set their New Year’s Resolution.For a large majority of people, when they have a health-related resolution, it revolves around purely weight loss.  Maybe they want to lose 20 pounds, get ready for bathing suit season, or my personal favorite “tone up a bit.”  Now let me say, first and foremost, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight.  But I want to encourage you to take a new approach to weight loss this year.  I have used this approach with my own clients and have found it very successful.This year I challenge you to make your primary goal something that is fitness-oriented, as opposed to weight-oriented.  Maybe you would like to simply get in better shape, run further, run faster, or just be physically healthier altogether.  I am a big proponent of goals of this nature because they allow you to put your focus on something other than the scale.  I have found that when individuals put their time and effort toward improving their physical fitness, then the number game tends to take care of itself.I know that for some of you this may be a new and unorthodox way of approaching your weight loss journey.  So, in order to help you get started, I want to give you a quick tip and a challenge for this year.Tip:  Find a very specific fitness-oriented goal to work toward. Run your first 5k or 10k race.  Improve on your mile time or increase your overall distance.  It could even be something as simple as running for 20 minutes without stopping.  Essentially, come up with a physical goal that you can achieve with some time and effort.  Now, put your time, focus, and energy into that goalChallenge:  DO NOT look at the scale.  I know that seems a little ill-advised, but remember, we’re working toward a physical goal instead of a weight goal.  Allow yourself to check the scale once every two weeks.  That’s it.  You might think this sounds crazy, but it’s by design.  Taking your focus off of the numbers on the will allow you to focus on the bigger picture (improving overall health, running faster, running further, etc), which is much more important.I understand that it may seem difficult to change your mental approach to running.  After all, you’ve been told for years that if you want to lose weight, you need to run.  Well, it’s time to change that approach.  Don’t run to simply lose weight.  Run to be fit.  Run to be fierce.  Run to be a bad ass.  Then let everything else take care of itself.Are you ready to try this new approach?  Leave your new goal in the comment section below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

  ·  3 min

Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

The time is again upon us when we set off on our year-long journey to improve something about ourselves. Our goals and resolutions have been set, and we are off with the “New Year, New Me” attitude.  I personally think this mindset can be beneficial for many people, given that they continue to work toward their goal.  The one problem I see, however, is how people set their New Year’s Resolution.For a large majority of people, when they have a health-related resolution, it revolves around purely weight loss.  Maybe they want to lose 20 pounds, get ready for bathing suit season, or my personal favorite “tone up a bit.”  Now let me say, first and foremost, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight.  But I want to encourage you to take a new approach to weight loss this year.  I have used this approach with my own clients and have found it very successful.This year I challenge you to make your primary goal something that is fitness-oriented, as opposed to weight-oriented.  Maybe you would like to simply get in better shape, run further, run faster, or just be physically healthier altogether.  I am a big proponent of goals of this nature because they allow you to put your focus on something other than the scale.  I have found that when individuals put their time and effort toward improving their physical fitness, then the number game tends to take care of itself.I know that for some of you this may be a new and unorthodox way of approaching your weight loss journey.  So, in order to help you get started, I want to give you a quick tip and a challenge for this year.Tip:  Find a very specific fitness-oriented goal to work toward. Run your first 5k or 10k race.  Improve on your mile time or increase your overall distance.  It could even be something as simple as running for 20 minutes without stopping.  Essentially, come up with a physical goal that you can achieve with some time and effort.  Now, put your time, focus, and energy into that goalChallenge:  DO NOT look at the scale.  I know that seems a little ill-advised, but remember, we’re working toward a physical goal instead of a weight goal.  Allow yourself to check the scale once every two weeks.  That’s it.  You might think this sounds crazy, but it’s by design.  Taking your focus off of the numbers on the will allow you to focus on the bigger picture (improving overall health, running faster, running further, etc), which is much more important.I understand that it may seem difficult to change your mental approach to running.  After all, you’ve been told for years that if you want to lose weight, you need to run.  Well, it’s time to change that approach.  Don’t run to simply lose weight.  Run to be fit.  Run to be fierce.  Run to be a bad ass.  Then let everything else take care of itself.Are you ready to try this new approach?  Leave your new goal in the comment section below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Are You What You Listen To?

  ·  4 min

Are You What You Listen To?

When it comes to psychology, there’s no shortage of ways to describe and understand personality. Open to experience, extroverted, agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, quiet and serious, enthusiastic, original, direct, cautious, inspirational, steady…you get the idea.And it seems that knowing something about the type of music one prefers may be an effective window into understanding some types of personality. Of course, you can give someone a cumbersome personality test, but that’s not nearly as much fun as peeking into someone’s iPod, as a way of getting to know someone, is it?How Does Your Brain React to Music?Before you start scrolling through your buddy’s playlist, it might be useful to look at what brain function studies tell us about the brain. You see, there is science behind it all. Our brain’s motor cortex is involved in movement, foot tapping, and dancing while our amygdala is involved with our emotional reactions to music.  Our sensory cortex provides us with tactile feedback from playing an instrument or dancing, and our auditory complex gives us the perception and analysis of tones. Finally, our hippocampus is involved in our being able to recall and have memory for music.How is Music Tied to Personality?Now, of course you aren’t going to ask that person you are interested in getting to know to fill out a personality assessment or take a quick jog over to the nearest ER for a brain scan. You can read body language, make some judgment about their physical appearance, groom and clothing style. But a psychological study of primarily younger-aged subjects found that the most popular topic that same- and opposite-sex pairings talk about is music, followed by books, movies, TV, football and clothing (Rentfrow and Gosling, 2006).In the study, musical preferences demonstrated reasonably accurate abilities in conveying some aspects of personality. Many theories are given as to why people prefer one genre of music over another. Some find one type of music leaves them feeling relaxed, while other use specific genres of music to pump them up. Some listen to one genre over another because they believe it helps them identify with a group or promotes a certain self-identity. Our brain’s motor cortex, amygdala, sensory cortex, auditory cortex and hippocampus are all part of our physiological responsiveness.Not all personality traits are easy to identify through musical preference. For instance, openness to experience, extraversion and emotional stability are the easiest to guess correctly. On the other hand, music preferences don’t seem to say much about whether a person is conscientious or not.What Does Your Favorite Music Say About Your Personality?As for specifics, the research found some surprising and perhaps even debatable results. Extraverts seem to prefer vocals, while country music with all of its heartache is a preference among the most emotionally stable and hard-working. If jazz is pouring out of those headphones, it’s likely an intellectual with high self-esteem, who’s creative, outgoing and often at ease, may be listening. Rap fans were found to have high self-esteem and be outgoing, while dance fans were found to be creative, outgoing and not particularly gentle. Pop music aficionados are often filled with high self-esteem, are deemed to be hard-working, outgoing and gentle, but not typically creative or at ease. Finally, rock/heavy metal fans were found to have lower self-esteem, to be creative and to be at ease people, as well as not hard-working, not especially outgoing and frequently gentle.Of course there are exceptions to these, and all research findings. But the data does indicate that different types of musical genre preferences can be helpful in sorting out some basic personality types.At the same time, different music genres have different tempos which impact behavior, especially when exercising. Therefore, the tempo one prefers may not necessarily be related to personality but to an effect one wants while running or working out in the gym.Whether you tune in music to relax you, build focus, drown out fatigue, block distractions, set a romantic mood, or pump you up to get moving on the track or to knock down your to-do list, sharing the type of music you choose and/or the bpm’s may be giving off signals about you. And that could just be about the best thing you could do if you want to reach out to that interesting looking person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, on the plane, in the student center or at the gym.What’s your favorite genre of music? Do you think it aligns with your personality traits? Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Are You What You Listen To?

  ·  4 min

Are You What You Listen To?

When it comes to psychology, there’s no shortage of ways to describe and understand personality. Open to experience, extroverted, agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, quiet and serious, enthusiastic, original, direct, cautious, inspirational, steady…you get the idea.And it seems that knowing something about the type of music one prefers may be an effective window into understanding some types of personality. Of course, you can give someone a cumbersome personality test, but that’s not nearly as much fun as peeking into someone’s iPod, as a way of getting to know someone, is it?How Does Your Brain React to Music?Before you start scrolling through your buddy’s playlist, it might be useful to look at what brain function studies tell us about the brain. You see, there is science behind it all. Our brain’s motor cortex is involved in movement, foot tapping, and dancing while our amygdala is involved with our emotional reactions to music.  Our sensory cortex provides us with tactile feedback from playing an instrument or dancing, and our auditory complex gives us the perception and analysis of tones. Finally, our hippocampus is involved in our being able to recall and have memory for music.How is Music Tied to Personality?Now, of course you aren’t going to ask that person you are interested in getting to know to fill out a personality assessment or take a quick jog over to the nearest ER for a brain scan. You can read body language, make some judgment about their physical appearance, groom and clothing style. But a psychological study of primarily younger-aged subjects found that the most popular topic that same- and opposite-sex pairings talk about is music, followed by books, movies, TV, football and clothing (Rentfrow and Gosling, 2006).In the study, musical preferences demonstrated reasonably accurate abilities in conveying some aspects of personality. Many theories are given as to why people prefer one genre of music over another. Some find one type of music leaves them feeling relaxed, while other use specific genres of music to pump them up. Some listen to one genre over another because they believe it helps them identify with a group or promotes a certain self-identity. Our brain’s motor cortex, amygdala, sensory cortex, auditory cortex and hippocampus are all part of our physiological responsiveness.Not all personality traits are easy to identify through musical preference. For instance, openness to experience, extraversion and emotional stability are the easiest to guess correctly. On the other hand, music preferences don’t seem to say much about whether a person is conscientious or not.What Does Your Favorite Music Say About Your Personality?As for specifics, the research found some surprising and perhaps even debatable results. Extraverts seem to prefer vocals, while country music with all of its heartache is a preference among the most emotionally stable and hard-working. If jazz is pouring out of those headphones, it’s likely an intellectual with high self-esteem, who’s creative, outgoing and often at ease, may be listening. Rap fans were found to have high self-esteem and be outgoing, while dance fans were found to be creative, outgoing and not particularly gentle. Pop music aficionados are often filled with high self-esteem, are deemed to be hard-working, outgoing and gentle, but not typically creative or at ease. Finally, rock/heavy metal fans were found to have lower self-esteem, to be creative and to be at ease people, as well as not hard-working, not especially outgoing and frequently gentle.Of course there are exceptions to these, and all research findings. But the data does indicate that different types of musical genre preferences can be helpful in sorting out some basic personality types.At the same time, different music genres have different tempos which impact behavior, especially when exercising. Therefore, the tempo one prefers may not necessarily be related to personality but to an effect one wants while running or working out in the gym.Whether you tune in music to relax you, build focus, drown out fatigue, block distractions, set a romantic mood, or pump you up to get moving on the track or to knock down your to-do list, sharing the type of music you choose and/or the bpm’s may be giving off signals about you. And that could just be about the best thing you could do if you want to reach out to that interesting looking person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, on the plane, in the student center or at the gym.What’s your favorite genre of music? Do you think it aligns with your personality traits? Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

  ·  7 min

Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

Here at RockMyRun, we’ve initiated a series of blog posts featuring our awesome Run Rocker family. Each post will be rapid-fire questions that not only showcases the RockMyRun spirit but also presents unique perspectives on the sport of running, how music plays a role, and hopefully offers some tips on challenges you may experience in your journeys. For the second in our series of runner interviews from our inspirational RockMyRun family, we are proud to introduce Run Rocker, Misty Phillips. This time, we did it half marathon style, with 13(.1)   questions for Misty who offered some fantastic advice, ranging from improving marathon time to juggling running with family life. 1. How long have you classified yourself as a “runner” (or do you?)I started running when I was about ten years old.  I competed in cross country a couple of years in high school.  I also ran sporadically over the years and competed in local 5K races and a few 10K races here and there.  I really got away from the sport in my twenties when my children were small.  I became a serious runner in May, 2011, when I signed up for my first marathon. 2. How often do you run weekly/monthly?My current training plan consists of 5-6 runs in a 7 day time period. 3. In which conditions you prefer to run (time in the day, indoors/outdoors…)?I love to run on the road.  All-weather conditions are OK with me – except heavy rain.  Although I am not a morning person, I am growing to love early morning runs.  There’s less traffic and much more to observe in nature – I like to watch deer, birds, and squirrels. 4. What running accomplishment are you most proud of? Or what is your best running experience?I signed up to run my first marathon about two years ago.  My goal for that race was finishing.  However, the experience left such an impression that I wanted to go back to the drawing board, get a solid training plan together, and really see what I was made of.  I was afforded the opportunity to work with a wonderful “Koach” who provided me with a plan and weekly feedback.  Incidentally, he provides running tips via twitter @Marathon Koach to over 9,000 followers!  With his help and my dedication to that goal – I have improved my marathon time from 5:06 (October 2011 – Marine Corps Marathon) to 4:17 (October 2012 – Chicago Marathon) and six weeks later I was able to run 4:07 (December 2012-St. Jude Marathon).  Improving my marathon finish time by nearly an hour is my greatest accomplishment at this point.  5. Do you have any running-related goals for 2013? If so what are your plans for reaching them?2012 will be a tough year to beat, and I know that.  But, I am very optimistic about my ability to continue to improve.  One of the most fascinating aspects of marathoning to me, personally, is that it is possible to get faster and better with time and training.  I have a long term goal – I visualize this each time I run – that one day I will run in the Boston Marathon.  As for this year, I have a few marathons I am considering and I would love to break 4 hours.  I think it is reasonable and attainable if I can stay injury-free. 6. Since you started running, what is the biggest change in yourself, either physical or emotional that you’ve noticed?The most significant change I am aware of is my self-perception.  I used to think of myself as a back of the pack runner. As hard as it was to realize, I had to give myself credit for improving speed and endurance.  I needed to select the right starting corral in marathons to keep from being held back – and in 5 and 10K’s I needed to edge my way a little closer to the front before the gun is fired.  THAT has been tough for me – seeing myself as a competitive runner. When I look back at my Chicago finish time and (4:17) and compare that to my St. Jude finish time (4:07) – I realized that I positioned myself more accurately in the starting corral in Memphis (St. Jude).  In Chicago I was in the back of the 5:30 corral (which slowed my first few miles way down).  I learned from this and moved up to the 4:30 corral in Memphis at St. Jude. 7. What motivates you to run?I like the isolation of the training run.  I feel free from every care in the world. 8. What kind of music inspires you while running?I am a child of the ‘80s so most of what is on my MP3 player is from that era. There’s a lot of U2, INXS, The Police, etc.  The type of music depends on the type of run: for shorter and faster runs, I prefer faster-paced music like rap and hip-hop. I’ll sometimes dig into whatever my teenage son is listening to for help here.  My longer runs tend to be mellower; I love to listen to BB King in the dead heat of the Mississippi summer when the humidity hangs in the air like a curtain. 9. What one tip would you share with runners everywhere if you could?Surround yourself with other runners for support and encouragement. People who don’t run won’t understand what you are going through – good or bad! 10. How do you squeeze running time into your schedule?It’s tough.  Physically and emotionally running can literally tear you down if you’re not careful.  I am very fortunate that my family supports and encourages my endeavors, so sometimes I get away with a few household chores slipping here and there.  At the end of any given day, I will have run 10-15 miles and still have to make a trip to the grocery store and attend a girl scouts meeting.  When you are runner, it’s part of your day, so you have to figure out how to do IT ALL. 11. What words would you use to describe how you feel while running?When I run I feel very happy and peaceful.  There’s a certain clarity that comes to my mind when I am on the road.  I get my best ideas, dream up new goals and think about what I am truly grateful for in that moment. 12. How do you fight that “I don’t want to run today” feeling?I have learned to listen to my body.  Sometimes the “not want to run feeling” is a sign of fatigue.  That may be a call to prop up my feet and read a book instead.   MOST of the time I can start putting on my running shoes and I start feeling better about going. 13.  How do you power through tough stretches of a run?You absolutely MUST be your own best friend.  You must learn to encourage yourself to keep going, push harder and never give up.  You also have to learn to not be too hard on yourself too – it’s critical after a training run or race to reflect on THREE positive aspects of the experience before looking for areas of improvement.  Otherwise, you’ll burn out. 13.1 Which RockMyRun mixes truly rock your runs?DJ Little Fever’s Brooks RockMyRun Mix is my all-time favorite.  I had the opportunity to train with this mix a few times prior to the Chicago Marathon in October 2012.  On race day – the mix ended up starting at mile 23.  The end of the marathon was by far one of the most intense experiences of my life – hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the streets and as I neared mile 25, I was running like the wind (Marshall Tucker Band)!  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that I can now listen to the playlist and the music brings back very vivid memories of the end of the race.


Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

  ·  7 min

Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

Here at RockMyRun, we’ve initiated a series of blog posts featuring our awesome Run Rocker family. Each post will be rapid-fire questions that not only showcases the RockMyRun spirit but also presents unique perspectives on the sport of running, how music plays a role, and hopefully offers some tips on challenges you may experience in your journeys. For the second in our series of runner interviews from our inspirational RockMyRun family, we are proud to introduce Run Rocker, Misty Phillips. This time, we did it half marathon style, with 13(.1)   questions for Misty who offered some fantastic advice, ranging from improving marathon time to juggling running with family life. 1. How long have you classified yourself as a “runner” (or do you?)I started running when I was about ten years old.  I competed in cross country a couple of years in high school.  I also ran sporadically over the years and competed in local 5K races and a few 10K races here and there.  I really got away from the sport in my twenties when my children were small.  I became a serious runner in May, 2011, when I signed up for my first marathon. 2. How often do you run weekly/monthly?My current training plan consists of 5-6 runs in a 7 day time period. 3. In which conditions you prefer to run (time in the day, indoors/outdoors…)?I love to run on the road.  All-weather conditions are OK with me – except heavy rain.  Although I am not a morning person, I am growing to love early morning runs.  There’s less traffic and much more to observe in nature – I like to watch deer, birds, and squirrels. 4. What running accomplishment are you most proud of? Or what is your best running experience?I signed up to run my first marathon about two years ago.  My goal for that race was finishing.  However, the experience left such an impression that I wanted to go back to the drawing board, get a solid training plan together, and really see what I was made of.  I was afforded the opportunity to work with a wonderful “Koach” who provided me with a plan and weekly feedback.  Incidentally, he provides running tips via twitter @Marathon Koach to over 9,000 followers!  With his help and my dedication to that goal – I have improved my marathon time from 5:06 (October 2011 – Marine Corps Marathon) to 4:17 (October 2012 – Chicago Marathon) and six weeks later I was able to run 4:07 (December 2012-St. Jude Marathon).  Improving my marathon finish time by nearly an hour is my greatest accomplishment at this point.  5. Do you have any running-related goals for 2013? If so what are your plans for reaching them?2012 will be a tough year to beat, and I know that.  But, I am very optimistic about my ability to continue to improve.  One of the most fascinating aspects of marathoning to me, personally, is that it is possible to get faster and better with time and training.  I have a long term goal – I visualize this each time I run – that one day I will run in the Boston Marathon.  As for this year, I have a few marathons I am considering and I would love to break 4 hours.  I think it is reasonable and attainable if I can stay injury-free. 6. Since you started running, what is the biggest change in yourself, either physical or emotional that you’ve noticed?The most significant change I am aware of is my self-perception.  I used to think of myself as a back of the pack runner. As hard as it was to realize, I had to give myself credit for improving speed and endurance.  I needed to select the right starting corral in marathons to keep from being held back – and in 5 and 10K’s I needed to edge my way a little closer to the front before the gun is fired.  THAT has been tough for me – seeing myself as a competitive runner. When I look back at my Chicago finish time and (4:17) and compare that to my St. Jude finish time (4:07) – I realized that I positioned myself more accurately in the starting corral in Memphis (St. Jude).  In Chicago I was in the back of the 5:30 corral (which slowed my first few miles way down).  I learned from this and moved up to the 4:30 corral in Memphis at St. Jude. 7. What motivates you to run?I like the isolation of the training run.  I feel free from every care in the world. 8. What kind of music inspires you while running?I am a child of the ‘80s so most of what is on my MP3 player is from that era. There’s a lot of U2, INXS, The Police, etc.  The type of music depends on the type of run: for shorter and faster runs, I prefer faster-paced music like rap and hip-hop. I’ll sometimes dig into whatever my teenage son is listening to for help here.  My longer runs tend to be mellower; I love to listen to BB King in the dead heat of the Mississippi summer when the humidity hangs in the air like a curtain. 9. What one tip would you share with runners everywhere if you could?Surround yourself with other runners for support and encouragement. People who don’t run won’t understand what you are going through – good or bad! 10. How do you squeeze running time into your schedule?It’s tough.  Physically and emotionally running can literally tear you down if you’re not careful.  I am very fortunate that my family supports and encourages my endeavors, so sometimes I get away with a few household chores slipping here and there.  At the end of any given day, I will have run 10-15 miles and still have to make a trip to the grocery store and attend a girl scouts meeting.  When you are runner, it’s part of your day, so you have to figure out how to do IT ALL. 11. What words would you use to describe how you feel while running?When I run I feel very happy and peaceful.  There’s a certain clarity that comes to my mind when I am on the road.  I get my best ideas, dream up new goals and think about what I am truly grateful for in that moment. 12. How do you fight that “I don’t want to run today” feeling?I have learned to listen to my body.  Sometimes the “not want to run feeling” is a sign of fatigue.  That may be a call to prop up my feet and read a book instead.   MOST of the time I can start putting on my running shoes and I start feeling better about going. 13.  How do you power through tough stretches of a run?You absolutely MUST be your own best friend.  You must learn to encourage yourself to keep going, push harder and never give up.  You also have to learn to not be too hard on yourself too – it’s critical after a training run or race to reflect on THREE positive aspects of the experience before looking for areas of improvement.  Otherwise, you’ll burn out. 13.1 Which RockMyRun mixes truly rock your runs?DJ Little Fever’s Brooks RockMyRun Mix is my all-time favorite.  I had the opportunity to train with this mix a few times prior to the Chicago Marathon in October 2012.  On race day – the mix ended up starting at mile 23.  The end of the marathon was by far one of the most intense experiences of my life – hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the streets and as I neared mile 25, I was running like the wind (Marshall Tucker Band)!  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that I can now listen to the playlist and the music brings back very vivid memories of the end of the race.


Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

  ·  3 min

Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

The time is again upon us when we set off on our year-long journey to improve something about ourselves. Our goals and resolutions have been set, and we are off with the “New Year, New Me” attitude.  I personally think this mindset can be beneficial for many people, given that they continue to work toward their goal.  The one problem I see, however, is how people set their New Year’s Resolution.For a large majority of people, when they have a health-related resolution, it revolves around purely weight loss.  Maybe they want to lose 20 pounds, get ready for bathing suit season, or my personal favorite “tone up a bit.”  Now let me say, first and foremost, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight.  But I want to encourage you to take a new approach to weight loss this year.  I have used this approach with my own clients and have found it very successful.This year I challenge you to make your primary goal something that is fitness-oriented, as opposed to weight-oriented.  Maybe you would like to simply get in better shape, run further, run faster, or just be physically healthier altogether.  I am a big proponent of goals of this nature because they allow you to put your focus on something other than the scale.  I have found that when individuals put their time and effort toward improving their physical fitness, then the number game tends to take care of itself.I know that for some of you this may be a new and unorthodox way of approaching your weight loss journey.  So, in order to help you get started, I want to give you a quick tip and a challenge for this year.Tip:  Find a very specific fitness-oriented goal to work toward. Run your first 5k or 10k race.  Improve on your mile time or increase your overall distance.  It could even be something as simple as running for 20 minutes without stopping.  Essentially, come up with a physical goal that you can achieve with some time and effort.  Now, put your time, focus, and energy into that goalChallenge:  DO NOT look at the scale.  I know that seems a little ill-advised, but remember, we’re working toward a physical goal instead of a weight goal.  Allow yourself to check the scale once every two weeks.  That’s it.  You might think this sounds crazy, but it’s by design.  Taking your focus off of the numbers on the will allow you to focus on the bigger picture (improving overall health, running faster, running further, etc), which is much more important.I understand that it may seem difficult to change your mental approach to running.  After all, you’ve been told for years that if you want to lose weight, you need to run.  Well, it’s time to change that approach.  Don’t run to simply lose weight.  Run to be fit.  Run to be fierce.  Run to be a bad ass.  Then let everything else take care of itself.Are you ready to try this new approach?  Leave your new goal in the comment section below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

  ·  3 min

Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

The time is again upon us when we set off on our year-long journey to improve something about ourselves. Our goals and resolutions have been set, and we are off with the “New Year, New Me” attitude.  I personally think this mindset can be beneficial for many people, given that they continue to work toward their goal.  The one problem I see, however, is how people set their New Year’s Resolution.For a large majority of people, when they have a health-related resolution, it revolves around purely weight loss.  Maybe they want to lose 20 pounds, get ready for bathing suit season, or my personal favorite “tone up a bit.”  Now let me say, first and foremost, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight.  But I want to encourage you to take a new approach to weight loss this year.  I have used this approach with my own clients and have found it very successful.This year I challenge you to make your primary goal something that is fitness-oriented, as opposed to weight-oriented.  Maybe you would like to simply get in better shape, run further, run faster, or just be physically healthier altogether.  I am a big proponent of goals of this nature because they allow you to put your focus on something other than the scale.  I have found that when individuals put their time and effort toward improving their physical fitness, then the number game tends to take care of itself.I know that for some of you this may be a new and unorthodox way of approaching your weight loss journey.  So, in order to help you get started, I want to give you a quick tip and a challenge for this year.Tip:  Find a very specific fitness-oriented goal to work toward. Run your first 5k or 10k race.  Improve on your mile time or increase your overall distance.  It could even be something as simple as running for 20 minutes without stopping.  Essentially, come up with a physical goal that you can achieve with some time and effort.  Now, put your time, focus, and energy into that goalChallenge:  DO NOT look at the scale.  I know that seems a little ill-advised, but remember, we’re working toward a physical goal instead of a weight goal.  Allow yourself to check the scale once every two weeks.  That’s it.  You might think this sounds crazy, but it’s by design.  Taking your focus off of the numbers on the will allow you to focus on the bigger picture (improving overall health, running faster, running further, etc), which is much more important.I understand that it may seem difficult to change your mental approach to running.  After all, you’ve been told for years that if you want to lose weight, you need to run.  Well, it’s time to change that approach.  Don’t run to simply lose weight.  Run to be fit.  Run to be fierce.  Run to be a bad ass.  Then let everything else take care of itself.Are you ready to try this new approach?  Leave your new goal in the comment section below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Are You What You Listen To?

  ·  4 min

Are You What You Listen To?

When it comes to psychology, there’s no shortage of ways to describe and understand personality. Open to experience, extroverted, agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, quiet and serious, enthusiastic, original, direct, cautious, inspirational, steady…you get the idea.And it seems that knowing something about the type of music one prefers may be an effective window into understanding some types of personality. Of course, you can give someone a cumbersome personality test, but that’s not nearly as much fun as peeking into someone’s iPod, as a way of getting to know someone, is it?How Does Your Brain React to Music?Before you start scrolling through your buddy’s playlist, it might be useful to look at what brain function studies tell us about the brain. You see, there is science behind it all. Our brain’s motor cortex is involved in movement, foot tapping, and dancing while our amygdala is involved with our emotional reactions to music.  Our sensory cortex provides us with tactile feedback from playing an instrument or dancing, and our auditory complex gives us the perception and analysis of tones. Finally, our hippocampus is involved in our being able to recall and have memory for music.How is Music Tied to Personality?Now, of course you aren’t going to ask that person you are interested in getting to know to fill out a personality assessment or take a quick jog over to the nearest ER for a brain scan. You can read body language, make some judgment about their physical appearance, groom and clothing style. But a psychological study of primarily younger-aged subjects found that the most popular topic that same- and opposite-sex pairings talk about is music, followed by books, movies, TV, football and clothing (Rentfrow and Gosling, 2006).In the study, musical preferences demonstrated reasonably accurate abilities in conveying some aspects of personality. Many theories are given as to why people prefer one genre of music over another. Some find one type of music leaves them feeling relaxed, while other use specific genres of music to pump them up. Some listen to one genre over another because they believe it helps them identify with a group or promotes a certain self-identity. Our brain’s motor cortex, amygdala, sensory cortex, auditory cortex and hippocampus are all part of our physiological responsiveness.Not all personality traits are easy to identify through musical preference. For instance, openness to experience, extraversion and emotional stability are the easiest to guess correctly. On the other hand, music preferences don’t seem to say much about whether a person is conscientious or not.What Does Your Favorite Music Say About Your Personality?As for specifics, the research found some surprising and perhaps even debatable results. Extraverts seem to prefer vocals, while country music with all of its heartache is a preference among the most emotionally stable and hard-working. If jazz is pouring out of those headphones, it’s likely an intellectual with high self-esteem, who’s creative, outgoing and often at ease, may be listening. Rap fans were found to have high self-esteem and be outgoing, while dance fans were found to be creative, outgoing and not particularly gentle. Pop music aficionados are often filled with high self-esteem, are deemed to be hard-working, outgoing and gentle, but not typically creative or at ease. Finally, rock/heavy metal fans were found to have lower self-esteem, to be creative and to be at ease people, as well as not hard-working, not especially outgoing and frequently gentle.Of course there are exceptions to these, and all research findings. But the data does indicate that different types of musical genre preferences can be helpful in sorting out some basic personality types.At the same time, different music genres have different tempos which impact behavior, especially when exercising. Therefore, the tempo one prefers may not necessarily be related to personality but to an effect one wants while running or working out in the gym.Whether you tune in music to relax you, build focus, drown out fatigue, block distractions, set a romantic mood, or pump you up to get moving on the track or to knock down your to-do list, sharing the type of music you choose and/or the bpm’s may be giving off signals about you. And that could just be about the best thing you could do if you want to reach out to that interesting looking person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, on the plane, in the student center or at the gym.What’s your favorite genre of music? Do you think it aligns with your personality traits? Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Are You What You Listen To?

  ·  4 min

Are You What You Listen To?

When it comes to psychology, there’s no shortage of ways to describe and understand personality. Open to experience, extroverted, agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, quiet and serious, enthusiastic, original, direct, cautious, inspirational, steady…you get the idea.And it seems that knowing something about the type of music one prefers may be an effective window into understanding some types of personality. Of course, you can give someone a cumbersome personality test, but that’s not nearly as much fun as peeking into someone’s iPod, as a way of getting to know someone, is it?How Does Your Brain React to Music?Before you start scrolling through your buddy’s playlist, it might be useful to look at what brain function studies tell us about the brain. You see, there is science behind it all. Our brain’s motor cortex is involved in movement, foot tapping, and dancing while our amygdala is involved with our emotional reactions to music.  Our sensory cortex provides us with tactile feedback from playing an instrument or dancing, and our auditory complex gives us the perception and analysis of tones. Finally, our hippocampus is involved in our being able to recall and have memory for music.How is Music Tied to Personality?Now, of course you aren’t going to ask that person you are interested in getting to know to fill out a personality assessment or take a quick jog over to the nearest ER for a brain scan. You can read body language, make some judgment about their physical appearance, groom and clothing style. But a psychological study of primarily younger-aged subjects found that the most popular topic that same- and opposite-sex pairings talk about is music, followed by books, movies, TV, football and clothing (Rentfrow and Gosling, 2006).In the study, musical preferences demonstrated reasonably accurate abilities in conveying some aspects of personality. Many theories are given as to why people prefer one genre of music over another. Some find one type of music leaves them feeling relaxed, while other use specific genres of music to pump them up. Some listen to one genre over another because they believe it helps them identify with a group or promotes a certain self-identity. Our brain’s motor cortex, amygdala, sensory cortex, auditory cortex and hippocampus are all part of our physiological responsiveness.Not all personality traits are easy to identify through musical preference. For instance, openness to experience, extraversion and emotional stability are the easiest to guess correctly. On the other hand, music preferences don’t seem to say much about whether a person is conscientious or not.What Does Your Favorite Music Say About Your Personality?As for specifics, the research found some surprising and perhaps even debatable results. Extraverts seem to prefer vocals, while country music with all of its heartache is a preference among the most emotionally stable and hard-working. If jazz is pouring out of those headphones, it’s likely an intellectual with high self-esteem, who’s creative, outgoing and often at ease, may be listening. Rap fans were found to have high self-esteem and be outgoing, while dance fans were found to be creative, outgoing and not particularly gentle. Pop music aficionados are often filled with high self-esteem, are deemed to be hard-working, outgoing and gentle, but not typically creative or at ease. Finally, rock/heavy metal fans were found to have lower self-esteem, to be creative and to be at ease people, as well as not hard-working, not especially outgoing and frequently gentle.Of course there are exceptions to these, and all research findings. But the data does indicate that different types of musical genre preferences can be helpful in sorting out some basic personality types.At the same time, different music genres have different tempos which impact behavior, especially when exercising. Therefore, the tempo one prefers may not necessarily be related to personality but to an effect one wants while running or working out in the gym.Whether you tune in music to relax you, build focus, drown out fatigue, block distractions, set a romantic mood, or pump you up to get moving on the track or to knock down your to-do list, sharing the type of music you choose and/or the bpm’s may be giving off signals about you. And that could just be about the best thing you could do if you want to reach out to that interesting looking person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, on the plane, in the student center or at the gym.What’s your favorite genre of music? Do you think it aligns with your personality traits? Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


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Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

  ·  7 min

Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

Here at RockMyRun, we’ve initiated a series of blog posts featuring our awesome Run Rocker family. Each post will be rapid-fire questions that not only showcases the RockMyRun spirit but also presents unique perspectives on the sport of running, how music plays a role, and hopefully offers some tips on challenges you may experience in your journeys. For the second in our series of runner interviews from our inspirational RockMyRun family, we are proud to introduce Run Rocker, Misty Phillips. This time, we did it half marathon style, with 13(.1)   questions for Misty who offered some fantastic advice, ranging from improving marathon time to juggling running with family life. 1. How long have you classified yourself as a “runner” (or do you?)I started running when I was about ten years old.  I competed in cross country a couple of years in high school.  I also ran sporadically over the years and competed in local 5K races and a few 10K races here and there.  I really got away from the sport in my twenties when my children were small.  I became a serious runner in May, 2011, when I signed up for my first marathon. 2. How often do you run weekly/monthly?My current training plan consists of 5-6 runs in a 7 day time period. 3. In which conditions you prefer to run (time in the day, indoors/outdoors…)?I love to run on the road.  All-weather conditions are OK with me – except heavy rain.  Although I am not a morning person, I am growing to love early morning runs.  There’s less traffic and much more to observe in nature – I like to watch deer, birds, and squirrels. 4. What running accomplishment are you most proud of? Or what is your best running experience?I signed up to run my first marathon about two years ago.  My goal for that race was finishing.  However, the experience left such an impression that I wanted to go back to the drawing board, get a solid training plan together, and really see what I was made of.  I was afforded the opportunity to work with a wonderful “Koach” who provided me with a plan and weekly feedback.  Incidentally, he provides running tips via twitter @Marathon Koach to over 9,000 followers!  With his help and my dedication to that goal – I have improved my marathon time from 5:06 (October 2011 – Marine Corps Marathon) to 4:17 (October 2012 – Chicago Marathon) and six weeks later I was able to run 4:07 (December 2012-St. Jude Marathon).  Improving my marathon finish time by nearly an hour is my greatest accomplishment at this point.  5. Do you have any running-related goals for 2013? If so what are your plans for reaching them?2012 will be a tough year to beat, and I know that.  But, I am very optimistic about my ability to continue to improve.  One of the most fascinating aspects of marathoning to me, personally, is that it is possible to get faster and better with time and training.  I have a long term goal – I visualize this each time I run – that one day I will run in the Boston Marathon.  As for this year, I have a few marathons I am considering and I would love to break 4 hours.  I think it is reasonable and attainable if I can stay injury-free. 6. Since you started running, what is the biggest change in yourself, either physical or emotional that you’ve noticed?The most significant change I am aware of is my self-perception.  I used to think of myself as a back of the pack runner. As hard as it was to realize, I had to give myself credit for improving speed and endurance.  I needed to select the right starting corral in marathons to keep from being held back – and in 5 and 10K’s I needed to edge my way a little closer to the front before the gun is fired.  THAT has been tough for me – seeing myself as a competitive runner. When I look back at my Chicago finish time and (4:17) and compare that to my St. Jude finish time (4:07) – I realized that I positioned myself more accurately in the starting corral in Memphis (St. Jude).  In Chicago I was in the back of the 5:30 corral (which slowed my first few miles way down).  I learned from this and moved up to the 4:30 corral in Memphis at St. Jude. 7. What motivates you to run?I like the isolation of the training run.  I feel free from every care in the world. 8. What kind of music inspires you while running?I am a child of the ‘80s so most of what is on my MP3 player is from that era. There’s a lot of U2, INXS, The Police, etc.  The type of music depends on the type of run: for shorter and faster runs, I prefer faster-paced music like rap and hip-hop. I’ll sometimes dig into whatever my teenage son is listening to for help here.  My longer runs tend to be mellower; I love to listen to BB King in the dead heat of the Mississippi summer when the humidity hangs in the air like a curtain. 9. What one tip would you share with runners everywhere if you could?Surround yourself with other runners for support and encouragement. People who don’t run won’t understand what you are going through – good or bad! 10. How do you squeeze running time into your schedule?It’s tough.  Physically and emotionally running can literally tear you down if you’re not careful.  I am very fortunate that my family supports and encourages my endeavors, so sometimes I get away with a few household chores slipping here and there.  At the end of any given day, I will have run 10-15 miles and still have to make a trip to the grocery store and attend a girl scouts meeting.  When you are runner, it’s part of your day, so you have to figure out how to do IT ALL. 11. What words would you use to describe how you feel while running?When I run I feel very happy and peaceful.  There’s a certain clarity that comes to my mind when I am on the road.  I get my best ideas, dream up new goals and think about what I am truly grateful for in that moment. 12. How do you fight that “I don’t want to run today” feeling?I have learned to listen to my body.  Sometimes the “not want to run feeling” is a sign of fatigue.  That may be a call to prop up my feet and read a book instead.   MOST of the time I can start putting on my running shoes and I start feeling better about going. 13.  How do you power through tough stretches of a run?You absolutely MUST be your own best friend.  You must learn to encourage yourself to keep going, push harder and never give up.  You also have to learn to not be too hard on yourself too – it’s critical after a training run or race to reflect on THREE positive aspects of the experience before looking for areas of improvement.  Otherwise, you’ll burn out. 13.1 Which RockMyRun mixes truly rock your runs?DJ Little Fever’s Brooks RockMyRun Mix is my all-time favorite.  I had the opportunity to train with this mix a few times prior to the Chicago Marathon in October 2012.  On race day – the mix ended up starting at mile 23.  The end of the marathon was by far one of the most intense experiences of my life – hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the streets and as I neared mile 25, I was running like the wind (Marshall Tucker Band)!  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that I can now listen to the playlist and the music brings back very vivid memories of the end of the race.


Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

  ·  7 min

Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

Here at RockMyRun, we’ve initiated a series of blog posts featuring our awesome Run Rocker family. Each post will be rapid-fire questions that not only showcases the RockMyRun spirit but also presents unique perspectives on the sport of running, how music plays a role, and hopefully offers some tips on challenges you may experience in your journeys. For the second in our series of runner interviews from our inspirational RockMyRun family, we are proud to introduce Run Rocker, Misty Phillips. This time, we did it half marathon style, with 13(.1)   questions for Misty who offered some fantastic advice, ranging from improving marathon time to juggling running with family life. 1. How long have you classified yourself as a “runner” (or do you?)I started running when I was about ten years old.  I competed in cross country a couple of years in high school.  I also ran sporadically over the years and competed in local 5K races and a few 10K races here and there.  I really got away from the sport in my twenties when my children were small.  I became a serious runner in May, 2011, when I signed up for my first marathon. 2. How often do you run weekly/monthly?My current training plan consists of 5-6 runs in a 7 day time period. 3. In which conditions you prefer to run (time in the day, indoors/outdoors…)?I love to run on the road.  All-weather conditions are OK with me – except heavy rain.  Although I am not a morning person, I am growing to love early morning runs.  There’s less traffic and much more to observe in nature – I like to watch deer, birds, and squirrels. 4. What running accomplishment are you most proud of? Or what is your best running experience?I signed up to run my first marathon about two years ago.  My goal for that race was finishing.  However, the experience left such an impression that I wanted to go back to the drawing board, get a solid training plan together, and really see what I was made of.  I was afforded the opportunity to work with a wonderful “Koach” who provided me with a plan and weekly feedback.  Incidentally, he provides running tips via twitter @Marathon Koach to over 9,000 followers!  With his help and my dedication to that goal – I have improved my marathon time from 5:06 (October 2011 – Marine Corps Marathon) to 4:17 (October 2012 – Chicago Marathon) and six weeks later I was able to run 4:07 (December 2012-St. Jude Marathon).  Improving my marathon finish time by nearly an hour is my greatest accomplishment at this point.  5. Do you have any running-related goals for 2013? If so what are your plans for reaching them?2012 will be a tough year to beat, and I know that.  But, I am very optimistic about my ability to continue to improve.  One of the most fascinating aspects of marathoning to me, personally, is that it is possible to get faster and better with time and training.  I have a long term goal – I visualize this each time I run – that one day I will run in the Boston Marathon.  As for this year, I have a few marathons I am considering and I would love to break 4 hours.  I think it is reasonable and attainable if I can stay injury-free. 6. Since you started running, what is the biggest change in yourself, either physical or emotional that you’ve noticed?The most significant change I am aware of is my self-perception.  I used to think of myself as a back of the pack runner. As hard as it was to realize, I had to give myself credit for improving speed and endurance.  I needed to select the right starting corral in marathons to keep from being held back – and in 5 and 10K’s I needed to edge my way a little closer to the front before the gun is fired.  THAT has been tough for me – seeing myself as a competitive runner. When I look back at my Chicago finish time and (4:17) and compare that to my St. Jude finish time (4:07) – I realized that I positioned myself more accurately in the starting corral in Memphis (St. Jude).  In Chicago I was in the back of the 5:30 corral (which slowed my first few miles way down).  I learned from this and moved up to the 4:30 corral in Memphis at St. Jude. 7. What motivates you to run?I like the isolation of the training run.  I feel free from every care in the world. 8. What kind of music inspires you while running?I am a child of the ‘80s so most of what is on my MP3 player is from that era. There’s a lot of U2, INXS, The Police, etc.  The type of music depends on the type of run: for shorter and faster runs, I prefer faster-paced music like rap and hip-hop. I’ll sometimes dig into whatever my teenage son is listening to for help here.  My longer runs tend to be mellower; I love to listen to BB King in the dead heat of the Mississippi summer when the humidity hangs in the air like a curtain. 9. What one tip would you share with runners everywhere if you could?Surround yourself with other runners for support and encouragement. People who don’t run won’t understand what you are going through – good or bad! 10. How do you squeeze running time into your schedule?It’s tough.  Physically and emotionally running can literally tear you down if you’re not careful.  I am very fortunate that my family supports and encourages my endeavors, so sometimes I get away with a few household chores slipping here and there.  At the end of any given day, I will have run 10-15 miles and still have to make a trip to the grocery store and attend a girl scouts meeting.  When you are runner, it’s part of your day, so you have to figure out how to do IT ALL. 11. What words would you use to describe how you feel while running?When I run I feel very happy and peaceful.  There’s a certain clarity that comes to my mind when I am on the road.  I get my best ideas, dream up new goals and think about what I am truly grateful for in that moment. 12. How do you fight that “I don’t want to run today” feeling?I have learned to listen to my body.  Sometimes the “not want to run feeling” is a sign of fatigue.  That may be a call to prop up my feet and read a book instead.   MOST of the time I can start putting on my running shoes and I start feeling better about going. 13.  How do you power through tough stretches of a run?You absolutely MUST be your own best friend.  You must learn to encourage yourself to keep going, push harder and never give up.  You also have to learn to not be too hard on yourself too – it’s critical after a training run or race to reflect on THREE positive aspects of the experience before looking for areas of improvement.  Otherwise, you’ll burn out. 13.1 Which RockMyRun mixes truly rock your runs?DJ Little Fever’s Brooks RockMyRun Mix is my all-time favorite.  I had the opportunity to train with this mix a few times prior to the Chicago Marathon in October 2012.  On race day – the mix ended up starting at mile 23.  The end of the marathon was by far one of the most intense experiences of my life – hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the streets and as I neared mile 25, I was running like the wind (Marshall Tucker Band)!  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that I can now listen to the playlist and the music brings back very vivid memories of the end of the race.


Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

  ·  3 min

Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

The time is again upon us when we set off on our year-long journey to improve something about ourselves. Our goals and resolutions have been set, and we are off with the “New Year, New Me” attitude.  I personally think this mindset can be beneficial for many people, given that they continue to work toward their goal.  The one problem I see, however, is how people set their New Year’s Resolution.For a large majority of people, when they have a health-related resolution, it revolves around purely weight loss.  Maybe they want to lose 20 pounds, get ready for bathing suit season, or my personal favorite “tone up a bit.”  Now let me say, first and foremost, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight.  But I want to encourage you to take a new approach to weight loss this year.  I have used this approach with my own clients and have found it very successful.This year I challenge you to make your primary goal something that is fitness-oriented, as opposed to weight-oriented.  Maybe you would like to simply get in better shape, run further, run faster, or just be physically healthier altogether.  I am a big proponent of goals of this nature because they allow you to put your focus on something other than the scale.  I have found that when individuals put their time and effort toward improving their physical fitness, then the number game tends to take care of itself.I know that for some of you this may be a new and unorthodox way of approaching your weight loss journey.  So, in order to help you get started, I want to give you a quick tip and a challenge for this year.Tip:  Find a very specific fitness-oriented goal to work toward. Run your first 5k or 10k race.  Improve on your mile time or increase your overall distance.  It could even be something as simple as running for 20 minutes without stopping.  Essentially, come up with a physical goal that you can achieve with some time and effort.  Now, put your time, focus, and energy into that goalChallenge:  DO NOT look at the scale.  I know that seems a little ill-advised, but remember, we’re working toward a physical goal instead of a weight goal.  Allow yourself to check the scale once every two weeks.  That’s it.  You might think this sounds crazy, but it’s by design.  Taking your focus off of the numbers on the will allow you to focus on the bigger picture (improving overall health, running faster, running further, etc), which is much more important.I understand that it may seem difficult to change your mental approach to running.  After all, you’ve been told for years that if you want to lose weight, you need to run.  Well, it’s time to change that approach.  Don’t run to simply lose weight.  Run to be fit.  Run to be fierce.  Run to be a bad ass.  Then let everything else take care of itself.Are you ready to try this new approach?  Leave your new goal in the comment section below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

  ·  3 min

Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

The time is again upon us when we set off on our year-long journey to improve something about ourselves. Our goals and resolutions have been set, and we are off with the “New Year, New Me” attitude.  I personally think this mindset can be beneficial for many people, given that they continue to work toward their goal.  The one problem I see, however, is how people set their New Year’s Resolution.For a large majority of people, when they have a health-related resolution, it revolves around purely weight loss.  Maybe they want to lose 20 pounds, get ready for bathing suit season, or my personal favorite “tone up a bit.”  Now let me say, first and foremost, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight.  But I want to encourage you to take a new approach to weight loss this year.  I have used this approach with my own clients and have found it very successful.This year I challenge you to make your primary goal something that is fitness-oriented, as opposed to weight-oriented.  Maybe you would like to simply get in better shape, run further, run faster, or just be physically healthier altogether.  I am a big proponent of goals of this nature because they allow you to put your focus on something other than the scale.  I have found that when individuals put their time and effort toward improving their physical fitness, then the number game tends to take care of itself.I know that for some of you this may be a new and unorthodox way of approaching your weight loss journey.  So, in order to help you get started, I want to give you a quick tip and a challenge for this year.Tip:  Find a very specific fitness-oriented goal to work toward. Run your first 5k or 10k race.  Improve on your mile time or increase your overall distance.  It could even be something as simple as running for 20 minutes without stopping.  Essentially, come up with a physical goal that you can achieve with some time and effort.  Now, put your time, focus, and energy into that goalChallenge:  DO NOT look at the scale.  I know that seems a little ill-advised, but remember, we’re working toward a physical goal instead of a weight goal.  Allow yourself to check the scale once every two weeks.  That’s it.  You might think this sounds crazy, but it’s by design.  Taking your focus off of the numbers on the will allow you to focus on the bigger picture (improving overall health, running faster, running further, etc), which is much more important.I understand that it may seem difficult to change your mental approach to running.  After all, you’ve been told for years that if you want to lose weight, you need to run.  Well, it’s time to change that approach.  Don’t run to simply lose weight.  Run to be fit.  Run to be fierce.  Run to be a bad ass.  Then let everything else take care of itself.Are you ready to try this new approach?  Leave your new goal in the comment section below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Are You What You Listen To?

  ·  4 min

Are You What You Listen To?

When it comes to psychology, there’s no shortage of ways to describe and understand personality. Open to experience, extroverted, agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, quiet and serious, enthusiastic, original, direct, cautious, inspirational, steady…you get the idea.And it seems that knowing something about the type of music one prefers may be an effective window into understanding some types of personality. Of course, you can give someone a cumbersome personality test, but that’s not nearly as much fun as peeking into someone’s iPod, as a way of getting to know someone, is it?How Does Your Brain React to Music?Before you start scrolling through your buddy’s playlist, it might be useful to look at what brain function studies tell us about the brain. You see, there is science behind it all. Our brain’s motor cortex is involved in movement, foot tapping, and dancing while our amygdala is involved with our emotional reactions to music.  Our sensory cortex provides us with tactile feedback from playing an instrument or dancing, and our auditory complex gives us the perception and analysis of tones. Finally, our hippocampus is involved in our being able to recall and have memory for music.How is Music Tied to Personality?Now, of course you aren’t going to ask that person you are interested in getting to know to fill out a personality assessment or take a quick jog over to the nearest ER for a brain scan. You can read body language, make some judgment about their physical appearance, groom and clothing style. But a psychological study of primarily younger-aged subjects found that the most popular topic that same- and opposite-sex pairings talk about is music, followed by books, movies, TV, football and clothing (Rentfrow and Gosling, 2006).In the study, musical preferences demonstrated reasonably accurate abilities in conveying some aspects of personality. Many theories are given as to why people prefer one genre of music over another. Some find one type of music leaves them feeling relaxed, while other use specific genres of music to pump them up. Some listen to one genre over another because they believe it helps them identify with a group or promotes a certain self-identity. Our brain’s motor cortex, amygdala, sensory cortex, auditory cortex and hippocampus are all part of our physiological responsiveness.Not all personality traits are easy to identify through musical preference. For instance, openness to experience, extraversion and emotional stability are the easiest to guess correctly. On the other hand, music preferences don’t seem to say much about whether a person is conscientious or not.What Does Your Favorite Music Say About Your Personality?As for specifics, the research found some surprising and perhaps even debatable results. Extraverts seem to prefer vocals, while country music with all of its heartache is a preference among the most emotionally stable and hard-working. If jazz is pouring out of those headphones, it’s likely an intellectual with high self-esteem, who’s creative, outgoing and often at ease, may be listening. Rap fans were found to have high self-esteem and be outgoing, while dance fans were found to be creative, outgoing and not particularly gentle. Pop music aficionados are often filled with high self-esteem, are deemed to be hard-working, outgoing and gentle, but not typically creative or at ease. Finally, rock/heavy metal fans were found to have lower self-esteem, to be creative and to be at ease people, as well as not hard-working, not especially outgoing and frequently gentle.Of course there are exceptions to these, and all research findings. But the data does indicate that different types of musical genre preferences can be helpful in sorting out some basic personality types.At the same time, different music genres have different tempos which impact behavior, especially when exercising. Therefore, the tempo one prefers may not necessarily be related to personality but to an effect one wants while running or working out in the gym.Whether you tune in music to relax you, build focus, drown out fatigue, block distractions, set a romantic mood, or pump you up to get moving on the track or to knock down your to-do list, sharing the type of music you choose and/or the bpm’s may be giving off signals about you. And that could just be about the best thing you could do if you want to reach out to that interesting looking person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, on the plane, in the student center or at the gym.What’s your favorite genre of music? Do you think it aligns with your personality traits? Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Are You What You Listen To?

  ·  4 min

Are You What You Listen To?

When it comes to psychology, there’s no shortage of ways to describe and understand personality. Open to experience, extroverted, agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, quiet and serious, enthusiastic, original, direct, cautious, inspirational, steady…you get the idea.And it seems that knowing something about the type of music one prefers may be an effective window into understanding some types of personality. Of course, you can give someone a cumbersome personality test, but that’s not nearly as much fun as peeking into someone’s iPod, as a way of getting to know someone, is it?How Does Your Brain React to Music?Before you start scrolling through your buddy’s playlist, it might be useful to look at what brain function studies tell us about the brain. You see, there is science behind it all. Our brain’s motor cortex is involved in movement, foot tapping, and dancing while our amygdala is involved with our emotional reactions to music.  Our sensory cortex provides us with tactile feedback from playing an instrument or dancing, and our auditory complex gives us the perception and analysis of tones. Finally, our hippocampus is involved in our being able to recall and have memory for music.How is Music Tied to Personality?Now, of course you aren’t going to ask that person you are interested in getting to know to fill out a personality assessment or take a quick jog over to the nearest ER for a brain scan. You can read body language, make some judgment about their physical appearance, groom and clothing style. But a psychological study of primarily younger-aged subjects found that the most popular topic that same- and opposite-sex pairings talk about is music, followed by books, movies, TV, football and clothing (Rentfrow and Gosling, 2006).In the study, musical preferences demonstrated reasonably accurate abilities in conveying some aspects of personality. Many theories are given as to why people prefer one genre of music over another. Some find one type of music leaves them feeling relaxed, while other use specific genres of music to pump them up. Some listen to one genre over another because they believe it helps them identify with a group or promotes a certain self-identity. Our brain’s motor cortex, amygdala, sensory cortex, auditory cortex and hippocampus are all part of our physiological responsiveness.Not all personality traits are easy to identify through musical preference. For instance, openness to experience, extraversion and emotional stability are the easiest to guess correctly. On the other hand, music preferences don’t seem to say much about whether a person is conscientious or not.What Does Your Favorite Music Say About Your Personality?As for specifics, the research found some surprising and perhaps even debatable results. Extraverts seem to prefer vocals, while country music with all of its heartache is a preference among the most emotionally stable and hard-working. If jazz is pouring out of those headphones, it’s likely an intellectual with high self-esteem, who’s creative, outgoing and often at ease, may be listening. Rap fans were found to have high self-esteem and be outgoing, while dance fans were found to be creative, outgoing and not particularly gentle. Pop music aficionados are often filled with high self-esteem, are deemed to be hard-working, outgoing and gentle, but not typically creative or at ease. Finally, rock/heavy metal fans were found to have lower self-esteem, to be creative and to be at ease people, as well as not hard-working, not especially outgoing and frequently gentle.Of course there are exceptions to these, and all research findings. But the data does indicate that different types of musical genre preferences can be helpful in sorting out some basic personality types.At the same time, different music genres have different tempos which impact behavior, especially when exercising. Therefore, the tempo one prefers may not necessarily be related to personality but to an effect one wants while running or working out in the gym.Whether you tune in music to relax you, build focus, drown out fatigue, block distractions, set a romantic mood, or pump you up to get moving on the track or to knock down your to-do list, sharing the type of music you choose and/or the bpm’s may be giving off signals about you. And that could just be about the best thing you could do if you want to reach out to that interesting looking person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, on the plane, in the student center or at the gym.What’s your favorite genre of music? Do you think it aligns with your personality traits? Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

  ·  7 min

Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

Here at RockMyRun, we’ve initiated a series of blog posts featuring our awesome Run Rocker family. Each post will be rapid-fire questions that not only showcases the RockMyRun spirit but also presents unique perspectives on the sport of running, how music plays a role, and hopefully offers some tips on challenges you may experience in your journeys. For the second in our series of runner interviews from our inspirational RockMyRun family, we are proud to introduce Run Rocker, Misty Phillips. This time, we did it half marathon style, with 13(.1)   questions for Misty who offered some fantastic advice, ranging from improving marathon time to juggling running with family life. 1. How long have you classified yourself as a “runner” (or do you?)I started running when I was about ten years old.  I competed in cross country a couple of years in high school.  I also ran sporadically over the years and competed in local 5K races and a few 10K races here and there.  I really got away from the sport in my twenties when my children were small.  I became a serious runner in May, 2011, when I signed up for my first marathon. 2. How often do you run weekly/monthly?My current training plan consists of 5-6 runs in a 7 day time period. 3. In which conditions you prefer to run (time in the day, indoors/outdoors…)?I love to run on the road.  All-weather conditions are OK with me – except heavy rain.  Although I am not a morning person, I am growing to love early morning runs.  There’s less traffic and much more to observe in nature – I like to watch deer, birds, and squirrels. 4. What running accomplishment are you most proud of? Or what is your best running experience?I signed up to run my first marathon about two years ago.  My goal for that race was finishing.  However, the experience left such an impression that I wanted to go back to the drawing board, get a solid training plan together, and really see what I was made of.  I was afforded the opportunity to work with a wonderful “Koach” who provided me with a plan and weekly feedback.  Incidentally, he provides running tips via twitter @Marathon Koach to over 9,000 followers!  With his help and my dedication to that goal – I have improved my marathon time from 5:06 (October 2011 – Marine Corps Marathon) to 4:17 (October 2012 – Chicago Marathon) and six weeks later I was able to run 4:07 (December 2012-St. Jude Marathon).  Improving my marathon finish time by nearly an hour is my greatest accomplishment at this point.  5. Do you have any running-related goals for 2013? If so what are your plans for reaching them?2012 will be a tough year to beat, and I know that.  But, I am very optimistic about my ability to continue to improve.  One of the most fascinating aspects of marathoning to me, personally, is that it is possible to get faster and better with time and training.  I have a long term goal – I visualize this each time I run – that one day I will run in the Boston Marathon.  As for this year, I have a few marathons I am considering and I would love to break 4 hours.  I think it is reasonable and attainable if I can stay injury-free. 6. Since you started running, what is the biggest change in yourself, either physical or emotional that you’ve noticed?The most significant change I am aware of is my self-perception.  I used to think of myself as a back of the pack runner. As hard as it was to realize, I had to give myself credit for improving speed and endurance.  I needed to select the right starting corral in marathons to keep from being held back – and in 5 and 10K’s I needed to edge my way a little closer to the front before the gun is fired.  THAT has been tough for me – seeing myself as a competitive runner. When I look back at my Chicago finish time and (4:17) and compare that to my St. Jude finish time (4:07) – I realized that I positioned myself more accurately in the starting corral in Memphis (St. Jude).  In Chicago I was in the back of the 5:30 corral (which slowed my first few miles way down).  I learned from this and moved up to the 4:30 corral in Memphis at St. Jude. 7. What motivates you to run?I like the isolation of the training run.  I feel free from every care in the world. 8. What kind of music inspires you while running?I am a child of the ‘80s so most of what is on my MP3 player is from that era. There’s a lot of U2, INXS, The Police, etc.  The type of music depends on the type of run: for shorter and faster runs, I prefer faster-paced music like rap and hip-hop. I’ll sometimes dig into whatever my teenage son is listening to for help here.  My longer runs tend to be mellower; I love to listen to BB King in the dead heat of the Mississippi summer when the humidity hangs in the air like a curtain. 9. What one tip would you share with runners everywhere if you could?Surround yourself with other runners for support and encouragement. People who don’t run won’t understand what you are going through – good or bad! 10. How do you squeeze running time into your schedule?It’s tough.  Physically and emotionally running can literally tear you down if you’re not careful.  I am very fortunate that my family supports and encourages my endeavors, so sometimes I get away with a few household chores slipping here and there.  At the end of any given day, I will have run 10-15 miles and still have to make a trip to the grocery store and attend a girl scouts meeting.  When you are runner, it’s part of your day, so you have to figure out how to do IT ALL. 11. What words would you use to describe how you feel while running?When I run I feel very happy and peaceful.  There’s a certain clarity that comes to my mind when I am on the road.  I get my best ideas, dream up new goals and think about what I am truly grateful for in that moment. 12. How do you fight that “I don’t want to run today” feeling?I have learned to listen to my body.  Sometimes the “not want to run feeling” is a sign of fatigue.  That may be a call to prop up my feet and read a book instead.   MOST of the time I can start putting on my running shoes and I start feeling better about going. 13.  How do you power through tough stretches of a run?You absolutely MUST be your own best friend.  You must learn to encourage yourself to keep going, push harder and never give up.  You also have to learn to not be too hard on yourself too – it’s critical after a training run or race to reflect on THREE positive aspects of the experience before looking for areas of improvement.  Otherwise, you’ll burn out. 13.1 Which RockMyRun mixes truly rock your runs?DJ Little Fever’s Brooks RockMyRun Mix is my all-time favorite.  I had the opportunity to train with this mix a few times prior to the Chicago Marathon in October 2012.  On race day – the mix ended up starting at mile 23.  The end of the marathon was by far one of the most intense experiences of my life – hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the streets and as I neared mile 25, I was running like the wind (Marshall Tucker Band)!  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that I can now listen to the playlist and the music brings back very vivid memories of the end of the race.


Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

  ·  7 min

Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

Here at RockMyRun, we’ve initiated a series of blog posts featuring our awesome Run Rocker family. Each post will be rapid-fire questions that not only showcases the RockMyRun spirit but also presents unique perspectives on the sport of running, how music plays a role, and hopefully offers some tips on challenges you may experience in your journeys. For the second in our series of runner interviews from our inspirational RockMyRun family, we are proud to introduce Run Rocker, Misty Phillips. This time, we did it half marathon style, with 13(.1)   questions for Misty who offered some fantastic advice, ranging from improving marathon time to juggling running with family life. 1. How long have you classified yourself as a “runner” (or do you?)I started running when I was about ten years old.  I competed in cross country a couple of years in high school.  I also ran sporadically over the years and competed in local 5K races and a few 10K races here and there.  I really got away from the sport in my twenties when my children were small.  I became a serious runner in May, 2011, when I signed up for my first marathon. 2. How often do you run weekly/monthly?My current training plan consists of 5-6 runs in a 7 day time period. 3. In which conditions you prefer to run (time in the day, indoors/outdoors…)?I love to run on the road.  All-weather conditions are OK with me – except heavy rain.  Although I am not a morning person, I am growing to love early morning runs.  There’s less traffic and much more to observe in nature – I like to watch deer, birds, and squirrels. 4. What running accomplishment are you most proud of? Or what is your best running experience?I signed up to run my first marathon about two years ago.  My goal for that race was finishing.  However, the experience left such an impression that I wanted to go back to the drawing board, get a solid training plan together, and really see what I was made of.  I was afforded the opportunity to work with a wonderful “Koach” who provided me with a plan and weekly feedback.  Incidentally, he provides running tips via twitter @Marathon Koach to over 9,000 followers!  With his help and my dedication to that goal – I have improved my marathon time from 5:06 (October 2011 – Marine Corps Marathon) to 4:17 (October 2012 – Chicago Marathon) and six weeks later I was able to run 4:07 (December 2012-St. Jude Marathon).  Improving my marathon finish time by nearly an hour is my greatest accomplishment at this point.  5. Do you have any running-related goals for 2013? If so what are your plans for reaching them?2012 will be a tough year to beat, and I know that.  But, I am very optimistic about my ability to continue to improve.  One of the most fascinating aspects of marathoning to me, personally, is that it is possible to get faster and better with time and training.  I have a long term goal – I visualize this each time I run – that one day I will run in the Boston Marathon.  As for this year, I have a few marathons I am considering and I would love to break 4 hours.  I think it is reasonable and attainable if I can stay injury-free. 6. Since you started running, what is the biggest change in yourself, either physical or emotional that you’ve noticed?The most significant change I am aware of is my self-perception.  I used to think of myself as a back of the pack runner. As hard as it was to realize, I had to give myself credit for improving speed and endurance.  I needed to select the right starting corral in marathons to keep from being held back – and in 5 and 10K’s I needed to edge my way a little closer to the front before the gun is fired.  THAT has been tough for me – seeing myself as a competitive runner. When I look back at my Chicago finish time and (4:17) and compare that to my St. Jude finish time (4:07) – I realized that I positioned myself more accurately in the starting corral in Memphis (St. Jude).  In Chicago I was in the back of the 5:30 corral (which slowed my first few miles way down).  I learned from this and moved up to the 4:30 corral in Memphis at St. Jude. 7. What motivates you to run?I like the isolation of the training run.  I feel free from every care in the world. 8. What kind of music inspires you while running?I am a child of the ‘80s so most of what is on my MP3 player is from that era. There’s a lot of U2, INXS, The Police, etc.  The type of music depends on the type of run: for shorter and faster runs, I prefer faster-paced music like rap and hip-hop. I’ll sometimes dig into whatever my teenage son is listening to for help here.  My longer runs tend to be mellower; I love to listen to BB King in the dead heat of the Mississippi summer when the humidity hangs in the air like a curtain. 9. What one tip would you share with runners everywhere if you could?Surround yourself with other runners for support and encouragement. People who don’t run won’t understand what you are going through – good or bad! 10. How do you squeeze running time into your schedule?It’s tough.  Physically and emotionally running can literally tear you down if you’re not careful.  I am very fortunate that my family supports and encourages my endeavors, so sometimes I get away with a few household chores slipping here and there.  At the end of any given day, I will have run 10-15 miles and still have to make a trip to the grocery store and attend a girl scouts meeting.  When you are runner, it’s part of your day, so you have to figure out how to do IT ALL. 11. What words would you use to describe how you feel while running?When I run I feel very happy and peaceful.  There’s a certain clarity that comes to my mind when I am on the road.  I get my best ideas, dream up new goals and think about what I am truly grateful for in that moment. 12. How do you fight that “I don’t want to run today” feeling?I have learned to listen to my body.  Sometimes the “not want to run feeling” is a sign of fatigue.  That may be a call to prop up my feet and read a book instead.   MOST of the time I can start putting on my running shoes and I start feeling better about going. 13.  How do you power through tough stretches of a run?You absolutely MUST be your own best friend.  You must learn to encourage yourself to keep going, push harder and never give up.  You also have to learn to not be too hard on yourself too – it’s critical after a training run or race to reflect on THREE positive aspects of the experience before looking for areas of improvement.  Otherwise, you’ll burn out. 13.1 Which RockMyRun mixes truly rock your runs?DJ Little Fever’s Brooks RockMyRun Mix is my all-time favorite.  I had the opportunity to train with this mix a few times prior to the Chicago Marathon in October 2012.  On race day – the mix ended up starting at mile 23.  The end of the marathon was by far one of the most intense experiences of my life – hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the streets and as I neared mile 25, I was running like the wind (Marshall Tucker Band)!  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that I can now listen to the playlist and the music brings back very vivid memories of the end of the race.


Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

  ·  3 min

Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

The time is again upon us when we set off on our year-long journey to improve something about ourselves. Our goals and resolutions have been set, and we are off with the “New Year, New Me” attitude.  I personally think this mindset can be beneficial for many people, given that they continue to work toward their goal.  The one problem I see, however, is how people set their New Year’s Resolution.For a large majority of people, when they have a health-related resolution, it revolves around purely weight loss.  Maybe they want to lose 20 pounds, get ready for bathing suit season, or my personal favorite “tone up a bit.”  Now let me say, first and foremost, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight.  But I want to encourage you to take a new approach to weight loss this year.  I have used this approach with my own clients and have found it very successful.This year I challenge you to make your primary goal something that is fitness-oriented, as opposed to weight-oriented.  Maybe you would like to simply get in better shape, run further, run faster, or just be physically healthier altogether.  I am a big proponent of goals of this nature because they allow you to put your focus on something other than the scale.  I have found that when individuals put their time and effort toward improving their physical fitness, then the number game tends to take care of itself.I know that for some of you this may be a new and unorthodox way of approaching your weight loss journey.  So, in order to help you get started, I want to give you a quick tip and a challenge for this year.Tip:  Find a very specific fitness-oriented goal to work toward. Run your first 5k or 10k race.  Improve on your mile time or increase your overall distance.  It could even be something as simple as running for 20 minutes without stopping.  Essentially, come up with a physical goal that you can achieve with some time and effort.  Now, put your time, focus, and energy into that goalChallenge:  DO NOT look at the scale.  I know that seems a little ill-advised, but remember, we’re working toward a physical goal instead of a weight goal.  Allow yourself to check the scale once every two weeks.  That’s it.  You might think this sounds crazy, but it’s by design.  Taking your focus off of the numbers on the will allow you to focus on the bigger picture (improving overall health, running faster, running further, etc), which is much more important.I understand that it may seem difficult to change your mental approach to running.  After all, you’ve been told for years that if you want to lose weight, you need to run.  Well, it’s time to change that approach.  Don’t run to simply lose weight.  Run to be fit.  Run to be fierce.  Run to be a bad ass.  Then let everything else take care of itself.Are you ready to try this new approach?  Leave your new goal in the comment section below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

  ·  3 min

Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

The time is again upon us when we set off on our year-long journey to improve something about ourselves. Our goals and resolutions have been set, and we are off with the “New Year, New Me” attitude.  I personally think this mindset can be beneficial for many people, given that they continue to work toward their goal.  The one problem I see, however, is how people set their New Year’s Resolution.For a large majority of people, when they have a health-related resolution, it revolves around purely weight loss.  Maybe they want to lose 20 pounds, get ready for bathing suit season, or my personal favorite “tone up a bit.”  Now let me say, first and foremost, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight.  But I want to encourage you to take a new approach to weight loss this year.  I have used this approach with my own clients and have found it very successful.This year I challenge you to make your primary goal something that is fitness-oriented, as opposed to weight-oriented.  Maybe you would like to simply get in better shape, run further, run faster, or just be physically healthier altogether.  I am a big proponent of goals of this nature because they allow you to put your focus on something other than the scale.  I have found that when individuals put their time and effort toward improving their physical fitness, then the number game tends to take care of itself.I know that for some of you this may be a new and unorthodox way of approaching your weight loss journey.  So, in order to help you get started, I want to give you a quick tip and a challenge for this year.Tip:  Find a very specific fitness-oriented goal to work toward. Run your first 5k or 10k race.  Improve on your mile time or increase your overall distance.  It could even be something as simple as running for 20 minutes without stopping.  Essentially, come up with a physical goal that you can achieve with some time and effort.  Now, put your time, focus, and energy into that goalChallenge:  DO NOT look at the scale.  I know that seems a little ill-advised, but remember, we’re working toward a physical goal instead of a weight goal.  Allow yourself to check the scale once every two weeks.  That’s it.  You might think this sounds crazy, but it’s by design.  Taking your focus off of the numbers on the will allow you to focus on the bigger picture (improving overall health, running faster, running further, etc), which is much more important.I understand that it may seem difficult to change your mental approach to running.  After all, you’ve been told for years that if you want to lose weight, you need to run.  Well, it’s time to change that approach.  Don’t run to simply lose weight.  Run to be fit.  Run to be fierce.  Run to be a bad ass.  Then let everything else take care of itself.Are you ready to try this new approach?  Leave your new goal in the comment section below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Are You What You Listen To?

  ·  4 min

Are You What You Listen To?

When it comes to psychology, there’s no shortage of ways to describe and understand personality. Open to experience, extroverted, agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, quiet and serious, enthusiastic, original, direct, cautious, inspirational, steady…you get the idea.And it seems that knowing something about the type of music one prefers may be an effective window into understanding some types of personality. Of course, you can give someone a cumbersome personality test, but that’s not nearly as much fun as peeking into someone’s iPod, as a way of getting to know someone, is it?How Does Your Brain React to Music?Before you start scrolling through your buddy’s playlist, it might be useful to look at what brain function studies tell us about the brain. You see, there is science behind it all. Our brain’s motor cortex is involved in movement, foot tapping, and dancing while our amygdala is involved with our emotional reactions to music.  Our sensory cortex provides us with tactile feedback from playing an instrument or dancing, and our auditory complex gives us the perception and analysis of tones. Finally, our hippocampus is involved in our being able to recall and have memory for music.How is Music Tied to Personality?Now, of course you aren’t going to ask that person you are interested in getting to know to fill out a personality assessment or take a quick jog over to the nearest ER for a brain scan. You can read body language, make some judgment about their physical appearance, groom and clothing style. But a psychological study of primarily younger-aged subjects found that the most popular topic that same- and opposite-sex pairings talk about is music, followed by books, movies, TV, football and clothing (Rentfrow and Gosling, 2006).In the study, musical preferences demonstrated reasonably accurate abilities in conveying some aspects of personality. Many theories are given as to why people prefer one genre of music over another. Some find one type of music leaves them feeling relaxed, while other use specific genres of music to pump them up. Some listen to one genre over another because they believe it helps them identify with a group or promotes a certain self-identity. Our brain’s motor cortex, amygdala, sensory cortex, auditory cortex and hippocampus are all part of our physiological responsiveness.Not all personality traits are easy to identify through musical preference. For instance, openness to experience, extraversion and emotional stability are the easiest to guess correctly. On the other hand, music preferences don’t seem to say much about whether a person is conscientious or not.What Does Your Favorite Music Say About Your Personality?As for specifics, the research found some surprising and perhaps even debatable results. Extraverts seem to prefer vocals, while country music with all of its heartache is a preference among the most emotionally stable and hard-working. If jazz is pouring out of those headphones, it’s likely an intellectual with high self-esteem, who’s creative, outgoing and often at ease, may be listening. Rap fans were found to have high self-esteem and be outgoing, while dance fans were found to be creative, outgoing and not particularly gentle. Pop music aficionados are often filled with high self-esteem, are deemed to be hard-working, outgoing and gentle, but not typically creative or at ease. Finally, rock/heavy metal fans were found to have lower self-esteem, to be creative and to be at ease people, as well as not hard-working, not especially outgoing and frequently gentle.Of course there are exceptions to these, and all research findings. But the data does indicate that different types of musical genre preferences can be helpful in sorting out some basic personality types.At the same time, different music genres have different tempos which impact behavior, especially when exercising. Therefore, the tempo one prefers may not necessarily be related to personality but to an effect one wants while running or working out in the gym.Whether you tune in music to relax you, build focus, drown out fatigue, block distractions, set a romantic mood, or pump you up to get moving on the track or to knock down your to-do list, sharing the type of music you choose and/or the bpm’s may be giving off signals about you. And that could just be about the best thing you could do if you want to reach out to that interesting looking person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, on the plane, in the student center or at the gym.What’s your favorite genre of music? Do you think it aligns with your personality traits? Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Are You What You Listen To?

  ·  4 min

Are You What You Listen To?

When it comes to psychology, there’s no shortage of ways to describe and understand personality. Open to experience, extroverted, agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, quiet and serious, enthusiastic, original, direct, cautious, inspirational, steady…you get the idea.And it seems that knowing something about the type of music one prefers may be an effective window into understanding some types of personality. Of course, you can give someone a cumbersome personality test, but that’s not nearly as much fun as peeking into someone’s iPod, as a way of getting to know someone, is it?How Does Your Brain React to Music?Before you start scrolling through your buddy’s playlist, it might be useful to look at what brain function studies tell us about the brain. You see, there is science behind it all. Our brain’s motor cortex is involved in movement, foot tapping, and dancing while our amygdala is involved with our emotional reactions to music.  Our sensory cortex provides us with tactile feedback from playing an instrument or dancing, and our auditory complex gives us the perception and analysis of tones. Finally, our hippocampus is involved in our being able to recall and have memory for music.How is Music Tied to Personality?Now, of course you aren’t going to ask that person you are interested in getting to know to fill out a personality assessment or take a quick jog over to the nearest ER for a brain scan. You can read body language, make some judgment about their physical appearance, groom and clothing style. But a psychological study of primarily younger-aged subjects found that the most popular topic that same- and opposite-sex pairings talk about is music, followed by books, movies, TV, football and clothing (Rentfrow and Gosling, 2006).In the study, musical preferences demonstrated reasonably accurate abilities in conveying some aspects of personality. Many theories are given as to why people prefer one genre of music over another. Some find one type of music leaves them feeling relaxed, while other use specific genres of music to pump them up. Some listen to one genre over another because they believe it helps them identify with a group or promotes a certain self-identity. Our brain’s motor cortex, amygdala, sensory cortex, auditory cortex and hippocampus are all part of our physiological responsiveness.Not all personality traits are easy to identify through musical preference. For instance, openness to experience, extraversion and emotional stability are the easiest to guess correctly. On the other hand, music preferences don’t seem to say much about whether a person is conscientious or not.What Does Your Favorite Music Say About Your Personality?As for specifics, the research found some surprising and perhaps even debatable results. Extraverts seem to prefer vocals, while country music with all of its heartache is a preference among the most emotionally stable and hard-working. If jazz is pouring out of those headphones, it’s likely an intellectual with high self-esteem, who’s creative, outgoing and often at ease, may be listening. Rap fans were found to have high self-esteem and be outgoing, while dance fans were found to be creative, outgoing and not particularly gentle. Pop music aficionados are often filled with high self-esteem, are deemed to be hard-working, outgoing and gentle, but not typically creative or at ease. Finally, rock/heavy metal fans were found to have lower self-esteem, to be creative and to be at ease people, as well as not hard-working, not especially outgoing and frequently gentle.Of course there are exceptions to these, and all research findings. But the data does indicate that different types of musical genre preferences can be helpful in sorting out some basic personality types.At the same time, different music genres have different tempos which impact behavior, especially when exercising. Therefore, the tempo one prefers may not necessarily be related to personality but to an effect one wants while running or working out in the gym.Whether you tune in music to relax you, build focus, drown out fatigue, block distractions, set a romantic mood, or pump you up to get moving on the track or to knock down your to-do list, sharing the type of music you choose and/or the bpm’s may be giving off signals about you. And that could just be about the best thing you could do if you want to reach out to that interesting looking person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, on the plane, in the student center or at the gym.What’s your favorite genre of music? Do you think it aligns with your personality traits? Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


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Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

  ·  7 min

Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

Here at RockMyRun, we’ve initiated a series of blog posts featuring our awesome Run Rocker family. Each post will be rapid-fire questions that not only showcases the RockMyRun spirit but also presents unique perspectives on the sport of running, how music plays a role, and hopefully offers some tips on challenges you may experience in your journeys. For the second in our series of runner interviews from our inspirational RockMyRun family, we are proud to introduce Run Rocker, Misty Phillips. This time, we did it half marathon style, with 13(.1)   questions for Misty who offered some fantastic advice, ranging from improving marathon time to juggling running with family life. 1. How long have you classified yourself as a “runner” (or do you?)I started running when I was about ten years old.  I competed in cross country a couple of years in high school.  I also ran sporadically over the years and competed in local 5K races and a few 10K races here and there.  I really got away from the sport in my twenties when my children were small.  I became a serious runner in May, 2011, when I signed up for my first marathon. 2. How often do you run weekly/monthly?My current training plan consists of 5-6 runs in a 7 day time period. 3. In which conditions you prefer to run (time in the day, indoors/outdoors…)?I love to run on the road.  All-weather conditions are OK with me – except heavy rain.  Although I am not a morning person, I am growing to love early morning runs.  There’s less traffic and much more to observe in nature – I like to watch deer, birds, and squirrels. 4. What running accomplishment are you most proud of? Or what is your best running experience?I signed up to run my first marathon about two years ago.  My goal for that race was finishing.  However, the experience left such an impression that I wanted to go back to the drawing board, get a solid training plan together, and really see what I was made of.  I was afforded the opportunity to work with a wonderful “Koach” who provided me with a plan and weekly feedback.  Incidentally, he provides running tips via twitter @Marathon Koach to over 9,000 followers!  With his help and my dedication to that goal – I have improved my marathon time from 5:06 (October 2011 – Marine Corps Marathon) to 4:17 (October 2012 – Chicago Marathon) and six weeks later I was able to run 4:07 (December 2012-St. Jude Marathon).  Improving my marathon finish time by nearly an hour is my greatest accomplishment at this point.  5. Do you have any running-related goals for 2013? If so what are your plans for reaching them?2012 will be a tough year to beat, and I know that.  But, I am very optimistic about my ability to continue to improve.  One of the most fascinating aspects of marathoning to me, personally, is that it is possible to get faster and better with time and training.  I have a long term goal – I visualize this each time I run – that one day I will run in the Boston Marathon.  As for this year, I have a few marathons I am considering and I would love to break 4 hours.  I think it is reasonable and attainable if I can stay injury-free. 6. Since you started running, what is the biggest change in yourself, either physical or emotional that you’ve noticed?The most significant change I am aware of is my self-perception.  I used to think of myself as a back of the pack runner. As hard as it was to realize, I had to give myself credit for improving speed and endurance.  I needed to select the right starting corral in marathons to keep from being held back – and in 5 and 10K’s I needed to edge my way a little closer to the front before the gun is fired.  THAT has been tough for me – seeing myself as a competitive runner. When I look back at my Chicago finish time and (4:17) and compare that to my St. Jude finish time (4:07) – I realized that I positioned myself more accurately in the starting corral in Memphis (St. Jude).  In Chicago I was in the back of the 5:30 corral (which slowed my first few miles way down).  I learned from this and moved up to the 4:30 corral in Memphis at St. Jude. 7. What motivates you to run?I like the isolation of the training run.  I feel free from every care in the world. 8. What kind of music inspires you while running?I am a child of the ‘80s so most of what is on my MP3 player is from that era. There’s a lot of U2, INXS, The Police, etc.  The type of music depends on the type of run: for shorter and faster runs, I prefer faster-paced music like rap and hip-hop. I’ll sometimes dig into whatever my teenage son is listening to for help here.  My longer runs tend to be mellower; I love to listen to BB King in the dead heat of the Mississippi summer when the humidity hangs in the air like a curtain. 9. What one tip would you share with runners everywhere if you could?Surround yourself with other runners for support and encouragement. People who don’t run won’t understand what you are going through – good or bad! 10. How do you squeeze running time into your schedule?It’s tough.  Physically and emotionally running can literally tear you down if you’re not careful.  I am very fortunate that my family supports and encourages my endeavors, so sometimes I get away with a few household chores slipping here and there.  At the end of any given day, I will have run 10-15 miles and still have to make a trip to the grocery store and attend a girl scouts meeting.  When you are runner, it’s part of your day, so you have to figure out how to do IT ALL. 11. What words would you use to describe how you feel while running?When I run I feel very happy and peaceful.  There’s a certain clarity that comes to my mind when I am on the road.  I get my best ideas, dream up new goals and think about what I am truly grateful for in that moment. 12. How do you fight that “I don’t want to run today” feeling?I have learned to listen to my body.  Sometimes the “not want to run feeling” is a sign of fatigue.  That may be a call to prop up my feet and read a book instead.   MOST of the time I can start putting on my running shoes and I start feeling better about going. 13.  How do you power through tough stretches of a run?You absolutely MUST be your own best friend.  You must learn to encourage yourself to keep going, push harder and never give up.  You also have to learn to not be too hard on yourself too – it’s critical after a training run or race to reflect on THREE positive aspects of the experience before looking for areas of improvement.  Otherwise, you’ll burn out. 13.1 Which RockMyRun mixes truly rock your runs?DJ Little Fever’s Brooks RockMyRun Mix is my all-time favorite.  I had the opportunity to train with this mix a few times prior to the Chicago Marathon in October 2012.  On race day – the mix ended up starting at mile 23.  The end of the marathon was by far one of the most intense experiences of my life – hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the streets and as I neared mile 25, I was running like the wind (Marshall Tucker Band)!  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that I can now listen to the playlist and the music brings back very vivid memories of the end of the race.


Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

  ·  7 min

Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

Here at RockMyRun, we’ve initiated a series of blog posts featuring our awesome Run Rocker family. Each post will be rapid-fire questions that not only showcases the RockMyRun spirit but also presents unique perspectives on the sport of running, how music plays a role, and hopefully offers some tips on challenges you may experience in your journeys. For the second in our series of runner interviews from our inspirational RockMyRun family, we are proud to introduce Run Rocker, Misty Phillips. This time, we did it half marathon style, with 13(.1)   questions for Misty who offered some fantastic advice, ranging from improving marathon time to juggling running with family life. 1. How long have you classified yourself as a “runner” (or do you?)I started running when I was about ten years old.  I competed in cross country a couple of years in high school.  I also ran sporadically over the years and competed in local 5K races and a few 10K races here and there.  I really got away from the sport in my twenties when my children were small.  I became a serious runner in May, 2011, when I signed up for my first marathon. 2. How often do you run weekly/monthly?My current training plan consists of 5-6 runs in a 7 day time period. 3. In which conditions you prefer to run (time in the day, indoors/outdoors…)?I love to run on the road.  All-weather conditions are OK with me – except heavy rain.  Although I am not a morning person, I am growing to love early morning runs.  There’s less traffic and much more to observe in nature – I like to watch deer, birds, and squirrels. 4. What running accomplishment are you most proud of? Or what is your best running experience?I signed up to run my first marathon about two years ago.  My goal for that race was finishing.  However, the experience left such an impression that I wanted to go back to the drawing board, get a solid training plan together, and really see what I was made of.  I was afforded the opportunity to work with a wonderful “Koach” who provided me with a plan and weekly feedback.  Incidentally, he provides running tips via twitter @Marathon Koach to over 9,000 followers!  With his help and my dedication to that goal – I have improved my marathon time from 5:06 (October 2011 – Marine Corps Marathon) to 4:17 (October 2012 – Chicago Marathon) and six weeks later I was able to run 4:07 (December 2012-St. Jude Marathon).  Improving my marathon finish time by nearly an hour is my greatest accomplishment at this point.  5. Do you have any running-related goals for 2013? If so what are your plans for reaching them?2012 will be a tough year to beat, and I know that.  But, I am very optimistic about my ability to continue to improve.  One of the most fascinating aspects of marathoning to me, personally, is that it is possible to get faster and better with time and training.  I have a long term goal – I visualize this each time I run – that one day I will run in the Boston Marathon.  As for this year, I have a few marathons I am considering and I would love to break 4 hours.  I think it is reasonable and attainable if I can stay injury-free. 6. Since you started running, what is the biggest change in yourself, either physical or emotional that you’ve noticed?The most significant change I am aware of is my self-perception.  I used to think of myself as a back of the pack runner. As hard as it was to realize, I had to give myself credit for improving speed and endurance.  I needed to select the right starting corral in marathons to keep from being held back – and in 5 and 10K’s I needed to edge my way a little closer to the front before the gun is fired.  THAT has been tough for me – seeing myself as a competitive runner. When I look back at my Chicago finish time and (4:17) and compare that to my St. Jude finish time (4:07) – I realized that I positioned myself more accurately in the starting corral in Memphis (St. Jude).  In Chicago I was in the back of the 5:30 corral (which slowed my first few miles way down).  I learned from this and moved up to the 4:30 corral in Memphis at St. Jude. 7. What motivates you to run?I like the isolation of the training run.  I feel free from every care in the world. 8. What kind of music inspires you while running?I am a child of the ‘80s so most of what is on my MP3 player is from that era. There’s a lot of U2, INXS, The Police, etc.  The type of music depends on the type of run: for shorter and faster runs, I prefer faster-paced music like rap and hip-hop. I’ll sometimes dig into whatever my teenage son is listening to for help here.  My longer runs tend to be mellower; I love to listen to BB King in the dead heat of the Mississippi summer when the humidity hangs in the air like a curtain. 9. What one tip would you share with runners everywhere if you could?Surround yourself with other runners for support and encouragement. People who don’t run won’t understand what you are going through – good or bad! 10. How do you squeeze running time into your schedule?It’s tough.  Physically and emotionally running can literally tear you down if you’re not careful.  I am very fortunate that my family supports and encourages my endeavors, so sometimes I get away with a few household chores slipping here and there.  At the end of any given day, I will have run 10-15 miles and still have to make a trip to the grocery store and attend a girl scouts meeting.  When you are runner, it’s part of your day, so you have to figure out how to do IT ALL. 11. What words would you use to describe how you feel while running?When I run I feel very happy and peaceful.  There’s a certain clarity that comes to my mind when I am on the road.  I get my best ideas, dream up new goals and think about what I am truly grateful for in that moment. 12. How do you fight that “I don’t want to run today” feeling?I have learned to listen to my body.  Sometimes the “not want to run feeling” is a sign of fatigue.  That may be a call to prop up my feet and read a book instead.   MOST of the time I can start putting on my running shoes and I start feeling better about going. 13.  How do you power through tough stretches of a run?You absolutely MUST be your own best friend.  You must learn to encourage yourself to keep going, push harder and never give up.  You also have to learn to not be too hard on yourself too – it’s critical after a training run or race to reflect on THREE positive aspects of the experience before looking for areas of improvement.  Otherwise, you’ll burn out. 13.1 Which RockMyRun mixes truly rock your runs?DJ Little Fever’s Brooks RockMyRun Mix is my all-time favorite.  I had the opportunity to train with this mix a few times prior to the Chicago Marathon in October 2012.  On race day – the mix ended up starting at mile 23.  The end of the marathon was by far one of the most intense experiences of my life – hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the streets and as I neared mile 25, I was running like the wind (Marshall Tucker Band)!  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that I can now listen to the playlist and the music brings back very vivid memories of the end of the race.


Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

  ·  3 min

Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

The time is again upon us when we set off on our year-long journey to improve something about ourselves. Our goals and resolutions have been set, and we are off with the “New Year, New Me” attitude.  I personally think this mindset can be beneficial for many people, given that they continue to work toward their goal.  The one problem I see, however, is how people set their New Year’s Resolution.For a large majority of people, when they have a health-related resolution, it revolves around purely weight loss.  Maybe they want to lose 20 pounds, get ready for bathing suit season, or my personal favorite “tone up a bit.”  Now let me say, first and foremost, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight.  But I want to encourage you to take a new approach to weight loss this year.  I have used this approach with my own clients and have found it very successful.This year I challenge you to make your primary goal something that is fitness-oriented, as opposed to weight-oriented.  Maybe you would like to simply get in better shape, run further, run faster, or just be physically healthier altogether.  I am a big proponent of goals of this nature because they allow you to put your focus on something other than the scale.  I have found that when individuals put their time and effort toward improving their physical fitness, then the number game tends to take care of itself.I know that for some of you this may be a new and unorthodox way of approaching your weight loss journey.  So, in order to help you get started, I want to give you a quick tip and a challenge for this year.Tip:  Find a very specific fitness-oriented goal to work toward. Run your first 5k or 10k race.  Improve on your mile time or increase your overall distance.  It could even be something as simple as running for 20 minutes without stopping.  Essentially, come up with a physical goal that you can achieve with some time and effort.  Now, put your time, focus, and energy into that goalChallenge:  DO NOT look at the scale.  I know that seems a little ill-advised, but remember, we’re working toward a physical goal instead of a weight goal.  Allow yourself to check the scale once every two weeks.  That’s it.  You might think this sounds crazy, but it’s by design.  Taking your focus off of the numbers on the will allow you to focus on the bigger picture (improving overall health, running faster, running further, etc), which is much more important.I understand that it may seem difficult to change your mental approach to running.  After all, you’ve been told for years that if you want to lose weight, you need to run.  Well, it’s time to change that approach.  Don’t run to simply lose weight.  Run to be fit.  Run to be fierce.  Run to be a bad ass.  Then let everything else take care of itself.Are you ready to try this new approach?  Leave your new goal in the comment section below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

  ·  3 min

Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

The time is again upon us when we set off on our year-long journey to improve something about ourselves. Our goals and resolutions have been set, and we are off with the “New Year, New Me” attitude.  I personally think this mindset can be beneficial for many people, given that they continue to work toward their goal.  The one problem I see, however, is how people set their New Year’s Resolution.For a large majority of people, when they have a health-related resolution, it revolves around purely weight loss.  Maybe they want to lose 20 pounds, get ready for bathing suit season, or my personal favorite “tone up a bit.”  Now let me say, first and foremost, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight.  But I want to encourage you to take a new approach to weight loss this year.  I have used this approach with my own clients and have found it very successful.This year I challenge you to make your primary goal something that is fitness-oriented, as opposed to weight-oriented.  Maybe you would like to simply get in better shape, run further, run faster, or just be physically healthier altogether.  I am a big proponent of goals of this nature because they allow you to put your focus on something other than the scale.  I have found that when individuals put their time and effort toward improving their physical fitness, then the number game tends to take care of itself.I know that for some of you this may be a new and unorthodox way of approaching your weight loss journey.  So, in order to help you get started, I want to give you a quick tip and a challenge for this year.Tip:  Find a very specific fitness-oriented goal to work toward. Run your first 5k or 10k race.  Improve on your mile time or increase your overall distance.  It could even be something as simple as running for 20 minutes without stopping.  Essentially, come up with a physical goal that you can achieve with some time and effort.  Now, put your time, focus, and energy into that goalChallenge:  DO NOT look at the scale.  I know that seems a little ill-advised, but remember, we’re working toward a physical goal instead of a weight goal.  Allow yourself to check the scale once every two weeks.  That’s it.  You might think this sounds crazy, but it’s by design.  Taking your focus off of the numbers on the will allow you to focus on the bigger picture (improving overall health, running faster, running further, etc), which is much more important.I understand that it may seem difficult to change your mental approach to running.  After all, you’ve been told for years that if you want to lose weight, you need to run.  Well, it’s time to change that approach.  Don’t run to simply lose weight.  Run to be fit.  Run to be fierce.  Run to be a bad ass.  Then let everything else take care of itself.Are you ready to try this new approach?  Leave your new goal in the comment section below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Are You What You Listen To?

  ·  4 min

Are You What You Listen To?

When it comes to psychology, there’s no shortage of ways to describe and understand personality. Open to experience, extroverted, agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, quiet and serious, enthusiastic, original, direct, cautious, inspirational, steady…you get the idea.And it seems that knowing something about the type of music one prefers may be an effective window into understanding some types of personality. Of course, you can give someone a cumbersome personality test, but that’s not nearly as much fun as peeking into someone’s iPod, as a way of getting to know someone, is it?How Does Your Brain React to Music?Before you start scrolling through your buddy’s playlist, it might be useful to look at what brain function studies tell us about the brain. You see, there is science behind it all. Our brain’s motor cortex is involved in movement, foot tapping, and dancing while our amygdala is involved with our emotional reactions to music.  Our sensory cortex provides us with tactile feedback from playing an instrument or dancing, and our auditory complex gives us the perception and analysis of tones. Finally, our hippocampus is involved in our being able to recall and have memory for music.How is Music Tied to Personality?Now, of course you aren’t going to ask that person you are interested in getting to know to fill out a personality assessment or take a quick jog over to the nearest ER for a brain scan. You can read body language, make some judgment about their physical appearance, groom and clothing style. But a psychological study of primarily younger-aged subjects found that the most popular topic that same- and opposite-sex pairings talk about is music, followed by books, movies, TV, football and clothing (Rentfrow and Gosling, 2006).In the study, musical preferences demonstrated reasonably accurate abilities in conveying some aspects of personality. Many theories are given as to why people prefer one genre of music over another. Some find one type of music leaves them feeling relaxed, while other use specific genres of music to pump them up. Some listen to one genre over another because they believe it helps them identify with a group or promotes a certain self-identity. Our brain’s motor cortex, amygdala, sensory cortex, auditory cortex and hippocampus are all part of our physiological responsiveness.Not all personality traits are easy to identify through musical preference. For instance, openness to experience, extraversion and emotional stability are the easiest to guess correctly. On the other hand, music preferences don’t seem to say much about whether a person is conscientious or not.What Does Your Favorite Music Say About Your Personality?As for specifics, the research found some surprising and perhaps even debatable results. Extraverts seem to prefer vocals, while country music with all of its heartache is a preference among the most emotionally stable and hard-working. If jazz is pouring out of those headphones, it’s likely an intellectual with high self-esteem, who’s creative, outgoing and often at ease, may be listening. Rap fans were found to have high self-esteem and be outgoing, while dance fans were found to be creative, outgoing and not particularly gentle. Pop music aficionados are often filled with high self-esteem, are deemed to be hard-working, outgoing and gentle, but not typically creative or at ease. Finally, rock/heavy metal fans were found to have lower self-esteem, to be creative and to be at ease people, as well as not hard-working, not especially outgoing and frequently gentle.Of course there are exceptions to these, and all research findings. But the data does indicate that different types of musical genre preferences can be helpful in sorting out some basic personality types.At the same time, different music genres have different tempos which impact behavior, especially when exercising. Therefore, the tempo one prefers may not necessarily be related to personality but to an effect one wants while running or working out in the gym.Whether you tune in music to relax you, build focus, drown out fatigue, block distractions, set a romantic mood, or pump you up to get moving on the track or to knock down your to-do list, sharing the type of music you choose and/or the bpm’s may be giving off signals about you. And that could just be about the best thing you could do if you want to reach out to that interesting looking person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, on the plane, in the student center or at the gym.What’s your favorite genre of music? Do you think it aligns with your personality traits? Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Are You What You Listen To?

  ·  4 min

Are You What You Listen To?

When it comes to psychology, there’s no shortage of ways to describe and understand personality. Open to experience, extroverted, agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, quiet and serious, enthusiastic, original, direct, cautious, inspirational, steady…you get the idea.And it seems that knowing something about the type of music one prefers may be an effective window into understanding some types of personality. Of course, you can give someone a cumbersome personality test, but that’s not nearly as much fun as peeking into someone’s iPod, as a way of getting to know someone, is it?How Does Your Brain React to Music?Before you start scrolling through your buddy’s playlist, it might be useful to look at what brain function studies tell us about the brain. You see, there is science behind it all. Our brain’s motor cortex is involved in movement, foot tapping, and dancing while our amygdala is involved with our emotional reactions to music.  Our sensory cortex provides us with tactile feedback from playing an instrument or dancing, and our auditory complex gives us the perception and analysis of tones. Finally, our hippocampus is involved in our being able to recall and have memory for music.How is Music Tied to Personality?Now, of course you aren’t going to ask that person you are interested in getting to know to fill out a personality assessment or take a quick jog over to the nearest ER for a brain scan. You can read body language, make some judgment about their physical appearance, groom and clothing style. But a psychological study of primarily younger-aged subjects found that the most popular topic that same- and opposite-sex pairings talk about is music, followed by books, movies, TV, football and clothing (Rentfrow and Gosling, 2006).In the study, musical preferences demonstrated reasonably accurate abilities in conveying some aspects of personality. Many theories are given as to why people prefer one genre of music over another. Some find one type of music leaves them feeling relaxed, while other use specific genres of music to pump them up. Some listen to one genre over another because they believe it helps them identify with a group or promotes a certain self-identity. Our brain’s motor cortex, amygdala, sensory cortex, auditory cortex and hippocampus are all part of our physiological responsiveness.Not all personality traits are easy to identify through musical preference. For instance, openness to experience, extraversion and emotional stability are the easiest to guess correctly. On the other hand, music preferences don’t seem to say much about whether a person is conscientious or not.What Does Your Favorite Music Say About Your Personality?As for specifics, the research found some surprising and perhaps even debatable results. Extraverts seem to prefer vocals, while country music with all of its heartache is a preference among the most emotionally stable and hard-working. If jazz is pouring out of those headphones, it’s likely an intellectual with high self-esteem, who’s creative, outgoing and often at ease, may be listening. Rap fans were found to have high self-esteem and be outgoing, while dance fans were found to be creative, outgoing and not particularly gentle. Pop music aficionados are often filled with high self-esteem, are deemed to be hard-working, outgoing and gentle, but not typically creative or at ease. Finally, rock/heavy metal fans were found to have lower self-esteem, to be creative and to be at ease people, as well as not hard-working, not especially outgoing and frequently gentle.Of course there are exceptions to these, and all research findings. But the data does indicate that different types of musical genre preferences can be helpful in sorting out some basic personality types.At the same time, different music genres have different tempos which impact behavior, especially when exercising. Therefore, the tempo one prefers may not necessarily be related to personality but to an effect one wants while running or working out in the gym.Whether you tune in music to relax you, build focus, drown out fatigue, block distractions, set a romantic mood, or pump you up to get moving on the track or to knock down your to-do list, sharing the type of music you choose and/or the bpm’s may be giving off signals about you. And that could just be about the best thing you could do if you want to reach out to that interesting looking person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, on the plane, in the student center or at the gym.What’s your favorite genre of music? Do you think it aligns with your personality traits? Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

  ·  7 min

Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

Here at RockMyRun, we’ve initiated a series of blog posts featuring our awesome Run Rocker family. Each post will be rapid-fire questions that not only showcases the RockMyRun spirit but also presents unique perspectives on the sport of running, how music plays a role, and hopefully offers some tips on challenges you may experience in your journeys. For the second in our series of runner interviews from our inspirational RockMyRun family, we are proud to introduce Run Rocker, Misty Phillips. This time, we did it half marathon style, with 13(.1)   questions for Misty who offered some fantastic advice, ranging from improving marathon time to juggling running with family life. 1. How long have you classified yourself as a “runner” (or do you?)I started running when I was about ten years old.  I competed in cross country a couple of years in high school.  I also ran sporadically over the years and competed in local 5K races and a few 10K races here and there.  I really got away from the sport in my twenties when my children were small.  I became a serious runner in May, 2011, when I signed up for my first marathon. 2. How often do you run weekly/monthly?My current training plan consists of 5-6 runs in a 7 day time period. 3. In which conditions you prefer to run (time in the day, indoors/outdoors…)?I love to run on the road.  All-weather conditions are OK with me – except heavy rain.  Although I am not a morning person, I am growing to love early morning runs.  There’s less traffic and much more to observe in nature – I like to watch deer, birds, and squirrels. 4. What running accomplishment are you most proud of? Or what is your best running experience?I signed up to run my first marathon about two years ago.  My goal for that race was finishing.  However, the experience left such an impression that I wanted to go back to the drawing board, get a solid training plan together, and really see what I was made of.  I was afforded the opportunity to work with a wonderful “Koach” who provided me with a plan and weekly feedback.  Incidentally, he provides running tips via twitter @Marathon Koach to over 9,000 followers!  With his help and my dedication to that goal – I have improved my marathon time from 5:06 (October 2011 – Marine Corps Marathon) to 4:17 (October 2012 – Chicago Marathon) and six weeks later I was able to run 4:07 (December 2012-St. Jude Marathon).  Improving my marathon finish time by nearly an hour is my greatest accomplishment at this point.  5. Do you have any running-related goals for 2013? If so what are your plans for reaching them?2012 will be a tough year to beat, and I know that.  But, I am very optimistic about my ability to continue to improve.  One of the most fascinating aspects of marathoning to me, personally, is that it is possible to get faster and better with time and training.  I have a long term goal – I visualize this each time I run – that one day I will run in the Boston Marathon.  As for this year, I have a few marathons I am considering and I would love to break 4 hours.  I think it is reasonable and attainable if I can stay injury-free. 6. Since you started running, what is the biggest change in yourself, either physical or emotional that you’ve noticed?The most significant change I am aware of is my self-perception.  I used to think of myself as a back of the pack runner. As hard as it was to realize, I had to give myself credit for improving speed and endurance.  I needed to select the right starting corral in marathons to keep from being held back – and in 5 and 10K’s I needed to edge my way a little closer to the front before the gun is fired.  THAT has been tough for me – seeing myself as a competitive runner. When I look back at my Chicago finish time and (4:17) and compare that to my St. Jude finish time (4:07) – I realized that I positioned myself more accurately in the starting corral in Memphis (St. Jude).  In Chicago I was in the back of the 5:30 corral (which slowed my first few miles way down).  I learned from this and moved up to the 4:30 corral in Memphis at St. Jude. 7. What motivates you to run?I like the isolation of the training run.  I feel free from every care in the world. 8. What kind of music inspires you while running?I am a child of the ‘80s so most of what is on my MP3 player is from that era. There’s a lot of U2, INXS, The Police, etc.  The type of music depends on the type of run: for shorter and faster runs, I prefer faster-paced music like rap and hip-hop. I’ll sometimes dig into whatever my teenage son is listening to for help here.  My longer runs tend to be mellower; I love to listen to BB King in the dead heat of the Mississippi summer when the humidity hangs in the air like a curtain. 9. What one tip would you share with runners everywhere if you could?Surround yourself with other runners for support and encouragement. People who don’t run won’t understand what you are going through – good or bad! 10. How do you squeeze running time into your schedule?It’s tough.  Physically and emotionally running can literally tear you down if you’re not careful.  I am very fortunate that my family supports and encourages my endeavors, so sometimes I get away with a few household chores slipping here and there.  At the end of any given day, I will have run 10-15 miles and still have to make a trip to the grocery store and attend a girl scouts meeting.  When you are runner, it’s part of your day, so you have to figure out how to do IT ALL. 11. What words would you use to describe how you feel while running?When I run I feel very happy and peaceful.  There’s a certain clarity that comes to my mind when I am on the road.  I get my best ideas, dream up new goals and think about what I am truly grateful for in that moment. 12. How do you fight that “I don’t want to run today” feeling?I have learned to listen to my body.  Sometimes the “not want to run feeling” is a sign of fatigue.  That may be a call to prop up my feet and read a book instead.   MOST of the time I can start putting on my running shoes and I start feeling better about going. 13.  How do you power through tough stretches of a run?You absolutely MUST be your own best friend.  You must learn to encourage yourself to keep going, push harder and never give up.  You also have to learn to not be too hard on yourself too – it’s critical after a training run or race to reflect on THREE positive aspects of the experience before looking for areas of improvement.  Otherwise, you’ll burn out. 13.1 Which RockMyRun mixes truly rock your runs?DJ Little Fever’s Brooks RockMyRun Mix is my all-time favorite.  I had the opportunity to train with this mix a few times prior to the Chicago Marathon in October 2012.  On race day – the mix ended up starting at mile 23.  The end of the marathon was by far one of the most intense experiences of my life – hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the streets and as I neared mile 25, I was running like the wind (Marshall Tucker Band)!  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that I can now listen to the playlist and the music brings back very vivid memories of the end of the race.


Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

  ·  7 min

Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

Here at RockMyRun, we’ve initiated a series of blog posts featuring our awesome Run Rocker family. Each post will be rapid-fire questions that not only showcases the RockMyRun spirit but also presents unique perspectives on the sport of running, how music plays a role, and hopefully offers some tips on challenges you may experience in your journeys. For the second in our series of runner interviews from our inspirational RockMyRun family, we are proud to introduce Run Rocker, Misty Phillips. This time, we did it half marathon style, with 13(.1)   questions for Misty who offered some fantastic advice, ranging from improving marathon time to juggling running with family life. 1. How long have you classified yourself as a “runner” (or do you?)I started running when I was about ten years old.  I competed in cross country a couple of years in high school.  I also ran sporadically over the years and competed in local 5K races and a few 10K races here and there.  I really got away from the sport in my twenties when my children were small.  I became a serious runner in May, 2011, when I signed up for my first marathon. 2. How often do you run weekly/monthly?My current training plan consists of 5-6 runs in a 7 day time period. 3. In which conditions you prefer to run (time in the day, indoors/outdoors…)?I love to run on the road.  All-weather conditions are OK with me – except heavy rain.  Although I am not a morning person, I am growing to love early morning runs.  There’s less traffic and much more to observe in nature – I like to watch deer, birds, and squirrels. 4. What running accomplishment are you most proud of? Or what is your best running experience?I signed up to run my first marathon about two years ago.  My goal for that race was finishing.  However, the experience left such an impression that I wanted to go back to the drawing board, get a solid training plan together, and really see what I was made of.  I was afforded the opportunity to work with a wonderful “Koach” who provided me with a plan and weekly feedback.  Incidentally, he provides running tips via twitter @Marathon Koach to over 9,000 followers!  With his help and my dedication to that goal – I have improved my marathon time from 5:06 (October 2011 – Marine Corps Marathon) to 4:17 (October 2012 – Chicago Marathon) and six weeks later I was able to run 4:07 (December 2012-St. Jude Marathon).  Improving my marathon finish time by nearly an hour is my greatest accomplishment at this point.  5. Do you have any running-related goals for 2013? If so what are your plans for reaching them?2012 will be a tough year to beat, and I know that.  But, I am very optimistic about my ability to continue to improve.  One of the most fascinating aspects of marathoning to me, personally, is that it is possible to get faster and better with time and training.  I have a long term goal – I visualize this each time I run – that one day I will run in the Boston Marathon.  As for this year, I have a few marathons I am considering and I would love to break 4 hours.  I think it is reasonable and attainable if I can stay injury-free. 6. Since you started running, what is the biggest change in yourself, either physical or emotional that you’ve noticed?The most significant change I am aware of is my self-perception.  I used to think of myself as a back of the pack runner. As hard as it was to realize, I had to give myself credit for improving speed and endurance.  I needed to select the right starting corral in marathons to keep from being held back – and in 5 and 10K’s I needed to edge my way a little closer to the front before the gun is fired.  THAT has been tough for me – seeing myself as a competitive runner. When I look back at my Chicago finish time and (4:17) and compare that to my St. Jude finish time (4:07) – I realized that I positioned myself more accurately in the starting corral in Memphis (St. Jude).  In Chicago I was in the back of the 5:30 corral (which slowed my first few miles way down).  I learned from this and moved up to the 4:30 corral in Memphis at St. Jude. 7. What motivates you to run?I like the isolation of the training run.  I feel free from every care in the world. 8. What kind of music inspires you while running?I am a child of the ‘80s so most of what is on my MP3 player is from that era. There’s a lot of U2, INXS, The Police, etc.  The type of music depends on the type of run: for shorter and faster runs, I prefer faster-paced music like rap and hip-hop. I’ll sometimes dig into whatever my teenage son is listening to for help here.  My longer runs tend to be mellower; I love to listen to BB King in the dead heat of the Mississippi summer when the humidity hangs in the air like a curtain. 9. What one tip would you share with runners everywhere if you could?Surround yourself with other runners for support and encouragement. People who don’t run won’t understand what you are going through – good or bad! 10. How do you squeeze running time into your schedule?It’s tough.  Physically and emotionally running can literally tear you down if you’re not careful.  I am very fortunate that my family supports and encourages my endeavors, so sometimes I get away with a few household chores slipping here and there.  At the end of any given day, I will have run 10-15 miles and still have to make a trip to the grocery store and attend a girl scouts meeting.  When you are runner, it’s part of your day, so you have to figure out how to do IT ALL. 11. What words would you use to describe how you feel while running?When I run I feel very happy and peaceful.  There’s a certain clarity that comes to my mind when I am on the road.  I get my best ideas, dream up new goals and think about what I am truly grateful for in that moment. 12. How do you fight that “I don’t want to run today” feeling?I have learned to listen to my body.  Sometimes the “not want to run feeling” is a sign of fatigue.  That may be a call to prop up my feet and read a book instead.   MOST of the time I can start putting on my running shoes and I start feeling better about going. 13.  How do you power through tough stretches of a run?You absolutely MUST be your own best friend.  You must learn to encourage yourself to keep going, push harder and never give up.  You also have to learn to not be too hard on yourself too – it’s critical after a training run or race to reflect on THREE positive aspects of the experience before looking for areas of improvement.  Otherwise, you’ll burn out. 13.1 Which RockMyRun mixes truly rock your runs?DJ Little Fever’s Brooks RockMyRun Mix is my all-time favorite.  I had the opportunity to train with this mix a few times prior to the Chicago Marathon in October 2012.  On race day – the mix ended up starting at mile 23.  The end of the marathon was by far one of the most intense experiences of my life – hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the streets and as I neared mile 25, I was running like the wind (Marshall Tucker Band)!  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that I can now listen to the playlist and the music brings back very vivid memories of the end of the race.


Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

  ·  3 min

Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

The time is again upon us when we set off on our year-long journey to improve something about ourselves. Our goals and resolutions have been set, and we are off with the “New Year, New Me” attitude.  I personally think this mindset can be beneficial for many people, given that they continue to work toward their goal.  The one problem I see, however, is how people set their New Year’s Resolution.For a large majority of people, when they have a health-related resolution, it revolves around purely weight loss.  Maybe they want to lose 20 pounds, get ready for bathing suit season, or my personal favorite “tone up a bit.”  Now let me say, first and foremost, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight.  But I want to encourage you to take a new approach to weight loss this year.  I have used this approach with my own clients and have found it very successful.This year I challenge you to make your primary goal something that is fitness-oriented, as opposed to weight-oriented.  Maybe you would like to simply get in better shape, run further, run faster, or just be physically healthier altogether.  I am a big proponent of goals of this nature because they allow you to put your focus on something other than the scale.  I have found that when individuals put their time and effort toward improving their physical fitness, then the number game tends to take care of itself.I know that for some of you this may be a new and unorthodox way of approaching your weight loss journey.  So, in order to help you get started, I want to give you a quick tip and a challenge for this year.Tip:  Find a very specific fitness-oriented goal to work toward. Run your first 5k or 10k race.  Improve on your mile time or increase your overall distance.  It could even be something as simple as running for 20 minutes without stopping.  Essentially, come up with a physical goal that you can achieve with some time and effort.  Now, put your time, focus, and energy into that goalChallenge:  DO NOT look at the scale.  I know that seems a little ill-advised, but remember, we’re working toward a physical goal instead of a weight goal.  Allow yourself to check the scale once every two weeks.  That’s it.  You might think this sounds crazy, but it’s by design.  Taking your focus off of the numbers on the will allow you to focus on the bigger picture (improving overall health, running faster, running further, etc), which is much more important.I understand that it may seem difficult to change your mental approach to running.  After all, you’ve been told for years that if you want to lose weight, you need to run.  Well, it’s time to change that approach.  Don’t run to simply lose weight.  Run to be fit.  Run to be fierce.  Run to be a bad ass.  Then let everything else take care of itself.Are you ready to try this new approach?  Leave your new goal in the comment section below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

  ·  3 min

Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

The time is again upon us when we set off on our year-long journey to improve something about ourselves. Our goals and resolutions have been set, and we are off with the “New Year, New Me” attitude.  I personally think this mindset can be beneficial for many people, given that they continue to work toward their goal.  The one problem I see, however, is how people set their New Year’s Resolution.For a large majority of people, when they have a health-related resolution, it revolves around purely weight loss.  Maybe they want to lose 20 pounds, get ready for bathing suit season, or my personal favorite “tone up a bit.”  Now let me say, first and foremost, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight.  But I want to encourage you to take a new approach to weight loss this year.  I have used this approach with my own clients and have found it very successful.This year I challenge you to make your primary goal something that is fitness-oriented, as opposed to weight-oriented.  Maybe you would like to simply get in better shape, run further, run faster, or just be physically healthier altogether.  I am a big proponent of goals of this nature because they allow you to put your focus on something other than the scale.  I have found that when individuals put their time and effort toward improving their physical fitness, then the number game tends to take care of itself.I know that for some of you this may be a new and unorthodox way of approaching your weight loss journey.  So, in order to help you get started, I want to give you a quick tip and a challenge for this year.Tip:  Find a very specific fitness-oriented goal to work toward. Run your first 5k or 10k race.  Improve on your mile time or increase your overall distance.  It could even be something as simple as running for 20 minutes without stopping.  Essentially, come up with a physical goal that you can achieve with some time and effort.  Now, put your time, focus, and energy into that goalChallenge:  DO NOT look at the scale.  I know that seems a little ill-advised, but remember, we’re working toward a physical goal instead of a weight goal.  Allow yourself to check the scale once every two weeks.  That’s it.  You might think this sounds crazy, but it’s by design.  Taking your focus off of the numbers on the will allow you to focus on the bigger picture (improving overall health, running faster, running further, etc), which is much more important.I understand that it may seem difficult to change your mental approach to running.  After all, you’ve been told for years that if you want to lose weight, you need to run.  Well, it’s time to change that approach.  Don’t run to simply lose weight.  Run to be fit.  Run to be fierce.  Run to be a bad ass.  Then let everything else take care of itself.Are you ready to try this new approach?  Leave your new goal in the comment section below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Are You What You Listen To?

  ·  4 min

Are You What You Listen To?

When it comes to psychology, there’s no shortage of ways to describe and understand personality. Open to experience, extroverted, agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, quiet and serious, enthusiastic, original, direct, cautious, inspirational, steady…you get the idea.And it seems that knowing something about the type of music one prefers may be an effective window into understanding some types of personality. Of course, you can give someone a cumbersome personality test, but that’s not nearly as much fun as peeking into someone’s iPod, as a way of getting to know someone, is it?How Does Your Brain React to Music?Before you start scrolling through your buddy’s playlist, it might be useful to look at what brain function studies tell us about the brain. You see, there is science behind it all. Our brain’s motor cortex is involved in movement, foot tapping, and dancing while our amygdala is involved with our emotional reactions to music.  Our sensory cortex provides us with tactile feedback from playing an instrument or dancing, and our auditory complex gives us the perception and analysis of tones. Finally, our hippocampus is involved in our being able to recall and have memory for music.How is Music Tied to Personality?Now, of course you aren’t going to ask that person you are interested in getting to know to fill out a personality assessment or take a quick jog over to the nearest ER for a brain scan. You can read body language, make some judgment about their physical appearance, groom and clothing style. But a psychological study of primarily younger-aged subjects found that the most popular topic that same- and opposite-sex pairings talk about is music, followed by books, movies, TV, football and clothing (Rentfrow and Gosling, 2006).In the study, musical preferences demonstrated reasonably accurate abilities in conveying some aspects of personality. Many theories are given as to why people prefer one genre of music over another. Some find one type of music leaves them feeling relaxed, while other use specific genres of music to pump them up. Some listen to one genre over another because they believe it helps them identify with a group or promotes a certain self-identity. Our brain’s motor cortex, amygdala, sensory cortex, auditory cortex and hippocampus are all part of our physiological responsiveness.Not all personality traits are easy to identify through musical preference. For instance, openness to experience, extraversion and emotional stability are the easiest to guess correctly. On the other hand, music preferences don’t seem to say much about whether a person is conscientious or not.What Does Your Favorite Music Say About Your Personality?As for specifics, the research found some surprising and perhaps even debatable results. Extraverts seem to prefer vocals, while country music with all of its heartache is a preference among the most emotionally stable and hard-working. If jazz is pouring out of those headphones, it’s likely an intellectual with high self-esteem, who’s creative, outgoing and often at ease, may be listening. Rap fans were found to have high self-esteem and be outgoing, while dance fans were found to be creative, outgoing and not particularly gentle. Pop music aficionados are often filled with high self-esteem, are deemed to be hard-working, outgoing and gentle, but not typically creative or at ease. Finally, rock/heavy metal fans were found to have lower self-esteem, to be creative and to be at ease people, as well as not hard-working, not especially outgoing and frequently gentle.Of course there are exceptions to these, and all research findings. But the data does indicate that different types of musical genre preferences can be helpful in sorting out some basic personality types.At the same time, different music genres have different tempos which impact behavior, especially when exercising. Therefore, the tempo one prefers may not necessarily be related to personality but to an effect one wants while running or working out in the gym.Whether you tune in music to relax you, build focus, drown out fatigue, block distractions, set a romantic mood, or pump you up to get moving on the track or to knock down your to-do list, sharing the type of music you choose and/or the bpm’s may be giving off signals about you. And that could just be about the best thing you could do if you want to reach out to that interesting looking person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, on the plane, in the student center or at the gym.What’s your favorite genre of music? Do you think it aligns with your personality traits? Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Are You What You Listen To?

  ·  4 min

Are You What You Listen To?

When it comes to psychology, there’s no shortage of ways to describe and understand personality. Open to experience, extroverted, agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, quiet and serious, enthusiastic, original, direct, cautious, inspirational, steady…you get the idea.And it seems that knowing something about the type of music one prefers may be an effective window into understanding some types of personality. Of course, you can give someone a cumbersome personality test, but that’s not nearly as much fun as peeking into someone’s iPod, as a way of getting to know someone, is it?How Does Your Brain React to Music?Before you start scrolling through your buddy’s playlist, it might be useful to look at what brain function studies tell us about the brain. You see, there is science behind it all. Our brain’s motor cortex is involved in movement, foot tapping, and dancing while our amygdala is involved with our emotional reactions to music.  Our sensory cortex provides us with tactile feedback from playing an instrument or dancing, and our auditory complex gives us the perception and analysis of tones. Finally, our hippocampus is involved in our being able to recall and have memory for music.How is Music Tied to Personality?Now, of course you aren’t going to ask that person you are interested in getting to know to fill out a personality assessment or take a quick jog over to the nearest ER for a brain scan. You can read body language, make some judgment about their physical appearance, groom and clothing style. But a psychological study of primarily younger-aged subjects found that the most popular topic that same- and opposite-sex pairings talk about is music, followed by books, movies, TV, football and clothing (Rentfrow and Gosling, 2006).In the study, musical preferences demonstrated reasonably accurate abilities in conveying some aspects of personality. Many theories are given as to why people prefer one genre of music over another. Some find one type of music leaves them feeling relaxed, while other use specific genres of music to pump them up. Some listen to one genre over another because they believe it helps them identify with a group or promotes a certain self-identity. Our brain’s motor cortex, amygdala, sensory cortex, auditory cortex and hippocampus are all part of our physiological responsiveness.Not all personality traits are easy to identify through musical preference. For instance, openness to experience, extraversion and emotional stability are the easiest to guess correctly. On the other hand, music preferences don’t seem to say much about whether a person is conscientious or not.What Does Your Favorite Music Say About Your Personality?As for specifics, the research found some surprising and perhaps even debatable results. Extraverts seem to prefer vocals, while country music with all of its heartache is a preference among the most emotionally stable and hard-working. If jazz is pouring out of those headphones, it’s likely an intellectual with high self-esteem, who’s creative, outgoing and often at ease, may be listening. Rap fans were found to have high self-esteem and be outgoing, while dance fans were found to be creative, outgoing and not particularly gentle. Pop music aficionados are often filled with high self-esteem, are deemed to be hard-working, outgoing and gentle, but not typically creative or at ease. Finally, rock/heavy metal fans were found to have lower self-esteem, to be creative and to be at ease people, as well as not hard-working, not especially outgoing and frequently gentle.Of course there are exceptions to these, and all research findings. But the data does indicate that different types of musical genre preferences can be helpful in sorting out some basic personality types.At the same time, different music genres have different tempos which impact behavior, especially when exercising. Therefore, the tempo one prefers may not necessarily be related to personality but to an effect one wants while running or working out in the gym.Whether you tune in music to relax you, build focus, drown out fatigue, block distractions, set a romantic mood, or pump you up to get moving on the track or to knock down your to-do list, sharing the type of music you choose and/or the bpm’s may be giving off signals about you. And that could just be about the best thing you could do if you want to reach out to that interesting looking person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, on the plane, in the student center or at the gym.What’s your favorite genre of music? Do you think it aligns with your personality traits? Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


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Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

  ·  7 min

Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

Here at RockMyRun, we’ve initiated a series of blog posts featuring our awesome Run Rocker family. Each post will be rapid-fire questions that not only showcases the RockMyRun spirit but also presents unique perspectives on the sport of running, how music plays a role, and hopefully offers some tips on challenges you may experience in your journeys. For the second in our series of runner interviews from our inspirational RockMyRun family, we are proud to introduce Run Rocker, Misty Phillips. This time, we did it half marathon style, with 13(.1)   questions for Misty who offered some fantastic advice, ranging from improving marathon time to juggling running with family life. 1. How long have you classified yourself as a “runner” (or do you?)I started running when I was about ten years old.  I competed in cross country a couple of years in high school.  I also ran sporadically over the years and competed in local 5K races and a few 10K races here and there.  I really got away from the sport in my twenties when my children were small.  I became a serious runner in May, 2011, when I signed up for my first marathon. 2. How often do you run weekly/monthly?My current training plan consists of 5-6 runs in a 7 day time period. 3. In which conditions you prefer to run (time in the day, indoors/outdoors…)?I love to run on the road.  All-weather conditions are OK with me – except heavy rain.  Although I am not a morning person, I am growing to love early morning runs.  There’s less traffic and much more to observe in nature – I like to watch deer, birds, and squirrels. 4. What running accomplishment are you most proud of? Or what is your best running experience?I signed up to run my first marathon about two years ago.  My goal for that race was finishing.  However, the experience left such an impression that I wanted to go back to the drawing board, get a solid training plan together, and really see what I was made of.  I was afforded the opportunity to work with a wonderful “Koach” who provided me with a plan and weekly feedback.  Incidentally, he provides running tips via twitter @Marathon Koach to over 9,000 followers!  With his help and my dedication to that goal – I have improved my marathon time from 5:06 (October 2011 – Marine Corps Marathon) to 4:17 (October 2012 – Chicago Marathon) and six weeks later I was able to run 4:07 (December 2012-St. Jude Marathon).  Improving my marathon finish time by nearly an hour is my greatest accomplishment at this point.  5. Do you have any running-related goals for 2013? If so what are your plans for reaching them?2012 will be a tough year to beat, and I know that.  But, I am very optimistic about my ability to continue to improve.  One of the most fascinating aspects of marathoning to me, personally, is that it is possible to get faster and better with time and training.  I have a long term goal – I visualize this each time I run – that one day I will run in the Boston Marathon.  As for this year, I have a few marathons I am considering and I would love to break 4 hours.  I think it is reasonable and attainable if I can stay injury-free. 6. Since you started running, what is the biggest change in yourself, either physical or emotional that you’ve noticed?The most significant change I am aware of is my self-perception.  I used to think of myself as a back of the pack runner. As hard as it was to realize, I had to give myself credit for improving speed and endurance.  I needed to select the right starting corral in marathons to keep from being held back – and in 5 and 10K’s I needed to edge my way a little closer to the front before the gun is fired.  THAT has been tough for me – seeing myself as a competitive runner. When I look back at my Chicago finish time and (4:17) and compare that to my St. Jude finish time (4:07) – I realized that I positioned myself more accurately in the starting corral in Memphis (St. Jude).  In Chicago I was in the back of the 5:30 corral (which slowed my first few miles way down).  I learned from this and moved up to the 4:30 corral in Memphis at St. Jude. 7. What motivates you to run?I like the isolation of the training run.  I feel free from every care in the world. 8. What kind of music inspires you while running?I am a child of the ‘80s so most of what is on my MP3 player is from that era. There’s a lot of U2, INXS, The Police, etc.  The type of music depends on the type of run: for shorter and faster runs, I prefer faster-paced music like rap and hip-hop. I’ll sometimes dig into whatever my teenage son is listening to for help here.  My longer runs tend to be mellower; I love to listen to BB King in the dead heat of the Mississippi summer when the humidity hangs in the air like a curtain. 9. What one tip would you share with runners everywhere if you could?Surround yourself with other runners for support and encouragement. People who don’t run won’t understand what you are going through – good or bad! 10. How do you squeeze running time into your schedule?It’s tough.  Physically and emotionally running can literally tear you down if you’re not careful.  I am very fortunate that my family supports and encourages my endeavors, so sometimes I get away with a few household chores slipping here and there.  At the end of any given day, I will have run 10-15 miles and still have to make a trip to the grocery store and attend a girl scouts meeting.  When you are runner, it’s part of your day, so you have to figure out how to do IT ALL. 11. What words would you use to describe how you feel while running?When I run I feel very happy and peaceful.  There’s a certain clarity that comes to my mind when I am on the road.  I get my best ideas, dream up new goals and think about what I am truly grateful for in that moment. 12. How do you fight that “I don’t want to run today” feeling?I have learned to listen to my body.  Sometimes the “not want to run feeling” is a sign of fatigue.  That may be a call to prop up my feet and read a book instead.   MOST of the time I can start putting on my running shoes and I start feeling better about going. 13.  How do you power through tough stretches of a run?You absolutely MUST be your own best friend.  You must learn to encourage yourself to keep going, push harder and never give up.  You also have to learn to not be too hard on yourself too – it’s critical after a training run or race to reflect on THREE positive aspects of the experience before looking for areas of improvement.  Otherwise, you’ll burn out. 13.1 Which RockMyRun mixes truly rock your runs?DJ Little Fever’s Brooks RockMyRun Mix is my all-time favorite.  I had the opportunity to train with this mix a few times prior to the Chicago Marathon in October 2012.  On race day – the mix ended up starting at mile 23.  The end of the marathon was by far one of the most intense experiences of my life – hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the streets and as I neared mile 25, I was running like the wind (Marshall Tucker Band)!  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that I can now listen to the playlist and the music brings back very vivid memories of the end of the race.


Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

  ·  7 min

Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

Here at RockMyRun, we’ve initiated a series of blog posts featuring our awesome Run Rocker family. Each post will be rapid-fire questions that not only showcases the RockMyRun spirit but also presents unique perspectives on the sport of running, how music plays a role, and hopefully offers some tips on challenges you may experience in your journeys. For the second in our series of runner interviews from our inspirational RockMyRun family, we are proud to introduce Run Rocker, Misty Phillips. This time, we did it half marathon style, with 13(.1)   questions for Misty who offered some fantastic advice, ranging from improving marathon time to juggling running with family life. 1. How long have you classified yourself as a “runner” (or do you?)I started running when I was about ten years old.  I competed in cross country a couple of years in high school.  I also ran sporadically over the years and competed in local 5K races and a few 10K races here and there.  I really got away from the sport in my twenties when my children were small.  I became a serious runner in May, 2011, when I signed up for my first marathon. 2. How often do you run weekly/monthly?My current training plan consists of 5-6 runs in a 7 day time period. 3. In which conditions you prefer to run (time in the day, indoors/outdoors…)?I love to run on the road.  All-weather conditions are OK with me – except heavy rain.  Although I am not a morning person, I am growing to love early morning runs.  There’s less traffic and much more to observe in nature – I like to watch deer, birds, and squirrels. 4. What running accomplishment are you most proud of? Or what is your best running experience?I signed up to run my first marathon about two years ago.  My goal for that race was finishing.  However, the experience left such an impression that I wanted to go back to the drawing board, get a solid training plan together, and really see what I was made of.  I was afforded the opportunity to work with a wonderful “Koach” who provided me with a plan and weekly feedback.  Incidentally, he provides running tips via twitter @Marathon Koach to over 9,000 followers!  With his help and my dedication to that goal – I have improved my marathon time from 5:06 (October 2011 – Marine Corps Marathon) to 4:17 (October 2012 – Chicago Marathon) and six weeks later I was able to run 4:07 (December 2012-St. Jude Marathon).  Improving my marathon finish time by nearly an hour is my greatest accomplishment at this point.  5. Do you have any running-related goals for 2013? If so what are your plans for reaching them?2012 will be a tough year to beat, and I know that.  But, I am very optimistic about my ability to continue to improve.  One of the most fascinating aspects of marathoning to me, personally, is that it is possible to get faster and better with time and training.  I have a long term goal – I visualize this each time I run – that one day I will run in the Boston Marathon.  As for this year, I have a few marathons I am considering and I would love to break 4 hours.  I think it is reasonable and attainable if I can stay injury-free. 6. Since you started running, what is the biggest change in yourself, either physical or emotional that you’ve noticed?The most significant change I am aware of is my self-perception.  I used to think of myself as a back of the pack runner. As hard as it was to realize, I had to give myself credit for improving speed and endurance.  I needed to select the right starting corral in marathons to keep from being held back – and in 5 and 10K’s I needed to edge my way a little closer to the front before the gun is fired.  THAT has been tough for me – seeing myself as a competitive runner. When I look back at my Chicago finish time and (4:17) and compare that to my St. Jude finish time (4:07) – I realized that I positioned myself more accurately in the starting corral in Memphis (St. Jude).  In Chicago I was in the back of the 5:30 corral (which slowed my first few miles way down).  I learned from this and moved up to the 4:30 corral in Memphis at St. Jude. 7. What motivates you to run?I like the isolation of the training run.  I feel free from every care in the world. 8. What kind of music inspires you while running?I am a child of the ‘80s so most of what is on my MP3 player is from that era. There’s a lot of U2, INXS, The Police, etc.  The type of music depends on the type of run: for shorter and faster runs, I prefer faster-paced music like rap and hip-hop. I’ll sometimes dig into whatever my teenage son is listening to for help here.  My longer runs tend to be mellower; I love to listen to BB King in the dead heat of the Mississippi summer when the humidity hangs in the air like a curtain. 9. What one tip would you share with runners everywhere if you could?Surround yourself with other runners for support and encouragement. People who don’t run won’t understand what you are going through – good or bad! 10. How do you squeeze running time into your schedule?It’s tough.  Physically and emotionally running can literally tear you down if you’re not careful.  I am very fortunate that my family supports and encourages my endeavors, so sometimes I get away with a few household chores slipping here and there.  At the end of any given day, I will have run 10-15 miles and still have to make a trip to the grocery store and attend a girl scouts meeting.  When you are runner, it’s part of your day, so you have to figure out how to do IT ALL. 11. What words would you use to describe how you feel while running?When I run I feel very happy and peaceful.  There’s a certain clarity that comes to my mind when I am on the road.  I get my best ideas, dream up new goals and think about what I am truly grateful for in that moment. 12. How do you fight that “I don’t want to run today” feeling?I have learned to listen to my body.  Sometimes the “not want to run feeling” is a sign of fatigue.  That may be a call to prop up my feet and read a book instead.   MOST of the time I can start putting on my running shoes and I start feeling better about going. 13.  How do you power through tough stretches of a run?You absolutely MUST be your own best friend.  You must learn to encourage yourself to keep going, push harder and never give up.  You also have to learn to not be too hard on yourself too – it’s critical after a training run or race to reflect on THREE positive aspects of the experience before looking for areas of improvement.  Otherwise, you’ll burn out. 13.1 Which RockMyRun mixes truly rock your runs?DJ Little Fever’s Brooks RockMyRun Mix is my all-time favorite.  I had the opportunity to train with this mix a few times prior to the Chicago Marathon in October 2012.  On race day – the mix ended up starting at mile 23.  The end of the marathon was by far one of the most intense experiences of my life – hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the streets and as I neared mile 25, I was running like the wind (Marshall Tucker Band)!  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that I can now listen to the playlist and the music brings back very vivid memories of the end of the race.


Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

  ·  3 min

Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

The time is again upon us when we set off on our year-long journey to improve something about ourselves. Our goals and resolutions have been set, and we are off with the “New Year, New Me” attitude.  I personally think this mindset can be beneficial for many people, given that they continue to work toward their goal.  The one problem I see, however, is how people set their New Year’s Resolution.For a large majority of people, when they have a health-related resolution, it revolves around purely weight loss.  Maybe they want to lose 20 pounds, get ready for bathing suit season, or my personal favorite “tone up a bit.”  Now let me say, first and foremost, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight.  But I want to encourage you to take a new approach to weight loss this year.  I have used this approach with my own clients and have found it very successful.This year I challenge you to make your primary goal something that is fitness-oriented, as opposed to weight-oriented.  Maybe you would like to simply get in better shape, run further, run faster, or just be physically healthier altogether.  I am a big proponent of goals of this nature because they allow you to put your focus on something other than the scale.  I have found that when individuals put their time and effort toward improving their physical fitness, then the number game tends to take care of itself.I know that for some of you this may be a new and unorthodox way of approaching your weight loss journey.  So, in order to help you get started, I want to give you a quick tip and a challenge for this year.Tip:  Find a very specific fitness-oriented goal to work toward. Run your first 5k or 10k race.  Improve on your mile time or increase your overall distance.  It could even be something as simple as running for 20 minutes without stopping.  Essentially, come up with a physical goal that you can achieve with some time and effort.  Now, put your time, focus, and energy into that goalChallenge:  DO NOT look at the scale.  I know that seems a little ill-advised, but remember, we’re working toward a physical goal instead of a weight goal.  Allow yourself to check the scale once every two weeks.  That’s it.  You might think this sounds crazy, but it’s by design.  Taking your focus off of the numbers on the will allow you to focus on the bigger picture (improving overall health, running faster, running further, etc), which is much more important.I understand that it may seem difficult to change your mental approach to running.  After all, you’ve been told for years that if you want to lose weight, you need to run.  Well, it’s time to change that approach.  Don’t run to simply lose weight.  Run to be fit.  Run to be fierce.  Run to be a bad ass.  Then let everything else take care of itself.Are you ready to try this new approach?  Leave your new goal in the comment section below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

  ·  3 min

Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

The time is again upon us when we set off on our year-long journey to improve something about ourselves. Our goals and resolutions have been set, and we are off with the “New Year, New Me” attitude.  I personally think this mindset can be beneficial for many people, given that they continue to work toward their goal.  The one problem I see, however, is how people set their New Year’s Resolution.For a large majority of people, when they have a health-related resolution, it revolves around purely weight loss.  Maybe they want to lose 20 pounds, get ready for bathing suit season, or my personal favorite “tone up a bit.”  Now let me say, first and foremost, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight.  But I want to encourage you to take a new approach to weight loss this year.  I have used this approach with my own clients and have found it very successful.This year I challenge you to make your primary goal something that is fitness-oriented, as opposed to weight-oriented.  Maybe you would like to simply get in better shape, run further, run faster, or just be physically healthier altogether.  I am a big proponent of goals of this nature because they allow you to put your focus on something other than the scale.  I have found that when individuals put their time and effort toward improving their physical fitness, then the number game tends to take care of itself.I know that for some of you this may be a new and unorthodox way of approaching your weight loss journey.  So, in order to help you get started, I want to give you a quick tip and a challenge for this year.Tip:  Find a very specific fitness-oriented goal to work toward. Run your first 5k or 10k race.  Improve on your mile time or increase your overall distance.  It could even be something as simple as running for 20 minutes without stopping.  Essentially, come up with a physical goal that you can achieve with some time and effort.  Now, put your time, focus, and energy into that goalChallenge:  DO NOT look at the scale.  I know that seems a little ill-advised, but remember, we’re working toward a physical goal instead of a weight goal.  Allow yourself to check the scale once every two weeks.  That’s it.  You might think this sounds crazy, but it’s by design.  Taking your focus off of the numbers on the will allow you to focus on the bigger picture (improving overall health, running faster, running further, etc), which is much more important.I understand that it may seem difficult to change your mental approach to running.  After all, you’ve been told for years that if you want to lose weight, you need to run.  Well, it’s time to change that approach.  Don’t run to simply lose weight.  Run to be fit.  Run to be fierce.  Run to be a bad ass.  Then let everything else take care of itself.Are you ready to try this new approach?  Leave your new goal in the comment section below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Are You What You Listen To?

  ·  4 min

Are You What You Listen To?

When it comes to psychology, there’s no shortage of ways to describe and understand personality. Open to experience, extroverted, agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, quiet and serious, enthusiastic, original, direct, cautious, inspirational, steady…you get the idea.And it seems that knowing something about the type of music one prefers may be an effective window into understanding some types of personality. Of course, you can give someone a cumbersome personality test, but that’s not nearly as much fun as peeking into someone’s iPod, as a way of getting to know someone, is it?How Does Your Brain React to Music?Before you start scrolling through your buddy’s playlist, it might be useful to look at what brain function studies tell us about the brain. You see, there is science behind it all. Our brain’s motor cortex is involved in movement, foot tapping, and dancing while our amygdala is involved with our emotional reactions to music.  Our sensory cortex provides us with tactile feedback from playing an instrument or dancing, and our auditory complex gives us the perception and analysis of tones. Finally, our hippocampus is involved in our being able to recall and have memory for music.How is Music Tied to Personality?Now, of course you aren’t going to ask that person you are interested in getting to know to fill out a personality assessment or take a quick jog over to the nearest ER for a brain scan. You can read body language, make some judgment about their physical appearance, groom and clothing style. But a psychological study of primarily younger-aged subjects found that the most popular topic that same- and opposite-sex pairings talk about is music, followed by books, movies, TV, football and clothing (Rentfrow and Gosling, 2006).In the study, musical preferences demonstrated reasonably accurate abilities in conveying some aspects of personality. Many theories are given as to why people prefer one genre of music over another. Some find one type of music leaves them feeling relaxed, while other use specific genres of music to pump them up. Some listen to one genre over another because they believe it helps them identify with a group or promotes a certain self-identity. Our brain’s motor cortex, amygdala, sensory cortex, auditory cortex and hippocampus are all part of our physiological responsiveness.Not all personality traits are easy to identify through musical preference. For instance, openness to experience, extraversion and emotional stability are the easiest to guess correctly. On the other hand, music preferences don’t seem to say much about whether a person is conscientious or not.What Does Your Favorite Music Say About Your Personality?As for specifics, the research found some surprising and perhaps even debatable results. Extraverts seem to prefer vocals, while country music with all of its heartache is a preference among the most emotionally stable and hard-working. If jazz is pouring out of those headphones, it’s likely an intellectual with high self-esteem, who’s creative, outgoing and often at ease, may be listening. Rap fans were found to have high self-esteem and be outgoing, while dance fans were found to be creative, outgoing and not particularly gentle. Pop music aficionados are often filled with high self-esteem, are deemed to be hard-working, outgoing and gentle, but not typically creative or at ease. Finally, rock/heavy metal fans were found to have lower self-esteem, to be creative and to be at ease people, as well as not hard-working, not especially outgoing and frequently gentle.Of course there are exceptions to these, and all research findings. But the data does indicate that different types of musical genre preferences can be helpful in sorting out some basic personality types.At the same time, different music genres have different tempos which impact behavior, especially when exercising. Therefore, the tempo one prefers may not necessarily be related to personality but to an effect one wants while running or working out in the gym.Whether you tune in music to relax you, build focus, drown out fatigue, block distractions, set a romantic mood, or pump you up to get moving on the track or to knock down your to-do list, sharing the type of music you choose and/or the bpm’s may be giving off signals about you. And that could just be about the best thing you could do if you want to reach out to that interesting looking person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, on the plane, in the student center or at the gym.What’s your favorite genre of music? Do you think it aligns with your personality traits? Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Are You What You Listen To?

  ·  4 min

Are You What You Listen To?

When it comes to psychology, there’s no shortage of ways to describe and understand personality. Open to experience, extroverted, agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, quiet and serious, enthusiastic, original, direct, cautious, inspirational, steady…you get the idea.And it seems that knowing something about the type of music one prefers may be an effective window into understanding some types of personality. Of course, you can give someone a cumbersome personality test, but that’s not nearly as much fun as peeking into someone’s iPod, as a way of getting to know someone, is it?How Does Your Brain React to Music?Before you start scrolling through your buddy’s playlist, it might be useful to look at what brain function studies tell us about the brain. You see, there is science behind it all. Our brain’s motor cortex is involved in movement, foot tapping, and dancing while our amygdala is involved with our emotional reactions to music.  Our sensory cortex provides us with tactile feedback from playing an instrument or dancing, and our auditory complex gives us the perception and analysis of tones. Finally, our hippocampus is involved in our being able to recall and have memory for music.How is Music Tied to Personality?Now, of course you aren’t going to ask that person you are interested in getting to know to fill out a personality assessment or take a quick jog over to the nearest ER for a brain scan. You can read body language, make some judgment about their physical appearance, groom and clothing style. But a psychological study of primarily younger-aged subjects found that the most popular topic that same- and opposite-sex pairings talk about is music, followed by books, movies, TV, football and clothing (Rentfrow and Gosling, 2006).In the study, musical preferences demonstrated reasonably accurate abilities in conveying some aspects of personality. Many theories are given as to why people prefer one genre of music over another. Some find one type of music leaves them feeling relaxed, while other use specific genres of music to pump them up. Some listen to one genre over another because they believe it helps them identify with a group or promotes a certain self-identity. Our brain’s motor cortex, amygdala, sensory cortex, auditory cortex and hippocampus are all part of our physiological responsiveness.Not all personality traits are easy to identify through musical preference. For instance, openness to experience, extraversion and emotional stability are the easiest to guess correctly. On the other hand, music preferences don’t seem to say much about whether a person is conscientious or not.What Does Your Favorite Music Say About Your Personality?As for specifics, the research found some surprising and perhaps even debatable results. Extraverts seem to prefer vocals, while country music with all of its heartache is a preference among the most emotionally stable and hard-working. If jazz is pouring out of those headphones, it’s likely an intellectual with high self-esteem, who’s creative, outgoing and often at ease, may be listening. Rap fans were found to have high self-esteem and be outgoing, while dance fans were found to be creative, outgoing and not particularly gentle. Pop music aficionados are often filled with high self-esteem, are deemed to be hard-working, outgoing and gentle, but not typically creative or at ease. Finally, rock/heavy metal fans were found to have lower self-esteem, to be creative and to be at ease people, as well as not hard-working, not especially outgoing and frequently gentle.Of course there are exceptions to these, and all research findings. But the data does indicate that different types of musical genre preferences can be helpful in sorting out some basic personality types.At the same time, different music genres have different tempos which impact behavior, especially when exercising. Therefore, the tempo one prefers may not necessarily be related to personality but to an effect one wants while running or working out in the gym.Whether you tune in music to relax you, build focus, drown out fatigue, block distractions, set a romantic mood, or pump you up to get moving on the track or to knock down your to-do list, sharing the type of music you choose and/or the bpm’s may be giving off signals about you. And that could just be about the best thing you could do if you want to reach out to that interesting looking person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, on the plane, in the student center or at the gym.What’s your favorite genre of music? Do you think it aligns with your personality traits? Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Quality Over Quantity

  ·  3 min

Quality Over Quantity

For a lot of distance runners, the main focus of a training program is overall distance. They focus only on how many miles they log each week.  There is nothing wrong with setting a mileage goal, however this shouldn’t be the only concern.  Runners should focus as much on the quality of their running, as they do the quantity of their running.What I mean by this is that varied workouts and types of runs should be implemented into a successful training program. Sometimes it is better to break up your training into different methods.  This will improve your quality of training, and thus, your performance. I have included some suggested methods below.Speed Training – I look at speed training as kind of the hybrid between distance and sprint work.  Typically this is going to involve running a shorter distance than your normal run, but at a much faster pace.  The benefit here is that you will train your muscles to work harder for longer periods of time.  Here is an example of what speed training looks like:  Instead of running 10 miles at an 8:30 per mile pace, run 4-5 miles at an 8:00 or below pace.Incline Training – Although I wish they were, not every race is going to be on flat ground.  In order to adapt to hilly terrain, we have to train for it.  First and foremost, incline training will build leg strength to help physically handle the hills.  Almost as important, however, is the mental edge you will gain.  You’ve conquered the hills in your training, so you can conquer the next one up on the race course, too!  To see an example of one of my typical incline workouts, check out one of my favorite hill workouts.Interval Training – Interval training consists of a alternating periods of very high and low intensity running.  I am a huge fan of this method of training, primarily because I love pushing myself to my limits.  Also, by pushing yourself to the limit, your muscles have the ability to make some major gains here.  You have to work hard to see any type of results, and that’s what interval training allows you to do.  For more details on interval training, see my previous post Train Less. Perform Better.Strength Training – Most runners ignore strength training, because somewhere along the line somebody made up the lie that it isn’t important.  Unfortunately, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Sure, you may get by without it.  But, more importantly you will see major improvements with it.  It’s a really simple concept if you think about it. Stronger muscles result in more force production, and generally for a longer period of time.  More force production translates into faster running.  If you’re okay with “just getting by” when it comes to running, then sure, you can skip the weights.  But, if you really want to succeed, get into the weight room a couple of days a week and get after it!Now I’m not here to say that you need to forget about your distance training altogether.  Just because I am a big fan of speed and interval training doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize the huge importance of long distance running.  But, in order to get the best results, you want to have an all-encompassing training program.  Different stimuli will improve your performance in different ways, which will ultimately make you a more well-rounded runner.To help you out, I’ll leave you with a sample Two-Week Training Program that will implement all aspects of training:Week 1Monday – Interval + Weight TrainingTuesday – SpeedWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Hills + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWeek 2Monday – Hills + Weight TrainingTuesday – IntervalWednesday – DistanceThursday – RestFriday – Speed + Weight TrainingSaturday – DistanceSunday – RestWhat are your thoughts on adding multiple types of training into your overall program?  Leave a comment below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Ready to be Happy?

  ·  4 min

Ready to be Happy?

You spend your time exercising, eating well, reading everything you can about health and wellness, meditate, visualize, swallow magnets to attract positivity in your life, listen to the right music. If that’s not someone focused on maximizing happiness in life, I don’t know who would be.That said, even with all of these “right” things people do, I see several missed opportunities for people to fully achieve happiness—and corresponding well being and health.Here are my top five tips that can lead to improved happiness and satisfaction with life:Work consistently to create, cultivate and capture positive emotions throughout the day. Everything that we feel is created through our mind’s work. Our greatest contests become our greatest teachers in our daily lives. Our minds are powerful, vibrating magnets attracting to it that which precisely corresponds to the thoughts and feelings we give out. Positive emotion is the bedrock of happiness so we would be wise to eliminate our negative beliefs and programming and work incessantly at creating positive thoughts and emotions. Laugh more and create that positive vibration.Be fully engaged, in the “flow” of life, work and/or a hobby. Martin Seligman, Ph.D. author of Flourish, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, noted that flourishing in life is in part about getting lost in space in the depths of an activity. It’s good for the soul, life satisfaction and creates happiness and well being. Another positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“Cheek-sent-me-hi”) wrote a book entitled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, defined flow as the secret of finding happiness. It’s when your attention is so freely invested in something that you are totally focused on it, you feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment, and your body or mind is stretched to the limit in a voluntary way.  These are not passive times, not receptive and not even necessarily relaxing, yet we cherish them and they become landmarks in our lives.Build sustaining, close and positive relationships. Human life is about connecting with people. We are hard-wired for it. People with strong social connections have diminished risks for illness and increased longevity, lowered risks for depression, suicide and substance abuse and to paraphrase Lissa Rankin in her New York Times bestseller, Mind Over Medicine, loneliness doesn’t keep the doctor away. Ever notice that when you eat alone you are more likely to binge, eat fewer veggies and eat meals that aren’t as healthy? Living alone is bad for your heart, your immunity, and your mind. Want to predict how happy someone is or how long he/she will live? Find out about his/her social relationships. Caring for others is often more helpful than receiving help yourself. Go out and volunteer. Connect with others!Find meaning in life. There is a growing body of research that has reported on the relationship between health and happiness and religion or spirituality. I’ll add from my own practice, that people who see the larger meaning in life, who see life as larger than their own personal existence, report far less stress and anxiety. At the very least, the sense of being connected to something larger provides an emotional safety net that offers comfort in stormy times.Appreciate your accomplishments. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”  Contributing to life is one thing. Appreciating what you contribute turbo-charges happiness and wellbeing.  Recognizing your accomplishments, regardless of how large or small, will help challenge negative thoughts about feeling undeserving, not being worthwhile or being a loser altogether. Listing five accomplishments each day, large or small, for which you have gratitude in being able to have done, will immunize you against negativity, fear, uncertainty and vulnerability.Ready to be happy? Ready to increase your satisfaction with life? Ready to increase your feelings of wellbeing? Sure go out for a run, hit the gym, eat well, and listen to terrific music. But also keep these five tips in mind, so those activities provide you all of the good you are hoping for. Add these habits on top of those healthy lifestyle behaviors and you’ll make 2014 your best year yet.Do you have any tips to add to my list that improve your happiness?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

  ·  7 min

Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

Here at RockMyRun, we’ve initiated a series of blog posts featuring our awesome Run Rocker family. Each post will be rapid-fire questions that not only showcases the RockMyRun spirit but also presents unique perspectives on the sport of running, how music plays a role, and hopefully offers some tips on challenges you may experience in your journeys. For the second in our series of runner interviews from our inspirational RockMyRun family, we are proud to introduce Run Rocker, Misty Phillips. This time, we did it half marathon style, with 13(.1)   questions for Misty who offered some fantastic advice, ranging from improving marathon time to juggling running with family life. 1. How long have you classified yourself as a “runner” (or do you?)I started running when I was about ten years old.  I competed in cross country a couple of years in high school.  I also ran sporadically over the years and competed in local 5K races and a few 10K races here and there.  I really got away from the sport in my twenties when my children were small.  I became a serious runner in May, 2011, when I signed up for my first marathon. 2. How often do you run weekly/monthly?My current training plan consists of 5-6 runs in a 7 day time period. 3. In which conditions you prefer to run (time in the day, indoors/outdoors…)?I love to run on the road.  All-weather conditions are OK with me – except heavy rain.  Although I am not a morning person, I am growing to love early morning runs.  There’s less traffic and much more to observe in nature – I like to watch deer, birds, and squirrels. 4. What running accomplishment are you most proud of? Or what is your best running experience?I signed up to run my first marathon about two years ago.  My goal for that race was finishing.  However, the experience left such an impression that I wanted to go back to the drawing board, get a solid training plan together, and really see what I was made of.  I was afforded the opportunity to work with a wonderful “Koach” who provided me with a plan and weekly feedback.  Incidentally, he provides running tips via twitter @Marathon Koach to over 9,000 followers!  With his help and my dedication to that goal – I have improved my marathon time from 5:06 (October 2011 – Marine Corps Marathon) to 4:17 (October 2012 – Chicago Marathon) and six weeks later I was able to run 4:07 (December 2012-St. Jude Marathon).  Improving my marathon finish time by nearly an hour is my greatest accomplishment at this point.  5. Do you have any running-related goals for 2013? If so what are your plans for reaching them?2012 will be a tough year to beat, and I know that.  But, I am very optimistic about my ability to continue to improve.  One of the most fascinating aspects of marathoning to me, personally, is that it is possible to get faster and better with time and training.  I have a long term goal – I visualize this each time I run – that one day I will run in the Boston Marathon.  As for this year, I have a few marathons I am considering and I would love to break 4 hours.  I think it is reasonable and attainable if I can stay injury-free. 6. Since you started running, what is the biggest change in yourself, either physical or emotional that you’ve noticed?The most significant change I am aware of is my self-perception.  I used to think of myself as a back of the pack runner. As hard as it was to realize, I had to give myself credit for improving speed and endurance.  I needed to select the right starting corral in marathons to keep from being held back – and in 5 and 10K’s I needed to edge my way a little closer to the front before the gun is fired.  THAT has been tough for me – seeing myself as a competitive runner. When I look back at my Chicago finish time and (4:17) and compare that to my St. Jude finish time (4:07) – I realized that I positioned myself more accurately in the starting corral in Memphis (St. Jude).  In Chicago I was in the back of the 5:30 corral (which slowed my first few miles way down).  I learned from this and moved up to the 4:30 corral in Memphis at St. Jude. 7. What motivates you to run?I like the isolation of the training run.  I feel free from every care in the world. 8. What kind of music inspires you while running?I am a child of the ‘80s so most of what is on my MP3 player is from that era. There’s a lot of U2, INXS, The Police, etc.  The type of music depends on the type of run: for shorter and faster runs, I prefer faster-paced music like rap and hip-hop. I’ll sometimes dig into whatever my teenage son is listening to for help here.  My longer runs tend to be mellower; I love to listen to BB King in the dead heat of the Mississippi summer when the humidity hangs in the air like a curtain. 9. What one tip would you share with runners everywhere if you could?Surround yourself with other runners for support and encouragement. People who don’t run won’t understand what you are going through – good or bad! 10. How do you squeeze running time into your schedule?It’s tough.  Physically and emotionally running can literally tear you down if you’re not careful.  I am very fortunate that my family supports and encourages my endeavors, so sometimes I get away with a few household chores slipping here and there.  At the end of any given day, I will have run 10-15 miles and still have to make a trip to the grocery store and attend a girl scouts meeting.  When you are runner, it’s part of your day, so you have to figure out how to do IT ALL. 11. What words would you use to describe how you feel while running?When I run I feel very happy and peaceful.  There’s a certain clarity that comes to my mind when I am on the road.  I get my best ideas, dream up new goals and think about what I am truly grateful for in that moment. 12. How do you fight that “I don’t want to run today” feeling?I have learned to listen to my body.  Sometimes the “not want to run feeling” is a sign of fatigue.  That may be a call to prop up my feet and read a book instead.   MOST of the time I can start putting on my running shoes and I start feeling better about going. 13.  How do you power through tough stretches of a run?You absolutely MUST be your own best friend.  You must learn to encourage yourself to keep going, push harder and never give up.  You also have to learn to not be too hard on yourself too – it’s critical after a training run or race to reflect on THREE positive aspects of the experience before looking for areas of improvement.  Otherwise, you’ll burn out. 13.1 Which RockMyRun mixes truly rock your runs?DJ Little Fever’s Brooks RockMyRun Mix is my all-time favorite.  I had the opportunity to train with this mix a few times prior to the Chicago Marathon in October 2012.  On race day – the mix ended up starting at mile 23.  The end of the marathon was by far one of the most intense experiences of my life – hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the streets and as I neared mile 25, I was running like the wind (Marshall Tucker Band)!  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that I can now listen to the playlist and the music brings back very vivid memories of the end of the race.


Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

  ·  7 min

Fantastic insights from Run Rocker Misty Phillips

Here at RockMyRun, we’ve initiated a series of blog posts featuring our awesome Run Rocker family. Each post will be rapid-fire questions that not only showcases the RockMyRun spirit but also presents unique perspectives on the sport of running, how music plays a role, and hopefully offers some tips on challenges you may experience in your journeys. For the second in our series of runner interviews from our inspirational RockMyRun family, we are proud to introduce Run Rocker, Misty Phillips. This time, we did it half marathon style, with 13(.1)   questions for Misty who offered some fantastic advice, ranging from improving marathon time to juggling running with family life. 1. How long have you classified yourself as a “runner” (or do you?)I started running when I was about ten years old.  I competed in cross country a couple of years in high school.  I also ran sporadically over the years and competed in local 5K races and a few 10K races here and there.  I really got away from the sport in my twenties when my children were small.  I became a serious runner in May, 2011, when I signed up for my first marathon. 2. How often do you run weekly/monthly?My current training plan consists of 5-6 runs in a 7 day time period. 3. In which conditions you prefer to run (time in the day, indoors/outdoors…)?I love to run on the road.  All-weather conditions are OK with me – except heavy rain.  Although I am not a morning person, I am growing to love early morning runs.  There’s less traffic and much more to observe in nature – I like to watch deer, birds, and squirrels. 4. What running accomplishment are you most proud of? Or what is your best running experience?I signed up to run my first marathon about two years ago.  My goal for that race was finishing.  However, the experience left such an impression that I wanted to go back to the drawing board, get a solid training plan together, and really see what I was made of.  I was afforded the opportunity to work with a wonderful “Koach” who provided me with a plan and weekly feedback.  Incidentally, he provides running tips via twitter @Marathon Koach to over 9,000 followers!  With his help and my dedication to that goal – I have improved my marathon time from 5:06 (October 2011 – Marine Corps Marathon) to 4:17 (October 2012 – Chicago Marathon) and six weeks later I was able to run 4:07 (December 2012-St. Jude Marathon).  Improving my marathon finish time by nearly an hour is my greatest accomplishment at this point.  5. Do you have any running-related goals for 2013? If so what are your plans for reaching them?2012 will be a tough year to beat, and I know that.  But, I am very optimistic about my ability to continue to improve.  One of the most fascinating aspects of marathoning to me, personally, is that it is possible to get faster and better with time and training.  I have a long term goal – I visualize this each time I run – that one day I will run in the Boston Marathon.  As for this year, I have a few marathons I am considering and I would love to break 4 hours.  I think it is reasonable and attainable if I can stay injury-free. 6. Since you started running, what is the biggest change in yourself, either physical or emotional that you’ve noticed?The most significant change I am aware of is my self-perception.  I used to think of myself as a back of the pack runner. As hard as it was to realize, I had to give myself credit for improving speed and endurance.  I needed to select the right starting corral in marathons to keep from being held back – and in 5 and 10K’s I needed to edge my way a little closer to the front before the gun is fired.  THAT has been tough for me – seeing myself as a competitive runner. When I look back at my Chicago finish time and (4:17) and compare that to my St. Jude finish time (4:07) – I realized that I positioned myself more accurately in the starting corral in Memphis (St. Jude).  In Chicago I was in the back of the 5:30 corral (which slowed my first few miles way down).  I learned from this and moved up to the 4:30 corral in Memphis at St. Jude. 7. What motivates you to run?I like the isolation of the training run.  I feel free from every care in the world. 8. What kind of music inspires you while running?I am a child of the ‘80s so most of what is on my MP3 player is from that era. There’s a lot of U2, INXS, The Police, etc.  The type of music depends on the type of run: for shorter and faster runs, I prefer faster-paced music like rap and hip-hop. I’ll sometimes dig into whatever my teenage son is listening to for help here.  My longer runs tend to be mellower; I love to listen to BB King in the dead heat of the Mississippi summer when the humidity hangs in the air like a curtain. 9. What one tip would you share with runners everywhere if you could?Surround yourself with other runners for support and encouragement. People who don’t run won’t understand what you are going through – good or bad! 10. How do you squeeze running time into your schedule?It’s tough.  Physically and emotionally running can literally tear you down if you’re not careful.  I am very fortunate that my family supports and encourages my endeavors, so sometimes I get away with a few household chores slipping here and there.  At the end of any given day, I will have run 10-15 miles and still have to make a trip to the grocery store and attend a girl scouts meeting.  When you are runner, it’s part of your day, so you have to figure out how to do IT ALL. 11. What words would you use to describe how you feel while running?When I run I feel very happy and peaceful.  There’s a certain clarity that comes to my mind when I am on the road.  I get my best ideas, dream up new goals and think about what I am truly grateful for in that moment. 12. How do you fight that “I don’t want to run today” feeling?I have learned to listen to my body.  Sometimes the “not want to run feeling” is a sign of fatigue.  That may be a call to prop up my feet and read a book instead.   MOST of the time I can start putting on my running shoes and I start feeling better about going. 13.  How do you power through tough stretches of a run?You absolutely MUST be your own best friend.  You must learn to encourage yourself to keep going, push harder and never give up.  You also have to learn to not be too hard on yourself too – it’s critical after a training run or race to reflect on THREE positive aspects of the experience before looking for areas of improvement.  Otherwise, you’ll burn out. 13.1 Which RockMyRun mixes truly rock your runs?DJ Little Fever’s Brooks RockMyRun Mix is my all-time favorite.  I had the opportunity to train with this mix a few times prior to the Chicago Marathon in October 2012.  On race day – the mix ended up starting at mile 23.  The end of the marathon was by far one of the most intense experiences of my life – hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the streets and as I neared mile 25, I was running like the wind (Marshall Tucker Band)!  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that I can now listen to the playlist and the music brings back very vivid memories of the end of the race.


Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

  ·  3 min

Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

The time is again upon us when we set off on our year-long journey to improve something about ourselves. Our goals and resolutions have been set, and we are off with the “New Year, New Me” attitude.  I personally think this mindset can be beneficial for many people, given that they continue to work toward their goal.  The one problem I see, however, is how people set their New Year’s Resolution.For a large majority of people, when they have a health-related resolution, it revolves around purely weight loss.  Maybe they want to lose 20 pounds, get ready for bathing suit season, or my personal favorite “tone up a bit.”  Now let me say, first and foremost, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight.  But I want to encourage you to take a new approach to weight loss this year.  I have used this approach with my own clients and have found it very successful.This year I challenge you to make your primary goal something that is fitness-oriented, as opposed to weight-oriented.  Maybe you would like to simply get in better shape, run further, run faster, or just be physically healthier altogether.  I am a big proponent of goals of this nature because they allow you to put your focus on something other than the scale.  I have found that when individuals put their time and effort toward improving their physical fitness, then the number game tends to take care of itself.I know that for some of you this may be a new and unorthodox way of approaching your weight loss journey.  So, in order to help you get started, I want to give you a quick tip and a challenge for this year.Tip:  Find a very specific fitness-oriented goal to work toward. Run your first 5k or 10k race.  Improve on your mile time or increase your overall distance.  It could even be something as simple as running for 20 minutes without stopping.  Essentially, come up with a physical goal that you can achieve with some time and effort.  Now, put your time, focus, and energy into that goalChallenge:  DO NOT look at the scale.  I know that seems a little ill-advised, but remember, we’re working toward a physical goal instead of a weight goal.  Allow yourself to check the scale once every two weeks.  That’s it.  You might think this sounds crazy, but it’s by design.  Taking your focus off of the numbers on the will allow you to focus on the bigger picture (improving overall health, running faster, running further, etc), which is much more important.I understand that it may seem difficult to change your mental approach to running.  After all, you’ve been told for years that if you want to lose weight, you need to run.  Well, it’s time to change that approach.  Don’t run to simply lose weight.  Run to be fit.  Run to be fierce.  Run to be a bad ass.  Then let everything else take care of itself.Are you ready to try this new approach?  Leave your new goal in the comment section below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

  ·  3 min

Fit vs Skinny: Why You Should Run to Be FIT

The time is again upon us when we set off on our year-long journey to improve something about ourselves. Our goals and resolutions have been set, and we are off with the “New Year, New Me” attitude.  I personally think this mindset can be beneficial for many people, given that they continue to work toward their goal.  The one problem I see, however, is how people set their New Year’s Resolution.For a large majority of people, when they have a health-related resolution, it revolves around purely weight loss.  Maybe they want to lose 20 pounds, get ready for bathing suit season, or my personal favorite “tone up a bit.”  Now let me say, first and foremost, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight.  But I want to encourage you to take a new approach to weight loss this year.  I have used this approach with my own clients and have found it very successful.This year I challenge you to make your primary goal something that is fitness-oriented, as opposed to weight-oriented.  Maybe you would like to simply get in better shape, run further, run faster, or just be physically healthier altogether.  I am a big proponent of goals of this nature because they allow you to put your focus on something other than the scale.  I have found that when individuals put their time and effort toward improving their physical fitness, then the number game tends to take care of itself.I know that for some of you this may be a new and unorthodox way of approaching your weight loss journey.  So, in order to help you get started, I want to give you a quick tip and a challenge for this year.Tip:  Find a very specific fitness-oriented goal to work toward. Run your first 5k or 10k race.  Improve on your mile time or increase your overall distance.  It could even be something as simple as running for 20 minutes without stopping.  Essentially, come up with a physical goal that you can achieve with some time and effort.  Now, put your time, focus, and energy into that goalChallenge:  DO NOT look at the scale.  I know that seems a little ill-advised, but remember, we’re working toward a physical goal instead of a weight goal.  Allow yourself to check the scale once every two weeks.  That’s it.  You might think this sounds crazy, but it’s by design.  Taking your focus off of the numbers on the will allow you to focus on the bigger picture (improving overall health, running faster, running further, etc), which is much more important.I understand that it may seem difficult to change your mental approach to running.  After all, you’ve been told for years that if you want to lose weight, you need to run.  Well, it’s time to change that approach.  Don’t run to simply lose weight.  Run to be fit.  Run to be fierce.  Run to be a bad ass.  Then let everything else take care of itself.Are you ready to try this new approach?  Leave your new goal in the comment section below!Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Are You What You Listen To?

  ·  4 min

Are You What You Listen To?

When it comes to psychology, there’s no shortage of ways to describe and understand personality. Open to experience, extroverted, agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, quiet and serious, enthusiastic, original, direct, cautious, inspirational, steady…you get the idea.And it seems that knowing something about the type of music one prefers may be an effective window into understanding some types of personality. Of course, you can give someone a cumbersome personality test, but that’s not nearly as much fun as peeking into someone’s iPod, as a way of getting to know someone, is it?How Does Your Brain React to Music?Before you start scrolling through your buddy’s playlist, it might be useful to look at what brain function studies tell us about the brain. You see, there is science behind it all. Our brain’s motor cortex is involved in movement, foot tapping, and dancing while our amygdala is involved with our emotional reactions to music.  Our sensory cortex provides us with tactile feedback from playing an instrument or dancing, and our auditory complex gives us the perception and analysis of tones. Finally, our hippocampus is involved in our being able to recall and have memory for music.How is Music Tied to Personality?Now, of course you aren’t going to ask that person you are interested in getting to know to fill out a personality assessment or take a quick jog over to the nearest ER for a brain scan. You can read body language, make some judgment about their physical appearance, groom and clothing style. But a psychological study of primarily younger-aged subjects found that the most popular topic that same- and opposite-sex pairings talk about is music, followed by books, movies, TV, football and clothing (Rentfrow and Gosling, 2006).In the study, musical preferences demonstrated reasonably accurate abilities in conveying some aspects of personality. Many theories are given as to why people prefer one genre of music over another. Some find one type of music leaves them feeling relaxed, while other use specific genres of music to pump them up. Some listen to one genre over another because they believe it helps them identify with a group or promotes a certain self-identity. Our brain’s motor cortex, amygdala, sensory cortex, auditory cortex and hippocampus are all part of our physiological responsiveness.Not all personality traits are easy to identify through musical preference. For instance, openness to experience, extraversion and emotional stability are the easiest to guess correctly. On the other hand, music preferences don’t seem to say much about whether a person is conscientious or not.What Does Your Favorite Music Say About Your Personality?As for specifics, the research found some surprising and perhaps even debatable results. Extraverts seem to prefer vocals, while country music with all of its heartache is a preference among the most emotionally stable and hard-working. If jazz is pouring out of those headphones, it’s likely an intellectual with high self-esteem, who’s creative, outgoing and often at ease, may be listening. Rap fans were found to have high self-esteem and be outgoing, while dance fans were found to be creative, outgoing and not particularly gentle. Pop music aficionados are often filled with high self-esteem, are deemed to be hard-working, outgoing and gentle, but not typically creative or at ease. Finally, rock/heavy metal fans were found to have lower self-esteem, to be creative and to be at ease people, as well as not hard-working, not especially outgoing and frequently gentle.Of course there are exceptions to these, and all research findings. But the data does indicate that different types of musical genre preferences can be helpful in sorting out some basic personality types.At the same time, different music genres have different tempos which impact behavior, especially when exercising. Therefore, the tempo one prefers may not necessarily be related to personality but to an effect one wants while running or working out in the gym.Whether you tune in music to relax you, build focus, drown out fatigue, block distractions, set a romantic mood, or pump you up to get moving on the track or to knock down your to-do list, sharing the type of music you choose and/or the bpm’s may be giving off signals about you. And that could just be about the best thing you could do if you want to reach out to that interesting looking person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, on the plane, in the student center or at the gym.What’s your favorite genre of music? Do you think it aligns with your personality traits? Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


Are You What You Listen To?

  ·  4 min

Are You What You Listen To?

When it comes to psychology, there’s no shortage of ways to describe and understand personality. Open to experience, extroverted, agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, quiet and serious, enthusiastic, original, direct, cautious, inspirational, steady…you get the idea.And it seems that knowing something about the type of music one prefers may be an effective window into understanding some types of personality. Of course, you can give someone a cumbersome personality test, but that’s not nearly as much fun as peeking into someone’s iPod, as a way of getting to know someone, is it?How Does Your Brain React to Music?Before you start scrolling through your buddy’s playlist, it might be useful to look at what brain function studies tell us about the brain. You see, there is science behind it all. Our brain’s motor cortex is involved in movement, foot tapping, and dancing while our amygdala is involved with our emotional reactions to music.  Our sensory cortex provides us with tactile feedback from playing an instrument or dancing, and our auditory complex gives us the perception and analysis of tones. Finally, our hippocampus is involved in our being able to recall and have memory for music.How is Music Tied to Personality?Now, of course you aren’t going to ask that person you are interested in getting to know to fill out a personality assessment or take a quick jog over to the nearest ER for a brain scan. You can read body language, make some judgment about their physical appearance, groom and clothing style. But a psychological study of primarily younger-aged subjects found that the most popular topic that same- and opposite-sex pairings talk about is music, followed by books, movies, TV, football and clothing (Rentfrow and Gosling, 2006).In the study, musical preferences demonstrated reasonably accurate abilities in conveying some aspects of personality. Many theories are given as to why people prefer one genre of music over another. Some find one type of music leaves them feeling relaxed, while other use specific genres of music to pump them up. Some listen to one genre over another because they believe it helps them identify with a group or promotes a certain self-identity. Our brain’s motor cortex, amygdala, sensory cortex, auditory cortex and hippocampus are all part of our physiological responsiveness.Not all personality traits are easy to identify through musical preference. For instance, openness to experience, extraversion and emotional stability are the easiest to guess correctly. On the other hand, music preferences don’t seem to say much about whether a person is conscientious or not.What Does Your Favorite Music Say About Your Personality?As for specifics, the research found some surprising and perhaps even debatable results. Extraverts seem to prefer vocals, while country music with all of its heartache is a preference among the most emotionally stable and hard-working. If jazz is pouring out of those headphones, it’s likely an intellectual with high self-esteem, who’s creative, outgoing and often at ease, may be listening. Rap fans were found to have high self-esteem and be outgoing, while dance fans were found to be creative, outgoing and not particularly gentle. Pop music aficionados are often filled with high self-esteem, are deemed to be hard-working, outgoing and gentle, but not typically creative or at ease. Finally, rock/heavy metal fans were found to have lower self-esteem, to be creative and to be at ease people, as well as not hard-working, not especially outgoing and frequently gentle.Of course there are exceptions to these, and all research findings. But the data does indicate that different types of musical genre preferences can be helpful in sorting out some basic personality types.At the same time, different music genres have different tempos which impact behavior, especially when exercising. Therefore, the tempo one prefers may not necessarily be related to personality but to an effect one wants while running or working out in the gym.Whether you tune in music to relax you, build focus, drown out fatigue, block distractions, set a romantic mood, or pump you up to get moving on the track or to knock down your to-do list, sharing the type of music you choose and/or the bpm’s may be giving off signals about you. And that could just be about the best thing you could do if you want to reach out to that interesting looking person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, on the plane, in the student center or at the gym.What’s your favorite genre of music? Do you think it aligns with your personality traits? Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. In 2013, Greatist.com named Dr. Mantell as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”


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