Smart Watches & Fitness
I’ll admit I was a hold out when it came to purchasing a smart watch. There were some reasons behind this. I hated wearing a watch, I don’t usually like to have anything on my wrists. Secondly, whenever I tried wearing a watch I always broke the bands off. Last but not least, I was skeptical about biometric accuracy such heart rate, steps, sleep data and how well these devices connect to our phones and app etc. Add in the cost and you can see where I was so skeptical.
Although I was skeptical, I took the plunge and joined the masses! I didn’t want to write about it until I felt that I had given it enough usage to give my honest opinion.
There are many brand options to choose from. You don’t even have to wear a smart watch, there are some now that are a ring on your finger. This blog is not a comparative of brands, however I chose my brand based on the features I knew I needed. These included;
GPS: I exercise outside so GPS was a key factor
Heart Rate Monitor: I heart rate train so it had to have an accurate heart rate monitor
Cardio Selection: I cross train my cardio so it had to have a myriad of cardio modes.
So here I am with a watch with all the features I desired, the commitment to wear it, at the price point that I was happy with. But now what? I had to use it! Little did I know how much I was going to depend on it. Here are a few reasons for loving my smartwatch!
Step counts and daily reminders to move keep you accountable all day long. At the end of the week or month, I can see if I have met my goal or if I need to step it up a notch
Based off the collected biometric data I can adjust my daily workouts as I see fit. I can do this on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis and use variables such as resting heart rate, exercise heart rate, sleep scores, daily steps, or distance moved.
The GPS capability for taking my workouts outside is great! I don’t have to take my phone with me. I have uninterrupted workouts and the smart watch syncs to the app on my phone when I get back to my car. It will also download the information by my choosing to sync to other fitness apps such as strava. .
Most if not all of these smart watches comes with an app. That you put on your phone. The smart watch syncs to the app. This gives you a customizable dashboard for the biometrics that you would like to see in a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly format. This works well for me in adjusting the type, volume and intensity of my workouts from a day to day, week to week, month to month format, depending on certain data I’m looking at.
For example: I’ll use my resting heart rate along with my sleep score to aid in determining how hard I should workout the next day, or as to why I feel so I tired. Granted there are many factors that can come in to play but this information can assist you in understanding your body
I can actually use my smart watch as just that….a watch!
There are many more features on these watches and it allow for some individual customization. There are large communities, and social networking capabilities that you can join if you want., I very rarely ever leave home without it. We hope this helps you in making an informed decision if you are thinking of buying one!
BMX Strength and Conditioning
Take your BMX riding to the next level this year with some off season strength and conditioning!
To improve your race times, cornering, track speed, strength, and stamina, follow this 50-minute workout 2 days per week.
Active Warm-up (10 minutes) – A great active warm-up that incorporates all major muscle groups and movements will help to wake up the nervous system while also activating the muscles needed for high impact pedaling, jumping, landing, and cornering. Have a wide open space to move around in, like a grass field or basketball court.
-Light jog – Stay loose to slowly warm-up the joints and increase the heart rate.
-High knees/kicks – Active stretching for the hips, knees, hamstrings, and glutes.
-Walking lunge (forwards and backwards) – Incorporate one leg in front of the other. The movement patterns are similar to those used while cycling.
-Skips and forward bounding – Add an explosive component to these movements to prepare the connective tissues for sprint acceleration, impact deceleration, and sheer forces of racing.
-Bear crawls – A movement that closely mimics the body positioning used while cycling, activating the core muscles.
-10 seconds running sprint – Prepare the energy systems to accelerate by incorporating high intensity anaerobic energy with short duration recovery.
Strength Training – Done to improve the muscular strength needed for competitive racing and to lessen the likelihood of injury due to intense race requirements, repeat each exercise pair 2-3 times. Total strength training duration should be about 40-50 minutes.
1a) Power Cleans 3-5 reps – The power clean incorporates almost every muscle in the legs as well as the arms and core stabilizing muscles. The movement is done quickly to improve explosive power and velocity.
1b) Hanging Abdominal Leg Raises 10-20 reps – Improves lower abdomen and hip flexor strength as well as increasing hand grip strength needed for BMX race maneuvers.
2a) Barbell Front Squats 10 reps – Strengthens the major muscles used for cycling: the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings.
2b) Kettle Bell Stationary Lunges 10 reps each leg – Continues to strengthen the major muscle groups of the legs while focusing on more balance and core stabilization.
3a) TRX Chest Press 10 reps – Strengthens the muscles and connective tissues of the chest, shoulders, and arms needed for high impact landing, bike steering, and cornering.
3b) Cable Bent Over Straight Bar Overhand Row 10 reps – Continues to strengthen the muscles of the upper body, specifically the deltoids and back. These muscles help pull and pump the bike over obstacles and jumps while assisting in smooth landings, controlling the bike.
4a) TRX Roll Out 10 reps – Stabilizes the shoulder joint, strengthening the joint’s integrity while engaging abdominal and core muscles.
4b) Kettle Bell Swings 10 reps – Improves power, force, and velocity of the hip extensor muscles used for BMX jumping while strengthening the pulling muscles of the back, arms, and hands.
5b) Alternating Lunge Jumps 10 reps each leg – Taking plyometric exercises and making the movement more specific to an explosive cycling motion.
6a) 1 Leg Hurdle Jumps 5 hurdles each leg – Plyometric power that focuses on one leg at a time. This exercise is great for improving knee joint stability and integrity, helping to prepare the knees for any possible crashes or unplanned movements.
6b) Stability Ball 1 Leg Hamstring Curls 5 reps each leg – Again, reinforces the stability of the knee joint and hips while strengthening the hamstrings in a motion similar to cycling.
Cool Down – Spend 5-10 minutes cooling down with a light walk or gentle bicycle ride. Incorporate another 5-10 minutes of foam rolling the hips, hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, and calves. Hip flexor, hamstring, and lower back stretching will aid your muscles to relax and recover with less soreness or fatigue.
Repeat each pair of exercises 2-3 times with a short rest between each.
Aim to complete this workout 2 days per week.
Start to increase resistance after the first 2 weeks and you will see significant increases in BMX racing speed, leg strength, pedal power, and explosiveness. The improvements in strength of muscles, connective tissues, and joints will assist in keeping your racing body free of long lasting injuries and keep you BMX racing for many years to come!!!!
When it comes to social dancing, one of the biggest parts that scares people away is that it is “social,” meaning that people are expected to interact with others that they may have never met before. Once you go a couple of times, however, you will find that it is easier to move around, try something new, or push yourself a little bit further. Allowing yourself to step out of your comfort zone and talk to someone new will increase your intrinsic motivation to come back as well as your social skills for future outings.