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How To Train For A Mud Run

mudrun blogAhh the glorious mud run. 

A community event where fitness lovers and adventurers come together to run miles through a series of exhausting, fun, and sometimes scary obstacles. They even throw in tons of free mud to frolic in along the way!

Mud Runs have become increasingly popular among all age groups. The intrinsic value received from completing such a physically demanding task is unmatched. It’s simply the ultimate way to test yourself, challenge yourself, and try to better yourself.

75% of a mud run is preparation. Here is our take on basic conditioning for yours.

CARDIO

The thing about a mud run is that… well… it’s a race. The number one thing to start conditioning for is the large amount of running you will be enduring. Typically the races are around 3-5 miles, but some go as far as 10 miles.

Cardio training to improve endurance is big. Now, you don’t have to be a marathon runner, but you should be able to hoof it on the treadmill for at least 3 miles without hyperventilating.

The good part about mud runs is that you can go at your own pace. So find your pace and base your training around that.

Make sure to switch up the settings to vary your movement patterns. You need to be able to adapt to hills, rough terrain, mud, concrete and gravel while running. Koko‘s cardio programs vary your workouts through intervals, varying speeds, and adjusting incline. You want well-rounded conditioning so you can tackle various terrains.

DIVERSE MOVEMENTS AND DYNAMIC EXERCISES

Mud runs are not a strength contest. The point is to test your abilities on all types of physical obstacles. Climbing, running, crawling, jumping, swinging, and swimming are all  movements that require total body development. And these are the types of movements you’ll be doing, not pushing 200lbs on a bench.

Circuit training is your best friend. It’s perfect for full development and to really get your heart rate up.

It also helps your body adapt to various weight distributions as well as conditions it to switching quickly between different movements. That’s why Koko makes up almost all of its custom workouts through circuits and controlled reps. Koko X specifically focuses on free, natural movements. Precisely like the ones needed to complete a mud run.

DON’T GO IT ALONE

Mud runs are meant to be done with a team. They are your support and backbone through the whole thing. When you think you’re about to quit and can’t push on anymore, your team will be there to tell you – “you got this!”

Train with your team and your community. Whether it is to be fitter, healthier, to raise endurance, or to build strength, reaching for a goal together will be the motivation and support you need. 

Train together, finish together. 

Don’t worry – mud runs come in all shapes and sizes, as well as varying levels of difficulties. It is up to you to judge which ones are a proper fit.

Find the one you like, assess the time you have until the race, and develop a workout plan to reach the goals necessary to complete the race with flying colors.

Work on the things you know you need to work on.

The biggest obstacle is your own brain. Don’t let the idea of a mud run freak you out. Get excited, get pumped, and train as best you can. Remember, these runs are not pitting people against each other. They are here for fun, to test your limits, and to do it alongside others so at the end you can all say “We did this!”

Last but not least – don’t underestimate yourself. You and your body are capable of amazing things. Go out there, crush your mud run, and exceed your own expectations.

Stay Koko Fit!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC
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What Does Being Outside Do For Your Body?

fresh air, get up and get out, go outside, spend time outside I love to go and spend time outside. Nothing beats the outdoors, the fresh air, a solid breeze, and warm sunlight. When I come in, I feel better, healthier, more energized, and in less of a stupor. It’s amazing what a small amount of time out in the world can do for you.

Your body is meant to be outside. Getting your time outdoors has actually been shown to increase concentration.

The American Public Health Association published a study that compared levels of concentration in children diagnosed with ADHD. One group played inside, one group played outside for a measure period of time. When tested, the children who received their learning in an outdoor setting were more attentive, seemingly happier, and there was decreased hyperactivity in their behavior.

The Journal of Experimental Psychology did a study on the simple effects of taking a stroll. It had an amazing influence on creativity and productivity. Experiencing nature stimulates your brain into learning new things. That’s why Koko tries to infuse this experience into its cardio programs. The world inspires and drives us.

Some say a 20min walk is as good as a cup of coffee!

And speaking of going out for a walk, that sunshine you’re spending time in is doing wonders for you as well. Direct sunlight not only feels good on your skin, but it kickstarts your Vitamin D intake.

Vitamin D is one of the hardest nutrients to get through food and drink alone. In fact, 80-90% of our Vitamin D intake is through sun exposure. This tricky little nutrient is vital in bone growth, cell growth, inflammation reduction, and immunity.

It’s good to get out and about. The gym is a great place to get exercise, but spending 2 hours in a gym does nothing for your overall health, it only grows your muscles. We believe an efficient 30 to 40 minute workout should be enough, we want you to get out and experience life, not stuck inside! We want you to be fit, but we also want you to be happy.

Getting out and experiencing nature has been proven to drastically reduce stress. This in turn helps reduce anxiety.

That vitamin D you should be getting each day? It also helps in serotonin production and being outside for over 30 minutes provokes dopamine spikes in your brain. These two chemicals play big parts in mood, happiness, and overall disposition. Being outside makes your happier!

Put down that Xbox controller, take your lunch break outside, bring the kids to the park each day, go for a hike with family and friends.

Whatever you do, just make sure you get your daily dose of those golden rays and fresh air.

Stay Koko Fit!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC
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Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.

GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

3 Reasons You Should Dynamically Stretch

whyyoushouldstretch

Can you touch your toes?

Most American’s have limited flexibility. In fact, according to a study published in Daily Mail, 53% of the population can’t touch their toes.

So why does this matter?

Stretching not only unlocks a myriad of health benefits, but loosens up your body and can keep you feeling fresh. There are different ways of stretching however!

Koko recognizes the benefits of warming up with dynamic stretching over static stretching (pushing your muscle to it’s limit in a stable position). Dynamic means you’re moving as you stretch. The benefits of this style over static stretching include warming up the actual muscles you’ll be using in your workout, better body awareness, and increased muscle performance. Here are 3 reasons you should stretch dynamically.

FLEXIBILITY AND MUSCLE CONTROL

Flexibility keeps you loose and gives you a wider range of motion. There are too many times when a client will attempt a new workout and cannot complete the motion due to their limited flexibility.

If you’re struggling to bend down and tie your shoes, but you can curl 60 pound dumbbells, you need to spend more time warming up!

Having good flexibility and a solid range of motion allows you to incorporate more workouts and variations into your routines. Your muscles will be ready for circuit training when you switch quickly between different exercises.

You will also have far more control over your muscles and stability of your reps, which allows you to extend and contract the appropriate muscles more efficiently.

AVOID INJURY 

Have you ever been hurt playing sports and the coach’s first response is “You should have stretched”?

It is common for athletes to stretch dynamically before and after exercise in order to reduce risk of injury and increase performance. Stretching improves your muscle’s elastic abilities.

We all know that pumped feeling doesn’t last, the blood and lactic acids leave your muscles eventually. However, because you don’t stretch the muscle out, it stays in a semi-contracted state for far too long. Over time, this actually decreases the range of motion your muscle can perform. Maybe not at first, but multiply that semi-contracted state by a year of workouts, and your looking at tight connective tissue that could cause issues.

Stretch it out.

MUSCLE GROWTH

Fitness junkies and weight lifters will berate the need for stretching until the cows come home. They hate stretching because they claim it decreases the ‘pump.’

What if I said stretching actually increased muscle growth?

Your fascia is connective tissue that encloses your muscles and run along your skeletal system. Building muscle over time pushes them to where they “become compressed along the fascia” according to BodyBuilding.com. When this happens, further muscle growth is hindered by the limited expansion of your fascia.

The only way to target and expand your fascia is… you guessed it: Stretching, this includes foam rolling. Stretching also increases blood flow to your muscles, increasing the ‘pumped’ feeling and helping your muscles recover more quickly from your workouts. It loosens up the fascia and creates more ‘room’ for your muscle to expand.

The bottom line is, optimal muscle growth is only achievable through routine stretching and taking care of your muscles.

As a sidetone, stretching has just as many mental and spiritual benefits as well as physical. It’s the reason pilates has become such a popular craze, and why yoga is associated with meditation, bodily wellness, and physical fitness. It’s not only good for your body, its good for your mind, and it’s good for stress.

Next time you head to the gym, make sure you stretch.

Stay Koko Strong!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC
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Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.

GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

National Nutrition Month – The ‘All Carbs Are Bad’ Myth

ARE ALL CARBS BAD?

I always hear health-conscious people talking about the dangers of carbohydrates, well I am here to bust the “all carbs are bad” myth. Rather than cut essentials from your diet, proper nutrition means you have to eat from all major food groups.

Fitness goals should not include eliminating specific macronutrients from your diet. Fats, carbohydrates, and proteins all play a specific role in keeping your body healthy. That being said, your hard work at Koko FitClub shouldn’t be spoiled by eating poorly. Each week you can calculate your macronutrients if you’re worried you’re not hitting your necessary goals.

Is that 1/2 lbs. of pasta I inhaled last night considered a carb…?

Well, according to   there is a difference between good carbs and bad carbs. Certain carbs are processed or refined – meaning anything white or out of a box, carton or package are more than likely to be full of those pesky bad carbs that will pack on the pounds. In terms of pasta, you’re better off in moderation, or switching to whole wheat.

Cut out all the bad. Eliminating cookies, candies, chips, and ice cream would be my first suggestion. Have a goal of keeping your added sugar to 10% of your total calories each day. Sugar is a lot of calories and high levels daily are sure to make you gain weight. This does not include fruits and vegetables which are naturally occurring and contain fiber to eliminate blood sugar spikes. Women, for example, should aim for 100 calories a day or 25 grams of added sugar and within a few weeks will see body fat start to “melt away.”

“To meet the body’s daily nutritional needs while minimizing risk for chronic disease, adults should get 45% to 65% of their calories from carbohydrates, 20% to 35% from fat, and 10% to 35% from protein.”

- Elaine Magee, MPH, RD (WebMD.com)

Make buying fruits and vegetables a habit over buying processed foods and preservative-laden snacks. Eat your sweets in moderation… but if you’re like me, don’t even have them in the house. So, the reality is, most of your caloric intake will consist of carbohydrates, and it is up to you to choose the good over the bad.

Stay Fit!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC
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Koko Fuel provides you with essential diet plans to help you reach your goals.
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.

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American Heart Month – Let’s Talk About Healthy Hearts

American-Heart-Month

As Valentines Day approaches, it’s important to remember that February is also American Heart Month. We wanted to share these recommendations from the American Heart Association (AHA) for a healthy diet and lifestyle to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Healthy Eating

The AHA offers the following guidelines for simplifying healthy eating:

  • Use up as many calories as you take in.
  • Eat a variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups:  fruits/vegetables, lean protein, nuts, whole grains, lower-fat dairy products.
  • Eat less nutrient-poor foods. Simply put: avoid junk food.
  • Cut back on added sugars.
  • Keep an eye on portion size.
  • The AHA’s Heart-Check mark on certain products in your grocery store shows you which foods have been certified to meet the AHA nutrition requirements. It’s a good first step in creating an overall sensible eating plan.

Our Koko Fuel plan was based on nutritious, whole foods that meet these requirements. We encourage our members to review their Fuel plan online and try 14 days of healthy, individualized nutrition this month.

Physical Activity

According to the AHA, “Strength and resistance training exercise is one of the four types of exercise along with endurance, balance and flexibility. Ideally, all four types of exercise would be included in a healthy workout routine.” The American Heart Association recommends strength training at least twice per week. “Strengthening your muscles gives you the ability to perform everyday activities and helps protect your body from injury. Stronger muscles also lead to a boost in your metabolic rate, which means you’ll burn more calories even when your body is at rest.”

Stress Relief

It is well documented that stress can contribute to all sorts of health issues, especially heart disease.  Healthy habits can protect you from the harmful effects of stress. Here are 10 positive healthy habits from the AHA you may want to develop to manage stress:

  • Talk with family and friends. A daily dose of friendship is great medicine.
  • Engage in daily physical activity to relieve mental and physical tension.
  • Embrace what you can change. You are never too old to learn or do something new.
  • Remember to laugh. Laughter makes us feel good. Don’t be afraid to LOL.
  • Give up bad habits that increase blood pressure:  alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, etc.
  • Slow down. Try to “pace” instead of “race.”
  • Get enough sleep. Aim for six to eight hours of sleep each night.
  • Get organized. Use “to do” lists to help you focus on your most important tasks.
  • Practice giving back. Volunteer, or help a friend. Helping others helps you.
  • Worry less. The world won’t end if  your kitchen isn’t cleaned.

Weight Management

The benefits of maintaining a healthy weight go far beyond improved energy and smaller clothing sizes. By losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, you are also likely to enjoy better sleep, less pain, lower your cholesterol and — most importantly — reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Fortunately, Koko FitClub builds individualized fitness and nutrition plans for each and every member, so that no matter what your age, ability or goal, we can help you with all of the above.  During American Heart Month, we want to remind everyone that a healthy lifestyle can be fun and simple, and easy to get started today.

- Michael Wood, CSCS, Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC

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Kickstart your healthy habits with 30 days of individualized fitness and coaching at Koko FitClub. Try 30 days for just $30 – no risk, no obligation.  


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