Monday, May 20, 2013

How to Taper for the Ruckus

You may be able to get away with procrastinating for high school exams, college finals or that big project you have to present to the company.  But when it comes to training for a  mud run or obstacle course, it’s important to not put off your training!  You simply can’t wait until the week before the competition or race to kick your training into high gear; in fact, you should be doing just the opposite.

What is taper?  
Following weeks of proper preparation, we suggest taking the seven days before your Ruckus run to practice what is known as tapering.  This means that instead of pushing your body to the limit right before race day, you should reduce the distance and volume you run to allow for optimum performance come race day. 

What are the benefits of tapering?
Tapering has not only physical, but mental advantages as well.  The final week spent tapering leads to improved muscle glycogen stores, expanded blood plasma and repaired connective tissue.  All of these things need “taper time” to build back up after intense training.  In addition, the week of relaxed training builds mental confidence for the impending race.

Big, fancy scientific terms aside, tapering is so effective because training usually involves working your body and mind to exhaustion daily, and not allowing time for full recovery.  We want to make sure that before taking on our challenging obstacles (especially all you with eyes set on the competitive Champions Heat), you are at the peak of your abilities.  You’ll need all the strength you can get!

How should I taper for the Ruckus? 
We suggest the following tapering plan for all of our serious Ruckus runners out there: 

  • Six and five days before competition, reduce your training distance and volume to 75%.
  • Four and three days prior, work at 50% of your training level.
  • On your last day of training, two days before Ruckus, take it easy at 25%. 

You will then want to completely take off the day prior to competition in order to give your body ample recovery time.  Then, come the next morning, you will be ready to have all of that training pay off.

For our future Boston Ruckus runners, your week of tapering will begin June 9, so make sure to continue your training, and the results will speak for themselves!  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ruckus: Coming to a Fit (and Fat) City Near You!

Do you live in a fit city? In recent years, a lot of focus has been placed on Americans’ waistlines. The main reason being that obesity dramatically affects a person’s overall health while increasing their chances of developing life threatening diseases like diabetes. Many attribute American’s weight gain to a sedentary lifestyle and love of fast-food.

Men’s Fitness magazine recently compiled a list of 25 of the fittest and fattest cities in the nation. Each list was based on a multitude of factors. The research yielded some interesting factors into what makes a “fat city”. Take, for example, #1 on the list—Houston. Thirty-four percent of its residence is overweight. That number becomes less shocking when you see the factors as to why:
  • The city lacks a comprehensive mass transit system that inherently adds more movement to a person’s day. It should also be noted that mass transit correlates to cleaner, more breathable air.
  • The city has over 1,034 fast-food restaurants (the most in the country).
  • Lastly, Houston’s environment plays a big role.  On average, the city experiences over 100 days of 90 degree plus temperatures along with relative humidity. That makes a workout in outdoors feel like a workout in a sauna.  Because of this, few make the effort to go out and be active.

When you look at the rest of the city on the “fat list”, it’s easy to see patterns like high number of fast-food restaurants, lack of mass transit and high use of cigarettes and alcohol. When combined with sedentary lifestyles, a recipe of self-destruction is born.

But what makes a fit city?

The obvious indicators are active citizens and an active culture. Upcoming Ruckus city, Boston, rounds out the top 5 fittest cities in America. Bostonians spend 92% less than the national average on fast-food. Boston also has an engaged mass transit system and active culture that keeps its residence on the move.

So does that mean that all of our Ruckus cities are “fit cities”? Not necessarily.

We are looking to help change the way America works out—in both the “fit” and “fat” cities.  We made sure to schedule Ruckus mud runs in a variety of cities—from the East to West coasts and all areas in between no matter “fit” or “fat” they may be.  As a matter of fact, three Ruckus cities are on the “fat” list (#20 Atlanta, #22 Kansas City, #23 St. Louis). Our goal here at Ruckus is to motivate communities by stimulating an active culture and showing how fun exercise can be! Just because these cities are on the fat list now doesn’t mean they’ll stay on the fat list forever! Bringing Ruckus to a city is the first step in the right direction! 

What cities should Ruckus come to next? Leave a comment!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

We’re Goin’ Bananas for these 5 Monkey Bar Workouts

When it comes to our Ruckus obstacle course, don’t play around about playing around! We take having fun while staying fit seriously, which is why we’ve designed one of the most engaging, entertaining and challenging mud run courses in the nation.

One thing that makes our course so unique is our Gorilla Bars, which are monkey bars all grown up! Although the Gorilla Bars are one of the most popular features of our obstacle course, people often comment about how it’s also one of the most difficult parts of Ruckus run.

Crossing the Gorilla Bars requires a lot of upper body and abdominal strength, and it’s best to train for the day you encounter them. But what’s the best way to train to tackle the Gorilla Bars?  Just head to your local playground! Next time you’re near a playground, head for the monkey bars and go bananas with these 5 monkey bar workouts:  

1. The Hold
Odds are that at some point in your life, you and some friends have had a competition to see who can hold themselves up the longest on the monkey bars. This is excellent training for Ruckus Gorilla Bars! All you need to do is hold your head above the bars for as long as you can. Try making a new record to brag about.

2. The Dip
Dips are a great, albeit challenging training exercise. Cross your legs at the ankle, hoist yourself up until your arms are straight, then slowly lower yourself down and repeat. You’ll find that the slower you go, the more you feel the burn. If you do multiple reps, you’ll definitely be preparing yourself for Ruckus domination.

3. Legs to Chest
Remember—monkey bar exercises aren’t just for your arms!  They’re for your core too.  While holding onto the monkey bars in a parallel position, slowly draw your knees toward your chest and back, repeating as necessary. This is perhaps one of the most challenging monkey bar exercises around, but with repeated reps, you’ll be ready for Gorilla Bars in no time!

4. The Spread Eagle
Starting with your legs dangling down toward the ground, slowly raise them up into a spread eagle position, lifting them as high as you can go or until parallel with the ground. A real leg and abdomen burner!

5. The Good Ol’ Pull-up
The pull-up is one of the most tried-and-true, time-tested exercises for training for the Gorilla Bars. See how many reps you can do, and within no time you will start to feel your arms getting stronger.  Don’t be frustrated if you can do only 1 or 2 at first.  Pull-ups take time to master.  Try to increase by 1 pull-up every week or so. 

With these awesome monkey bar exercises, you’ll have an edge over the competition in no time! And with all this training under your belt, odds are you have a higher chance of making it into the Champion’s Heat of Ruckus. We can’t wait to see you there!

We’re Boston-bound next!  Sign up for Ruckus Boston to test your mud run abilities.  Sign up here!