Eve's Health & Fitness

DOB: October 27 CURRENT RESIDENCE: North Eastern Oklahoma OCCUPATION: Certified Group Fitness Instructor HEIGHT:5'1"; WEIGHT:105 lbs.; BF%:14.3% bodyfat FAVORITE BODY PARTS TO TRAIN: Back, abs FAVORITE CHEAT MEAL: Mexican and any dark chocolate CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Featured as a fitness role model in Chad Tackett's Global-Health & Fitness website: http://www.global-fitness.com/ DESCRIBE MYSELF: Competitive, energetic, persistent, focused, consistent, and driven.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

For The Competitor

Pleasing The Panel
Unlocking the mysteries of fitness judging standards

Too soft. Too hard. Too muscular. Not muscular enough. Too tan. Too tall. Too short.

Confused yet? If you've had an eye on IFBB fitness contests lately, you've undoubtedly noticed the turmoil at the top. In fact, the crowning event of the sport, the Fitness Olympia, has yet to have a repeat champion in its six-year history. Just what do these fitness judges want, anyway?

Unfortunately, no concrete answers exist. Written guidelines outline the judging standards on the amateur and professional level, but in reality a lot of the decisions simply boil down to subjective preference.

That being said, you can take steps to increase your odds. We talked to two judges. Sandy Ranalli and Debbie Albert, as well as reigning Fitness International champ Jenny Worth, for their insight and advice to all would-be competitors.

Standards 101
Judging standards in the NPC amateur and IFBB pro ranks are exactly the same. In the physique rounds, judges are asked to score physiques by assessing the degree of athleticism with regard to firmness, symmetry, proportion and overall physical appearance, including skin tone, poise and overall presentation, according to the rules issued by both organizations.

"In the physique rounds, it's the total package," says Ranalli, the NPC women's chairperson and an NPC national and IFBB pro judge. "We're looking for an athletic look, some muscle development, good skin tone, hair, makeup, and whether they're wearing a bathing suit that flatters their physique."

The written guidelines specifically remind judges that fitness "is not a bodybuilding contest," and that any competitor who displays the size or definition seen in a bodybuilder should be scored lower. Enforcement of this guideline has been stepped up recently, notes Albert, who judges NPC national and IFBB pro events, although she admits a gray area does exist.

"When a girl diets for a show, at some point you're going to see abdominal muscles, separation in the shoulders . . . it's inevitable," she says. "You can't diet, get rid of bodyfat and look good without muscle."

In the fitness performance rounds, judges look for "style, personality, athletic coordination and overall performance," according to the rules, as well as some mandatory strength moves in the pro division. Albert points out that in these rounds, physique takes a back seat to execution.

Judging the Judges
All right, so the standards are in place, but how are they translated from theory to practice? Fans, athletes and the media have questioned whether some judges know how to accurately judge a fitness show, considering that many panels are populated by a number of judges bred in the bodybuilding ranks.

Ranalli, for one, believes most judges are up to task. "We do critique our judges' scoring, and choose fitness panels based on those who've done well judging fitness shows in the past."

In order to keep their Judging Card, judges at the NPC level must maintain 90% or better accuracy under a mathematical rating system that measures judge's marks vs. the final placings, Ranalli adds. The IFBB has similar rules.

The scoring system itself helps guard against errors, Albert points out. "With the two high scores and two low scores getting tossed out in each round, even if someone is a little off on a competitor, the median score will still be accurate."

Expert Advice
As a competitor, you can take proactive steps to give yourself the best possible chance for victory. Make sure your preparations are thorough, from your music to your makeup. And, if you're a novice, take the time to see an event from the audience.

You should also do exactly what we've done here ----- ask the judges for advice, Worth suggests. "Do your first show and ask the judges for feedback. Ask them what they think you need to work on. It may be a simple thing, like your legs were a little too soft, something that's an easy fix."

Yet ultimately Worth says the bottom line is to trust your own instincts. "The way I'd recommend coming in is the way you feel you look best. Train and diet as hard as your ability and work on your routine as much as possible --- kill them with the routine. I've come to the conclusion that you just never know what the judges are looking for."

For more info on competing in fitness, go to: www.npcnewsonline.com or www.IFBB.com

References

Muscle&FitnessHers, October/November 2001, Authored by Michael Berg, CPT

Cheers,

Eve :-)


Sunday, August 07, 2005

Be a FIRST-Timer

Just follow the eight rules below. For more information, check out www.furman.edu/FIRST.

1. RUN EFFICIENTLY, RUN FOR LIFE
Bill Pierce is a tough, performance-oriented guy, but he insists on explaining the FIRST program from a fitness and philosophical perspective. He believes that a three-day running week will make running easier and more accessible to many potential runners and marathoners. It will also limit overtraining and burnout. Finally, with several days of cross-training, it should cut your injury-risk substantially. This may lead to faster race times. More importantly to Pierce, it adds up to a program that many time-stressed people can follow healthfully for years. "Our most important objective is to help runners develop and maintain lifelong participation in running," says Pierce. "Our second goal is to help them achieve as much as possible on a minimum of run training."


2. RUN THREE TIMES A WEEK. . . AND NO MORE

This is the centerpiece of the entire FIRST program. FIRST runners do only three running workouts a week. This decreases the overall time commitment of the program, and the risk of injuries-important considerations to many runners. Each of the three workouts has a specific goal. That's something few runners have considered. "With most runners, when I ask them what they're hoping to accomplish on a given run, they look back at me with a blank stare," says Pierce. "I don't think they've ever thought about this question before. We have." The three FIRST workouts--a long run, a tempo run, and a speed workout--are designed to improve your endurance, lactate-threshold running pace, and leg speed.


3. BUILD YOUR LONG RUN TO 20 MILES

The FIRST marathon training program builds up to two 20-mile workouts, the second one taking place three weeks before your marathon race date. But covering 20 miles is the easy part of the FIRST program. The harder part is the pace--60 to 75 seconds slower per mile than your 10-K race pace. Many other marathon programs allow you to run slower than this, by as much as 30 to 40 seconds per mile. "It's true that our long runs won't let you admire the scenery as much," says Pierce. "But they aren't painful either. They just push you a little beyond the comfort zone. If you're going to race a marathon, you have to do some hard long runs to get the toughness and focus you'll need on race day."

4. RUN THREE DIFFERENT KINDS OF TEMPO RUNS
The tempo run has become a mainstay of many training programs, but the FIRST program carries the concept a little farther than most, adding more variety and nuance. FIRST runners do three different kinds of tempo runs--short tempos (three to four miles), mid tempos (five to seven miles) and long tempos (eight to 10 miles). Each of these is run at a different pace. "We've found that the long tempo run is particularly helpful," say Pierce "You're basically running at your marathon goal pace, so you're getting maximum specificity of training, and improving your efficiency at the pace you want to run in your marathon."

5. PUT MORE VARIETY IN YOUR SPEEDWORK
Many runners do no speedwork at all. Those who do often fall into a rut, running the same workout time after time. Pierce learned long ago that this approach makes speedwork much harder than it should be. "I used to run the same speed workout week after week," he recalls. "After a while, I would start to dread that workout. Speedwork is much easier when you change it around a lot." The FIRST runners do many different speed workouts at different paces, generally taking just a 400-meter jog between the fast repeats. For the sake of simplicity, we've narrowed the selection to four distances at four paces. But be creative. Pierce has just one more rule for speed training: Start modestly, but after a month, try to get the total distance of all the fast repeats to equal about three miles or 5000 meters (i.e., running 5 x 1000 meters, or 12 to 13 x 400 meters).

6. CROSS-TRAIN TWICE A WEEK. . .HARD
Last fall the FIRST coaches asked their subjects to cross-train twice a week, but they didn't provide any additional instruction. This fall, they will, because they think too many of the runners lollygagged through the cross-training last year. This caused them to miss out on some potential training benefits. "We believe that if you do cross-training correctly, you can use it to increase your overall training intensity, without increasing your injury risk," says Pierce. "At the same time, you can still go out and run hard the next day." But the point is this: Even though last year's test group didn't cross-train as hard as they could have or should have, they still set a slew of PRs.

7. DON'T TRY TO MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME
Stuff happens. During a 16-week marathon program, lots of stuff happens. You get sick; you sprain your ankle; you have to go on several last-minute business trips. And so on. Result: You miss some key workouts, maybe even several weeks of workouts. Then what? "You can't make up what you missed," says Pierce, "and you certainly shouldn't double up on your workouts to catch up with your program. Often, if you had a slight cold or too much travel, you can recover and get back where you want to be relatively quickly. But if you have foot pain or ITB syndrome or something like that, you've got to take care of your injury first, and get healthy again." This can take weeks, and it's really tough if you've been looking forward to a big race. You have to accept it, though, and oftentimes you get better and can run an accompanying half-marathon. But you shouldn't try the marathon until you're fully prepared for it. Reschedule another in a few months' time.

8. FOLLOW A 3-WEEK TAPER
The FIRST program builds for 13 weeks, with the second 20-mile long run coming at the end of the thirteenth week. After that, the program begins to taper off, with 15- and 10-mile long runs during weeks 14 and 15. The speedwork and tempo runs taper down just a little, with a final eight-mile tempo run at marathon goal pace coming 10 days before the marathon. "The marathon taper has tripled in length during my career," Pierce notes. "When I first started out in the 1970s, we only did a six-day taper for our marathons. Now the conventional wisdom is three weeks, and that makes sense to me. It seems about the right amount of time to make sure you've got the maximum spring back in you step." If you feel sluggish doing just the easy running in the final week (this is very common, by the way), do five or six 100-meter strides or pickups after the Tuesday and Thursday workouts. Get in some extra stretching afterward as well.

References
Runner's World, August 2005, By Amby Burfoot

Cheers,
Eve


Monday, August 01, 2005

Are Avacados, Nuts and Olives Still On Your List of No-Nos?

Healthy fats can protect your heart, ward off diabetes and even keep you slim. Indulge guilt-free with these 10 fatty foods to feast on.

T
hese are the best sources of healthy fats on the planet:

Pesto sauce*
20 to 29 g per 1/4 cup

Peanut butter
16 g per 2 tablespoons

Olive oil
14 g per tablespoon

Canola oil
14 g per tablespoon

Nuts
13 to 21 g per ounce

Guacamole
10 g per 1/4 cup

Avacado
8 g per 1/4 medium

Vinaigrette dressing*
3 to 8 g per tablespoon

Fish
1 to 15 g per 3 ounces baked or broiled

Olives
0.4 g per large olive

*Choose brands made with olive or canola oil.

Recipe by Laurie Goldrich-Wolfe

PEANUT BUTTER BRAN MUFFINS
A recent Harvard study found that eating a tablespoon of peanut butter five or more times a week may cut your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Choose the all-natural kind, which contains less sugar.

2-1/2 cups All-Bran cereal
1-1/3 cups whole-wheat flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt or reduce-fat buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup honey
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1-1/4 cups mixed dried fruit such as golden raisins, chopped dates or figs, or
dried cherries


Heat oven to 400ºF. In a large bowl, combine first four ingredients. Stir in eggs, yogurt or buttermilk, oil, molasses, honey and peanut butter until just combined. Rinse dried fruit in hot water for 30 seconds to soften, then fold into batter. Pour into muffin cups coated with cooking spray until cups are three-quarters full. Bake 18 to 22 minutes, or until muffins begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool in pan on wire rac five minutes; remove from pan to cool completely. Makes 18 muffins.
Nutritional Information per muffin:
248 calories, 33 g carbohydrate, 7g protein, 6 g monounsaturated fat. 4 g polyunsaturated fat, 2 g saturated fat, 5 g fiber.

Cheers,

Eve


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