Go the distance: How to achieve the mind-set of an endurance athlete

Setting your sights on a marathon next year? Whether you’re a professional runner or a complete novice, you will need to undertake months of gruelling training and be prepared for the long run.

The best endurance athletes are capable of pushing their bodies through extreme amounts of suffering, a stage which top athletes refer to as “the grind”. But as well as tolerating physical strain, author of ‘Ultra Performance’, Paul Moore claims endurance athletes boast five mental strengths to support their performance:

  1. Mental Toughness
    The dedication that endurance athletes display towards realising a goal is absolute – their lives are structured around sport. It is important to adopt a mental toughness approach and focus on the long term goals you want to achieve rather than just “winning”.
  1. Extreme Motivation
    Whatever your chosen sport, your training will be intense, so make sure you love it. It’s difficult to be a successful endurance athlete without enjoying what you do and having a true passion.
  1. Intense Focus
    Top athletes are experts in the art of focussing. Endurance sports often take place in the most remarkable and intense environments so make sure you can focus on the task at hand without being distracted by what’s going on around you.
  1. Have a Positive Outlook
    Endurance races are hard; athletes will remember the tough times where the sheer physicality of what they were doing was overwhelming. If the mind thinks negatively then the body will respond negatively. It is important to keep up positivity in order to relax and to realise your maximum capabilities.
  1. The Grind
    A common term amongst athletes, the grind is the ability to push on through when things are mentally and physically tough. It is important to ensure you allow time to recover for maximum performance and reduced risk of injury.

If you’re training towards an endurance challenge, it’s not only important to master you mind-set. Your body composition will contribute to optimal exercise performance, so it is vital to find the right balance between weight, hydration, fat and muscle and monitor your body composition over time and in conjunction with your training regime. Why not try the Tanita BC-601 segmental body composition monitor with SD card connectivity. The BC-601 measures weight, segmental body fat, segmental muscle mass, hydration levels and BMR so that users can set goals and tailor their fitness programmes for success. Body composition data is automatically stored on the SD card and can be downloaded onto your computer so that you can view and manage your data using the free ‘Bodyvision’ software or our new web based my.tanita.eu software.

Happy training!

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10 Best Races in the World

Marathon_Running_Race_3

If you’re looking for your next fitness challenge, then look no further! We’ve put together a comprehensive guide of the ultimate races from around the world so that you can challenge yourself in some of the world’s most iconic settings.

  1. Inca Trail Marathon

There are several Inca Trail races, but this one has the best reputation for organisation: it’s currently measured and fully supported, with clear course markings, marshals and aid stations. The route is incredible too, starting from the Llactapata Inca ruins it climbs to Warmiwanusqa Pass, before heading down through Inca sites and mountain passes, offering superb views of the Andes, to perhaps the most thrilling race finish in the world, Machu Picchu.

Next Race: 9th July 2015, www.eriksadventures.com

  1. Bay to Breakers

First run in 1912, this annual event is one of the oldest footraces in the world. It’s a 12k run through San Francisco from the Bay to the Great Highway, where huge waves (breakers) crash onto Ocean Beach. In 1986, this event set a Guinness World Record, when 110,000 runners took part.

Next Race: 17th May 2015, www.baytobreakers.com

  1. Everest Marathon

Starting at Everest base camp and finishing in Namche Bazaar in Nepal, this race is every bit as ruthless as you’d imagine from the world’s highest marathon. It takes extra time to prepare for this high-level event as runners must sign up for a 26-day trip to allow for proper pre-race acclimatisation.

Next Race: November 2015, www.everestmarathon.org.uk

  1. Walt Disney World Marathon

Over a long-weekend festival in Disney’s Florida resort, you can tackle a 5k, 10k, half or full marathon. The routes go through the resort’s four theme parks and Disney characters interact with runners along the way.

Next Race: 7th January 2015, www.rundisney.com

  1. Great Wall Marathon

Hitting the wall becomes literal over 26.2 miles and 5,164 steps of China’s 2,200 year old great wonder. As well as enjoying the great atmosphere created by the 2,000 runners, and the up close look at one of humanity’s greatest feats of engineering, you’ll be treated to dramatic views of Tianjin province.

Next Race: 16th May 2015, www.great-wall-marathon.com

  1. Polar Circle Marathon

The ‘coolest marathon on earth’ starts and finishes in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, inside the Arctic Circle. The course takes in a 3km loop on Greenland’s ice cap, then runs through the tundra against the backdrop of huge glacier tongues and the stillness of the Arctic desert. Cool, indeed!

Next Race: 25th October 2014, www.polar-circle-marathon.com

  1. Marathon des Sables

This event, commonly referred to as MDS is one of the great badges of honour for endurance runners. MDS, ‘the toughest footrace on earth’, is run over six stages, ranging from 21-82km for a total of over 150 miles, and all through the stunning Sahara desert.

Next Race: 2015 (date TBC), www.marathondessables.co.uk

  1. City2Surf

With over 80,000 runners, this is currently the world’s biggest running event. At 14k, it’s an unusual but manageable distance and the course, which takes you from downtown Sydney to a Bondi Beach finish is a real treat.

Next Race: 2015 (date TBC), www.city2surf.com.au

  1. Angkor Wat International Half Marathon

There’s a hefty ‘wow factor’ from this course, which takes runners through Cambodia’s Angkor Wat World Heritage Site. The event raises funds for victims of antipersonnel mines in Cambodia, which makes it all the more worthwhile.

Next Race: 7th December 2014, www.angkormarathon.org

  1. Midnight Sun Marathon

The sun doesn’t set at all from mid-May to mid-July in northern Norway, which gives TromsØ’s showpiece event its unique magic as 8,000 marathoners run under the midnight sun. The ‘capital of the Arctic’ provides a thrilling back drop to this phenomenon, surrounded by mountains, fjords and islands, with a largely waterside course.

Next Race: June 2015, www.msm.no

If our guide has inspired you to take up a future challenge, Tanita products can help you on your way to peak health and fitness. Our range of sophisticated body composition monitors use advanced Bio-electrical Impedance technology (BIA) to provide accurate measurements of your body fat percentage, muscle mass, Basal Metabolic Rate and hydration level. Each of these measurements can significantly impact your training and help you achieve your fitness goals faster and more efficiently. Read more about how Tanita can help you get race-ready here. 

Tanita takes activity tracking to the next level with boditrax

Tanita and boditrax collaborate to offer gyms and health club operators the ultimate membership revenue and retention tool. As a result of this winning partnership, members will have access to a personalised and meaningful weight analysis and measurement package to help them monitor their progress and reach their goals.

With this new collaboration, boditrax has now integrated a range of Tanita products into its digital health platform, using their hardware and Bio-electrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) technology to accurately record and monitor users’ body compositions and data to enhance their offering and improve members’ outcomes.

This meaningful data not only helps individuals track their progress and set realistic goals, but also helps management to personalise member services and marketing, as well as managing staff. Rather than spending time analysing data, staff can use their time more effectively consulting clients, equipped with 24/7 real time, live analysis.

Global leader in health monitoring, Tanita was the obvious partner of choice for boditrax, when looking to complement their body composition and activity tracking service with the very best technology on the market. Tanita’s accuracy, innovation and durability has set the gold standard for BIA scales and monitors and their extensive product range has enabled boditrax to create three specific offerings to cater for the medical and health and fitness markets:

  1. The Tanita SC-240 Body Composition Analyser, which has been incorporated into the boditrax portable offer
  2. The Tanita MC-780 Segmental Body Composition Analyser, which has been reverse engineered into the boditrax self-service body composition kiosk solution
  3. The Tanita MC-980 Multi-Frequency Segmental Body Composition Monitor, which serves the medical and elite sports markets only.

Boditrax delivers cloud hosted digital health technologies for the fitness, health and corporate wellness sectors, offering an engagement, development and retention platform that informs and helps users track their fitness journey. This cloud based data allows users to understand accurate body composition analysis and insights, wirelessly track activity data and view their progress using statistics, map trends and reports, wherever they are.

‘We are incredibly excited about the boditrax collaboration with Tanita, which we believe lies at the heart of our offering,’ says Nick Stillman, Marketing Director of boditrax.  ‘Tanita has an excellent product range, with a world class reputation amongst both medical and fitness professionals. The brand has been a consistent advocate of our vision and has continued to support us. Having a name on board like Tanita will provide opportunities for a small company like us to reach out from; opening doors that perhaps would have remained closed , thus accelerating our access to the market,’ adds Nick.

Facilities that currently use the boditrax system include leading hospitals, universities, elite sports organisations, leisure sector operators, local and national government and a range of fitness facilities   including Barry’s Bootcamp, Nuffield Health and Chelsea Football Club.

Tanita’s Top Tips to Up the Fitness Factor

download (1)Is your fitness motivation taking a dip? If so, we want to help you put the fun back into your workout, by sharing our top tips to up your fitness factor and make sure you’re getting the most out of your training sessions!

  1. Go Online

It might be tempting to quit your gym membership to save money, but how can you spruce up your at-home workouts? Lots of great fitness brands are now taking their classes online, with everything from yoga to ballet barre just a click away. Some of our favourite online workouts include this one from Gillian Michaels  and this ‘Insanity’ style workout

  1. Get ‘appy

If you’re lacking that bit of oomph too get started, downloading a new fitness app can be a great way to help you set and achieve your fitness goals. For some inspiration, check out this article which details the best fitness apps of 2014.

  1. Be a Good Sport

Learning something new is a great way to distract you from the panting and puffing of a hard work out. This way, you will be challenging your body in new ways, so you should see and feel a difference in no time. Plus, while weight loss is a great goal, doing well in a new sport or having fun while you work out can be a better way to inspire you to exercise than waiting for the pounds to drop off.

  1. Spin Some Tunes

Research suggests listening to your favourite music can improve your exercise performance and boost your enjoyment of sport and exercise. So why not spend a lazy Saturday morning compiling a fun workout playlist?

  1. Join the Gang

Training with other people is a great way to up the fun factor. Small group settings give you more attention and can add value for your money. Why not try signing up to a new fitness class with a friend? Aside from having a friendly face beside you, you’ll also be more motivated and less likely to miss a session!

  1. Take on a Challenge

A good goal is a sure way to reignite your passion for training. Set yourself a goal that is tough, but not so hard that you’ll work yourself into the ground to get there – a mucky obstacle race is a great option or you could try the 30 day squat challenge. 

  1. Train Somewhere New

Take yourself away from it all and treat yourself to a week of fitness to give your regime a boost. For example, why not try a boot camp or fitness holiday? This may be the kick-start your body needs!

  1. Get Competitive

Not everyone has a competitive nature, but being competitive can be one of the best ways to motivate yourself. Find a way to add a competitive edge to your workouts, whether you challenge yourself or one of your gym buddies, you’ll certainly up your game!

 

Healthy Habits makes healthy fast food easy everytime

Healthy Habits made Easy

If you’re sick of making promises you just can’t keep then don’t panic. Here at Tanita, we’ve put together our top tips to reboot your life the healthy way, which are simple and easy to stick to!

Find the funHealthy Habits makes healthy fast food easy everytime

It’s hard to adopt a good habit if you see the change as a chore. To combat this, choose a workout you enjoy and that you’ll have fun with. For extra motivation, try to buddy-up with a friend who has similar goals, so that you can train together and motivate each other.  This is the perfect way to change a ‘why bother’ attitude and ensure that you stick to a new, healthy habit.

Visualise your goals

Bad habits are easy to keep because they are easy to do. After all, it’s much easier to lounge on the couch, than hit the gym, or to speed dial a take away than make a healthy meal. However, you can put a stop to bad habits by visualising the long-term effects. Try and visualise how you want to feel and look, then think about how you will feel in one year if you do not make the positive changes needed to achieve your goals. This will help you to focus on why you are making the changes and help you succeed.

Zap cravings

3pm sugar cravings are caused by a dip in blood sugar, but while you might not be able to resist a mid – afternoon treat, you can help combat sugar cravings by upping your protein intake. This will slow the release of sugars to your system and help combat cravings.

Cook ahead

We all have those days when we can’t be bothered to cook a healthy meal, and find ourselves reaching for the take away menu. However, preparing for those days in advance can stop you falling into the junk food trap. Cooking large batches of meals such as healthy soups and stews, then freezing them is a great way to always have healthy evening meals which are ready to use.

Break the cycle

Good intentions can often fall by the wayside as soon as stress enters the picture. Recent studies suggest stressed people tend to reach for foods out of habit – regardless of how healthy or unhealthy they are. If you’re stressed, try not to reach the biscuit bin and take some long, deep breaths instead; they will be much better for your sanity – and your waistline!

Don’t dread change

Part of the reason we get so sucked into bad habits is because we often view them as treats, whereas good habits are viewed as laborious and punishing. If you switch up this mind-set and see the reward in good habits, you’ll be more inclined to keep them. Instead of dreading exercise, think about how you’ll feel afterwards and rather than getting stuck in a boring regime, try mixing things up and trying different healthy foods or new variations of exercises.

superfoods

Summer Superfoods

superfoodsSummer brings an abundance of super nutritious food. Longer hours of daylight mean we can eat produce grown closer to home, so foods are fresher, tastier and packed with goodness.

To help you take advantage of all of the wonderful summer produce, we’ve put together a list of our top superfoods and some ideas about how to make the best of them.

Globe Artichoke

Why it’s so nutritious: The globe artichoke is one of the most antioxidant rich vegetables. It’s a good source of fibre, folate, vitamin K and minerals, including electrolytes magnesium and potassium which help to regulate nerve and muscle function.

How to eat: Eat the bud of the undeveloped artichoke flower. The ‘choke’ is the inedible centre made of tightly packed hairs. To prepare the vegetable, cut off the stalk and pointed top. Scoop out the ‘choke’ with a spoon and discard. Place the artichoke in water with lemon juice to stop it discolouring. Then boil or steam for 30-40 minutes. To eat, pull out a leaf and dip into a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. Draw each leaf through your teeth to remove the flesh, discarding tough bits.

Beetroot

Why it’s so nutritious:  The Phytonutrients called betalins which are found in beetroot’s pigment, give this vegetable its legendary nutritional status. It is also an excellent source of folates, which support cell production and the nervous system and are important for foetal development. It is also rich in potassium, which is good for blood and copper and helps the body make collagen which helps combat the ageing process.

How to eat:  Buy bunches of small beetroots – they’re tastier and more nutritious than pre-cooked packs and the leaves can be used like spinach. Simply top and tail the beetroots, then boil or steam whole for 15-25 minutes, cool, peel and add to salads. They’re also excellent roasted whole (or quartered if large) in a 180 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

Broad Beans

Why they’re so nutritious: Broad Beans are a good source of folate, antioxidants and vitamins A and C.

How to eat: Serve raw out of the pod as a healthy nibble with drinks. Or pod them, boil for two minutes, refresh in cold water, nip open the bean and squeeze out the tender inside. Scatter over slices of ripe tomato and torn mint leaves, season and drizzle with olive oil.

Berries

Why they’re so nutritious: Berries are rich in Vitamin C and E, folate and fibre and are packed with antioxidant phytonutrients.

How to eat: For the best nutritional punch, eat berries raw. Try berry shortbread mess – add a handful of berries to a bowl and gently crush, then mix in a tablespoon of fat-free Greek yoghurt and a crumbled shortbread finger.

Plums

Why they’re so nutritious: Plums are a good source of fibre and vitamins A and C. They also contain tryptophan, which

helps your brain produce the feel-good neurotransmitter, serotonin. The pigments in plums also contain beneficial antioxidant phytonutrients.

How to eat: Eat as they come, or slice and add to salads. Halve, stone, sprinkle with a little sugar, grill and serve with crème fraiche. Or halve and stone, top with a little goat’s cheese and grill, then serve on toasted sourdough. You could also try to make a plum salsa, by chopping and mixing them with some finely chopped red onion, tomato, olive oil and cider vinegar.

Mackerel

Why it’s so nutritious: This oily fish is beneficial for the heart and cognitive health because of its omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D. It’s also a good source of selenium and B12.

How to eat: Fresh mackerel fillets are versatile, great value and ideal for cooking whole on the BBQ. Dip a mackerel fillet in seasoned flour, cook in a non-stick pan skin-side down for three to four minutes, then turn and cook the flesh side for one minute. Try seasonings such as Chinese five-spice powder or curry paste or, simply serve with lemon juice and black pepper.

Crab

Why it’s so nutritious: Crab is a good source of protein and is packed with vitamins and minerals including antioxidant selenium, and zinc, which helps the body process carbohydrate, protein and fat. Crab contains omega-3 fats and vitamin B2, which helps to keep your eyes and skin healthy, it also contains copper to build blood cells.

How to eat: Scoop out the meat and mix with a good squeeze of lemon juice, a dessert spoon of natural yoghurt and black pepper and eat with salad.

Keep-Fit-on-Travels

How to Stay Healthy on Holiday

Keep-Fit-on-Travels

Summer holidays are a time to kick back and relax, but for so many, summer holidays can also mean a more relaxed diet and less exercise. In fact, research shows that the average person gains 5lbs during a two-week break!
In this week’s blog, the Tanita Team are on hand to share our tips about how you can optimise your health and stay fit whilst on holiday; whether you’re heading down to the beach, up to the mountains or sloping away for a city break make sure you have a healthy, happy summer holiday!
The Beach Holiday
Sun, sea and sand – everything about a beach break is great for your body. Research shows that the sound of waves sends your brain into a deep state of relaxation, whilst the sea air is charged with healthy negative ions that boost your body’s ability to absorb oxygen and have an anti-inflammatory effect on your lungs. And if that’s not enough – the sun’s rays will top up your stores of vitamin D and boost your body’s levels of stress-reducing hormones. What a fantastic way to increase your energy, happiness and health!
What to do to keep fit
The beach is a great place to keep fit – volleyball, surfing, kayaking, windsurfing and paddle boarding are available at many resorts. Even walking on the beach is great for lower body strength and aerobic fitness. The sand creates an unstable surface that works many muscles, and a run across the beach is nearly three times tougher than it would be on the road! Too hot for running? A swim in the sea provides the perfect calorie burn and cool down.
The City Break
The urban environment provides a fantastic opportunity to get fit on foot as you explore the sites. Choose your hotel or spa wisely and you could fit in a few lengths or a gym session too. Of course if outdoor activity is what you’re after, urban parks are well known running or rollerblading hotspots, and you could even hire a bike to join the locals and navigate the city streets on two wheels.
The Mountain Retreat
Trust us, you’ll struggle to be sedentary in the mountains. The undulating terrain provides the perfect opportunity for high-intensity workouts such as hill walking, fell running and mountain biking. It’s also the ideal backdrop for Yoga, Pilates and meditation sessions. Better yet, being at high altitude will send your fitness sky-high – the air is much thinner and your body has to work harder just to walk from pool to villa. If you’re looking for a fun way to keep fit, hire a mountain bike and explore your surroundings. You’ll cover a lot of ground by bike and bur a whopping 545 calories per hour!

So there you have it; wherever you’re holidaying this summer, remember there’s no excuses not to stay fit and healthy so that you feel as good as you look when you return!