Category Archives: BootCamp

10 Ways to Bootcamp

Back during New Year’s Resolution season, we talked about how much runners can benefit from working circuit training (like our Bootcamp app) into their training program.  That said…one thing we can’t help but admit is that it’s hard enough to find time to run without worrying about finding time to Bootcamp.  

Well it turns out that it may be easier than you think.  Here are ten (10!) ideas for squeezing a quick Bootcamp workout into your busy schedule.

  1. First thing in the morning.  Yes, we know this is one of those “easier said than done” things, but even if you’ve struggled to run in the morning, you may find that Bootcamp comes a little easier in the wee hours.  You can stay inside and don’t need to worry about what you’re wearing.  Roll out of bed and make it happen.
  2. Before bed.  When you’re winding down for the day, lacing up your sneakers and jogging off into the night might not be realistic, but pounding out a quick Bootcamp circuit may be just the ticket.  Give it a shot, especially if the day gets away from you and didn’t get to run.
  3. Before any shower.  Getting showered, dried off, and dressed can  be kind of a chore and is often the deal-breaker in getting a workout in during the day.  But if you’re headed to the shower anyway — in the morning, after work, whatever your routine may be — you might as well get sweaty beforehand.
  4. After work.  Work can be stressful and chances are you have some kind of wind-down routine that helps you make the transition into being home for the evening.  Powering through an intense workout can a great way to let go of stress and set your mind on relaxation.  Try hitting the gym on your way home or doing your circuit work as soon as you get home for the day.
  5. During lunch. If you have access to showers during the day (at home, at work, at the gym), chances are you have time during your lunch hour to to a Bootcamp routine, cool down, and get cleaned up.  Try sneaking a workout in at lunch a few times a week and pay attention to what it does for your energy level and general attitude for the rest of the day.
  6. Before dinner.  Depending on your particular schedule, you might find yourself dealing with an awkward space of time between the end of your work day and the beginning of dinner.  Don’t let that time slip away.  Bootcamp!
  7. After dinner.  Okay, working out might not seem like a delightful idea right after a big meal, but you might find that Bootcamp treats you a little better than running when it comes to post-meal training activities   Give your food a little time to settle and then reenergize with some circuit work.
  8. On the weekend. Even if you just aim for one circuit workout a week, you can still see substantial benefits.  If you run all week long, consider taking the weekend off from pavement pounding but staying active with circuit work instead.
  9. After your run. You’re more than warmed up.  You’re already sweaty.  You’ve already conquered the big motivational hurdle of getting off the couch in the first place.  Finish off your workout right by adding a circuit.  It won’t add that much time and will keep you from having to find another time to do a dedicated session.
  10. When you’re feeling burned out.  This is huge.  If you ever feel like you’re hitting the wall with your running, don’t let yourself end up off track because you aren’t feeling motivated to run.  Reset your brain by giving running a rest but stay active with a circuit.  You might even spend a week staying off the road altogether — whatever you need.

The bottom line is that adding circuit training to your fitness arsenal is a great way to build strength and ultimately make you a better runner.  Even if you just keep it in the back of your mind for occasional cross-training, we think it’s well worth adding to your stable of fitness apps.  

Bootcamping with a buddy

We’ve talked a lot about the benefits of running in a group or with a training partner.  Have you considered doing the same for your Bootcamp workouts?

(For the uninitiated, Bootcamp is our circuit training app that guides you through  standard or custom circuit workouts just like our other apps do for your runs.)

It might not seem like an ideal group activity, with everyone plugged into their headphones and jumping from exercise to exercise, but there are a couple of ways to run a great group Bootcamp session that’s both fun and motivational.

Here are some thoughts:

Follow the leader.  Even if just one person in your group has the app running (It’s you, isn’t it?  We bet it’s you.) and wants to take lead, then everyone else can take their cues from there.  Put the leader out front where everyone can see and have him or her call out the transitions for the group.  Make sure everyone knows which exercise is next.

Share the audio.  Even if everyone has the app, it isn’t always practical to sync everyone up to run the workouts independently.  There are a couple of ways to share the audio without using headphones that will let everyone follow along.  Plug your device into the AUX jack or docking station of your stereo and everyone should be able to hear just fine.

Geeky bonus approach: If you have a newer iPad with mirroring set up on your TV, you can actually stream the bootcamp display along with the audio for everyone to see!

Collaborate on a custom workout.  A great way to make your circuit work fun is to use Bootcamp to work together and create a custom workout.  On the Home screen, tap “New Workout” and let the first person in your group drag and drop one exercise into the “Workout” area.  Pass the device until everyone has contributed one or more exercises (keep going until you reach an agreed-upon length) and then fire up your workout and do it together.

Finding time for circuits: bootcamp for the time-strapped

We’ve talked before about how much circuit training can benefit runners at any level — not just by building strength and speed but by preventing injuries and combating boredom as well.  Our Bootcamp app is a great way to do it, since it guides you through a variety of workouts just like the running apps, telling you which exercises to do and calling out the timing as you go (leaving options for custom workouts, too).

Of course for a lot of us, finding time for our planned runs in hard enough without thinking about sneaking in a couple of extra circuit sessions.  Well to be honest, it really isn’t that hard to pull together a few weekly bootcamp sessions, which depending on the workout will take right in the neighborhood of 20 minutes to complete.  Here are four ways to get it done:

  1. Pre-run.  Whether you are doing a Bluefin running program or training on your own, you should still be making time for a good, high-intensity warm-up to get your body ready for your run.  We build warm-up time into the beginning of each scheduled run (and Bootcamp), so working through a circuit routine before your run can be a perfect way to get the blood flowing.  The idea is that you’re already in your workout clothes and will already need a shower at the end anyway, so it doesn’t take that much more out of your day.
  2. Quick workout.  Especially as you start to build distance as a runner, workouts start to take longer.  Depending on your stage of training, you might need thirty minutes, forty-five, even an hour or more to do your workout.  Well you might be short on time for a long run, but still have a chance to squeeze in a quick circuit.  The high-intensity work will challenge your body in a very compact period of time and leave you feeling good about a shorter (though not necessarily easier) workout.
  3. With a group.  One great thing about Bootcamp is that if you are training with a group, everyone can exercise in one place regardless of skill level (as opposed to the big gaps that form between faster and slower runners).  Either call out the transitions for the group or hook your device up to speakers for some fun, motivational group training.
  4. Post-run.  This is basically the same idea as the pre-run.  You’ve already committed to getting yourself changed, sweaty, and tired — might as well blast some targeted muscle groups while you’re at it.  Holding your form after a solid run will require some serious discipline, but you’ll build a great workout overall.

Spring Fever Checklist: Grab an app?

If you’re reading this, chances are that you already realize what a difference your phone or iPod can make when it comes to getting fit.  Our approach is designed not just to get you from one fitness level to another, but to do it from the palm of your hand, keeping you on track and motivating you along the way.

As Spring approaches, consider making a small purchase or two to up your game for the coming running season.  Here are three ideas. Continue Reading

Workouts that aren’t running

January can be a tough month for runners.  You feel motivated and pumped about the new year, but a lot of us are waking up to icy sidewalks and frigid temperatures.  Sometimes this translates to a gym membership and a lot of time staring at a treadmill monitor.

Don’t end up in a rut.  If you’ve joined a gym, remember that there are tons of activities available beyond the treadmill.  Get the most for your money by mixing it up with these alternative workouts. Continue Reading

Five Reasons to Bootcamp

Bootcamp is our circuit training app – a departure from our running (and now walking!) programs, designed to cross-train and generally strengthen your entire body.  We’ve talked about the benefits of non-running workouts before, but here are five good reasons to to take yourself to bootcamp this winter. Continue Reading

Apps on sale through the end of the day!

It’s a good time to grab a new app or two!  Today’s the last day to pick up a number of Bluefin apps for just $0.99.  Here’s what’s on sale through the end of the day:

  • Ease into 5K
  • Ease into 10K®
  • Bridge to 10K®
  • Power Walk
  • Bootcamp

You can check them out in iTunes or the Android Market and learn more about each program on our website.
Continue reading

Quick tips on running for weight loss

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the great feedback we get from Bluefin users, it’s that there are all sorts of reasons to tackle a program like Ease into 5K.  As you might expect, weight loss is a big one (not to mention a big theme among those taking on our New Year’s program right now.

Even serious athletes can have a tough time managing their weight.  Here are some basic tips to set yourself up for success if one of your training goals is shedding a few (or more than a few) pounds.

Train smart.  Having a plan is essential.  Otherwise, it’s just too easy start off with long, difficult workouts and burn out in a week or two.  Following a program like Ease into 5K makes sure that you are building up in a manageable, sustainable way.  Start slow and go from there.  You don’t need to run for an hour your first time out.  Following a training plan that lets you build gradually to that kind of distance is definitely the way to go.

Eat right.  It can be tempting, especially if you are super-focused on weight loss, to simply eat as little as possible.  Calories eaten minus calories burned equals weight loss, right?  Not exactly.  Your body needs good, quality nutrition to be a successful runner long term.  Don’t think of yourself as a dieter.  Think of yourself as an athlete.  And remember that athletes need to fuel up properly for maximum performance.  For tips on doing just that, check out our earlier post, Fueling Up: What to eat before, during and after a run.

Build muscle.  It might seem counter-intuitive, but building muscle can do wonders for your weight loss goals.  Yes, muscle weighs more than fat and that might not make a lot of sense if your priority is losing weight.  But the bottom line is that building muscle will improve your body’s ability to burn fat and lead to a healthier body overall.  Strong muscles actually burn up calories   If you’re looking to start getting stronger (without necessarily bulking up) consider taking the Bootcamp app for a spin.

Weigh in (occasionally).  Okay, the number on the scale is a good guideline to make sure your efforts are moving you in the right direction.  But it isn’t the only thing that matters.  Remember, you might not lose weight every week and you certainly shouldn’t expect to see that number drop every day.  Don’t get obsessed with weigh-ins.  Keep an eye on your weight over time to make sure that you’re getting the results you expect.  Failure to lose weight might mean that you have to take a look at your diet or other lifestyle issues.  But day-to-day, it should be a guideline, not a way of life.

This is a big topic and we’ll certainly want to dive into it in more detail over time.  For now, though, anybody out there running for weight loss these days?  How’s it going?  We’d love to hear from you!

Keeping Resolutions (New Year’s or Not)

We’ve been talking a lot about resolutions lately.  The rubber is hitting the road for our New Year’s group, who are right now in the midst of Week One in a push that will have them 5k-ready by January 1.

But regardless of whether you’re joining us in the New Year’s push, there’s still plenty to be said for making a commitment to yourself and seeing it through.  Read on for tips on how you can stick to your training resolutions, New Year or otherwise.

Get started.  Do you know the undisputed, number one reason that people fail to complete a training program like Ease into 5k?  They never start.  Don’t worry about how many weeks are in the program or how many workouts you need to get through in the first week.  Just start.  Start with the first workout of the first week.  Each of our programs are designed to build you up and prepare you for the workouts ahead.  Trust the program and get that first workout behind you.

Roll with it. Eventually, something is going to interrupt your training. You’ll have to work late, take care of a sick kid, get derailed by a family get-together — sooner or later it’s going to happen.  Or maybe you just fall a little short in the motivation department one week.  Whatever interrupts your program, don’t let it be the end of the line.  Just jump back in.  Pick up where you left off, rewind to an earlier week in the program, do a no-pressure 15-minute fun run; whatever it takes to get you back on the horse, make it happen.

Don’t stress.  Getting fit is supposed to be good for your mental health, not another thing to worry about.  Let your training program be your refuge from day-to-day stress and anxiety.  If a particular workout is causing you grief or you’re worried about your performance day-to-day, take a deep breath.  You don’t need to set any records, you just need to get out there and run.  Take the pressure off and make your goal simply to get out there and make it happen…the rest tends to take care of itself.

Find a buddy.  Nothing creates accountability like a running partner.  If your running style and your lifestyle will accomodate a running partner (or a group of them), there’s no better way to keep yourself honest.  It’s easy to stay in bed and skip a solo morning run.  It’s much harder to leave your buddy hanging on the corner.

Be social.  Don’t have a running buddy?  Sure you do.  Social media provides unprecedented  access to like-minded runners all over the world.  Our apps will even let you post your workouts to Facebook and Twitter right after you finish them (automatically if you like), making it easier than ever to share your progress.  If you’re looking for a great community of runners to start meeting online, check us out on Twitter and Facebook.  We’re proud to say we have some awesome fans and followers.

Three reasons to strength train (like it or not)

Last week, we talked about circuit training (and suggested what we think is a darn good way to get it done).

If circuit training — or strength training in general — isn’t on your fitness radar, there are a few reasons that perhaps it ought to be.  Running is a tremendous form of exercise and not a half-bad way of life.  But that doesn’t mean it’s in your body’s best interest to run exclusively.

Here are quick three reasons to broaden your horizons with strength training, whether it’s through weights, cross-training, or circuit work.

Prevent injury.  Many “running injuries” aren’t so much caused by running as they are exposed by it.  If you have a potentially bad knee or a weak back, running can bring that budding injury to the surface.  Strength training will help you tackle the problem at its source, addressing potential problem areas before they get you into trouble.

Avoid boredom.  Running is repetitive.  Sometimes, that can be heaven.  Other times, it can be taxing.  If running ever begins to feel less like a groove and more like a rut, injecting some alternative training into your routine can help you vary your activity without losing sight of your fitness goals.

Get faster.  For some of our readers (and we love you), this is always the one that sells.  Building strength will help you increase your speed in a way that sheer mileage will not.  You can build muscle, cover more ground with less effort, and push through some of those training walls we hit when training through running alone.

Is anyone out there as enthusiastic about their strength work as they are their running?  Or maybe even more so?  Please let us know!