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How to Defeat the 4 Most Common Excuses for Skipping Your Workout

No more excuses, it’s time to get your workout on!

We’ve all been there. We have the best intentions of following a workout routine, but sometimes life gets in the way. Next thing you know, we’re skipping more workouts than we should. There’s good news, you’re not alone!  Below are four solutions to the most common excuses for skipping workouts.

What’s Your Excuse?

1. You’re Too Tired

Taking time off when you’re tired is essential, but it may not be the best solution when it comes to skipping workouts. Sometimes pushing through a workout is the perfect way to get the boost of energy you need. Exercise increases blood flow and the release of serotonin and dopamine. All of which will help make you feel better. 

Solution: Maybe your regular workout is not ideal if you’re tired. Try less-intense exercise such as yoga or walking. They can be just as beneficial. You’re getting outdoors, enjoying the fresh air, and increasing your blood flow.

2. Gym Memberships Are Expensive

While gyms might be useful for strength workouts, it’s no secret that some memberships can be expensive. However, there’s an easy way to defeat this excuse and still increase your strength.

Solution: Get some basic equipment and create your gym at home. Start with a couple of dumbbells and resistance bands and slowly expand from there. Mix it up and find some online workouts for free to try at home. You can expand your gym from there. Additionally, you don’t need a membership to run or ride your bike and most city pools only charge a small fee.

3. Not Enough Time

Life can be crazy sometimes. When we look at our packed schedules, we might think the last thing we have time for is a workout. Try this, instead of finding time to work out, make time to workout.

Solution: You don’t need to work out for an entire hour to get the benefits from exercise. Sometimes 30 minutes can be enough. Try waking up 30 minutes early to exercise. Take some time off during your lunch break to ride your bike. You can also multi-task. For example, why not try out some body-weight exercises while you binge-watch your favorite series? If you have kids at home that might prevent you from working out, make it fun, and get them involved in your routine. Schedule family walks/runs/bike rides around the neighborhood.

4. Just Not Motivated

Sometimes improving our health or getting a PR in our next race is not enough motivation to help us stick to a workout routine and save the excuses.

Solution: Set smaller, short-term goals that are realistic and achievable. While setting big goals is important, it might take a long time to accomplish them. You might become unmotivated over time. For some people, having someone else to exercise with can be very motivating. Finding yourself an accountability partner can be helpful. Lastly, doing something that is not fun is definitely not going to be motivating, so find a type of exercise that is fun for you! 

How to Defeat the 4 Most Common Excuses for Skipping Your Workout

It’s Go Time!

Whether it is a lack of time or motivation, we’ve all made some excuse to skip a workout here and there. The good news is that there is always a way to defeat our excuses. No more slacking off with these four solutions for skipping workouts. For extra motivation, join us on Facebook for a great place to share training tips, advice, and keep up with your fellow triathletes!

Swim Stroke Styles: What They Are and Why They Matter

Benefits of Incorporating Different Swim Stroke Styles into your tri training

Triathlon swimming is different from competitive swimming. You’re in open water with a bunch of triathletes on the same mission: to reach the end of the swim as quickly, efficiently, and safely as possible. The distance of the swim will help you determine which swim stroke style you should work on during training to do your best on race day. Your current skill level in the water is also important to factor in. Keep reading to see the benefits of learning multiple swim strokes during your training for your upcoming tri. 

Why Different Swim Strokes Matter

In open water racing, you’ll find yourself having to swerve around other athletes. You may also have to stop quickly to avoid getting kicked and make tight turns around buoy markers. Adding in new strokes for just one of your workouts per week will make a difference in being able to react to these circumstances in an efficient way. Not only that, using different strokes will cause you to use different ranges of motion resulting in less strain to particular muscles and more of a complete shoulder and chest workout.

Freestyle Stroke

Freestyle is the best-known swim style stroke, and the most common stroke we see out at Jack’s Generic Tri, because it’s the most efficient swim stroke you can learn. It takes you farther than other strokes without expending more energy. Freestyle also gives you a full-body workout. It works the muscles in your arms, legs, core, and back. If you are looking for a particular swimming stroke to strengthen your back muscles, freestyle is definitely the way to go. Although the most efficient stroke, it can also be difficult to master. One of the most important things to focus on during training is your breathing. You can practice this by using the flutter kick while holding a kickboard out in front of you and practice rotating your face in and out of the water to breathe until you’ve established a rhythm you can replicate in the open water.

Benefits of the Freestyle Stroke

Click here to learn more about the freestyle stroke

Backstroke

Backstroke is rarely used during a triathlon, but it is a great stroke to incorporate into your training because it helps your shoulders unwind after sticking with one specific stroke for a while. This stroke is great for improving hip rotation. It also works your shoulder flexibility in the opposite way from freestyle. Depending on the length of your swim, mastering backstroke is always a great alternative to have up your sleeve. Your face stays out of the water, so you can breathe whenever you want. Backstroke is extremely useful when you need a bit of a rest period or if the water is choppy on race day.

Benefits of Backstroke

Click here to learn more about the backstroke

Breaststroke

Breastroke is the perfect swim stroke style for building strength in your hands by using them as paddles. This will translate into a stronger pull in freestyle. It’s a great way to switch things up and focus on different muscle groups. If you’re hesitant to hold your breath, breaststroke is great because you breathe every stroke. You can also complete this stroke without having to put your face in the water. Some argue breaststroke is the slowest swimming stroke, which may be a con for people who prefer speed. This stroke can be done for longer periods of time, so it can serve as an endurance workout. It’s a good alternative to your regular stroke as a way to mix in some cardio and burn a lot of calories in a session.

Benefits of Breaststroke

Click here to learn more about the breaststroke

Butterfly Stroke

If you’re looking to challenge yourself in the water, the butterfly is the way to go. This stroke was named after the movement in which you move your arms and is great for strengthening your core. This is important to triathlon because a strong core aids in swimming, cycling, and running. Butterfly requires a great deal of strength and coordination that takes time to develop. Not only does is this stroke a great workout to build abdominal strength, but it also strengthens your shoulders and chest. Each stroke requires that your core muscles have enough power to pull your arms over the water. Just a few laps of butterfly leaves you feeling its effects and burns the most calories of any swimming stroke. If this stroke is something you’re interested in perfecting, consider joining a Masters Swimming Program to get to proper coaching and guidance you’d need.

Benefits of Butterfly Stroke

Click here to learn more about the butterfly stroke

Keep in Mind:

Although your goal may be to complete the distance as fast as possible, you have to pace yourself. Triathlon requires you to be as efficient as you can in order to save energy for the bike and run later on. Incorporating different swim strokes into your training builds strength in other muscle groups, reduces the risk of injury, and breaks the repetitiveness in your swim sets. In the meantime, try these ways to stay motivated to keep up with your tri training and we’ll see you at JGT in no time!

Top 5 Fitness Instagram Accounts You Need to Follow

Follow these top 5 fitness Instagram accounts for your fittest year yet!

Maybe you’re someone who likes to work out alone, or maybe your schedule is so crazy you can’t seem to find the time to get a good workout in. Luckily for us, getting a good workout has never been so easy! Well… convenient. Get back in the fitness groove for Jack’s Generic Tri on August 23rd, or start a new healthy habit with our top 5 fitness Instagram accounts you need to follow.

Strava @strava

Strava top 5 fitness instagram accounts you need to follow

Follow @strava on Instagram

Explore new paths and see where your training will take you with the help of Strava. “Designed by athletes, for athletes, Strava’s mobile app and website connect millions of runners and cyclists through the sports they love.” Connect with athletes all over the world and check out people’s favorite places to run or cycle all over the world! You can expect daily running or cycling workouts, along with words of motivation to help keep you on track. If you travel a lot, this is perfect for finding the top places to run when you visit or experience new places. You can follow other athletes to share your progress on the app. This is a great way to keep up with your tri squads training progress by uploading and sharing your routes with one another.

sworkit top 5 fitness instagram accounts you need to follow

Follow @sworkit on Instagram

Sworkit @sworkit

With over 18 million followers, the Sworkit (Simply Work It) Instagram account is a must-follow. This Instagram has it all. From daily workouts accompanied by instructional videos, to words of inspiration to help light a fire under you to get started on your fitness journey! This feel-good account also shares thousands of their participants’ journeys that bring a sense of community that can help you with your own fitness improvements.

 

 

Baby-Fit Gym @babyfit_gym

babyfit_gym top 5 fitness instagram accounts you need to follow

Follow @babyfit_gym on Instagram

Baby fit-gym was created by Kristy Ardo after having children a few years back. This one is for all the moms out there as a way to get you back to your fitness routine on your schedule! Kristy, a mother of three herself,  knows how difficult it can be to make the time. Especially when your hands are full. Kristy is a certified personalized trainer that specializes in pregnancy and postpartum fitness. These 15-minute workouts are based on your current fitness abilities and can be adjusted to increase or decrease the intensity. She has an impressive following that makes moms and new moms feel united and allows them to share their stories and encourage one another to keep up the hard work.

 

shona_vertue.top 5 fitness instagram accounts you need to follow

Follow @shona_vertue on Instagram

Shona Vertue @shona_vertue

This is for all our fellow yogi’s or anyone looking to get into yoga! Shona Vertue is an elite, ex-gymnast from down under who shares her fitness tips and tricks to inspire others to follow along with her. Her motto is based on consistency and sustainability to keep you healthy and fit for life and not focusing on your appearance. If you love her account as much as we do, she also offers more specific programs to join online depending on what you wish to improve on.

 

 

Susan Niebergall Fitness @susanneibergallfitness

Follow @susanniebergallfitness on Instagram

Move over kids, let Susan Niebergall show you how it’s done! Susan is a personal trainer and strength coach in her mid-fifties that says she’s “living proof that anything is possible at any age.” She’s also very passionate about the importance of a healthy well-balanced diet. If one of your goals this year is to shed a few pounds and develop healthier eating habits, this is the account for you. With over 101 thousand followers, it’s safe to say Susan has helped so many people accomplish their fitness goals and continues to inspire others to make the change to a healthier, more active lifestyle.

 

With access to endless amounts of online training workouts, tips for living a healthier lifestyle, and so much more, it can be overwhelming to find one that’s right you. Hopefully, this list of our top fitness Instagrams will point you in the right direction.

5 Ridiculously Relatable Triathlon Memes That Will Make You Laugh

For those times when you’ve hit the wall during your training, remember: you are not alone!

A little humor never hurt anyone, so we’re here to help you laugh through the pain as you train for your upcoming tri with these relatable memes for every triathlete.

 

5 Must Try Yoga Poses for Triathletes

Give your muscles the TLC they need when you incorporate these 5 must-try yoga poses for triathletes into your training.

Adding yoga to your life offers many benefits such as increasing mobility and range of motion, preventing injuries, and relieving pain. Hopefully, you already have some kind of stretching routine included in your training. If you don’t, the offseason is the perfect time to try some new things! We’ve compiled a list of the 5 most beneficial yoga poses for triathletes to combat the wear and tear we put our bodies through during training.

1. Downward Facing Dog

Purpose: This is a common pose but is especially beneficial for a triathlete with any built-up tension in your calves and feet from running. Also great for cyclists with lower back from riding. Hold this pose to help build strength in your shoulders, arms, and chest.

How To: Start on your knees with your hands out in front of you, push your bottom up until you feel a stretch in your calves and the bottom of your feet. Straighten your legs if you can, but the main thing to remember in this pose is keeping your back flat as possible.

Downward Dog

2. Crescent Lunge

Purpose: This pose utilizes all the muscles in your body but focuses on getting a stretch in the back of your legs, groin, and hip flexors, while building strength in the front of your legs. Practicing this pose will open your range of motion in your legs and hips.

How To: Start in a standing position, and go into a lunge until your front leg is bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your core tight to remain balanced as you lift your arms above your head. During this motion, you will feel a stretch in your triceps and chest.  Take deep breaths as you hold this position, switch to your other leg and repeat.Crescent Lunge

3. Pigeon Fold

Purpose: The Pigeon Fold is a great yoga pose for opening up your hips and getting a deep stretch in your hip flexors and glutes. Good for athletes who spend more time cycling to loosen and realign their hips after putting in hours on the bike.

How To: Start in a Downward Facing Dog, bend your right knee and sweep your leg down and place it on the mat beneath you. Lower yourself to a comfortable seated position with your left leg behind you as you feel the stretch in your quad and hamstring. Hold your chest high to focus the stretch in your legs. Pigeon Fold

4. Cross-Legged Twist

Purpose: This pose focuses on stretching your lats, shoulders, and neck. This will help reduce any pain you may have from constantly rotating your body side to side during your freestyle swim stroke.  Holding this pose will lengthen and help mobility along your spine which is great for increasing your range of motion during your swim training.

How To: Begin on the floor with both legs out in front of you. Bring your knees to your chest and place the bottom of your feet on the ground. Slide your left foot on the ground under your right leg to rest your foot beside your right hip. Bring your right arm across your body and place it against the inside of your left knee. Push slightly to twist your body until you feel a stretch in your lats and shoulder. Cross Legged Twist

 

5. Bridge Pose

Purpose: Offers relief from pain caused by the position you are in when training on your bike. Good stretch for your quads, chest, and abs while also strengthens your glutes and hamstrings. You will feel this pose strengthens your back muscles to reduce or prevent pain you may have from running and cycling.

How To: Lie flat on your back with your knees bent with feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. Place hands on either side of your body to help keep yourself balanced. Press your feet and arms firmly into the floor and push your hips up off the ground.Bridge Pose

 

These yoga poses work muscles that are often neglected in the repetitive movements you do while preparing for a triathlon. Get the most out of your training when you add in these 5 yoga poses that are best for triathletes before or after your next workout!

Revealing the 2019 Jack’s Generic Tri Participant Bibs

Get the first look at this year’s JGT bibs designed especially with you in mind!

Get ready to get generic this August 25th and get ready to show off your personalized bib! Customizations are available until July 31st, so don’t wait any longer, and sign up today!

Jack's Generic Tri bibs revealed

First-look at the super sleek 2019 JGT participant bibs!

 

We can’t wait to meet you all on race morning at the start line! In the meantime, keep up the hard work during your JGT training!

You Need This Essential Triathlon Equipment Checklist

Pursue your love of triathlons the right way!

It’s never a good idea to wait until a couple of weeks or days leading up to your next tri to get all your necessary gear together. We’ve created a checklist of the essential triathlon equipment you’ll need to be a pro triathlete in no time.

Bike

Choose the best bike for youSimple enough, but one of the most important pieces of equipment you’ll need. You can’t complete a triathlon without a bike. From tri bikes and road bikes to mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, and cruisers, we’ve seen just about everything on the JGT course. Whatever kind of bike you have will be just fine for your next tri. Whether you’re currently in the market for one or are looking to improve your current ride, here are some suggestions for your perfect ride.

Pro tip: You can always rent bikes to test it out before you buy.

Helmet

Arguably the most important piece of equipment you will need for a triathlon. A safe tri is a fun tri, so it’s important to make sure you have a helmet that protects you. The fit of your helmet is crucial in the case of an accident. It is also a good idea to make sure you test them out in person to ensure a correct fit before purchasing your helmet.

Running Shoes

Running shoes are a must. It takes time to figure out what will make the run portion the most enjoyable and painless for you. Everyone is different and has different needs when it comes to a running shoe, so make sure you’re choosing the perfect pair of shoes. Hopefully, by now you already have a favorite pair or have a pair on the way, and are ready to take on the JGT run course. Pro tip: It’s a good idea to wear your running shoes to the race, to avoid forgetting them along with all your other essential tri gear.

Swim Goggles

Of course, you need goggles for the swim portion. Open water swimming tends to frighten people, so it will make you feel better to be able to see while completing the swim to see the buoys. Also, depending on the weather race day, choose goggles with the appropriate amount of tint to avoid hindering yourself during the swim portion.

 

Swim Cap

Swim caps are great for eliminating drag and increasing your speed in the water. JGT provides our participants with a bright colored swim cap specific to your age group to keep the groups together and help with the time trial swim start. Per USAT rules, swim caps are required for safety purposes to be able to identify swimmers in the water.

Pro tip: Wear two swim caps on race day with your goggles in between the two. It will prevent any sort of slipping your goggles may encounter.

Swimsuit or Tri Suit

A standard swimsuit can come in a one-piece or two-piece. You will need to come prepared with a pair of cycling shorts after you complete the swim if you opt for the swimsuit. Then there is a tri suit. A tri suit can also be in one or two pieces, but the bottoms resemble cycling shorts. The key difference here from a wetsuit is the pad included for cycling is not nearly as thick. Find what you’re most comfortable in to be ready for your next triathlon. Lastly, if you plan on doing your training in a pool, the chlorine can damage your suit. It’s always a good idea to have one you train in, and one designated for race day.

We advise shopping around before you make your purchase regarding these different pieces of essential triathlon equipment. Everyone has their preferences, so take some time to guarantee you get the equipment best for you and your body.

 

Your Step-by-Step Guide to a Clean Bike

Our guide to a clean bike will have your ride look good as new

Everybody knows that when you go for a ride, your bike is bound to get dirty. Whether it’s grease from your indoor trainer or mud and dirt from your ride on the trails, we know how hard it can be to keep your set of wheels clean with all the craziness of training season. Prolong the life of your bike by giving it the TLC it needs with our 7-step guide to a clean bike. Pro tip: download the PDF below to print out our guide to a clean bike!

Follow these steps

  1. Put a little degreaser on the chain. Not too much, a little goes a long way. Let it sit on the chain for about a minute or two.
  2. Give the chain a light scrubbing and rinse it off with the hose/sprayer.
  3. Prepare the Simple Green solution. We recommend a 3:1 ratio of water to Simple Green.
  4. Take your big brush along with the solution and wash all the major components of the bike (i.e. frame, fork, wheels, cranks, and derailleurs). Save your smaller brushes for tighter areas. To avoid missing any spots, start at the back and make your way to the front of the bike.
  5. Spray your bike down with water completely. Wash your tires while you’re at it. It will give you a chance to inspect for any damages your tires may have.
  6. Let it dry. Either air-dry outside or hand-dry it with a towel.
  7. Once completely dry, you can then lube the chain so it’s ready to go on your next ride.

Go the extra mile and wash the bar tape, saddle, and tires. These parts tend to get forgotten and they can get pretty gross if they stay dirty.

Consistency is key. Using our guide to a clean bike will ultimately improve the way your bike handles, as well as extending the life of your bike. Remember: happy bike = happy life.

By: James Balentine, owner of City Limit Cycles, an Austin, Texas-based mobile bicycle repair company that comes to you. Balentine began working with bikes in 1990 when he was 12. He began racing mountain bikes in 1991 and BMX in 1992, winning 12 national championships before turning pro in 1999. He has worked with USA Triathlon as a mechanic for Team USA since 2004. Since 2013, Balentine has worked with the US Paratriathlon team and is their sole mechanic.

Give Aqua Running a Try

What is aqua running?

Aqua running is a deep water form of running. Running in water is great for those who are looking to up their cardiovascular capacity without wear and tear on their muscles from running on pavement.

Aqua running is sometimes associated with injury but it is also a great addition to any training routine. It is also a great way to escape the heat during the summer months.

What you need to give aqua running a try

How to get started

Related image

Strap the belt around your waist. You want to make sure the belt stays around your waist and does not ride up too high your ribcage. Once you have your belt on and are in the pool simply get into the running position as you would on land.

Aquajogging is much slower so it is best to base your workouts on time, hence the waterproof watch.

To keep from getting bored run laps up and down the lane. But if you are limited on space you can stay in one spot or jog in small circles. You can increase the difficulty of the workout by increasing your cadence.

Some advice from experience

Stay conscious of your form, make sure your arms don’t turn into a doggy paddle.

Don’t lean forward. you need to keep your body as upright as possible. So remember to check in on yourself.

Bring your knees up higher than you would on land.

Don’t overdo it on your first session. 20 – 30 minutes is a good Aqua jogging session to start out with.

Remember, this is not just treading water.

Aqua running is as hard as you want to make it. If you find yourself slacking, do interval workouts.

5 Tips for Training in the Heat

Summer is settling in, take precautions when training in the heat

Even with summer thunderstorms, temperatures in Central Texas consistently hit the mid-90s. Take a look at the heat index and it’s almost always triple digits. High temperatures won’t keep you from training, so you need to make some adjustments. Training in the heat does have some benefits, but being smart and altering your schedule/plan ensures your training regimen rolling right along. Incorporate these 5 tips for training in the heat and you’ll be prepared for your next race.

Hydrate more when training in the heat.

Hydrate more when training in the heat. Photo – Ed Sparks

HYDRATE!

This is the most obvious and most over-looked training in the heat tip. You know to hydrate in the summer months, but you don’t always do it. Sometimes you forget, perhaps you get sidetracked at work, often times you hydrate, just not enough. It’s recommended that we drink 64 ounces of water a day. In the summer months that should increase. And if your training in the heat, that amount should increase even more. Your body is losing fluids and you need to replace them. Don’t just drink water either, incorporate an electrolyte-enhanced drink, like nuun. Alternate between water and electrolytes. If you’re training in the heat you should aim for no less than 100 ounces of water/electrolytes every day. Drink up!

Train in the mornings/evenings

It’s no secret that the hottest part of the day is noon – 5:00 p.m. If you can avoid training during that timeframe do it! During the summer months, your training should occur earlier in the mornings or later in the evenings. Training early in the morning before work is your best bet. That’s the coolest part of the day. Your body will thank you for not having to work as hard keeping you cool. Not a morning person? Move your workouts to an evening time. 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. would be an ideal time for a workout. It’ll be warm, just not as hot as midday. Bonus – the sun’s angle is lower during the morning and the evenings. This means there will be more shadows on your run or ride.

Wear light-colored, breathable clothing

Darker colored clothing attracts and absorbs more of the sun’s heat. Cotton shirts and shorts absorb and carry sweat, weighing you down. Wear light-colored, breathable clothing when training in the heat. The lighter colors will reflect the sunlight and not absorb as much heat. Breathable clothing will wick sweat from your body and not weigh you down. This allows your body to stay cool and work more efficiently.

Run/bike on the trails

Hit the trails! The pavement’s temperature can soar as high as 140 degrees when you’re running or cycling. This heat can last well into the evening. Visit the trails for your next run or ride. The shade from the trees helps keep the temperatures down. There’s often little-to-no vehicle traffic. The ground is softer than the hot concrete. Often times there’s a creek or river nearby that you can jump in if needed. Check out our four favorite trails. Bonus – the trails will make you a better runner/cyclist!

Apply sunscreen

Swimming, biking, running. It doesn’t matter. Apply sunscreen! Even if you run in the shade or ride on the trail, apply sunscreen. If you’re swimming indoors you don’t need sunscreen, but if you’re outdoors, lather up! Look for sunscreen that’s sweat and water-proof. It’ll last long during your workout and ensure the sun’s ray don’t impact your skin, especially if you take off your shirt mid-run. If you’re racing for an extended period of time, apply sunscreen throughout. Training with a sunburn is not comfortable. Plus, the sunburn will warm your body and make it that much more difficult to keep your core cool.

These tips don’t apply to every scenario. There are various options you can choose from that variate from these tips. Modify them to your training plan, location, and life schedule. This advice will lead you to build a training plan that’s suitable for you. You’ll be ready for that next event. And think, when the temperatures start cooling off in the fall, you’ll be ahead of the training game!