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Reasons Why You Should Include Strength Training

Reap the benefits when you include strength training

Strength training is an underrated physical activity that has a lot of advantages. Some people think it is a physical activity that is meant for bodybuilders and weight lifters, but that’s not true. Everyone should include strength training to their overall plan. You’re asking a lot from your body when you think of all the swimming, cycling, and running. When you include strength training, you’re giving your body the strength it needs to do what you want it to do. Below are 4 reasons why you should include strength training. Pro tip: train smarter with some of our favorite apps.

Become stronger

Getting stronger occurs whether you use weights or complete exercises using your body weight. The great thing about getting stronger is it doesn’t have to cost you anything! Your body needs a foundation to build upon when you begin training. Increasing your strength will give you the ability to complete all that your training plan calls for. Pro tip: you have to put in the work! Use these 4 excuse-busters and don’t skip your next strength workout.

Prevent injuries

Overuse injuries occur when you complete the same act repeatedly. Give overused muscles a rest when you include strength training. Various exercises, like lunges and squats, can help strengthen your lower body and allow your upper body to rest (if you completed a swim workout the day before). Conversely, push-ups, dips, or rows can strengthen your arms and allow your lower body to rest. Pro tip: here are some additional tips to avoid knee pain.

Improve your endurance

As you get stronger, you’ll improve your endurance. You teach your body to go further and further when you include strength training. The stronger you become, the more power your body will have to swim, bike, and run further than the week before. 

Stay fit

You don’t have to train for a certain event to include strength training. Use it as a means to stay fit. You can maintain your foundation of strength by focusing at least 10 minutes on your core and 10 minutes on your upper and lower body. This allows you to keep swimming, cycling, and running so that you’re ready for your next event. Pro tip: eating healthy helps you stay fit too. Make sure you’re eating your greens with these healthy recipes.

The benefits of strength training can be enormous, especially when paired with these 8 habits of a successful triathlete. It all depends on how much you invest from a time standpoint. But the great thing about increasing your strength is you don’t need heavy weights or expensive equipment. You can do sit-ups, push-ups, squats, lunges, mountain climbers, and anything else you think of from the comfort of your home. Include strength training and establish the foundation needed to stay fit, prevent injuries, and get stronger.

7 Inspirational Quotes to Motivate You

Get the boost you need from these inspirational quotes

The words of someone else can often reignite your fire or reinforce your self-belief. That little spark can get you back on track and working towards your goals. It’s true and it works for us! We share inspirational quotes with our Instagram followers because it reminds us to keep pushing. We hope that by sharing these with you that they provide the same boost. It’s much easier to skip a workout than it is to complete the day’s workout. Use these inspirational quotes and our four excuse-busters to keep crushing those workouts.

Pro tip: learn how you can get the most out of your workouts with these training apps.

“Opportunity does not knock, it presents itself when you beat down the door.” – Kyle Chandler

“The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.” – Oprah Winfrey

“Action is the foundational key to success.” – Pablo Picasso

“Don’t be pushed around by the FEARS in your mind. Be led by the DREAMS in your heart.” – Roy T. Bennett

“Dream big, start small. But most of all start.” – Simon Sinek

“Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.” – Victor Kiam

“Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.” – Robert H. Schuller

Train Smarter: Mobile Apps Every Triathlete Needs

Here are some of our favorite triathlon training apps to maximize your training.

It can take months of hard work to train for a triathlon. The right technology can help you train more efficiently. Whether its support from your fellow triathletes, customized workouts, or a virtual coach, there is an app for every need. Plus, it is one less excuse to skip a workout!

1. Strava

A performance tracker that is compatible with every Android and iOS GPS system, Strava is an app that helps you monitor heart rate, speed, and power. With a global community of athletes, Strava can also be used to share workout routines, race information, and organize activities with friends, teams, and brands.

2. Go Swim

A swimming app, Go Swim offers video drills to improve stroke technique. This mobile app also features the latest news, articles, and blogs from around the world on swimming, Olympic sports, triathlons and more with practical advice on how to incorporate them into one’s own workout.

3. Myfitnesspal

A fitness app that helps track and improve your diet when training for a triathlon. Myfitnesspal doesn’t just count calories, it also monitors nutritional value and serving size. It helps you understand your food habits better so that you make smarter, healthier choices.

Camp Gladiator Workout App - with workouts for Triathlon Training

4. Wahoo Fitness

A training app, Wahoo Fitness is compatible with most Android and iOS phones and can be used for all aspects of triathlon training including running, cycling, and swimming. Pair it with your cycling sensors, heart rate monitors, and bike trainers to improve the efficiency of your workout.

5. Headspace

Your training plan should have a balance between fitness, exercise, and relaxation. Headspace, a meditation app helps you decompress after a workout. It is also an effective sleep app. Sleep is very important for recovery and meditation can be helpful for calming pre-race nerves.

6. Camp Gladiator

A workout app, Camp Gladiator, offers real-time coaching with a certified personal trainer to monitor and modify your workouts. You can schedule virtual workouts that will help you develop muscle, body strength, or lose weight in the comfort of your home.

While all of these are not specifically triathlon training apps, they all offer great resources to help you train smarter. You can also download the Jack’s Generic Tri mobile app to stay up to date on everything you need for race day. If you are looking for more inspiration and easy access to workouts, be sure to follow these 5 fitness accounts on Instagram.

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!

Rockin’ Training Playlist to Get You Ready for Jack’s Generic Tri

Get back to your JGT training with this rockin’ playlist

Looking for a new rockin’ playlist to get you in the zone for some Jack’s Generic Tri training?! You’ve come to the right place. We’re big music lovers at JGT, so we’ve put together some of our favorite hits for your tri training sessions! Get motivated for this year’s 18th celebration with this rockin’ training playlist that will make you feel like you’re at the JGT finish line festival!

Scroll through the playlist below!

These songs can pump you up, give you a second to catch your breath or help you through the warm-up/cool-down. With these hits, you’ll want to crank up the volume, but make sure you can still hear your surroundings. It’s important to know what’s going on around you!

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!

6 Skills to Know Before Race Day of Jack’s Generic Tri

Be prepared for anything that comes your way during Jack’s Generic Tri by checking out these 6 skills you need to know before race day!

When it comes to triathlons, there is a lot of information that would be beneficial to know before you get out and tackle your first tri. To help you get prepared for Jack’s Generic Tri, we’ve created a list of 6 basic skills that are sure to help you become a better triathlete in the long-run.

How to Change a Flat

6 skills to know before race day

One last bike safety check before the race kicks off!

Follow these 10 steps to fix a flat, and you’ll be back in the race in no time.

1.) Open quick release on break calipers
2.) Open quick release skewer on wheel & remove wheel
3.) Take one side of tire off the rim with your tire levers
4.) Pull out the punctured tube
5.) Check the inside of tire for road debris and cuts in tire
6.) Make sure the rim strip on wheel rim is in it’s proper place
7.) Insert new inner tube between wheel rim and tire
8.) Put the sidewall of tire back onto the rim
9.) Inflate the tube to recommended pressure
10.) Put the wheel back on the bicycle, insert skewer, and re-clamp break calipers

Although it can be tedious, this is a skill you need to know before race day. We recommend using Genuine Innovations Deluxe Ultra Flate tire kit.

How to Fix a Dropped Chain

Get off the bike and steady it in an upright position against something sturdy. To add slack to the chain, push the rear derailleur toward the pedal (forward or inward), and then use your other hand to free the chain from the chainrings or pedals. Line the chain back up with a chainring and cassette to put the chain back in place. Lastly, lift the rear of your bike a few inches off the ground and give the pedals a few turns to allow the chain to find its gear. This seems insignificant, but it’s an important step to keep your chain from more wear and tear throughout the rest of your ride. 

How to Ride in the Rain

Check the weather on race morning to see if you should be prepared to ride in the rain. Throughout the course, avoid standing water. You never know what could be underneath a puddle, and you don’t want to risk a flat tire in wet conditions. Also, be on the lookout for rainbow-colored oil patches in the road to avoid any possible slipping. Stay within your comfort zone, and avoid braking through the corners to prevent losing control. Last but not least, bring some protection for your eyes! Hopefully, you do this when out for any ride, but you will be glad you did in case you find yourself riding in the rain. 

How to Ride While Taking a Drink

You’re bound to get thirsty during the bike portion, so be prepared to ride with one hand during a race. Practice makes perfect. During your training, practice this by removing one hand at a time to build up your confidence. Start with shorter distances, and before you know it you’ll be a pro at riding with one hand. This skill will allow you to eat, drink and signal to other riders while making your way to the finish line.

 

6 skills to know before race day

Jack’s Generic Tri participant sighting during the swim portion

How to Sight in the Water

To avoid swimming a further distance during your tri, sighting is an important skill you should know before an open-water swim. You need to look where you’re going every few strokes to make sure you are staying in line with the buoys. The best method of sighting is to incorporate glancing forward before you go to take a breath. It is recommended to sight every 2 – 3 strokes, but to find what works best for you, you will just have to practice. Pro tip: Look at the swim course before-hand to see if the course goes clockwise or counter-clockwise, then you’ll know to stay on the right or left side of the buoys. 

How to Look Over Your Shoulder

After you perfect riding with one hand, you’ll be ready to learn how to look over your shoulder during your ride. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings during a ride to keep yourself, and others around you safe. It’s all about shifting your weight correctly and keeping your knees, pelvis, and front-wheel facing forward. We advise performing this drill in a parking lot, or on an empty street to make sure you can still ride straight while turned around.

Once you’ve mastered these 6 skills you should know, there will be nothing in your way on race day as you head for the finish line!

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.