UFIT Fitness

Why running is the best sport in the world

“The real purpose of running is not to win a race; it’s to test the limits of the human heart.” This is how American track and field and co-founder of Nike, Bill Bowerman, described why we run. 

What an outstanding description of a sport that sees over 16 million Americans doing at least three times a week! Running is the fastest growing sport over the last decade with an increase of 300% in participation noted since 1990 in the US alone. Within this statistic we see the greatest increase in female runners where 25% of all runners were females in 1990, compared to 57% being recorded as female runners in 2013.

But what is behind this phenomenon? Why are people, and females in particular, falling in love with a sport that historically has been hated.

Why? Because running is an addiction, often a love/hate addiction, but a highly empowering and freeing addiction. We often hear people describe how they “caught the running bug” and that’s exactly what they are talking about. Once you find running, it becomes your stress reliever, your fitness regime, your “me time”, your obsession and your passion. This is why runners call themselves “runners.” They see themselves defined by their sport, unlike most other sportspeople who play a sport, we (runners) are our sport.

Having said this though, most runners fall into running, they don’t necessarily choose running as their main sport. I don’t think young athletes look at professional middle distance runners with dreams of aspiration, when compared to premiership footballers, swimmers or tennis players. So it is often by chance that most middle distance runners find themselves addicted to running, myself included.

I was always an active child running around, and growing up with 5 older brothers made sure I was able to run (away) fast. I started playing Irish sports in school, as most Irish children do, but not loving any particular one. This saw me embark on high school with no involvement in any organised sport which a teenage girl is probably the worst position to be in. So many changes are going on inside a teenage girl in terms of emotional and physical changes that I needed an active outlet. So at the age of 15 I simply fell into running because two girlfriends were keen to run for fitness. We then campaigned to our school to allow to employ an athletics coach and the rest is history. My love for running just grew and grew the more I ran, it wasn’t planned nor was it an aspiration of mine, but now I could not imagine my life without running.

As my love for the sport grew, as did my running success. Racing and competing became my drug. Even to this day, the adrenaline rush and natural serotonin high that I get from racing is like nothing else. It is this high that is addictive and makes me want to run again and again, even sometimes foolishly through pain. This is why running is such a rapidly growing sport, this natural high and sense of empowerment, freedom and adventure is hard to find elsewhere. You are in control of it, you can run as fast, as slow, as hard or as long as you want. It is just you, your thoughts and the road.

As they say, success begets success, and this is very applicable to running. Once you race or compete for the first time you then strive to beat your personal best time/placing and this is never ending. That’s what I believe Bill Bowerman meant when he described the purpose of running as testing the limits of the human heart. Testing yourself time and time again, and seeing how far you can push your body’s limits. Pushing yourself to be the best version of yourself, the best runner within yourself.  

To those non-runners that I chat to I always say don’t knock it until you try it. That natural high I get from running, just me, the wind and the road, is a sensation that words don’t do justice to describe, you have to feel it. Experience it first hand and see if you can resist doing again and again, because I know that for this reason I will keep running for as long as my legs can carry me!

Happy running everyone!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Máire Nic Amhlaoibh

Máire began her career as an athletic therapist and trainer. Whilst in university she completed courses in trigger point release, kinesio® taping, massage, muscle energy technique and myofascial release to name but a few. 

If you're suffering from sporting injuries our superstar runner Maire is also an outstanding physio at the UFIT Clinic.

Find out more here

UFIT Clean & Lean Week One – Food Diary by Kelly Latimer

Have you ever wanted to know what it's like to experience the UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge? Kelly Latimer joined us for her first taste of the programme last year and documented her first week of whilst busy travelling. If Kelly can fit it into her schedule then you definitely can.

Hear more from Kelly about the first week and the changes she started to experience.

Spent this week in Thailand on shoot for a new show. I’ll be spending 3 weeks of this challenge out of Singapore and away from physical support and meal prepping abilities. Been watching everyone’s posts in the Facebook group, feeling a little sad that I can’t cook. Production shoots leave little room for choosing food during the day, but I made sure before I left that I brought along almonds, oats and whatever easy snacks that didn’t look like they contained too much sugar. Fruits have been the main reach-for items, because that’s what the local crew provides. Evenings have been easier. Veg heavy meals with good fresh protein, lots of fresh fish. I’ve managed to limit processed food consumption to a minimum and I do feel plenty better for that. Although right now all I want is a pizza! Heading home this weekend and really looking forward to eating well in the coming week.

Day One

First day of the challenge and I’m in Malaysia on shoot. I’d be lying if I said I’ve eaten clean all day today. Curry for lunch at a restaurant. Dove into the veggie curry, but I’d needed to supplement with some rice. Long shoot days become longer with no carbs. I hope this is all in the mind.

Day Two

Home. Scrambled eggs for breakfast to start the day right. Wanted to make egg muffins, but was so tired I couldn’t make it out of the house to go grocery shopping. I’ll have to work on that. Much of the day spent recuperating from my week of shoot. Dinner for Mother’s Day was decent. Chinese food is actually pretty good for eating clean. Roast meats, plenty of vegetables and good soup.

Day Three

Back on the road. Thailand-bound. Does anyone realises how hard it is to find good clean food at the airport?! Skipped on the aeroplane food because it was 80% carbs. There was a little salad that came with it. Devoured that. Avoiding too many raw food dishes, so no papaya salad for me at dinner. Meats and veg all good so far.

Day Four

Breakfast will be sent to your room at 5am, they said. Half a slice of toast, a fried egg and 4 slices of some overly processed ham. I skipped on that. Had oats that I brought instead. First day of shoot. Looking at a 15 hour day. Couldn’t survive without some rice today. Options are limited. Apples and bananas for snacks.

Day Five

Another long day ahead. More gross breakfasts. They’re trying their best, but the concept of “carb free” and “clean” where I am is a foreign concept. Dinners are OK when I can order what I want, but the lunches have been terrible. Noodles today. Yummy. But definitely not C&L approved. Need food though. Feeling very sluggish.

Day Six

Two short days, but even earlier call times. I don’t drink coffee any more, so I’m really finding it hard. I’m just so tired. Filming under shelter today, so it’s not as hot. Water is my best friend - when we’re shooting in a place with a good toilet. Managed to hit the gym proper today. Other days were just short workouts in the room. Felt so strong, but then afterwards… SO HUNGRY!

Day Seven

Last day of shoot. Going home tomorrow. SO EXCITED! I’m aching from yesterday. Definitely need more protein, but I’ve gone off beef. Pork and fish seem ok. I want a pizza. Like. I really want a pizza. Been looking at options for a cauliflower pizza base that I can potentially cook next week. The carb craving is real. Haven’t needed sugar as much as I’d think I would. I’m sure that’ll change and I have been eating fruit. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Host & Vocal Talent Fitness Enthusiast, friend of UFIT.

November story: Brooks Entwistle

Three years ago this fall, I walked into UFIT on Amoy Street and met a brand new trainer who had just started that week. The young Lawrence Cartwright.

Photo credit: Zeb Blais

Photo credit: Zeb Blais

For the fall of 2013, I came in six days a week - three with Dan Carter who would take a technical approach to my workout, and then three with Lawrence who would destroy me on the cardio front in what was to become the Lane of Pain. I loved every minute, and was UFIT member of the month in October 2013 as these two guys tag-teamed to get me in the best shape of my life to attempt Mt. Everest in the Spring of 2014.  

I showed up in Nepal for the climb in fighting UFIT form, and had an excellent month trekking to Everest Base Camp, climbing 6,000 meter Lobuche East and then going through the Khmbu Ice Fall on the way to Camp One. Tragically the horrible events of 18 April occurred just after that, with a big avalanche killing 16 sherpa on the route we had just covered.  Our climb was over, and while extremely disappointing given all the training involved, it certainly was the right call given the tremendous sacrifices of the sherpa community.

I came right back to UFIT, and Lawrence and I started working for the next one. A year later, thanks to excellent preparation at both UFIT, and also pulling sleds at CrossFit Bukit Timah, I was able to approach and summit Mt. Vinson, the highest mountain in Antarctica in November 2015.

Keeping a tradition alive, I came right back to the Lane of Pain the day after this climb and started thinking about the next goal with Lawrence. One of the great things about our sessions is that my wife Laura, a UFIT member for several years and in awesome shape, joins and pushes me on the competitive front. Really fun.

In September this year, after several months of very specific and intense 8,000 metre peak training designed and implemented by Lawrence, I went to Cho Oyu in Tibet, at 8,201 metres and the sixth highest peak in the world, and attempted a rapid ascent (three weeks instead of the traditional six weeks to climb the mountain) and then ski descent of the mountain.  

Photo credit: Zeb Blais

Photo credit: Zeb Blais

On 1 October, our team was the first to summit after an amazing sunrise, and then we clipped into our backcountry skis at the summit and began the ski ascent down, eventually taking off our skis at Camp One at 6,000 metres where the snow ends. A truly epic trip and with Lawrence's critical help on the training front, I became the oldest American and one of the oldest people ever to ski from the top of an 8,000 metre peak.

Thanks to the entire UFIT team, you have the best gym culture in Asia, and I am forever grateful for the #paininthelane sessions, Pearl Jam Deadlift Fridays and all the other creative ways you all have come up with to pound a 49 year old body in to 8,000 metre Himalayan peak shape.

As always, I met Lawrence back in the Lane the morning after returning from Tibet, and he had already come up with new, and occasionally sick, drills for whatever the next goal may be.

Thanks again.

Brooks Entwistle
Singapore
Member since September 2013


Our UFIT October Kids Camps round up!

How the UFIT Holiday Camps helped kids learn new skills, improve technique and make new friends!

We kick-started our two weeks of fun with 53 kids ready to enhance their fitness, learn new skills, and improve their knowledge about the benefits of good nutrition.

Throughout the two weeks the kids started off with lunches that were not so much on the healthy side, but by the end they were actively heading home, using the notes from their nutrition talks and coming in with some deliciously healthy meals. Not only are our camps essential for kids to learn how to improve sporting abilities, but their diet is key. It’s great we have the opportunity to share our knowledge to get them up to speed at such an early age!

They had loads of fun flipping tyres, playing games and using ropes while making new friends. We noticed them developing their skills over that short period of time and really giving it 100% effort when they were with us.

Athlete Development Camp Coach Tom Clarke explains “The main aim of the week was to develop young athletes with a wide range of skills and abilities.  We could see this development happening as they listened to our tips and did their homework and came back each day with bundles of energy to learn more. We love these camps as we get to educate kids who love their sport and want to get better, it makes our job easy and rewarding.

We started each day with 30mins of warm-up co-ordination games, mobility and activation. We then moved to The Cage where we covered speed and agility, and did linear acceleration, top speed and change of direction. We used sleds, bands, wall balls and tyres and put the technique into game situations playing bib tag or relay races. 

We also hit the gym for a strength session. Our key focus was to improve their technique in fundamental movement patterns such as squats, hinges, presses, pulls, rotate and brace. This was done through a circuit of exercises such as push ups to deadlifts and much more”.


In the second week we saw an outstanding number of kids keen to develop their rugby skills at the Rugby Development Camp. Hear more from Frazer McArdell of what they got up to during the course of the week…

“We started our week with rugby handling skills to breaking down the catch and pass, strength and conditioning where we assessed their movement patterns to our nutrition talk where we covered basic nutrition for rugby performance which can be applied to a number of other sports." 

Over the next few days we covered rugby decision making under pressure, delved into strength and conditioning more by covering speed mechanics and repeated speed. Even more importantly we covered essential recovery techniques for professional rugby players. 

By the end of the week we re-capped all of the newfound knowledge on nutrition with some competitions on who had made the most changes to their lunches. We then went into what decisions can you make at the breakdown area and individual jobs within the team. We also played some contact based and situational games which is why everyone was here - to have some fun on the pitch”.

Hear it straight from our parents and kids:

“Josh did the rugby camp and had a fantastic week. He enjoyed everything, from the gym sessions to the skills training, and even the nutrition seminars! He came home suitably tired, muddy and happy every afternoon and slept like a baby. He said he would definitely like to do a similar camp next year. Thanks to all the coaches for a really good week of rugby,” Kerry, Cracknell, parent.

“The rugby camp was excellent. We learnt all about food to eat pre and post match, skills that will help us in matches, how to exercise so you don't hurt yourself, plus it was lots of fun,” James, age 11.

We’re dedicated as coaches and as a team to develop and educate your children early enough so that when they reach adolescence they will already be ahead of the game with the knowledge and education.

 

Let your child continue their growth at our next Kids Camps in April or get them signed up for a free trial at the UFIT Youth Academy that we run after school at 4pm to 5pm weekdays, except Wednesdays. Find out more information here.

 

April Kids Holiday Camps – save the date:

Athlete Development: 3-7 April 2017
Rugby Athlete Development: 10-14 April 2017

If you're interested in finding out more about the camps in April please don't hesitate to get in touch with our coaches right here.

10 Ways To Gain Muscle Part 2 with Nathan Williams

The first part of this article detailed some training tactics you could use when trying to pack on muscle mass. Part 2 focuses mostly on tactics to work on outside the gym. 

1. Be more consistent in Life

If your goal is to increase muscle mass and gain weight, you need to train more often. How often? Well that depends on how healthy the rest of your life is. If you are following healthy habits/lifestyle 90% of the time, you probably should be training 4-6 times per week with a structured plan designed to achieve your muscle building goals.

 

2. Focus on exercises which allow you to lift heavier weights

“Don’t major in the Minors” - there are other quotes that describe this common mistake. Spend 80% of your gym time working on the exercises that stimulate the most muscle mass, Squats, Deadlifts, Rows, presses and loaded carries for example. Barbells are probably the the best tool to load up weights but be sure to have the correct techniques down before trying to become the next Arnold. 

 

3. Work on weaknesses in isolation

This leads from the last point, Only use the smaller, isolation exercises for body-parts that you want to develop. That’s not to say they cant be useful in the future, but muscles like the calves and deltoids tend to grow when general lean body-weight increases. For beginners trying to get bigger and stronger I would suggest using isolation as “icing on the cake” in a training program that focuses on compound exercises using barbells and dumbbells. 

 

4. The Train hard, progressive overload principle

In order to gain muscle, you must challenge the muscle to perform in a progressive fashion. Albert Einstein famously quotes “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. This is true when it comes to muscle building. You have to systematically change the load, tempo, and reps to achieve “progressive overload,” this principle is one of the most important in the laws of muscle building.

 

5. Ditch the steady state cardio (calories to build)

If your goal is weight/muscle gain then every single calorie that you take in must be used to grow. You must try to create an anabolic environment in your body by taking in more calories than you burn. Long Steady Duration (LSD) Cardiovascular exercise (e.g. distance running) is highly catabolic in nature. In simple terms, LSD type training will have a negative effect on your muscle building efforts. Use lower rest periods in your weight sessions if needed or walk around more to increase NEAT levels (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) - or simply staying active/busy.


MEET THE AUTHOR

Nathan specialises in strength training, kettlebells and has a keen interest in corrective and mobility work.

Nathan will be able to assist those wanting to become fitter, stronger and healthier by eliminating pain and weakness in the body through improving strength and quality of fundamental human movements. This is a system he successfully learned and adapted from an internship at the world renowned high performance center' Cressey Performance in Boston, MA, United States.