6/20/2014 09:53:00 PM

Spartan Race Code Winners

Announcing our two (2) Atom Spartans, how cool is that?

After two (2) weeks, the Reebok Spartan Race code giveaway has finally concluded and we have two winners drawn via RaffleCopter.

The following Spartans will be showing their might in any open heat of their chosen US continental 2014 Spartan race.

Let's give them a Spartan battle cry, ha-ooh! ha-ooh!

As for everyone else who did not win but are still itching and want to push-on and experience the glory of a Spartan Race, do drop me an e-mail, direct message or a private message and I will be happy to give you a separate code that will entitle you for a 10% registration discount on any 2014 Spartan Race.

You will understand at the finish line!
Read More “Spartan Race Code Winners”
6/10/2014 05:49:00 PM

Exercise Addiction

Article contributed by: Claire Best

fatigued running girl
Photo credit: Addiction Treatment Magazine
Any runner will know the thrill of winning a race, running that bit further or improving your time. These achievements are what keep us going. They’re what make us push our bodies that bit further to meet our goals. However, when does this drive and passion turn into an unhealthy obsession? Exercise addiction, although rarely taken seriously, can ruin people’s lives as much as any drug addiction and can also damage the body just as much.

Do I have an exercise addiction?
Exercise addiction is exactly that: an addiction to exercise. Although exercising is a great habit to get into and has many health benefits, as with most things, too much of anything can be detrimental to your health. Over-exercise can cause a number of physical problems, including muscle tears, joint pain and the loss of muscle mass. Amongst women it can even result in the loss of their periods, which can affect fertility. Mentally, being addicted to exercise can take over your life. If exercise is dominating your every thought, disrupting your regular routine and damaging relationships with friends, family and partners, you may have an addiction to exercise. Over exercising often goes hand-in-hand with an eating disorder, for example, Anorexia Nervosa, as the obsessive mentality surrounding numbers and critiquing your body are extremely similar.

How do you treat exercise addiction?

The first step is realizing you have an addiction to exercise. Often, addiction is deceptive and will often cause the individual to be in denial. Therefore, simply by recognizing your behavior isn’t normal is a huge step in the right direction. Once this has been established, visit your doctor. Exercise addiction can be hard to treat because the activity itself doesn’t involve a substance and is usually incredibly good for us. However, your doctor will ask you to refrain exercising for a period of time until your life has achieved some normality and balance again. You may also have counselling to get to the root of the problem and find out why you feel the need to compulsively exercise.
About the Author
Claire Best is a former healthcare worker, with a background in Nutritional Science. After becoming a mother, she decided to focus her time and energy on her family and started freelance writing articles on health, diet and fitness. When not writing, she likes to spend as much time as possible outdoors, keeping fit and enjoying time with her husband and children.
Read More “Exercise Addiction”

Obstacle racing is becoming in-demand in many Country because of the much heightened adrenaline, muscle-burning, and the tough, heart-melting yet fun challenges of the course. One of these in-demand obstacle races since 2005 is the Spartan Race™ designed by eight ultra athletes with a simple goal of getting you off the couch, throw you in the mud and trails, and feed you one tough endurance event day that will be the adrenalin rush of your life.

Voted as the #1 obstacle race by Outside Magazine in 2012, the Spartan race obstacle course is designed to test your resilience, strength, stamina, quick decision making skills, and ability to laugh in the face of adversity. These unique obstacle courses will demand every ounce of your strength, ingenuity, and animal instinct.

If you have tried trail races, mud runs, tough mudder runs, or a warrior dash, it's time to step up to a more brutal Spartan Race obstacle course. You can tackle a Spartan Sprint, a Super Spartan, or even attempt a brutal Spartan Beast. Once you have metted yourself out from categories, challenge yourself more and check if you have the heart to graduate up to the Ultra Beast Marathon, an endurance race like NO other.

Recently, another exciting race was just announced that will host three race types and also for the Kids in one weekend -- the upcoming Hawaii Trifecta Weekend happening at Kualoa Ranch, island of Hawaii on August 16 to 17, 2014. So if you're planning a vacation, you may want to add this on your itinerary.

Spartan Race™, unfortunately is not yet available here in the Philippines, but as we all know, there are a lot of Filipinos and Challengers in many parts of the world, some of them have already experienced how to become a Spartan racer.

And to give my US readers (Filipino or not) a chance to join or redeem yourself on a Spartan race event, I am giving away TWO (2) FREE RACE CODES, courtesy of Mr. Dan Krueger of Spartan Race Inc., good for any U.S. 2014 Spartan Race.

The free race code entitles you to a free individual registration for any OPEN HEAT (non-confirmed start time) in any 2014 Spartan Race in the continental US (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) such as the upcoming Philadelphia Spartan Sprint at the Citizens Bank Park on September 20, 2014.

Other upcoming US Spartan races starting from July 2014 are (Schedule of races posted here may vary from the original. For complete and updated schedule, please visit the Spartan Race website:
  1. July 12 - Pennsylvania Sprint
  2. July 26 - Washington DC Sprint
  3. August 2 - Pac West Sprint
  4. August 9 - Boston Sprint and AT&T Park Sprint
  5. August 23 - Virginia Super
  6. September 6 - Tri-State New Jersey Super
  7. September 13 - SoCal Beast
  8. September 14 - SoCal Sprint
  9. September 20 - Citizens Bank Park Sprint and Vermont Beast World Championship
  10. September 21 - Vermont Sprint and Vermont Ultra Beast
  11. September 27 - Chicago Super
  12. October 25 - Sacramento Super and Carolinas Beast
  13. November 1 - Miller Park Sprint
  14. November 8 - Nebraska Sprint
  15. November 15 - Fenway Park Sprint
  16. December 6 - Malibu Sprint
Oh and by the way, do you know what shoe can handle any abuse a Spartan can give? Built Spartan strong and born from the trenches of Spartan races, the official footwear of the Spartan HQ is the Reebok All-Terrain Series, strategically designed with drainage ports that drain water quickly and easily and 360 degrees of traction to shed mud.

To know more about the Spartan race categories, click each of the following links below:
  1. Spartan Sprint
  2. Super Spartan
  3. Spartan Beast
  4. Ultra Beast Marathon
Now to qualify for the raffle, just follow the instructions and requirements from RaffleCopter below (be ready with your beasty/selfie workout photo). Acceptance of entry will run from 6:00AM of June 5 (GMT+8) until the 18th of June, 2014. Winners will be announced within 48-hours.

This is just a once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity from RunningAtom and Spartan Race Inc. so what are you waiting for? JOIN NOW!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

"Human beings are made up of flesh and blood, and a miracle fiber called courage." - George Patton

You will understand at the finish line!
Read More “Reebok Spartan Race 2014 and Race Code Giveaway”

Prior to the Brooks Run Happy 3 race that was held last May 11 at Sierra Madre in Tanay, Rizal, a friend asked me about this event curious and eager to know what is Cross Country running: "are you really going to cross to another Country?". That question was too familiar to me as I have also asked that myself a few years ago and it made me wonder if at some point, did a similar question also crossed the minds of the other runners as well.

Generally, a Cross country run is very much similar with trail running, except that Cross Country races have governed rules and guidelines from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), specially in the US, Canada, Australia, and a number of Countries in Europe where it is most popular. The race course is mostly laid out in an open area that are grass-covered, majority of the route is trails of all sorts, but may also have some pavement along the way, rolling terrain with frequent but smooth turns, and with distances varying only between 2.5-km to 12-km. In contrast, trail running is loosely governed and is run over longer routes and mostly single track.

So if we look into the distance category, we can define Brooks Run Happy 3 as a combination or mix of both Cross country and Trail running. One previous race that is closely similar to a Cross Country race is the Biodiversity Run held in UPLB way back in 2010 and the 1st leg of the Immuvit Fearless Challenge (if without the obstacles).

24K Runners at the starting line
The welcoming breeze of the Sierra Madre mountain range in Tanay was a great getaway for this year's 3rd installment of the Brooks Run Happy as the venue offers variety of terrains, knee-crunching and lung-busting hills with great view alongside the route, and what's more exciting is that it has become a not so far-away out-of-town race for the participants. The homey starting line atmosphere at the garden beside the Assembly Hall of the Sierra Madre Hotel (where the recent Sierra 51050 was held) was also a respite from the mostly urban race venues.

16K Runners took-off from the starting line - photo by Photo-Ops

From the starting line, runners went off to the highway for about less than 100-meters and turning left entering Brgy. Laiban towards a steep downhill fire/dirt road which covers around 4-kilometers. This made it easy for us to gain our momentum and warm-up our legs. The continuous downhill gave me a pace between 4:10 to 4:30-mins/km but this gave my toes a hot friction short of having an early chafing, so I slowed down a bit and tried to land more softly on each stride. Being an out-and-back course, this same downhill becomes an upHELL of a climb on our way back!

Ankle deep river crossings were also aplenty despite the summer heat although most no longer bothered to soak or tread their shoes on the streams, but to conserve time, I just wade through and savored the still cool, flowing waters. Unfortunately the wide but short Maysawa waterfalls at the U-turn area was dry, so the runners who were hoping to splash through it were dismayed -- nobody's fault though!

16K U-turn at Maysawa Falls
The residents of I think Brgy. Sto. Niño were all friendly spectators. The kids were enjoying counting how many runners have already passed-by, and even counting like a "noisy" list those who were not wearing the neon-green Brooks shirt. Their good mornings and high-fives made the runners smile and break their running monotony, one villager even put-up his own small "hydration" station with a jug of cold water. Such welcoming people!

Going up to the descent we took at the start was the most challenging part of the route (oh wait, there were also obstacles waiting near the finish line) -- what goes down, goes up! As the ascent began, I hit it with an all through out powerwalk and sometimes reverse walk. My lack of speed and hills training was slowly taking a toll on my legs although my cardiovascular was still coping up. I was trying to go beyond my maximum 180-bpm heart rate during the ascent but it was my legs that can't go anymore when during my good-feel powerwalk, my left calf just suddenly twitched and cramped. After pausing to wait for the muscles to relax, I proceeded with slower walk until both my left and right calves went cramping happily, errr... alternately.

Uphill at a dirt road
and an uphill towards a concrete road
About more than 200-meters before the finish line at the camping grounds of Sierra Madre Hotel (below the garden area), it was a steeper downhill that we have to course through, I was again walking backwards on this downhill part towards the obstacle area consisting of a short Military wall, net climbs, tire skips, and inclined wall. The monkey bars and tire swing was removed because (as I heard) some runners fell down. The last 100-meters was again, going up! My calves became so hardened from the onset of cramps so I just walked sidewards and jogged the remaining 10-meters to the finish line to feel the last drop of my adrenaline. Then what happened? I can't move both my feet after crossing, thankfully though, the presence of the gorgeous medal girls were enough to refill the energy to take photos with them! :)

the pain.. oh, the pain!
In summary, the race was a great experience, two thumbs-up to the race organizers for coming up with such race that caters to beginner trail runners and even to the elite ones. Hydration stations were enough, with one energy drink/gatorade station and cold sponge station.

What made Tanay so hot! - photo by Roy Agsunod
with the Mamaws of the trail
Oh, because I needed to take a lot of rest after crossing the finish line, we were able to stay until the program finished and won myself at the raffle with a Moving Comfort sports bra!

The route, pace (white lines), and elevation profile (orange line) as recorded with Suunto Ambit 2S. Click the image for more details.
More photos below:

Captivating views at Brgy. Laiban
Short mountains at Brgy. Laiban
Sweltering summer heat cannot defeat the beautiful views
Inclined wall - photo by Roy Agsunod
Military wall - photo by Roy Agsunod
Net climb - photo by Roy Agsunod
Tire skip - photo by Roy Agsunod
Program area at the camping grounds - photo by Roy Agsunod
Unusual finish line - photo by Roy Agsunod
It starts there...

Official race results may be downloaded at... (oh, it's not yet out?)
Read More “Brooks' Cross Country Debut at Sierra Madre”
5/11/2014 11:20:00 AM

Osteoporosis Infographic

Did you know that May is Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention month?

Osteoporosis refers to a progressive loss of bone density, resulting in weaker bones that are more apt to break or fracture at even mild trauma. Aging, heredity, diet and lifestyle are all factors in osteoporosis, as are certain medications and medical conditions. Osteoporosis is a often a factor in hip fractures, which frequently lead to hip replacement surgery.

Check out the infographic below (click image to download) about Osteoporosis to be aware and prevent yourself from becoming one.

Read More “Osteoporosis Infographic”

So, it has almost been a year already and somehow, I was able to use most of the features of the Suunto Ambit 2S GPS watch, and what I could say is that I am totally impressed about the features, the design, and as well as the watch's functionality. A truly multi-sports watch, reviewing this gear for just a short period gives injustice to the many features that this watch can offer an Athlete, be it with the popular swim-bike-run events, the snow sports, water sports, racquet sports, or even to ball lover enthusiasts and adventurers.

Just a few days ago (02 May 2014), the watch's firmware gets updated into version 2.0.7, and with this update, some of my previously observed drawbacks and must-have features were addressed such as the "power-off" option that will greatly save your battery specially for off-seasons (if you do follow an off-season) and a more useful lap information browsing on the exercise log.

Give it some time to rest!
Another previous firmware update to version 1.5.14 on the last quarter of 2013 have also addressed a lot of improvement about the watch's features such as the GPS recording rate which greatly affects the GPS accuracy and battery life. This new update now has another GPS recording interval of 5-seconds which allows the battery to last up to 12-hours with better accuracy than the previous firmware (ver. 1.0.15) which can only be set in either 1-second or 60-seconds interval.

Firmware update via the Moveslink 2 applet
The Ambit 2S measures almost everything that a mountaineer needs except for the barometer and temperature. Altitude measurement is also pretty much accurate and it can also measure your vertical speed, total ascents and descents, average and peak heart rate, calories burned, average and maximum pace, and with the latest firmware update, your fastest pace is now displayed after your workout as well as a lap-by-lap chrono information, average pace, and average heart-rate.

One more thing that amazes me is the Ambit 2S' capability in measuring your SWOLF (swimming golf) or swimming efficiency. Although I haven't tested it yet thoroughly in outdoor swimming, it was a great information tool for me on my indoor swim trainings. Not just the SWOLF but it can also track your swimming style and number of strokes on a given pool length.

Measure every move you make!
As for outdoor swimming (in the open field/ocean), it's still a work in progress as the distance measurement seemed to be not moving even after the recent firmware update.

From movescount.com, there's also the AppZone where you can choose from many ready or custom-made apps that can be uploaded/integrated on your device to aid you with your goals and/or trainings such as the interval trainer. If you're a geek and want to tweak or create your own apps for your own use or for public consumption, you may do so from the App Designer. Here you can create apps from the very simple to the most complicated one that you can think and that your device can handle, of course! I have previously created a simple "Night mode" app just for me to test and get a feel of the App Designer. I've integrated that app to my runs so that the watch's backlight will automatically turn-on in the evening when I'm running.

Do more aside from tracking your moves
In summary, here's my take on the Suunto Ambit 2S. These are just the current features, and some of the items posted as room for improvements might soon become outdated as the firmware gets updated every now and then:

Great Features
  1. Weighs just 73-grams, only 15.41-mm thick, and 49.89-mm wide (excluding the buttons).
  2. When GPS signal is already locked, GPS signal is re-locked in less than 5-secs after turning the GPS on and off
  3. GPS automatically switches-off when an exercise is stopped
  4. Average GPS search-time is 30-seconds to 1.5 minutes on initial GPS locking.
  5. Exercise is automatically saved when exercise is stopped.
  6. Watch settings are loaded in movescount.com
  7. Battery lasts from 8-hours (when GPS fix/recording-rate is 1-sec) up to 50-hours (when GPS fix/recording rate is 60-sec).
  8. Up to eight (8) customizable screen displays per exercise.
  9. Can simultaneously navigate a planned route while recording your exercise/move (running, biking, etc.).
  10. Availability of firmware releases which gives regular updates and improvements to your device.
  11. Availability and speedy feedback of online Suunto support for any issues (my own ticket was replied back and addressed in less than 24-hrs).
  12. You can add/edit/delete or create your own sports mode via movescount.com.
  13. Route map in movescount.com is color-coded by the current pace or heart rate when the HRM strap is used.
Navigating the waters of Masbate to Pio Duran via a Ro-Ro ship
Create your own sports mode and use it in your Suunto Ambit watch
Rooms for Improvement
  1. With the availability of customizable screen displays, comes the limitation of available lines per screen which is only up to three (3) lines. This was supplemented though with up to three (3) scrollable data on the 3rd line.
  2. The latest map update on the website made the zooming-in of the route very limited to only a farther distance.
  3. Personal data, date, and time is reset back when the watch's battery is drained or manually turned-off via the service menu.
  4. Distance markers on the route map is no longer displayed after the route is saved via Route Planner in movescount.com.
  5. No graphical presentation of the route elevation from the Route Planner in movescount.com.
  6. No battery limit/margin while the GPS is running which causes the battery to totally drain (addressed in the v2.0.9 firmware update, GPS/move auto-saves and stop at 2% battery level).
  7. GPS recording rate can only be switched to either off, every intervals of 1-second (best GPS accuracy for 8-hrs battery life) or 60-seconds (25-hrs battery life). I hope there's an option for lower time intervals like between 3- to 30-seconds for better battery saving while maintaining the GPS recording accuracy (addressed in the v1.5.14 firmware update, additional GPS recording rate of 3-seconds which gives good accuracy and 12-hrs battery life.)
  8. Some features (like the autolap, height, age, gender) can only be configured in the Customization section of movescount.com (addressed in the v2.0.7 firmware update, personal settings may already be configured from the watch.)
Choose a recording interval and GPS accuracy to meet your battery need
Essential and Cool Features
  1. Navigation - one of my favorite tool in tracking an unknown territory or route that greatly helps in finding my way from Point A to Point B as plotted at the route planner of movescount.com without getting lost.
  2. POI (Points of Interest) - sometimes when you're out running and so focused, you might miss some great landmarks or pit-stops along the way. POI can remind you when you're already approaching one as you have defined while planning your route.
  3. Routes - planned routes may be uploaded to your watch and use it in your next exercise/move -- another one of the best feature.
Other Features
  1. Compass
  2. Stopwatch and Countdown timers
  3. Workout logbook
  4. Recovery time (now also available per workout/move)
  5. Hundreds of available apps from movescount.com that can aid you in your goals and trainings.
Graphite Heart rate monitor and strap
Use the Ambit 2S for your indoor workouts...
and also in all your outdoor adventures! (photo by Orland Beltran)
You can find my latest workouts as recorded from my Suunto Ambit 2S below:

Follow me at movescount.com

*Update: Suunto just recently launched the new addition to the Ambit, the Suunto Ambit 2R - the GPS for Runners. Read the Press Release from Aktibo Ka Ba?
Read More “Gear Review: Suunto Ambit 2S Multisport GPS Watch”

Before the different types of fitness training such as Circuit, MetaFit, CrossFit, TRX Suspension, and etc., there was already our pioneer in these kind of trainings that strengthened our Nation's best defenders - our Men in the Military uniform from the Marines, Airborne Forces Airborne, Navy Seals and Scout Rangers.

Most of us don't get to experience these kinds of Military training unless we passed the requirements of the PMA (Philippine Military Academy) and swear an oath to serve with Courage, Integrity, and Loyalty. But thanks to TrueNorth Fitness Bootcamp (TNFB) as we - the Civilians, may as well get to be introduced, trained, and honed as a Soldier, by the Soldiers themselves.

The True North Fitness Bootcamp is a military-style fitness training that delivers an intimate group fitness experience. It’s all about getting fit together. While joining a group may seem daunting to some, taking TNFB will make you feel part of a pack and in a matter of minutes you’ll be drawing strength and having fun with your fellow bootcampers as you jump over, crawl under, and run around obstacles with them. TNFB offers a highly sociable way to health and fitness, so you’ll get plenty of opportunities to get to know your fellow participants after each session.
Last April 26, 2014, TNFB launched their first session at the Army Support Command Grounds (ASCOM) of the Philippine Army Grandstand in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. The Bootcamp is to support and help with the training and preparation of the participants for the upcoming Guerilla Race on June 29, 2014 which will be held at Timberland Heights in San Mateo, Rizal. But don't fret, as this Bootcamp is also open to EVERYONE, whether you're not yet registered or are still just planning to register for the race.

Participants all attentive for the morning greetings, introduction, and instructions
The launch started at past 6:00AM and ended around 8:00AM, where the participants were able to train together with the some of the Soldiers and the Philippine Volcano celebrity Athlete - Chris Everingham. Because it was the first day of the training, the instructors just introduced the participants to some of the basic yet military-inspired exercises and calisthenics that will help to increase their speed, strength, stamina, and agility.

What's most different with their training is that you'll immediately notice the snappy execution of their workouts beginning with a shout of "commence exercise!" and then finish in upright, chest-out, stomach-in, and chin-up position even if you're already puffing hard. Ah, I loved it and I could say that's the kind of workout execution that you will definitely not experience from a gym!

The warm-ups and exercises are performed in Military-counting mode -- makes sure you execute more than you what you're expecting.

For the succeeding sessions, TNFB will offer different combinations of exercise regimen of the Marines, Special Forces (Airborne), Navy Seals and Scout Rangers. And again, don't fret, because the training will also be divided according to your current level of fitness - Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, and Super Human!

See TNFB's training schedule below:

Registration rates are as follows:
  1. 1 session - Php 180.00 (consumable for 1-day)
  2. 10 sessions (+2 free sessions) - Php 1,800.00 (consumable for 1-month)
  3. 25 sessions (+11 free sessions) - Php 4,500.00 (consumable for 3-months)
Two complete execution of push-ups is only counted as one, the counting is done as follows: 1-2-3-1, 1-2-3-2, 1-2-3-3, and so forth.
Expand your lungs further by chanting Military-impromptu chants while running... and you also get to smile at what the leader can compose at a whim!
The Guerilla men behind the Guerilla race

Join the TrueNorth Fitness Bootcamp now and get "Better, Stronger, Together"! Visit True North Fitness Boot Camp’s Facebook page and website for more details.
Read More “TrueNorth Fitness Bootcamp - Unleash the Soldier in You!”
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