Category Archives: Hints & Tips

Learn to Love the Winter Season

Dive in.. in your uggs

Photo credit  – Laura Dennis

As winter settles in for Australia and the rest of the Southern hemisphere, a lot of ladies who prefer to be outdoors for recreation and their sport may be dreading the months ahead. Yet there is no real way of getting around winter unless perhaps you have the capacity to escape to the Northern hemisphere this time of year, like our AMANZI Girls Penny Hayes and Laura Dennis are doing. But for most of us, that is not an option, or at least not an immediate one. In the meantime, it behooves a lady to learn to embrace the chilly season.

So how does one learn to love the winter? Well, we can’t say with a 100% certainty we at AMANZI have mastered this skill of loving all the seasons equally, but we do have some useful tools that may help you loathe winter a wee bit less.

1. Dress Warmly

If you are one of those people who just hates the cold, then it is time to step up your layering game. When you wear an excessive amount of layers it can make it feel a lot warmer outside, so that you can comfortably go around without shivering too much. Invest in clothes that’ll help you feel warm and comfy during the winter season.

2. Spend Lots Of Time At The Pool

Indoor pools are around the same temperature year round. It is always a lovely feeling to walk into a warm pool area when it is miserable out. This is especially true if you can find a pool in the area that is heated to a nice and warm temperature. This whole winter thing seems like the perfect excuse to spend more time with your AMANZI swimwear in the pool to train if you ask us!

3. … But Dry Off Thoroughly After Each Swim Session

Make sure you have a showering and drying off routine after every session at the pool. A steaming, hot shower and a hair dryer will do wonders to reduce the amount of misery you experience when you go to face the elements outdoors after a hard training session at the pool.

4. Don’t Let It Stop You From Going Outside

When you don’t spend any time outdoors during the winter, it can be difficult to acclimate to the chillier weather. Unless the temperatures are extremely low or there is severe weather warnings, there is no reason to always stay inside. So suck it up and venture outdoors! You may be surprised how quickly your body gets used to the chilly weather when you give it some time to do so.

5. Adjust Your Training Appropriately

Our bodies function differently during the winter. Joints and muscles become stiffer, and the body needs to work harder to stay warm. Adjust your training routine and expectation to the match the season to avoid injury and optimize results. If at all possible work with a coach or trainer to see exactly what you should be doing to adjust your training regimen to the winter season.

Acai Bowl Bliss

Acai bowl

Acai is a delicious tropical fruit which is all the buzz lately in the health and nutritional world. The sweet tasting and healthy nature of this purple and delicious fruit makes it a great option for those looking to enhance their diets with nutritional foods. Acai fruit is known to promote healthy skin, aid weight loss, improve cardiovascular health, reduce cancer risk and increase cell health. All in all it packs a strong punch of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals making it well-worth incorporating into your diet.

So you may be wondering, what is an “acai bowl” anyways?. When I first heard about it I imagined myself building a bowl out of tiny berries, but it actually isn’t a berry mosaic. An acai bowl is simply a blend of acai served in a bowl. You add into it your favorite toppings. The result is a thick and creamy ice cream like experience, but it is actually really great for you. If you are looking for a chilly treat this is a great way to satiate the sweet tooth without breaking your diet.

Acai bowls do require some clean up and prep, so this is more of a recipe to make when you have time to cook up a treat in the kitchen. But we can promise the work is worth it! Without further ado, let’s get onto those acai bowl instructions as promised.

How To Make an Acai Bowl

1. Start with an Acai smoothie

Whatever method you prefer to make an acai smoothie, go ahead and do so. You can buy smoothie packs or use the actual acai root to make a smoothie. For the purpose of speed, we recommend just using the smoothie packs to hurry up the process. For the smoothie you can add in your favorite ingredients to smoothies like bananas, coconut milk, yogurt, chia seeds, or whatever you want to enhance the flavour.

2. Get the perfect frosty texture
Either add more liquid or more substances to thicken or thin the smoothie’s texture. You want it to be thick enough to eat with a spoon! To thicken it you can add bananas or yogurt, and make sure not to overdo it with any of the liquids that you add to the smoothie. Make sure to add in ice or frozen berries to make it an extra refreshing treat!

3. Put It In A Bowl

Once the acai is thick enough, you’ll want to spoon it out into a bowl. You can put it into a cold bowl to help slow the melting process of the acai smoothing and add cold ingredients at the bottom to reduce the amount of surface area of the smoothie that is exposed to warmer temperatures. Pro Tip: You want to have you toppings ready before this process, so that your acai bowl doesn’t melt while you’re getting your topping ready.

4. Add your toppings

Finally you can add on all the toppings you want to personalize your acai bowl. Add on nuts, coconut flakes, chocolate, fruit, peanut butter or whatever may strike your fancy. Get creative! Try to add on something crunchy to add some nice texture into your acai bowl. It is like an ice-cream sundae without any of the guilt!

 

 

8 Tips for Preparing for your First Race and Every Race

Race Day

Photo credit - Portia Doragas 

No matter what your sport, preparing for race day is key to preforming at your best. Even if you do not set out to win the race, obviously you are also racing against yourself and aiming for those PBs! If you follow these tips closely, you’ll be able to do your very best come race day.

  1. Fuel your Body
    During the whole process of training, you should be feeding your body the most nutritious food possible suited to your training. It is important to maintain this up to race day- especially in the last 24 hours before a race. Try to eat light and normal foods to avoid having digestive issues during the race, but make sure you eat enough to maintain energy to get through the race.
  2. Fuel your Mind
    Racing isn’t just about getting your body prepared, it is also about having the right mental attitude. Get your mind amped and confident for the race, so that you don’t encounter any mental barriers along the way.
  3. Have all your Gear Ready
    The day before the race make sure you triple check that all of your gear is packed up and ready to go. You don’t want to end up forgetting any key components on race day, because that may mean not being able to compete at all!
  4. Have a Dress Rehearsal Before Race Day
    You should have a couple of dress rehearsals before race day to ensure that your mind and body know what to expect. This will help you get a feel for exactly what the race will be like before the day of the race, so there won’t be any unpleasant surprises.
  5. Let Your Friends and Family Know About The Race
    A little bit of moral support can go a long way in the race. Even if your friends and family can’t make it to the actual race day, they can offer support and love throughout the training process. Plus, it gives you another chance to complain to someone about the crazy amount of training you’ve been doing!
  6. Train Consistently
    You probably already know this, but you should be training consistently up until race day. This means that you are going to witness the whole gamut of good, bad and ugly workouts. Some days training will be fun, sometimes it’s the last thing you want to do. This is normal, and you’ve just got to push on through.
  7. Consider Including A Friend
    Running a race? Doing a triathlon? Why not coax a friend or two into joining you? Multiple studies have shown that runners go faster when they are paired together. Plus, it gives you an outside motivator to keep you working hard throughout the process of training for race day.
  8. Keep Calm
    Race day jitters are really common, and they commonly throw off people’s performance. Try breathing exercises, meditation and yoga to train your mind how to relax in stressful situations. P.S. Racing is supposed to be fun, so don’t get yourself worked up over nothing!

9 Tips to Improve Your Freestyle Technique

Laura Dennis Freestyle

Photo credit - Laura Dennis

Here are some tips to improve your freestyle technique for beginner to intermediate swimmers. Unlike other more complicated strokes, since we are so familiar with freestyle visually and mentally, it can be difficult to make minor corrections. Remember to be patient with yourself as you work to refine this stroke to help reach your athletic and/or fitness goals.

  1. Most new swimmers naturally want to keep their torso turned towards the bottom of the pool. For the freestyle stroke you really need to focus on swimming on your sides by rolling from side to side with each stroke. Not only will this technique improve your speed, it also helps you engage the muscles on your back to avoid shoulder injuries.
  2. A nose-clip for beginner swimmers who are working on their technique is a great way to help the swimmer focus. The nose clip keeps the water out of a swimmer’s nose when they are working on fine-tuning their strokes. It isn’t for everyone, but if you are easily distracted it may be worth a shot.
  3. When you are training make sure to have swimwear that allows for comfortable range of motion in the shoulders and back. AMANZI Swimwear is designed with thin straps and open back that give swimmers the freedom they need to work on their freestyle stroke.
  4. To keep good momentum as your hand enters the water, make sure that you are driving it in aggressively. Imagine the speed that a pelican hits the water, and that your hand is the beak of the pelican.
  5. Consider using power paddles when you train to help refine the position of your hand. Using hand paddles help ingrain the correct position of the hands into your muscle memory.
  6. Kick from the hip, not from the knee. This means your leg will be relatively straight when you are kicking through your freestyle laps.
  7. As you work through your laps remember to point your toes constantly to avoid extra drag. For runners, you may need to do ankle stretches to help open up the ankle to hold it in the pointed position.
  8. Work with a coach, trainer or even another swimmer, so you can receive feedback on your freestyle stroke from another set of eyes. Often our technique may feel right, but another person can see things you can’t.
  9. Keep focused with every stroke. It can be easy to drift back into bad habits when swimming. To form new and better techniques one has to constantly concentrate on their stroke until it becomes natural.

 

 

 

 

Yoga Poses for Swimmers

Yoga Poses for Swimmers

Photo creditCourtney Home

You may have heard it through the grape vine that yoga is awesome for swimmers! Yet, perhaps due to time, money or will power, you just never seem to be able to make it to an actual yoga class. Whatever your reason, you can still get some of the physical benefits of a yoga without ever stepping foot into an official yoga class. By doing these following poses you’ll stretch out muscles that get especially tight in a swimmer’s body.

Passive Chest Opener

This relaxing pose requires minimal effort from you, but it provides a huge opening to the chest and shoulders. Roll a blanket into a cylinder shape that is the width of your shoulders and about five inches in height. Lay on the ground, so that the long side of the blanket is horizontal to your shoulders. Sit down about five inches in front of the blanket with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Slowly lay back with the goal of getting your shoulder blade tips on top of the roll. Lie back on to the roll and allow the arms to go out into a t-shape or ninety degrees for a deeper stretch. Stay in this position anywhere from two to five minutes.  

Eagle

The Eagle is a challenging balancing pose that opens up the shoulders and hips. Take your left elbow under the right, so that your forearms form an x-shape. Next, try to connect close the hands in towards one another. Ideally you want to try to cross the wrists, so that the fingertips of the bottom hand touch the palm of the top hand. Next take your hips back as if you’re going to take a seat. Lift up the right leg then cross it over the left thigh. If you can, try to hook the foot behind the calf. Stay in this pose for six breaths then when you are ready, squeeze everything in, then unfurl and release.

Downward Facing Dog

This is the one stop pose for all of your ailments, because it accesses just about every part of the body including your ankles, hips, thighs, shoulders, chest, spine, triceps, chest, neck and more. Come to your hands and knees with your wrists below your shoulders and your knees slightly back from your hips. Tuck your toes under, then push up with your hands and feet to raise your hips towards the ceiling. Try to hollow out your armpits to bring the shoulders on the back. Push down between the space of your index finger and thumb. To really get a leg stretch, try to sink the heels to the floor. Stay in the pose for as long as feels comfortable to you, remember to take deep and cleansing breaths.

Also, Try A Video!

There are tons of *free* online resources that take you through the basics of a yoga class. We recommend DoYogaWithMe.com as a good site with tons of videos with experienced instructors taking you through a yoga class in the comfort of your own home.

Do I have to warm down after a swim?

Laura Dennis

AMANZI Triathlete Laura Dennis warms down after a hard set

Do you ever get sick and tired of doing your warm down after a race or hard training session?

SwimSci, a blog dedicated to the science of swimming, recently featured an article entitled “Are Warm Downs Necessary in Swimming?.” In this article they discuss various studies that examine the effectiveness of warm downs across various sports, but they especially wanted to find out if warm downs are still necessary after swimming.

If you are interested in the details of studies, you can read the full article here. For those of you in a rush or for those who have little interest in the science side of things, we’re just going to go ahead and skip to the conclusion!

It turns out that warm downs do enhance performance in between events at swim meets according to a recent study. The conclusion to their scientific inquiry is that while cool downs may not be as relevant to dry land sports as once thought, it is still definitely important in swimming. The scientific experts at SwimSci will be following the latest research on this topic to make sure that if there is any change in point of view of the scientific community about cool downs, they will let us know!

Most of you may not be all that surprised that warm downs are a necessary part of the swimming routine. After all most swimmers regularly include a warm-down into their swimming routine, because that is just what we do! Stay tuned to our blog in the future for the perfect warm downs to add to your swims.

 

 

 

5 Footcare Tips for Triathletes and Runners

Taking care of feet can be a huge obstacle for long-distance runners and triathletes, but with a few preventative measures the worst of problems can be avoided. The importance of taking care of feet cannot be understated, since neglecting the feet can lead to plantar fasciitis, stress fractures and other serious injuries. Triathletes especially have a challenge due to the fact they often run on tired legs that compromise their form. Since runners use their feet so much for the sport they love, they really should take the time to keep their feet happy. The following tips will help ward off foot problems for runners.

1. Experiment with Socks

Every runner has a sock method that they swear prevents blisters. The truth is since every runner’s body is different, what works for one runner will not work for the next. The best way to find socks that work the best for your feet is to try out different methods. There are special moisture-wicking socks that pull away moisture from the feet. Some runners wear single-layers or double-layers of socks. Some runners don’t even wear socks. Figure out what makes your runner’s feet the happiest before committing to any single method.

2. Consider foot lubricants

Trislide and other foot lubricants really can help ease the parts of the foot that are really just not happy about the idea for running this long. Under the achilles, on the toes, on top of ankle, anywhere that really bothers you, slather lubricants on to make running a little more comfortable for the feet.

3. Dry feet after showering, swimming, sweating, etc.

Letting any moisture sit on the feet can irritate already sensitive spots. Also, drying the feet helps avoid building up any of nasty bacterial growth on nails and on the skin. Take the time to really towel down between the toes and the entire surface of the foot anytime they get wet.

4. Foot Massages

Runners really give their feet a hard time- why not give the feet a much deserved treat? If it isn’t possible to get someone else to massage your feet, it is easy enough to do yourself. It is even probably a better idea to do it yourself if there are blisters and other sore spots that a person may not know to avoid.

5. Right shoes for cycling and running

Telling runners or triathletes to invest in good shoes probably seems a bit redundant. We already know about your serious running shoe addiction, but just in case you needed the reminder… Make sure to have shoes with good support arches. Replace running shoes as soon as the midsole starts to break down. This may mean spending a little less on the absolute best shoes, so that you can afford to regularly replace your shoes.

Don’t Quit! 10 Inspirational Quotes to Keep You Going When Training

It can be so tempting to quit. Not just for swimmers, triathletes and other athletes, but for everyone. The difference between success and failure often can be just the willpower to continue. When you feel like you’ve given it all, and you are considering giving it up, take a look at these quotes before you consider quitting. Here are 10 inspirational quotes to keep you going when training.

“If you quit ONCE it becomes a habit. Never quit!” – Michael Jordan

“Hard things are put in our way, not to stop us, but to call out our courage and strength.” – Anonymous

“Commitment is what makes us better people. It’s what makes the world a better place.” – Diana Nyad (first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage)

“It’s always too early to quit.”- Norman Vincent Peale

“The best way to guarantee a loss is to quit.”- Morgan Freeman

“We will all fail in life, but nobody has to be a failure. Failing at a thing doesn’t make you a failure. You are only a failure when you quit trying.” – Joyce Meyer

“Effort only fully releases its rewards when a person refuses to quit.”- Anonymous

“Don’t quit! Every difficulty is an opportunity in disguise.” – Anonymous

“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” – George Elliot

“You don’t get stronger on the days when everything comes easily to you.” – Nastia Liukin

6 Tips on getting chlorine out your swimsuit

How to get chlorine out of your swimsuit

Chlorine is a nasty chemical that you may have noticed damages a swimmer’s hair, skin and swimsuit. To avoid the worst affects of chlorine on swimwear, it is imperative to properly maintain swimwear with basic upkeep. The following tips will not only help you get chlorine out of your swimsuit, but it will also help make your swimsuit last longer:

1. Chlorine Resistant Swimwear
First off, one of the best ways to ensure your swimwear isn’t ruined by chlorine is to invest in chlorine resistant swimwear. All AMANZI swimsuits are made from AMANZI Armor Chlorine Resistant Fabric that helps keep the chlorine from absorbing into your swimwear in the first place. Read more about AMANZI Armor here or click on the image below:

AMANZI Armor

2. Rinse Swimsuit Before Swimming
As a rule, we should always rinse off before entering any pool. An added bonus to this is that rinsing a swimsuit before swimming reduces the amount of chlorine it absorbs as it has already absorbed clean water.

3. Rinse Swimwear After Every Use
When swimwear sits after it has been in the pool, the chlorine will stay in that the fabric and will continue to eat away at it. To avoid this problem just rinse your swimwear with cold tap water after every use.

4. Do Not Ring Out Swimsuits
Ringing out your swimwear does speed up the drying process, but it also breaks down the structure and fabric of the swimwear. Just allow your swimwear to air dry by hanging it up or laying it out flat.

5. Hand Wash Swimsuits
To avoid the fabric of your swimwear from breaking down, the recommended way to wash a swimsuit is by hand washing it. After you machine wash swimwear on a regular cycle the compromised fabric is more likely to absorb chlorine. Most washing machines have a hand wash cycle, but I recommend going the old school way of manually hand washing the swimwear yourself.

Hand washing swimwear is actually pretty easy. Just fill a sink with cold water then mix in some suit saver / tog wash. Let your swimsuit soak in this mixture for around 20 minutes. Once it has soaked massage the swimwear gently to get the chlorine and dirt out. Drain the sink. Next run the swimwear under cold water until the water runs clear.

6. Alternate Swimsuits
Alternating two or three swimsuits gives the swimsuits a chance to dry out and return to its original shape. Swimwear lasts a lot longer if we aren’t constantly keeping it wet and saturated with chlorine by using it every day. Besides, who minds having a couple different cuts and styles of swimwear for the sake of fashion?