Julie Kelly’s personal one-two combo combines her two passions: Boxing and raising money to fight cancer. As a co-founder of the Boston-based Haymakers for Hope, which has raised nearly $8 million for cancer research and care, Kelly is integral in expanding the company to Denver, where it will host its first fundraiser in June. A cancer survivor, Kelly won the New York City Golden Gloves at 132 pounds in 2009 and 2010. She shares some tips with us on how to pack a stronger punch between the ropes.
+ Try Interval Training: This mimics the high-intensity physical output that you need in the ring. There are so many ways to add intervals into your training such as sprints, bag work and kettlebells.
+ Schedule Sprints: Warm up for 5 minutes and then start out with your typical pace for 5 minutes. At the 10-minute mark, introduce sprints for 20 seconds, then recover back to your typical pace for 10 seconds before repeating the sprints and recovery seven more times for a total of eight sprints. Cool down for 5 minutes.
+ Get Jumping: Warm up for 5 minutes with a jump rope and add in 20 seconds of high knees or double-unders. Repeat at least eight times, similar to the sprints.
+ Head for the Hills: Pick a steep, steep hill that allows for a 2-minute run. Run the hill three times while actively recovering down the hill. Once the three runs get a little easier, add more.
Nate Brosey, founder of Action Athletics, knows what it takes to overcome obstacles. Literally. His obstacle-course gym moved from Newton to an expanded 10,000-square-foot spot in Wellesley last June and features American Ninja Warrior-inspired challenges for adults and kids alike. From the warped wall that athletes sprint up in hopes of snagging the ledge at the top to the angled platforms that fleet-footed would-be ninjas leap from, many of the obstacles demand piston power of the legs. Brosey offers his best set of training tips to defy gravity.
+ Build Explosive Muscle: Exercises like squats and deadlifts are crucial to building an explosive “power plant” that will power your jumping machine.
+ Focus on Form: Organizing your muscles into the proper chain will increase overall output. Jumping is a total body exercise, so make sure you stack and discharge with efficient timing.
+ Stretch It Out: Flexibility will prevent an injury when you push your muscles to the extremes of their ranges of motion. It will also allow for a faster plyometric response.
+ Practice, Practice, Practive: Find things to jump on, over and across. Your brain will better process the task at hand if it has a goal or purpose.
Julie Erickson holds dozens of different fitness certifications, but the instructor believes Pilates is the most beneficial training system for everyone. The founder of Boston’s Endurance Pilates and Yoga Studio works regularly with professional models and athletes, but the proudest moments of her career come from her time with amputees, including Jeff Bauman and five others injured in the Boston Marathon bombings. She bends our ear on how to improve flexibility.
+ Increase Your Range of Motion: Because you’re sitting or driving for the majority of the day, most people’s hip flexors are so tight that you can’t fully extend while standing. A safe increase in the range of motion of the hips is fantastic for walking and everyday movement.
+ Flex Your Spine: Twist in the thoracic area and flex and extend in all parts of the spine, but most importantly, find length and not compression in every move.
+ Warm Up Properly: Don’t just jump into your fitness class. If you didn’t walk or run there, definitely get there for the warm-up sequence.
+ Conentrate on Muscles: Building the proper muscles to maintain length is the most important part of increasing flexibility. Stretching and strengthening your group of muscles in the chest and shoulders corrects forward head posture, reduces pain in the neck and shoulders and even makes you grow an extra inch.
Dan Fitzgerald, co-founder of the Heartbreak Hill Running Company and founder/coach of the Heartbreakers running club, has made a career out of his lifelong passion of pounding the pavement. Running for 25 years and coaching for 16, Fitzgerald opened his first running store in the South End in 2009 alongside his Boston College track and field co-captain, Justin Burdon. Fitzgerald gives us some ideas on how to pick up the pace this winter.
+ Add Strides: Post-run strides will help shake off the shuffling pace of your average run—they’ll build efficiency, give you an opportunity to feel your best running form over a short distance, teach you to finish with some speed, and finally, it just feels good.
+ Don’t Forget to Strength Train: It takes more than just running to be a strong runner. There needs to be some baseline strength. Get strong, and the form will follow.
+ Go Slow: This one is counterintuitive—you have to go easy in order to go hard. If your easy days aren’t easy enough, you risk not being fully recovered to execute your hard days.
+ Join a Team: When you run with other people, you feed off the group’s energy. Once you invest in your own running by committing to a team, you’re more likely to show up and hold yourself accountable.