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      Blog — Fitness

      The Craziest Races You Should Absolutely Run This Year 05.27.2015

      The Craziest Races You Should Absolutely Run This Year  05.27.2015

      Are you a runner? Or are you a fun runner? Everyone has a different reason for running, but if yours involves having the maximum amount of fun while racking up miles, then this is the sport for you! Everyone says that running is an isolating, individual sport… but that’s only true if you don’t socialize your run shoes. You’ll get a lot of that and so much more at these fun, bizarre, crazy, and ridiculous 5Ks up to marathons.

      From running for FroYo to scarfing down cupcakes at each aid stations, these races have a little more to offer than your typical start-to-finish-get-a-medal-go-home run. Bring a friend, your sense of humor, and zero inhibitions and prepare to cross the finish in a blaze of glorious hilarity.

      crazy races

      Beat the Blerch

      If you’ve read The Oatmeal, an irreverent comic that tells life how it is, then you’re familiar with his character The Blerch. In September and November 2015 there are three races in Washington, New Jersey, and California where you can do a 10K, half or full marathon. You can also beat the Blerch, “a fat little cherub that follows me when I run,” says creator Matthew Inman. Folks in Blerch fat suits chasing everyone through the course, large quantities of cupcakes and Nutella at each aid station, free race photos, and so many more goodies.

      FroYo 5K

      Will you run for FroYo? You’ll get your chance at 13 races across 7 states March through July. Billed as a summer party for the family, this race is a seriously good time. There are costume contests, fastest stroller contests, a gummy bear toss, a contest who can eat their customized up of FroYo the fastest, and FroZones — chilly, misty tunnels to cool off throughout the course.

      Mustache Dache

      Don your facial hair proudly at this 20-city race that also offers virtual participation. The race supports men’s health issues and Movember, but is an equal opportunity, “slightly irreverent” 5K. Mustache contests, costume contests, and face-painting for those who don’t naturally wear a mustache are all available.

      NOLA Red Dress Run

      No one parties like they do down in New Orleans, and this race comes with all the rated R shenanigans you’d rightly expect from this Cajun town! They are fast to point out this is an adults-only, 21-and-up party, which kicks off on Friday with a red lingerie run. Team names are generally NSFW, which may be all too predictable for a “drinking club with a running problem.” Thus, the copious amount of beer that come with the registration. These renegades have donated more than a million dollars to local charities in the last several years.

      Avengers Half Marathon

      Running geeks meet superhero geeks at this runDisney event, held in November at Disneyland. This isn’t just a race, as Disney has a weekend’s worth of events planned to complete immerse you in the Avengers experience. Dress in costume, attend a night time pasta party, run alongside your favorite characters, be greeted by many more surprised and thrills. Plus, the Avengers finisher medal is a pretty slick souvenir.

      Plan Ahead for 2016

      Here are a couple of races that were too good to not go ahead and put on your calendar now. May the force… and the hops… be with you!


      It’s Chicago’s play on Alaska’s epic dog race — only it’s done in the streets with humans as doggies and a grocery cart as a sled. Boston, Brooklyn, and other cities around the country host their own versions of these urban shopping cart races. Costumes for the runners and grocery carts decorated more like parade floats (and filled with 65 pounds worth of food to donate!) set the scene as teams of five race down the city streets for prizes and notoriety. It’s whimsy at its best.

      Star Wars Half Marathon

      Disney bought the rights to a galaxy far, far away so that you can stay close, close by for an epic run. While the entry fee is $200, and sells out faster than you can say Wookie, it’s fast becoming one of the most coveted racing bibs in the country. The race weekend is an unbeatable party that includes a kids race, 5K, 10K and an obstacle course Rebel Challenge. Costumes are not only welcome but strongly encouraged. Make your resolution now and prepare your running ships.

      Brew to Brew

      Spend spring in the hilly part of the plains as you bolt from Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City to Free State Brewery in Lawrence, Kansas. It’s a 44.4 mile relay that begins and ends with fresh microbrew with a whole lot of beautiful scenery and friendly camaraderie in the middle. Your team of two to ten runners will assemble in a single vehicle to carry the non-runners who will shout encouragement all the way.

      8 Seriously Fun Ways to Stay Active on Your Summer Vacation

      8 Seriously Fun Ways to Stay Active on Your Summer Vacation

      When you picture being on vacation it almost always involves being someplace sunny where you can be completely stationary in a lounge chair whilst staring at Instagram-able scenery with an ice cold cocktail in the foreground. Let’s go right now, right? It sounds perfect!

      active vacation

      Give yourself at least one of those completely lazy sun-baked days, but keep your body moving, too. An active vacation is far more memorable, gives you less to feel regret about upon your return home, and is your truest way to experience a new place. Build in as much time for moving around as you have planned for lounging. You’ve earned both, it’s just all in your perspective!

      #1 Share a Bike — Find a bike share station near your hotel or Airbnb and use that for commuting around town and between local attractions. They usually require a nominal fee and give you a chance to experience the city in a new way.

      #2 Shop the Farmers Market — Every vacation should include a trip to the local farmers market, each is its own unique experience. Plus, you get to rack up your steps per day count while shopping for fresh, local produce, honey, salsa, and other edible souvenirs.

      #3 Run a Race — Point to a spot on a map and you’ll find a place having a 5K, 10K or fun run. Check with your concierge or local events calendar and hop into a weekend race before you take in a hot brunch spot.

      #4 Take a Dip — Whether you’re at the beach, the mountains, or Grandma’s hometown, find a local watering hole and swim a few laps.

      #5 Paddle Your Way — Where there’s a swimming hole there’s a place to grab a water craft. Try standup paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, surfing or another water sport that is as much a workout as it is a seriously fun sport.

      #6 Take a Hike — From nature trails to forests and mountains to beaches, you’re rarely someplace that doesn’t have a hiking trail. Convene with nature, really get away from it all, give yourself a most memorable workout far from home.

      #7 Shake Your Groove Thing! — If the nightlife is calling while you’re away, then don’t forget to pack your dancing shoes. Find a salsa club, local dance studio with open nights, hit the local club, or grab a concert — all will leave you drenched in dance floor sweat!

      #8 Just Workout — No matter if you’re into CrossFit, yoga, Pilates, Spin, or strength training, there’s a gym to suit your style in any town you’ll visit. Check out the local offerings and try something new.

      Doesn’t that sound like much more fun than just sitting? That’s because it is fun! Once you’ve spent even part of each day checking one of these items off the list, you’ll be ready for the cocktail on the beach in a lounge chair with that book club beach read you’ll be to napped-out to actually read! Pack your Enell — which takes up minimal space in your luggage — and you won’t have to sit the sideline for any activity that pops up!

      4 Things Women are Doing Wrong in the Gym

      4 Things Women are Doing Wrong in the Gym

      It’s a man’s world and women are just trying to get by in it. That’s how it feels most of the time, especially when that world is the gym. It’s a predominantly male environment that has been build and designed almost entirely around their bodies and needs. So it’s no wonder that few women bother to show up, and that the ones who do don’t necessarily garner the results their after.

      The solution is relatively easy and has been under our noses all along … It’s time to start working out like a girl, dang it!

      Hush your fears, own your presence at the gym, and insist on workouts designed for that of a woman. When you do, those results you’ve been working so hard for will show themselves, and you won’t be able to get enough.

      women do wrong at gym

      #1: You Don’t Even Show Up! 

      You’ve at least peeked inside the weight room, right? A mere 17 percent of women actually go in and work out; it’s an abysmally low number of women strength training. That number looks so much worse when you consider the wealth of health benefits waiting for you on the other side of those machines and you’re just throwing them away. In Holly Perkins’ new book Lift to Get Lean, she says you only need a minimum of two days a week of strength training to reap its vast benefits.

      #2: You’re Intimidated

      It’s not your fault though. “The biggest problem with the current landscape of women’s fitness is that men have dictated the rules of the gym,” Perkins wrote. Women don’t feel like they belong in that “bro”-centric environment, when the reality is women need to be there even more than men do. “You should feel confident about that,” she said. Learn how to use the machines (especially to suit your body and your goals) and walk in that weight room like you own the place. It won’t take you long to see the results and wish you’d shaken the fear so much sooner.

      #3: You’re Not Strategic

      “Women aren’t strategic or focused in their technique or execution of the moves the way men are,” explained Perkins, who says the few women who are in the weight room do so aimlessly and without purpose. However, when you have a strategy and work a program that tells you how many reps to do, how much time to spend, and when to rest, then you can effectively execute and benefit from a strength training regimen. Then you’ll see results, and when that happens, you’re more likely to stick to it!

      #4: Your Technique is Way Off

      Dude, you’re working out like a man! Not only has the environment in the gym been built around a man, but the methods for using the machines and even the set-up of those machines has been done so with a man’s body in mind. Most male trainers will tell their female clients to do a squat with their toes pointed straight ahead, which is difficult for a woman. Perkins tells her female clients to point their toes out toward 11 and 1. Now do that same squat; suddenly your hips and your pelvis are aligned in a way that your body can actually perform. “For every one-inch shift in direction in your body, there’s a change in your muscles,” she explained.

      Real Sports for Women: Give Pole Dancing a Spin for a Total Body Workout 04.18.2015

      Real Sports for Women: Give Pole Dancing a Spin for a Total Body Workout  04.18.2015

      You probably hear pole dancing and immediately go to some dark and seedy place. Don’t. Sure, it’s one sport with a split personality, but its story is so much bigger than that.

      Listen, if you’re in that “my workout is so boring” rut then this will certainly snap your attention awake. Pole dancing as a sport is downright fun, quite challenging, and will tone your tush in ways you didn’t know possible. In larger cities across the country, standalone pole classes exist in their own studios and some dance studios even put pole on the schedule. Think of these like you would a one-hour yoga class where you kind of let it all hang out — and you bring chafing powder instead of a mat.

      “I took a class in Portland once and felt so ridiculous,” remembers Brandi Koskie. “I approached that pole with all the grace of a two-by-four.” That feeling doesn’t last forever though. Other women in her class were attending once or twice a week in place of other studio- or group fitness classes. They were as reserved at the start and quickly loosened up in more ways than one. Fifteen minutes into this intense class, she was sweating, stopping for water breaks, and feeling the burn.

      Do you need a better invitation to get on the pole?

      You can burn nearly 500 calories during a one-hour pole dancing fitness class, wherein you will crawl, climb, shake, spin, slide, and dance. It’s a functional approach to fitness that requires upper body, lower body and core strength.

      “Pole dancing is definitely not for the faint of heart, quips Dempsey Marks, a personal trainer and yoga teacher at, about this calorie-burning, strength-building total body workout.

      Because your body is moving the entire time, Marks says your heart rate stays elevated which contributes to the calorie burn. As well, she explained that pole offers an intense resistance workout. “You must suspend your weight and control your body in ways that other more traditional forms of exercise don’t ask of you.  Pole dancing also builds flexibility and mobility in your muscles and joints,” she explained.

      She went on to say that this requires every muscle in your body — including the core — to be engaged just to climb the pole! “Pole dancers are performing maneuvers that require amazing amounts of strength and body control.”

      If you’re serious about your new pole dancing hobby, you’ll need to cross-train like any other athlete. Marks recommends focusing on the core outside of the pole, which will give you more control on the pole, require less straining of the arms and legs, and open up more maneuvers that you can perform. Low-impact yoga and Pilates will contribute greatly to core strength and overall flexibility.

      When you take on the sport of pole dancing, you have to leave your inhibitions at the door, but trust that there will be plenty of giggles in your first few classes. The payoff is well worth it!

      Note: For pole dancing, we suggest the ENELL SPORT bra (versus the LITE) as there is a higher neckline and it will keep everything in place when gravity tries to do otherwise!

      Would you ever try pole dancing/fitness?

      Real Sports for Women: Roller Derby Opens the Rink to Every Body

      Real Sports for Women: Roller Derby Opens the Rink to Every Body

      There’s a beautiful thing happening… women are starting to love their bodies. On the whole, women are embracing the skin they’re in and the many different shapes and sizes in which they live. It’s a powerful movement that extends to the roller derby rink.

      roller derby

      Within this environment, there’s no pressure to be perfect, live up to manufactured standards, or be anyone other than your own true self. “You can really just be yourself and kick some ass,” remarked Sarah Mathews about roller derby. She skates on a team in Vermont, something she was encouraged to do after moving back east from Kansas.

      The sport has a reputation for being a beacon or haven for women who may not have such a strong body image or sense of self. It doesn’t take long to change that though. Sarah thinks that’s the case because “it’s such a non-judgmental environment.”

      It’s also a sport of choice for many women who wouldn’t consider themselves athletes at all. Sarah says she’d never played any sports at all, a self-described “orchestra nerd.” But after an invitation to “fresh meat” night for newbies, “I’ve never looked back.”

      That ability to make women feel strong, challenge themselves, and give them a platform from which they can dominate a situation are some of roller derby’s biggest assets to its participants. “I definitely feel more assertive” Sarah says of herself since starting. “It’s given me a confidence that I didn’t really know was in me. I’m pretty introverted and passive, but when I’m on the track I turn into a beast!”

      Roller derby has been called the official sport of feminism, and Melanie Martins backed that up in an interview with The Plaid Zebra. “The body positivity piece that derby encompasses is like no other sport: Tall, short, skinny, fat … Whatever you are or are not, all bodies are good bodies in roller derby,” she said.

      While you could argue that the confidence these skaters take away from the rink is one of its best attributes, it offers one heck of a lot when it comes to fitness, too. And that, for some, is the draw to roller derby. There is so much going on in the body when you’re on the track! [Roller derby] is the total package,” commented Pamela Hernandez, an ACSM certified personal trainer and ACE health coach at Thrive Personal Fitness.

      The sport demands strength, stability, power, and speed, which is why Pamela agrees this is one sport that demands everything from you but gives it all back. How does it engage every muscle in your body? “Power and endurance in the muscles of the lower body are so crucial. Like sprinters, the glutes need to be strong for the power. Your jumps are like weighted tuck jumps, so strong quads and calves are extremely important, too. A strong core helps maintain balance on wheels. You need exercises for core stability (like planks) as well as rotary stability (like birddogs),” she explained.

      The range of cross-training these women do reads like the programs brochure at a local gym. Roller derby girls pursue everything from interval training and hiking to CrossFit and weight training, not to mention yoga, plyometrics, swimming, running, and basic cardio. Pamela backs this up, saying that yoga is key for muscle endurance and core stability, while CrossFit contributes to explosiveness and power. In other words, they’re very active; this isn’t just a toss away hobby. You don’t have to show up physically fit, but the demands of the sport — endurance and strength especially — will convince you to find a workout regimen that you love.

      Most teams practice a few nights a week for bouts. Sarah, a non-athlete at the start, says it’s encouraged her to take up cardio, weight lifting, and yoga. Now, multiply that across the nearly 500 roller derby teams worldwide and it adds up to a lot of women exercising who may not have otherwise!

      Pamela does advise, though, that you take it easy a couple days a week. “With practice, bouts, and outside workouts you must schedule days for active recovery to avoid overtraining and prevent injury.”

      Real Sports for Women: Try Rowing for a Total Body Workout

      Real Sports for Women: Try Rowing for a Total Body Workout

      The sport of rowing is nothing new, but it hasn’t gotten much mainstream love in quite some time. That was until Claire Underwood on House of Cards put a rowing machine in the basement for her husband Frank. She’s an avid runner, using the sport to escape her twisted reality and keep in fighting shape, but Frank, well, he likes video games. He humors her and tags along on a run occasionally, but not often enough for Claire’s liking.

      rowing machine

      So now, at the end of a particularly manipulative day, you’ll see the next POTUS retreat to the basement for an explosive workout.

      No really, it may look like you’re just sitting there, but rowing is an incredibly beneficial workout. “Rowing is definitely a full body exercise. “It’s a lot of arms, back, legs, core, and glutes,” Enell learned from Mary Whipple, a two-time Olympic gold medalist for the U.S. rowing team.

      Not only can you achieve a total body workout by rowing, but you can also tackle cardio. “Rowing on the Concept II rowing machine is pure cardio while developing muscle strength,” she said. This is the machine most gyms have, and she recommends it for a good beginner rowing workout.

      If time is a burden, always working against your fitness goals, then this sport is an ideal solution.

      Rowing has grown in popularity in the last year or so thanks in part to the rise of CrossFit and House of Cards’ domination of American TVs. The results are not only keeping everyone in shape, but it’s cooling off the spin cycle boom.

      “Spinning isn’t dead, but it has been put on notice,” Jay Blahnik, a southern California trainer and group-fitness adviser, told Details magazine.

      Rowing is better at strengthening the upper back than spinning “because it forces you to straighten and open up your body, whereas in Spin classes you sit hunched over in the same position you tend to sit in at your desk, so you’re not activating those muscles, thereby weakening them,” explained Shape Magazine.

      Mary explained that while rowing you’re mostly working the quads, glutes, core, lats (latissimus dorsi, the broadest muscle in the back), and deltoids. You’re not, however, specifically working your shoulders. She told us that’s a big misconception about rowing.

      In fact, Mary told us if you’re rowing properly, you’ll primarily tone your legs and core. “Your back will get defined, but the goal is not to use your arms that much, just for follow through.” That’s because when you row, you draw all of your power through the legs.

      Mary and her fellow rowers do a lot to cross-train for their sport. “Rowers on the Women’s National Team use the rowing machine to increase their cardio to perform better on the water,” she said. As stated before, the sport is “pure cardio” and provides a “serious burn.”

      Cross-training also includes a focus on weights, doing work like squats, leg presses, RDLs (Romanian deadlifts), and hamstring curls. And she says there’s a lot core work too, fine tuning and developing those tiny stabilizing muscles through the core, ribs, and obliques. This ensures the rower has the strength to perform, but more importantly avoid injury.

      And don’t forget your Enell! “Good support is just as important in a rowing class as it is in running or Spin class,” reminded Enell Ambassador Jennifer Sader. “Because your whole body is engaged, your whole body will be moving. You need to bring the rowing handle under your chest, which will be easier if your chest isn’t bouncing all over the place.”

      Maybe binge-watching Netflix shows wouldn’t be so bad if you could do it from the seat of a rowing machine?

      18 Women Who Made Athletics Possible for the Rest of Us

      18 Women Who Made Athletics Possible for the Rest of Us

      “Bicycling has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world,” remarked Susan B. Anthony. “I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride on a wheel. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance.”

      Still, women aren’t permitted to race in the Tour de France.

      For the first time it its more than 460-year history, St. Andrews opened its golf course to female members in February 2015.

      female athletes

      We’ve come a long way, a very long way, since Title IX passed in 1972, with 52 percent of collegiate athletes being female. But long before that civil rights law passed, women were putting their mark on the sports world. A lot of firsts made way for a series of seconds, thirds, and so on.

      Today, we can stand as proud athletes, no matter our sport, thanks to these (and so many other) strong, confident, fearless women.

      diane crump jockey

      Diane Crump – Jockey

      She was the first woman to jockey at the Kentucky Derby in 1970, just a mere century after the race began. Her career holds 230 wins.

      katherine switzer marathon

      Katherine Switzer – Runner

      She was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon in 1967, even if she didn’t exactly have permission. Race manager Jock Semple jumped in with the runners and shouted, “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers!”. She didn’t, and plans to run again in 2017. She’ll be 70 and will mark the 50th anniversary of her historic run.

      jane fonda

      Jane Fonda – Fitness Guru

      She released the world’s first at-home exercise video, Workout, in 1982. It has since sold 17 million copies.

      Jenny Hanley – Hockey

      She was the first woman to play on a men’s college ice hockey team at Hamline University in 1991. In that historic game she made 26 saves helped her team to a 5-2 victory.

      becky hammon spurs

      Becky Hammon – Basketball

      She is the NBA’s first female regular season coach, starting in the 2014 season for the San Antonio Spurs. She played 13 seasons for the WNBA and ranks seventh in that league’s history.

      sarah attar olympics

      Sarah Attar – Running

      She was the first woman to represent Saudi Arabia at the Olympics, competing in track at the 2012 Games. She finished last to a standing ovation.

      katie hnida

      Katie Hnida – Football

      She was the first woman to ever score in a Divison I NCAA football game, scoring two points for the University of New Mexico in 2003.

      alice coachman

      Alice Coachman – Running

      She was the first black woman to win Olympic gold. She was the only woman to receive a gold medal at the 1948 games, which she won for the high jump. She’s credited with opening the doors for track stars like Evelyn Ashford, Florence Griffith Joyner and Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

      sheryl swoopes

      Sheryl Swoopes – Basketball

      She was the first player to sign for the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in 1996. She’s a six-time all star and three-time player of the year.

      shannon eastin ref


      Shannon Eastin – Football

      She was the first woman to officiate an NFL regular season game in 2012. She was a line judge during a Rams vs. Lions game, with more than 16 years experience officiating at the collegiate level.

      violet palmer

      Violet Palmer – Basketball

      She was the first woman to officiate NBA games. She’s still working for the league, having been on the job since 1997.

      nancy lieberman

      Nancy Lieberman – Basketball

      She was the first woman to coach a professional men’s basektball team, leading the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks to the playoffs in her first season. She played and coached for the WNBA, earned a silver medal at the 1976 Olympic Games, and is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. This season she’s an analyst for Thunder Live.

      Lisa Lindahl – Fashion

      She was responsible for developing the first sports bra, originally known as a jockbra, in 1977. Her invention, which fused together two jockstraps, made it possible for women to workout and participate in sports.

      ellen oneal

      Ellen O’Neal – Skater

      She was the first professional female skater, she was known as the “godmother” of the sport in the 1970s.

      gertrude ederle

      Gertrude Ederle – Swimming

      She was the first woman to swim the English Channel in 1926. She won two bronze and a gold medal at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris.

      lyn lemaire

      Lyn Lemaire – Triathlete

      She was the first woman triathlete and first female Ironman in 1979.

      junko tabei

      Junko Tabei – Climber

      She was the first woman to reach Mount Everest’s summit in 1975. In 1992, she became the first women to complete the Seven Summits, the highest mountain on each continent.

      billie jean king

      Billie Jean King – Tennis

      She’s the first woman to have a major sporting venue named for her, not to mention being a force in both tennis and female athletics. She’s the first woman to receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom, first woman to be named as Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year, and first woman to receive the NFL Players Association Lifetime Achievement Award. She was the world’s highest ranking tennis female five times, and holds 20 Wimbledon titles.

      images via,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      The First Female Golfers Join St. Andrews, and Why Golfing is a Legit Workout

      The First Female Golfers Join St. Andrews, and Why Golfing is a Legit Workout

      Earlier this February, an historic event took place at St. Andrews, the legendary home of golf in the United Kingdom. The first female members were admitted to the club otherwise known as the Royal + Ancient Golf Club. For the first time in its 260-year history, seven women, including Princess Anne, accepted honorary memberships, something its members voted to do with an 85 percent majority last fall.

      Yes, even in this modern day, in 2015!, women are still excluded from literal boys’ clubs. Sure, people will continue to say this is a sign of how the tide is changing… but is it too much to want to not have to see a changing tide?

      The Civil Rights Act passed in 1964, and Title IX passed in 1972. Title IX was a civil rights move that prohibited discrimination — namely gender-based — in educational programs and activities that accepted federal funds. This is what opened up female athletics at the high school level.

      It was only three years ago that Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia accepted the first female members of its 80-year history. Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was amongst the notable first women to join.


      Do you also think of golf as a man’s sport? Well we beg you to think again! It requires more physical fitness than you may think, which means golf offers a more legitimate workout than you probably assumed.

      Walk, don’t cart. Walking an 18-hole game of golf, over varied terrain, will exceed your 10,000 steps per day goal in a dynamic way. The National Institutes of Health reports an average of 11,948 steps taken during a standard game of golf. It won’t count as a cardio workout, but taking some 2,000 steps beyond your daily goal is still an exceptional physical activity that few Americans take advantage of.

      Carry, don’t caddy. If you’ll schlep your own bag of clubs across the course, your round of golf also counts as a weight bearing workout. A fully loaded golf bag can weight 30 to 50 pounds, giving you a great bit of resistance during the walk. Especially if you walk at a brisk pace between holes, the added weight will boost your heart rate for added fitness benefit.

      Total body toning. The long walks with a bit of weight resistance will help you (mostly) skip leg day at the gym! You’ll certainly feel the game in your quads, hamstrings, and glutes after a full round. And your upper body will get some deserved attention too (through your biceps, triceps and shoulders), thanks to the swinging motion and carrying the bag. Of course, you’ll engage your core with proper form.

      Balance to the core. Great balance also contributes to a strong core, so as you engage those abdominals and lower back — whether you’re walking or swinging — you’ll be able to focus on an otherwise overlooked area of the body. Those honed balance skills will certainly prove their worth in every aspect of your every day life.

      Whether you just putter around or keep a running tally of holes-in-one, find your way to the golf course on a regular basis…Gender be damned!

      And don’t forget your Enell Lite before you hit the links!

      Desperation and Jock Straps: How the First Sports Bra was Invented

      Desperation and Jock Straps: How the First Sports Bra was Invented

      So many great inventions spawned from a moment of desperation. No where is that truer than for athletes and fitness buffs, who so often have had to jimmy together the one thing they need to perform their sport better.

      Necessity breeds creation and that was what brought about the first sports bra. In 1977, women were still subjected to running, working out, riding horses, and cycling in their plain jane bras. That was until Lisa Lindahl and her sister, Victoria Woodrow, decided to take up jogging. Like most women did (and unfortunately still do), Lindahl just doubled up on regular bras or wore bras a size too small when she went out for a run. Doesn’t it hurt just thinking about it?

      What women needed was a jockstrap for their breasts...

      What women needed was a jockstrap for their breasts, suggested Woodrow. With that, she and her sister decided there had to be a better way, and they set out to create the first sports bra.

      The prototype, called a jockbra, was just that, two jockstraps sewn together and it was the first functional attempt anyone had made to keep women’s breasts from bouncing and jerking here, there, and everywhere during physical activity. The prototypes, created in the University of Vermont theater costume shop by Lindahl and a fellow theater student, are now bronzed and on display near the university, the Smithsonian, and the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

      The real result is worn by millions of women around the world every day, and we’re all eternally grateful to these brilliant, desperate women!

      We’ve been there ourselves! Enell was born of the same desperation to keep a pair of large breasts contained during sports activity. Our founder, Renelle Braaten, had had enough of her double-Ds during volleyball and racquetball games. Nothing on the market provided her breasts the support she needed, and she was tired of doing the wear-two-bras thing. Renelle worked with her mom, a talented seamstress, to construct the first Enell sports bra. Finally, something IS available to support, stabilize, and secure large breasts!

      Breasts are “a barrier to physical activity participation for 17 percent of women,” found a study out of the UK last summer. The pain, strain, and discomfort that comes from unrestrained breasts during any kind of activity is a major reason women skip working out at all. The result of that kind of stationary lifestyle is a major detriment to women’s health. So invest in the right sports bra and you are more likely to make a physical fitness investment in yourself.

      Real Sports for Women: Play More Softball for a Total Body Workout

      Real Sports for Women: Play More Softball for a Total Body Workout


      There’s no question in anyone’s mind that softball is a legitimate sport. But do you know how much of a workout both playing and training can be? If traditional exercise isn’t your jam, softball will take care of all of your body’s physical needs, both on and off the field.softball

      Softball is considered an anaerobic sport, it basically involves a lot of stop-and-start action, as opposed to players staying in constant motion during a soccer match, as Kelly Turner, fitness expert for, explained. During an aerobic sport, like soccer, the heart rate stays elevated constantly, while during softball you get bursts of elevation between resting periods.

      “Whether you are batting, catching, or pitching, softball is all about quick bursts of speed and agility,” said Turner. The sport requires your total body to play well.

      “Producing the power and quickness needed to perform well in softball games requires all of the major muscle groups to work together,” she explained, calling this functional exercise. It’s when the body is called upon to perform real world movements against resistance.

      Casey Crozier knows that to be true. The former pitcher for Youngstown State University’s softball team graduated last spring as a legacy, going down as the all-time leader in wins, strikeouts, and innings pitched for her school.

      She explained that when she and the team are on the field, they’re using their bodies in every way possible. Split-second agility to throw, make sharp turns, and run are just a few ways softball players use their bodies during a game. “In order to produce first-step quickness, the muscle must stretch before it contracts making plyometric, or jump training, a great way to boost performance,” adds Turner.

      Crozier shared some of the ways these players train for wins. At least for her team, they start each morning with a cardio session —which includes swimming or a 1.5-mile jog — and strength training— focusing on body weight exercises that work both lower- and upper-body muscles. This can include squats, pull-ups, and stretching.

      For both pitchers and batters, focus on strengthening the legs is key. “Batters use their legs to hit, and pitchers use their legs to generate a lot of power,” explained Crozier. And let’s not forget how sprinting to catch a ball or take a base requires a lot of lower body strength, too.

      Last, but not least, is a player’s core. Turner adds that a strong lower body, including the core muscles, are necessary for sprinting, and even diving after a ball. And that, especially is where you need protection beyond what a good workout can provide.

      “When girls slide to steal bases or dive to catch, they need breast support,” said Crozier. Don’t forget, Enell likes to play ball, too! Crozier advocates that female players not skimp when it comes to a sports bra. “Your body is in constant movement,” she said. “Having a secure sports bra as you run, bend over, and move in all directions is necessary to be successful on the field.”

      “Playing softball will not burn huge amounts of calories, but it will increase the explosiveness of your muscles,” said Turner. If you’re still in school, join your high school or college’s team, either officially or through the many co-ed sport offerings. And those skills will go a little further than, say, your high school flute career. Adult softball leagues are available in nearly every city, through local organizations like the Y or teams through your company. Like we said, if a group fitness class or typical workout scene isn’t quite your scene, a team sport like softball may be just what you need to stay strong and active!

      You’ve Got No More Excuses to Skip the Weight Room Because Strength Training is Trendy

      You’ve Got No More Excuses to Skip the Weight Room Because Strength Training is Trendy

      Why do we need a top trends list to remind us how important strength training is? That seems to be the case as not enough of us are doing it, but we’ll take whatever it is that gets people in the weight room!

      weight room

      In their annual report of fitness trend predictions, the ACSM names both body weight training and strength training as popular workouts for 2015. So if you’re part of the 17.5% of women who currently strength train — great job, keep it up!

      If you’re part of the overwhelming majority of women who don’t — then it’s time to get lifting. This is not about bulking. This is not about looking ripped. It’s certainly not about stacking your feminine frame with big, bulging man muscles. It’s about overall wellness and health!

      “[Strength training is] not about fitness or being buff, it’s not about that anymore. In fact, that’s the last reason to do it,” said Holly Perkins recently at The renowned strength and conditioning expert, who is set to launch her Women’s Strength Nation in early 2015, echoed lists found across leading health organizations that suggest vast benefits that are derived from strength training. Breast cancer survivors are aided in their recovery when a strength regimen is introduced. Confidence, self-esteem, and empowerment come from lifting weights. Women experience more stamina, greater flexibility, and more functional movement. And those who strength train regularly (which the CDC says is two days per week) experience an optimized shift in hormones; management or prevention of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke; and a host of other health benefits.

      The question isn’t so much “Do you lift?” so much as it is “Why don’t you lift?”.

      How exactly do you get started? There in lies one of the greatest barriers of entry in strength training, especially for women. The weight room, with its free weights, machines, and men, is an impossibly intimidating place for women. No different than the first time you went to yoga, went for a run, or tried a Zumba class, all it takes is that one breath of confidence to move forward. 

      If you truly are new, or haven’t hit the weights in some time, the best thing for you to do is work with a trainer. They’ll teach you how to use the machines and the weights, and in a circuit that’s meaningful, so that you can return regularly with confidence. This will ensure you prevent injury, but also give you the education you need to manage the workouts on your own.

      However, the great part about strength training is that it doesn’t all have to come from a gym’s weight room. The number one trend from the ACSM this year is body weight training, and it provides the same strength benefits without the props.

      “Body weight training uses minimal equipment making it more affordable. [It’s] not limited to just push-ups and pull-ups, [and] this trend allows people to get ‘back to the basics’ with fitness,” reported the ACSM.

      It’s more affordable, and more accessible, too! Because body weight training doesn’t specifically require machines or weights the way traditional strength training does, you can effectively do it anywhere. The monkey bars at the park – done. Squats, lunges, pull-ups, push-ups, wall sits — all considered body weight training exercises that require nothing but your body and the space to do it. 

      “Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete exercise program for all physical activity levels and genders,” declared the ACSM. A well-rounded fitness regimen that you’re going to reap the most benefit from includes cardio (or aerobic) exercise as much as it does strength. Together, your body gets all of the functional movement and beneficial stress it needs.

      The CDC recommends that American adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, plus two or more days of muscle-strengthening activities. 

      In crowd or not, trendy or not, strength training is getting some overdue attention this year. Be sure to listen!

      12 New Workouts You've Gotta Try in 2015

      12 New Workouts You've Gotta Try in 2015

      What’s going to make you sweat this year? It’s sure to be your dependable workout, the one you know works for you. It’s great to have that! But what about those days when you aren’t feeling it? If you reach a point where the same ‘ole feels uninspired, we’ve got the fix. That’s what makes fitness so exciting…the infinite ways you can pursue it! Make a note of these 12 exciting, interesting, anything-but-usual workouts. Not only will they re-awaken your interest in being there, but you could find a whole new love affair you didn’t know you were missing!

      workouts to try

      POUND. It’s being called a “liberating” new workout experience, a group fitness class that has you moving, grooving, and banging around on drumsticks. The club-like group class involves high energy music, free spirit movements, and a focus on strength. You can pound on your own at home with their forthcoming DVD, or take classes at 30+ locations in the U.S. and Canada.

      ROWING. You see the machine, we know you do. Now stop ignoring it! If Francis Underwood on House of Cards can make it look good, we know you can make it look better! This intense total body workout gives you everything, working the legs, core, arms, shoulders, and more with each fluid motion, all the while your rate stays elevated. It’s strength and cardio in one.

      STAND UP PADDLE BOARDING. Known in its inner circles as SUP, this relatively new sport is a thrill. You’ll need access to a body of water — think hot tourist spots near lakes and oceans — and a little bit of patience. It’s surprising how quickly you can take to this core-engaging sport, and much you’ll love the feel, the view, and the power you feel once you’re up.

      HORSEBACK RIDING. Seriously, horseback riding is a legitimate sport and it can provide a legitimate workout. Whether you’re trying to keep a weekend or vacation active, or just wanting to mix things up in your daily routine, a trip to the farm will do your whole body good. It’s way more than just sitting, as you will work your core, balance, legs, thighs, and arms.

      BARRE. Hit the barre, and then maybe you can hit that bar, too! There are a number of ways to explore this ballet-inspired workout. BeyondBarre is intense with a cardio, fat-burning approach. Barre3 feels a bit like yoga meets Pilates. Booty Barre introduces resistance with a focus on toning the rear. Cardio Barre uses light weights for a touch of strength training. So look around, there’s a barre that suits your needs.

      MEDITATION. You may not being doing much physically, but the silence and stillness of focusing your mind can reap healthful repercussions head to toe, body and soul. Check out of the grind of your usual workouts and use a meditation practice to re-focus, re-center, re-balance.

      HIIT. You’re going to see a lot about high intensity interval training this year, and you should definitely join the crowd. Especially for the time-crunched, these fast-blast, 30-minute or less sessions can truly be done anywhere and will give you a total body workout you can feel.

      ORANGETHEORY. Interval and strength training combine in this workout some are calling the best in the country! Studio locations are available across the U.S., giving you a trainer-guided, one-hour workout that takes you through treadmills, rowing, and weights. It’s total body strength + cardio that won’t let you down.

      SWIMMING. Trade your gym shorts for swim bottoms and take your workout to the water. Your options are truly limitless, but not effortless. Whether mixing it up, recovering from an injury, or trying to stay cool, a workout in the pool can provide strength, cardio, and conditioning for upper and lower body. New offerings include aquatic yoga, spinning, and zumba. You can even take your Enell in a non-chlorine environment.

      SKATING. Take it old school and do your workout on wheels. Take the kids to a roller rink or strap-on your old skates and make a few laps around the park. Or blast back to the 90s on a pair of roller blades. Regardless, Harvard says you’re burning nearly as many calories as you would on your usual run! Ice skating counts in that math, too! This sport makes it easy to remember a workout can be fun.

      PLAYING That’s right, just go play. Your kids shouldn’t have all the fun at the playground, and you can get some functional fitness out of the quality time spent with them. Body weight training can be done by pulling up on the monkey bars. Cardio is an easy gain when you’re chasing them around. Glutes and legs enjoy the climbing exercises. And pushing them on the swings (or pumping your own legs) takes care of your upper body. So go have fun!

      CYCLING. Get back on your bike and go for a ride (or several) this year. Especially for runners, cycling is an excellent way to cross train. If you’re not too big on working out at all, it’s an excellent way to get in some activity. Everyone who cycles torches calories, enjoys total body toning, boosts their energy, and so many more benefits. Just don’t ride without the right gear!

      Are you trying any of these this year?