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Getting Fit & Fast: One Round At A Time

Dr. Rick Kattouf II

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Running continues to be a very popular sport. In the United States alone, 17,114,800 individuals finished a running race in 2015 (5K & up). And runners are always looking to get faster. They set great goals for themselves and they want to beat their previous times. Running a PR (Personal Record), placing higher overall on the leaderboard and placing higher in their respective AG (age group), often times, dominates runners' thoughts during workouts and races. All too often, when a runner wants to get faster, they will gravitate towards running more/harder. While a nice blend and balance of more/harder may be necessary at times, all too often, this will lead an athlete down an injury-ridden road. And no athlete likes to sit on the sidelines.


 So how can a runner continue to get faster and the same time reduce risk of injury? Building a good amount of strength, endurance and efficiency is going to help assist a runner in achieving his/her goals of getting faster. This is where a great workout like 9Round becomes very valuable to the runner. What is 9Round you ask? 9Round is a specialized fitness center dedicated to serving clients who want a unique, fun and proven workout that guarantees results. 9Round offers traditional "old school" boxing and kickboxing fitness programs that incorporate functional, interval, cardiovascular, and circuit training regimens. The programs consist of a proprietary system of 9 challenging workout stations developed by a professional fighter. 9Round delivers total body results in a quick and convenient 30-minute workout with no class times and a trainer with you every step of the way.



 Often times, the strength component of fitness can get lost in a runners workout regimen. A runner may only think of themself as a runner and therefore, their mind always goes towards running and not necessarily strength training. Building upper body and lower body strength as well as low back and abdominal strength can prove to be valuable for a runner’s performance, recovery and ability to reduce risk of injury. During a 9Round workout, each round (which lasts 3 minutes) is going to provide the runner a great strength component. Just imagine jumping rope for three minutes; performing squats or jump squats for three minutes; performing upper body work with dumbbells or medicine ball for three minutes; punching and kicking a heavy bag for three minutes; performing abdominal work for three minutes. It is these types of workouts, performed consistently each week that will quickly help to accelerate a runner’s performance.



On the surface, it makes sense that if a runner wants to get faster, they just need to go out and train harder and faster. But this is not the exact recipe for getting faster. Rather, building efficiency is going to be one of the key components for a runner to get faster. Building greater efficiency means that we are going to teach the body to be able to run longer, harder, faster at the same or lower heart rate. The key to the sentence above is the last phrase, "at the same or lower heart rate." Simply going out and running faster and just jacking up that heart rate is not going to be the key to success. This is simply the mindset of, train harder. Working out harder is not the key to success; rather, working out smarter is the key to success.

In order to work out smarter, this means we want to tap into our own physiology and work out in the correct heart rate zones during all of our workouts. And this is another huge benefit to the runner when working out at 9Round. By using the 9Round heart rate training system, the runner can monitor his/her heart rate during each workout. And by doing so, the runner will continue to build a greater amount of efficiency and in time, this will lead to the runner been able to run longer, harder, faster at the same or lower heart rate. In summary, by working out smart and following the proper heart rate zones, we are teaching the heart to beat as slow as possible but at the same time, move the body as fast as possible.

Let's put this into pace per mile running terms. For reference, let's use 4 heart rate zones: Zone, 1, 2, 3, and 4.  And let's say we are testing a runner’s efficiency and the test prescription is for the runner to run 5 miles and stay within heart rate zone 1. Let's say the runner performs this test, spot-on, and the average pace per mile is 10:00. As this runner continues to build strength (as mentioned above) and as this runner continues to work out smart by working out in the proper heart rate zones, efficiency will start to increase. And in time, as this runner continues to repeat this running test, they will find that there average pace per mile becomes 9:30, 9:00, 8:30, 8:00, etc.

Do you see what just happened here? This is absolutely incredible. This runner is now running two minutes per mile fasterAt the same or lower heart rate. That's the key to the statement, "at the same or lower heart rate." Now that is building amazing efficiency and just imagine how much faster this runner just became. I can promise you this, when you start to see your efficiency improve, you will be at a completely new fitness level that you have never seen before. Building efficiency takes time, effort, energy and patience. But the payoff is amazing and if you can remain patient and delay gratification (What's The One Quality The Successful Possess?), you’ll start to produce better running times than you have ever seen before.



As you continue to build great strength and efficiency, there is another huge piece to the puzzle that we want to implement as well. As important as building strength and working out smart is, we must be sure that the body is being properly fueled. When we fuel the body properly, we are setting the body up for great success in terms of human performance and recovery. The quicker we can recover, the better we can perform. As important as nutrition and eating right is, it can be the missing link for a runner. If a runner is in adequately fueled and/or inadequately hydrated, this will negatively impact performance and recovery. In addition to being properly fueled and properly hydrated, eating right is also the key to achieving the optimal body composition.

 Let's say a runner is building great strength and is working out smart and building great efficiency. But the runner is not eating right and is carrying 20 pounds of additional body fat. Well, no matter how much strength and/or efficiency a runner builds, he/she is not going to be able to overcome the additional 20 pounds of body fat and therefore, performance and recovery is going to suffer.

What is a common thought a runner has when they are overweight and they want to reduce their weight? If you guessed, run more/harder, you are correct. But what we have to understand is that we cannot outwork improper nutrition. Despite the high mileage a runner may be putting in, often times, they are still overweight. And this is where eating right comes into play and this is where 9Round Nutrition will be the roadmap to nutrition success for the runner.

9Round Nutrition is based on three key principles; fueling frequency, fueling timing and the macronutrient balance at every meal and snack. When we fuel the body properly from the time we wake up and all throughout the day, we are now setting the body up for great success. In addition, when we focus on fueling the body (and not just feeding the body) at every meal and snack, will be sure that the body is being fueled properly with the right amount of carbohydrate-protein-fat. The beauty of eating right is this; eating right, which will lead to a transformation of the body and reduced body fat, is the quickest way to help a runner get faster without having to workout anymore or any harder. How cool is that? Eat right and get faster? Absolutely!


 In summary, if you are looking to take your running performance to an entirely new level, let's start to do it one round at a time. When you start to incorporate the 9Round workout into your weekly regimen (3-6 times per week), you can start to make the necessary strength gains and efficiency improvements necessary in order to improve performance and recovery. In addition, when you start to eat right (not just eat healthy; eating healthy is not the key to success, rather, eating right is the key to success) and follow 9Round Nutrition, you will now be setting the body up for great success and the body will be properly fueled for optimal performance and recovery. When you start to knockout this 1-2-3 combination, lookout; you are going to find an entirely new level of fitness. Enjoy the journey!




Dr. Rick Kattouf II

2x Best-Selling Author

9Round Nutrition Coach

Named One of America’s PremierExperts® in Nutrition & Fitness

Named One Of The World Fitness Elite® Trainers Of The Year




2x Best-Selling Author and Fitness & Nutrition expert Dr. Rick Kattouf has been named one of America’s PremierExperts® and one of the World Fitness Elite™ Trainers of the Year. He has been seen on ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates around the country as well as in the USA Today, Chicago Tribune and The Independent in the UK. Rick is the CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf, Inc., CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf Nutrition LLC, Creator of TeamKattouf Nutrition Supplements, Host of Rx Nutrition, author of Forever Fit, Creator of 5-Round Fury Fitness™ workout app, 9Round Nutrition Coach Sports Nutrition Specialist, ITCA Triathlon Coach, MMA Conditioning Coach, Food Psychology Coach, Wellness and Nutrition Consultant, Sports Nutrition Consultant, Heart Rate Performance Specialist, Entrepreneur and Inspirational Speaker.