Written on November 1, 2013 at 1:56 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
Granola-topped yogurt or smoothie? Power bar or peanut butter on toast? Coffee or juice? Why is it that, come race day, we always question fueling? Lucky for those running in this weekend’s New York City Marathon (and anyone else looking to tackle a big race anytime soon), we got the 26.2 diet dirt from sports nutrition expert Ben Greenfield. The coach, ex-bodybuilder and Ironman triathlete is the go-to pro on prepping for peak performance. Here are Ben’s top five tips on eating for the run and recovery. Hint: Carb-loading isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
Stick to what you know. OK, you’ve heard this before, but according to Ben, many athletes still break down mentally and try something out of the ordinary the week—or even day—of the race. Not a good idea. “Do exactly in the race as you have practiced in training,” he says. “Remember to train with what you’re going to use in the race about four to six times before the race. That’s what it’s going to take to train your gut to get used to the fuels you plan on using.”
Carbs: A yes…sort of. “If athletes limit carbohydrates, then taking in extra during race week become far less important,” says Greenfield. Should you decide to nosh on a bagel or big bowl of pasta, two to three days prior to the race will do the trick. Ben’s easy-to-digest suggestions: sweet potatoes, taro and white rice. (Phew, I guess we can still use the excuse that we’re carb-loading…)
Rule of yum. When it comes to pre-run drinks, err on the side of caution. “Juice is simply empty calories that actually has potential to cause blood sugar spikes,” explains Greenfield. But what about java? Stick to just one cup, so long as you have sipped on it prior to a long run in the past. No one wants an unplanned porta potty pit stop.
To GU or not to GU? That is always the halfway point question, and according to Greenfield, energy chews/replenishers may not be as necessary as you think. “The more sodium you take in, the more your kidneys are going to push out,” he says. Opt for electrolyte capsules such as Athlytes, Endurolytes or Salt Stick instead of the sugar-laden stuff. Effervescent tablets like Nuun or GU Brew are also good options.
Recover like a champ. The old school ways of thinking—foam rolling, ice bath, massage, post-workout shakes—are instilled in our brain for a reason. They work! In addition, Greenfield suggests a few options that may not have crossed your mind. “I’ve found the occasional acupuncture session to be an incredibly useful method for everything from nagging aches and paints to full-blown adrenal fatigue,” he admits. Another tactic to consider? Deload (also known as an easy “recovery week”) every four to eight weeks, according to Greenfield. Hey, it can actually improve your fitness levels, especially since it takes a minimum of 72 hours to recover from a tough run.
Still concerned about what to eat the morning of your race? Greenfield suggests blending (it’s easier on your digestive system!) an energizing kale smoothie with coconut water or coconut milk. “Blending or juicing helps to pre-digest the food so your body doesn’t have to work as hard during digestion,” he says. This frees up precious energy for you to devote to your stride! For efforts greater than three hours in duration, add 20-30 grams of protein powder to the mix (Ben’s fave is Mt. Capra’s DEEP 30 protein). Ben also swears by ATP energy sources like X2Performance to naturally increase energy, enhance endurance and improve recovery. Best of luck this weekend, runners! You’re going to kick major asphalt.
Now tell us: How do you fuel up for a big race?
Written on November 1, 2013 at 10:35 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
Earlier this month, world-class triathlete Paula Newby-Fraser traveled to Kona, Hawaii like so many times before to experience the Ironman World Championship. But this time the Hall of Famer enjoyed the race from the sidelines, supporting all of the athletes who dream of one day accomplishing as much as she has over the course of her career.
The Queen of Kona was an athlete from birth, competing on swimming teams in South Africa until she was 15 years old, but she didn’t fall in love with fitness until after college. With a little positive peer pressure, she began running and going to the gym with friends in lieu of extended happy hours. “I started with running a 5K, then a 10K and just generally working out, enjoying the benefits of being back in shape and being healthy,” Paula tells us.
One thing led to another, and when a pal learned of Paula’s swimming background, a triathlon became the new goal. The rest is history. She won a spot in the 1985 Hawaii Ironman, despite the fact that her newfound passion was her most challenging feat yet. “I had never ridden 112 miles and I had never run a marathon, so when I went to go and do that event, I pretty much did everything wrong,” she says. “But I knew that once I got through it, it opened the door and the possibility of pursuing it on a multiple-time basis.”
Almost 30 years later, Paula has won 24 Ironman Triathlon races—eight of which were Ironman Triathlon World Championships. She holds the Ironman world record of 8:50:24, and along with the “Greatest Triathlete in History” title from Triathlete Magazine in 1999. Her mental and physical connection to the sport kept her focused on the finish line every time she stepped up to the racing line. “I would say to myself, ‘There’s nothing I haven’t faced in training. I’ve had days where I felt brilliant, I’ve had days where I felt absolutely awful, I’ve had very average days,” she explains. “I’ve been out there when it’s cold, when it’s raining, when it’s windy, when it’s hot, when I’ve had mechanical problems and yet somehow you make it through all those workouts and just deal with what the day gives you. There’s nothing that I can’t handle.”
Outside of race training, Paula loves taking her mountain bike to the trails near her home in San Diego, California. “It’s so incredibly peaceful and interactive because you’re off road and on the trails,” she says. “Off-road running is also something that I absolutely love. Being able to go up a mountain is always something I think is special.” She even looks for good trails when vacationing—Utah and Colorado are two of her frequented spots.
What’s next after the current Ironman season comes to an end? Paula has a few more race ideas up her sleeve. “Running an ultra-marathon is definitely on my list of things I would love to do. There are also some ultra-mountain biking events that I just feel like I have to get to do once or twice before too many more years go by.” She literally never stops, which explains why this ambitious gal lives by one word: consistency. “Find a way to integrate consistency in no matter what you choose. Being able to make it a part of you, of your life, of your grounding routine will make something rewarding, will make you want to do it, and give you the benefits,” she says. “If you can do something and make it a part of who you are, it just throws open the possibilities.”
More from FITNESS:
- Ready, Set, Goal: Win-It Strategies from Top Athletes
- Unleash Your Inner Winner
- Conquering a Triathlon, Relay-Style
Written on October 31, 2013 at 5:07 pm , by Samantha Shelton
You’ve heard it before: when you want to run faster, it helps to hit the pavement with faster friends. Not only will you be motivated to pump up the pace, but you can gab about which pro runner you want to see break the finisher’s tape first.
But what if you had the chance to do more than talk about that runner, but actually feel what it’s like to run at their level – you know, without taking any crazy speed-boosting drugs? Consider it done, thanks to Asics and their latest challenge to New Yorkers. With the ING New York City Marathon set for its big return this Sunday, after being canceled last year due to Superstorm Sandy, the big sneaker brand wants runners to “Better Their Best” with the opportunity to step into top marathoner Ryan Hall’s sneaks – well, sort of. Instead of actually wearing his shoes (um, gross – there are some things we don’t like to share), you’ll hop on a one-of-a kind treadmill that’s set to one speed, and one speed only: 12.6. That’s the equivalent of Hall’s 4:46-mile pace, and we think you can keep up. But don’t worry – you’re strapped to a harness, juuust in case.
The best part of this “Run with Ryan” experiment? The treadmill is on a truck, meaning it’s traveling throughout the city. So if you haven’t seen it in your hood yet, keep those eyes peeled and sneakers laced. Still need incentive to hop on? For every minute logged on the treadmill between now and November 2nd, Asics will donate $5 (up to $26,200) to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City in support of public programs focused on youth development.
Now that we’ve got you feeling the need for speed, check out the times and locations below to find the closest area the treadmill will be traveling to. We recommend running there as your pre-sprint warm-up:
- October 31 (until 9pm): Time Warner Center, S/S 60th St. and Broadway
- November 1: Asics Bryant Park Store, 5th and 42nd St.
- November 2: Central Park, N/S 58th St. and 7th Ave
For an extra boost of confidence, watch this video to see how other New Yorkers fared in the challenge.
Now you tell us: How long do you think you could keep up with Ryan?
Written on October 31, 2013 at 12:06 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
Dedication. That’s the name of the game for Grammy-winning rapper, entrepreneur and actor L.L. Cool J. Whether he’s memorizing lines for his Navy SEAL turned NCIS operative character (Sam Hanna) on NCIS: Los Angeles or hitting the gym, L.L. is committed to giving it his all—and then some.
Finding the time for a healthy balance is his secret. “You just have to be willing to get [to the gym] when you can fit it,” says Cool J. With long-time trainer Dave “Scooter” Honig, one of Hollywood’s fittest musician sticks to a rigorous routine bursting with burpees, sprints, pushups, hanging abs, running mans and more. Hello, tank top-ready guns! And according to the multi-talented artist, there’s no excuse for skipping a sweat sesh. “It could be late at night when I get home around midnight, or early in the morning, like 3 or 4 a.m. I just try to figure it out,” he explains, adding that he couldn’t live without protein shakes, oatmeal, tuna and chicken breasts when it comes to refueling.
It certainly helps that fitness is a family affair. “Everyone loves getting to the gym and understands the importance of it, without a doubt,” the father of four shares. “[My kids] grew up seeing me work out like a maniac!” But many children aren’t nearly as lucky to have such a fit and fabulous role model, which is why Cool J teamed up with After-School All-Stars (ASAS).
The organization, which provides youth the tools they need for success through skill development programs coupled with athletic and academic competitions, struck a chord. “It’s great because when I think about how I grew up and where I come from, you know, after-school programs are super duper important,” he explains, hinting at his personal childhood struggles. “ACE Brand Sports Medicine Products just launched the ‘A’ Game Challenge. They’re paying it forward.”
In celebration of youth athletics, the trio created this video entry contest to inspire youngsters to showcase their outstanding athletic skills for a $10,000 scholarship. Learn more about the initiative with ASAS here and if you know any interested participants, be sure to submit their all-star moment by November 15.
More from FITNESS:
- When Fashion Meets Fitness for a Cause
- McDreamy Gets Dreamier (Believe It!) For Cancer Hope and Healing
- Misty May-Treanor Keeps Her Eye On The Prize With New Partner
Written on October 30, 2013 at 2:46 pm , by mohrresults
Happy almost-Halloween! Outside of the topic of costumes, the next important topic revolving around this ghoulish holiday is, of course, the candy.
With two kids, we’ll be hitting up the trick-or-treating circuit. I don’t know who will get more, but I do know that in either case it’s. A. Lot. Estimates suggest kids eat about 3 cups worth of candy on Halloween night alone. That doesn’t even speak to the leftovers for the next week or so!
If you and your family want to enjoy candy, enjoy candy. Our girls will, within reason. We usually have them pick their 5 favorites and then toss the rest.
But candy isn’t just coming into the house. Sometimes it just stays there, never leaving. After all, who’s guilty of buying too much candy when they invite trick-or-treaters to their doorstep? I know we have. For a fighting chance in the battle of the bulge, consider picking some better-for-you choices this year. That way, when your neighborhood kids don’t come in droves like you expect, you’ll still have some goodies to munch on (nom, nom, nom). Need some ideas? These are the 3 we’ll be offering:
Wonderful Pistachios. These are a go-to Halloween giveaway for us. It started last year when our then-3.5-year-old saw the little bags in the grocery store and wanted some. Always happy to oblige when she asks for quality foods, we picked them up. To our surprise, we actually had several kids thank us for giving something different, and their parents were equally as happy. Less sugar highs! They can be found in a 1-oz. bag, providing just 80 calories of nutrient-rich goodness without any added sugars.
POM POMS are new treats we’ll try this year, now that they’re for sale in convenient individual containers. Handing out fresh pomegranates might be a bit weird, so these prepackaged seeds are ideal. POM arils (the edible seeds) are nutritious, delivering nutrients like vitamins C & K, potassium and fiber, among others. They’re crunchy. They’re sweet. And they’re nice for variety to move away from the typical candy. The downside: they can be messy, so help your kids eat them (and steal some for yourself to enjoy in cottage cheese, Greek yogurt or just as a plain snack).
Justin’s 80-Calorie Nut Butter Packs. OK, these might just be a bit too addicting. I was recently introduced to them at the Annual Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Conference. They’re convenient, healthy and packed with nutrition.
Now while you might be thinking our house will get egged, last year when we gave out Pistachios and mini Clif Bars, we actually had several “thank you’s” from parents…and even their kids. Think about it, and enjoy your trick or treating!
Written on October 30, 2013 at 9:50 am , by Colleen Moody
We know, you barely have time to brush your hair in the morning let alone figure out when to get a flu shot. But these stats released from the Walgreens Flu Report might have you moving some things around on your schedule this year. Check out a few below:
- Last year 11 million vacations were missed (bummer!), a big jump from 4.7 million in 2011.
- U.S. employees missed, on average, three days of work from a flu-related illness in 2012-2013, up from just one day in 2010-2011.
- 17 million holiday events were missed, compared to 4.7 million in 2011.
- Hot date? Approximately 13.8 million dates or other occasions were canceled because of the flu–up from 5.1 million in 2011.
Talk about a buzzkill to your social life! And don’t put off your flu shot until November or later. Survey results show that 79 percent of Americans think it takes ten days or less for your body to build up its immunity after getting a flu shot, but it can actually take up to 14 days. Find a Walgreens pharmacy here to schedule your flu shot, because no one wants to bag an island getaway in the dead of winter.
More from FITNESS: How to Avoid Sneaky Cold Culprits
Written on October 29, 2013 at 5:22 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
True Life: I’m addicted to Pinterest. I mean, what’s not to love? From pinning my fave workouts and recipes (courtesy of FITNESS, duh!) to saving photos on how to spin summer dresses into fall-friendly ensembles, the site has the answer to anything and everything you need to know about.
So when I heard about registered dietician Mitzi Dulan’s new book The Pinterest Diet: How To Pin Your Way Thin, I couldn’t wait to gain her insight on how to pin it to win it, wellness-wise. Known as America’s Nutrition, Mitzi has 3.5-million followers, and after trying her Skinny One Pot Chicken Caprese Pasta (a recipe she created from Pinspiration, see below) I understand why. So tasty!
So how can you use the social media platform to improve your diet? Here are Mitzi’s top three tips:
Banish Boredom. Sick of that same old salad? Time to mix things up. “One of my Pinterest Diet rules is to make at least two new recipes a week,” Mitzi explains. Use the site to keep things fresh in the kitchen and at the gym.
Motivated to Move. Create a photo and quote-filled “Daily Inspiration Board” for a friendly eye-on-the-prize reminder. Toned tri’s, here you come!
Pin 10. Swap Facebook scrolling for Pinterest during downtime. “Blocking off 10 minutes helps inspire you to live healthy, eat better and exercise,” she says.
Skinny One Pot Chicken Caprese Pasta(Makes 8 servings)
- 1 1/2 pounds skinless chicken breast, cooked and torn apart
- 13 oz whole wheat linguini
- 2 cans (14.5 oz) no salt diced tomatoes with liquid
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 3 large sprigs of basil, torn up
- 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
Add pasta, tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, basil and cooked chicken to a large stock pot. Pour chicken broth over the top. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer on low for about 8-12 minutes, stirring often. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated or as desired. Top with fresh mozzarella and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, if desired.
Now you tell us: How do you use Pinterest for fitspiration?
Written on October 29, 2013 at 10:09 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
Michelle Bridges means business. In addition to appearing on television and authoring eight health and fitness books, The Biggest Loser: Australia star trainer has helped people across the globe lose a collective 1.6 million pounds with her online weight loss program 12 Week Body Transformation. With the program’s United States launch approaching in January 2014, we just had to try this Aussie’s at-home workout. The FITNESS verdict? Two thumbs up.
We met up with Bridges during her recent visit to New York City for a fat-blasting, 30-minute interval-training session, and man did we break a sweat! Her one-step-at-a-time weight loss strategy resonated in her workout design, which broke the routine down into 5-minute intervals. Within each interval, we pushed through 10 different exercises for 30 seconds at a time, earning one minute of much-needed rest before starting again.
Incorporating cardio and total body strength-training moves, the workout utilized pure bodyweight training to target every single muscle. The intervals also alternated the dominant muscle groups every 30 seconds to keep the body strong and balanced. Bridges combined old-school moves in inventive ways, like plank jack pushups and reverse lunge front snap kicks. And as if burpees weren’t already challenging enough, she had us lift and hold alternating arms and legs during the plank portion. Oh yeah, we felt the burn.
Tough moves aside, the format of the workout made time fly by. With only a few repeating moves, the routine required constant focus and kept the body guessing. And as the body fatigued, it felt far easier to dedicate 100 percent effort to an exercise when we knew it was only for half a minute. The mini goal design not only feels more doable, but also achieves a more effective workout. As far as at-home workouts go, Michelle Bridges knows how to help you make the most of little time and persevere through the pain.
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- Torch Fat Fast: The 10-Minte Plyometric Workout
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Written on October 28, 2013 at 10:59 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Nelly was one of the first rappers I listened to. Although I consider myself more of a country girl (um, his collab with Florida Georgia Line in this summer’s smash hit “Cruise (Remix)” was the soundtrack to my windows-down car rides…), back in my early teens my friends and I would “Ride Wit” him en route to field hockey games, sporting Band-Aids on our cheeks and all—just like he did. Yes, it was a trend that lasted a few weeks in my preppy shoreline town. Don’t ask.
I’ve followed Nelly’s career ever since, and when his seventh album, M.O., was released last month, I couldn’t pop it into my running playlist fast enough. “There’s a bunch of good workout songs on it,” Nelly told me when we recently chatted. “From top to bottom, I think you’ll find there’s a lot of great music on there to do your thing.” He called me “sweetheart” at the end of our conversation, I might add, but I digress.
Featuring Nicki Minaj, Pharrell, Nelly Fertado, T.I. and others, Nelly’s newest pace-pushing beats are sure to get your rear in gear as you take your runs indoors. And if you’re anything like Nelly, maybe that athlete mentality will translate into your career. “The competitiveness, the will not to quit and basically being in attack mode definitely helped me,” he says, explaining that the new album’s title not only stands for his home state of Missouri, but also “Method of Operation.”
So what is the workaholic’s method of staying in shape? I mean, don’t mess with those biceps! “The majority of the men in my family are super duper skinny, so the hardest part is putting the weight on,” he admits. “If I’m working, I probably get to the gym three times a week. I’m not going as heavy, just trying to maintain.” And when it comes to cardio, you won’t find the singer on the treadmill, but on the court. “I think basketball is the best cardio in the world, especially with all of the movements—the stops, jumps, the agility part of it and just the constant running.”
When I asked the former vegetarian about his diet, Nelly couldn’t emphasize enough the importance of watching what you eat. To keep his pumped-up physique, the artist tries to take in a lot of protein and loves turkey burgers. “When I started filming The Longest Yard—they wanted me to play a running back—I started eating chicken and turkey again because I only had two months to get as big as possible.” Another staple in Nelly’s daily eats? Oatmeal. “I eat a whole lot of oatmeal with cinnamon. I’ll chop up some bananas and put some raisins in it.” Whoa, Nelly! We’re impressed!
In honor of his new album, here’s a Nelly-fied playlist (a nice mix of old and new) to “Shake Ya Tailfeather” to. Sporting a Band-Aid? Optional, but strongly encouraged.
Written on October 25, 2013 at 5:19 pm , by Samantha Shelton
This week’s fit links around the web…all about our Meet and Tweet going bi-coastal! We headed to LA on Tuesday to bring all the information, fun and – of course – swag to the west coast. Here’s what you all had to say about it:
- The perspective from one of our blogger panelists.-Skinny Runner
- All the fun another one of our panelists had.-Run, Eat, Repeat
- A solid rundown of the day’s events, along with a link up to some of the fab bloggers in attendance. -That’s G
- This blogger became fast friends with Tony Horton – check out her biceps! -Running Hutch
- Five important lessons this blogger learned from our information sessions. -To Live & Diet in L.A.
- If you were running with our EIC, @FITNESSbetty, would you know it?-Cupcake Cardio
- If you want to turn your blog into a business, these are key points to remember. -Skinny Chick
- Swag, swag, swag! This blogger dishes on all the goodies in her bag.-Aprons Trainers and Bibs
Check out our Instagram account to see some of our fave pictures from the day. Follow the #fitblogla hashtag to check out the conversation.
Thank you to everyone who came out and enjoyed a gorgeous LA day with us. We had a blast!