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Hot Topic Tuesday: Do You Size Up Others at the Gym?

Written on November 20, 2012 at 9:18 am , by

Do you team up with—or size up—fellow gym-goers? (Photo by Sarah Kehoe)

What’s your first thought when you step foot in a gym? Perhaps you make a mental note to refill your water bottle. Or maybe you’re selecting what playlist will be your soundtrack today.

According to one recent study, many young women think about the other women in the room—in particular, their size. College undergrads were more likely to use a piece of equipment near a fit woman when she was wearing baggy clothing and padding to appear larger compared to when that same woman was wearing fitted apparel without padding. Researchers believe that body image-conscious young women might feel more comfortable and fitter when compared to their less athletic-looking neighbor.

We like to focus on our own goals, abilities and accomplishments, and think of others at the gym as potential workout buddies! No matter what shape or size you—or they—are, the greatest feeling is when you improve upon your personal best. But we want to hear from you…

Now tell us: Are you in your own world the minute you step foot in the gym, or do you size up those who are exercising nearby? Can you “judge a book by its cover” in terms of fitness anyway?

More from FITNESS:

5 Facts About Green Tea

Written on May 26, 2011 at 9:56 am , by

green tea cup

Photo courtesy of Spark People

If you drink tea because you enjoy the taste, great. But with all the news, studies–and, sometimes lack of research–we wanted to break down the truth about green tea.

1. While green tea is rich in antioxidants, studies have shown that the bottled varieties of tea don’t even come close to the antioxidant levels you’ll find in home-brewed green tea. Researchers found as few as 3 milligrams of flavonoids in premade (bottled) teas, compared with up to 150 milligrams in the kind that is brewed at home. To get the most of your tea, steep it at home for 6-10 minutes, then enjoy it either hot or iced. (This will save you money, too!)

2. It should be noted that green tea extracts and green tea supplements have not been as widely studied as the fresh-brewed beverage itself has been. Most research on the health benefits of tea applies to tea drinking alone. Whether any of these benefits can be achieved by taking a pill or extract, drinking an energy drink with EGCG added, or eating a packaged food product that contains extracts of green tea is questionable. Many of these products contain so little green tea that they’d offer no benefit at all. Others may contain high levels that can be unhealthy (see warnings below). Your best bet is to stick with a fresh-brewed cup of tea and not spend extra on costly functional foods or supplements.

3. Green tea may decrease the absorption of iron and folic acid. Therefore it is best to be drink tea between meals rather than using it as your mealtime beverage. Wait 1-2 hours between eating foods rich in iron and folic acid and drinking tea to maximize your absorption of these nutrients.

4. Research indicates green tea MIGHT be effective for: Improving cholesterol levels, preventing low blood pressure, reducing the risk or preventing the onset of Parkinson’s disease, and preventing cancers of the bladder, esophagus, ovaries and pancreas. However, more research is needed before anyone can say it’s likely to help.

5. Currently, there is not enough evidence or research to say that green tea for sure aids in: Weight loss, Type 2 diabetes prevention,  prostate cancer prevention, breast cancer prevention, lung cancer prevention, or gingivitis. Many times, when you read or hear about the potential benefits of something, it’s because a study’s research is news.

Go deeper: Read the complete article from Spark People about the truth on green tea.


More From Spark People:

Danger Drinks and Healthy Alternatives

Guide to Herbal Supplements

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