Wednesday, 30 November 2016

These 3 Sports May Help You Live Longer, Researchers Say

Looking for a new hobby? Try tennis, swimming, or dance, and you may just extend your lifespan, suggests research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. In an analysis of six sport and exercise categories, researchers found that people who pursued these activities actually lived longer than those who got their fitness on in other ways.

The study surveyed more than 80,000 adults in England and Scotland, ages 30 and up, who were asked about the physical activity they had done in the last four weeks. Along with things like housework and walking, they were also asked about racquet sports (such as badminton, tennis, and squash), swimming, aerobics (including dance and gymnastics), cycling, running and jogging, and football and rugby.

Participants were followed for about nine years, during which 8,790 people died, including 1,909 from heart disease or stroke. When the researchers compared mortality rates of people who did different sports (after taking into account factors such as age, gender, and medical history) they discovered a few interesting findings.

RELATED: 15 Eating Habits That May Help You Live Longer

In the racquet sports category, people who said they'd played in the past four weeks had a 47% lower risk of death from any cause compared to those who hadn't, as well as a 56% lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke.

People who swam and did aerobics also saw significant benefits compared to those who didn't: they were 28% and 27% less likely to die from any cause, respectively, and 41% and 36% less likely to die from heart disease and stroke.

Cycling gave participants a 15% lower risk of all-cause death compared to non-cyclists, but didn't offer protection against heart disease and stroke deaths.

The other sports did not appear to independently protect against death, from any cause or from cardiovascular problems-meaning that mortality rates of those who participated in them were not statistically different from those who didn't. 

There are some caveats, however. For runners and joggers, the researchers did find a 43% lower risk of all-cause death (and a 45% lower risk of cardiovascular death)-but that link disappeared when the results were adjusted for other factors (such as long-term illness, body mass index, drinking and smoking status, and weekly volume of other physical activity).

The relatively small number of deaths in the running group-and the fact that participants were only asked about activities they'd done in the last four weeks-may have skewed results, the researchers say. “It seems, therefore, that while not significant, our result adds to the body of evidence supporting beneficial effects of jogging/running on all-cause and [cardiovascular disease] mortality, rather than contradicting it,” they wrote.

As for football and rugby, only 6.4% of men and 0.3% of women had played these sports in recent weeks. Such a small sample size could explain why no benefit was seen in the study, say the researchers.

RELATED: 21 Reasons You'll Live Longer Than Your Friends

Still, the fact that only certain sports showed statistically meaningful benefits is worth investigating further, the researchers say. "Our findings indicate that it's not only how much and how often, but also what type of exercise you do that seems to make the difference," said senior author Emmanuel Stamatakis, PhD, associate professor of exercise, health, and physical activity at the University of Sydney, in a press release.

Of course, doing any type of exercise is still better than none. This is an especially important point, considering that only about 44% of study participants met the national guidelines for physical activity.

And speaking of how much and how often, participants were quizzed about frequency and duration of their exercises. They were also asked whether the activity was enough to make them breathless and sweaty. For some sports, it appeared that the longer and more intense the workouts, the better protection against death. For others, lower intensity seemed to be a better option.

But more research is needed, the authors say, since there weren't enough deaths for each intensity level to tease out meaningful trends. They also note that the study, as a whole, was only able to prove an association between different sports and longevity-and not necessarily a cause-and-effect relationship.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Tone Up With the Workout Taylor Swift Swears By

Want to sweat it out like fashion runway models Karlie Kloss and Gigi Hadid? Then this high-repetition, low-impact workout from ModelFIT is just what you're looking for. ModelFIT was created to help models achieve the toned, lean physiques they need to do their jobs, but the classes offered at the studio are open to anyone and everyone.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Try This 18-Minute Yoga Flow To Feel Strong and Refreshed

Want to get zen without leaving your house? This stress-busting vinyasa yoga sequence by CorePower Yoga instructor Claire Ewing is just what you need.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Courtney Paul's 12-Minute Resistance Band Workout

Resistance bands and cords are especially great for training because they're so easily portable. Toting dumbbells is an obvious no-go, but throwing a rubber resistance band in your bag is simple-and the exercises you can use it for are versatile. From barre moves that lengthen the lower body to curls that target the arms, resistance bands can be used for almost any type of activity and muscle group.

Monday, 21 November 2016

This 45-Minute Burn Boot Camp Workout Builds Strength and Stamina

Who needs equipment anyway? Research shows that bodyweight training can be just as effective as a stint in the weight room, since it requires you to utilize the muscles throughout your entire body. Bodyweight workouts are also a great way to sweat because they're free of charge, easily modified, and can be done just about anywhere (your bedroom included).    

Friday, 18 November 2016

This Morning Yoga Sequence Will Boost Your Energy in 15 Minutes

Do you find yourself waking up in the morning feeling tired, irritable, and already stressed by the upcoming day? Consider adding a short but effective yoga sequence to your a.m. ritual. Irina Ovsiannikova, a yoga instructor from YG Studios in NYC has created this awesome 15-minute routine, designed to help you start off the day feeling energized and ready to take on the world. Check out this video for her easy-to-follow invigorating yoga sequence sure to brighten up your morning!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

11 Fitness-Themed Mannequin Challenges That Made Our Jaws Drop

Search #MannequinChallenge on social media and you'll land on hundreds of videos of folks posing stock-still in the middle of a staged action scene-like the clip of Michelle Obama and the Cleveland Cavaliers frozen mid-conversation at the White House, and the one of Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna "on pause" in the delivery room. While we're impressed that anyone can remain still so stoically (the challenge is technically one long isometric hold, right?), we're seriously in awe of those who have nailed the viral craze in poses that require impressive strength and balance. Below, some of the most gravity-defying, core-blasting, and stability-testing mannequin challenges we've come across (so far).

Team USA gymnastics

These athletes all deserve gold medals for not falling (let alone blinking) while holding these bendy poses.


Brass Butterflies pole and aerial studio in Ontario, Canada

Watch as these super-strong ladies take the challenge quite literally to new heights. (There's even a longer version on YouTube.)


Brigham Young University gymnastics team

Warning: Don't try this at home.


Kevin Hart and crew in the weight room

Now THAT'S a gym face, Kevin Hart!


A Physique 57 barre class

Our seats can feel the burn from here.


Trinity Valley Community College cheerleading squad

Three cheers for the members of this spirit squad, who must reaaaaaally trust each other.


Soul Cycle

The one exception to the "ride to the beat" rule.


CrossFit Solace in New York

Nope, we're not impressed. Not at all. Not even a little. Nope.


Britney Spears and her back-up dancers

This is the closest we'll ever come to joining Britney's dance troupe on stage (and we'll take it!).


Victoria's Secret models

The ladies hit pause while toning up for the VS Fashion Show next month.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Katie Austin's 6 Exercises to Get Fit in No Time

Watch this video featuring fitness expert Katie Austin as she teaches a quick routine made up of moves that strategically target two major muscle groups at once, like your legs and arms or abs and glutes! What's even better is you can crank out this convenient sequence any time, anywhere-whether that's your bedroom, office, or even outdoors (like we did here, by the Hudson!) 

Monday, 14 November 2016

Fitness Star Emily Skye Feels 'Happier, Healthier, Stronger and Fitter' After Gaining 28 Lbs.

Fitness star Emily Skye is speaking out to let her followers know that being thin does not make you healthier or happier.

Skye, 29, shared a photo of herself in 2008 at 47 kilograms (about 104 lbs.) and now at 60 kilograms (about 132 lbs.) in a side-by-side comparison on Instagram.

The Australian trainer explains that the first photo is from is before she started strength training.

“I was only doing cardio and I was obsessed with being as skinny as I could be,” she shares. “I was starving myself and was really unhealthy and unhappy. I suffered depression and had terrible body image.”

She has since gained 13 kilograms (about 28 lbs.) through focusing on lifting weights and doing some high-intensity interval training.

“I don't do any long cardio sessions and I eat more than I've ever eaten in my life,” says Skye. “I'm also happier, healthier, stronger and fitter than I have ever been. I no longer obsess over the way I look. I eat and train to feel my best, for overall health and longevity. I love having muscle and I feel more confident than ever.”

“I love my life and I'm so grateful I decided to make those changes several years ago and committed to my healthy lifestyle,” she continues.

Skye encourages her followers to focus on working out and eating clean for overall health, rather than for weight loss.

“Exercise and eat nutritious food because you love yourself and know that you deserve to be your best,” she says. “Try not to focus on being 'skinny' and just focus on your overall health - mental and physical.”

This article originally appeared on

Friday, 11 November 2016

5 Butt Exercises That Will Reinvent Your Rear

When it comes to the structure of your backside, genetics plays a huge role. Now, that doesn't mean you can't score a higher, firmer derrière, but it does mean you have to be realistic. The right exercises won't give you your favorite celeb's booty, but they can help you improve the one you have. The key is moving beyond squats-which heavily target your quads and hamstrings-and instead attacking the muscles that are hiding deep down under the glutes. This series does just that; it also hits the butt from every angle while working to extend your muscles through their full range of motion. Building a better bottom line starts right here.

Do 30 reps of each move in the series on one side, then repeat sequence on the other. And don't forget your 30 to 60 minutes of cardio six times a week.

RELATED: The Full-Body Workout That Keeps J.Lo in Amazing Shape

1. Arabesque Lift to Knee Balance

Start on all fours; rotate torso to the right, shifting weight onto right knee and hand. Extend left arm up and left leg straight back (A). Lift right foot, balancing on right knee, and pause (B). Lower right foot back to "A," then repeat.

RELATED: 5 Exercises to Work Off Your Waist

2. Foot Grab and Side Kick

Kneel, then lower right hand to the floor and lift left leg. Bend left leg back and grab left foot with left hand (A). Pull foot back to engage glutes, then release foot, kicking it forward (B). Return to "A" and repeat.

RELATED: The Best Exercises to Tone Your Butt and Back

3. Attitude Plank with Alternating Leg

Start on all fours with right knee pulled slightly forward (A). Extend right leg back and up (B), then return to "A." Push back onto right toes, then extend left leg back and up, bending left knee so left foot faces right (C). Return to "A" and repeat.

RELATED: Tracy Anderson's Moves for Killer Legs

4. Plank Hold with Attitude Lift

Start in a high plank with left ankle crossed over right. Rotate right shoulder outward so right hand faces sideways and right elbow is tucked under right hip (A). Lift left leg with knee bent and sole of foot facing up (B). Lower left leg back to "A," then repeat.

RELATED: Tracy Anderson's Full-Body Fat Blast Workout

5. Standing Plié Knee Tuck to Attitude Lift

Stand with right leg slightly in front of left. Bend knees, reaching left palm to the floor and placing right hand around right ankle. Lift left foot off the floor (A). Straighten right leg, coming onto left fingertips as you extend left leg up, bending left knee so left foot faces right (B). Return to "A" and repeat.


Tracy's wearing: Athleta Colorblock Bra ($50; Adidas by Stella McCartney Studio Zebra Leggings ($110; Nike Air Max 2016 Shoes ($190;


Looking for more Tracy Anderon butt workouts? Watch this video.


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Pin the entire workout:


Thursday, 10 November 2016

I Tried Rope Wall Yoga and It Wasn't as Scary as It Sounds

Rope wall yoga looks about as intimidating as you'd imagine. I came across it on Instagram, where I kept seeing impressive images of yogis suspended in acrobatic poses. Although they seemed so graceful floating in midair, I was having a hard time picturing myself attempting these gravity-defying feats. I worried I wasn't quite experienced enough as I made my way to Align Yoga in Brooklyn for my first class. But once it got started, I quickly realized there was no need to be nervous.

We started with a gentle warm-up in the cozy, light-filled studio. First our teacher, Cat Murcek, had us lay flat on our backs, feet planted on the floor, to find our neutral spine; then she led us through self-massage work with balls and foam rollers, and some basic poses. By the time we moved to the wall, my body felt loose and limber.

It turns out that the practice of using the wall as support was first popularized by B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the world's most influential yoga gurus, and founder of the discipline known as Iyengar. As Murcek explained, his focus was finding ways to perform poses in the healthiest, safest way possible. 

RELATED: Here's What Happens to Your Body During an Aerial Yoga Class

For our first pose, we faced away from the wall, arms at our sides, grasping the handles of our straps. Then we leaned forward, so our arms stretched behind us. As I lifted my chest and pushed my pelvis forward, I felt the best shoulder and chest stretch of my life. Next came what Murcek called “rope two." Picture a hanging backbend. Once I got over the fact that I wasn't touching the ground, I released my chest and sank into a much deeper backbend than I ever thought possible. 

From there we moved into a "hanging Downward Dog," with a harness supporting the tops of our thighs. Then we walked our feet up the wall and slowly lifted our chests. I was surprised by the strength in my back and hamstrings as I held this position, which literally made me feel like I was flying.

RELATED: 5 Yoga Poses You Can Do at Your Desk

For me, the most challenging (and also fun!) part of the class was a pose Murcek called "hang like a bat." It entailed hanging completely upside down, our heads inches from the ground, and the soles of our feet touching so our legs formed a diamond shape. (For a visual, see the photo at the top of the page.) “This is one of my favorite poses in the world,” Murcek says. “It's one of the best ways to traction your back because you're literally just hanging straight up and down.”

After Savasana (which was back on solid ground) I stayed to chat with Murcek, and confessed my initial concern that i wasn't strong or flexible enough for her class. She told me that's exactly the kind of fear she wants to put to rest. “I think people get distracted by the fancy acrobatics of yoga, and think that's what yoga is, so they can't do it,” she said. “But I want to impress upon people that everyone can do yoga, and using the yoga wall just makes it even more accessible to all levels.”

As for me, I'm sold.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

5 BOSU Ball Exercises for Total-Body Strength

Basic bodyweight workouts are all well and good-until boredom sets in. But that doesn't mean you need to scoop up every piece of gym equipment that's ever been sold on late-night TV. You can mix up your session with the addition of a single, multi-faceted tool, like the BOSU ball. According to Sara Lewis, celeb trainer and founder of XO Fitness in Los Angeles, “the BOSU ball is so effective because of how it combines an unstable surface with a flat one, which makes it an incredibly versatile option.”

That translates to “hundreds of multi-purpose exercises at your disposal-from arm work, to ab and side body work, to leg moves and everything in between,” says Lewis, who's trained A-listers such as Ryan Gosling and Sofia Vergara.  We're not just talking one workout style, either. “You can focus on very specific stability work one day, and then decide to commit full-force to your cardio the next.” Or, you can get the best of both worlds with a double-duty circuit workout, like the one below, designed by Lewis exclusively for Daily Burn-with maximum burn in mind.

RELATED: 6 Killer Cardio Workouts That Don't Involve Running

5 BOSU Ball Exercises to Try Now

For these BOSU ball exercises, you'll start with a core activation move before firing up the obliques and stabilizer muscles. Next, you'll work the inner and outer thigh muscles and end with a burst of cardio, Lewis says. Complete the entire circuit, then switch sides the second time around. Repeat for a total of four rounds, so you're hitting each side twice. Five moves, one total-body circuit, let's ball!

BOSU Ball Exercises - Up Downs

1. Up/Downs

How to: Start in high plank with hands on the squishy side of the BOSU ball, fingers facing slightly outward, shoulders over wrists and feet flexed, legs strong (a). Inhale as you drop to your forearms, one arm at a time, palms facing up (b). Exhale as you plant your palms back on the BOSU and into high plank (c). Repeat for 10 reps, keeping spine long and core engaged.

RELATED: 3 Common Plank Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)

BOSU Ball Exercises - Knee Tuck

2. Waist Eliminator

How to: Return to high plank position, hands on the BOSU ball (a). Maintaining a strong core, draw your right knee to right elbow, then return foot to the floor (b). Repeat for 10 reps, then tack on 10 pulses, knee to elbow (avoid putting foot back down between pulses) (d). Step back to plank and drop to knees into child's pose for a quick 15-second recovery stretch.

RELATED: 7 No-Crunch Exercises for Six-Pack Abs

BOSU Ball Exercises - Giant Clam

3. Giant Clam

How to: Starting with the BOSU ball to your left, come to your knees and place your left forearm in the center of the BOSU (a). Rise up into a side plank variation, with your bottom (left) leg straight out to the side and your top (right) leg behind you, bent at 45-degrees for support. Raise your right arm to the sky and keep hips lifted (b). Inhale to prepare, then exhale as you bring your right hand and left foot together, keeping your leg straight. The emphasis should be on the straight leg lifting higher than the arm lowers (c). Return to start and repeat 10 times.

RELATED: 5 Better Ways to Sculpt a Stronger Butt

4. Side Kick Kneeling

How to: Return to knees, this time with the left knee in the center of the BOSU and right leg extended, foot resting on the floor and arms at your sides (a). Facing front, lean left to plant your left hand to the left of the BOSU. Be sure to position the left shoulder over the wrist and left hip over the knee. (b). Next, extend your right arm to the sky while simultaneously raising your right leg up to hip-level (c). Lift your leg a few inches above hip-level, then lower back to hip-level (d). Repeat for 20 reps. End in downward dog for a quick 15-second stretch.

RELATED: Are You Foam Rolling All Wrong?

5. Side-to-Side Squats

How to: From a standing position, place the right foot on the center of the BOSU (a). Lower hips into a deep squat position (b). Step both feet together onto the BOSU ball, staying low in your squat (c). Next, step your right foot off the BOSU, lowering deeper into your squat. Repeat the moving squats for 20 reps on the same side (we'll hit the other side in round two!) (d). End with 10 squat jumps on the BOSU for an extra cardio-strength blast.


This article originally appeared on

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

This App Lets You Run the NYC Marathon in Virtual Reality

If you weren't among the 50,000 people who ran the New York City Marathon last weekend, it's not too late to experience what it's like to participate in the iconic race (minus all the sweat and aching muscles).

During Sunday's event, Sports Illustrated teamed up with veteran runner Alex Christison to film a 360 virtual reality video of his journey across the five boroughs-from the Verrazano Bridge in Staten Island, through Brooklyn and Queens, up 1st Avenue in Manhattan to the Bronx, and back down to the finish line in Central Park. The clip captures the inspiring energy along the 26.2-mile course lined with millions of cheering spectators.

The trailer below offers a sneak peek. But for the full, immersive experience, download the free mobile app Life VR (launched by Time Inc., Health's parent company) and watch the video on your smartphone. As you move your device around, you'll get a 360-degree view from Christison's perspective as he makes his way through the streets of New York.

RELATED: This Video Shows What Happens to Your Body During a Marathon

Life VR is available for both iOS and Android.


Friday, 4 November 2016

This Video Shows What Happens to Your Body During a Marathon

This weekend, 50,000 runners will toe the line at the New York City Marathon (the world's largest 26.2!)-and we're guessing that, throughout their training, many of them could relate to the narrator in the quick flick below: “I'm 15 miles into this run,” he says, groaning. “I have another seven to go. I'm losing steam, my legs are cramping, I can barely breathe. I don't know if I can make it another mile!”

While we hope the marathoners feel better than that on Sunday morning, we'll admit it: We've been there.

The video, from the American Chemical Society, goes on to explain the science behind why we “bonk,” “hit the wall,” or, if we're lucky, catch the drug-like runner's high. (Hint: It's got a lot to do with proper training.)

If you've ever wondered why it's important to carbo-load, what that burning feeling in your legs really means, why you sweat so much, and whether you can drink too much water, the answers are here.

RELATED: The 50 Most Gorgeous Running Races in America, State by State

Whether you're racing this weekend or not, give it a watch. Then get out there and go chase that dopamine rush-through NYC's five boroughs or wherever you love to pound the pavement. Good luck, marathoners!


Thursday, 3 November 2016

Lighter Running Shoes Really Can Make You Faster

If you're gunning for a new 5K PR, you may want to check the scale-for the weight of your shoes, that is. A new study shows that people run slower when wearing heavier sneakers, even if the difference is just a few ounces.

It's long been known that wearing heavier shoes makes runners work harder, and experts have theorized that that would slow them down. (One oft-cited estimate is that for every ounce a runner shaves off her sneakers, she'll run one second faster per mile.) But researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder wanted to find out for sure if this was true.]]

The researchers recruited 18 competitive runners to complete 3,000-meter time trials (about two miles) on an indoor track, once a week for three weeks. Unbeknownst to the runners, small lead pellets were sewn into two of the three pairs of racing flats they wore.

By themselves, the shoes weighed 7 to 8 ounces each, depending on size. The pellets added about 3.5 ounces (or the weight of a deck of cards) per shoe for one pair, and about 10.6 ounces per shoe for the second pair.

RELATED: 3 Signs You Need a New Pair of Running Shoes

To help prevent the runners from detecting extra weight, the researchers put their shoes on for them. Still, the runners noticed the difference: In their time trials, they paced themselves differently-and ran about 1% slower-for every 3.5 ounces of lead added per shoe. The researchers calculated that elite runners wearing shoes 3.5 ounces lighter than normal could potentially run a marathon about 57 seconds faster.

The study also measured how much energy the runners expended by testing their oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production as they ran on a treadmill wearing each pair of shoes. The results compared well with previous studies-and matched the results of the indoor-track time trial-showing that energy costs rose by about 1% with each 3.5 ounces of extra shoe weight.

RELATED: How to Train for a 5K Race in Just 4 Weeks

Don't go out and buy a new pair of running shoes just yet, though. The researchers note that lighter shoes won't necessarily make a runner faster. The team's previous research has shown that proper cushioning also reduces the energy cost of running-so swapping out foam or other padding for a super-streamlined design could potentially backfire. (Studies have also found that switching to barefoot-style minimalist shoes can raise some runners' injury risk.)

Lighter is not always better,” said lead author Wouter Hoogkamer, PhD, a researcher in CU's Locomotion Laboratory, in a press release. He recommends that shoppers keep this trade-off in mind when choosing a running shoe that feels good-lightweight still but adequately cushioned-on their feet.

The study was funded by Nike and published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Yes, It's Possible to Exercise Too Much-Here Are the Signs

Hitting the gym almost daily and still not seeing results? Here's how to tell if you're OD'ing on this healthy habit and working out too much-and what to do instead. 

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

What's the Difference Between LISS and HIIT Workouts?

HIIT (high-intensity interval training) has been the most buzzed-about sweat method for a while, but there's a new approach gaining momentum: LISS, or low-intensity, steady-state cardio. OK, it's not really new (hello, elliptical!). So why the sudden spotlight?

"People are burned out; they're fed up with always pushing to their limits," explains Joe Holder, a Nike running and training coach and a performance training at S10 in New York City. "LISS is a less intense alternative that allows you to decompress while offering full health perks."

You don't need to pick one or the other, adds Anna Victoria, a certified NASM trainer and creator of the Fit Body Guide regimen: "It's about alternating between the two and taking advantage of the fat-burn benefits of all heart-rate training zones," she says.

RELATED: This Is the Best HIIT Workout, According to Science

Here's the essential info on both practices:


What it is: Cardio performed at a low to moderate intensity-50 to 65 percent of your max heart rate-for a minimum of 45 minutes. Think jogging, swimming, biking to work, or going for a brisk walk. 

Benefits: The relaxed pace of this training method is easier on the joints, helps lower your resting heart rate, and is a great stepping stone for those looking to increase their intensity.

The downsides: Not only is it time-consuming, but as your body adapts, you'll have to up your exercise time to continue to see changes. And it won't boost your muscle mass or strength.

Burn potential: A 150-pound woman can expect to crush about 350 calories in 45 minutes.

RELATED: Here's Why You Get Out of Breath Walking Up the Stars (Even If You're Fit)


What it is: A cardio interval technique in which you alternate 20- to 30-second bursts of all-out intense effort (80 to 90 percent of max heart rate) with recovery periods.

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Benefits: You don't have to spend massive amounts of time getting sweaty, and you'll rev your ticker, recruit more muscles, and burn calories even after you've stopped.

The downsides: You can't really reap the benefits of HIIT without an aerobic base. Translation: You still need to get your LISS on. And it may not be safe if you're unfit.

Burn potential: A 150-pound woman can torch roughly 190 calories in 20 minutes.

16 Perfect Yoga Gifts for Women

Say om: These are the perfect gifts for yoga lovers this holiday season. 

Friday, 28 October 2016

Get Sculpted Shoulders with These 5 Moves

Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365

When you hit the weight room in pursuit of strong, toned arms, bicep curls and tricep extensions might be your go-to moves. But there's an equally important muscle group to add into the rotation: your shoulders.

“Shoulder strength and stability are integral to practically all arm movements, plus almost every chest and back movement,” says Cheri Paige Fogleman, a trainer on Daily Burn 365. “Having strong shoulders also ensures success when strengthening biceps, triceps, chest and back muscles.” Translation: Build sculpted shoulders and you'll help strengthen your entire upper body as well.

Stronger shoulders will also make it easier to carry out daily tasks-from picking up your kids or groceries to reaching for a glass in the cabinet. But there's a catch: You need to work your shoulders from multiple angles. While push-ups will do wonders for muscles in the front of the shoulder, Fogleman says, you shouldn't stop there.

On your next arm day, skip the standard push-up and add these five new shoulder exercises to your line-up. They work every section of your shoulders-backside included (which people often miss)-so you get 360 degrees stronger.

RELATED: 7 Benefits of Strength Training That Go Beyond Buff Arms

5 Shoulder Exercises to Strengthen Your Upper Body

These bodyweight moves can easily incorporate dumbbells. Fogleman suggests doing higher reps if you're skipping the weights. If you're more advanced and going for increased resistance, Fogleman recommends starting will three-pound dumbbells. “The moves should be more challenging, but not suddenly impossible,” she says. Perform 10 to 12 reps of each, rest, then repeat this circuit once or twice for a full upper body burn.

Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365

1. Staggered Shoulder Press

By leaning forward in this move, you hit the tough-to-reach back of the shoulders, along with your core and back muscles. Just remember to avoid slouching and keep a neutral spine.

How to: From a standing position, step one foot behind you so you're in a high lunge. Front knee should be bent about 45 degrees (a). Lean forward at the hips, keeping your back straight. Bring your arms up to shoulder height, bent at the elbows and palms facing in (b). Extend your arms overhead until they're completely straight (c). Bend them back to shoulder height and repeat. Switch your footing halfway through or on the next round.

RELATED: 3 Quick HIIT Workouts for Beginners

Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365

2. Plank to Renegade Row

While shoulders are your main focus on this move, bonus points come from working your back and core, too. If you really want to fire up your midsection, keep your hips totally stable. Feeling unsteady? Step your legs wider apart or drop to your knees.

How to: Start in a high plank position with hands a little closer than shoulder-width apart. Draw the navel in toward the spine to support your abs and firm the glutes to take some pressure off your elbows and hips (a). Pull one hand upward (palm facing toward your body) so your hand reaches chest level. Return it back to the ground (b). Perform the same row movement with your other arm. Return it back to the ground (c). Continue alternating.

RELATED: 3 Common Plank Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)

Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365

3. Lateral Raise Balance

Squeeze your shoulder blades together as your lift your arm so you sculpt the back of the shoulder. You'll also work the stabilizing muscles of the arm that's holding you up, which gets even more intense when you lift your leg.

How to: Start on your hands and knees, with wrists directly under shoulders and knees in line with hips (a). Lift one arm directly out to the side and up to shoulder height, as you straighten and lift the opposite leg to hip height behind you (b). Lower your hand and foot back to the floor and repeat, then switch sides.

RELATED: 275 Exercises to Shake Up Your Fitness Routine

Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365

4. Side Plank T-Raise

Target both shoulders at once with this core-tightening move. Try not to sink down into the shoulder that's holding you up and instead push the floor way with your elbow. Don't let your hips drop, either.

How to: Start in forearm side plank position, feet stacked one on top of the other and your elbow directly in line with your shoulder. Your other hand should be lightly resting on the ground in front of you (a). Keep your top arm straight as you raise it up toward the ceiling, creating a T with your arms (b). Return it back to the floor and repeat, keeping your hips up and your body in a straight diagonal line the whole time (c). Repeat, then switch sides.

RELATED: No More Sit-Ups: 7 Moves to Work Your Abs

Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365

5. Inverted Push-Ups

Reach your booty up toward the ceiling for this next-level push-up. If you need to modify, place your hands on a chair, low coffee table or a bench.

How to: Start in a downward-facing dog (a). Bend your elbows so they point out to the sides as you lower the crown of your head (not your forehead) between your hands and as close to the floor as you can go (b). Exhale as you push yourself back up (c). Repeat.

For more unique moves that'll spice up your gym routine, try Daily Burn 365. You'll get a new, exciting workout every day.  

Monday, 24 October 2016

12-Minute Dance Cardio Workout With Katie Austin

This 12-minute dance cardio workout will get you to burn calories and build strength in style. In this video, Katie Austin, daughter of famous fitness instructor Denise Austin, fuses traditional exercises like squats or bicep curls with easy-to-follow dance steps.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Why You Should Listen to Music When You Do HIIT, According to Science

You've heard all about the benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). But if the “high-intensity” part sounds a little too, er, intense, a new study has some advice for you: Grab your headphones.

When University of British Columbia (UBC) researchers asked people who were new to HIIT to try a sprint-interval workout either with or without music, both groups came away with positive attitudes. But those who sweated to a playlist felt even better about the routine than those who'd worked out in silence.

Listening to music may make it easier for people to adopt these types of HIIT routines, say the study authors. That could help them stay in shape, they add, by allowing them to squeeze short, effective workouts into busy days.

Lots of people exercise regularly, but they do steady-state cardio (like long, slow jogs) or low-intensity activity (like walking or yoga). And while there's nothing wrong with those types of exercise, research has shown that interval training can provide many of the same benefits-like burning calories and strengthening your heart-in less time.

"There has been a lot of discussion in the exercise and public policy worlds about how we can get people off the couch and meeting their minimum exercise requirements," said Kathleen Martin Ginis, PhD, professor of health and exercise sciences at UBC, in a press release. "The use of HIIT may be a viable option to combat inactivity, but there is a concern that people may find HIIT unpleasant, deterring future participation."

RELATED: This No-Gym HIIT Workout Gets the Job Done in 10 Minutes

To examine newbies' attitudes and intentions toward HIIT, researchers recruited 20 men and women unfamiliar with these types of workouts. After two preliminary training sessions, the participants completed two sprint interval training workouts on stationary exercise bikes about a week apart-one with music and one without. Each session included four to six 30-second “all-out” bouts of pedaling, separated by four minutes of rest.

After each session and again after a final follow-up meeting, the participants were asked to rank the workouts in terms of how enjoyable, beneficial, pleasant, painful, and valuable they found them to be. They were also asked how likely it was that they would do a similar workout three times a week going forward.

On average, the exercisers had already expressed positive assumptions about HIIT before the study began. And it turns out, their attitudes were just as positive after trying it for themselves. That was somewhat surprising, says study co-author and PhD candidate Matthew Stork, given the intensity of the workouts. But there's more: Overall, the exercisers rated their session with music as more positive than their session without.

RELATED: 15 Beyoncé Songs That Will Make You Want to Work Out

Somewhat surprisingly, participants' “intention” scores (when asked if they'd continue these types of workouts) weren't significantly different between the two sessions. Nonetheless, the authors wrote, using music to improve enjoyment and attitude toward HIIT “may eventually translate into improved [sprint-interval training] exercise intentions over time.”

It's also possible, they admit, that the attitude boost provided by music really wasn't enough to significantly improve participants' intentions. But at the very least, says Stork, adding tunes to a tough workout probably won't hurt.

"For busy people who may be reluctant to try HIIT for the first time, this research tells us that they can actually enjoy it,” he says, “and they may be more likely to participate in HIIT again if they try it with music."

The study was published in the Journal of Sport Sciences. Participants chose their own music and selections varied widely, says Stork, although they did tend to select fast, upbeat songs. That makes sense, he says, since music with fast tempos has been shown to facilitate speed increases in previous exercise studies.

As little as three 10-minute intense HIIT sessions a week can provide meaningful health benefits, says Stork, who's also a certified strength and conditioning coach. If people can incorporate these workouts into their regular routine, he adds, they may not necessarily have to get “the dreaded 150-minute weekly total.” (The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, per week.)

RELATED: A 4-Minute Tabata Workout for People Who Have No Time

Stork says that HIIT can be beneficial for people of all ages and fitness levels-although he cautions that anyone with a history of heart disease or other health risks should check with his or her physician before trying a new exercise protocol.

He also recommends familiarizing yourself with the intermittent nature of HIIT before jumping right into it for the first time, and to start off with intervals that may not require you to go all-out right away.

Indoor cycling and other aerobics classes often follow an interval format (with music!) and can be a great way to get started. Just be sure to start out at your own pace, says Stork, and to talk with the instructor beforehand if you have any concerns. 

 “One of the best features of HIIT-based exercise is that it calls for relative intensities, which can account for a range of fitness levels, and can be modified in many ways,” he says. “Don't be afraid to start off with a protocol consisting of 4 or 5 work bouts and eventually work your way up to 10 bouts over a few weeks. There's no need to push yourself too hard or too fast.” 

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

How to Train for a 5K Race in Just 4 Weeks

While 3.1 miles may not seem like that long of a trek, runners can attest that building up to a 5K race is an accomplishment in itself. Train too hard, and you could up your risk of injury; but a too-long plan can feel like you'll never make it to the finish line.

If you've been looking to hit the pavement to run a 5K, we've got you covered. This training plan will help you master 3.1 miles in just four weeks' time through a combination of running, walking, and strength-training. Plus, with every step you take, you'll be working to reduce your risk of heart disease, boost your mood, eliminate stress, and build lean muscle-especially in your lower body and core. So whether you're training for an upcoming Turkey Trot or Color Run, follow this 28-day guide to lace up your sneakers and get going.

RELATED: What to Eat Before, During, and After Running

Start training for a 5K race with this 4-week plan:


Monday, 17 October 2016

The Full-Body Workout That Keeps J.Lo in Amazing Shape

Jennifer Lopez seems to get better with age. As her trainer, I come up with her workouts, but she deserves all the credit. Not only does she eat clean and score the right amount of z's, but despite jam-packed days, she shows up for her body. Does your schedule rival the superstar's? Then this routine is for you. It strengthens and tones you from head to toe, while giving a little extra love to the derrière (kicks galore!). Now, if only I could bottle Jennifer's swagger...

If you ever visit one of my studios, you'll find that I like the room nice and toasty. Doing workouts in a warn and humid environment makes your muscles more pliable (be careful not to push yourself too far), so these dynamic movements are easier to perform. That's good news, considering our goal is to lengthen our muscles. 

Do 30 reps of each move in the series on one side, then repeat the sequence on the other. Wear ankle weights for these moves; start with 1 1/2 or 2 pounds and build up to 5 pounds (that's what J.Lo uses). Don't own a pair of ankle weights? Try the Ivation Premium High-Quality Ankle Weights Set ($19;

1. Flexed Knee Pull and Arabesque

Start on all fours; lower down to forearms and clasp hands. Pull left knee forward toward chest; flex foot (A). Keeping foot flexed, extend left leg back and up (B). Reverse motion to lower left leg back to "A." Knees should hover over the floor. 

RELATED: Tracy Anderson's Best Moves for Killer Legs

2. Lunge Arabesque

Kneel with body upright. Step right foot out to the side, hands on hips, coming into a kneeling side lunch (A). Lower body forward to come down to forearms; clasp hands and extend right leg back and up (B). Lift torso as you lower right leg back to "A." Try not to hunch shoulders.

RELATED: The Best Exercises to Tone Your Butt and Back

3. Coupé Push-Up to Attitude

Lie facedown with elbows close to torso and hands under shoulders. Bend left leg, crossing left ankle over back of right knee (A). Pushing body up and back, come onto right knee as you lift left leg up (B). Reverse motion to lower back to "A." Push body back, forming a diagonal line form shoulders to hands.

RELATED: 5 Exercises to Work Off Your Waist

4. Lifting Side Kick

Sit on right hip with knees bent, left hand on left hip and left leg slightly in front of right with foot on the floor. Lower down to right forearm (A). Lift hips until you're balancing on right shin; kick left leg up (B). Lower back to "A."

RELATED: The Full-Body Fat Blast Workout

5. Shoulder Balance with Leg Pull

Start on all fours. Thread right arm under chest as you lower down until head and right shoulder are resting on the floor, keeping left hand down for support. Shift hips slightly forward. Extend left leg out to the side, toes on the floor (A). Holding the upper-body position, lift left leg up; point foot (B). Reverse motion back to "A."

Tracy's wearing: Alala Essential Seamless Bra ($45;; Nike Power Epic Lux Women's Printed Running Tights ($120;; Nike Air Max 1 Jacquard Sneakers ($145;


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Friday, 14 October 2016

Get Back in Shape with This Post-Pregnancy Workout from Jillian Michaels

Jillian Michaels created this workout based on the program in her new book, Yeah Baby!: The Modern Mama's Guide to Mastering Pregnancy, Having a Healthy Baby, and Bouncing Back Better Than Ever ($18; "Since pregnancy pulls shoulders forward, this strengthens the upper back and biceps," she says. "It also rehabs the core while strengthening the hips and glutes."

One thing Jillian cautions: It's key not to ramp things up too soon after giving birth. Once you have the all clear from your doc, cycle through this circuit four times, doing each move for 30 seconds. Do it twice a week, pairing it with 20 minutes of low-impact cardio, such as swimming, biking, or hiking.

RELATED: Jillian Michaels: "I've Taken a Lot of Punches, But I'm Still Standing"

Sumo Squat + Rotator Cuff Fly

This move targets the upper back, glutes, and quads. Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width length apart, toes slightly turned out; hold a medium, resistance band in front of body so arms form a 90-degree angle and forearms face up (A). Bend knees and lower down into a wide squat as you pull arms out and back (B). Rise back to standing as you bring arms back together; repeat.

RELATED: Work Your Upper Back, Core, and Thighs with Jillian Michaels

Bird Dog

This move targets your core. Start on all fours, wrists beneath shoulders and knees beneath hips, with gaze toward the floor. Extend right arm and left leg straight out so that they're parallel to the floor (A). Maintaining a flat back, squeeze abs and bring right elbow and left knee in beneath body to touch (B). Return to "A" and repeat. On the next round, switch sides.

WATCH THE VIDEO: Jillian Demonstrates How to Do Bird Dog

Rolling Plank + Ab Hold

This move targets your core. Start in a forearm plank with hands in fists, elbows beneath shoulders, tailbone tucked, and feet together (A); hold for 10 seconds. Rotate to the right, coming into a side plank with hips lifted (B); hold for 10 seconds. Roll back to center, then immediately rotate to the left, coming into a side plank with hips lifted; hold for 10 seconds.

WATCH THE VIDEO: Jillian Demonstrates How to Do a Rolling Plank + Ab Hold

Stationary Lunge + Biceps Curl

This move targets biceps, core, glutes, and quads. Stand with feet staggered, left in front of right, with a medium resistance band under left foot; hold handles at sides with palms faceup (A). Lower down until knees are bent at about 90 degrees as you curl arms up (B). Press through heel of front foot and toes of back foot to rise to standing as you lower arms, then repeat. On the next round, switch legs.

WATCH THE VIDEO: Jillian Demonstrates How to Do a Stationary Lunge + Biceps Curl

Reverse Fly in Crescent Pose

This move targets your upper back, core, and thighs. Stand with feet staggered, left in front of right, with right heel lifted. Hold 3- to 5-pound dumbbells at sides, palms facing in. Bend left knee to 90 degrees and hinge forward from hips, torso at 45 degrees, bringing chest toward left knee (A). Squeeze back as you lift arms to shoulder height (B). Lower arms, then repeat. On the next round, switch legs.

WATCH THE VIDEO: Jillian Demonstrates How to Do a Reverse Fly in Crescent Pose

Wide Row in Static Squat

This move targets upper back, core, glutes, and quads. Stand with feet hip-width apart, a 3- to 5-pound dumbbell in each hand, palms facing thighs. Bend knees, lowering down until thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep torso at 45 degrees and abs pulled in (A). Bend elbows straight back, pulling dumbbells in toward sides and squeezing shoulder blades together (B). Extend arms back down and repeat.

WATCH THE VIDEO: Jillian Demonstrates How to Do a Wide Row in Static Squat

Remember: Get doctor approval before you resume any exercising. And if you had diastasis recti or a C-section, wait three months before doing these circuit moves.


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Thursday, 13 October 2016

The Apple Watch Is the Most Accurate Wrist Wearable

Some fitness trackers are a lot more accurate than others, finds a new study published in JAMA Cardiology.

Researchers at Cleveland Clinic wanted to test how well four popular wearable devices measured heart rate, which is involved in a formula that calculate how many calories a person is burning while they exercise. They hooked 50 healthy adults up to an electrocardiogram (EKG), the gold-standard test for measuring heart activity, and compared the results to heart rates obtained by Fitbit Charge HR, Apple Watch, Mio Alpha and Basis Peak. They also assessed a chest strap. The researchers measured everyone at rest, then walking and jogging on a treadmill.

The chest strap monitor was the most accurate, nearly matching the EKG with 99% accuracy-both technologies capture electrical activity coming from the heart. Of the wrist wearables, Apple Watch was about 90% accurate, but “the other ones dropped off into the low 80s for their accuracy,” says Dr. Gordon Blackburn, one of the study's authors and director of cardiac rehabilitation at Cleveland Clinic.

Accuracy also went down as intensity increased. “What we really noticed was all of the devices did not a bad job at rest for being accurate for their heart rate, but as the activity intensity went up, we saw more and more variability,” Blackburn says. “At the higher levels of activity, some of the wrist technology was not accurate at all.”

Measuring heart rate from the wrist is convenient, but it comes with some disadvantages. “All of the wrist technologies are looking at blood flow,” Blackburn says. “You need to have good contact between the photosensing cells; as a person is exercising more vigorously, there's more bounce, so you may lose some of that contact.”

For a person without health problems using a wrist-worn device to track heart rate, “it probably isn't putting them at any risk,” Blackburn says. “Our concern is for patient populations that have health problems that can be aggravated by getting to too high of an intensity.”

“Fitbit trackers are not intended to be medical devices. Unlike chest straps, wrist-based trackers fit comfortably into everyday life, providing continuous heart rate for up to several days without recharging (vs. a couple hours at a time) to give a much more informative picture of overall health and fitness trends,” Fitbit representatives said in a statement, adding that their internal tests showed an accuracy rate of 94% [or a margin of error that was about 6%.]


This article originally appeared on

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The 5 Most Active Cities in the U.S.

It's no secret that city dwellers tend to get in more steps every day. After all they often rely on their own two feet, rather than a car, to get from place to place. But which cities are the best for racking up miles on your tracker, and living an overall active, healthy lifestyle?

A new report has determined just that. The study, part of the Gallup-Healthways State of American Well-Being Series, assigned an "Active Living" score to cities based on factors like walkability, bike-ability, the quality of the public transit system, and availability of well-maintained parks. The researchers looked at a total of 48 medium to large cities.

Boston nabbed the highest score, followed by San Francisco (unsurprisingly-have you seen that city's hills?) and Chicago. New York City and Washington, D.C., were awarded fourth and fifth places, respectively.

RELATED: The 50 Best Bike Rides in America, State by State

So, how do these locales' high scores translate to real-life health perks? Well, for one, the residents of the top five cities have significantly lower rates, on average, of a handful of diseases (from diabetes to high cholesterol to depression) compared to people living in cities with low scores. They also have higher rates of exercise and eat more fresh produce.

The bottom line: While leading an active life is possible no matter where you live, it certainly doesn't hurt to have protected bike lanes and lots of green space for outdoor rec. The top five cities make sticking to healthy habits just a little bit easier.


5 Exercises for Rock-Hard Abs From Gwyneth Paltrow's Trainer

Gwyneth Paltrow showed off some seriously toned stomach in a recent supermarket-themed photo shoot for Harper's Bazaar. And who can blame her? If we had rock-hard abs like that, we'd flaunt 'em while grocery shopping too. 

Paltrow's killer bod would ignite envy in most twenty-somethings, which makes it hard to believe the mom of two turned 44 last month. She clearly knows her way around the gym. So even though we're not always on board with Paltrow's health advice (vagina steaming, anyone?), we're happy to follow her lead to a six-pack!

Luckily, Health's contributing fitness editor, Tracy Anderson, also happens to be Paltrow's trainer, and in the video below, she demonstrates five of her go-to ab-chiseling moves.

Anderson's advice: Run through these exercises (10 reps of each) before a 30- to 60-minute cardio workout. Prepare to feel the burn. 

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RELATED: I Took Gwyneth Paltrow's Healthy Living Advice for a Week 

Committed to toning up like Gwyneth? Check out more of Anderson's top moves below, and sign up for her 30-Day Core Challenge. Over the next month she'll lead you through gradually increasing reps of calorie-torching moves, to transform your butt, back, and abs.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Jillian Michaels' Favorite Exercise to Work Your Core & Glutes After Having a Baby

Here's a great move that will tone your core and your lower body to start getting back in shape after giving birth.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Jillian Michaels' Fave Core-Strengthening Post-Baby Exercise

With patience and strength training you can tone your abdominal walls and lose extra belly-fat in the process.

Friday, 7 October 2016

I Tried a Water Yoga Class and Left Feeling Calmer Than Ever

Ever since I took my first Bikram class a few years ago, I've considered myself a yoga fanatic. So when I heard about the newest trend-practicing traditional postures in a pool-I was intrigued. 

I'd read that aqua yoga is easier on your joints (thanks to the buoyancy effect) but more challenging when it comes to balance, due to the movement of the water. To feed my curiosity, I signed up for a class at Asphalt Green in New York City.

From the moment I got into the pool (which was the temperature of a nice, warm bath) I instantly felt calmer. The instructor, Blythe Knapp, began by leading us through breathing exercises and a variation of Sun Salutation in the shallow end. From there we moved into basic postures like Cat-Cow and the Warrior poses. Some were modified so that we didn't need to put our heads underwater, and sometimes Knapp had us use the pool's wall for support. 

It wasn't much different from a regular yoga class-except I felt more flexible in the water. I noticed that I was able to sink deeper into Warrior II than ever before. Knapp pointed out that one of the benefits of aqua yoga is that your body is more relaxed in the pool, which means you may be able to get a better stretch in each pose.

RELATED: Here's What Happens to Your Body During Aerial Yoga Class

When we moved into Tree pose, I realized that what I'd read was true: Balancing in water was definitely trickier than on dry land.

I was feeling frustrated by the time we got to Balancing Stick (in which you hinge at the waist and form a 'T' shape with your body, one leg extended behind and arms reaching in front of your head) and Dancer (where you lift one leg behind you, and hold your foot with the hand on the same side, your torso upright.)

I was just beginning to master these two poses in my hot yoga class. But doing them in the pool was a completely different story. The slight current (from the pool's pump) and gentle saves (from my classmates moving around) forced my muscles to work harder than usual to keep me from toppling over.

Next came the aqua yoga version of Savasana-and it was as relaxing as the rest of the class was challenging. Knapp encouraged us to float on pool noodles (I put one under my neck, one under my knees) and let our heads rest with our ears below the surface. All I could hear was muffled sounds of the water moving.

RELATED: 8 Tips for Leaving Yoga Class Totally Blissed Out

It has never been easy for me to slip into a meditative state. But floating and focusing on those natural sounds really helped. When Savasana was over, I felt more peaceful and refreshed than I had in a long time.

After class, I approached Knapp to ask her about the difficulty I'd had with Balancing Stick and Dancer. She assured me my experience was normal, and said many people practice aqua yoga for the sole purpose of improving their balance: “I believe aqua yoga is the most incredible balance training that exists right now,” she said. “In the water there is a constant yet changing motion against you that triggers the body's reflexive reactions.”

Knapp also pointed out that aqua yoga is especially good for people with injuries, since it cuts down on the gravitational pull, and therefore stress, on your body. Plus, she pointed out, you won't fall over and hurt yourself in the pool, which makes it a great place to try tough poses, and develop your practice.

As for me, the next time I really need to relax, I plan on finding a warm pool where I can move through some poses-and then float around for a while on a couple of noodles. 

Thursday, 6 October 2016

What to Eat Before, During, and After Running

Even if you only jog the occasional few miles, you've likely heard about marathoners carb-loading before a race or long run. But pasta isn't the only food that can help you run well, and it's not just endurance athletes who benefit from proper fueling. What you eat before, during, and after your runs is crucial to helping you feel good, pick up your pace, and recover quickly.

"Nutrition throughout the entire day, weeks, and months has an impact on all your workouts," explains Kyle Pfaffenback, PhD, assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at Eastern Oregon University and a nutrition consultant for the Brooks Beast Track Club. "Thinking about it as an aspect of training will help optimize all your runs and allow your muscles to recover and adapt, too." This is how to eat and drink like a serious runner.

RELATED: Hydration and Exercise: How to Get It Right

What to eat before your run

If you're running an easy-paced 3 to 4 miles (or less): Skip a pre-run meal. "If it's just a few miles, you don't need to eat before," says Vishal Patel, chief sports nutritionist at Nuun, who has worked with elite athletes such as Kara Goucher. There will be enough glycogen (the body's most readily accessible form of energy) in your muscles to power you through. Drink 8 ounces of water or a low-calorie sports drink before you head out, though, especially if you're running first thing in the a.m. (because you wake up dehydrated).

Before a run more than 4 miles long or any speed work: Eat 50 to 60 grams of complex carbs, like oatmeal and a banana. "This tops off glycogen stores," says Pfaffenbach. Eat 1 1/2 to 2 hours prior to give your body time to digest and soak up the nutrients. 

For a tough tempo workout or sprint intervals: Have a carb-rich meal the night before. Stick to a supper that has pasta, rice, or quinoa (balanced with protein and veggies) before any key-workout day to up glycogen stores, which is important for high-intensity performances at all distances, says Pfaffenbach.

RELATED: The 6 Biggest Mistakes Trainers See You Making at the Gym

What to eat and drink during your run

If you're running for less than an hour: Water is sufficient, unless it's especially hot or humid.

For runs an hour long or more: Once your runs get around the 60-minute mark, sip a low-calorie electrolyte-based drink (think G2 or Nuun); the added electrolytes can increase muscle function. Electrolytes (namely, sodium and potassium) help muscles retain fluids, receive oxygen and function properly, says Patel. "Getting them in fluids, rather than in a solid snack, helps deliver the electrolytes to your muscles faster," he says.

When you're going for 90 minutes or longer: Eat about 20 grams of carbs every 25 to 30 minutes. Muscles store enough glycogen to fuel about an hour-long run. After that, you'll need 30 to 60 grams of carbs an hour-from sports drinks, gels, or chews-to maintain your intensity. "Eat early and often for a regular flow of nutrients," says Pfaffenbach. Your brain realizes you're low on fuel before your muscles do and will start to slow you down as a precaution. During runs 90 minutes or more, sports drinks with carbs and electrolytes can help you maintain pace and delay fatigue. Choose ones with a concentration of 3 to 4 grams per 100 milliliters); higher amounts may cause GI issues. (Gatorade, for instance, is about 6% carbs; try watering it down to sidestep an upset stomach.)

Towards the end of your race: Swish a sports drink around in your mouth, then spit it out: Just rinsing with the sugary drink can trick your brain into recruiting more muscles (especially when they're depleted) and enhance your performance, according to recent research in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. No tummy pain, all gain. 

RELATED: Doctors Said She'd Never Run Again. Now She's Doing an Ironman

What to eat after your run

Once you've logged the miles, have a bite within an hour to reap the most rewards. "When you're running, you're breaking down and stressing your muscles; the time when you get stronger is during the recovery period," explains Patel. Reach for a meal with a 3-to-1 ratio of carbs to protein. Why? Carbs are more important, as they replenish the glycogen stores (i.e., the go-to energy source) in your muscles. Already know the power of chugging chocolate milk post-workout? Other options with the right ratio: a banana or apple with peanut butter, a berry and a banana smoothie with a scoop of protein powder or an oat bar with an almond, hazelnut, or peanut butter center like Clif Nut Butter Filler Energy Bar ($17 for 12-pack;