JAN 13, 2023
Minute 1: Is the StairMaster the king of cardio equipment?
Back in the era of leg warmers and VHS workout videos, a new fitness machine was launched in 1983 – the StairMaster. It became a staple of every gym in America just as much as bad ‘80s haircuts and sweatin’ to the oldies. While a few people continue to believe that “Jane Fonda’s 1982 Workout Routine Is Still the Best Exercise Class Out There,” there is a lot more scientific support for the idea that a StairMaster continues to deliver an excellent cross-training workout for runners. In addition to providing cardio, they can boost leg strength and even agility. If you’re curious about adding this tool into your routine, check out: “How Does Working Out on a StairMaster vs. an Incline Treadmill Compare?” Stairs allow you to climb a steeper incline than pretty much any treadmill can offer, meaning the metabolic burn potential is a lot higher. That makes StairMasters effective for shorter, intense workouts that get your heart rate up in no time. Like ellipticals, which we covered in Minute 1 of this issue, StairMasters are low impact, since you’re landing on a bent knee. StairMasters are also a functional workout; we climb stairs all the time in our everyday lives, so strengthening those muscles in the gym can make getting around a bit easier. These benefits don’t just stop with stair climbing machines; working out on actual staircases are effective for all the same reasons. Here are “The Dos And Don’ts Of Stair Workouts For Runners.” Since stair workouts can be so difficult, it’s a good idea to warm up beforehand. By keeping them short and focusing on explosivity, you can improve your agility without burning out. If you happen to be in the Bay Area, be sure to check out one of our favorite workouts: “Run the Coit Tower.” The steep outdoor staircases reward you with a high heart rate and spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge when you reach the top.
The Benefits of Dry January
(From WHOOP Blog) It’s no secret that consuming alcohol is fundamentally not healthy. We’ve all heard the benefits of not drinking–things like better concentration, more energy, improved moods, greater long-term cardiovascular health, etc. But what actually happens to your body if you quit drinking for a month?
Whether it’s Sober October, Dry January, or something else entirely, here are eight positive changes you’ll see from giving up alcohol, even if it’s just for a short period of time (like 31 days):
Minute 2: Once again, Finland is named the happiest country in the world
In our last issue, we looked at the happiest jobs in the world, and a lot of the top scorers were jobs done outdoors. In a similar vein, Finland was just named the happiest country in the world for the 5th year running, and it’s no surprise that the Finns emphasize their connection with nature wherever possible. Find out “Why Are the Finnish People So Happy, Anyway?” Finland has some of the most ambitious carbon neutrality goals around, meaning they’re committed to restoring and protecting their natural environment. They’re also working to build safe, walkable, and clean cities. In addition to caring for nature, they put a lot of effort into building communities. They have a culture that discourages comparisons with those around you, adopting a real “live and let live” attitude. They’re also top on the list of countries most likely to return lost wallets. We can’t think of a U.S. city that lives up to all of those Finnish attributes, but we are lucky to have plenty of runner-friendly places to live. The proof points are in this story: “15 Best Running Cities in America for All Types of Runners.” Among the list are cities like Boulder, San Francisco and Santa Fe for their ample trail running opportunities.
Minute 3: If you’ve never tried this mushroom superfood, you’re missing out
In a typical grocery store, you can expect to have fewer than a dozen options of mushrooms to pick from. That’s a shame, because there are more than 2,000 edible species, many of which are jam-packed with nutritional value. One good place to start is with this fitness-friendly fungus: “Health Benefits Of Lion’s Mane.” Blood sugar regulation, anti-aging, liver, and kidney health are just a few of the physical benefits you can expect from eating Lion’s Mane. Not only are they good for your body, but they’re also believed to bring mental benefits as well. They can help reduce the loss of nerve growth brought on by stress, as well as reduce certain kinds of inflammation associated with depression. You can prepare this mushroom in typical culinary fashion, or take it in the form of a supplement too. While we’re on the topic of mushrooms growing in popularity, we’re interested in the increased use of psychedelic mushrooms among athletes. Check out “Microdosing Mushrooms: Athlete Perspectives on the Psychedelic Supplement.” Athletes involved in CrossFit, Jiu Jitsu, and other sports have reported significant performance improvements from using low doses of the substance, allowing them to connect with their bodies and develop fresh approaches to the way they move. Adam Hanna, a musician and jiu jitsu athlete, says microdosing allowed him to notice and improve on the many tiny details involved in his sport. The substances remain illegal in most places around the world, but that may be changing as “More States May Legalize Psychedelic Mushrooms.”
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Minute 4: Shoe Review: Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3 ($250)
Our favorite shoe guru, Brian Metzler, weighs in this week with a review of the new Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3. While the Nike Alphafly line tends to garner more headlines, this Adidas model was an OG carbon-fueled shoe. The latest iteration, according to Brian, eliminates some of the drawbacks of the original Adios models and offers a “no excuses” shoe for your next PR. The excerpts below will give you a feel for the shoe’s evolution, but if you want all the pluses and minuses, please click to see the full review on our website.
Although it often gets overlooked, the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3 has proven to be one of the fastest and most efficient shoes for running half marathons and marathons. It incorporates carbon-fiber as a propulsion catalyst in its midsole, but it utilizes it in a much different way than other shoes and serves up a decidedly different ride than racing models from Nike, Hoka, Saucony and ASICS. Differences aside, it’s a featherweight and hyper-energetic speed machine — frequently on the feet of podium finishers at World Marathon Majors, including 2022 New York City Marathon winner Evans Chebet. It’s an ideal choice for whatever race you will have on your schedule and if you look around, you might just find it offered at a discounted price right now.
What’s New: From its first iteration, the Adizero Adios Pro incorporated a skeleton of carbon-fiber rods in its midsole instead of a carbon-fiber plate to maximize energy return. Those EnergyRods are now encapsulated into a more cohesive unit, beginning in a connected structure in the heel before spreading out in the forefoot beneath the metatarsals. Adidas kept the unique sculpted shaping of the midsole, but it widened the footprint of the shoe to create more inherent stability and improved the upper a little for more breathability. They’re minor updates, but great improvements.
Why It’s Great: It’s great because it’s fast, it’s light and it’s smooth. Unlike some of the other super shoes, the Adizero Adios Pro 3 doesn’t produce a bouncy feeling. Instead, it provides buttery smooth and super-quick transitions from landing to toe-off, no matter how or where your foot hits the ground. A lot of runners have assumed that bouncy feeling is just part of the modern shoe design, but not everyone loves that sensation — including me. The Adidas system of its semi-firm Lightstrike Pro foam and carbon-fiber EnergyRods produces a much more balanced and consistent (and very fast) ride.
For the complete rundown on the new Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3, check out Brian’s full review here.
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
Our friend Dara Zall Kelly logs in with the second installment of her journey to Boston’s Boylston Street finish line in April. Equal parts inspirational and insightful, Dara’s first installment on Wednesday was an instant hit with our readers. Despite a strong running and coaching resume, Dara ditches humble-bragging in favor of funny and self-deprecating observations that resonate with runners of all abilities. Here is a quick excerpt of today’s post: “Time to suck it up, woman up, and layer up. With a giant puff of my inhaler and a final zip of the coat, I step out the door. Oh hey now. This isn’t so bad. Legs are a little stiff but I’m ok. I’m really OK! I can do this! First 200 yards are right on target. Off I head to Beacon Street, to tackle the Boston route in reverse. I am ignoring the cold, envisioning the race in April. I’m flying. Ish. Or at least it feels like I’m flying.” To learn how the rest of Dara’s first training run progressed from 200 yards to 8 miles, check out her full post here.
Humans are at their best when they’re working together, and that’s especially true in sports. Trail running and other technically challenging offshoots have a lot of nuances you need to pick up to maximize your potential, which is why we encourage everyone to learn from others, whether it’s from a book, youtube guide, or in person. Here’s how to get the most out of “Humanity’s Superpower: Learning From Others.”
No matter what dietary guidelines you subscribe to, pretty much everyone could benefit from eating more veggies and greens. Some of you may not think that’s the easiest and tastiest change to make. We get it. But meal prepping a few of these highly-rated recipes can add some much needed flavor and convenience into the equation. Take a look at these “17 Healthy Meal-Prep-Friendly Salads You'll Make Again and Again.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Most runners have heard at one point or another that if you want to minimize injuries and maximize speed, you’ve got to switch to a forefoot strike. Is there any truth to that advice? Maybe, but the data isn’t so clear cut. You can see what we mean in “Is Heel Striking Dangerous? The Latest Research on Heel Strike vs Forefoot Running.” To summarize the findings, there is a slightly reduced rate of injury among forefoot strikers, but the gap is small enough that most researchers consider it inconclusive. If you’re a heel striker who is relatively injury free, most experts recommend avoiding unnecessary changes. There are plenty of elite athletes who make it work for them, after all, like Shura Kitata. He’s clocked marathon finishes as fast as 2:07:51 with his heel striking form. Watch the Instagram clip below to see if you think his form can work for you.