FEB 4, 2022
Minute 1: It pays to be well rounded with fitness
The old expression “jack of all trades” carries the somewhat negative connotation of a dilettante rather than a true expert. But most people forget that the full quotation is actually: “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” (See “7 Phrases You've Been Misquoting.“) As an endurance athlete, you never know what challenges will come your way, so being flexible like a Jack or Jill of lore can be an important asset. We encourage you to look past coaches who advocate for highly specific training plans and consider becoming what iRunFar calls “The Well-Rounded Runner.” Alex Nichols says “fitness is fitness,” and that mindset propelled him to wins at the Pikes Peak Marathon and Run Rabbit Run 100 Miler within 3 weeks. He bridged that 74-mile gap by continuing to include tempo runs and shorter workouts in his routine, even though most 100 milers would avoid all that speed work. This variety is what helped Alex become strong at a variety of distances and terrains, all while keeping things fresh and fun. A good way to shake up your own routine is by including bodyweight exercises, but there are a few common mistakes you should look out for. Check out “A Corrective Exercise Specialist Explains the 3 Most Common Mistakes She Sees at the Gym.” Included are a couple videos to correct your pushup and squat form, so give them a watch to make sure you’re not putting unnecessary strain on your body. #MasterClass
Minute 2: 7 fast food options to avoid & 7 hidden gems of nutrition
This will probably come as a surprise to no one, but fast food restaurants are pretty shameless when it comes to including sketchy ingredients. Don’t get us wrong, we love a burger or chicken sandwich from time to time, as long as it doesn’t become a staple of our diets. If you can’t resist the drive-thru on your next road trip, keep in mind that there are a few menu items that should be avoided: “7 Popular Fast-Food Items With Sketchiest Ingredients.” It turns out Wendy’s promise of always fresh, never frozen food is a bit misleading. Rumor has it the secret ingredient in their chili is the leftover patties that are too old for burgers. Not only do you have to be careful what you eat, but you should pay attention to the food wrappers. Researchers uncovered the use of PFAS in the packaging of McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s, and if you aren’t aware of the dangers these plastics present, take a look at “PFAS Explained.” That’s enough focusing on the negative for now, let’s look at some healthy alternatives you can pick up to balance out your diet. Check out “These 7 Foods Are Sneakily Healthier Than You Think.” Of all the ways to sweeten up a dessert, molasses might be the best. Unlike refined sugars, it retains the antioxidants and nutrients found in the sugar cane plant. Dive into the article for 6 more great options. #FastFoodFails
Minute 3: Your space may be limited, but your fitness doesn’t have to be
The flexibility a home gym provides is a game changer, but there’s just one problem: where the heck do you put all that equipment? Power cages, treadmills, and other machines eat more square feet than an NFL lineman eats rare steaks. Without a heated garage or basement, you probably feel like you’re out of luck. Well, there’s a lot of equipment designed to fit wherever you need it to, and you can see the best options in “9 must-have pieces of workout equipment for small spaces.” Adjustable dumbbells provide strength training without the hassle of big racks of various weights. You can see a few other options in “10 Stellar Sets of Adjustable Dumbbells for Your Home Gym in 2022.” Most of those options are cheaper than the sleek and stylish home machines like Tonal and Mirror which can set you back more than $2,000. There are some pieces of equipment that are going to be large no matter what. The solution? Make them foldable. Combined with the dumbbells, a foldable weight bench will really open up the possibilities for your exercise routine, and they’re small enough to be packed into a closet when you’re finished. Foldable treadmills are another great way to save space, and you should be on the lookout for used options available to you. Here are “4 Easy Steps to Buying Used Gym Equipment You’ll Love.” The article notes that lots of equipment gets bought in January to uphold New Year’s resolutions, but a few months later, owners regret their purchase of an expensive laundry rack. Early spring is the sweet spot for buying used, so keep an eye out for deals in the coming months. #Homework
Minute 4: Apparently, pasta is better for you when reheated
Is it just us, or does pasta taste even better as leftovers? It turns out that reheated pasta is not only tasty, but it also has a unique benefit for healthy eating: “How Leftover Pasta Can Keep the 'Hangries' Away.” Foods with a high glycemic index (think carby and sugary) cause rapid spikes in blood sugar, followed by a crash, and that sends a signal to your brain that you need to snack. Researchers monitored the blood sugar levels of participants who ate hot, cooled, and reheated pasta, and they found the reheated pasta caused a far milder blood sugar spike. They suspect this is due to the increased level of resistant starch that forms during the cooling and reheating process. Reheated pasta may be easy on your blood sugar, but we could do with a more nutritious option as well. For that, look at these “6 Healthy Alternatives to Traditional Pasta.” Zucchini noodles get the award for best nickname, with “zoodles,” and they pack quite a bit of fiber, vitamins, and minerals compared to regular pasta. Similarly, quinoa pasta is packed with iron, magnesium, fiber, and more. Just be sure to stir it adequately as you cook, as it has a tendency to stick to the pan when left alone. #SpaghettiCode
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
While the reheated pasta news above is good news for people who enjoy Italian cuisine, there is sad news for those who like to pair their spaghetti with a Chianti or a Brunello: “No Amount of Alcohol Safe for the Heart, Federation Says.” There have been conflicting studies on this over the years, but the latest research indicates that enjoying a glass of red wine does not in fact promote your health.
Mobility workouts are great, but they usually require a soft surface, or else you’re going to have some sore knees and elbows to deal with shortly after. If you’ve only got hard surfaces to work with, and you don’t want to risk dirtying up a yoga mat, then the Bosu ball might be exactly what you’re looking for. In addition to providing a comfortable surface, it’s natural springiness draws out your stabilizer muscles to give you an even better workout. There’s a great video you can follow along in “WATCH: Improve your balance, mobility and core with this Bosu ball workout.”
You’d be hard pressed to find an athlete throughout history with more longevity than Tom Brady. Winning Super Bowls in 3 separate decades is unheard of, and we’re sure his meticulous attention to detail with nutrition played a role in that feat. We got a sneak peak into Brady’s very own recovery smoothie in minute 3 of this past issue, so take a look to remind yourself what fuels his success. In light of his retirement announcement, we’re saying kudos to a career well spent, and we’ll keep an eye out for any future health and fitness advice he has to offer. Until then, we wish him well on future endeavors, and if the Onion’s prediction is right, it will be just as calculated as his work on the field. For a good laugh, read “Tom Brady Spends First Day Of Retirement Studying Tape Of People To Learn How They Work.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Strong muscles are key ingredients in the recipe for fast running. The other fuel you need for speed is elasticity in your tendons. The way our foot moves when we run is similar to a springboard, absorbing energy as we land and releasing it back out as our ankles flex. In fact, that's fundamentally what super shoes aim to enhance with their carbon plates and other energy-conserving material. How do you boost your body’s natural elasticity? Look no further than this exercise from @RunRx that will have you bouncing on the balls of your feet in preparation for your run.