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Are pre-workout supplements safe for runners?

FEB 9, 2022

Minute 1: Lessons from one of the world’s best mountaineers

Back in the early 2000s, you couldn’t open an issue of Outside magazine without finding a story about Lance Armstrong, Laird Hamilton and climbing Mount Everest. Jon Krakauer’s 1997 mega-hit book, “Into Thin Air,” had provided an account of a deadly 1996 Everest expedition and was based on a story he did for Outside. Instead of scaring people away from the dangerous peak, Krakauer’s book had the opposite effect. Soon, investment bankers and thrill seekers were adding Everest to their bucket lists and booking guides. While interest in Lance, Laird and the largest mountain in the world have all waned since then, a Nepalese climber has revived mountaineering hype thanks to a new Netflix documentary on the most amazing accomplishment in Himalayan history. Nimsdai “Nims” Purja climbed every summit above 8,000 meters on the planet within 6 months and 6 days. It had taken 16 years for the first mountaineer to complete this circuit. Purja’s story has lessons for all endurance athletes. The trailer to the Netflix documentary is here and details on his quest are in this new story: “The World’s Most Daring Mountaineer on What It Takes: ‘If You Give Up, You Die.’” Nims tells a story of the first time he climbed Mount Everest, during a short vacation from his service in the British Special Forces. From Everest base camp, he took a rapid pace, too quick for his body to handle, causing a case of high altitude cerebral edema. Instead of giving up, he descended to a lower base camp and set his focus on a quick recovery. Despite the doctor’s estimation, Nims recovered in time to finish the climb before his vacation ended, and he credits his success to his positive mindset. Of course, that’s only one part of the equation: you need great gear, nutrition, and training too. Check out “Climber Nims Purja on His Essential Gear, the Food He Eats on Every Expedition, and Climbing K2.” Nims swears by one food and one food only for the climb: a traditional meal from Nepal called Dal Bhat, which means rice and lentils. Try out the recipe – Dal Bhat (Rice And Lentils) – and see why this carb and protein-filled, vegetarian friendly dish is perfect adventure fuel. #ClimbingChange

Minute 2: Running in nature with a group can improve satisfaction

Given the option of running indoors on a treadmill or outside on the trails, the choice is clear for most of us. We’re instinctively drawn to nature and the satisfaction it can provide as we exercise. Now, researchers are uncovering why that is: “New study finds more nature exposure on a run improves the route.” Running in a park or on a trail, away from the commotion of a gym or busy streets, offers the best chance of finding momentum. There’s nothing like hitting a blinking crosswalk light in the middle of your run to screw up your rhythm, and the study showed these unintentional pauses limit a runner’s satisfaction. Exercising in natural environments have also been shown to reduce feelings of depression, and increase your sense of engagement. If you want to take things a step further for mental health rewards, try running with a buddy. Here is “Why Running With a Group Makes You Happier.” Running with friends is a great way to find a sense of community. You’ll be working toward a common goal, and sharing in the same challenge: both of which are keys to forming meaningful connections. Running with a partner can also be a source of motivation, and as you push each other to succeed, you’ll be in a good spot to set personal bests. #OutsideLane

Minute 3: Take your bodyweight workouts to the next level

For those who claim you can’t build muscle without weight training, you’ve got to start thinking outside the box. Building muscle requires the progressive increase of resistance in your training, and that can be achieved by adjusting your technique as you develop. Take the pushup, for example. There are lots of variations to keep things interesting and increase resistance, as demonstrated in this video: “These five push up moves can build muscle without weights.” Depending on how many regular pushups you’re able to do initially, you can adopt one of these harder styles right away, or work up to it over time. A good rule of thumb for building muscle is to aim for 5 to 12 reps per set; that’s a concentrated enough force to improve anaerobic strength, rather than endurance. How do you up the difficulty? Place your hands closer to your waist, not your shoulders, to increase the amount of bodyweight you’re moving. Also, lay flat on the ground between every rep to ensure a full range of motion without the aid of any momentum. These principles can work for any bodyweight exercise, so challenge yourself to try them on “The Bodyweight Workout That Builds Big Muscles.” #Weightlessness

Minute 4: Are pre-workout supplements beneficial for runners?

Pre-workout powders and supplements have been a popular choice for weightlifters and other athletes for years. Recently, interest in these products has moved beyond the “I lift things up and put them down” crowd made famous in the hilarious old Planet Fitness ads, and has attracted the attention of endurance athletes. But just how effective are these supplements and how do you pick the right kind? Both of these questions and more are answered in this new story “Do Runners Need Pre-Workout?” from Women’s Running. The short answer is: No, you don’t NEED it, but there are some runners who will benefit greatly if used properly. The first step is picking the right product, which means doing your research, since brands can vary in both quality and safety of ingredients. One of the safest methods is to order single ingredient pre-workouts and try them one at a time. Creatine monohydrate and caffeine both have lots of research backing up their efficacy, and are considered safe when taken according to FDA guidelines. There are some ingredients which you should avoid, however, and you can read a breakdown in “What Is Pre-workout and Should You Be Using It?” Even if you find a product with quality ingredients, it’s important to use it in moderation. Everyone will have different sensitivity to the ingredients, so you should start with a fraction of the recommended dose and see how it affects you. Consider taking days or weeks off from pre-workout, as well, to give your body time to reset after repeated consumption. ​​For another source of info, with pluses and minus for each brand, check out Sports Illustrated’s “6 Highest-Rated Pre-Workout Formulas Worth Considering in 2022.” #Pre

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • Running on the road, a trail, or a track each come with their own set of expectations and unwritten rules. Thanks to RunnerClick, many of those rules are now written:“Running Rules: How To Behave Like a Professional Runner.” Their list contains 8 safety practices as well as 6 tips on proper track etiquette.

  • Now that we’re in the dead of winter, the idea of practicing yoga in a sweltering hot room actually sounds like a welcome change of pace. Hot yoga is generally performed in temperatures between 85℉ and 100℉, and the warmth does wonders to promote flexibility and blood circulation. Not to mention, you’ll break a sweat and face an increased challenge compared to a regular yoga session. Read all about it in “Hot yoga's benefits are totally worth the sweaty mess.”

  • We’ve got good news, and bad news. The bad: there are 4 factors that likely increase your chance of developing long Covid after infection. The good news? You can be screened for them in a blood test. This research brings us one step closer to understanding and minimizing the more severe risks brought on by Covid, and it puts a bit more power into your hands by letting you understand your own risk level for developing long-lasting symptoms. See the details in “These 4 risk factors may increase your chance of long Covid, study hints.”

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Zion Clark is a remarkable athlete, despite having a condition called caudal regression syndrome, meaning he was born without legs. Despite that challenge, he performs elite-level feats in a variety of sports, from wrestling, to track & field, and beyond. On the days when he’s not in the gym or on the track, he works as a motivational speaker and advocate for children in the foster care system. His message has reached millions through his Instagram account and other social platforms. To get a look at what Zion is all about, check out the inspirational video below.


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