JUL 9, 2022
Minute 1: Build strength and endurance together with this method
Twenty years ago, people new to exercise were seduced by the “fat burner” setting on a treadmill or StairMaster. Hit that button and the machine led you through a slow-paced workout that was perfect for folks whose previous exercise regime consisted of 12-ounce curls and burning calories one TV remote click at a time. As with most things in life, it turns out that the “fat burner” setting was a poor substitute for the hard work required by a more intense session, like the ones described in “The Best Treadmill Workouts For Burning Fat, Trainer Says.” The added benefit of these more difficult treadmill, StairMaster and elliptical workouts is that they accomplish more than one goal simultaneously. You can build speed and endurance. You can burn fat while adding strength. Nonetheless, there are downsides to this form of multitasking. A new story geared toward triathletes expands further on this new way of thinking. The “concurrent training effect” (CTE) can put a stop to your cross training in a hurry. Preparing for multi-sport events like a triathlon necessitate both strength and endurance, and if you want to avoid CTE while you build them, then read “How to ensure optimal adaptation in your triathlon training.” Developing your strength and endurance simultaneously is a bit like walking a tightrope; you need to find a balance. On the days where you’re working on both, ask yourself which area requires more attention. If you want to prioritize strength, you should start your workout with resistance training, and move onto endurance later. Whatever exercise you’re in need of the most should come first, so that you can perform it with fresh muscles and high energy levels. Understanding how certain exercises can cover multiple areas of your training needs can be a huge help, too. HIIT is particularly versatile, as it produces cardiovascular and muscular adaptation, while burning fat in the process. Take a look at “What Is the HIIT Exercise Program?”
Minute 2: What the new EPA guidelines on PFAS means for you
Contrary to what the name suggests, there’s nothing small about the impact microplastics have, both on our environment and our bodies. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is one example of the plague of plastics. As we’ve come to understand the negative effects of these chemicals, society has made progress in reducing their impact, like the shift from single use plastic bottles to reusable aluminum. If you haven’t made that switch yet, check out “Aluminum Is Not Perfect (Yet), But There’s A Lot to Love.” With the recent EPA update on acceptable microplastic levels, aka PFAS, there’s never been more evidence in favor of ditching plastic. See the details in “The EPA Is Cracking Down on PFAS in Drinking Water. Here's What to Know About These Forever Chemicals.” The recommended acceptable levels of PFAS in water are based on the assumption of a lifetime worth of consumption, and until recently, 70 parts per trillion was the upper limit. Now, the EPA is advising against as little as 0.2 ppt. That’s so small you could barely measure it, so in other words, any detectable amount of PFAS should be avoided in the long term. Research has established “‘probable links’ between PFOA [a type of PFAS] exposure and high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, kidney cancer, and pregnancy-induced hypertension,” so this stuff is no joke. Other than switching bottles, what can you do? Water filtered with activated charcoal or reverse osmosis can help, according to “New Study Finds PFAS in Bottled Water, as Lawmakers Call for Federal Limits.” However, that comes with its own concerns, as these kinds of filtration also remove essential minerals from the water. As long as you’re getting plenty of magnesium and calcium from other sources, you’re probably in the clear, as you can see in “Is Reverse Osmosis water good (or bad) for your health?” #SickOfPlastic
Minute 3: Running is a powerful behavioral activation tool
Lack of motivation is a mental problem, but the solution may be physical. That’s how some experts feel, as emerging research confirms that mood follows action, not vice versa. If you’re stuck in a rut, instead of relying on techniques like positive self-talk, jump right into some form of activity. It just might get the juices flowing. If you want to learn how to master your mood through action, then check out “Run first, think later: three tips for using behavioural activation in running.” Lowering the barrier of entry to your own workouts can be a great way to build momentum. If you had a long run scheduled, but don’t feel the desire to complete it, give yourself permission to go on a short jog instead. The surprising thing is, once you’re laced up and on the road, you might ignite the energy you need to tackle your original goal. Behavioral activation isn’t just limited to jumpstarting your workouts; it’s a popular tool in cognitive behavioral psychology to treat conditions like depression. For a broader overview, read “What is behavioral activation?” The technique is good for lowering stress and anxiety, achieving goals, and strengthening your relationships.
Minute 4: Shoe review: HOKA Mach 5 ($140)
Brian Metzler dives into a new shoe from HOKA, one of our favorite brands of running shoes. The latest version of the Mach 5 is a versatile shoe for just about any surface a runner encounters, short of rugged trails. The Mach 5 adds many enhancements beyond the brand’s signature cushioned ride. Brian hits the highlights below, but if you want all the pluses and minuses, please click here to see it on our website. Here is Brian’s take:
Can one running shoe be enough for all of the running you do? If we’re talking about running on roads, bike paths and the track, it’s certainly possible that the lightweight, speedy and energetic HOKA Mach 5 can handle it all. This smooth-riding comfortable cruiser serves as a fast-workout speed shoe or an everyday trainer capable of handling any pace on most surfaces with ease. It even works as a race shoe, albeit with less pop than a carbon-plated model. With a clean, sleek design and exceptional cushioning, it serves up an ideal mix of comfort, energy, versatility and consistency.
What’s New: The biggest updates to the Mach 5 are a new stripped-down, single-layer engineered creel mesh upper and a dual-density Profly+ midsole setup that includes a hyper-responsive supercritical foam just below the foot for energetic pop and a rubberized EVA bottom layer that provides a bit of stability and consistency in every stride. (Technically a version of the Profly+ foam package was included in this spring’s Mach Supersonic shoe, but that $150 shoe isn’t nearly as energetic or smooth as the Mach 5.)
Why They’re Great: If you enjoy light, soft and lively shoes, you’ll really enjoy running in the Mach 5. It’s a shoe that inspires speed and efficiency by promoting quick-cadence running at any pace. The next-generation foam formulation — long overdue for HOKA — elevates the Mach 5 (and HOKA’s Tecton X trail shoe) to the premier level of shoes in their class by adding a lively sensation in every stride. The airy, lightweight upper blends the ideal mix of comfortable stretch and locked-down support and complements the light and fast design of the chassis. The rubberized foam outsole isn’t going to be quite as durable as segments of blown rubber and carbon rubber, but it’s a heck of a lot lighter.
Fit-Feel-Ride: The Mach 5 fits true to size with a narrow- to medium-width interior in the heel and saddle, but a tiny bit more room in the forefoot. (It’s slightly narrower than most HOKA shoes.) The step-in feeling is soft and secure with a good amount of proprioceptive feel for the ground in the forefoot. The thin, flat and partially gusseted tongue contributes to the snug, glove-like fit, while a little bit of padding in the collar and a flared heel tab provide comfort and security around the ankle. Like almost all HOKA shoes, the Mach 5 features a rocker (or convex) design profile, as well as a beveled, swallowtail heel that create a buttery smooth rolling effect as the foot transitions from heel-strike to toe-off, with a noticeable pop of energy in the forefoot.
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
Leave it to the Scandinavians to find another use for ski poles. Known as Nordic Walking, it’s a technique in which you use poles to support your gait on a walk or hike. Most people think about using poles to add stability and lower the impact on their joints, making it great for older hikers or athletes recovering from an injury. But adding poles to your workouts can also alter the muscle groups you engage as you move, making it a simple form of cross training and muscle diversification. If that sounds interesting to you, read “Nordic Walking Is Pretty Badass, Actually.”
It will come as no surprise that hot dogs aren’t winning any awards when it comes to health benefits. We’re sorry if this grosses you out and ruins your fondness of franks, but they’re made of “lower-grade muscle trimmings, fatty tissues, head meat, animal feet, animal skin, blood, liver and other edible slaughter by-products.” Not the most appetizing description, but perhaps the worst ingredient of all is the high sodium content. To see why you should limit your consumption of hot dogs and other salty processed meats, take a look at “Are Hot Dogs the Single Worst Thing You Could Put in Your Body?”
Do you like to spread your exercise sessions throughout the week, or are you more of a weekend warrior? If you spend your Saturdays and Sundays with a pickup game here and a long run there, we’ve got good news for you. As long as you’re getting at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, you’ll see nearly the same benefits as someone who does 150 minutes of moderate exercise throughout the week. Read about a new study backing up that take in “Weekend warriors: why exercise doesn’t have to be regular to be good for you.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
It’s with a heavy heart that we report the passing of an iconic member of the U.S. running community, coaching legend Bill Squires. Bill led the Greater Boston Track Club to a number of notable victories, coaching runners like Bill Rogers, Dick Beardlsey, and Greg Meyer in their pursuit of marathon gold. Squires was a two-time All-American in cross-country in 1954 and 1955, and he also co-authored the book Speed and Endurance. Watch the clip below to see coverage of his remarkable career and a life well spent.