Minute 1: How to pick the perfect personal trainer
Joining a group workout session can be a bit like visiting the doctor. Your health and happiness are very dependent on the personality of the person caring for you. If you get a serious, stern physician void of personality and carrying a tray of scary needles, it’s likely to be an uncomfortable experience. But if your doc walks in smiling and wearing a fake red nose like Patch Adams, then you’ll probably be at ease and eager to follow their advice. Same for fitness instructors. If they run their class like a drill sergeant, that may work for a few sessions, but in the long run it may leave you burned out and wanting to quit. But get one who pushes you just hard enough and stirs fun and entertainment into your session, and you will likely keep pushing to reach your goals and get the most out of the routine. The best fitness instructors can earn millions per year if they bring the right combination of personality and knowledge. Instagram sensation Jen Selter makes $72,000 for every promoted post she puts out there. The beauty of online classes like Peloton is that you get to choose your instructor to fit your needs. Shape.com recently published a guide for “The Best Peloton Instructors to Match Your Workout Style.” Shape offers suggestions for nearly every kind of workout, from strength exercises and technical training to music variety and sessions designed to boost your mood. Robin Arzon, its choice for nonstop encouragement, is a running coach and ultrarunner, while Rebecca Kennedy, its recommendation for athletic moves, is a former gymnast and NFL cheerleader. VeryWellFit also recently published its best online trainers and tips for “How to find the best personal trainer for your needs.” Several fitness and training organizations also have their own suggestions. The Institute of Personal Trainers recommends these “Best Online Personal Trainers” or check out these “10 Best Online Personal Trainers You Can Hire Today.” #GravyTrainers
Minute 2: The dangers of air pollution while running in city streets
If you live in a big, busy city, you know the challenges of finding a clean place to run without sucking noxious fumes into your lungs. Though city streets have been significantly less crowded during the pandemic, it’s still no fun breathing dust from construction sites or diesel fumes spewing from dirty garbage trucks. It’s not always as romantic as Rocky jogging through a Philadelphia neighborhood. That's why we were intrigued by a new story published last week: “How Worried Should I Be About Air Pollution When Running on Busy City Streets?” Personal trainer John Fawkes says it’s a good idea to consider the level of traffic along your route, saying “air pollution can wreak havoc on your lungs.” He cites a recent study by The Lancet, which shows that breathing pollutants while exercising can even offset the benefits of working out. Several studies on the impact of air pollution on runners were conducted around the 1984 Olympics in smoggy LA, and again ahead of the 2000 Beijing Olympics. Runners Connect examines the results of those studies in “Does Air Pollution Affect Running Performance?” Research in conjunction with the Olympics concluded that smog and carbon monoxide have a detrimental effect on your body’s ability to transport oxygen through red blood cells, while other oxidant chemicals, like ozone and hydrocarbons, irritate your nose and throat. Many health experts acknowledge the dangers of breathing such noxious air while running, but others point out that it’s not always practical to avoid air pollution while running in the city. Running coach Marco Anzuras, a professor of health and exercise science at San Diego City College, says that “the beneficial effects of regular exercise outweigh the potential negative effects of increased exposure to air pollution.” If trails or city parks aren’t available, Fawkes recommends running on side streets, avoiding rush hour and construction zones, and using the Air Quality Index to check the air quality in your city. WebMD addressed this issue in “Is Running Outside Toxic?” and the American Lung Association offers these “10 Tips to Protect Yourself From Unhealthy Air.” Also check out IRunFar’s “Every Breath You Take: Air Pollution and Exercise.” #BadBreathing
Minute 3: Warning signs that you may be overtraining
Having been sidelined from live racing for a year now, many runners are champing at the bit to toe the line at an in-person event this summer or fall. That means ramping up your training program. There’s a difference between running some chill miles to keep up your base during quarantine and doing some intense track, hill and interval work. Going from fit to race-ready carries some risks and it’s important not to overdo it. Overtraining can put stress on your body, leading to injury or causing mental stress. According to the Run Society, it’s important to know when to back off or pause your training when you’re pushing too hard and overreaching. It raises the question, “Are You Overdoing Your Running Workouts in 2021?” and explains the warning signs of overtraining. Often runners mistake those caution lights for poor performance and push themselves even harder, compounding their problems. Overtraining can also lead to mental and emotional stress, leaving you annoyed, stressed or sleepless. FleetFeet.com calls this “Overtraining Syndrome,” a collection of emotional and physical symptoms it says can persist for weeks or months. Triathlon Magazine Canada reports that 60% to 72% of injuries are caused by poor planning in your training schedule, mistakes usually caused by pushing yourself too hard. It offers “10 Tips to build your run training without getting hurt.” One of its suggestions is adding strength training to your program. For tips on how to do that, check out StrengthTraining.com’s “Weight Training for Runners: The Complete Guide.” Like Run Society, TMC recommends listening to your body’s “check engine light.” “Rather than waiting for minor pains to get worse and become a major injury, it is better to try to resolve the problem immediately,” it says. For more help, Runtastic explains how to “Recognize and Treat 12 Symptoms of Overtraining,” while Run To The Finish offers “7 Overtraining Symptoms that Prove You Need a Rest Day.” #TooMuchOfEverything
Minute 4: Could learning how long you will live change your health and fitness habits?
If you could quantify exactly how to increase your projected lifespan, would you be willing to change your daily health and fitness routine? Would it change your eating and alcohol habits? Would you be willing to visit the doctor more often? The science of lifespan forecasting has improved significantly over the past decade thanks to data analysis. More and more people are turning to lifespan calculators to determine how long they are expected to live. The best versions of these calculators will show you how many months or years you can add through some relatively simple lifestyle changes. TheConversation.com explored this issue last year through a longevity app called My Longevity and raising the question, “Will it make us healthier?” While The Conversation explains the difference between life expectancy and lifespan, BluePrintIncome.com explored the academic research on longevity and its impact on health and diet. BluePrint points to several scientific studies that show how consuming more nutrient-rich superfoods like blueberries, salmon, pomegranate juice and green tea have benefits beyond just nutrition, while a balanced diet of low-acid fruits, vegetables and lean meat can increase your lifespan by lowering your blood pressure and improving glucose tolerance. It also points to research that shows that drinking coffee and wine, particularly red wine, can lower your risk of death. We tried 2 good lifespan calculators from BlueZones.com and Northwestern Mutual. We were surprised to learn that we have a good shot at living well into our 90s. That is partly because we are now middle-aged and are already past the riskier behaviors of youth and have not been diagnosed with any chronic health conditions. If you are reasonably fit and observe healthy habits, you may be happy with your results. #PonceDeLeon
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
It’s not just workouts that have moved from gyms into our homes, it’s also the post-workout recovery drinks. Many of us now fire up the home blender to get a post-workout smoothie fix worthy of a $9.00 charge at Barry’s Bootcamp or Soul Cycle. FitAndWell.com recently asked 5 of the world’s top fitness studios to share their most popular protein shake recipes for this story: “Tasty protein shake recipes from the world’s top fitness studios.” The list includes Barry’s Simply PB Shake, a peanut butter and banana concoction from the Fuel Bar at Barry’s Bootcamp and the Body By Simone Chocolate Protein Smooth from BBS, the popular New York and LA studio. For more great protein shake recipes, check out these “Best Protein Shakes (30+ flavors!)” or “22 Healthy High-Protein Smoothies and Shakes That Taste Good.”
Fans hoping to travel to Japan for the Tokyo Olympics got bad news Wednesday as Japan announced that foreign spectators won’t be allowed to attend to help prevent the further spread of COVID. The games were originally scheduled to be held last summer but were postponed to July 23 - August 8, 2021. The move will cause another financial hit for Japan, which has reportedly already lost about $15 billion due to last year’s postponement. “We would really like people from around the world to come to a full stadium, but unless we are prepared to accept them and the medical situation in Japan is perfect, it will cause a great deal of trouble also to visitors from overseas,” Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo Olympic committee said.