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Can a DNA test optimize your nutrition?

OCT 29, 2022

Minute 1: Loose hips win championships

Because Instagram seems to know us more intimately than our spouse, we have been flooded with ads recently about loosening up tight hips. How did Zuck know? Do his VR goggles see us all the way from Menlo Park? Or maybe the ‘Gram found out that we just failed this exam worse than a college student who’s one chapter behind on the reading: “This 30-Second Test Will Tell You if You Need To Work on Your Hip Mobility.” It turns out that logging miles can build muscle and endurance, but can also increase tightness in complicated joints like our hips. The test makes use of the 90/90 hip switch, and if you don’t know what that is, don’t worry, the article contains a short video demonstrating the motion. Sit on the floor with both legs pointed to the side and bend your knees 90 degrees. Then, rotate on your butt and try to assume the same position after flipping the direction of your legs. If the transition is difficult to execute without your hands – or one side feels tighter than the other – you probably need to work on the iliopsoas muscles. One of the most effective positions to open up your hips is called Pigeon Pose, and you can learn about it and related moves in “How to Make Your Pigeon Pose Coo.” If that’s not enough, you can also make use of a guided program, like the one that has been bombarding our Instagram feed: “21-Day Hip Opening Challenge.” (Five weeks of daily ad impressions can’t be wrong!) For a deeper understanding of why runners should care about (and care for) their hips, check out: “Hip Flexibility is Speed.”

Minute 2: Now it’s personal: How tests are changing pro athletes’ diets

In the 1977 cult classic movie Slapshot, Paul Newman urged his players to imitate Eddie Shore and play “old time hockey.” Based on the movie, hockey players of that generation suffered not only from poor dental health, but also from a training diet that relied more on cheap beer than lean protein. That’s all changed according to this new story that provides lessons for all athletes: “Why nutrition is NHL players' new secret weapon.” Amanda Gyuran founded a meal prep service for professional athletes, and her clients have reported drastic changes in their energy levels and performance. The tests she runs help athletes identify the foods their bodies respond best to. Her analysis can reveal, for instance, if your body absorbs iron best from steak or salmon, for example. From there, Gyuran handpicks ingredients and prepares meals that are easy to take on the road and heat up before a game. Is getting a fine tuned meal plan as easy as ordering a DNA test online? Most experts feel the technology is in its infancy, so there are limits to taking such a singular approach: “Can DNA Testing Offer Personalized Diet Advice? Nope, Not Yet.” We have some idea of what genes relate to certain nutrient absorption, but at this point, it’s mostly based on statistical correlations. We’re still finding out the causal relationship between the presence of certain genes and their effect on nutritional absorption. #TasteTest

Minute 3: You can squeeze these workouts into the busiest schedules

Most of our readers tell us that they prefer to run and work out in the early morning. Some days, however, life gets in the way and we promise ourselves we’ll squeeze something in before dinner instead. As the afternoon winds down, the clock does the opposite of what it did during the last 30 minutes of elementary school – it seems to race ahead, leaving our workout plans in the dust. Before you acknowledge defeat and surrender the day, consider plan B in the form of a micro workout. Many studies have shown that even short bursts of intense activity can bring real benefits and keep you in shape. For ideas, consider these “10 killer 10-minute workouts to get you in your best shape ever.” First on the list is a Tabata workout, which is a form of HIIT training that has you perform 8 rounds of an exercise 20 seconds all out, followed by 10 seconds of rest. When all is said and done, you’ll be finished in a mere 4 minutes. Tabata works with pushups, squats, running, and many other exercises. If you want options for 10-minute, 7-minute, or 4-minute sessions, try these “Really, Really Short Workouts” from the NYT. For the 7-minute option, all you need are a pair of sneakers and a chair to start building muscle and cardio at a rapid pace. There are 12 movements to complete, and if you get through all of them, you’ll have hit every major muscle group in the body.

Minute 4: Shoe review: Top 5 everyday trainers

Our resident shoe expert, Brian Metzler, weighs in this week with a list of five premium running shoes that don’t include carbon plates. While those enhanced “super shoes” are good for trimming minutes off your marathon finish time, they really are not intended for day-in, day-out training runs. For that, you should consider one of the shoes on Brian’s list. If you want all the pluses and minuses, please click to see the full review on our website. Here are some highlights from Brian’s analysis:

We’re in the middle of the fall race season, which means that a lot of runners are in the best shape of their lives and ready to run a fast half marathon or marathon in carbon-plated racing shoes.

Those “super shoes” have received a lot of exposure in recent years, and justifiably so, because they can definitely help you run faster if you’re willing to absorb the lofty price tags. They promote efficient and fast running because they have midsoles made of highly responsive super foams that provide optimal energy return in conjunction with the levering action of a carbon-fiber plate embedded in the chassis of the shoe.

But you can’t wear your high-end race shoes every day – because that can lead to overuse injuries and also because those foams aren’t very durable and won’t last very long. That means it’s a good idea to have another pair of light and fast shoes in your quiver for faster workouts. Specifically, there are a lot of amazing next-gen performance trainers – many of which have a midsole made of a super foam derivative but no carbon-fiber plate – that are ideal for up-tempo training efforts and are, in most cases, versatile enough to be everyday trainers.

Here’s are five of the very best performance trainers available at running stores right now:

  • Altra Vanish Tempo

  • Brooks Hyperion Tempo

  • Hoka Mach 5

  • New Balance Fuel Cell Rebel v3

  • Saucony Endorphin Speed 3

For the complete rundown on each of these five shoes, check out Brian’s full review here.

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • Many of us discovered a new hobby or rekindled an old one during the pandemic. Anything to get us out of the house in a safe and entertaining way was an emotional lifesaver, and that’s part of the reason why bike sales rode to all time highs back in 2020. While the growth surge has tapered off, cyclists across the globe have stayed in the saddle according to companies like Shimano. If you missed the initial surge in popularity, this is a good time to get into biking as the industry recovers from pandemic supply chain issues and bike inventories have increased. Over the past few years, cycling has become safer with the addition of dedicated bike lanes. For more details on the outlook of cycling in the near future, read: “Shimano says bike demand “cooling” but ahead of pre-Covid levels.”

  • Most of the time at Six Minute Mile we work hard to find the essential pieces of info from each story to get you informed and send you on your way. Every once in a while, we come across a great story that simply can’t be boiled down to a few takeaways; you’ve got to take the full journey yourself. We found one such story from Time magazine this week, and if you’ve ever questioned your motivation for running, you should give your full attention to “Why I Stopped Running to Win.” It is a thoughtful piece by author and runner Lynn Steger Strong.

  • We hope we didn’t scare anyone away with the 75 Hard challenge we featured in the last issue. If you checked it out and decided it wasn’t for you, but still want to get in on a challenge this month, we’ve found an alternative. It’s called Planksgiving, and if you’re able to complete it, you can expect to build major core strength. (We’d recommend getting your plank of the day out of the way early on Turkey Day.) For the details on the challenge, check out “Planksgiving: A Month-Long Plank Challenge.”

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Runners from around the world are only a week away from converging on The Big Apple for the 2022 TCS New York City Marathon. Crossing through parts of Staten, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx, participants are treated to stunning views and massive crowds along the way. What the vast majority of the 50,000 runners don’t see, however, are the dramatic finishes of the world’s elite runners. Whether it’s neck and neck between competitors, or an athlete breaking away from the pack to beat their own PR, it’s hard to find a stronger motivating force than the achievements of these runners. Check out these clips of the top 5 finishes in NYC Marathon history.

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