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Do we even need that much water?

APR 15, 2022

Minute 1: Should you drink a gallon of water a day?

NFL Quarterback Tom Brady says he drinks two gallons of water per day. That seems to work pretty well for TB12 as he stockpiles rings and cheats Father Time. Killian Jornet, 1 of the best ultra-running mountaineers in history, says: “I can run for 10 hours, comfortably, without food or water.” So, who’s right? You may find part of the answer in this new piece: “I drank 1 gallon of water every day for two weeks, and the results were interesting.” Let’s get a few myths out of the way first. No, your skin will not automatically clear up and lose wrinkles. You may, however, experience less under-eye puffiness that occurs from excess water retention. For an explanation why, read “This Is What Happens When You Drink a Gallon of Water a Day.” That’s a nice bonus, but we think the most impressive benefit can be found in your cognitive performance. Dehydration is a lot more common than we realize, and it’s known to cause dysfunction in our memory, attentiveness, and critical thinking. By drinking 128 ounces a day, you’ll have a better chance of keeping your body and mind running smoothly. If you like the idea, but are struggling to get excited about gulp after gulp of water, give fruit infusion a try: “Is Infused Water a Healthy Choice?” Adding fruit to your water and leaving it for a few hours can result in about 20% nutrient absorption, according to research. Not to mention, the taste will improve quite a bit. BTW, when Tom Brady drinks his 2 gallons per day, he makes sure it is alkaline water, which has a higher pH level than ordinary tap or bottled water. Brady and many others claim that alkaline water boosts your overall health, even reducing cancer risk. For more background on the science, check out this piece from Healthline: “Alkaline Water: Benefits and Risks.”

Minute 2: How to tailor your recovery to your exercise

“Eat, sleep, run, repeat.” Boy, do we wish it were that simple to get faster and feel healthier, but progress isn’t always linear. Obstacles come our way, and our training and recovery fluctuate. Sometimes we add “beer” between “run” and “repeat,” which doesn’t help matters. Cross-training can help jump-start stalled progress, but that may require a different approach to recovery according to this new story: “Do you need to recover differently after running than you do after strength training?” Whether you're performing resistance training or endurance training, consuming protein after exercise can facilitate muscle development. About 25 grams within an hour of finishing your workout is ideal according to “This Is Exactly How Much Protein You Need to Stay Strong After a Workout.” However, endurance training will burn though your glycogen stores rapidly, meaning you’ll need far more carbohydrates after a long run than a weightlifting session. Another consideration to make is the kind of cooldown and stretching you perform after exercise. In Minute 3 of last week’s issue, we covered the benefits of cooling down, which are more about providing comfort than they are about reducing injury. With that in mind, it’s important to pick stretches that target your most sore areas to help relax them. For runners, that means stretches like pigeon pose and deep lunges to open up your hips. Lifters can try out child’s pose and deep squats to relieve tension in your quads and lower back that often arises from performing deadlifts and other heavy movements. #RecoveryMission

Minute 3: The vegan version of the Mediterranean diet

The word ‘mediterranean’ comes from Latin root words, translating to ‘middle’ and ‘land.’ But every year, when the list of the healthiest diets come out, the Mediterranean diet is far from the middle. In fact, it’s almost always on top. We’ve associated Mediterranean food with a Greek or Italian fisherman in a handknit wool sweater, offering up a freshly-caught branzino or salmon. We learned this week that our friends who avoid animal protein can still benefit from the program: “How to eat a vegan Mediterranean diet: A complete guide.” The usual staples are still there: legumes, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Instead of getting your protein from fish, however, you can substitute pita bread topped with hummus, soybeans, and quinoa. What can you expect from adopting this diet? Well, a longer life is one potential upside according to: “The diet that could help you live another 10 years l Expert Opinion.” According to research, adopting the Mediterranean diet as late as your 60th birthday could still result in a significant increase in life expectancy. For a list of inspiring dishes, including some vegan options, see: “36 Mediterranean Diet Dinners That Are Packed with Fiber.”

Minute 4: What you can learn from professional runners

Becoming a successful runner is as much about mastering your own body as it is getting faster. Respecting your limits and learning how to safely push past them takes time. We can all learn something by mimicking professional runners, but clearly not everything Kipchoge does applies to weekend warriors. For some help on what to copy and what to avoid, check out this new story from Canadian Running: “The training characteristics of world-class distance runners.” Perhaps the most obvious difference between pro runners and hobbyists is their sheer training volume. Running more than 100 miles a week typically requires good genetics along with good coaches, physical therapists and nutritionists. It also requires a schedule that is not structured around demanding bosses and debilitating Zoom calls. Pros will often run more than once a day, but if you’re looking to up your mileage, consider increasing the number of days you go for a run, before you raise the distance per day. One tip everyone can benefit from is treating certain parts of the year as “competition” time, and other parts as the “off-season.” As competition approaches, your focus can transition from building an aerobic base to developing speed. Then, after participating in races, you should consider taking time to decompress. To figure out if planned rest time is right for you, read RunnerClick’s “Taking a Week Off Of Running? Here’s Why It’s a Good Idea!

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • A pre-workout snack can be tricky to craft: too much food and you’ll get stomach cramps, but too little, and you’ll lack the energy needed to perform. For a breakdown on the macronutrients recommended by a group of registered dieticians, along with the amount of fluids to drink, read: “Every Pre-Workout Snack Should Include These 3 Key Components for Optimal Energy and Performance.”

  • Brendan Leonard has made a name for himself as a talented writer who has chronicled his journey of becoming an ultra runner in his 30s. He humbly refers to himself and his fellow trail runners as “fellow idiots,” who are short on pure athletic talents, but long on dogged determination. His attitude is refreshing, void of hardo chest-thumping. He reminds runners of all kinds that with the right mindset, you can accomplish a lot more than you’d expect. For a fresh take on how to approach trail running and extreme distances, check out his interview with Outside: “Words of Wisdom from Brendan Leonard, the Everyman of Ultrarunning.” He has a new book out, as well, which is a fun collection of his essays: “Have Fun Out There Or Not: The Semi-Rad Running Essays.”

  • Beginner runners often experience the dreaded “runner’s knee” early on in their training, and promptly decide it’s not the sport for them. Knee pain is a symptom which feeds the myth that running increases your chance for arthritis and other joint ailments, but actually, the opposite is true. Runner’s knee might actually just be a signal that you’ve got muscle imbalances, and with the right kind of strength training, you’ll resolve it and be on your way. See the details in “Stop Saying Exercise ‘Ruins Your Knees,’ FFS.”

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

What’s the best part about a difficult run up a mountain? The way down, of course. For most folks, the return to base camp means a gentle stroll down the trail where you can let your heart rate drop and enjoy the energy boost of gravity. That’s not the case for the folks at the Salomon Running Camp, though. After racing their way up the Pico de Fogo volcano, they decided to celebrate in extreme fashion, charging their way down the mountain like something out of a Lord of The Rings battle scene. We’ll admit, you probably shouldn’t attempt this without taking major precautions, but we’re content to live vicariously through the great footage they captured in the clip below.


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