Minute 1: Cool it with the ice baths, they could be slowing recovery
For anyone who has endured submerging into an ice bath to aid recovery, we offer our condolences. All that cold may have frozen your recovery process in its tracks. According to this new story in Canadian Running: “Study: icing injuries doesn’t work,” the long-accepted practice of icing injuries or muscle strains is misguided. The study cited analyzed muscle recovery in mice and found that ice slowed down the natural recovery tools most mammals are gifted at birth. Researchers stimulated muscle contraction in 40 mice, simulating exercise. When a muscle is worked hard or strained, inflammation and swelling naturally occur. Icing muscles slows this anti-inflammatory response, and as a result, lengthens the overall recovery time. While icing can provide a short term reduction in pain and inflammation, it interrupts your body’s natural healing process. Modern science has uncovered that inflammation functions to remove cellular debris and promote future cell growth in the injured area. How did we end up so far off the mark? Men's Health reveals the history in “The Cold Hard Truth About Icing Your Injuries.” It turns out that the icing myth became popular among doctors not due to research, but rather as a positive feedback loop of anecdotes and recommendations. It was used successfully in one procedure, and grew in popularity from there without critical analysis. Even Dr. Gabe Mirkin, who created the term R.I.C.E. has changed his mind. His mea culpa came in this blogpost: “Why Ice Delays Recovery.” This is good news for those of us who will instead use the ice in our freezers for its intended purposes -- keeping summer beers and margaritas frosty. #RICEmanGoeth
Minute 2: Step outside your gym for natural strength
Netflix has a bizarre philosophy when it comes to software development. They intentionally break their code all the time so their employees gain experience solving problems and the platform has a pre-made solution for potential bugs. They call it chaos engineering. What if you took the same approach to your exercise routine? That's essentially what trainer Daniel Murakami did when he realized “You Can Build Major Muscle With Anything Outdoors.” After working with traditional methods and equipment for years, Murakami switched out his dumbbells for rocks, tree limbs, or any other heavy natural object he could get his hands on. His goal? Seek out unbalanced loads and uneven terrain to challenge your mind and muscles with unfamiliarity. The awkwardness of the movement forces you to use often-neglected muscles and develop what he calls “strength IQ.” Every stone is “a complex riddle that requires a different solution... The weight is a mystery. The right grip must be found and the weight distribution adjusted for in real time. Every rock is an opportunity.” Murakami’s training methods are perfect for athletes looking to combine workouts with their love of the outdoors. For more inspiration, take a look at “The Best Outdoor Workouts, According to Military Vets.” The article offers some ideas of lifts to perform with a weighted rucksack or other heavy object. Embrace the chaos of nature and you’ll see functional strength gains in no time. #RockHard
Minute 3: For the breakfast of champions, cook your eggs like this
The perfect breakfast … or a calorie rich indulgence? Eggs are a great way to hatch your day, but depending on your preparation method, they can do more harm than good. Fitandwell.com laid out the options, and found that “This is the healthiest way to eat eggs, according to science.” Let’s get one thing out of the way first. Cooked eggs offer more digestible protein than raw eggs, so Rocky’s breakfast of champions won’t pack on muscle after all. Now, what's the best way to cook them? If you’re watching their heart health, you should ditch the frying pan. First, the high heat can cause cholesterol in the egg to oxidize. Oxidized cholesterol has been linked to heart disease. Additionally, the added oil or butter used increases calories, making weight gain more likely. That leaves 2 preferred options; boiled or poached eggs. Both can be done at a low temperature, and neither require added oil, so they’re exactly what you’re looking for. There’s an ongoing debate about how many eggs you can consume daily without raising your cholesterol. Some research suggests that eating eggs only causes HDL, or “good cholesterol” to increase, so there may be no need to worry. Healthline.com provides some of the details in “Eggs and Cholesterol - How Many Eggs Can You Safely Eat?” Essentially, your body can reduce its cholesterol production when you consume extra in your diet. To support this claim, they cite a study where participants ate 1 to 3 eggs a day, showing little to no increase in LDL cholesterol compared to a control group. Coincidentally, we recently did a little field research on this subject. Realizing that our breakfast had become too dependent on sugars -- OJ, fruit yogurt, “healthy” cereal -- we moved to more of a Keto/Atkins approach for the first meal of the day. That meant 2-3 eggs daily cooked with veggies, olive oil and occasionally bacon. Coincidentally we had our annual physical this week and the blood work showed a 7.3% reduction in LDL after only 3 weeks of this routine. The eggs may not have helped, but they certainly didn’t hurt. #TriedEgg
Minute 4: Turn up the intensity, it could help you later in life
Researchers over at the University of California are sounding a bit like drill sergeants, calling for double time after a study demonstrated the WHO exercise guidelines aren’t cutting it. Take a look at this article: “We should DOUBLE the minimum exercise guidelines for adults, says new research.” The study examined more than 5,000 subjects, recording their exercise habits and monitoring various health parameters over time. They found that going beyond the minimum exercise guidelines could result in fewer blood pressure abnormalities. Individuals experienced about 18% lower likelihood of hypertension if they exercised twice the recommended amount of time per week. The study also reported a general reduction in activity over time, but found this decline could be slowed by maintaining a particularly high activity level in your teens and twenties. Building strong exercise habits early on could be the key to health as you age. This all sounds like a tall order, but if you’re pressed for time, turning up the workout intensity can be just as beneficial as increasing the time. In fact, the WHO says 75 minutes of vigorous exercise is just as good as 150 minutes at a moderate pace. Check out the video at the bottom of the article for an 8-minute rapid fire drill. #DialItUp
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
A couple of weeks back, we highlighted an emerging player in the recovery tech market, Speed Hound. We’re still using the trial pair of Pro-Performance recovery boots they sent us a couple of months ago. Feeling generous, the Speed Hound folks will now give away a pair of the Pro-Performance compression boots to one of our lucky readers. That’s a very cool offer because these things are well-engineered and they ain’t cheap. To enter, just head over to our Instagram account for details. The winner will be announced next week. If you don’t want to leave anything to chance and need a pair right now, they’re offering our readers $45 off per system with the code “SMM6” on the Speed Hound site.
The physical benefits of exercise are obvious. Mental benefits, though, are often overlooked. Part of the reason exercise is so great is the way it makes you feel, and that's largely due to the changes made in your brain -- the release of certain neurotransmitters, and even new pathways that form among neurons. Neurogenesis is complicated, but Dr. John Ratey helps us understand on the Six Minute Mile Podcast. If you want some supplemental reading to go with that, check out the article from Polar.com that uncovers “How Exercise Affects The Brain: Does Your Workout Make You Smarter?
Grilling season is upon us, but if you’re getting ready for a backyard BBQ, you might want to think twice about the way you’re cooking your meat. This article from fitandwell.com addresses some concerns you might have. Should you use an open flame, or electric grill? How about lean vs fatty meat, does it make a difference? It's all explained in “What’s the healthiest way to grill chicken, pork, and steak?.”
It seems like every day, an article comes out that disproves conventional wisdom of the past. This time, we’re questioning whether or not running is actually bad for your knees. One study found that competitive runners actually had a reduced risk of osteoarthritis. Where did this idea come from, that running will leave you limping around later in life? It could be that running itself is okay, as long as you avoid certain flaws in your technique. Check out this new article from CNET.com that dives into the data, gives some tips on what to avoid, and ultimately answers the question: “Is running really bad for your knees?”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
The Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc takes place high in the Alps and is considered by many to be the ne plus ultra of running events. The course features an elevation gain of over 10,000 meters, earning a reputation as one of the most difficult foot races in the world. The average participant will spend 2 days and nights trying to complete the course. Elite runners manage to finish in under 24 hours, but nobody has ever crossed the line in under 20 hours. Paul Capell wanted to change that. After winning the race in 2019, and hearing of its cancellation in 2020 due to the pandemic, he decided to run solo in an attempt to chase this record. His remarkable journey amidst spectacular scenery was documented in the short video below.