Minute 1: Collagen supplements for connective tissue health
Most people associate collagen with skin care ads in glossy magazines. Like many promises in the $500 billion beauty business, youthful skin and an attractive spouse won’t be yours just because you slather your skin with collagen lotion. For athletes, however, the science behind collagen is much more promising. It has been proven to boost connective tissue health, particularly as athletes age. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, found all throughout the connective tissue. Check out the “Science of Collagen: 101” to see why adding extra collagen to your diet can be so beneficial for maintaining mobility at any age. Research on the subject is still relatively new, but it has chronicled some tangible benefits. Check out: “Top 6 Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements.” Collagen supplements can reduce the joint pain that comes from degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis. Alongside joint health, collagen can support bone density, as it's one of the main components that make up our bone structure. Our staff is about to do a trial of one of the most popular collagen supplements for athletes which is made by Amp Human and Momentous. Stay tuned for updates as we watch our times go down while our collagen intake goes up. (We hope.) #TheNewCollagenTry
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Minute 2: What heart rate variability says about your health
Over the past 20 years, fitness trackers have evolved from mechanical gizmos full of springs and cogs, to sophisticated electronics that can measure both your body’s thermostat and your home’s thermostat. Of all this technological progress, we would argue that measuring heart rate and heart rate variability is the most important. This new article helped cement our view and also add some nuance: “Understanding Heart Rate Variability Can Help You Avoid Overtraining.” Most modern trackers give you the option to monitor HRV with ease. Men’s Health recommends taking a reading at the same time every day, preferably right after waking up, to get consistent, useful results. What exactly is HRV? Whoop.com defines it as “the variance in time between the beats of your heart.” They explain why that info is so useful to know in “Everything You Need to Know About Heart Rate Variability.” Essentially, HRV gives you a look into the 2 nervous systems operating in your body; sympathetic and parasympathetic. They work together, sending signals to your heart to slow down or speed up, and the ability to switch quickly from one signal to the other is a sign your body is ready for whatever you throw at it. In addition, HRV is affected by sleep, nutrition, stress, and mental health, meaning it can give you a lot of info about your overall health at a glance. #HeartTrack
Minute 3: Avoid bites on your summer outings
Bites can be happy occasions when you’re enjoying the last outdoor adventures of summer. A fish biting the worm you dangled in a stream or a child’s happy face when biting into a s’more can brighten up even a rainy day. The wrong kind of bite, however, can spoil your day and many days to come. To return from the wild itch free, and more importantly, disease free, there are a few new guides that can help out. First, “Here’s Exactly What to Do When A Tick Bites You.” The main health risk posed by ticks is Lyme disease. You don’t have to panic if you’ve been bitten, however, since it takes about 36 hours for the tick’s bacteria to transfer. You’ll have time to act in the event of a bite, but it's crucial to check yourself at the end of a hike or outing. The CDC recommends using fine tipped tweezers for removal, and you should forego any other home remedies you might have encountered. Perhaps even more common are mosquito bites, and they’re no joke. Depending on the region, they can carry malaria, zika virus, and west nile virus, to name a few of the risks they pose. Luckily, there’s a lot you can do, and here are “11 Proven Ways to Prevent Mosquito Bites That Actually Work, According to Entomologists.” Schedule your hikes on windy days if possible, as a breeze of even 1 MPH gives mosquitos a hard time flying. One lesser known fact is that mosquitoes are drawn to darker colors, as they contrast against the horizon. Wearing lighter colors will make you harder to spot. Lastly, take a look at “7 Ways Not To Die From A Rattlesnake Bite.” The headline’s a little melodramatic, we know, but the advice is still great. Wear thick wool socks, know what kinds of snakes are in your area, and stay vigilant to avoid these risky reptiles. #TickSock
Minute 4: A guide to burning calories
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, improve performance or simply eat healthier, tracking caloric intake is an important step in your fitness journey. Calorie counting, however, can get awfully complicated if you participate in a variety of activities. The simplest health tracker that comes embedded on your phone will tell you how many steps you take. Most humans can walk about 4,000 steps in 30 minutes and that will burn around 100 calories. But what if you are hiking, biking, playing tennis or lifting weights? Caloric burn can be trickier to track. A new analysis from CNET gives a helpful starting point: “What exercise burns the most calories?” The highest burners per minute are cardio exercises like running, hiking, and cycling. In fact, depending on the amount of weight you carry, hiking can burn massive amounts of energy, making it a great option for those looking to lose some weight with a relatively low impact activity. If you want to know how much exactly, check out “How Many Calories Do I Burn Backpacking?” which provides a calculator that's quick and easy to use. On the other hand, exercises like weightlifting burn less than you might expect, largely because most athletes rest between sets. It’s important to realize the limits of exercise when it comes to calorie burning, as detailed in “Exercise Doesn’t Burn As Many Extra Calories As You Think.” The bottom line is, your diet will have a far greater impact on your net caloric intake, backing up the classic adage that abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym. #FeelTheBurn
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
Following TikTok fitness trends is a bit like playing Russian Roulette: Some will land you in the hospital, as we covered in a previous issue, while others could be a game changing life hack. The latest nutrition tip making the rounds actually has us hyped up to hit the gym, and it's called “Proffee.” Basically, it's a combination between coffee and a protein shake. You get a bit of caffeine to jump start your workout, and store some muscle building protein from the get go to ensure a strong recovery. Find out if the drink is right for you in “Should You Be Drinking Protein Coffee?”
Ever since we spoke to Jeff Galloway on the SMM Podcast, we’ve been big fans of his Run-Walk-Run method. It's a great way for beginners to ease into running, but veterans often overlook its potential for serious runners. Wherever you fall on that spectrum, it’s nice to have some direction on how long each segment should last, which is why you should see this “Run Walk Ratio Chart” from a New Zealand running coach. It will make recommendations based on your typical mile pace to match your needs and get the most out of this innovative running technique.
If your idea of luxury is racing through remote mountain passes, covered in sweat and mud, we have an event for you. (Assuming you have either a hedge fund or a trust fund.) For the price of about $21,000, you can make your way through 120 miles of the Scottish highlands while enjoying hydrotherapy pools, Michelin-star chefs, and more. See for yourself in “‘Luxury’ race will be among most expensive on earth.”
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
For an Olympics that almost didn’t happen at all, Tokyo makes us happy every night that these stellar athletic performances are actually taking place. Even without family and fans in the stands, athletes are cranking out inspiration by the hour. But things are different without families on hand. Who can forget Aly Raisman’s parents twisting and contorting in their seats at the 2012 London gymnastics venue as captured on this video? Some family members are doing their best to cheer for their loved ones even from 6,000 miles away. One of our favorite new examples is Olympian Melissa Gonzalez and her husband David Blough of the Detroit Lions. David organized a watch party at his team’s facility, and showed the world he’s truly his wife’s biggest fan as he cheered Gonzalez along to victory in her prelim heat of the 400m hurdles. Watch the lovely (and hilarious) video below, courtesy of the Detroit Lions Instagram.