Blog Posts by The Editors of Runner's World

  • Satisfy Chocolate Cravings Without Wasting Calories

    Chocolate-lovers have had a lot to celebrate in recent years. In 2011, the University of Cambridge reported that eating dark chocolate can lower rates of stroke, high blood pressure, and heart disease, thanks to its high concentrations of antioxidants called flavonols. The same year, a study published in The Journal of Physiology found that moderate chocolate consumption may cause muscle changes that improve athletic endurance. And a study published in 2012 discovered that people who eat chocolate frequently (at least a few times per week) weigh less than those who rarely eat it. No wonder people go crazy for the sweet stuff! (Avoid overloading on sweets by learning How to Spot a Sugar Sneak Attack.)

    Of course, reaping these various health benefits hinges on eating the right type and amount of chocolate. "I generally recommend having one to 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate per day or roughly one tablespoon of cocoa a day," says David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director of Yale University's

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  • Proven Weight Loss Methods that Actually Work

    In a surprising article from a blue-chip panel of experts, the New England Journal of Medicine has shredded many of our most fervently held beliefs about obesity and weight loss. The article begins: "Passionate interests, the human tendency to seek explanations for observed phenomena, and everyday experience appear to contribute to strong convictions about obesity, despite the absence of supporting data." All this misinformation could be the culprit of inconsistent results (see how your metabolism suffers, in the Dangers of Yo-Yo Dieting).

    The rest of the "special article," which deals with "myths," "presumptions," and "facts," reads much like a feature story in your favorite health magazine. Only the conclusions are the opposite of what you have read and heard dozens of times. As briefly as possible:

    WEIGHT LOSS MYTHS

    1. Small changes can yield big results over time.
    Fact: Nope, the actual changes may be only 20% of what you have been told.

    2. Weight-loss goals must be realistic.

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  • Super Snacks for Your Every Craving

    These munchies satisfy your cravings and offer surprising health benefitsThese munchies satisfy your cravings and offer surprising health benefitsIt's the middle of the afternoon, dinner is hours away, but your stomach is growling. Should you have a snack? Yes, as long as you choose wisely. When done right, snacking can be a key component of a everyone's daily diet, says sports nutritionist Deborah Shulman, Ph.D. "Eating every three or four hours can help control your appetite." It can also provide nutrients you need before and after a workout, says Pamela M. Nisevich Bede, M.S., R.D., a nutrition consultant for Swim, Bike, Run, Eat! But be judicious with your mini-meals. Constant grazing can lead to weight gain; have just one or two snacks a day (each between 150 and 250 calories). Avoid prepackaged junk foods, and stick to whole or minimally processed options, which will not only satisfy your hunger and cravings, but also provide surprising health benefits, too. Here, we provide healthier options for every craving. (If you're trying to shed weight, avoid falling for these Top Weight Loss Myths.)

    YOU CRAVE SALT
    EAT: POPCORN

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  • 6 Weight Loss Myths, Busted

    If you want to lose weight, don't sabotage your diet with these six common mythsIf you want to lose weight, don't sabotage your diet with these six common mythsAfter weeks of holiday indulgences, many people are ready to start the New Year on a healthier foot, and often that means shedding pounds. But even the most health-savvy people can get caught up in diet myths that sabotage their goals. "Weight loss is so complex and confusing because there is so much conflicting information out there," says Leslie Bonci, M.P.H., R.D., director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. With our experts' help and the latest research, we've dispelled six myths so you can start slimming down for good.

    MYTH: No sweets before noon
    Most people who want to lose weight assume they have to forgo dessert. But not only can you have it, you can have it for breakfast, according to a study published in March 2012 in the journal Steroids: Researchers found that participants who ate a 600-calorie, carb- and protein-rich breakfast that included dessert, such as chocolate or ice cream, lost more weight over four months (and kept more

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  • Quick Workouts for the Holiday Season

    Fast workouts maintain fitness through the holidaysFast workouts maintain fitness through the holidaysWhen schedules get packed with holiday obligations, running frequently gets pushed off your to-do list. That's a shame because investing just a little time in exercise can reap big rewards. In fact, even if you have just 10 minutes a day, three days a week, you can maintain some running fitness. Plus, these sessions will help offset stress and provide the consistency that makes it easier to resume your regular training when the craziness abates.

    If you'd rather exercise indoors, check out these 4 Treadmill Workouts for Winter.

    YOU HAVE 10 MINUTES

    Warm up with one to two minutes of brisk walking, then alternate two minutes running with 30 seconds walking. If you feel good, gradually increase the speed of your run segments. Repeat three times. Jog easy for one minute to cool down. If you're stuck in the house, walk briskly from room to room and up and down stairs. Every minute, jog in place for 20 steps.

    YOU HAVE 15 MINUTES

    Walk gently up and down a flight of stairs two or three

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  • Raise Your Athletic IQ

    Avoid mental meltdowns by tuning into your bodyAvoid mental meltdowns by tuning into your bodyAthletes are skilled at reading their body's cues and making the necessary on-the-spot adjustments--to pace, form, or attitude--to power through their workouts and races, says Dominic Micklewright, Ph.D., a sports psychologist at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom. Here's how you can raise your athletic IQ to reach your full performance potential.

    Tune Into Your Body

    Many people try to ignore the various twinges and aches they experience during a workout. Rather than spending the workout dismissing these sensations, "pay attention and learn what they mean," says Micklewright. Your goal is to get to the point where you know your body so well that you can distinguish between the fatigue and muscle burning that's part of pushing through or what could be the start of an injury. "It's only by listening to your body's cues that you know what they're telling you," he says. To avoid major workout mishaps, follow these 10 Laws of Injury Prevention.

    [IQ Booster] Leave Your Tech

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  • 4 Workout Tweaks for Better Results

    Boost performance by adding a twist to your workoutBoost performance by adding a twist to your workoutIf you've been doing the same strength-training exercises for months, your muscles may be in a holding pattern. "To add distance or increase speed, your cross-training efforts need to push your limits," says Michael Silverman, a physical therapist at the Sports Rehabilitation and Performance Center at New York City's Hospital for Special Surgery. These tweaks will help you develop new power for your workouts.

    Best New Workout Shoes










    PLANKS
    TWEAK: ADD LEG SWING

    Holding a plank position (resting your weight on your forearms and toes, with abs pulled in), lift your right toes off the ground and swing your right leg to the side, toward your hips. Return to the start position and perform on the other side. Do 15 reps on each leg; rest and repeat twice. (For more moves to strengthen your core, try this Ultimate Abs Workout.)


    ..
    LEG LIFT

    TWEAK: ADD ARM SWING

    Stand with arms out in front of you. Extend your right leg in front of you

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  • What to Do One Week Before the Marathon

    Even as Hurricane Sandy expected to bring record-breaking flooding to New York City, Sunday's ING Marathon will still go on as scheduled, says race director Mary Wittenberg. With less than one week to go, how should you be preparing?

    It's perfectly normal to experience a wide range of emotions the week before a race of any distance, whether it's 3.1 miles or 26.2. Excitement, anxiety, even dread can sweep over you in those final days.

    Harboring all that nervous energy simply means you care about having a good day, whether your race goal is just to finish or to run a faster time. The best way to counter those jitters is to have a plan for each day that will prepare your body--and ease your mind. For more on how to prep on the big day, read the 10 Rules of Race Success.

    Monday
    Walk or cross-train for 30 to 60 minutes. Run or drive the course, or review a map of it online. Familiarizing yourself with the hills, turns, and final stretch helps you plan your strategy.

    Tuesday

    Run easy

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  • 10 Best Energy Bars for Post-Workout Recovery

    Our guide to the tastiest energy snacksOur guide to the tastiest energy snacksWe taste-tested dozens of recovery bars to find the best post-workout snacks for active women. What we learned: The era of choke-it-down energy bars is over. New options taste better than ever--while still providing the muscle-friendly nutrients your body craves. (Pair these options with the Best Pre-Workout Snacks for ultimate results.)

    Best Chocolate
    Honey Stinger Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Protein Bar
    Lots of bars feature bland, waxy chocolate, but Honey Stinger's version is rich and dark-like a Lindt bar, only healthier, with 10 grams of whey protein and a host of workout-fueling nutrients: Vitamins A, C, and E combat muscle-damaging free radicals, and calcium (24 percent of your Daily Value) helps stave off muscle cramps. honeystinger.com

    The Healthiest Types of Chocolate

    Best Baked Good Alternative

    Hammer Oatmeal Apple Bar
    "It's like eating apple pie," raved one tester, who issued props for this bar's moist texture and real-food flavor (thanks to actual organic apples). The

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  • 4 Ways to Burn More Calories During Your Next Workout

    Running is an easy and cheap way to stay active. But, rather than just heading out the door and winging your run, try one of these workouts to blast more calories. (Before you head out, see if you're ready to run with these 5 Tests of Your Overall Fitness.)

    Go Long

    The longer your run, the more calories you burn. If you're not in the habit of doing a long run, add one to your routine every other week. "For beginners, a sensible way to build up is to add five minutes at a time," says Runner's World coach Budd Coates. But build up slowly, so your total weekly mileage doesn't jump by more than 10 percent in a single week.

    Why Gym Classes Work So Well


    Go Faster
    Speedwork is a great calorie burner, since you can cover more distance in the same period of time, says Coates. Run for 10 minutes at a comfortable pace. Then alternate running hard for one minute and easy for one minute, five times (or 10 minutes total). Over time add more hard minutes, or increase the hard running to two

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