Blog Posts by The Editors of Runner's World

  • 11 Health Food Imposters to Avoid

    Every time you walk into a grocery store, you face a daunting task: picking the healthiest, most nutrient-packed foods to fuel your active lifestyle from thousands of choices. But colorful packaging, deceptive claims, and hidden ingredients confuse even the savviest shopper. Though they may seem like healthy options, here are 11 items that you should steer your cart away from the next time you go shopping.

    Your Food's Nutritional Labels, Decoded!

    Presliced packaged fruit Slicing ahead of time exposes more surface area, raising the risk for nutrient loss from oxygen exposure. And the packages are more expensive than whole fruit.

    Iceberg lettuce One of the most popular vegetables is also one of the least nutrient-dense. In general, the darker the leafy green, the bigger the nutritional bang.

    Bottled smoothies Many are sweetened with sugar or nutritionally poor juices like apple or pear. Plus, they almost always cost much more than making your own.

    Try Instead: Healthier

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  • 8 Food Add-Ons that Boost Nutrition

    Get more nutrition out of already healthy foods by adding one ingredient. Get more nutrition out of already healthy foods by adding one ingredient. If you're like most active women, you eat right most of the time. Maybe you have oatmeal for breakfast, yogurt as a snack, and whole-wheat pasta to refuel after a workout. All smart choices--but there's a way to transform these stalwarts into uncommonly healthy foods. "By making some easy additions to foods you already eat every day, you can provide your body with a greater variety of nutrients," says sports dietitian Molly Kimball, R.D. "Plus, you'll add new flavors to your same old diet." Here's how to upgrade your usual fare with nutrient-packed ingredients.

    BOOST SMOOTHIES
    Add unsweetened cocoa powder
    Cocoa powder is rich in flavonoids--antioxidants that reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. They also protect skin against sun damage and lower blood levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation. "Unlike dark chocolate," says Susan Kleiner, Ph.D., R.D., author of Power Eating, "cocoa powder contains no added sugar and less saturated fat."

    Eat Smart
    Avoid Dutch processed

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  • 3 Reasons Why You're Not Losing Weight with Harder Workouts

    You've upped the intensity of your workouts in hopes of burning fat faster, but somehow--frustratingly--the scale continues to creep higher and higher. Don't worry. This is indeed a common scenario for many female athletes. Here are three likely culprits and some simple solutions you can use now.

    1. The calories in versus out are out of balance. Many active women can actually out-eat their workout expenditure and in doing so, gain weight along the way. One example of how this phenomenon can start: Last year, a newbie athlete would celebrate every tough workout with a grand breakfast at a local cafe/bakery. The meal she described sounded like a rolling buffet rather than a re-fueling opportunity. It included a post-workout chocolate milk, followed by an omelet, fried potatoes with gravy, toast, mocha coffee, and a cinnamon roll the size of Texas. Clearly, it is very easy to get caught up in the fantasy of the accomplishment and over-celebrate calorically.

    The Solution: Take a personal

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  • Exercise for Weight Loss: Is Less More?

    Anyone who thinks they know anything about exercise and weight loss is prone to regular shocks, based on a steady stream of surprising studies and reports. For example, a new one from the American Journal of Physiology concludes that 30 minutes of exercise a day is good, and 60 minutes less good.

    Huh? And I thought I sailed through 5th-grade math with a passing grade.

    A little recent context first. Although the study wasn't researching weight-loss per se when it was published 17 months ago, it opened lots of eyeballs. The study found that a vigorous 45-minute workout burned an extra 190 calories in the 14 hours post-exercise. This seemed simple enough--doing a few sprints or strides at the end of workouts to rev up the engine, and turn on the after burn made sense.

    Can You Be Overweight and Fit?


    A FAQ based on a more recent report from the outstanding Pennington Biomedical Research Center and the frighteningly named Center for Quantitative Obesity Research found that the

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  • 4 Ways to Revive Your Workout Slump This Fall

    Fallen out of your regular training routine? How to stage a strong comeback. Fallen out of your regular training routine? How to stage a strong comeback. Even the most devoted athletes can get sidetracked from their routine by crazy deadlines, long-awaited vacations, or (worse) nagging injuries. But rather than fret over how long it's going to take you to return to speed, it's important to keep such detours in perspective. "You shouldn't feel guilty about taking a break from working out," says Marissa Tiamfook, a trainer based in Los Angeles. "Focus on the fact that you want to get back out there." If for whatever reason your gym shoes have gathered dust, here's how to get back on track.

    Overcome the Mental Blocks That Hold You Back

    SIDETRACKED BY: A jammed schedule
    You've ditched your workouts to make time for longer hours at the office or to plan a big event. The time away from exercising has left you tired and grumpy. "Science has proven that working out is a potent stress-buster," says Tiamfook. "But once momentum has stopped, it's hard to crank it up again."

    COMEBACK PLAN: Sign up for a class
    Find a yoga or zumba class and sign

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  • 12 New Sports Bras for All Sizes

    Ask any woman what her most important piece of exercise gear is and she'll likely (and very quickly) say, "Sports bra!" But variations in straps, padding, closures, and fabrics make it hard to choose the right one. So, we recruited 49 testers--ranging in size from A to F cups and 32- to 40-inch bands--to put 33 of the newest bras through plenty of bounce-inducing activities. These 12 top performers will support you through any workout.

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  • Small Tweaks for a Better Breakfast

    If you regularly scramble eggs or blend a smoothie for breakfast, you can congratulate yourself for starting your day off right. Eating breakfast can help you lose weight, control blood-sugar levels, and sustain energy for workouts. But even when your usual choice is generally healthy, it still may be missing key nutrients that runners need to perform their best. With the help of experts, we turned these go-to breakfasts into peak-performance fuel.

    A REAL Approach to Dieting


    The Fast Food Eater
    Busy working mom JoAnn Flett of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, has eaten a pre-workout toaster waffle with half a teaspoon of butter and a teaspoon of peanut butter most mornings for the past decade. The waffle delivers quick carbs to fuel her runs--and takes less than five minutes to prepare. But according to Kristine Clark, Ph.D., R.D., director of sports nutrition at Penn State University, Flett's breakfast lacks calcium, iron, and antioxidants like vitamins A and C-all needed for good health

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  • 10 Ways to Boost Your Workout for Weight Loss

    It's doubtful that anyone ever said that they started exercising so they could eat more fruits and vegetables. In fact, most people joke that the sole reason to workout is to burn off a double-cheese pizza or earn the right to spend quality time with Ben & Jerry.

    But every athlete learns it one way or another; you can't workout to eat, you gotta eat to workout.

    When you're in training, food becomes fuel. It will energize your activities and help repair muscle tissue after a hard workout so that you can bounce back quickly for your next workout.

    Healthy Meals, in 30 Minutes or Less!


    Try to fuel up on Krispy Kreme or down a five-course meal before you hit the gym and you could hit the wall halfway. Have a big meal the night before a long workout and you could wake up with a food hangover: You still feel full and have the aftertaste of last night's meal, yet you're slightly hungry at the same time.

    You can do all the training you want, but if you don't eat and drink the right things

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  • Best Drinks to Keep You Hydrated During Exercise

    A refresher course on how much--and what--to drink on hot summer runsA refresher course on how much--and what--to drink on hot summer runsDuring the blazing days of summer, you need more than sunscreen to protect your body from the sun. "Hydration becomes most important during intense exercise in the heat," says Douglas Casa, Ph.D., who heads the University of Connecticut's Korey Stringer Institute, which studies heatstroke and other causes of sudden death in sports. "If you're not adequately hydrated, your blood volume drops, which means your heart has to work harder to power your muscles and keep you cool. When that happens, your athletic performance suffers."

    While it's important to stay hydrated during exercise, it's impossible to create one-size-fits-all drinking guidelines. Every athlete's needs are different. Your body weight, sweat rate, and effort level, along with the temperature, humidity, and elevation, affect how much you should drink. That doesn't mean you should leave your hydration plan up to chance. These strategies can help ensure you drink the right amount before, during, and after every run.

    Foods

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  • Surprising Benefits of Exercising on Empty

    Train on an empty tank to boost your fuel efficiencyTrain on an empty tank to boost your fuel efficiencyIt's an indisputable fact that to workout long and fast, you need to start out fully fueled. But during their prep for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon last fall, elite Canadian runners Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis adopted an unconventional approach: They performed some of their runs on empty tanks. It's the nutritional equivalent of training with a weighted vest; running on fumes forces your body to work harder and teaches it to burn carbs more efficiently when you workout with ample reserves.

    Carbohydrates are your body's most readily available fuel source, but only a limited amount can be stored--enough to last for about 90 minutes of intense exercise--mostly in the muscles and liver. Researchers have found that exercising in a carb-depleted state helps the muscles adapt to burning more fat and boosts your body's capacity for stored carbohydrate by as much as 50 percent. Whether all this translates to better fitness is unclear, but for Coolsaet and Gillis, the evidence was

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