Blog Posts by The Editors of Runner's World

  • 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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  • 6 Signs You Need Another Doctor

    On a treatment plan that's not working? Here's what to look for when thinking about seeking out another expert's opinion.On a treatment plan that's not working? Here's what to look for when thinking about seeking out another expert's opinion.Sometimes a seemingly minor symptom or athletic injury sidelines you for longer than you'd like. Some injuries just need rest and icing, but others may land you in front of a doctor. Not every treatment plan requires a second opinion. But when you're undergoing a treatment plan--and anxious to be active again--it's important to know when to seek a different perspective.

    How Fit Are You? 10 DIY Tests to Find Out

    You're told that there's nothing to be done.
    Almost all symptoms and injuries are treatable. So if a doctor tells you he can do nothing for you, make an appointment with another expert. That diagnosis most likely means "there's nothing more that that doctor can offer," says Michael Ross, M.D., medical director of The Rothman Institute Performance Lab in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. And while some conditions could certainly curtail your plans, you'll want to confirm a diagnosis like that with another physician before you quit your regular routine altogether.

    How to Stay Active While

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  • Can You Be Fit If You're Overweight?

    .Many of us would describe the ideal athlete's body as lean. But then someone who doesn't fit the description can lift heavier weights or finish a workout in less time than we can, leaving us questioning what "fit" really looks like.

    Some doctors say people who are overweight face health issues, but some studies show that heavy people who exercise can be cardiovascularly healthy and may live longer than their sedentary but skinny peers.

    We asked two experts to, ahem, weigh in. Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D., director of the Healthy Lifestyles Research Center at Arizona State University, says you can be fit and fat. Amy Weinstein, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School who studies the impact of obesity and exercise on disease, disagrees. Here's why.

    5 Habits for Lasting Weight Loss Success

    Is it possible to be overweight and healthy?
    YES:
    Virtually every weight-related health problem can be greatly improved or cured with a moderate level of exercise, even if

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  • Best and Worst Foods for Diets

    After following about 121,000 men and women for 20 years, researchers at Harvard University published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2011 that documented the foods and drinks most and least associated with gaining weight. Read on to learn which items should fill dieters' shopping carts--and which should always be avoided.

    Best: Walnuts
    Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which protect your heart and boost your brainpower.

    Best and Worst Nuts For Snacking


    Best: Almonds

    The monounsaturated fats and vitamin E in almonds work together to cut cholesterol.

    Best: Macadamia Nuts

    In addition to containing healthy fats like other nuts, macadamias also pack in an extra dose of filling fiber.

    Healthy Fats Vs. Bad Fats

    Best: Yogurt

    Yogurt is a good source of calcium, plus probiotics for gut health. Go for the Greek variety: It boasts all of the benefits of regular yogurt plus double the protein.

    Best: Blueberries
    All fruits are great for diets thanks to their water

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  • 4 Post-Workout Summer Smoothies to Try

    Nutritious, flavorful ingredients lift the postrun smoothie to healthier heightsNutritious, flavorful ingredients lift the postrun smoothie to healthier heightsAfter a long or hard workout, the last thing you may feel like doing is eating a big meal, particularly if your workout left you queasy. But you need to refuel, preferably within 30 minutes, so you can recover. That doesn't mean you have to cook up a heavy omelet or big bowl of oatmeal. A quick, tasty smoothie will kick-start recovery. "Smoothies are a great way for runners to meet nutrient needs," says sports nutritionist Cassie Dimmick, R.D., "especially when it's necessary to quickly consume a mix of carbs and protein for muscle repair."

    But active ladies beware: Smoothie bar options can top 900 calories, and bottled brands are often low in nutrients. By blending your own with your choice of ingredients and with as much or as little ice as you want, you can make flavorful smoothies with carbs, protein, fiber, and healthy fats. And at less than 300 calories each, these smoothies are easy on the stomach in more ways than one. Be sure to follow these tips to pack your next DIY

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  • Healthy Foods that Aren’t Worth the Splurge

    Trying to feed your family the healthiest foods without breaking your groceries budget can be daunting and make you feel forced to sacrifice health for low prices. Some foods, though, are worth splurging on for the sake of your health, performance, and the environment. Fortunately, if you shop smart, you don't have to go broke eating well. You can balance expensive but worthwhile items like organic apples by saving on bargain-priced foods like frozen produce. Here's how to get the most nutritional bang for your stretched grocery-store buck.

    What's Your Eating Personality?

    Splurge: GRASS-FED BEEF
    In a 2006 study in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers tested various cuts of beef from grass--and grain--fed cattle and concluded the former have higher levels of two types of healthy fat-omega-3s (which reduce inflammation) and conjugated linoleic acid (or CLA), which some studies have linked to body-fat loss. They also found that grassfed beef is lower in saturated

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  • 4 Ways to Keep Your Diet on Track During Vacation

    How to take good nutrition habits with you when you travelHow to take good nutrition habits with you when you travelOften traveling means giving up good nutrition habits for some time away, but it doesn't have to be that way. Keep these simple strategies in mind and you can avoid the perils of road food.

    Travel Smart: Know Your Needs
    Lots of athletes think they have to stick to high-carb, low-fat, low-fiber foods before a workout. But exactly what you eat is less important than knowing what you can eat. "You've got to train the gut," says Jackie Dikos, R. D., a nutritionist and competitive runner. The key is to test out different pre-workout meals, take note of how your system handles them, and remember what works (and doesn't) for you. If you know your fave is chicken-vegetable stir-fry with white rice, you can search out Chinese restaurants. If you must have coffee before morning workout, you can make sure your hotel offers in-room coffeemakers (or an on-site Dunkin' Donuts).

    Portable Meals You Can Take To-Go

    Travel Smart: Pack For Transit
    You have less control over what and when you eat on

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  • 5 Ways to Trick Your Body into Weight Loss

    Anyone who has tried to lose weight knows that simple willpower isn't always enough to keep you out of the kitchen, and away from second helpings and the dessert menu. Myriad forces--from our own emotions to the distractions of a TV show--have a huge impact on how much we eat. Here's how to fight back:

    Snacks That Won't Derail Your Diet

    Control the candy dish. In a study by Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Mindless Eating, secretaries ate an average of 2.2 more candies when they were in a clear bowl and 1.8 more candies when the bowl was on their desk as opposed to two meters away. The lesson to be learned: If there is a candy dish in your office, make it a covered, opaque dish, and keep it off your desk.

    Don't multitask--especially if eating is one of the tasks. "The mind cannot pay attention to too many things at once, so if you're doing more than one thing, plus eating, the food doesn't really register," says Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D., a Newport Beach, California-based dietitian and

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  • 4 Workouts Borrowed from Sports You Haven’t Tried

    .Get fitter, faster, and stronger with great workouts borrowed from other sports.Get fitter, faster, and stronger with great workouts borrowed from other sportsIt's easy to think your workout of choice is the best for you, but why not borrow exercises from the toolboxes of other sports that require some combo of endurance, speed, and strength? "If all you do is run, you're failing to develop all of your muscles and limiting your range of motion," says Dennis Barker, coach for Team USA Minnesota. These workouts taken from the training plans of other sports will lead you to better fitness, sharper speed, and a stronger body.

    10 Ways to Test Your Total-Body Fitness

    BORROW FROM BOXING: ROPE "RUNS"
    "Fast feet are as important as fast hands for boxers, so they've jumped rope for centuries to develop this skill," says Ross Enamait, a boxing trainer in Vernon, Connecticut (rosstraining.com) jumping rope also helps runners be light on their feet." Quick jumping helps increase stride frequency and leads to greater muscle endurance, aerobic conditioning, and power, says Enamait.

    The Workout Jumping rope can challenge even the most conditioned athlete,

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