Blog Posts by The Editors of Runner's World

  • The Numbers that Really Help You Slim Down

    Active women love numbers, but we don't always like the ones on the scale. Luckily, there's a better way to track weight-loss progress. Here's how to use an entirely different set of digits to get fitter, and leaner--and shed those extra pounds.

    Many women track weight loss progress by stepping on the bathroom scale, but sometimes--irritatingly enough--that number barely budges. On the bright side, there are plenty of other stats out there that can give us a more complete picture of our overall health and help us lose weight. By tracking numbers that gauge changes in our fitness level, heart health, nutrition habits, and body measurements, you'll not only slim down, but also take your fitness to the next level. So forget about pounds for a while and kick-start your weight loss by following these numbers instead.

    Why Your Weight Loss Plan Isn't Working

    BODY MEASUREMENTS
    Keeping tabs on your body composition can help you assess your weight-loss and fitness progress in a way that the

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  • The Numbers that Matter More Than Your Calorie Count

    When it comes to losing weight, exercise alone won't cut it. "You can eat your way through any level of exercise very easily," says Dr. Henry S. Lodge, coauthor of the Younger Next Year book series. But obsessing over your daily caloric intake isn't a guarantee that you're getting the nutrients you need to fuel your workouts or your body. The key to losing weight: Eat fewer calories than you burn, and consume high-quality, nutrient-rich foods. These numbers will help you do just that without being too calorie-conscious.

    50 Quick Tips to Help You Slim Down by Summer

    Hunger scale Rating your appetite can help you reduce your calorie intake and lose weight by preventing overeating. In his book The Blue Zones, author Dan Buettner explains that the Okinawans of Japan (who live very long lives) adopt the concept of hara hachi bu ("Eat until 80 percent full"). The hunger scale is similar: On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is ravenous and 10 is stuffed, eat when you're at a 3 or 4, and stop when

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  • 20 Habits That'll Get You Fit for Summer

    Want to lose weight and get in shape? Here are 20 ways to get thereWant to lose weight and get in shape? Here are 20 ways to get thereWe've all been there: Despite exercising and watching what you eat, the elastic in your workout shorts seems to be as tight as your hamstrings. "Ninety-five percent of the active people I work with want to lose some weight," says Cassie Dimmick, M.S., R.D., a sports dietitian and running coach in Springfield, Missouri.

    Getting lean requires the same trait that makes you get up at 5 a.m. for a workout: discipline. You need to be vigilant about your diet and consistent with exercise so that you maximize calorie burn, increase muscle mass, and decrease body fat. Luckily, it's easier than it sounds when you employ these tactics from dietitians and coaches. Get ready to lose!


    Surprising Reasons Your Weight Loss Plan Isn't Working


    1. Practice Long, Slow Eating
    In a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2011, researchers in New Zealand looked at the relationship 2,500 women had between their self-reported speeds of eating and their body mass indexes. For

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  • Best Foods to Eat Before Your Workout

    Need a snack stat? These prerun foods and drinks are ready when you areNeed a snack stat? These prerun foods and drinks are ready when you areSometimes your grumbling stomach keeps you from completing your workout as planned. If workout time is approaching before it's time for another meal, try these best snacking practices. "The right snack can prevent premature fatigue on a run and keep blood-sugar levels steady, thwarting cranky moods that might cause you to peter out early," says sports dietitian Jan Dowell, M.S., R.D. She recommends eating up to 150 calories if you're hitting the gym within 15 to 30 minutes and as much as 300 calories if you have an hour or more to digest. Even if you're trying to lose weight, snacking on something can keep you on the right track. These options contain carbohydrates for quick energy, a bit of protein to hold off hunger, and some electrolytes to keep your fluid levels balanced (it's best to avoid too much fat and fiber, which take longer to digest and can spell GI trouble). Best of all, these snacks take little or no prep, so you can grab a bite and go.

    15 Best Foods You Need Every Week

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  • Are You Fueling for Your Eating Personality?

    Learn how to make the most of your typical eating personalityLearn how to make the most of your typical eating personalityMost active women love eating almost as much as working out, even if they don't go about it the same way. Some diligent souls keep track of every gram of carbohydrate and protein that passes their lips. Others are so consumed with work, kids, and training that they grab whatever seems healthy enough to consume on the fly.

    Of course, there's no single right way to eat well. Each approach has its own merits and drawbacks. The key to fueling your body says San Diego-based nutritionist Tara Coleman, is to understand your tendencies, so you can build on healthy choices and adjust not-so-good-for-you habits. Whether you graze every few hours or eat the same three meals every day, here's how to tweak your diet so it better meets your nutritional needs without sacrificing your lifestyle.

    15 Foods Every Type of Eater Needs

    THE REACTIVE EATER
    "Reactive eaters listen to their bodies," says Coleman, "eating when hungry and what they crave." That's good because it means you stop eating when

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  • Time to Eat: Your Perfectly Balanced Plate

    How to plan your plate for balanced mealsHow to plan your plate for balanced mealsAs an active woman, you know you should eat the right mix of carbs, protein, and fats, but what do the ideal proportions look like? An easy solution is to think of your plate as a clock and divide it into minutes filled with quality protein, carbs (including grains, vegetables, and fruit), and healthy fats. Here's the best way to fill your time.

    PROTEIN
    15 MINUTES
    CLOCK WISE: Protein is a main source of amino acids, compounds that help repair muscles and strengthen immunity. Choose sources low in saturated fat, such as chicken; lean cuts of beef and pork; fish (such as salmon and tuna); soy; dairy (like yogurt and cottage cheese); and beans and lentils. Most active women need between 60 and 90 grams of protein a day.

    EAT THIS: Red and dark meat boost your health and strengthen muscles

    GRAINS AND STARCHES
    15 MINUTES
    CLOCK WISE: These foods are loaded with carbs to replenish glycogen stores. It's optimal to get fiber-rich whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, and

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  • 5 Ways Running Can Be More Fun

    The best way to stay motivated? Have more fun on every run (even the tough ones).The best way to stay motivated? Have more fun on every run (even the tough ones).

    Active women lace up for a variety of reasons: to get in shape, lose weight, de-stress, chase PRs, win races. But you're most likely to stick with your running routine when your primary reason is because it's fun, says Jim Taylor, Ph.D., a sports psychologist and author of Prime Sport: Triumph of the Athlete Mind, among other books. A wide body of research bolsters the association between enjoying exercise and an increased motivation to stay fit. "When you get a fundamental enjoyment from just being out there running, that keeps you going," says Taylor, who is also a marathoner and Ironman triathlete. Reignite your running passion with these expert tips.

    LOOK WITHIN
    Why do you run? Researchers from Greece and London looked into women's emotions related to exercising. They found that those who were motivated to work out because it made them feel good were more excited to continue, compared with those who were driven to the activity for reasons such as losing weight or to

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  • Superfoods 2.0: 5 Foods to Spice Up Your Diet

    Boost nutrients and flavor with easy substitutes for your favorite foods. Boost nutrients and flavor with easy substitutes for your favorite foods. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's the motto many active women follow when it comes to their diets. But eating the same foods day in and day out--even healthy standbys like peanut butter or brown rice--isn't the best bet for your body or your taste buds.

    "Active people should try new foods for the flavor and the nutrients," says Monique Ryan, R.D., author of Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes. Adding new foods to your diet re-energizes a bored palate, she says, and also provides a variety of nutrients your body needs to ramp up health and workout performance. These easy substitutions for tried-and-true staples will help you break out of a food rut while transforming your diet and your energy levels.

    Battle of the Superfoods: Which is the Healthiest Option?

    Old Standby: Salmon
    New Favorite: Barramundi
    Prized for its buttery flavor, barramundi is an Australian fish now available in the United States. It packs more omega-3 fatty acids than many other white fish. "The omega-3

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  • Your Brain on Exercise: 5 Surprising Ways Sweating Makes You Smarter

    Running helps more than your heart and lungs. Promising brain research shows a strong link between running and a "younger," more nimble brain. Vigorous cardiovascular activity pumps more oxygen--and glucose-rich blood to your noggin. And when you make running a frequent habit, the rewards are long-term. All forms of exercise generate more energy for the brain, but research indicates the more aerobically challenging the exercise, the greater the mental payoff. Here's a look at your brain on running.

    Run Your First 10-K!

    NEW THINKING

    Running sparks the growth of fresh nerve cells, called neurogenesis, and new blood vessels, called angiogenesis, says J. Carson Smith, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Maryland in College Park who studies the role exercise plays in brain function. "We know that neurogenesis and angiogenesis increase brain-tissue volume, which otherwise shrinks as we age," he says. In a 2011 study reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of

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  • Survive the 5 Worst Diet Busters

    Are you able to avoid overindulging in common social situations?Are you able to avoid overindulging in common social situations?If you're trying to improve your diet, you know how difficult it can be. Over-processed and unhealthy (but convenient) food dominates grocery stores and restaurants, and temptations to stray from your plan abound, even in the best situations.

    The worst situations-these five diet-busting traps-can be nearly impossible to weather, if you're unprepared. These suggestions will help you survive them without wrecking your diet.

    Are You In a Dangerous Relationship With Food?

    Problem: Happy Hour

    Survive It: Alcohol stimulates appetite, so pre-empt martini munchies with a high-protein, late-afternoon snack. Try not to linger at the bar, says Leslie Bonci, R.D., where beer nuts and other unhealthy snacks may be within reach. Skip the giant margaritas, which can pack 500 calories, and order a lower-calorie drink, like a glass of wine or light beer.

    50 Quick Get-Lean Tips!

    Problem: Afternoon Munchies
    Survive It: Ask yourself, Is it hunger or just boredom? If it's boredom, stand up,

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