27
Apr
15

post-marathon recovery tips

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Marathon runners devote a lot of time and energy to training and preparing for race day. Just as important as pre-race preparation is post-race recovery. Training for and completing the 26.2 mile marathon distance is physically punishing and there’s a significant “shock” to our entire system. In the critical weeks following a marathon we’re more susceptible to injury and illness.

An Ounce of Prevention

It makes sense that properly training for a marathon usually means you’ll likely enjoy a relatively quick recovery.  Some experts recommend taking one recovery day for every mile we race – for the marathon this means approximately 26 recovery days. That doesn’t mean we don’t exercise during these critical post-race recovery days, but perhaps we choose non-weight bearing “active” rest activities like swimming and/or bicycling. I do some light running during the recovery weeks, but nothing too intense. I highly recommend no intense running or racing for six weeks after completing a marathon. Again, if you train adequately, your chances are good for a healthy recovery.

Nursing an Injury

Quite often we sustain a nuisance injury during marathon training. If you’re experiencing lingering injury pain after the race, take some time off from running, until the injury pain subsides. This is a good time to explore preventive exercises that might help keep the injury from recurring. For future injury prevention, I highly recommend strength training and practicing yoga on a regular basis.

Beware of Post-Marathon Colds

Our immune system takes a beating when we run a marathon.  We’re very susceptible to colds during the immediate aftermath and it’s important to get as much sleep as possible, eat a healthy diet, and concentrate on re-hydration.  If you do catch a cold after a marathon, it’s important that you DO NOT run or exercise with a fever.  You can resume running after the fever subsides and your energy level returns to normal.

Post-Race Depression

We also put a lot of emotionally energy into marathon training and planning for the race. Some folks feel an emotional letdown after the marathon is over and this is partly due to the body’s extreme fatigue level. Scientific research has shown that choline, an important neurotransmitter, is depleted during strenuous endurance events and this depletion might trigger the post-race “blues” for some runners.  Maybe you’re disappointed in your race performance or you feel a little lost with no structured training program in place. If you’re motivated by having a future race scheduled, go ahead and start planning.  Most importantly, give yourself some time to rest and regain your energy level.  The post-marathon “blues” will fade away.

Post-Marathon Recovery Indicators

If you just completed a warm-weather marathon, it’s important to keep an eye on your post-race weight. In a dehydrated state your body weight will be lower than normal.  Keep-up post-race hydration until your body weight returns to normal.

Another important physiological indicator to watch is your resting heart rate (RHR). A good time to take your RHR is first thing in the morning.  Mine is usually around 45-50 bpm.  If your RHR is elevated 10-15 bpm higher than normal, there’s a strong likelihood your body is still fatigued and you’re in need of more rest.

I’m also a vocal advocate of using a heart rate variability monitoring system. I’ve been using the Bioforce HRV system for the better part of the year and I’m sold on it’s usefulness when it comes to monitoring recovery and workout readiness. In a nutshell, heart rate variability systems measure the amount of stress placed our systems. Stress comes in many forms, e.g., training/racing, poor nutrition, dehydration, lack of sleep, work pressures, etc. I highly recommend trying one of the heart rate variability systems on the market. HRV is great tool for monitoring recovery and tracking physiological trends, both good and bad.

Embrace the Rest

Bask in the glow of your great achievement.  Allow your body to physically recover and then, if the spirit moves you, start planning ahead for another race.  At the age of 55, I am now happily retired from the 26.2 racing distance. I do remember the ebb and flow of my marathon training years and I always enjoyed the post-marathon recovery weeks.  Embrace both the physical and emotional rest.

25
Apr
15

Warm Weather Training and Hydration

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Paying close attention to your hydration level is one of the most important things you can do to maximize athletic performance. Living and training in Louisiana’s warm, humid climate makes it challenging to maintain what exercise physiologists call “fluid balance”.

Fluid balance is an important equilibrium, achieved by matching fluid intake with fluid losses. Fluid intake is triggered by thirst and urine output increases in response to increased fluid consumption. As long as fluid intake matches fluid output, a healthy fluid balance is maintained.

Hydration and fluid balance have a direct impact on your athletic performance. Training in a warm, humid climate, we can lose up to 2 – 3 liters of fluid per hour. In a short period of time, valuable water volume is lost from our blood plasma. Less blood plasma means there’s less blood pumping through your body and your heart has to work harder to supply the muscles with oxygen and fuel. You’re ability to stay cool is also compromised since there’s less blood to send to the surface of your body to assist with the cooling process. In as little as 30 minutes of exercise at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, you can lose 2% of your total body mass through fluid loss. With 2-3% reduction in body mass, your endurance performance will suffer and with a 5% reduction, your muscular strength and power output is significantly diminished. If you’re dehydrated when you start a training session or race, this athletic performance downward spiral is even more severe.

The message is this: chronic dehydration reduces blood volume, makes the blood more viscous (thicker), increases heart rate, and makes it more difficult for the body to radiate heat.

Here are some tips on warm weather training and hydration:

  1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Fluid replenishment before, during and after exercise is essential to avoid chronic dehydration. Always drink more fluids than you think you need before and after exercise, and strive to drink 6 to 8 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise.

  1. Exercise Intensity

Reduce the intensity of your workout, especially the first few times you are exposed to higher temperatures.

  1. Temperature

Use the heat stress index table to determine the risk of training at various combinations of temperature and humidity. While a 90° F outdoor temp is relatively safe at 10 percent humidity, the heat stress of 90° F at 50 percent humidity is the equivalent of 96° F. When the heat stress index rises above 90° F, you may want to consider postponing your training session until later in the day. Or, plan ahead, and beat the day’s heat by working out early in the morning.

  1. Fitness

Physical training and heat acclimation can increase your blood volume, helping to regulate body temperature more effectively. The acclimatization process can be completed in seven to 14 days of repeated heat exposure. However, you must always continue to drink fluids before, during and after exercise.

  1. Clothing 

Wear minimal clothing to provide greater skin surface area for heat dissipation. Your clothing should be lightweight, loose fitting, light colored to reflect the sun’s rays, and of a material that absorbs water, such as cotton.

  1. Rest

Know when to say “no” to exercise. Using common sense is your best bet for preventing heat stress when Mother Nature turns up the heat and humidity.

23
Apr
15

the immune system – what athletes need to know

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The human body is a miraculous organism. The complexity of our various systems boggles the mind. One of the most important and complex functions is our immune system, which shield us from disease-causing organisms.

Dr. David Nieman is a professor and director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. David is regarded as one of the foremost experts and researchers in the field of modern exercise physiology. In the July/August issue of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, David discussed whether it’s possible to train or “boost” the immune system through training or use of supplements.

Lifestyle habits play a big role in our immune function. Inactivity, old age, mental/emotional stress, and lack of sleep can all wreak havoc on our immune system.  Dr. Nieman states that moderate-to-vigorous exercise (e.g., brisk walking, cycling, swimming) can have a positive effect on the immune system. Simply put, when we exercise at a moderate level, our body tends to produce cells that are key infection fighters. Stress hormones are not released by the body during moderate exercise. The key word is moderate.

Here’s where it gets interesting for endurance athletes. Recent research indicates that heavy doses of exercise can have a negative impact on our immune function. Nieman says that after running a marathon, the body is inflamed for about half a day with high stress hormones and our immune system is greatly compromised. During the next one to two weeks, the odds of getting sick range between 2x and 6x. Research clearly indicates that during long periods of heavy training, the immune system is under significant stress and illness rates climb.

Nutrition has a huge impact on our immune system. Several excellent, medically-based studies indicate that a balanced, healthy diet provides all the nutrients we need to maintain sound immune function and vitamin/mineral supplements do not “boost” immunity levels more than normal.   There are many herbal and nutritional supplements available that claim they “bolster immunity’. The fact is, most have little or no scientific backing other than a history of use in Chinese medicine.

As I’ve suspected for many years, we fitness enthusiasts and endurance athletes are often walking a fine line between being in optimum physical condition and being sick with colds and/or the flu. That being said, the benefits of vigorous training are many and we need to always be aware of the factors that can have an impact on our immune function, both positive and negative.

Nieman states your best strategy is to keep immune defenses operating normally by following a variety of smart lifestyle habits:

  • Exercise moderately on most days of the week. If you’re a competitive athlete, it’s okay to up the intensity/pace once or twice a week. Be sure to take adequate rest after high-intensity workouts.
  • Avoid overtraining and chronic fatigue. An important word of caution: do not exercise when ill with a fever. This can lead to more severe symptoms, relapse, and sustained feelings of fatigue.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Nutrient supplements are not needed by healthy adults and will not boost immune function more than normal levels.
  • Keep your stress levels to a minimum. If you live in a high-stress world, look into stress management techniques. Practicing yoga is a great option that also provides physical conditioning benefits.
  • Get enough sleep. Poor sleep habits have a negative impact on your immune function.
  • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently and get a flu shot during flu season.

In a nutshell, a well-rounded lifestyle based on healthy eating habits, regular moderate exercise, and plenty of rest all promote a healthy immune system.

21
Apr
15

review: new balance 1980M zante

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I work part-time at Varsity Sports Mandeville, a wonderful running specialty store in Mandeville, Louisiana. I recently received a pair of New Balance 1980M Zante shoes, compliments of New Balance. Let it be known that I’m a devoted Brooks Pure Project shoe wearer and I rarely wander/run outside my Brooks comfort zone.

I’ve been wearing the Zantes around for a few weeks now and all I can say is – WOW!  I actually didn’t plan on using them much for running, but I was immediately impressed by how comfortable they are when I wore them around the gym and at home. The more I wore the Zantes, the more I liked them.

I finally took them for a run this past weekend and I am very impressed (and I’m hard to impress). They are extremely comfortable underfoot and the entire shoe feels sleek and natural.  I have a neutral foot strike and I also prefer a firm ride. The “run feel” of the Zante reminded me a lot of one of my favorite traditionally designed shoes, the Brooks Launch.

The Zante was designed to be a very simple shoe – click here for specifications. From my experience, the outstanding comfort is derived from the simple, no-seam design of the upper and the “tuned” Fresh Foam mid-sole material. The first generation Fresh Foam midsoles received mixed reviews.  Apparently New Balance design engineers went back to the midsole drawing board and I’m impressed with the results.

The Zante is a lower heel profile shoe, having a 6mm heel-to-forefoot offset. For neutral foot runners who might be contemplating trying a lower heel offset shoe, the Zante might be an excellent “transition” shoe.

The Zante’s Fresh Foam cousin, the NB 980M Boracay, is a 4mm heel offset shoe and the New Balance promotional information describe it as being a beefier version of the Zante, intended for longer runs and more durability.  The Zante is a bit lighter and recommended for faster tempo training runs and racing. I haven’t tried the Boracay so I’m not able to comment on the differences.

If you’re looking for a neutral, light-weight, lower-heel profile running shoe, I highly recommend giving the New Balance Zante a go. I’ve tried many, many running shoes over the past 35+ years and it’s arguably one of the lightest, most comfortable shoes I’ve experienced.  Well-done New Balance!

18
Apr
15

treating an injury: ice or heat?

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If you’re a dedicated endurance sport athlete, chances are good you’ll eventually experience a musculoskeletal injury. Most running-related injuries occur from the waist down and can involve muscle, bone, and connective tissues (ligaments, tendon, cartilage). The most common recommendation for any running-related injury is to “apply ice”.   This is certainly a safe and smart recommendation, but I want to suggest some options I’ve had success with when treating my own running aches and pains.

Please note: the information that follows is based on my own experiences dealing with minor running injuries – see a medical professional if you’re experiencing a more severe chronic injury.

Step One: Analyze

I’ve learned to discern the difference between a muscle tissue injury and a connective tissue injury. This in an important distinction. Medical professionals almost always recommend ice treatment during the first 24 hours for any injury and I totally agree, whether it’s a muscle strain or a connective tissue problem.

Once an injury “settles in”, I have had more success treating a muscle strain with gentle heat than continuing with ice treatment. If I am certain I’ve suffered a connective tissue injury (tendonitis, ligament strain, etc.) I stick with ice treatment. These are inflammation injuries and the ice helps calm the inflammation.

Muscle Strain: Can’t Beat Heat

If I’m certain I’ve sustained a minor muscle strain or pull, I immediately start gentle heat treatment using my trusty heating pad and an ace bandage. Most of my muscle strains/pulls seem to occur in my hamstring or calf areas. I always keep the heat setting on low, place the heating pad over the problem area, and then secure the heating pad against the muscle using an Ace bandage.

For muscle strains/pulls, heat seems to help the muscle area to relax and begin the healing process. Heat draws blood to the area and when a muscle is healing, and blood helps bring nutrients and carry away the bad stuff.

If you have access to a whirlpool or hot tub, hydrotherapy is a great way to provide warm, gentle relief to a sore muscle area.

More words of caution. If you’ve suffered a muscle tear do not use heat to initially treat the injury – ice is best for a torn muscle. Quite often you’ll see skin discoloration and you’ll feel more severe pain with a muscle tear. A torn muscle is bleeding and initially using ice helps reduce the swelling and stop the hemorrhaging.

Lastly, never go to bed/sleep with heating pad applied to a sore area.

Tendonitis/Ligament Strain: Ice is Nice

Tendonitis is a very common running overuse injury. I have an old-fashioned ice pack that I keep handy, along with an Ace bandage.

You need to exercise caution when treating an injury with ice. Applying ice directly against the skin can be uncomfortable and can damage tissue if left on the skin for too long. Using an ice pack provides a thin layer of protection between your skin and the ice. If I’m treating a foot injury, I’ll wear a thin sock, then apply my ice pack over the sock, secured on the area with an Ace bandage.

Keep your ice treatments to 15- 20 minutes. Any longer and you might injure your skin tissue.

Ice treatment tip: fill a small paper Dixie cup with water and freeze overnight. You can use the frozen Dixie cup to apply an “ice massage” to an injured area. Just peel the paper away from the ice and gently massage. Keep a towel on the floor under the injured area as you apply the ice massage.

Don’t Stretch!

When we first sustain an injury, there’s always a tendency to want to stretch the sore area. Let the problem area rest during the acute pain phase. Stretching can tear injured tissue that is trying to heal.   Once the pain subsides and the healing process has started, then you can introduce some careful, light stretching to the area. I recommend waiting until the area is completely healed before starting preventive stretching exercises.

Pain Medicine

For most running injuries, I find Ibuprofen (e.g., Advil) to be most effective at providing immediate pain relief. Ibuprofen can trigger stomach upset in some folks, so always follow the dosage directions on the label.

I’m a big fan of topical analgesics like Ben-Gay Sports Gel and Flexall. More than one medical professional has told me these products don’t really do more than warm the surface of the skin and they don’t provide deep warmth or have a loosening-up effect on muscles. For some reason, I like the way Flexall feels on muscle strain and I’ll usually apply some to a problem area before heading out for a run. It may be some kind of placebo effect, but I do feel more relaxed in the injured area. Works for me, but my medical pro friends don’t regard topical analgesics provide much help.

Fred’s Two “should I be running?” Injury Rules

I’ll run through an injury as long as the two following rules are honestly adhered to:

  1. The injury pain is not getting any worse
  1. The injury is not causing me to adjust my running stride compensate for the pain.

Summary

As mentioned above, it’s never a bad idea to treat any injury with ice and if you’re sure your injury is an overuse inflammation (e.g., tendonitis) injury of some kind, always treat with ice and do not use heat.   For muscle strains, gentle heat can be an effective treatment option.

16
Apr
15

good form running tip sheet

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The past few years I’ve been involved in the delivery of numerous Good Form Running clinics.  The GFR format was originally developed by a network of top running stores to help better serve their customers. The powers-to-be at New Balance heard of the successful grass roots GFR program and has leant a promotional hand since 2010.

If you’ve read any of my previous posts about running shoes, you know I’m a vocal advocate for what I like to call “natural heel profile” running shoes (aka “minimalist” running shoes).  The four running techniques addressed during GFR clinics blend well with natural heel profile shoes, as well as traditionally designed shoes with a higher heel-to-forefoot offset.

My viewpoint on GFR techniques has softened a bit. I used to feel that a mid-foot strike was critical to good form running.  Recent research has suggested that foot strike is a very individual thing and it’s okay to be a mild heel striker and it’s okay to be a mid-foot striker.  Of the four GFR clinic techniques, I feel the two most important are Posture and Cadence.  As long as you run “tall” and maintain a quick, light foot strike, everything else seems to work out just fine.

Attendees of my GFR clinics receive a GFR tip sheet and I’d like to go ahead and post the text of the tip sheet here for your review.  I hope this provides some helpful information!

Good Form Running Clinic Tip Sheet

The “4” Points

  1. POSTURE
  • Posture is the most important of the “4” points – without good posture, the rest of the techniques are less effective
  • Feet – keep your toes pointed forward
  • Knees – keep soft; serve as primary shock absorbers
  • Hips – keep your pelvis under your torso; bellybutton to spine, prevent anterior tilt
  • Shoulders – relaxed and straight, keep shoulders away from ears
  • Arms – Elbows bent at 90 degrees, shoulders relaxed, do NOT swing arms across the body; remember – THE ARMS HELP DRIVE THE LEGS!
  • Hands – relaxed with thumbs on top. If you rotate thumbs inside, elbows have a tendency to drift out creating an inefficient arm-swing. Swinging a hammer….
  • Head – eyes straight ahead, head directly above shoulders. Head weighs about as much as bowling ball. Letting your eyes and head tilt down creates a “running slouch”
  1. MID-FOOT
  • Mid-foot strike develops stronger biomechanics – feet become stronger
  • Traditional shoe designs do NOT encourage a mid-foot strike
  • Heel Strike = poor efficiency & injuries – “Brake and torque”
  • Landing with your foot in front creates reverse force and the leg muscles have to exert more effort to mitigate the forces, stabilize and then propel forward.
  • Injuries: a heel strike pattern results in a straightening of the knee and reducing the body’s ability to absorb shock; rotating foot during rest of gait cycle can also cause knee and foot problems – “torque” part of the injury equation; excessive ground contact time.
  • Over-striding heel strike also puts strain on the shin muscle, triggering shin splint injuries for some runners
  • Quite often, injuries are caused by poor running form and technique
  • Our goal is to develop a mid-foot strike, with our center of gravity landing just behind the foot strike. Minimizes breaking forces and harnesses you’re natural ability to shock absorb and stabilize.

III.   CADENCE

  • Landing on the mid-foot is directly related to cadence.
  • The quicker and lighter we run, the more likely we are to land mid-foot.
  • Cadence is the rate at which your feet touch the ground while moving
  • Cadence is measured in steps per minute.
  • Optimal cadence for running about 180 spm (strikes per minute)
  • Average heel striking runner will have a cadence of about 150-160
  • Cadence has nothing to do with running speed
  • The shorter the ground contact time, the less chance there is for problems
  • 180 cadence helps us land our center of gravity over the foot strike
  • Tip: to check your cadence during a training run, count how many times the left or right foot hits the ground during a 30 second interval. Should be about 45.
  • Tip: Cadence is single most important tool for improving efficiency and avoiding injuries
  1. LEAN
  • Good Form Running uses gravity to assist us moving forward
  • Correct posture must be maintained
  • Lean comes from flexing the ankles, not the hips
  • Don’t overdo the lean!
  • Keeping your weight forward and flexing at the ankle sets up an efficient mid-foot strike

Good Form Running – Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are you sure GFR will work for me?
  • GFR has had an incredibly positive response and success rate regardless of ability or build. The main reason being is the fact that GFR simply encourages you to move your body the way it was designed to move.
  • Will GFR make me faster?
  • Increasing your speed has many contributing factors. GFR will make you more efficient and help prevent injuries, both of which largely contribute to making you a faster runner.
  • Since I’m changing technique, will my muscles be sore?
  • There’s a chance you’ll experience some mild soreness. It’s likely you’ve been under-working some of the key running muscles and GFR technique involves and develops these same muscles. Any soreness should be short-lived.
  • I run for enjoyment and stress relief. Will this make my running less enjoyable?
  • Definitely not. Your mind is an amazing computer and you can be very conscious of your body while still being able to relax. Initially making changes requires a certain level of concentration, but soon it will be come natural.
  • How long does it take to master GFR?
  • Each person is unique. If you run every day or if you’re naturally in-tune with your body, changes come within a few days. For some runners, it takes longer. Mastering GFR requires practice, reassessment, and more practice.
  • Can I wear different shoes once I master GFR?
  • Some runners are able to wear lighter, lower heel profile running shoes due to the improvement in their running form. Others find their traditionally designed running shoe works best for them.
  • Will shortening my stride make me slower?
  • The key is finding the most appropriate stride length for your body/event/goals. Shortening your stride and increasing your cadence is the best way to learn the technique quickly.
  • Am I too old to change my running technique?
  • Of course not. The older the runner, the more ingrained old habits are. It just takes commitment and practice to learn something new. Runners in their 70s and 80s have reported significant improvement.
  • I use a traditionally-designed, more supportive running shoe. Will barefoot running work for me?
  • Let’s face it, most of us prefer to wear shoes while running. The GFR program recommends spending some time barefoot – whether that be doing some strides across your yard or occasional walking barefoot around the house. This will teach your body how to move correctly, as well as strengthen your feet. GFR, at its very foundation, teaches you how to “barefoot” run with shoes on. If you want to run barefoot, the most important thing to keep in mind is listening to your body. If you go too far, too fast, you will get injured.

 

08
Apr
15

8 weight mistakes

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I recently read an excellent Nutrition Action Health Letter article by Bonnie Liebman detailing “8 Weight Mistakes:  How to Avoid Expanding Your Bottom Line”.  Ms. Liebman does a fantastic job detailing what happens to all the excess calories we consume and how difficult it is to lose unwanted fat weight.

Without further ado, let’s take a brief look at the “8 Weight Mistakes”:

1. I Can Lose it Later

So many of us justify unhealthy eating behavior by telling ourselves “I’ll get back on my healthy diet soon”. By relying on a restricted calorie diet plan, you’re losing lean mass (muscle) along with fat. In fact, about 25% of diet weight loss is lean tissue! We rely on our skeletal muscle to burn calories at rest and dieting alone reduces our lean muscle tissue. Also, when you return to a calorie-restricted diet, your metabolism rate slows down. The body is amazingly adept at sensing fewer calories and it slows down to conserve energy stores.  Bottom line: A slower metabolism and less lean mass make it hard to lose all the extra pounds you gain.

2. Once It’s Off, It Will Stay Off

Let’s say you go on a diet for six months and you lose 15 lbs. Slowly you start to notice the pounds starting to reappear. What’s happening!? Studies performed at the Laboratory of Biological Modeling at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases have shed light on this phenomenon. People tend to gradually start eating more after reaching their maximum diet weight loss. We’re good at sticking to our diet in early months, but it’s hard to sustain the restricted calorie eating behavior for the long run. Bottom line: Many dieters regain lost weight because they gradually start eating more.

3. Fat Is Fat, No Matter Where It Is

When you overeat, your body has to stash the excess calories in the form of fat somewhere. The likelihood of you losing those excess pounds depends on where your body stores excess calories. Genetics plays an important part in this storage process. Some people store excess calories as leg fat – leg fat is “safer” in terms of long-term health implications, but it’s very hard to lose leg fat once it appears. Other people store excess calories as visceral fat located in the midsection of torso. Visceral deep-belly fat is a bit easier to lose, but it’s also more dangerous to your longterm health. Experts still aren’t sure why visceral fat is more dangerous, but one theory states that visceral fat might send more fat cells to the liver. Fat cells contain fatty acids and these fatty acids can interfere with normal cell function in important organs like the liver. Bottom line:  Extra calories can lead to leg fat that’s tough to lose or deep belly fat that’s a risk to your health.

4. You Have To Go Out Of Your Way To Overeat

Food is everywhere these days – at work, at the mall, convenient restaurants, etc. Not only is food found most everywhere, portion sizes have become huge and contain way too many calories. Researchers have found that the average restaurant meal contains about 1,300 calories, about two-thirds of the the calories an average person needs each day. And this is just one meal! Bottom line:  What is typically served restaurants can make you gain weight.

5. All Extra Calories Are Equal

Recent studies have shown that different types of calories, such as saturated fats and high-fructose sugars, tend to settle in the deep belly. Any calories that increase visceral fat are more dangerous. Bottom line:  Excess calories from foods high in sugars and saturated fats may be more like to settle in deep-belly fat.

6. You Can Boost Your Metabolism

Check out some of the claims on food labels as you stroll down the “healthy food” aisle at your grocery store. There are many claims of foods or food supplements that have the ability to stimulate your metabolic rate and help you lose weight. The problem is this – companies that manufacture these items need virtually no evidence to make these claims. Extensive studies on these “metabolism boosters” have shown that they provide no additional weight loss benefits.

Does exercise stimulate your metabolic rate? Exercise helps a little because muscles are more metabolically active than fat. If you have more muscle than fat, it will make some difference, but not a huge difference. Weight control is all about controlling the number of calories you consume – that’s the stark reality. Bottom line: Don’t expect to lose much weight by consuming “metabolism boosters”.

7. There’s a Magic Bullet Diet!

The Paleo Diet.  The Sugar Impact Diet.  The New Adkins Diet.  All these fashionable diets deliver lots of weight loss promises.  Most experts don’t agree with the grandiose claims made by trendy diet plans. In 2013, The Obesity Society, American Heart Association, and American College of Cardiology issued a report on being overweight and obese. The report’s advice:  cut calories. The key for weight loss is the long game.  Find a diet plan you can stick with and don’t rely on “lose weight fast” diet fads. Bottom line: Don’t pin your hopes on the latest diet fad.

8. I Can Work Off the Extra Calories

Unfortunately, most people overestimate how many calories they burn during exercise. Most studies find that people who are told to cut calories lose more more weight than people who rely solely on increasing exercise. Those same studies show a mix of healthy diet and exercise works best for longterm weight loss. Exercise is helpful, but rarely can it get the job done alone. Bottom line:  Exercise when you can, but don’t count on it alone to lose (and keep off) weight.

 

Thanks again to the Nutrition Action Health Letter and Bonnie Liebman.  I highly recommend subscribing to this excellent monthly nutrition newsletter – Fred Klinge.

 

 




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