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This Home Abs Workout Will Test Your Core Endurance


Nick Harris-Fry

Friday, May 24, 2019 - 16:12

If you’re looking to tighten up your abs or improve your core strength, you’ll get more out of your session by keeping your midsection muscles under tension for as long as possible. That means long sets of exercises with minimal rest breaks between them, or even no rest at all, if you have the core strength and stamina.

This five-move abs series from Kate Burdett, head of training at London pilates studio Raw Pilates, contains no rest breaks and as the starting positions for all the moves are similar you can transition from one to the next immediately. The five highly effective exercises hit your abs from all angles, and if you have anything left after your first run through the sequence, you can move straight on to another round to truly tire out your core muscles.

It’s well-suited to doing at home too, because you only need the space to lie down and you stay lying on your back throughout so your neighbours won’t complain about you hearing you work up a sweat.

1 Single-leg stretch

Reps 6-8 each side

Lie on your back and lift your head, neck and shoulders off the floor. Pull your right knee to your chest with both hands on the shin and lift your extended left leg to a high diagonal. Switch legs, exhaling deeply as you do.

2 Double-leg stretch

Reps 6-8

Keep your head, neck and shoulders raised. Pull your knees to your chest and place your hands low on the shins. Then, reach your arms up to the ceiling and stretch your legs out on a diagonal. Circle your arms, then hug your knees to your chest again. Breathe in on the reach and exhale on the hug.

3 Scissors

Reps 6-8 each side

Raise both legs so they’re pointing towards the ceiling and flex your feet, then lift your head, neck and shoulders off the floor. Keeping both legs straight, take hold of the right leg with both hands and draw it towards you for a stretch while lowering the left leg. Alternate legs with each rep.

4 Double-leg lower

Reps 3

Lift your head, neck and shoulders off the floor and place your hands behind your head with your elbows pointing out to the sides. Lift your legs so they’re pointing towards the ceiling, keeping your heels together and legs extended. To make it easier, adopt the tabletop position with your knees bent at 90°. Lower your legs over the count of three, then bring them back up over a one-count.

5 Bicycle crunch

Reps 10

Move your legs into the tabletop position. Place your hands behind your head and raise it. Start by twisting the right side of your upper body towards your left knee and curling up. While you are doing this, extend your right leg. Then switch sides. Remember the opposite shoulder always goes towards the opposite knee.

Erectile Dysfunction: What Every Man Should Know About This Common Condition


Nick Harris-Fry

Friday, May 24, 2019 - 15:27

The first thing to know about erectile dysfunction is that it’s way more common that you probably think. Almost every man has problems in this area from time to time, and consistent erectile dysfunction affects men of all ages.

For straightforward advice you can trust on what causes erectile dysfunction and how you can go about treating it, we enlisted Dr Peter Stahl who’s on the medical advisory board for Hims, which sells prescription treatments for ED and hair loss after you fill in a detailed questionnaire and your answers have been reviewed by a doctor.

What is erectile dysfunction and what are the symptoms?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection firm enough for satisfactory sex. Sometimes affected men are able to achieve a satisfactory erection but lose their erection prior to orgasm. In other cases, affected struggle to achieve a satisfactory erection at all.

How common is erectile dysfunction?

One in five men over the age of 20 have suffered from ED and it is an increasingly common problem among young men. Studies suggest that 10-30% of men younger than 40 are affected.

A huge part of our mission at hims is to educate men about this issue, to erase the stigma attached to it and to encourage men to speak openly about it with their doctors. It’s no longer just men in their 60s and 70s that are dealing with it, but men of all ages.

When should you see a doctor about ED?

Occasional difficulties with erection rigidity that self-resolve are normal and don’t require evaluation. But all men with consistent or recurrent ED should seek evaluation and treatment with a physician. The evaluation might result in diagnosis of a medically important condition, and treatment can certainly have an important impact on quality of life.

What causes erectile dysfunction?

Erections are complex neurobiological events mediated by chemical and hormonal signals that involve the brain, nerves, blood vessels and of course the structural components of the penis itself. Anything that interferes with any of these physiological components of the male sexual response can cause ED.

In young men, psychogenic erectile dysfunction is very common. Generalised or performance anxiety leads to production of adrenaline and similar neurotransmitters that turn on the sympathetic nervous system. This system is the “flight or fight” mechanism that is meant to save your life in a threatening situation. It works by shunting blood away from organs, like the penis, that aren’t helpful in a dangerous situation. That results in at first minor loss of rigidity, but awareness of the lost rigidity usually then results in more worry and distress, more adrenaline, and unfortunately a vicious cycle that often results in complete loss of an erection.

In other variants of psychogenic ED, arousal is insufficient to initiate the entire erection response. This can occur when a man isn’t sufficiently attracted to his partner, when he is distracted or tired, or in some cases when a man is used to unrealistic or alternative stimulation – ie pornography or unusual masturbatory habits.

Physical causes of ED are also common. In particular, the same processes that clog up the arteries to the brain and heart and predispose you to heart attacks and strokes can affect the penis and limit blood flow during an erection. The arteries to the penis are smaller than the coronary arteries and the penis is typically affected earlier than the heart. ED can therefore be an important warning sign of hidden cardiovascular disease. This type of ED is referred to as arteriogenic ED.

Other less common physical reasons for ED include hormonal abnormalities, nerve dysfunctions, and veno-occlusive dysfunction. Testosterone deficiency is the most common type of a hormonal abnormality. Affected men typically also report low libido, fatigue, difficulty maintaining their body composition, and poor physical strength and endurance. Nerve problems typically occur in patients with known neurological diseases or diabetes. Veno-occlusive dysfunction is a structural problem with the penis that results from impaired ability to trap blood and generate high pressures inside the corpora cavernosa – the erection chambers of the penis.

How do you treat erectile dysfunction?

There are two goals in treating men with ED. The first is for a doctor recognise and diagnose health-relevant conditions that may be associated with ED. For example, a 40-year-old patient who reports non-variable and consistent ED who hasn’t seen a doctor in a long time might have unrecognised cardiovascular disease. That patient should be notified of the importance of getting evaluated for things like high cholesterol, diabetes and hypertension. In other ED patients who have suggestive symptoms such as low libido, laboratory testing for testosterone deficiency might be advised.

One of the most exciting things about a platform like hims is that we have the ability to reach many patients who have avoided seeking help because of embarrassment. There’s the opportunity to assess these men and to make sure, when appropriate, that they get the medical care they need.

The second goal of ED treatment, of course, is to restore erection rigidity. This is typically accomplished by prescription of oral medications. Phosphodiesterase inhibitors, such as sildenafil and tadalafil, are pills that promote the relaxation of smooth muscle in the penis and thereby facilitate penile blood flow and better erection rigidity.

When appropriate, these can be combined with other treatments such as psychotherapy or testosterone replacement therapy. In some cases, such as psychogenic ED related to performance anxiety, treatment with oral medications can be temporary and part of a confidence restoration strategy. In other cases, long-term use of oral medications is required to treat unmodifiable physical conditions.

When pills don’t work, other effective treatments such as penile injection therapy and penile prosthesis surgery are available. These more invasive treatments are typically provided by a specialised urologist.

Abel & Cole Recipe Box Review: The Premium, Eco-Friendly Option


Nick Harris-Fry

Friday, May 24, 2019 - 15:42

There’s no doubt that using a recipe box service is a luxury and for the most part there’s nothing wrong with that – it saves you time, expands your cooking repertoire and generally helps you to eat healthily. All good things that make spending a little extra on your food well worth it.

However, one part of the luxury that sits less well with me is the excessive packaging required. I experience a tinge of guilt every time I unwrap a single serving of seasoning for a recipe and discard its plastic container, not to mention the environmental impact of having meals delivered by car when I could walk or cycle to the supermarket. While food shopping in a supermarket comes with its own pitfalls – just consider the amount of excess food thrown away in the UK – it doesn’t seem as obvious as when chucking or recycling the vast amounts of packaging that comes in a recipe box.

Abel & Cole solves this problem by predominantly using cardboard containers that can be returned to the driver next time you get a delivery, and those deliveries are restricted to once a week in each area to minimise the driving involved. You sacrifice a little convenience as a result – the ingredients aren’t pre-sorted by recipe and you have to accommodate the delivery day for your area regardless of your schedule – but these are small hardships.

The recipes are absolutely terrific as well. Abel & Cole uses organic and, where possible, seasonal ingredients and its recipe line-up is impressively varied. In my first round of meals I tried mushroom satay kebabs, a catch-of-the-day traybake and a sensational asparagus, goat’s cheese and lemon risotto. Second time around the stand-out was undoubtedly a grilled trout with beetroot pesto recipe – the pesto is something I’ll be making again and again.

I found all the recipes easy and quick to make, with clear instructions. Some recipes are marked as simple or speedy, but even those that didn’t fall into those categories were simple and speedy in my experience.

Other categories of recipe include standard options like vegetarian, pescatarian and vegan. There are more novel options under the moniker foodie, which didn’t really seem all that different to the rest of Abel & Cole’s line-up to be honest, and light, which are recipes under 500 calories.

I was also impressed by the recipe cards, which is probably an indication that I’ve tried too many recipe boxes. The Abel & Cole cards are well designed with colour-coding to indicate the type of recipe it is and extra bits of info like “Eat Me First” on recipes that use the ingredients which will spoil first, and tips on how to make use of any leftovers and what to do if you don’t have a certain kitchen gadget.

Perhaps the ultimate seal of approval, however, came from my mother-in-law, who cooked a couple of the Abel & Cole recipes to help out in the aftermath of the arrival of my first child. Even as a kitchen veteran who has been dishing up delicious meals for decades, she was sufficiently impressed by the Abel & Cole recipes to make them again.

There is, as you might expect, a premium to pay as a result of Abel & Cole’s organic, eco-friendly approach. Meals for two people cost between £12 and £14, whereas with the recipe boxes of rivals like HelloFresh, Mindful Chef and Gousto you’ll pay around £5pp for each meal, while Morrisons’ Eat Fresh service has options that cost as little as £3.33pp. While Abel & Cole undoubtedly stands out for its sustainable approach and organic ingredients, I wouldn’t say its meals are any tastier than the best options from HelloFresh and the like. Whether it’s worth spending the extra money will depend on how much importance you place on the use of pesticides and plastic.

Buy from Abel & Cole

This England Sevens Core Workout Will Improve Your Performance In Team Sports


Nick Harris-Fry

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 17:25

If you want to excel on the rugby field your training off it has to cover a lot of bases. You need to be fit enough to cover a lot of ground at speed, powerful and agile enough to charge past your opponents, and strong enough to ensure they don’t charge past you.

That goes for all kinds of rugby, but it’s especially the case with sevens, where the pitch size remains the same as in 15-a-side rugby but your team size drops to seven. That means each player has to cover a huge amount of ground and make a massive number of tackles in every match.

A strong core is central to success in a game of sevens, because it provides the foundations of the all-round fitness required. Below you’ll find a six-move core circuit devised for the England Sevens team by their strength and conditioning coach Tom Farrow, ahead of the HSBC London Sevens tournament this weekend in Twickenham.

“Within our England team training programme, we include this type of circuit one to three times a week,” says Farrow. “The main purpose of the circuit is to develop the muscles of the trunk to improve the players’ strength and endurance. The trunk is key to all athletic movements within rugby sevens, and any other running- or contact-based sport, because all the force that a player is required to withstand is transmitted through the trunk.”

The six moves of the circuit should be done in order without breaks for a total of three minutes of work. Then rest for one minute and run through the circuit again. Aim for three to five rounds in total.

Rugby Sevens Core Workout

1 Bowl hold

Time 20sec

Lie on your back with your arms extended behind your head.

“Keeping your arms and legs straight, simultaneously lift all your limbs off the ground slightly to form a bowl shape,” says Farrow. “Hold, making sure to keep your lower back on the ground throughout.”

2 Lateral long lever V-sit

Time 20sec each side

Lie on your side with your legs straight and held just off the ground, your left arm out to the side and your right arm stretched out behind your head.

“Keeping your right arm and both legs straight, bring your right arm and legs up to meet in the middle,” says Farrow. “Then reverse the movement, bringing your arm behind your head and legs back to the floor. Work continuously for 20 seconds and then repeat on the other side.”

3 Leg flutters

Time 20sec

Lie on your back and lift your arms and legs slightly off the floor.

“It’s a similar start position to the bowl hold, but your shoulders don’t need to come as far off the floor,” says Farrow. “Keep your lower back on the floor – you can put your hands under your bum if it helps – and your legs straight. Flutter your legs up and down slightly until the time is up.”

4 Lying back extension

Time 20sec

Lie on your front and put your hands behind your head.

“Keep your feet and hips on the floor and, keeping your hands behind your head, lift your torso as high as you can, then return to the start position,” says Farrow.

5 Crunch

Time 20sec

“Start with your feet on the floor, knees bent and arms across your chest,” says Farrow. “Contract your abs to bring your shoulders as far off the floor as you can, keeping your lower back on the floor. Return to the starting position and keep repeating the movement at a steady tempo.”

6 Crunch hold and rotate

Time 20sec each side

“Start sitting up with your feet on the floor and knees up,” says Farrow. “Lean back until you find the ‘nasty place’ – the position you feel you can hold just before you fall backwards – and then hold that position. From there, rotate as far to the side as you can, then come back to centre. Perform all your reps rotating one way for 20 seconds, and then for the next 20 seconds rotate the other way.”

The HSBC London Sevens comes to Twickenham Stadium on 25-26 May 2019. For more information and to book tickets, visit englandrugby.com/tickets

The Best Flip-Flops For Summer 2019


Chris Sayer

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 16:14

After months and months of hiding them inside trainers, boots, shoes and those novelty slippers your other half bought that you’ve not managed to successfully sneak into the bin yet, bringing your feet out of hibernation for a summertime airing can feel daunting. Will you be revealing your horrendous Hobbit toes to a chorus of terrified shrieks and wails? Who can say? But what we can confidently declare is that doing so in a set of crisp, cool and stylish flip-flops vastly reduces the chances of onlooker horror. We’ve rounded up the eight best sets money can buy right now.

Orlebar Brown Haston Two-Tone

When it comes to sophisticated swimming style, Orlebar Brown hits the bullseye. From modern swim shorts to tailored shirts, this brand knows how to dress the guy who’s more concerned with the cocktail list than running bombs on the poolside. These super-comfy two-tone coral and blue sole-slappers fit into that ethos perfectly.

Buy from Mr Porter | £45

Quiksilver Massage

Those of you who’d rather swallow bees than let a stranger touch your feet – we feel you. Good news, though: no longer do you need to allow your crippling phobia of someone else twiddling with your toes stand in the way of some light relief below the ankle. The soft texture of the embossed footbeds on these flip-flops will work their feelgood massaging magic as you walk.

Buy from Quiksilver | £27

Birkenstock Gizeh

Ignore the middle-aged, middle-class associations – Birkenstock’s degree of plush comfort should be for all. We’re talking a contoured cork footbed, supreme arch support, a deep heel cup and soft suede lining.

Buy from Birkenstock | £55

Salomon RX Break

Think Salomon, and images of space-walking through an Alpine après bar in a set of gigantic plastic ski boots after a morning acing the red runs spring to mind. Surprising, then, to see that it has the most lightweight of footwear options wrapped up too. These sporty and super-cushioned flip-flops claim to be chafe-free and supremely comfortable, making them ideal for post-workout recovery as well as carrying all the family’s kit down to the beach.

Buy from Salomon | £50

Havaianas Top Photoprint

The simple, durable, world-famous Havaianas you’ve come to love and cherish after many a trip to the sunshine, only with big gnarly sharks slapped up top. Excellent.

Buy from Havaianas | £24

Reef Fanning

Talking of sharks, remember the pro surfer who once punched a Great White right in the kisser midway through a televised competition? Possibly the most Australian moment ever. That surfer was Mick Fanning and and these are his signature flip-flops, complete with beer-bottle opener in the sole and green and gold colours, for extra Aussie-ness.

Buy from Reef | £44

Sanuk Furreal Classic Grateful Dead

The super-chilled footwear dudes at Sanuk pay tribute to musical tie-dye lords the Grateful Dead with these spongy psychedelic numbers, the most far-out flip-flops you’ll find this year. We’re not entirely sure why, but with festival season right around the corner, we’re happy to just go with it.

Buy from Sanuk | $50 (approximately £38.50)

Calvin Klein Errol

Now with more than half a century of style tucked under its belt, Calvin Klein was always going to make flip-flops look this good. With their bold colouring, iconic branding and the classic stripped-back aesthetic that’s made CK world-famous, you should leave a little space in your luggage for these.

Buy from ASOS | £25

How To Prevent And Treat Blisters, From The Man Who’s Had A Few


Chris Sayer

Monday, May 20, 2019 - 21:05

James Williams’s midweek 4am alarm clock – set so he can squeeze in a quick 50km run before work – is not, amazingly, the most horrific thing about his current training regime. Not by a long shot.

“The worst blister I’ve ever suffered was actually the most recent one,” the amateur ultrarunner confides, after sneaking away from his desk at Sky – where he’s a performance controller – to chat on the phone. “It happened about five weeks ago, on the fourth toe of my right foot. It was horrendous – a huge, yellow, pus-filled balloon that not only covered the bottom of my toe, but ringed all the way around the top of it, too. It actually caused a slight infection in the rest of my foot and the bottom of my leg. Not ideal for a week when I was planning to cover 250 miles in training.”

Williams’s latest blister is the last in a long line of savage skin bubbles, through a career that’s seen him win the Autumn 100 Mile and the 100km Serpent Trail, finish four Ironman triathlons, and bag a marathon PB of 2hr 30min.

Now, the 31-year-old dad of two is setting his sights on a world-record run from John o’ Groats to Land’s End, and targeting an average pace of 6min 43sec per km to break the current record of nine days, two hours and 26 minutes. Here’s how he’s going to do it, without letting a little (or large) blister get in the way.

How did you manage to get such an epic blister recently?

I’m not entirely sure how it happened. It wasn’t anything to do with the socks or trainers – I wear Hilly Twin Skins and Saucony Kinvara runners all the time, and they’re both fantastically comfortable, fit perfectly and are excellent at blister prevention. In fact, I’ve worn the same make and model of trainer for eight years now. I think the culprit may have been a bit of grit in my shoe.

What did you learn from it?

That you need to deal with blisters as soon as you feel them forming. We call the early stages “hot spots” and if you feel one emerging, you need to get your shoe and sock off and deal with it, be that just shaking your shoe out or seeing the doctor at your next race checkpoint.

Stopping when you’re in full race mode must take a lot of willpower. How do you deal with that?

It does – but fundamentally, if you notice something happening on your feet and don’t sort it out right away, you’re looking at being out of action for far longer than the five minutes it takes to take off your shoe and sock. My sports psychologist has helped me with that mindset. One of our race strategies is called If/Then. It’s simple, but it’s about listing all the “If this happens” scenarios and coming up with “Then I will” solutions. It can be as simple as what happens if I haven’t eaten for an hour, but it also covers the action of stopping if a blister occurs. You’d be amazed at how much easier it becomes to follow rules like this when you write them down.

Any quick mid-run blister fixes?

I will have a very simple first-aid kit with me when I run from John o’ Groats to Land’s End, with sterilised needles and plasters. That’s the easy part. The hardest part is having the expertise to actually lance a blister – tough for me, because I’m not great with needles. Luckily, I’ll have an incredible masseur, Kerry Tibby, coming along with me as part of my team. She’s a pro at that sort of thing.

What are the craziest preventative measures you’ve heard of?

The best form of prevention is making sure your shoes are the right size. I’ve heard of people rubbing alcohol on their feet regularly or using light sandpaper to harden their feet, but I’ve not gone to those extremes so far. I guess the funniest one I do is with my wife, when we watch TV together. We’re rarely in front of the television, but when we’re on the sofa we tend to massage each other’s feet. It’s a good way of getting in some self-care, if your partner’s willing! I’m very lucky, given how haggard my feet are…

What’s the most common error that people make when dealing with blisters?

I’ve heard too many horror stories of marathon runners attending big expos before race day, and being lured in by flashy new trainers that they then wear on the starting line. Brand new shoes for a big race is a recipe for blister disaster.

Have you ever suffered the truly terrifying fate of a blister under the toenail?

I have had that before, yes. It happened in my training for the Marathon des Sables. It’s kinda gross actually – I was hosting a dinner party, walking around my home with no shoes or socks, when the nail popped off. Truthfully, they look a lot worse than they feel.

Wow. Did your guests make it to dessert?

Haha, they did. They’re aware of what I put my feet through.

And finally, how do I know when to pop and when not to pop?

To be honest, I don’t often get blisters that are horrendous enough to pop, or that warrant a full-blown medical emergency. I’d only pop one when it was at its most bulbous – don’t go at it with a needle too early. The key thing is to make sure you’re doing it with a proper surgical needle, and dressing it straight away. I also find that leaving as much skin over the blister as possible is important – exposing the red raw skin beneath is a no-no. Then put some effort into drying it out and airing it at home.

James Williams is a Saucony UK athlete and wears the Kinvara 10. Follow his world record attempt at saucony.com/uk and jamesrunsfar.com

The Best Smartwatches Of 2019


Nick Harris-Fry

Friday, May 17, 2019 - 13:31

The line between fitness trackers and smartwatches has become increasingly blurred of late, with most smartwatches straying into tracker territory and even the cheapest trackers providing notifications from a paired phone. That means that you can call pretty much any tracker a smartwatch – and some do – but we prefer to be a little more discerning when selecting our smart devices. Basically, we have some conditions that determine whether a wearable can truly be considered smart.

For our money a smartwatch needs to offer several features you’d otherwise turn to your phone for, including but not limited to notifications, music and contactless NFC payments, as well as running software that allows you to load apps on to the device, even if it’s only a very limited selection of apps. And of course our favourite smartwatches also have to offer top-quality activity and sports tracking, ideally using built-in GPS and a heart rate monitor.

Below you’ll find a range of smartwatches that fit the bill to suit all budgets and lifestyles.

The Best: Apple Watch Series 4

Even before the Series 4, the Apple Watch boasted the most impressive app market of any smartwatch, along with solid sports tracking and a gorgeous design that’s endlessly customisable. The Series 4 upped the ante by making the Apple Watch a medical-grade device, with the ability to take an ECG measurement from your wrist and monitor your heart health.

While the seriously sporty will not be satisfied by the basic native tracking, you can always add an app that suits your preferences, and the everyday activity tracking is excellent, with Apple’s addictive rings system encouraging you to move throughout the day.

The watch has built-in GPS, is waterproof, stores and streams music, and can be used to make contactless payments via Apple Pay. There is also a 4G version so you can take calls, download emails and stream music without being tethered to your phone. The only real downsides are its one-day battery life and the fact it only works in tandem with an iPhone, leaving Android users in the cold.

Buy from Apple | £399 | Apple Watch Series 4 review

Best For Android Users: Samsung Galaxy Watch

The Galaxy Watch runs on Samsung’s own Tizen software, which is compatible with both Android and iOS devices but is naturally at its best when used in tandem with a Samsung phone. One of the best features of the watch is obvious from the moment you pick it up – its Super AMOLED screen is outstandinglydazzling clear – and it backs up its looks with serious smarts as well.

Although the app selection is smaller than you get with iOS or Wear OS watches, Strava, Endomondo and MapMyRun are all there for fitness fans, and the Spotify integration is brilliantly simple to use, so you can sync across your playlists easily.

The everyday activity tracking is impressive too, with widgets available to check on things like your water and caffeine intake alongside the standard steps and calories. Despite being waterproof and having built-in GPS and a heart rate monitorThe native sports tracking is sub-par, even for casual runners and gym-goers, despite waterproofing and the presence of built-in GPS and a heart rate monitor, but the app market fills that gap nicely. There is also a 4G version of the watch available on EE.

Buy from Samsung | 42mm £279, 46mm £299 | Samsung Galaxy Watch review

Best Fitbit Smartwatch: Fitbit Ionic

The Fitbit Versa might be the company’s most popular smartwatch, but we reckon the Ionic is outrageously underrated and it’s often reduced to less than £200, a price where you’ll struggle to find any other devices that can match its extensive feature set.

This includes built-in GPS, a waterproof design, a heart rate monitor, music storage and streaming, and Fitbit Pay, which isn’t as useful as Apple, Google or Samsung Pay owing to having fewer partner banks, but can still get the job done when its comes to NFC payments.

The Ionic also has a truly excellent screen, which is bright and responsive to use if you like to swipe your way through menus, and its fitness tracking is great for both everyday activity and more intense workouts. That’s fortunate because Fitbit’s app market is tiny compared with Apple’s or Google’s, so you can’t dip into that for other tracking options.

Buy from Fitbit | £249.99 | Fitbit Ionic review

Best For Sports Tracking: Garmin Fenix 5 Plus

If your first priority for a smartwatch is that it’s capable of providing in-depth detail about your sporting activities, the Fenix 5 Plus is tough to beat. Garmin’s native tracking is second to none for both ease of use and detail, offering far more for runners and triathletes than even a fitness-focused watch like the Ionic. That includes info on the training effect of your workout, estimated recovery time and even live feedback on your running technique (if you link it with a footpod).

The Fenix 5 Plus also has outstanding navigation features, with colour maps and on-the-go routing, so you can head for the great outdoors for your runs, hikes and rides knowing you’ll always be able to find your way home.

The smart features are not as well developed as on the Apple Watch or equivalent smartwatch, but you can link a Spotify account to the Fenix 5 Plus to sync across your playlists easily, as well as plugging it in to load your own music and podcasts.

NFC payments are available through Garmin Pay, which suffers from the same problem as Fitbit Pay in not having a huge amount of partner banks. Garmin’s Connect IQ app store is also only really useful for those looking to find new watch faces and sports-related extras, like the Stryd footpod app, but there are some general apps in there like Uber ETA.

Buy from Garmin | £599.99 | Garmin Fenix 5 Plus review

Best Budget Smartwatch: Mobvoi TicWatch E2

The TicWatch E2 costs less than £150, which should make the ears of any bargain hunter prick up, and the news only gets better when you dive into the details of the watch. It’s waterproof, has built-in GPS and an optical heart rate monitor, and a bright AMOLED touchscreen.

It runs Wear OS and although its performance might be slightly more sluggish than that of top-end Android smartwatches, it’s still impressively snappy for such a cheap option, and the design is robust and good-looking.

One feature it’s missing is NFC payment, which is available on Mobvoi’s more expensive watches. However, the recently-released E2 and S2 watches are the first in the company’s line-up to offer swim tracking, with a 5 ATM waterproof rating.

Buy from Mobvoi | £145.99

Most Stylish: Skagen Falster 2

Keen to avoid being left behind, many analogue watch companies are releasing smartwatches, especially those in the Fossil Group like Skagen Denmark. Its Falster 2 watch is the pick of the bunch for style, with a slim, minimalist design that belies the amount of tech that has been crammed into it.

That tech includes GPS and a heart rate monitor, and the Falster 2 runs Wear OS so you can access a massive library of apps to customise your watch. The Falster 2 is also swimproof and the band is a standard 20mm watch strap so you can swap it out easily if you have one you already love.

Buy from Skagen | £299

The Best Weight Benches For Your Home Gym


Jake Stones

Friday, May 17, 2019 - 12:33
If you’ve got a set of dumbbells and a barbell with weight plates at home, and you use them regularly, it makes a lot of sense to add a weight bench to your set-up. You’ll expand the number of moves you can do, and your domestic chest training will go up a notch once you can add bench presses and flyes to the mix.

There are a few choices to make before breaking out your credit card, though. Should you get a fixed or adjustable bench? Do you need a rack? How much weight should it take? Thankfully we’ve got the answers to those questions. Here’s what you need to know, followed by our top picks.

Buyer’s Guide: How To Choose The Right Workout Bench For You

Fixed Vs Adjustable Weight Benches

Some weight benches include a notched mechanism that allows you to set part of the bench to an incline or, in some cases, a decline. A fixed platform is likely to be a sturdier product which will take a much heavier weight, but an adjustable bench will allow you to perform more exercises.

Do You Need A Rack?

If you only own dumbbells and don’t plan on expanding your free weights collection then the answer is no. If you want to work on your bench press with a barbell then you probably will need a rack. We recommend not going for the cheapest one. Some racks consist of little J-shaped hooks you’ll have to guide the barbell into when you’ve finished a set, which can be tricky if you’ve been going hard. Large hooks made from steel are better, but better still are racks with tall poles and pegs.

How Strong Should The Weight Bearing Be?  

The weight bearing the manufacturer recommends tends to clock in around the 150-200kg range, but the better-quality (and more expensive) models will reach a bearing of 300kg. You’ll have a good idea of how much you’re likely to be shifting now and in the short-term future, but always check if the listed weight includes the lifter.

Optional Extras?

Many weight benches also add in pads and handles to enable you to do different exercises, like leg curls. If this sounds like a good idea to you maybe what you really want is a multi-gym, but if you’re set on a weight bench with a few frills just make sure the configuration and spacing is right for your size.

The Best Weight Benches

Best For The Bench Press: Gorilla Sport Heavy Duty Weight Bench

This fixed-position flat bench is built to withstand 300kg of weight, which covers any weight you’re going to be lifting. However, the weight bearing alone isn’t what makes this bench great. A very useful feature is that the racks on the Gorilla are two tall steel poles and pegs – much like the design you’ll find in gyms – meaning there’s no chance of you missing the J hook.

Buy on Amazon | £209.99

Best Value: Gym Master Heavy Duty Flat Weight Bench

This cheap bench doesn‘t compromise on quality, it just strips out every extra feature to leave you with a fixed, flat bench – but what a bench. The steel frame can handle a 300kg load and the ample cushioning will keep you lifting in comfort (notwithstanding that heavy bar you’re trying to move). The bench is also 110cm long which should suit all but the tallest of lifters. And all for the price of a video game.

Buy on Amazon | £44.95

Best Adjustable Bench With A Rack: Marcy CB729 Barbell Weight Bench

Hit your chest from more angles with this bench that supports incline, flat and decline positions, and the height of the rack is easily adjustable so you can set it up to handle the overhead press too. The rack can handle 135kg, but the total weight bearing is 270kg. There’s also an attachment at the front for hamstring and quadriceps work which takes a total of 45kg.

Buy from Argos | £249.99

See related: The Best Smith Machines For Your Home Gym

How To Breathe Your Way To A Better Night’s Sleep


Chris Sayer

Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 17:36

For many, getting those all-important seven-to-nine hours of sleep a night has never been harder. As many as 16 million adults suffer from slumberless nights in the UK. That’s a statistic that’s worth losing sleep over.

Although we can all take a pretty confident guess at what might be causing the deficit – work stress, everyday anxieties, blue screens, that habitual afternoon caffeine injection – what we’re pretty bad at is knowing how to fix it.  

Performance coach Richie Norton has shared this breathing exercise that’s designed to help. Give the video a watch and find out more in the interview with Norton below, before taking your learnings to bed with you tonight.

How does this breathing technique work?

Studies have shown that breathing is an effective way of triggering the parasympathetic nervous system, otherwise known as the “rest and digest system”, which creates a calm and relaxed state. Controlled breathing through the nose, in particular, plays a key role in switching on this system – it’s a more efficient way of activating the diaphragm, breathing from the belly and finding the fuller breaths that bring a sense of calm.

How will it help?

Personally, this breathing exercise has not only changed the way I train for performance, but it has also had a huge impact on my overall wellbeing. I use it most nights now. After a busy or active day, I may need to go through a few cycles of the practice to switch off my monkey mind, but if I’m feeling pretty chilled out, I might not even make it past the first round of the exercise.

What is going to be the hardest part about learning this technique?

As with learning anything, adjusting your breathing takes time and practice. Some people will find it easy to adjust, others might find it takes a little longer – it’s all about persevering and finding what works for you. Don’t force it or feel rushed. Take your time and play with a steady tempo and rhythm that suits your level and current state. It will eventually feel more instinctive with more practice and experimentation. If you are still struggling, maybe go for a walk and get some fresh air, or even do some very slow, light stretching.

And when I’ve nailed it, what can I do next?

The next level is beginning to deepen your connection to every single part of your body until every breath is capable of slowing down your heartbeat, quieting down your thoughts, and transforming a highly stressed situation to a calm and peaceful one.

Richie Norton is working with AXA PPP healthcare on the launch of Headstrong, an initiative that promotes an active approach to mental health. Visit axappphealthcare.co.uk/headstrong to watch the video series

Healthy Ready Meals That Will Help You Avoid One Food Delivery Too Many


Jake Stones

Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 16:01

Preparing a healthy meal doesn’t have to take a long time – Joe Wicks’s Lean In 15 series is proof of that. However, at the end of a long day, even 15 minutes of food preparation can seem like more effort than you can muster up – especially when food delivery apps require a couple of clicks.

It’s not that a takeaway now and then is necessarily a problem, but if you find you’re relying on a delivery most nights, it’s probably time to improve your diet – and you can do so with minimal effort thanks to ready meals. Not just any old ready meal because some have hair-raising levels of salt, sugar and saturated fats, but as long as you go for one that has slashed the numbers on those three unhealthy characters while keeping the calories down, you’ll be golden.

Like takeaways, we wouldn’t recommend living on them, but they’re certainly better than another pizza turning up on your doorstep. Here are eight to look out for the next time you’re dragging your work-weary carcass around your local supermarket.

Waitrose LoveLife Calorie Controlled Chicken Tikka Masala With Pilau Rice

Tuck into a tikka safe in the knowledge you’re not blowing your calorie count for the day. While a typical tikka masala contains 50g of fat and 800 calories, this LoveLife masala is just 445 calories, low in sugar and fat, and packs in 31g of protein – ideal for the gym-goers looking for a quick treat. The salt levels aren’t bad, but they also aren’t good, so keep an eye on what else you’re eating that day.

Buy from Waitrose | £3.50

Kirsty’s Lentil Cottage Pie

The ingredient list on the back of this pack makes for easy reading: lentils, potatoes and loadsa veg. This vegan option packs in 10.4g of protein (let’s hear it for lentils!) and clocks in at just 272 calories so you could even consider doubling up. Although after seeing the salt content is 1.72g per pack, maybe stick to just one – you shouldn’t go over 6g of salt in a day.

Buy from Waitrose | £3

Wicked Kitchen BBQ Butternut Mac

Not so wicked when you realise this vegan pasta meal has only 5.4g of fat and 466 calories per serving, with a solid 19.3g of protein too. It’s also ready in next to no time – just three minutes 35 seconds in the microwave. Barely time to lay the table.

Buy from Tesco | £4

Tesco Beef Lasagne

When putting together this list we’ve relied heavily on the traffic light system on the packaging, making sure the fat, saturates, sugar and salt content are rated mostly green and there’s no red. This meal is green across the board with just 8.9g of fats, 3.9g of saturates, 10.1g of sugar, 1g of salt and just 356 calories. It’s also incredibly cheap at £2.50.

Buy from Tesco | £2.50

Sainsbury’s Be Good To Yourself Chilli Con Carne

If your Sunday plans to batch-cook enough chilli con carne to last the month went to pot, this is a great plan B. There’s 8.4g of fat, a decent 25g of protein and 11.1g of sugar even though molasses are used to add some depth of flavour. The salt levels are OK at 1.31g, but let’s face it, if you had made that chilli you’d eat way more than the 392 calories here.

Buy from Sainsbury’s | £2

LoveLife Butternut Squash Risotto

If you stay away from risotto at home because you can’t be doing with the long and constant stirring process, here’s a microwavable version. What’s more, this LoveLife concoction from Waitrose contains a welcome 6.9g of fibre.

Buy from Waitrose | £3.99

Tesco Salmon In Watercress Sauce With Potatoes

Salmon is well worth putting on your plate thanks to its omega 3 content and high B vitamin count. On top of that, this ready meal clocks in at just 297 calories and a mere 2.9g of saturated fat, making it quite the catch.

Buy from Tesco | £3

BMC Alpenchallenge AMP City Electric Bike Review: Great, But Too Expensive


Nick Harris-Fry

Wednesday, May 15, 2019 - 10:05

If you’re planning on buying an e-bike to get around a city swiftly and without breaking a sweat, there are two common problems that may make you think twice. The first is that e-bikes are significantly more expensive than regular bikes and the second is that e-bikes are heavy, which makes them unwieldy if you have to take the stairs to get to your front door. And that first point means you’ll certainly want to keep your e-bike inside.

The BMC Alpenchallenge AMP City minimises one of those problems, weighing just under 17kg with the battery attached and 14.2kg without it, all thanks to its carbon frame. This is impressively light for an e-bike – most others I’ve tested tipped the scales at around 24kg. However, that lightweight build comes at a hefty cost – £5,600. That’s an awful lot to spend on any kind of bike and after a few weeks of riding the AMP City I’m struggling to see how it justifies that price.

It’s a great electric bike, there’s no doubt about that. The Shimano Steps 504Wh system delivers a smooth ride and maximises battery life. When fully charged the range shows 183km in eco mode, 128km in normal and 91km in high, which is mightily impressive. With real-world use the numbers do drop a little – after 40km of riding mostly in normal since I most recently charged the bike, I have 100km of range left in eco mode, 70km in normal and 50km in high – but it’s still best in class. Even if you insist on only using the highest level of assist at all times you’ll get through a week of short commutes.

The bike is also light enough to ride reasonably comfortably with the assistance off once you’re up to speed, which is always a bonus if you’re looking to eke out a little extra from the battery. However, I did find it slightly sluggish off the mark in eco mode and I spent a lot more time in the normal and high modes than I have done with other e-bikes. Generally I leave e-bikes in eco, only switching to a mode with more assistance when climbing hills because the lowest setting is usually enough to get me to the 25km/h cut-off point anyway, but with the BMC Alpenchallenge AMP City I had it in normal most of the time.

You can adjust the level of assistance provided by the motor through Shimano’s E-TUBE partner app, but even when I turned on the sportive mode I found the bike a little slow off the mark at traffic lights compared with some I’ve tried. This is probably partly because of the smooth level of assistance delivered by the motor, but a little jolt of speed is no bad thing when you’re trying to get away quickly from a busy London traffic light.

See related: The Best Cycling Jackets For Commuters

The bike comes with high-quality built-in lights and I was especially impressed by the front light, which was bright enough to ride through an unlit stretch of my commute at full speed with no fear of coming a cropper.

A small console is positioned on the handlebars by the stem, while the buttons to increase or decrease assistance are placed next to the left-hand grip. The console’s screen is small but clear and easy to read, and it has a button on the bottom that scrolls through the various stats available like distance covered and range left.

The BMC Alpenchallenge AMP City is one of the better e-bikes I’ve tested, but I don’t think the difference between it and a bike that costs under £2,500 is great enough to justify the huge price disparity. Bikes like the Carrera Crossfuse (£1,800) or Raleigh Motus (£1,700) are heavier than the BMC and don’t have quite as long a range, but they’re still smooth to ride and you can roll through several commutes without worrying about battery life. The BMC Alpenchallenge AMP City might be tempting upgrade if it was closer to £3,000, but it doesn’t offer enough to merit its £5,600 price.

Buy from Evans Cycles | £5,600

See related: A First Look At The Folding GoCycle GX E-Bike

What Is The Best Verruca Treatment?


Nick Harris-Fry

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 - 10:17

Most people will have the misfortune of suffering from a verruca at some point in their life, that point often being when they start taking communal swimming lessons as children. While a verruca usually isn’t a particularly painful problem, it can be a persistent one if you don’t treat it, and they can also spread like wildfire if you don’t take steps to prevent that from happening.

For expert advice on the best ways to treat verrucas, we spoke to Pareena Patel, pharmacy manager at Well Pharmacy.

What are verrucas and what causes them?

Verrucas are small, rough, raised and flattened lumps that tend to occur on the pressure areas of your feet. They may have tiny black dots in the centre of the hard skin, and they can be painful. They’re caused by different strains of infection called the human papillomavirus.

How do they transfer between people?

They spread to other people through contaminated surfaces or close skin contact and they’re more likely to spread if the skin is wet.

How do you treat verrucas?

There are loads of creams, plasters and sprays available at pharmacies. Most of these contain an ingredient called salicylic acid, which is a chemical that helps to soften the outer, harder layer. Before using the treatment you need to soften the verruca by soaking it in water and then rubbing it with an emery board or pumice stone to remove the excess hard skin. Then you apply the treatment and once it’s dry you might want to cover it with a plaster. You might need to use that treatment for about three months, and the most common treatment available is Bazuka gel.

See related: What Men Can Do About Hair Loss

Are there more extreme treatments available if this don’t work?

If that doesn’t work there is also cryotherapy, which is where you freeze the verruca using liquid nitrogen. This is available from your GP, but this might not be covered by the NHS. It causes the verruca to fall off a few weeks later, but you might need a few sessions for this to happen.

There are some freezing treatments available over the counter that you can do yourself at home. However, they might not work as well because they contain different gases, not liquid nitrogen, so they don’t freeze the verruca as successfully.

Will verrucas go away without any treatment?

They can go away on their own, but it usually takes years. In children it can take about two years for them to go away by themselves, and in adults they can stay there for ten years.

How do you stop a verruca from spreading?

If you have got a verruca it’s definitely wise to cover it with a plaster or swimming sock, just so you’re not spreading it around the area. Try not to share any towels, socks or shoes, and wear flip-flops in communal areas like showers or around the side of the pool. And don’t scratch or pick at verrucas, because they’re more likely to spread. If you use an emery board or pumice stone on your verruca don’t then use it on other areas of your body, and make sure to wash your hands regularly.

See related: The Hay Fever Remedies That Work (And The Ones That Don't)

Lose Weight By Changing The Way You Think


Nick Harris-Fry

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 - 09:23

Losing weight isn’t easy. No matter how motivated you are to do it and how much support you have around you, it still takes time to make the changes to your lifestyle that will help you maintain a healthy weight in the long term.

It often requires changing your mindset and even your emotional relationship to food, which is where cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help. Weight-loss app OurPath uses CBT in its programme, which is geared to creating sustainable lifestyle changes. We asked OurPath founder Mike Gibbs how CBT can help people lose weight.

What are the principles of CBT and how can it help you lose weight?

CBT is a type of therapy that focuses on stopping negative thought cycles and changing behaviours in a positive way. Unlike other styles of therapy, CBT doesn’t focus on the past, but concentrates on the current issues at hand.

CBT aims to help people cope with overwhelming problems in a more manageable way by breaking them down into smaller parts. This type of therapy can come in several formats, such as individual sessions, group sessions, self-help books and self-guided apps.

CBT has been shown to aid with weight loss, even though this isn’t the primary goal of the therapy. CBT helps to address certain obstacles that make weight loss difficult and addresses behaviours around food, rather than the food itself. For example, it’s highly effective in treating binge eating disorder, emotional eating and food-specific self-sabotaging behaviours.

See related: The 23 Best Cycling Apps

What is the evidence like supporting the effectiveness of CBT?

The evidence supporting the effectiveness of CBT is quite strong. It’s especially effective in regard to individuals with binge eating disorder or binge eating behaviours, but CBT has also been effective in addressing goal-setting, dealing with stimulus control, self-monitoring and the development of coping strategies for individuals trying to lose weight. Combining CBT with a weight-loss programme has been shown to be 5-10% more effective than traditional dieting alone. That’s even though, as mentioned before, CBT itself does not promote weight loss, but helps individuals reach their goals through a shift in mindset.

In a trial investigating the efficacy of adding CBT to traditional behavioural weight loss compared with only behavioural weight loss for obese patients with binge eating disorder, subjects whose treatment included CBT saw a greater reduction in binges and also achieved a larger BMI loss after a year, indicating its effectiveness in both the short and long term.

Does CBT work for everyone?

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss, especially in regard to the use of psychological approaches. Multiple factors go into making a behaviour change modification, such as willingness or motivation to change and external environments. But the evidence indicated that combining a traditional behavioural weight loss with CBT may lead to increased success compared with dieting alone.

See related: The Best Yoga Apps

How does the OurPath app work?

The OurPath programme is all delivered through an app and its key focus is to help people make sustainable lifestyle changes by creating a holistic approach to behaviour change. Through daily learning articles, the app addresses multiple aspects that can influence your lifestyle, including nutrition, exercise, mental wellbeing, sleep and stress.

You will be paired with a qualified nutritionist or dietitian who will help to coach you towards your goals, and you will also be placed in a digital peer support group with up to ten other members to share the journey with. You chat to both your group members and your health coach via the app. There is also a strong emphasis on individual goal-setting and self-monitoring – tracking weight, physical activity and food intake – all of which are done through the app.

What makes OurPath stand out compared to other weight loss apps?

We are evidence-based and proud to be the first online behavioural change programme to be commissioned by the NHS [OurPath is one provider of the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme]. We draw on the latest scientific research in nutrition and behavioural psychology to make change as easy and sustainable as possible.

Compared with other weight-loss apps, there is a strong focus on education, empowerment and self-belief. We believe in providing people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to set their own goals and create lasting healthy habits. While most other weight-loss plans will only focus on one aspect of lifestyle change, we take a holistic approach and address your thought patterns, behaviours, sleep and stress levels, as well as diet and exercise. Weight loss and lifestyle change can often be challenging, which is why we provide access to a qualified nutrition professional and a peer support group.

Finally, we know our programme works. With an 85% completion rate, people using the programme achieved an average 8.2% weight loss at six months, which is equivalent to a 50% reduction in their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

OurPath offers 12-week weight-loss programmes starting at £30 a month

How To Use A Running Watch To Improve Your Training


Nick Harris-Fry

Monday, May 13, 2019 - 11:25

When people first start running regularly, a common mistake they make is to do every run at the same pace. And then, as they get more and more into the sport, another common mistake is not to allow the body to recover properly between training sessions.

Running at different paces is key to improving. Tempo runs and interval sessions help you build your speed and your ability to maintain that speed, while easy efforts improve your aerobic fitness while also allowing your body to recover from hard runs. Speaking of recovery, it’s absolutely essential to becoming a better, faster runner, because constantly knocking out hard runs puts you on the fast track to injury rather than improved performance.

Fortunately, both errors are easily fixed and a running watch can help. We spoke to Polar ambassador and running coach Nick Anderson on how you can best use a running watch to improve your training. His first suggestion is to use the heart rate monitor found on most devices to work out your different training paces.

See related: A 2019 Buyer's Guide To Fitness Trackers

“You should establish some rough training zones to start with,” says Anderson. “There are a number ways to do that and one is to match your heart rate to your perceived rate of exertion.” The simplest way to gauge how hard you’re exerting yourself is by how easily you can hold a conversation. “Easy running should be fully conversational,” says Anderson. “Your perceived rate of threshold running might be getting out a three- or-four-word answer – controlled discomfort is another way to describe that – and then really hard running, which is really hard!

“If you start to record your heart rate and what the rough perceived rate of exertion was when you did those particular runs, you get a portfolio of data that will eventually morph into zones that can be followed on your runs. There should be a clear difference in your running pace during different training sessions.”

When it comes to recovery, many running watches will give clear instructions as to how long you should take to rest after a training session, usually in hours. As well as this, Anderson suggests using the watch to track your sleep and also check on your resting heart rate in the morning, which will give a good idea of the state of your body to train that day, and can even be an indicator of whether you’re getting sick.

“Wearing the device overnight and getting your sleep data will show if you really are going into deeper phases of sleep, with less movement, so you’re getting better continuity of sleep,” says Anderson. “And measure your resting heart rate in the morning. That never lies – the lower it is the fitter you’re getting or the healthier you are. If it’s a little higher then either you’re tired or maybe there’s something else going on in your system and you need a few easy days.”

See related: The Best Running Watches Of 2019

New Campaign Will Provide Mental Health First Aid Training To Sports Coaches


Nick Harris-Fry

Monday, May 13, 2019 - 10:21

While the primary role of a coach is to improve sporting performance, they usually do far more than that for the athletes they work with, especially when they’re working with young people. It’s important for coaches to be trusted role models who support youngsters in all kinds of ways to help them develop both physically and emotionally.

Recognising this, the Sport for Development Coalition is co-ordinating a new campaign called #21by21, which aims to provide 21,000 community sports coaches and volunteers with mental health awareness training by 2021, so they are better able to support the young athletes they work with.

The campaign launches today, 13th May, with the support of more than 200 organisations and 40 national and regional sports agencies, including UK Coaching, the Premier League, the Rugby Football Union and the mental health charity Mind.

The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, which supports young athletes in disadvantaged communities, is also supporting the campaign.

“I know from personal experience that sport has the power to support young people to develop emotionally as well as physically,” says Holmes. “It builds self-esteem, confidence and often lifelong friendships. Making sure that everyone delivering sport for young people can spot signs of mental ill health and provide appropriate help when it’s needed adds to its benefit.”

See related: How To Recognise When Someone Is Struggling With Their Mental Health

A new report, “Sport For Better Mental Health”, published by youth charity StreetGames in partnership with Brunel University London, highlights the roles that coaches can play in supporting young people.

The report found that 43% of the 14- to 24-year-olds it surveyed said they would turn to their coach for emotional support and advice, and 20% would confide in a coach about something that was worrying them.

Those living in households with an annual income of £20,000 or less were even more likely to confide in their coach than those from more affluent backgrounds, which is particularly important because disadvantaged teenagers are three times more likely to suffer from mental health problems than those from more privileged families.

However, many of those surveyed said it was far harder to discuss mental health problems than physical ones, and the older the person the harder they found it to open up. Part of the training provided to coaches through the #21by21 campaign will help coaches encourage their athletes to talk about any mental health problems they might be suffering with.

See related: How 30 Minutes Of Downtime A Day Can Improve Your Wellbeing

“Coaches across the country tell us that they regularly see signs of mental ill health in their sports projects – young people experiencing depression, anxiety, alienation, and sadly sometimes self-harm and suicide,” says Jane Ashworth, chief executive of StreetGames. “They say that they want to help but feel ill-equipped, not knowing what to say or how to direct youngsters to appropriate specialist support.

“Our aim is to make Mental Health First Aid training for youth sport coaches and volunteers across the UK as commonplace as physical first aid.”

Coaches looking to get involved in the campaign can head to the #21by21 website to find a mental health first aid training provider near them. Employers can help the campaign while also getting mental health training for their staff through the Buy One Give One initiative. By paying for training for their staff, employers also fund mental health training for coaches working with disadvantaged young people.

For more on this initiative, visit the Street Games website or call 0161 707 0782.

Make These Hoisin Tofu Burritos To Celebrate National Vegetarian Week


Jonathan Shannon

Monday, May 13, 2019 - 12:20

Say what you like about veganism, it’s impressive how it’s managed to shoehorn itself into the zeitgeist. Consider this exchange recently overheard in the Coach office.

Person one: “I’m practically eating a vegan diet now, I just put cheese on everything.”

Person two: “You know there’s a name for that?”

Person one: “…”

That name is vegetarianism, which seems to have been squeezed out of the conversation – both that one above and the general public one – but with National Vegetarian Week running from 13th to 19th May it’s making a bid for your attention, mostly by waving some tasty treats under your nose, like this burrito recipe shared by Waitrose.

See related: The UK's Best Healthy Meal Delivery Services

It’s not your standard vegetarian burrito either, with a Tex-Mex spice mix and black beans or jackfruit taking meat’s place. It puts a Chinese twist on proceedings by pairing tofu with hoisin sauce, and adds crunchy red cabbage, red chilli and spring onions to the filling too, adding a touch of sharpness with rice vinegar. In keeping with tradition, we'd be tempted to load this bad boy up with cheese, but keeping it fromage-free enters it into the world of vegan, too. Best of all, the whole caboodle takes as little as 15 minutes to cook and assemble, or a little longer if you boil the rice rather than reheating a pre-cooked pouch in the microwave.  

Hoisin Tofu Burrito Recipe

Ingredients (serves two)

  • 75g red cabbage, thinly shredded

  • 1 bunch of salad onions, trimmed then shredded

  • 1 large fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

2tbsp Chinese rice vinegar

  • 1tsp vegetable oil

  • 100g marinated tofu pieces

2 seeded tortilla wraps

  • 100g whole grain rice

  • 1tbsp hoisin sauce

  • 12g fresh coriander, leaves torn 


  1. Pile the cabbage, salad onions and chilli into a large bowl, sprinkle with the vinegar and set side.

  2. Heat the oil in a small frying pan, then cook the tofu for four to five minutes, stirring often, until golden and heated through. Meanwhile, warm the tortillas and the rice in the microwave according to pack instructions.

  3. Spread the hoisin over each tortilla, then top with the rice, cabbage salad, tofu and coriander. Wrap carefully – the burritos will be generously filled – then cut in half and eat straight away.

Recipe and image courtesy of Waitrose & Partners. Browse more vegetarian recipes

See related: The Healthiest Breakfast Cereals

Try This Adam Peaty-Approved Gym Workout To Improve In The Pool


Jonathan Shannon

Saturday, May 11, 2019 - 06:18

Photographs: Tom Watkins/Science in Sport

Serial world record breaker and gold medal collector Adam Peaty has been dominating the breaststroke category in the pool since 2014, taking golds at the world, Commonwealth and European championships and breaking both the 50m and 100m world records multiple times. After a monster performance in the pool at the Rio games in 2016, Peaty’s been pretty relentless and is eyeing up the defence of his Olympic title at Tokyo, Paris, and even LA in 2028.

We spoke to Peaty at an event to promote Science In Sport’s PROTEIN20 bar (he’s an ambassador for the sports nutrition company) to get a sense of how he trains in the gym and pass on any tips that may help amateurs hoping to improve their swimming. While you only need to glance at Peaty to see he’s pretty stacked, he told Coach that he hits the gym to help his swimming, not to get big. “I’m trying to avoid hypertrophy as much as I can,” says Peaty, who typically sticks to five reps for three to four sets for the big compound lifts – “creeping into the strength and power phase,” he says.

That approach also dictates the weight he works with and the tempo he works at. “My squat one-rep max is 160kg,” says Peaty, “but I’m never going to kick that much power in the water, so it’s more beneficial to do 100kg or 120kg for more reps. And you’ll get more doing it fast. So a lower weight but faster.”

Peaty told Coach how his training now also takes into account injury prevention. “If I’m doing bench presses, I’ll do lots of really low-weight cable flyes just to make sure that the muscles are moving right after the session,” says Peaty. “After squats, I get a resistance band on between the knees. It’s really easy to lift heavy weights like a caveman, but making sure we’re looking after all the little muscles is important for us.”

In addition to time in the water, Peaty will spend at least ten hours a week in the gym, and to answer the obvious questions, yes, he’s knackered all the time, and yes, he burns through the protein. “Being with SiS is very beneficial because I can know provide myself with as much or as little protein as I need.

“The PROTEIN20 is a good option for me: less sugar, fewer carbs and high protein so I’m maintaining my lean muscle mass. BCAAs complement my performance in the pool and Hydro tabs [electrolytes to help Peaty say hydrated]. Those are the main three, sometimes with a Whey 20 depending on what kind of day it is. I don’t like to follow any plans, I’ve always taken by feel.”

To help you replicate Peaty’s training ethos in the gym, he talked us through a very stripped-down version of his routine.

Back squat

Sets 3 Reps 5

“Squats work my quads and glutes,” says Peaty, “two very important muscles for breaststroke – that’s where most of my power comes from. I like to keep my feet parallel and pointing forwards in line with my hips, and knees in line with my shoulders. Push your knees outwards and take a deep breath as you go down and breathe out on the way up.”

Dumbbell bench press

Sets 3 Reps 5

“This improves the strength across my chest which is needed to catch the water efficiently and effectively,” says Peaty. “Make sure your elbows don’t go past 90° or you open yourself up to tendon injuries. I come down quite slowly and then elasticate it all the way back up.”


Sets 3 Reps 5-10

“Again, this improves my upper-body strength, but this time connecting the muscles on the front of my torso with my back muscles, which also plays an important part in catching the water.

“Always try to get your chin across the bar. If you’re not doing that and you’re not going all the way down you’re shortening your movement. And you can also hold at the top for an isometric pause.”

Extended crunch

Sets 3 Reps 20

“Having a strong core is extremely important,” says Peaty, “especially in breaststroke where you need a strong base.

“Make sure you go back to your full length, because otherwise you’ll just be shortening those muscles. As a swimmer you need to be lengthening as much as possible, so that’s why we do all our movements at full range instead of half range. Get all the way back down as far as you can – don’t touch the floor – and then come back up as fast as you can.”

Medicine ball slam

Sets 3 Reps 20

“This works most of the muscle groups,” says Peaty. “I enjoy this as it’s fast and pretty much replicates what I do on a pull-out [the underwater phase at the start and after each turn]. Get on your tiptoes to extend fully, or even do a little jump, and use two medicine balls [one in each hand] if you can.”

Science In Sport ambassador Adam Peaty is supporting the launch of PROTEIN20, a low-sugar, high-protein bar.

Buy from Science In Sport | £2.50

8 Cardio Workout Challenges To Keep Coming Back To


Jake Stones

Thursday, May 9, 2019 - 17:34

Few things are more motivating when it comes to fitness than improving at something and setting a new personal best. Funnily enough, one thing that is more motivating is seeing your fitness fall off, which encourages you to get back to your best. If either of these apply to you, workout challenges are a fine way to add some interest to your training.

The idea for these eight routines is to complete all the circuits as quickly as possible. Make sure to make a note of your time – the fun part is trying to improve your score.

Obviously you should warm up before any activity, but because of the intensity of a cardio challenge, it’s paramount here. If you haven’t got your own specific routine, use this straightforward warm-up.

1. Skip-squat-run

Rounds 3

Exercise  Reps
Skipping 50
Prisoner squat 30
Run (if you’re in a gym, use a self-powered treadmill if one’s available) 400m

2. Skip-press-pull-dip

Rounds 5

Exercise  Reps
Skipping 50
Press-up 5
Pull-up 5
Bench dip 15

3. Step-press-cycle-squat

Rounds 5

Exercise  Reps
Step-up with dumbbells 10 each side
Press-up 10
Bicycle crunch 15 each side
Dumbbell squat 20

4. Run-punch-cycle-punch

Rounds 3

Exercise  Reps
Run (if you’re in a gym, use a self-powered treadmill if one’s available) 400m
Dumbbell uppercut 25 each side, alternating sides with each rep
Cycle 1km
Dumbbell jab 25 each side, alternating sides with each rep

5. Cycle-punch

Rounds 3

Exercise  Reps
Cycle 1km
Dumbbell jab 10 each side, alternating sides with each rep

6. Hop-climb-thrust-run

Rounds 3

Exercise  Reps
Bunny hop over bench 15 each side
Mountain climber 15 each side
Squat thrust 20
Run (if you’re in a gym, use a self-powered treadmill if one’s available) 1km

7. Run-punch-cycle-thrust

Rounds 2

Exercise  Reps
Run (if you’re in a gym, use a self-powered treadmill if one’s available) 1km
Dumbbell uppercut 15 each side, alternating sides with each rep
Cycle 2km
Squat thrust 30

8. Skip-run-cycle

Rounds 1

Exercise  Reps
Skipping 100
Run (if you’re in a gym, use a self-powered treadmill if one’s available) 1km
Cycle 2km

The Best Smith Machines For Your Home Gym


Jake Stones

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - 20:46

Lifting heavy barbells doesn’t have to be done in a gym, but there’s one advantage to basing your training there – there are plenty of potential spotters. At home, not so much unless your partner or housemate is a fellow lifter. While you could lift solo, if you’re training to shift more weight you may find yourself going too heavy and struggling to wrestle the bar back into a safe position. If that sounds like something that might happen to you, it may be worth investing in a Smith machine, which has a mechanism that allows you to bail out if you need to. It’s not as reliable as a spotter, but it’s better than nothing.

A Smith machine works by holding a barbell in two vertical rails lined with latch points on which the bar hooks. This means that at any moment and at any height in your lift, you can let the Smith machine take the weight with a slight rotation of the bar, a useful feature for the solo lifter or someone coming back from an injury. Some also have additional stopping brackets as an extra failsafe.

There are downsides, though. Smith machines do not come cheap and they take up a lot of space – you’ll need a garage or basement to accommodate one, rather than a spare corner in your bedroom.

If you’ve got a nice big space and the budget for one you can consider models with some extra features. Most Smith machines come with racks for weight plates, while others include fixed or movable benches to increase the number of moves you can perform. If you go down this route we recommend a fixed bench to make the positioning consistent, which should help when it comes to your form, but a movable bench will open up a wider array of exercise possibilities.

Some Smith machines go down the multi-gym route by adding a whole host of extra attachments from leg curls on your bench, to weighted cables and a pull-down bar on the rig.

Next-level Smith machines are called Jones machines or 3D Smith machines. These contraptions allow the barbell to move horizontally as well as vertically, which opens up a wider range of exercises.

The Best Smith Machines

Best Budget Smith Machine: Marcy SM1000 Deluxe Home Gym Smith Machine

Just because this Smith machine is a small fraction of the price of the others on this list doesn’t mean it won’t do the job – it just doesn’t have the fancy extras. The weight rating of 135kg will certainly cover what most people can bench press, and there are four weights racks for storing your plates. The bench can be removed to increase the number of exercises you can perform with the machine, and it includes leg pads so you can add leg curls and leg extensions to your training.

Buy on Amazon | £503.99

Best For Lifting Heavy: Eleiko Atletica Smith Machine

When you’re choosing a Smith machine, it can be easy to forget to look at the barbell it comes with. It’s worth checking out Eleiko’s if only to admire the 15kg barbell, which is made with the same top-quality knurling we’ve praised when selecting an Eleiko model as one of our best barbells. And its build quality means the bar can handle up to 200kg – more than enough for even an experienced lifter. It also doesn’t hurt that the whole machine is a bit of a looker.

Buy from Eleiko | £3,479

Best Jones Machine: Bodycraft Commercial Jones Machine

If you want to get the most out of the space you’re giving over to a hulking piece of gym equipment, take a look at this Jones machine. It has stop brackets as well as 3D movement, giving you a full range of motion for a whole host of exercises. The weight rating is 200kg and the absence of a bench opens the entire device up to whichever lift you choose – whether that be an overhead press or deadlift. It does lack a weight plate rack, which is a bit of a let-down considering how much it will cost you.

Buy on Amazon | £2,499

Hoka One One Evo Carbon Rocket Running Shoe


Nick Harris-Fry

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - 17:20

Given the success Nike has enjoyed with the Zoom Vaporfly 4% it’s no surprise to see other brands launching shoes with carbon-fibre plates. In fact, the only real surprise is how long it’s taken and why more brands haven’t done so – but perhaps the Hoka Carbon Rocket is an indication, because despite having a carbon plate it’s nothing like the Vaporfly.

Nike’s record-setting shoe pairs the plate with the company’s soft and bouncy ZoomX foam, which makes it both forgiving and fast – ideal for long-distance racing. In contrast the Carbon Rocket is probably the stiffest and firmest shoe I’ve ever run in, and that combined with the 1mm drop from heel-to-toe made it a shoe I could only use very sparingly. I’m not well conditioned for that style of shoe – I’m used to 10mm drop shoes and prefer a softer ride.

After an easy 8km in it for my first run, I put it to the test properly with a progression 10K where the last four kilometres were around my 10K race pace. In the midst of a busy marathon training schedule I felt that the stiff and snappy ride of the Carbon Rocket helped me stay on pace in a tough workout where I wouldn’t have been surprised to drop off the pace, but I definitely felt my legs were more beaten up than normal at the end of the run and my calves were tight too. That’s probably down to the shoe’s low drop – I can get by in 4mm shoes, but I’ve never done a lot of running in something so close to a zero-drop shoe, so my body isn’t really used to it.

After taking a few days off from the Carbon Rocket I did my longest run in it – a 90-minute progression run. About 45 minutes in I started to feel pain in my forefoot and although it never became unbearable, that pain stuck with me for the rest of the run. I thought the Carbon Rocket might ease up a little after 80km or so but I’ve seen no sign of that, and every run I’ve done in it over 45 minutes has resulted in forefoot pain. It’s just too stiff for me to use regularly.

Along with the carbon plate the Carbon Rocket has Hoka’s dual-density ProFly midsole, which is softer at the back to cushion your landing and then firmer at the front to provide some pop to your toe-off. I’ve loved this midsole in other Hoka shoes like the Mach and Torrent, but you can’t feel the dual density at all in the Carbon Rocket – it’s just firm all over.

Although it’s certainly a fast shoe, I’d still lean towards softer speed shoes like the Vaporfly, Reebok Floatride Run Fast and Adidas Boston 7 for my fast running, and I also prefer the responsive ride of the Hoka Mach to the Carbon Rocket.

However, it bears repeating that the Carbon Rocket is pretty close to the polar opposite of the shoes I tend to use, and those who do like a low-drop shoe might find it more to their tastes. I’d say it’s still too firm to use more than a couple of times a week, but it’s a speedy option for 5K and 10K races, and maybe half marathons too, though you’ll need some extra time for your legs to recover afterwards.

The bottom of the shoe might divide opinion, but the top is an indisputable success. The upper is lightweight, breathable and holds the foot in place without being overbearing even as you crank up the speed. And the bright yellow colourway is excellent too. I found that the Carbon Rocket was true to size and in line with other Hoka shoes I’ve worn.

If you’re looking at the Carbon Rocket as a cheaper, more durable alternative to the Vaporfly, you’ll be disappointed. It’s a completely different shoe, even if they both contain a carbon-fibre plate. As a lightweight, low-drop racer, the Carbon Rocket and its fast and firm ride will surely delight some runners, but it’s definitely one that won’t work for everyone.

Buy from Sports Shoes (unisex) | £129.99

The Spartan Obstacle Course Race Is Coming To Twickenham Stadium


Jonathan Shannon

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - 16:58

Obstacle course races may have hit peak popularity a couple of years ago, but there are still plenty of chances to heave yourself up, over and through things if you want to. And just in case you feel like you’ve been there and done that, you’ll find that some events are a bit different now – shorter, less muddy and without quite as many electric shocks, if no less obstacle-y! After Tough Mudder launched its series of urban 5Ks last year, another big name in the OCR scene, Spartan, is bringing its Stadion series to the UK.

The Stadion events – which take the OCR concept and cram it into a stadium – are touring venues across the US and in select European capital cities, including London. Twickenham in southwest London to be precise, home of England rugby, on 23rd November. Don’t expect to finish by diving across the try-line though (a bit of shame, that) because this is a mud-free course, probably for the groundskeepers’ sakes more than yours. The event does take advantage of the setting, however, with the route winding its way through the stadium’s innards, and up and down the stairs.

It adds up to an easy way for urbanites to give OCRs a go, and CrossFitters of all levels will also take to it like ducks to water since the obstacles include rope climbs, box jumps, slamming balls and plenty of carries.

The day kicks off with an elite race, where competitors will be looking to get round in about 40 minutes for a shot at the prize money. You’ll have plenty more time in the open morning or afternoon session, and if you fancy making a day of it you can sign on as a group and get a discount – 10% off the ticket price if there’s three of you, 15% if you’re a quartet or 20% if you roll five or more deep.

Buy tickets | From £60

The Sports Nutrition Mistakes Amateur Footballers Make


Jonathan Shannon

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - 16:46

If you watch any top-level football, you may have noticed players sucking down what looks like Frubes before starting a game or coming on as a sub. Anyone who regularly takes part in endurance events will recognise these as energy gels rather than flavoured yogurts, and perhaps wonder why something that’s been so common in running and cycling is only now coming to prominence in football.

It seems someone at sports nutrition company Science In Sport had the same thought (jinx!) as the brand recently released a range which includes gels for amateur footballers. SiS has form in the game though: it’s been supplying supplements to Manchester United since 2008 and is the official nutrition partner of the club, along with 15 other teams in England and Scotland.

As part of the launch, we got the chance to sit down with Mark Ellison, consultant nutritionist at United, and quizzed him on how elite players fuel their performance and what amateur players can do to nail their nutrition.

What mistakes do you see players of any level make when it comes to nutrition?

Athletes often think you can out-train your diet. The big thing that you see with young athletes in particular is a lack of good fruit and vegetable intake. We always encourage them to increase that to get decent amount of vitamins and antioxidants in their diet to maintain health.

The second one is that a lack of forward planning catches people out. We always make sure that our players have a plan in place. It might not always be a detailed plan measured out gram by gram, but it’s clear when to focus on energy intake to make sure there’s the fuel to play, and when to focus on protein intake to drive muscle recovery.

I think one of the big gaps I often see is the pre-training meal and, because in football we typically train early, protein intake at breakfast, especially when we’re going to train hard and do muscle damage. A couple of slices of toast and a glass of orange juice or coffee is not sufficient for breakfast on a training day. So often, those players that don’t want eggs and things like that will use SiS’s Rego, or we’ll put some of the SiS whey protein into porridge or add it to smoothies at breakfast, just to top up the protein.

And generally, people drink when they’re thirsty, but don’t proactively drink when they’ve got a session coming up. So often it’s reminding players to drink water and make sure they’re hydrated going into training sessions.

What are the basics every player of every level should get right?

As well as dealing with those mistakes, having regular protein feeds throughout the day. We target four protein feeds throughout the day of around 40g each – and there’s a good argument for much of the population having a solid protein intake, especially as people get older, to protect muscle mass and make sure they stay strong.

The other big one is sufficient carbohydrate intake to make sure you’ve got enough energy for the work you’ll be doing. Especially for recreational players who have kids or really busy work lives, it’s easy to miss meals then go to training in the evening without enough energy, so using things like gels for a top-up before you go to train is perfect. We always say try and get a meal three or four hours before you train, then you can top up on your way to training with a gel or sports drink. We use the Go gels, or Go Hydro and Go Electrolyte products with a bit of carbs.

We focus on slow-release carbs away from training, whether it’s porridge oats or granary bread, and fast release as we get closer to training for quick energy.

Do Manchester United players get extra advice because of the level they’re at?

There are more cutting-edge, individualised bits of advice we give. Beta-alanine supplementation is a novel strategy that you wouldn’t see applied in the general public’s diet. We get that in the Surge product and often supplement some of the players with that, especially those high-intensity midfield, box-to-box players that are generating lactic acid. That can be a source of fatigue and underperformance if the acid component of lactic acid isn’t cleared.

Beta-alanine as a supplement combines with another amino acid in the diet called histidine to make carnosine in the muscle cell, which works as a buffer to soak up that acid component and delay fatigue.

We also focus on hydration and electrolyte intake, more so than non-active people. We make sure they get electrolytes in their diet to drive hydration.

Another difference is timing. Everybody has protein in the diet, for example, but these guys are taking it in more of a targeted, timed way to enhance recovery.

As well as beta-alanine, the new SiS range features nitrates and caffeine. Why?

The research looking at nitrates has been around two things. First, for endurance athletes, some studies found a reduction in oxygen costs with cyclists, so it was allowing them to work for longer before they fatigued. Possibly from some vasodilatory effects, which increases blood flow and helps you get the oxygen to the muscles.

There’s an endurance element to football, but it’s probably not always a limiting factor for us. Football is more about high power output – being able to sprint, then sprint again. There's some suggestions that nitrates might be affecting how the muscle contracts. We’re still learning about the exact mechanism, but it can be a real benefit.

For caffeine, there’s that endurance element when taking caffeine in larger doses, like 3mg per kilo of bodyweight, as it’s going to help reduce carbohydrate dependence early in the game so we've got more energy towards the end.

And everyone who drinks coffee will experience those benefits of feeling more alert. There’s research on visual acuity suggesting you can see things sharper and react quicker. When you want to start a game fast, get a lift at halftime, or you've had a knock and you need a pick-up during the game, products like the Surge gels are great for giving a decent 200mg caffeine dose. The guys feel alert and ready to compete.

Visit sisfootball.com for more nutrition advice and to buy the new football range

How To Do The Prisoner Squat


Jake Stones

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - 16:08

Contrary to expectations, the prisoner squat isn’t a particularly punishing move, it’s just called that because it’s a squat variation in which you keep your hands on your head throughout. As if you only had a very small space to train and someone had taken away your access to gym kit. Keeping your hands on lockdown means you can’t enlist your arms to help maintain balance on the way down or generate momentum for the way back up.

Restricting yourself in this way will increase the demands on your legs, making this type of squat more taxing for your glutes, hamstrings and quads. As well as sentencing your legs to some hard time, the prisoner squat also makes your core an accessory to the exercise and it will help improve your balance.

How To Do The Prisoner Squat

Start with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing out slightly. Keep your chest up and place both hands on the back of your head, with your elbows pointing out to the sides. Lower slowly by moving your hips down and back, keeping your back straight and looking forwards, until your thighs are parallel to the ground, then drive back up, pushing through your heels. Aim to take three seconds to lower, pause at the bottom of the move, then take one or two seconds to return to standing. Aim for three sets of 12 reps.

Garmin Has Updated Its Most Popular Running Watch


Nick Harris-Fry

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - 15:49

The Garmin Forerunner 235 has been one of the most popular running watches since it launched back in mid-2015, with its extensive feature set and reliability making it one of the top options to buy – which it remains today, especially since it’s now almost always on sale.

That means Garmin had to produce something special for its replacement, and on paper it looks like it’s done just that. The new Forerunner 245 has taken features from premium watches like the Forerunner 645 to offer all the features a committed runner could want for under £300.

The new watch comes in two forms – the 245 and the 245 Music, with the latter having space for 500 songs and the ability to sync playlists from premium Spotify and Deezer accounts. The standard 245 costs £249.99 and the music version £299.99.

Both watches now have breadcrumb navigation to help you retrace your steps when running in an unfamiliar area and can link with a footpod to show in-depth info on your run like ground contact time, which helps more experienced runners analyse their running form. The 245 also has the training load features seen on Garmin watches released in the past couple of years, so you’ll be told whether your training is productive or whether you’re overdoing it, and how each workout is affecting your aerobic and anaerobic fitness.

The Forerunner 245 also links up with the new Garmin Coach section in the partner app, so you can load entire training plans for races like a 5K or half marathon on the watch, which will guide you through each workout. These plans also adapt to how you’re actually running, and you’ll even get a predicted race time based on your training.

On top of all of this, the battery life has been vastly improved on the 245. The watch now lasts 24 hours in GPS, more than double the 11 hours of the 235, though the battery life does drop to six hours when you’re listening to music while using the GPS.

There’s no multisport mode on the 245 and it’s missing some smart features like Garmin Pay. It also doesn’t have a barometric altimeter or the on-board maps you can find in more expensive Garmin watches. However, the vast majority of runners will be more than satisfied by what’s included. It’s hard to justify upgrading to the Forerunner 645, for example, unless you reckon Garmin Pay, a barometric altimeter and a silver bezel are worth an extra £100.

The mid-range running watch market is more competitive than ever, with newcomer Coros joining Garmin, Suunto and Polar in offering feature-rich options for less than £300. There are also several great smartwatches available at that price. Our first impression of the Forerunner 245 is that it offers enough to stand out even in this crowded field, but we’ll see if that’s the case when we get our hands on a review unit sometime in the next month or two.

Buy from Garmin (available soon) | £249.99-£299.99

Five Minutes Of Fire Legs Workout Challenge


Jake Stones

Friday, May 3, 2019 - 17:11

Next time you’ve finished a session in the gym or ended a run and feel like you’ve got a little left to give, give this lower-body finisher a whirl. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a finisher, we just think you may want to have a bit of a sit down afterwards. The routine – created by Beth Thayne, assistant coach at Ministry of Sound Fitness – is only five minutes, but we bet that you’ll decide that’s more than long enough before you’ve even reached halfway.

“It’s five minutes of fire focused on your glutes, quads and core,” says Thayne. “You start by doing squat jumps for 50 seconds and a beast hold for ten. Then after each round you alter both by ten seconds – it’ll always add up to one minute of work. Eventually, you’ll be doing ten seconds of squat jumps and 50 seconds of the beast hold.

“The aim is to do the squat jumps continuously and then go straight into the beast hold. This means no rest, which keeps your pulse high and works on your endurance.

“It burns like hell and the quads take the biggest hit, with the glutes also getting heavily involved. The whole workout relies on the core throughout. It’s five minutes of solid work.”

The Exercises

Jump squat

Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed out slightly. Squat down so that your knees are at a 90° angle, then push through your heels and jump straight up. Land on both feet and go straight into the next rep.

“Keep the landing soft and make the process of jumping, landing and jumping again one continuous movement,” says Thayne.

Beast hold

Get on your hands and knees, with your arms extended, hands underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips. Tuck your toes and lift your knees just off the ground. Hold this position.

“For an added challenge, you can try the three- or two-point beast hold. Lift one foot off the ground, or one foot and the opposite hand.”

The Workout

Round Jump squat Beast hold
1 50sec 10sec
2 40sec 20sec
3 30sec 30sec
4 20sec 40sec
5 10sec 50sec

How to Sneak in “Accidental” HIIT Workouts to Boost Your Metabolism


High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has its perks. It’s an express workout, plus there are the big cardiac and metabolism benefits.

10 HIIT Workouts to Get You Shredded for Summer

Turns out it doesn’t take treadmill intervals to get it done. Researchers have hit upon a twist: High-Intensity Incidental Physical Activity. That’s when everyday physical activities cause heart rates to spike, as well as breathlessness—think running down a bus or train, sprinting up stairs, or doing yard work extra-fast.

According to the new U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines, any moderate to vigorous exercise, for 30 seconds or a few minutes, can boost heart health if done several times during the day.

7 High-octane HIIT Workouts That Burn 500 Calories

The key is high-intensity, meaning working at 80 percent or more of max capacity. You’ll know you’re in the zone when you feel an uncomfortable shortness of breath, you can’t have a conversation, and possibly get your quads burning if you’re running or climbing.

It’s an effort you can’t sustain for very long, which, fortunately, you don’t have to. Sneak in quick HIIT workouts at work by bounding up some stairs, as well as during your commute. Bike home and work in some sprints, or pack sneakers and workout apparel to get some quick bursts as you walk.

The post How to Sneak in “Accidental” HIIT Workouts to Boost Your Metabolism appeared first on Men's Journal.

Bulletproof Is Having a Massive Memorial Day Sale on Coffee and More


Just in time for summer, jumpstart your path to keto with Bulletproof’s Memorial Day Sale. From Friday, May 24 through Tuesday the 28th, take 20 percent off sitewide at Bulletproof. From protein packs to body and mind supplements to the company’s famous Bulletproof Coffee, everything at Bulletproof is 20 percent off all weekend long.

Even better, Bulletproof is offering a further 10 percent off its amazing Whole Body Vibration Plate. More than a hundred satisfied users have rated and reviewed it on bulletproof.com. And over 90 percent of them say it’s a great tool for maximizing their workouts. Some swear by it as a warm-up tool, others prefer to use it to ease sore muscles, post-workout. Either way, real users give it great reviews, and it’s marked down. It’s a win-win.

But Bulletproof made its name on its unique approach to coffee. Thousands of fitness (and coffee!) enthusiasts swear by it. If you haven’t yet tried butter coffee, here’s the deal.

We all know coffee helps sharpen our minds—taken in moderation, of course. A cup or two a day is fine. But what about those who are on a keto diet, are lactose intolerant, or just watching their weight? Adding even a little bit of milk or half and half can be murder on your diet regimen.

But coffee is filled with vital antioxidants. So how to get its benefits without blowing your diet? Instead of adding in milk or half and half, Bulletproof calls for adding grass-fed, unsalted butter to your morning coffee, and skipping breakfast. Thousands swear that this routine has suppressed their hunger, stimulated weight loss, and improved their mental clarity.

Adding two tablespoons of Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil (a medium-chain triglyceride derived from coconut oil) will further boost your energy and prevent cravings. We’re talking about a 500-calorie, zero-carb drink that acts as a meal in itself. Assuming you’re living an active, healthy lifestyle with a low-carb, high-protein diet, Bulletproof claims its coffee regimen will kickstart ketosis.

So take advantage of this Bulletproof Coffee sale. There are plenty of other Bulletproof items available, too. So even if you’re not a coffee drinker you’re sure to find something to benefit your health. And at 20 percent off, you’ve got to lose—except that belly fat.

Here are some of the great deals you can find at Bulletproof during the Memorial Day Sale.

Bulletproof Coffee Kit

Everything you need to make Bulletproof Coffee for lasting energy and focus. It's also available in Whole Bean and Pod bundles.

-Grass-Fed Ghee (13.5 oz): 100 percent pure butterfat from grass-fed cows. Blend it into coffee, drizzle over foods, or cook with it up to 485°F.

-Brain Octane Oil (16 oz): MCT oil; contains 100% caprylic acid (C8) derived from pure coconut oil.

-Ground Coffee (12 oz): Distinct notes of cinnamon, plum, and orange with a cocoa hazelnut finish. Certified clean coffee, tested for performance-robbing toxins

GET IT: Take 20% off the Bulletproof Coffee Kit ($50; was $63) at Bulletproof Coffee

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Collagen Protein Bar

What a great deal on one of the best-tasting protein bars you can buy. With 12g of protein in each bar and just 2g of sugar, it's a great-tasting source of protein. Gluten-free, dairy-free, and non-GMO, it has a shortbread-inspired texture paired with bits of organic chocolate and rich cacao nibs for a Bulletproof take on classic cookie dough.

Also available in delicious Vanilla flavor.

GET IT: Take 20% off this 12-pack of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Collagen Protein Bars ($28; was $35) at Bulletproof


Sourced from pure coconut oil—no palm oil—XCT is made of pure caprylic and capric acid, two significantly ketogenic MCTs. It's a keto-friendly way to fuel your body, curb cravings, and increase mental focus. A flavorless, versatile substitute for other oils, it blends into coffee or as a dressing, in tea, or drizzled over foods. The innovative cap design gives you a precise pour without the mess. 

Also available in single 16-ounce and 32-ounce bottles. 

GET IT: Take 20% off this 3-pack (96 oz.) of XCT Oil ($72; was 90) at Bulletproof

Collagen Protein Pack

Collagen Protein gives your body the amino acid building blocks for glowing, hydrated skin, joint, and bone support. Flavorless, it mixes easily with most anything—recipes, smoothies, soups, even Bulletproof Coffee. Also available in chocolate and vanilla flavors.

Contains only hydrolyzed collagen powder from pasture-raised cows, with no added hormones.

GET IT: Take 20% off the Collagen Protein Pack ($96; was $120) at Bulletproof

Glutathione Force

Glutathione is the body’s master antioxidant used by your liver to detoxify. Increasing glutathione supports your liver and its ability to process toxins and maintain optimal cellular function. 

Glutathione Force uses a proprietary liposomal delivery system to encapsulate and deliver glutathione in its complete form to the small intestine, where it can be absorbed and used rather than denatured in the stomach.

GET IT: Take 20% off this 90-count bottle of Glutathione Force ($48; was $60) at Bulletproof

Unfair Advantage

Made with Brain Octane Oil for better absorption, this natural supplement provides an energy boost—without jitters. Mitochondria are the power plants in your cells that help create energy. Unfair Advantage uses active PQQ and CoQ10 to repair and improve mitochondrial efficiency.

It's perfect for workouts, exams—anytime you need to feel alert without the jitters.

GET IT: Pick up 30 ampules (120mL) of Unfair Advantage ($48; was $60) at Bulletproof

Whole Body Vibration Plate $419 OFF!

Biohack your exercise and recovery routines by doing your moves on the Vibe, a whole body vibration platform that vibrates at a frequency of 30Hz. The Vibe has several benefits:

-Warm-up and Recovery: It increases blood flow to muscles pre- and post-workout. This enhanced blood flow prior to activity warms the muscles and allows them to operate more efficiently.

-Stretching: The vibrations produced by the Bulletproof Vibe will produce better range of motion than stretching alone.

-Balancing and strengthening: Boring exercises are spiced up and made much more effective during whole body vibration.

GET IT: Pick up the Whole Body Vibe ($1,346; was $1,495) at Bulletproof

Check out all the products and gear we’ve selected for Men's Journal readers here


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10-Week Half-marathon Training Program for Intermediate Runners


When you’re looking to step up your racing distance from a 10K to a half-marathon, the main priority is increasing your endurance—extending your ability to maintain your current pace past 7 miles. It may seem counterintuitive, but you gain speed through endurance.

Let’s say, for example, you can currently run an 8:00 min/mile for a 10K. If you can extend that pace out to 10 miles, when you go back and run a 10K, you’ll be clocking faster times. The effort seems easier, so you can ramp up the speed.

9-Week Half-Marathon Strength and Conditioning Routine

This 10-week program is focused on just that—building your endurance and extending your current speed for a longer distance. Of course you can’t expect to reflect your 10K pace in a half-marathon in just 10 weeks, but you can absolutely make great strides that’ll benefit both races. First, you’ll acclimate your body to running a new, longer distance, then, over time, you’ll improve on your performance (speed) at that distance.

This program is designed for everyday athletes balancing work, life, and training. We understand that not every week of your life is consistent and you’ll face hurdles along the way, so don’t freak about adhering to a super strict, structured plan. What we’re providing here is more of a to-do list.

What’s more, we’re breaking the traditional model of basing your runs on distance and, instead, use time. This makes it easy to convert the workouts from indoors treadmill sessions to outdoor workouts. And, if needed, you could even convert the run to a workout on an erg or elliptical.

13 Races to Run If You’re Not Into Marathons

The program is based on three key runs a week with a host of supporting workouts from strength training and cross training. The three “Priority Runs” are listed in order of importance (P1, P2, P3), as are the supporting workouts. The goal is to get in as many of the workouts as your schedule allows, with the goal of at least P1-P4. It doesn’t matter which days you perform these workouts, but try not to do the runs on back to back days if you can avoid it.

Sample Week Layout

Monday – Rest Day or P7 Supporting Workout Tuesday – P2 Run Wednesday – P5 Supporting Workout Thursday – P3 Run Friday – P4 Strength Workout Saturday – P6 Supporting Workout Sunday – P1 Long Run

Week 1

P1 – 70-min Long Run: The long-run structure will remain the same throughout the program. Perform the first half of the run at your marathon pace (conversational effort). The second half of the run, your effort/pace should build to your half-marathon goal pace. During the last mile of the run, try to maintain your 10K pace, if possible. The last mile should be the fastest mile of the workout. P2 – 45-min Intensive Endurance Run:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 10min at 10K pace/effort
○ 5min at 5K pace/effort
○ 10min at 10k pace/effort
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort P3 – 44-min Fartlek Run (“speed play” intermixing periods of fast and slow running):
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 4 x 6min (2min at 5K pace/effort, 4min at 10K pace/effort)
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort P4 Strength Workout P5, P6, P7 – Supporting Workouts: This can include an easy run, spin class, yoga, rowing, tennis, and/or anything that gets your body moving.

Week 2

P1 – 80-min Long Run: Same structure as Week 1. Perform the first half of the run at your marathon pace (conversational effort). The second half of the run, your effort/pace should build to your half-marathon goal pace. During the last mile of the run, try to maintain your 10K pace, if possible. The last mile should be the fastest mile of the workout. P2 – 50-min Intensive Endurance Run:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 20min at 10K pace/effort
○ 10min at 5K pace/effort
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort P345-min Hill Repeats: Find a hill that has an incline between 2-6 degrees and takes 2min or longer to run up. If you don’t have a local hill, use a treadmill or substitute a fartlek run.
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 5 x 5 min (2min uphill at 5K pace/effort, 3min recovery at marathon pace/effort down hill)
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort P4 – Strength Workout P5, P6, P7 – Supporting Workouts: This can include an easy run, spin class, yoga, rowing, tennis, and/or anything that gets your body moving. The Total-body Comeback Workout Plan

Week 3

P190-min Long Run: Same structure as Week 1. Perform the first half of the run at your marathon pace (conversational effort). The second half of the run, your effort/pace should build to your half-marathon goal pace. During the last mile of the run, try to maintain your 10K pace, if possible. The last mile should be the fastest mile of the workout.  P260-min Intensive Endurance Run:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 30 min at 10K pace/effort
○ 10 min at 5K pace/effort
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort P3 – 44-min Fartlek Run:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 4 x 6 min (2min at 5K pace/effort, 4min at 10K pace/effort)
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort P4 – Strength Workout P5, P6, P7 – Supporting Workouts: This can include an easy run, spin class, yoga, rowing, tennis, and/or anything that gets your body moving.

Week 4

P1 – 1hr 40min-Long Run: Same structure as Week 1. Perform the first half of the run at your marathon pace (conversational effort). The second half of the run, your effort/pace should build to your half-marathon goal pace. During the last mile of the run, try to maintain your 10K pace, if possible. The last mile should be the fastest mile of the workout. P2 – 56-min Intensive Endurance Run:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 6 x (5min at 5K pace/effort, 1min at marathon pace/effort)
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort P3 – 50-min Hill Repeats:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 6 x 5 min (2min at 5K pace/effort uphill, 3-min recovery at marathon pace/effort downhill)
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort
P4 – Strength Workout
P5,6,7 – Supporting Workouts: This can be anything from an easy run, spin class, yoga, rowing class, tennis or anything that gets the body moving.

Week 5

P1 – 1hr 50min- Long Run: Same structure as Week 1. Perform the first half of the run at your marathon pace (conversational effort). The second half of the run, your effort/pace should build to your half-marathon goal pace. During the last mile of the run, try to maintain your 10K pace, if possible. The last mile should be the fastest mile of the workout. P2 – 56-min Intensive Endurance Run:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 3 x (10min at 10K-5K pace/effort, 2min at marathon pace/effort)
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort P3 – 50-min Fartlek Run:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 5 x 6 min (2min at 5K pace/effort, 4min at 10K pace/effort)
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort  P4 – Strength Workout P5, P6, P7 – Supporting Workouts: This can be anything from an easy run, spin class, yoga, rowing class, tennis or anything that gets the body moving. 17 Yoga Poses for Runners

Week 6

P1 – 2-hour Long Run: Same structure as Week 1. Perform the first half of the run at your marathon pace (conversational effort). The second half of the run, your effort/pace should build to your half-marathon goal pace. During the last mile of the run, try to maintain your 10K pace, if possible. The last mile should be the fastest mile of the workout. P2 – 56-min Intensive Endurance Run:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 2 x (15min at 10K-5K pace/effort, 3min at marathon pace/effort)
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort  P3 – 55-min Hill Repeats:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 7 x 5 min (2min at 5K pace/effort uphill, 3-min recovery at marathon pace/effort downhill)
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort P4 – Strength Workout  P5, P6, P7 – Supporting Workouts: This can be anything from an easy run, spin class, yoga, rowing class, tennis or anything that gets the body moving.

Week 7

 P1 – 2hr 10min-Long Run: Same structure as Week 1. Perform the first half of the run at your marathon pace (conversational effort). The second half of the run, your effort/pace should build to your half-marathon goal pace. During the last mile of the run, try to maintain your 10K pace, if possible. The last mile should be the fastest mile of the workout.  P2 – 57-min Intensive Endurance Run:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 1 x (10min at 10K-5K pace/effort, 2min at marathon pace/effort)
○ 3 x (5min at 5K pace/effort, 1min at marathon pace/effort)
○ 1 x (10min at 10K-5K pace/effort, 2min at marathon pace/effort)
○ 5-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort  P3 – 50-min Fartlek Run:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 5 x 6 min (2min at 5K pace/effort, 4min at 10K pace/effort)
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort P4 – Strength Workout  P5, P6, P7 – Supporting Workouts: This can be anything from an easy run, spin class, yoga, rowing class, tennis or anything that gets the body moving.

Week 8

P1 – 2hr 20min-Long Run: Same structure as Week 1. Perform the first half of the run at your marathon pace (conversational effort). The second half of the run, your effort/pace should build to your half-marathon goal pace. During the last mile of the run, try to maintain your 10K pace, if possible. The last mile should be the fastest mile of the workout.  P2 – 57-min Intensive Endurance Run:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 1 x (10min at 10K-5K pace/effort, 2min at marathon pace/effort)
○ 2 x (5min at 5K pace/effort, 1min at marathon pace/effort)
○ 1 x (15min at 10K-5K pace/effort, 3min at marathon pace/effort)
○ 5-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort  P3 – 55-min Hill Repeats:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 7 x 5min (2-min uphill at 5K pace/effort, 3-min recovery at marathon pace/effort down hill)
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort P4 – Strength Workout P5, P6, P7 – Supporting Workouts: This can be anything from an easy run, spin class, yoga, rowing class, tennis or anything that gets the body moving. How to Properly Recover From a Marathon

Week 9 – Tapper Week

 P1 – 75-min Long Run: Keep the effort at a Marathon pace/effort for the entire run.  P2 – 60-min Intensive Endurance Run:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 30min at 10K pace/effort
○ 10min at 5K pace/effort
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort  P3 – 44-min Fartlek Run:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 4 x 6min (2min at 5K pace/effort, 4min at 10K pace/effort)
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort  P4 – Strength Workout  P5, P6, P7 – Supporting Workouts: This can be anything from an easy run, spin class, yoga, rowing class, tennis or anything that gets the body moving. The 5 Coolest Marathons That Have Nothing to Do With Running

Week 10 – Race Week – Follow structure based on the day your race falls on.

If your race falls on a Saturday:
Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – 50-min Intensive Endurance Run:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 20min at 10K pace/effort
○ 10min at 5K pace/effort
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort

Wednesday – Light Stretching/Yoga

Thursday – Rest Day

Friday – 25-min Pickup Run: Keep an easy pace (don’t worry about your time). About every 5min, “pick up” your pace to your target race pace for 1min. These are not sprints, just a slight increase in pace/effort. After the 1min pickup, return to your easy pace/effort and repeat until the allotted time.

Saturday – RACE DAY

If your race falls on a Sunday:

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – 50-min Intensive Endurance Run:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 20 min at 10K pace/effort
○ 10 min at 5K pace/effort
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort

Wednesday – Light Stretching/Yoga

Thursday – 45-min Intensive Endurance Run:
○ 10-min warmup at marathon pace/effort
○ 10 min at 10K pace/effort
○ 5 min at 5K pace/effort
○ 10 min at 10k pace/effort
○ 10-min cooldown at marathon pace/effort

Friday – Rest Day

Saturday25-min Pickup Run: Keep an easy pace (don’t worry about your time). About every 5min, “pick up” your pace to your target race pace for 1min. These are not sprints, just a slight increase in pace/effort. After the 1min pickup, return to your easy pace/effort and repeat until the allotted time.

Sunday – RACE DAY

The post 10-Week Half-marathon Training Program for Intermediate Runners appeared first on Men's Journal.

Score 45% Off Protein Powders & More at the MyProtein Birthday Sale


Europe’s number-one sports nutrition brand is now in the US, and it’s celebrating its 15th birthday with a massive birthday blowout sale. Right now, take 45 percent off EVERYTHING at Myprotein using the code BDAY45.

From the brand’s awesome protein powders and amino acids and creatines to vitamins and minerals, high-protein foods, and performance clothing, there’s something at Myprotein for every fitness enthusiast. There are weight loss supplements, recovery aids, and so much more. And all you have to do is enter the code BDAY45 at checkout to take advantage of this incredible opportunity.

Not Another Startup

Myprotein has been fulfilling Europe’s fitness needs for 15 years. The company launched in 2004, and today Myprotein is the UK’s number-one online sports nutrition company. Its most popular products by far are its awesome protein powders, including vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free options.


Rest assured, this is no small-time operation. Myprotein works with independent laboratories and testing partners to ensure everything meets the highest standards of sanitation and nutrition. Independent sports nutrition tester Labdoor has ranked Myprotein’s Impact Whey Isolate the top protein powder in Europe for value, and its Creatine Monohydrate number-one for quality.

Protein Options for Every Body

Vegans rejoice! Myprotein offers a wide selection of plant-based and organic products to suit any diet or fitness regimen, including keto. This vegan-friendly range has recently expanded to include a variety of products with zero animal substances.


Best of all, Myprotein products contain zero substances that are prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency, so it’s safe.

If you haven’t heard of Myprotein, there’s never been a better time to try it out. Right now during the Birthday Sale is the perfect opportunity to jump on board and see what has European and worldwide fitness enthusiasts raving about. Just remember to use the code BDAY45 at checkout, and you’ll be on your way to looking good and feeling great in no time.

GET IT: Take 45 percent off EVERYTHING at Myprotein with the code BDAY45 today

The post Score 45% Off Protein Powders & More at the MyProtein Birthday Sale appeared first on Men's Journal.

The Best Full-Body Barbell Workout You’re Not Doing


THE BARBELL. It’s perhaps the original fitness tool. You’ll never skill out of it, it’ll challenge your whole body, and there’s something deeply satisfying about picking up a weight and putting it down. But it’s possible your go-to routine has gotten stale, which means you might be missing out on certain areas, or are limiting your movement patterns. So we asked Adam Aguilera of CrossFit Sprag, outside Austin, Texas, to put together a set of moves you maybe don’t do. They emphasize functional movement patterns as well. (You can hoist a weight, but can you move it forward and to the side?) Aguilera has put a spotlight on flexibility, as well as greater depth of movement, to improve strength and help stave off injury. The first couple of times doing this workout, keep the weight lighter and find a good tempo, Aguilera says. If you want to load up at the end for a nice deadlift, nothing’s stopping you.

Get to Work

Load plates (the bar is usually 45 pounds) and do 4 sets of a move; rest 1 minute between sets. For each rep, take 5 seconds to move the weight, and hold 5 seconds at the end range of the movement.

Expert Tip: Super-Set Your Workout

While challenging, these movements are fairly straightforward, unlike, say, hang cleans. That’s by design. You can load on more weight, go slow, and focus on strength. Or ease up on the plates, aim for speed, and add in supersets. For instance, pepper in the warmup cardio movements between sets, or slot in flexibility/stability exercises (think Superman holds and bird-dogs). That’ll help maintain mobility through the workout, and it’ll also mean you can breeze through a post-lifting stretch session.

The Warm-Up

Get your heart pumping and joints lubricated with these body-weight movements: jog in place; skips/high knees; air squats; inchworms; alternating lunges. Do them for 30 seconds nonstop, rest, and cycle through it again. During the workout, treat the first set of each move as a warmup, so use an empty bar. 


1. Barbell Split Squat

Load a barbell with 20 to 40 pounds, and rack it in the back squat position. (Use a power rack, or clean and press barbell and rest it on shoulders.) Stand tall with feet hip-distance apart, knees soft. Step right foot back two to three feet so torso is equidistant between feet. Plant the ball of back foot on ground and keep heel raised to start. Lower right knee toward floor until left knee is bent at a 90-degree angle and shin is perpendicular to the ground. Press through left heel to rise and return to start. Do all reps with right leg back, then switch sides. Do 8 to 10 reps per set.

2. Barbell Dead Row

Load a barbell with 40 to 80 pounds, or about half of what you would regularly deadlift for a set of 8 reps. Stand with feet hip-distance apart, barbell an inch in front of shins. Squat, grab barbell with a neutral grip, and rise to standing for a deadlift (A). Pause and then, keeping shoulders back and abs engaged, press butt back, allowing torso to angle at about 45 degrees, arms near knees. Keeping shoulders high and without slumping over, pull elbows straight back and row barbell to stomach twice (B), then rise to standing, and slowly lower barbell to the ground. Do 6 to 8 reps per set. 

4. Staggered Walking Lunge

Load a barbell with 20 to 40 pounds and rack it in the back squat position. Lift left knee (A), then take a big step forward and to the left, so feet are spread apart, at an angle with torso equidistant between feet. Drop right knee to floor so that left knee forms a 90-degree angle. Press through left heel to return to standing, feet parallel. Repeat on the right side for 1 rep. Do 8 to 10 reps.

3. Unstable Pushup

Set up a barbell on the floor with 20-pound weight plates on either side. Kneel behind it and place hands on the barbell slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart. Roll barbell so it is under chest, and press up. Step feet behind you to enter a high plank. Balance there, then slowly lower chest toward bar, stopping a few inches before touching. Reverse movement to start. Do 5 to 10 reps per set. (This can be done from knees for a warmup set. For an added challenge, bring hands closer together.)

5. Skull Crusher

Lie on back, knees comfortably bent, feet on floor and slightly wider than hip-width apart, a barbell loaded with 10-pound plates directly behind head. Grasp the barbell with both hands, elbows bent, upper arms perpendicular to chest. Use triceps to lift barbell so it’s directly over chest, arms straight, wrists flat, to start. Keeping upper arms still, bend elbows back to lower barbell behind head, a few inches off B ground, then reverse to start for 1 rep. Do 10 to 12 reps per set.

6. Barbell Reverse Crunch

Lie on back, an empty or lightly loaded barbell on chest, hands wider than shoulder-width apart. Press the barbell over chest, locking out arms, and lift legs, so they form an L with torso, to start. Keeping feet slightly flexed, press hips up so balls of feet reach toward the ceiling as high as possible, then lower for 1 rep. Do 12 to 15 reps per set, cycling through them fairly quickly.


The post The Best Full-Body Barbell Workout You’re Not Doing appeared first on Men's Journal.

Here’s How to Get 10% Off Natural Vegan Protein Powders Right Now


If you’re serious about losing weight and getting into better shape, you need to start supplementing your diet with protein. But which one? With all the protein powders, bars, diets, and other protein-enhanced items on the market, it’s hard to know which is right for you. Especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan. Developed with vegan athletes and trainers in mind, IdealRaw Organic Protein utilizes plant protein exclusively. It’s great for those who want a protein supplement but want to stay vegan. And right now, it’s on sale. Just use the code Raw10 at checkout to take 10 percent off anything, sitewide at IdealRaw.

Why Plant Protein?

As you probably know, protein is composed of amino acids. Of the 20 known amino acids, nine are considered “essential”—meaning, they are not produced in the body and must be supplied by the foods we eat. Protein sources that contain all nine essential amino acids are considered to be complete.

The most common complete protein food sources are animal proteins, like meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. You can also get complete protein via whey protein powders. But for those living a vegan lifestyle for health, ethical, or medical reasons, animal protein sources and whey protein supplements are just not viable options.

Plant protein is a vegan-friendly option that can help those abstaining from animal products to reach their protein needs. Plant protein is more easily digested than other protein powders like whey. It can also help you meet your muscle-building needs.

But not all plant-based protein powders are created equal. Because most plant proteins aren’t considered a complete protein, multiple plant sources must be combined to make a complete protein. And that’s the main reason why protein powders look and taste different.

Are All Protein Powders the Same?

Hardly! When searching for a plant protein powder, you want something that contains the right blend of sources to provide a complete protein. It also has to taste good.

Sourced from seven different plant-based and vegan protein sources, IdealRaw Organic Protein contains all nine essential amino acids. It also contains a superfood blend providing added vitamins and minerals. And the IdealRaw team spent two and a half years formulating ingredients, adding superfoods, testing proteins, and conducting over 200 taste tests to get the flavor just right.


In addition to its good taste and outstanding nutritional profile, IdealRaw Protein is USDA certified organic, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO, and naturally sweetened. If you’re looking for a vegan-friendly plant-based protein, you’ve got to try IdealRaw.

But protein powders aren’t the only thing on sale at IdealRaw. Use the code Raw10 to get 10 percent off any purchase sitewide. Do it today!

GET IT: Use the code Raw10 to take 10% Off sitewide at IdealRaw

The post Here’s How to Get 10% Off Natural Vegan Protein Powders Right Now appeared first on Men's Journal.

The Top 10 Sports Nutrition & Protein Bars


Who doesn’t love a good protein bar? Whether you need a quick pick-me-up or just something to tide you over until mealtime, protein bars are a fantastic option that provide nutrients and energy with great taste—and usually very little (or even zero) sugar. But with so many on the market, it’s hard to know which one to pick. So we’ve rounded up some of the best and most popular protein bars for you.

No matter if you’re on a low-carb, high protein diet or just trying to lose weight, a protein bar is a great choice. They help keep you full between meals, and have vastly more nutritional value than a candy bar. They’re better for breakfast than cereal and pastries. They work awesome as a between-meal snack. And a lot of people substitute them for meals when altogether.

They’re also great for athletic recovery. After a hard session in the weight room or CrossFit arena, a protein bar can give your muscles and tissues a kickstart to recovery with a jolt of amino acids, to get you back in the game faster while keeping vital nutrients flowing.

Protein bars come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and flavors. The most popular—LUNA bars, PureProtein, and ONE come to mind—have been around for years. But the new breed of protein bars like GoMacro, PowerCrunch, and thinkThin are taking the protein bar into previously uncharted territories, providing vegan, gluten-free, and kosher options. Even stalwart brands like Gatorade and SlimFast have gotten in on the protein bar action.

So quit snacking between meals, kickstart your recovery, and start enjoying healthy snacks today. There’s a flavor to suit every taste. And most come in a variety of flavors and package sizes, so experimenting until you find the one that’s right for you is a breeze. So try some of these bestselling protein bars, and take our health and fitness into your own hands.

1. Gatorade Whey Protein Bars

The perfect post-workout snack, it's made with 20g whey and milk protein to help rebuild your muscles, so you come back strong. Available in Almod Butter, Chocolate Chip, Black Raspberry, and Salted Caramel flavors.

GET IT: Pick up Gatorade Whey Protein Bars (from $18/box of 12) at Amazon

See All the Protein Bars at Amazon here

2. Pure Protein Bars Variety Pack

This delicious, gluten free, chewy chocolate chip bar has 20g of whey protein to help fuel your day. Comes with six each of Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Deluxe, and Chewy Chocolate Chip. Only about 200 calories each (depending on flavor). 

GET IT: Pick up the Pure Protein Bars Variety Pack ($19/box of 18) at Amazon

See All the Protein Bars at Amazon here

3. thinkThin High Protein Bars

With 20g of soy and whey based protein, this is a great multipurpose nutritional bar that can go from an energy boosting snack to a meal replacement when paired with a piece of fruit. With 0g sugar and no artificial sweeteners. Available in Crunchy or Creamy peanut butter, Chocolate Fudge, or brownie flavors.

GET IT: Pick up thinkThin High Protein Bars (from $12/box of 10) at Amazon 

See All the Protein Bars at Amazon here

4. LUNA Lemonzest Bar

8g of soy protein, it uses organic whole grain oats so it's gluten free, and sweetened with sugar cane and brown rice syrups. While this is the top-rated flavor, it's also available in Blueberry Bliss and Chocolate Coconut. 

GET IT: Pick up the LUNA Lemonzest Bar ($12/box of 15) at Amazon

See All the Protein Bars at Amazon here

5. RXBAR Real Food Protein Bar

RXBARs are whole food protein bars made with egg whites, dates, nuts, and 100 percent natural ingredients. It's gluten-free and dairy-free with no artificial flavors, preservatives, or fillers. 12g protein, 5g fiber, 210 calories, 0g added sugars. Available in Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter & Berries, and Peanut Butter & Chocolate flavors.

GET IT: Pick up RXBAR Real Food Protein Bars (from $15/box of 12) at Amazon

See All the Protein Bars at Amazon here

6. ONE Protein Bars, Best Sellers Variety Pack

This is a great deal. These gluten-free bars are a perfect guilt-free snack when your energy is low. Variety pack includes Birthday Cake, Almond Bliss, and Maple Glazed Doughnut, and Peanut Butter Pie flavors. 20g of whey and milk protein, 1g of sugar, and zero regrets.

GET IT: Pick up ONE Protein Bars Best Sellers Variety Pack ($28/box of 12) at Amazon

See All the Protein Bars at Amazon here

7. Atkins Protein Wafer Crisps

Like the wafer cookies we loved as kids, these keto-friendly wafers are available in Vanilla wafers with Peanut Butter filling, or Chocolate wafers with Chocolate Mint filling. Either way, they have no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, with just 11g of protein, 5g of fiber, 3g net carbs, and only 1g of sugar.

GET IT: Pick up Atkins Protein Wafer Crisps ($6/box of 5) at Amazon

See All the Protein Bars at Amazon here

8. GoMacro MacroBar

Using vegan chocolate and a combination of pea protein and brown rice protein, GoMacro bars are USDA certified organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, kosher, soy-free, and C.L.E.A.N. and R.A.W. certified. Available in 12 flavors, this Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip variety is the most popular.

GET IT: Pick up GoMacro MacroBars ($26/box of 12) at Amazon

See All the Protein Bars at Amazon here

9. SlimFast Keto Meal Bar

Take your keto to go. Each bar has 14g of fat, 7g of whey protein, coconut oil MCTs, and just 3g total sugars for just 3g net carbs. Plus, it's free from gluten, artificial sweeteners, and artificial flavors and colors. Available in Triple Chocolate or Peanut Butter flavors.

GET IT: Pick up SlimFast Keto Meal Bars ($10/box of 5) at Amazon

See All the Protein Bars at Amazon here

10. Power Crunch Protein Energy Bar

Get your power in nine tasty flavors. Power Crunch utilizes "high-dh hydrolyzed whey protein." These di- and tripeptides and Micro Peptides harness the power of PEPT-1 transporters, which deliver rapid absorption and delivery of protein throughout the body. For serious fitness enthusiasts.

GET IT: Pick up Power Crunch Protein Energy Bars (starting at $16/box of 12) at Amazon

See All the Protein Bars at Amazon here

Check out all the products and gear we’ve selected for Men's Journal readers here.


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Under Armour RUSH Compression Gear Helps You Recover Faster


Once you finish that marathon, outlast the competition in a muddy obstacle race, or max out your HIIT workout, you need your body to start repairing and recharging as quickly as possible. But who has the time to foam roll, ice, and rest? There’s a faster way to speed recovery: UA RUSH athletic apparel. Now you can get recovery started before your workout is even over.

Compression clothing gear boosts recovery by forcing blood to flow faster and more efficiently to your heart, which pumps oxygen-rich blood back to your muscles. The targeted compression that UA RUSH provides can also clear lactic acid buildup to relieve soreness. This gets you off the couch and back on the court—or into the gym, or onto the field—faster.

Athletes wear compression gear both on and off the court and in and out of the gym. From NBA players to runners to football players, compression gear has proven benefits. Plus, in the medical field, compression was (and still is) used to decrease inflammation in patients, so it makes sense that it’s a must-have for both athletes and average gym-goers who get sore muscles after a particularly tough workout.

“During a workout, the body has endured micro-tearing of the muscle and created lactic acid, which it flushes out through the lymphatic system,” Chad Beauchamp, a Southern California–based sports physical therapist, told Men’s Journal. “It would normally take two or three days to flush out the excess, but [compression] garments quicken this process, so you’ll have less muscle soreness and recover a lot faster.”

Sound good? It gets better. UA RUSH gear is made with mineral-infused fabric that absorbs the body heat you manufacture during performance, and converts it into infrared energy. That energy is then reflected and re-emitted back into your body. Wear UA RUSH when you work out, and not only will the compression improve your circulation, help clear lactic acid, and speed your recovery, but the infrared therapy can increase your endurance and strength. So you can work out even longer. So you can recover even faster, and work out even harder. And so on.

Use UA RUSH apparel regularly, and you can create a cycle of improved performance and faster recovery that’s beneficial not just to your workout regimen, but your overall health and fitness.

Will UA RUSH Improve My Game?

UA RUSH gear is particularly advantageous in competitive sports like basketball, where you’re engaging in explosive movements such as sprinting and jumping. Not only will you speed your recovery, compression apparel inspires confidence by providing feedback on how your body reacts to these sudden movements. When you better know how your body is feeling, you’re able to push yourself harder when you need to—or call it quits when you have to. This advanced body awareness is known as proprioception.

With UA RUSH apparel, the harder you push, the hotter you get. The hotter you get, the more infrared energy you create, so the faster you recover. So the harder you work. So the hotter you get. And so on.

Additionally, they just look (and feel) great. The line is comprised of mostly soft greys, muted earth tones and classic black, so there’s no danger of mismatching your gear. They also fit like a second skin, minus the squeeze. It’s comfortable, not constricting. Reviewers love the line, too. Many note that the leggings and tees are the items they reach for the most before a workout, and many claim that the compression gear has become part of their new gym uniform. We can’t blame them.

GET IT: Ready to try out UA RUSH responsive workout gear? Check out some of our favorite picks here, and see the full line at UA.com.

UA RUSH Compression Shorts

With a 9-inch inseam, these compression shorts are designed to cover your quads, so they'll make an excellent base layer for lifting, squats, or even under your basketball shorts. Or wear them during post-workout recovery to keep the compression effects flowing.

Under Armour
UA RUSH Compression Tank Top

Get even more mobility with this sleeveless shirt. Perfect for hot summer days in a stinky gym, you'll be able to move more freely and focus on the task at hand. So go ahead and run that extra lap.

Under Armour
UA RUSH Compression Long Sleeve Shirt

Regardless if you're chasing a speedy point guard up and down the court or crunching till you can't breathe anymore, protect your upper body and get your abs back to the point where you can start all over again with this second-skin. It's got raglan sleeves for mobility and a low-pro collar for breathability.

Under Armour

The post Under Armour RUSH Compression Gear Helps You Recover Faster appeared first on Men's Journal.

Men Have a Biological Clock, too. This Is the Age That Heightens High-Risk Pregnancies, Birth Defects


For women, it’s well known that putting off having kids until middle age can be risky, both for their health and the health of their child. But men have never really been a part of that picture. Until now. New research suggests men need to be aware of their biological clocks, too.

New Research Shows Oysters and Chocolate Could Be Your Secret Weapons to Fight Aging

Men who have children at the age of 45+ put their partners at risk for pregnancy complications, and their children have elevated risks of birth defects, childhood cancers, and other health issues, according to a study published in Maturitas. Researchers reviewed 40 years worth of studies on how parental age affects fertility, pregnancy, and a child’s well-being over time.

The findings come at a time where more and more men are delaying having children. The number of infants born to fathers over 45 has risen 10 percent in the U.S. over the past 40 years. To address the impacts of this trend, the study focused on three main risk areas: fertility, pregnancy, and children’s health. The researchers found that men 45 and older can experience decreased fertility, and if they decide to have children, their partners may experience a higher risk of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes and premature birth. The data also showed that their children had a higher risk of issues like low scores on the Apgar test (a basic examination used to assess a baby’s heart rate, breathing, and overall health), low birth weight, congenital heart disease, and cleft palate.

The potential issues continued as the children grew up. Children born to older fathers had an elevated risk for several other mental and physical health problems, including childhood cancers, psychiatric and cognitive disorders, and autism.

10 Ways You're Sabotaging Your Workouts—and How to Fix Them

Bachmann points to the natural process of aging as the root cause of most of these issues, although she cautions that more research is needed to really clarify how they’re all related. As men get older, their testosterone levels decline, and the quality of their sperm and semen starts to degrade as well, which helps explain the fertility issues older men often deal with. In addition, aging can cause genetic changes in male sperm, and these mutations may explain the correlation between high paternal age and increased risk of health issues in their children.

The Best Anti-aging Regimen, According to Dermatologists

Overall, the study illustrates the importance of understanding how fertility changes with age, regardless of gender.

“Women tend to be more aware and educated than men about their reproductive health,” says study author Gloria Bachmann, director of the Women’s Health Institute at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “Most men do not consult with physicians unless they have a medical or fertility issue.”

But this doesn’t mean you have to have kids while you’re young, researchers say. Sperm banks provide another option. The researchers recommend men who want to delay fatherhood should bank their sperm before they turn 35, which should mitigate the risks to their partner and child.

The post Men Have a Biological Clock, too. This Is the Age That Heightens High-Risk Pregnancies, Birth Defects appeared first on Men's Journal.

The 7 Best Supplements For Helping Shed Water Weight


Ever notice when you start a low-carb diet, the first five pounds or so just drops off like magic in that first week? It seems miraculous, but the reason it happens is simple: You’re shedding water weight. Now, low-carb diets are great and all, but there are plenty of ways to lose water weight. So what’s the best diuretic supplement?

Shedding water weight is a quick and easy way to lose a bit of weight, fast. Done correctly, it’s perfectly safe. It’s ideal for making sure you look your best for a special occasion. Headed to a beach wedding or vacation this summer? Entering a bodybuilding competition? Going to a high school reunion? Anytime you want to drop a few quick pounds and enhance your muscular definition, here’s an experiment you can try.

How To Shed Water Weight

About a week or ten days out, just stop eating processed foods. Don’t starve yourself! Stay away from fast foods and junk, and eat plenty of chicken and fish. Mix in lots of whole grains and vegetables, and switch to a low-salt, low-carb diet overall. At the same time, start taking a diuretic supplement. Most importantly, make sure to maintain your regular exercise regimen. Because if you’re going to do this, you may as well make the most of it. And nothing sheds water like a good, sweaty workout.

Make sure to drink plenty of water; you’ll need to stay hydrated with all the fluids your body is flushing out. After a few days, chances are you may start to look and feel a bit trimmer and within a week or so, most people find themselves a few pounds lighter. Those who are already fitness enthusiasts should notice a bit more muscular definition. The effect is much the same as after you start that low-carb diet, but the diuretics should aid in flushing out excess water from your system. (Of course, you should always consult your doctor before beginning any kind of weight-loss regimen.)

As with any low-carb diet, once the water weight sheds off (your body will only regulate itself so far) your sudden, semi-drastic weight loss will temper itself. Then it’s up to you to continue eating right and exercising regularly. Clearly, avoiding processed and junk foods and cutting back on salt overall is good diet advice, anyway. But with any luck, you’ll not only look your best for the occasion, but you’ll have the discipline to stay the healthy, trim course.

There are plenty of products on the shelves that claim to help you lose water weight and ease bloating. Most of them are all-natural, herbal supplements that use a variation of dandelion root, cranberry powder, burdock root, and the like. Many are stimulant-free and vegetarian. Which diuretic supplements are  best? Here are nine we think will help you shed water weight and ease bloating, naturally.

Tevare Water Away – $1 Off

The number one-selling diuretic on Amazon nets 4.5 stars from 1,600-plus reviews. Packed with vitamin B6, pyridoxine HCI, potassium, dandelion and green tea extracts, cranberry powder, juniper berry and buchu leaf extract, apple cider vinegar extract, and corn silk, paprika, and watermelon powders. 

GET IT: Pick up Tevare Water Away ($18 with coupon) at Amazon

GAT Jet Fuel Diuretic – Save $6

An effective muscle-defining supplement with 14 active ingredients. Each serving delivers 2,455mg of water expelling actives. It's free of stimulants and stacked with herbal extracts and electrolytes.

GET IT: Pick up JetFuel Diuretic ($25; was $31) at Vitamin Shoppe

Vitamin Shoppe
Zeal Naturals Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a fantastic aid for chronic bloating relief, cleanse for weight loss, detox, and a natural appetite suppressant. Mix in a touch of cayenne pepper, and you've got a powerful, all-natural cleansing solution. ACV has also been shown to reduce cholesterol.

GET IT: Pick up Zeal Naturals Apple Cider Vinegar ($17) at Amazon

Nutrex Research Lipo 6 Aqua Loss – $3 Off

A fast-acting, natural diuretic that helps eliminate excess water from the body. It helps reduce bloat and enhance definition by supporting subcutaneous water loss (from beneath the skin). It also contains key electrolytes to help maintain muscle strength and fullness.

GET IT: Pick up Nutrex Research Lipo 6 Aqua Loss ($27; was $30) at Vitamin Shoppe

Vitamin Shoppe
NOW Water Out

Dandelion root has been traditionally used to support the maintenance of water equilibrium, while uva ursi and juniper have historically been used by herbalists to support a healthy urinary tract. Also contains vitamin B6 and potassium.

GET IT: Pick up NOW Water Out ($9) at Walmart

Jacked Factory Dry XT

Horsetail herb, dandelion root, and hawthorn berry powder act as diuretics, while B6 and potassium, calcium, and magnesium provide electrolytes and nutrition. Also contains green tea extract and yerba mate powder.

GET IT: Pick up Jacked Factory Dry XT ($15) at Amazon

Nutra FX Fluid Fighter

Some water weight pills can deplete electrolytes. Fluid Fighter formula contains potassium to balance potassium lost through urination, plus herbs for fast, natural water weight loss. The stimulant-free formula contains vitamin B6, buchu, uva ursi, parsley, and Burdock root.

GET IT: Pick up Nutra FX Fluid Fighter ($13) at Amazon

Check out all the products and gear we’ve selected for Men's Journal readers here

See Also: 

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The post The 7 Best Supplements For Helping Shed Water Weight appeared first on Men's Journal.

Right Now Take an Amazing 48% Off This Portable Rowing Machine


Rowing machines—aka ergs—are a fantastic fitness tool. Whether you use one for warming up before a workout or fitness activity, as the workout itself, or as a cool-down after a hard lifting session, an erg can help you get the results you want to see. And right now, you can get a great deal on a portable rowing machine at Amazon.

Imagine getting a full-body, cardio workout in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Now you can. The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 magnetic rowing machine gets high marks by over 1,100 reviewers. People love it. It’s there when you need it, folds up and tucks out of sight when you don’t, and right now it’s just $209—that’s $191 off the regular price.


Sunny Health & Fitness

It’s also loaded with features. A smooth, quiet magnetic tension system with eight levels of adjustable tension lets you set the pace, while an on board LCD console tracks it. For comfort and convenience, the Sunny rowing machine has a padded seat, anti-slip foot pedals, a foam grip handlebar, and integrated wheels that let you roll it into place or out of the way.

The digital monitor displays time, count, calories burned, and an overall total count that’s ideal for HIIT or CrossFit workouts. The convenient scan mode scrolls through each reading in succession as you row, so you can keep one eye on your progress and track all your fitness goals. With the tension knob, you can switch up the intensity of your workouts. This feature comes in particularly handy when you’re use your erg for a variety of workouts: warming up, cooling down, or something in between.

Textured, non-slip foot pedals let you focus on the workout without feeling unbalanced; straps keep your feet saddled in. When your session is over, just fold the Sunny, tilt it up, and roll it into a corner. It’s really light and easy to maneuver, too; its dimensions when folded are just 37″L x 19″W x 53.5″H.

Sunny Health & Fitness

Done correctly, rowing is a full-body workout, and can tire you out in minutes. Because all major muscle groups are involved—legs, back, glutes, shoulders, arms, and abs—each stroke requires a lot of power and oxygen, even on a low-resistance setting. That’s what makes it so great for cardio workouts or warm-ups before playing sports like basketball or volleyball.

Newcomers to the rowing machine make two common mistakes. The first is trying to do too much too soon by using too much resistance. Dial it down at the beginning, and your body will adapt so you can gradually build your way up. But there’s no need to try to max it out; even if you’re using an erg as a workout, you should never really get beyond the midrange. It’s just too much strain on your back.

The second error is too much focus on the pull. Rowing is more about your hips and legs than it is your arms, chest, or back. Done correctly, you’ll be using use your entire body in concert to achieve maximum effectiveness. So begin by powering through the legs. Then, as your hips begin to hinge back, initiate the pull with your arms. That whole process should take 1 second, while the reset takes 2 seconds. Even as your stroke gets faster, that ratio should stay consistent.

Now that you know how to do it, why wait? Get the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 magnetic rowing machine at Amazon for just $209. A word of advice: Depending on where you plan to use it, you may also want to get a foldable rubber equipment mat ($27 at Amazon) to protect your floors.

GET IT: Pick up the Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine ($209; was $400) at Amazon

See Also:

The Ultimate Guide to Rowing Machine Workouts

8 New Ways to Use A Rower

The post Right Now Take an Amazing 48% Off This Portable Rowing Machine appeared first on Men's Journal.

Can Ultras and Endurance Sports Harm Your Health?


MIKE WARDIAN IS the picture of health. At 45, he’s been a professional ultrarunner for 16 years. He races 50-plus times annually, covering around 200 miles a week. He’s six feet tall, weighs 145 pounds, and has a body-fat percentage of 8.5. His resting heart rate is 38 beats per minute. He has 20/20 vision. And he’s never had a cavity.

Yet every four months, Wardian goes to a cardiologist for diagnostic testing. It’s not for some congenital heart disorder, either. It’s because of his sport.

In the 2008 Olympic Marathon trials held in New York City, fellow runner Ryan Shay collapsed and died; the cause was later attributed to an irregular heartbeat and an oversize heart. The incident spooked Wardian enough to closely monitor the health of his own heart. “It is one of those things where you think, yeah, this may not be that good for you,” he says.

Exercise is healthy, of course. But there can be too much of a good thing. A handful of researchers are now suggesting that participating in ultraendurance sports may be harmful to your long-term health. Cardiologists at the University of Toronto published a study that found highly trained endurance athletes are three to five times likelier to experience an atrial fibrillation, like Shay suffered. And with the entries rising for marathons, triathlons, and ever-gnarlier adventure races, more people may be unknowingly putting themselves at risk.

10 Science-Backed Tips Guaranteed to Make You a Better Runner

Exact numbers are hard to come by, but Ultrarunning Magazine reports that in 2016, there were 1,473 ultras. In 2006, there were 369. Running a marathon was once seen as hardcore. Now it is commonplace. So people who want to prove their mettle are taking things up a notch. Ironman triathlons—a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and a marathon— often sell out in minutes. And “doubling” is a thing now. Marathoners, triathletes, and even Ironman athletes compete in multiple races in one season, sometimes weeks apart. There are even people who do a “Double Boston.” They meet in the wee hours on Boston Marathon morning on Boylston Street at the finish line and run the reverse course to Hopkinton. A few hours later, they line up with the rest of the marathoners and run the course again. By day’s end, they’ll have logged 52.4 miles. And as the distance covered on race day grows, so is the time spent training.

David Nieman, a professor of exercise physiology and immunology at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, used to be an ultrarunner. But he quit. The research—his research—was too compelling.

The Best Trail Running Gear for Heading Out Into the Wild

In 2001, at the behest of race organizers, Nieman studied the immune responses of runners at the Western States Endurance Run, a hellishly hard 100-mile race through California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. He recruited 45 people willing to give blood and saliva samples prerace, at mile 56, and five to 10 minutes after the race ended. He was looking for signs of inflammation, oxidative stress, and immune function—which would give him an idea of just how much duress their bodies were under. He was shocked by what he found.

“The trauma is pretty severe,” Nieman says. He found increases in markers of inflammation of up to 250 percent, plus immune system suppression. “Your immune system goes into a red-flag mode as it responds to what the body has gone through,” he says.

Then came research from Norway, published in Cancer Causes and Control. Researchers found that longtime endurance athletes had a twofold risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

Still, few ultraendurance athletes are talking about this. We spoke with several pro ultrarunners, and none were familiar with the research, including a 2018 study published in Intensive Care Medicine, which found that mountain ultramarathon finishers exhibited immune system changes similar to those of severe trauma patients. Yes, the athletes bounced back faster than ICU patients, but the idea is that athletes may be putting their bodies through significant trauma, sometimes multiple times a year.


“The runners are temporarily presenting features of very severe immunosuppression,” says study author Guillaume Monneret, an expert in clinical immunology at Lyon University Hospital in France. Six days later, their levels had returned to normal. But that was after just one ultra. “For runners who are doing a lot of these kinds of races, you can imagine that they have a kind of cumulative effect,” he says.

Monneret and Nieman can’t help but speculate that the excessive amounts of inflammation built up during weeks of training, followed by the race, may have long-term consequences. “Cancer can be a reflection of immunosuppression, and when someone is in that chronic state, certain cancers may be able to flourish,” Monneret says.

So should you be racing hundred-milers every few months or competing in back-to-back Ironmen? Nieman says no: “I think their zeal outweighs their common sense.”

But other researchers say this is alarmist. “Inflammation is a good thing—it’s what our bodies adapt to,” says Matthew Laye, a professor of health and human performance at the College of Idaho. With repeated exercise, the body starts regulating down its inflammatory response—basically, it gets used to the mileage. “All the data I know about from epidemiological studies shows that exercise is protective against cancers—especially colon and breast cancers,” Laye adds.

In fact, doctors are using exercise to help cancer patients. Researchers in Alberta, Canada, found high-intensity interval training can help recent testicular-cancer patients cope with post-chemo fatigue and can boost heart health. And a study from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston shows that recently treated colon-cancer patients who exercised more had better prognostic biomarkers than those who moved less. Basically, their lab tests suggest cancer in the high-exercise group is less likely to come back. But they were moving 300 minutes a week. For ultra-athletes, that’s one long run.

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Ultimately, whether it’s worth the risk is a personal choice. “I love ultras and the challenge is a great experience,” Nieman says. “But I believe in our data that concludes they are more harmful than healthy.”

Laye disagrees. “I don’t think that saying it can lead to illness later in life is reasonable,” he says. Laye points to research that finds Tour de France participants are healthier, longterm, than the rest of us.

And as for Wardian, he sees it a bit like booze, where science says something different every other week. He stays apprised of research, but hasn’t come across anything that’s compelled him to back off running. “It would have to be: Doing this causes severe harm and will shorten your life span,” Wardian says. “You have to weigh the consequences. I love the sport, and I love being out there.”


If inflammation is the root of all ills, it would make sense that popping a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) like ibuprofen or naproxen would stave off damage. Athletes often take them believing they’re safe and that the drugs will help them train through the pain. But it actually seems to make things worse.

A study conducted by David Nieman found athletes who took NSAIDs at the Western States 100 endurance run had 40 percent higher inflammation levels postrace. Worse, the pills didn’t make the run easier.

Runners who had taken NSAIDs reported levels of soreness and exertion equal to those who did not. But most distressing was that runners who had tried to thwart imminent pain had small amounts of bacteria from their colon leached into their blood, most likely because the NSAIDs had increased the permeability of their intestinal lining.

That’s another knock on NSAIDs: They can injure your gastrointestinal tract. And it appears taking them before exercising (as opposed to afterward) exacerbates that, according to a small study of endurance cyclists, in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

One other thing worries doctors. Unlike prescriptions, for which dosages are overseen by a professional—people can pop NSAIDs to excess. In a study of 764,228 U.S. Army soldiers (who exercise a lot and don’t have desk jobs), more than seven doses of NSAIDs a month was associated with an increase in chronic kidney disease diagnoses.

Conclusion? Pop them once in a while postworkout for sore muscles. Any more than that, consult a doctor.

The post Can Ultras and Endurance Sports Harm Your Health? appeared first on Men's Journal.

The One Stretch Everyone With a Desk Job Should Be Doing


Michael K. Ryan, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon in Birmingham, Alabama, tells us why the Jefferson curl is his favorite move for desk jockeys.

THE JEFFERSON CURL is the stretch with the highest return on investment, helping the most muscles in the least amount of time. It’s ideal for anyone who stands for long periods of time, or who have desk jobs—basically all of us.

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The curl addresses posterior chain issues, referring to the muscles that run from the base of the neck to the heels. Typing at a computer or cradling a phone on your shoulder lead to neck and shoulder tightness, which can pull up on the middle back, glutes, and hamstrings. Sitting stiffens calf muscles and glutes, pulling down on the mid-back and shoulders. Either way, your posterior chain needs TLC.



To do the curl, stand tall at the edge of a bench or plyo box, without a weight or holding a light kettlebell in both hands. Keeping legs straight, slowly bend over, starting with the head and neck, then progressing down one vertebra at a time. As you get to your lower back, keep knees locked out and fold over until kettlebell bottom goes past toes. Hold at the bottom, then tuck chin and draw chest toward thighs. Hold again, then slowly reverse, focusing on activating the core, hamstrings, and hip flexors.

The 10 Best Core Strength Moves

Do this pattern 4 or 5 times, ideally every day. The combination of forward and reverse means each muscle gets an eccentric and concentric stretch—or stretch and release. Not only does this curl target every major muscle group up and down your back and legs, it also stretches out the smaller muscles, ligaments, and joints that make up the spine, which helps you bend and move in all directions. Done properly, it’s one of the few stretches that can completely alleviate tight posterior chain muscles after a long day, week, or month.

The post The One Stretch Everyone With a Desk Job Should Be Doing appeared first on Men's Journal.

These Black Cherry-Flavored Shots Help Accelerate Weight Loss


Are you still trying to get into summer shape? The hardest part about any weight loss plan is, well, feeling hungry all the time. If you’re serious about losing your belly and trimming down in time for summer, the Boombod 28-day Achiever program can help you lose weight, fast.

Even if you’re crushing your daily HIIT workout, cutting calories, and avoiding desserts, losing weight is not easy, especially as we get older. We  find ourselves thinking about food, never feeling satisfied with our meals, and being constantly hungry. This can lead to snacking, over-indulging, and downright cheating on our diet. And it can completely counter all the hard work we put in at the gym.

Boombod is a simple, quick, and painless way to lose weight naturally without feeling hungry. Each 10 calorie shot contains a unique vitamin blend to help your body achieve its goals, and a natural fiber that works to reduce your appetite—and is clinically proven to aid weight loss.

What’s the Secret to Boombod?

The key is the natural fiber glucomannan. It’s the only active ingredient that’s been recognized by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in relation to weight loss. Each Boombod shot contains a quality source of Glucomannan, which works by leaving less room for food, reducing your appetite, and helping you eat less. Glucomannan also sweeps through the digestive tract collecting food particles and toxins, performing a thorough cleanse without laxative effects.

Combine the Boombod 28-day Achiever program with a steady workout and fitness regimen, and before long you’re creating a daily calorie deficit. That means you’re burning more calories than you take in. And that means you’re losing weight. Period.


There are three unique vitamin blends in each Boombod shot. The Morning Energizer has iron, magnesium, vitamin C, and  Glucomannan to boost your metabolism. It will get you going and keep you moving, without feeling hungry. The Afternoon Motivator shot provides zinc, vitamins B12, B6, and B1, as well as Glucomannan. It will reduce the tiredness and general fatigue we all feel after lunchtime, and help you avoid the dreaded 3 o’clock munchies. The Night Rejuvenator offers hair- and skin-rejuvenating biotin, selenium, vitamin D3 and Glucomannan. It will contribute to a healthier, more natural-looking you—and keep you from craving that late-night snack.

When Do I Take Boombod?

Take each shot about 30 minutes before meals in the morning, afternoon, and night. Boombod will keep you from feeling hungry and help your body prep for the fitness regimen and diet program you’ve set out for yourself. Within a month, Boombod will combine with your regimen to help get you slim, trim, and confident in time for beach season. Boombod comes in three Achiever plans: 7, 14, and 28 days. They all feature the same shots; your choice will depend on how much weight you want to lose.

And how much money you want to save. They’re all on sale right now. The 7-Day Achiever plan normally costs $40; it’s on sale right now for $32—that’s 20 percent off. The 14-Day Achiever plan ($60; regularly $80) is 25 percent off. The 28-Day Achiever is the best value. It’s regularly $160, but right now it’s just $112. That’s a 30 percent savings! And you get a free shaker bottle to boot.

So if you’re serious about losing your belly by summertime but are having trouble avoiding the temptations, try Boombod today. You’ll feel full and create that calorie deficit, so you’re burning calories rather than storing them. And you’ll have the confidence to whip that shirt off then the sea and sand come calling.

GET IT: Pick up the 28-Day Achiever plan at Boombod

Check out all the products and gear we’ve selected for Men’s Journal readers here

See Also:

The 4-week Fat-burning Meal Plan

The 4-week Workout Plan to Lose Weight and Burn Away Belly Fat

The post These Black Cherry-Flavored Shots Help Accelerate Weight Loss appeared first on Men's Journal.

Ultrarunner Jim Walmsley Sets New 50-Mile Record in HOKA ONE ONE 100K Challenge


The quest for a sub-2 hour marathon (and the shoes it spawned) has grabbed quite a few headlines, but that’s far from the only record pro runners are hustling to break. Last weekend, a group of American and Japanese ultrarunners gathered to attempt another impressive feat: smash the current men’s and women’s 100K records (roughly 62 miles). Although they weren’t able to crack those two records, one athlete, American ultrarunner Jim Walmsley, managed to break a different one. He set a new 50-mile record with a time of 4:50:08, shattering the previous benchmark by an incredible 43 seconds.

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jim walmsley
Jim Walmsley passes the 50-mile marker on Saturday’s course. Courtesy Image

Walmsley’s record-setting run was part of the Project Carbon X, a 100K record attempt sponsored by running shoe company HOKA ONE ONE. The event was staged to promote HOKA’s new Carbon X racing shoe, and all the participating athletes wore them while running. Walmsley, along with seven other runners, traversed a 100K road course from Folsom, California, to Sacramento on Saturday morning in their dash to set new records (the men’s time to beat is 6:09:14; the women’s is 6:33:11). Hideaki Yamauchi of Japan won Saturday’s race with a time of 6:19:54, and Walmsley finished with a time of 6:55:24—but by blazing through the first 50 miles of the race, he nabbed a different record.

The Best Yoga Positions for Hikers and Trail Runners

Walmsley already has a few FKTs under his belt. In 2018, he set course records at the Western States Endurance Run and the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. He’s also been named “Ultrarunner of the Year” by Ultrarunning Magazine three years in a row. But the Carbon X run was a little different than his usual races, since it took place entirely on the road.

“My passion and love of running is rooted in the trails; however, road ultras have a history that excites me,” Walmsley said in a press release.

Hoka One One Carbon X
Hoka One One Carbon X Courtesy Image

As for the Carbon X shoe, it’s HOKA’s answer to ultra-light racing shoes—like Reebok’s Floatride Run Fast Pro and Nike’s ZoomX Vaporfly, the latter of which Eliud Kipchoge wore in his record-breaking London Marathon finish in April. Although HOKA is known for well-cushioned shoes that err on the heavier side, the Carbon X combines the company’s signature plush ride in a lightweight (read: fast) package for runners looking to set new PRs—and possibly clock some new records along the way.

The new kicks go on sale on May 15 at hokaoneone.com and select retailers June 1.

The Best Trail Running Gear for Heading Out Into the Wild

The post Ultrarunner Jim Walmsley Sets New 50-Mile Record in HOKA ONE ONE 100K Challenge appeared first on Men's Journal.

10 Science-Backed Tips Guaranteed to Make You a Better Runner


If you’re a runner, you know how obsessed the world’s become with harnessing the best technology and engineering it in such a way to propel athletes to run faster than ever before, while safeguarding their joints and muscles from injury—and, of course, being as light as humanly possible. The newest running shoes are so widely publicized and sought after that most leisurely runners don’t think about the nuances in training and recovery an elite athlete employs to be a better runner day after day.

The Best Trail Running Gear for Heading Out Into the Wild

Running is a wholly individualized discipline. Sprinters, mid-distance runners, and ultramarathoners are prone to different risks (e.g. overtraining, IT Band Syndrome, heat exhaustion), need specialized training programs and modalities to achieve individual goals (get faster, run more efficiently, boost endurance), and targeted recovery methods to stay healthy. Problem is, most of the information on the internet on how best to achieve each of these markers is wildly contradictory.

So, experts from the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and the Jaybird Running Sports & Human Performance Division consolidated more than 200 studies on running. The meta-analysis has distilled the unwieldily wealth of information into 10 rules for runners.

Read up on the rules here before you head out for your next run to tap into your inner Eliud Kipchoge.

1. Utilize Elevation Training

Drawing on three different meta-analyses published from 2012 to 2018, the researchers conclude elevation training leads to a net increase in running performance at lower altitudes. You force your body to perform with less available oxygen than usual, which makes the miles comparatively easier when you return to your base altitude. If you're training for an ultramarathon, consider higher ground to boost your endurance pre-race. 

Westend61 / Getty Images
2. Keep Your Cool

Data from two recent meta-analyses—including 42 experiments—shows that cooling the body can help improve a runner's endurance. The UCSB and Jaybird researchers found that both precooling (cooling off before running) and percooling (cooling off while running) were effective—as long as you cool down by applying something chilly to your skin. It doesn't just keep you comfortable during a stifling outdoor workout, it can actually boost your performance. Before a workout, sip ice-cold water and sit in air conditioning. Some elite athletes have been known to wear an ice vest, but an easier (not to mention cheaper) alternative is to invest in a cooling towel, like MISSION. Wet the towel with water mid-run, wring out the excess, then snap to activate. It cools to 30 degrees below average body temperature and stays cool for up to two hours. Drape it around your neck or head on particularly hot days.

Courtesy Image
3. Add Some Resistance

Data from several published analyses, which collectively surveyed over 1,000 primary studies, proves that resistance training is another great way to increase endurance. To get the benefits, train with a moderate to heavy amount of resistance no more than two times per week, performing exercises like prowler pushes.

The Good Brigade / Getty Images
4. Increase Speed With Plyometrics

Based on information from 56 research studies on plyometric training (for runners, that means jumping), the study recommends doing at least 15 weekly sessions of 80 high-intensity jumps (without weight) for 10 weeks. The result? Faster sprint times.

skynesher / Getty Images
5. Be Smart About Stretching

There's conflicting evidence on the benefits of stretching. Researchers believe regular stretching (as in you devote time nearly every day to stretching and/or yoga) might boost force, jump height, and speed, but there's nothing to suggest it'll improve endurance and economy. Acute stretching (i.e. some static stretches before you run) won't help any of those factors either, but it's not necessarily detrimental. Instead of aimlessly doing a couple toe touches before you head outdoors, engage in a proper warmup. Make sure it includes an aerobic component, some dynamic stretches and movements that mimic what you're about to do (hamstring sweeps, bodyweight squats, the world's greatest stretch, hip swings, etc.), as well as some glute activation. Doing hip circles and fire hydrant drills with a mini band just above your knees will fire up the muscles you want to engage when you run.


Westend61 / Getty Images
6. Train Hard for Endurance, Fast for Speed

Data from two meta-analyses shows that short sprints can help you bump up your speed. Sprinting in bursts of 20 meters or 10 seconds with a 90-second recovery for at least two weeks led to a signficant increase in running speed over short distances. Meanwhile, endurance athletes saw greater improvements in their disciplines when they hunkered down through resistance training at low frequencies but high loads. 


Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images
7. Prioritize Recovery

Don't underestimate the benefits of a day off—or a bag of ice on your aching legs. Conclusions from two meta-analyses indicate icing and/or ice baths can alleviate muscle soreness and boost recovery times. Of course, you want to make sleep a big emphasis as well.

Michael Dodge / Stringer / Getty Images
8. Manage Longer Training Distances

Ultrarunners suffer the most injuries, due to the high mileage and instances of overuse and overtraining. Don't just grind through long runs: More mileage doesn't necessarily mean faster, better progress. The risk of injury increases as training distances increase—so think twice before pushing yourself through back-to-back double-digit days. Listen to your body, dial up the distance slowly, and incorporate cross-training to mitigate the risks of long-distance training. 

SolStock / Getty Images
9. Properly Taper Pre-Race

Tapering, or backing off on your training in the leadup to race day, is a common practice among runners, and the data supports it. An analysis of 182 studies on tapering shows that a two-week taper led to increased performance for runners. Drop your training volume anywhere from 41-60 percent.

vgajic / Getty Images
10. Get in the Right Mindset

Any seasoned runner will tell you that running is as much a mental exercise as a physical one. And they're right: Data from 51 studies including over 4,500 athletes suggests having a goal-oriented mindset is a strong factor in running performance, especially for endurance athletes.

wundervisuals / Getty Images

The post 10 Science-Backed Tips Guaranteed to Make You a Better Runner appeared first on Men's Journal.

This Charcoal Powder Drastically Whitens Teeth Without Any Chemicals


There a zillion teeth-whitening products on the market While we’d all like to have whiter teeth, the choice can be overwhelming. How do you dig through all the jargon and find out what really works? The best way to find out what really works is to take the advice of people who’ve spent their hard-earned money on a product, and still swear by it. When it comes to teeth-whitening products, Nearly 20,000 Amazon reviewers agree: Active Wow Teeth Whitening Charcoal Powder works.

It’s all-natural, with no chemicals, bleach, or peroxide. Activated charcoal, used regularly, helps remove stains on your teeth. And the best part is, right now it’s an astounding 34 percent off.

Derived from the coconuts (!), Active Wow activated charcoal is totally safe to use on your teeth, and it’s easy on the gums, too. If you’re not a fan of dental-grade whitening peroxides, or if you’re trying to keep things as natural and healthy as possible, this is the way to go. Active Wow charcoal whitens your teeth over time, helping remove stains from coffee, wine, cigarettes, and more.

active WOW

Just brush it on as you’d normally brush your teeth. Organic coconut activated food-grade charcoal powder pulls stains off your teeth. Charcoal, when activated, turns into a powerhouse of porous material that sucks in impurities from the environment around it, so the porous surface of activated charcoal attracts unwanted material from your teeth, sort of like a magnet, and holds it in its pores. Your teeth get cleaner, naturally.

Active Wow also contains Bentonite, which is great for the remineralizing your teeth due to its high mineral content. It also absorbs toxins naturally, and is easy on your gums. Orange Seed Oil helps smooth your teeth whitening experience. It has numerous anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities, purifying and detoxifying your pearly whites until they’re, well, pearly white again.

Customers typically see visible results in as little as two treatments, but everyone’s starting point is different, so results will vary depending upon usage. Active Wow is gentle and natural enough to be used twice per day for consecutive days until your desired whitening is achieved. once your teeth have achieved desired whiteness, use it on occasionally to keep your teeth white.

But don’t believe us, and definitely don’t believe the advertisers, believe the nearly 20,000 people who have purchased and reviewed Active Wow on Amazon and bestowed it a 4.2-star rating. 82 percent of all reviewers rate Active Wow either 4 or 5 stars—so it clearly works for the vast majority of people who purchased and used it. That’s indisputable.

There are four flavors/colors: Natural (yes, that’s black); Peppermint, Spearmint, and Vanilla Mint.  They’re all on sale right now at Amazon for just $20 (normally $30) for a 20g jar.

So try Active Wow today. The only thing you have to lose is your yellow teeth.

GET IT: Pick up Active Wow Teeth Whitening Charcoal Powder ($20; regularly $30) at Amazon. Be sure to use the coupon for an additional $2 off!

The post This Charcoal Powder Drastically Whitens Teeth Without Any Chemicals appeared first on Men's Journal.

The 7 Best Soaps for Athletic Men


Athletic recovery means more than just resting and refueling. It means getting your entire body back to the point where you can go about your business as usual. That hot shower at the gym after your workout? That’s part of the recovery process. Washing the sweat away is as important as any aspect of recovery (your friends and co-workers agree). So what’s the best soap for today’s active, athletic man?

For years, women have demanded strong yet gentle facial soaps to wash off their make-up. Guys’ concerns are different—but our demands these days are much the same. When it comes time to wash your face, you need a soap to not just get rid of the oil and grime, but something to wash away any after shaves, colognes, or beard oils you may have applied. Something to unclog your pores. Something to wash off the sweat of your workout and prep your skin for a shave (if applicable). And something that won’t leave you smelling like a perfume counter.

Put the Bar Behind You

In recent years, the market has responded with a variety of men-oriented companies with a host of products aimed toward guys. The days of grabbing any old (insert random bar soap here) during your weekly run to the grocery store are way in the rear-view. Today’s facial cleansers and scrubs are targeted to specific needs and, best of all, forego flowery fragrances and cloying scents for authentic aromas and natural musks. There’s a soap for every guy, for every purpose, and thankfully, modern chemistry has allowed cleansers to break free from the need for chemicals and additives to get the job done. They work well, smell great, and leave nothing behind but clean skin.

So what’s the best facial soap for athletic men? Here are a few of our favorites from Dermstore. Dermstore has a ton of great guys’ grooming products, and the selection of soaps and cleansers is vast. So we narrowed it down to a select few. Enter your email, and you’ll get 15 percent off your order—plus free shipping.

Check out all the Men’s Soaps and Cleansers at Dermstore

Anthony Glycolic Facial Cleanser

Exfoliating glycolic acid releases in-grown hairs and deep cleans your pores without stripping moisture. Calendula, chamomile, and aloe vera calm and condition while replenishing hydration. A nourishing blend of vitamins A, C, and E neutralize free radicals and prevent collagen breakdown.

GET IT: Pick up Anthony Glycolic Facial Cleanser ($23, 8 oz.) at Dermstore

Baxter of California Daily Face Wash

Boosted by aloe vera and antioxidants, this facial cleanser effectively diminishes breakouts, free radical damage, razor bumps, and oiliness. Caffeine energizes your skin while allantoin reduces redness. Perhaps the best bargain on the whole list.

GET IT: Pick up Baxter of California Daily Face Wash ($23, 8 oz) at Dermstore

Triumph and Disaster Ritual Face Cleanser

Blending clinically advanced science with nutrient-rich active botanicals, this stuff gently exfoliates as it heals cell damage with tamanu and peppermint oils. it'specially formulated to remove dirt, oil, and impurities from your skin without stripping essential moisture. Salicylic acid unclogs pores for a clear and bright complexion.

GET IT: Pick up Triumph and Disaster Ritual Face Cleanser ($30, 5 oz.) at Dermstore

Menscience Androceuticals Microfine Face Scrub

With both physical and chemical exfoliants for a smoother and more refined complexion. Glycolic and salicylic acids deep clean pores and loosen dead skin cells, while microbuffers remove dead skin to prevent ingrown hairs and blemishes. Allantoin and aloe vera soothe, calm, and hydrate.

GET IT: Pick up Menscience Androceuticals Microfine Face Scrub ($31, 4.4 oz) at Dermstore

BRAD Biophotonic Skin Care Universal Cleansing Gel

For a revitalized complexion, Jojoba beads remove dead skin cells and encourage skin cell renewal. Meanwhile, kojic acid provides a more even skin tone. Salicylic acid unclogs pores and reduces acne. 

GET IT: Pick up BRAD Biophotonic Skin Care Universal Cleansing Gel ($75, 3.4 oz) at Dermstore

Grown Alchemist Gentle Gel Facial Cleanser

This deeply nourishing formula keeps your skin hydrated. Botanical extracts combine in this naturally foaming formula to rid your skin of impurities without dryness or irritation. With geranium leaf, bergamot, and rose-bud.

GET IT: Pick up Grown Alchemist Gentle Gel Facial Cleanser ($39, 7 oz) at Dermstore

Jack Black Face Buff Energizing Scrub

This all-in-one deep cleaning, pre-shave cleanser and scrub contains small scrubbing particles that remove dirt and dead skin cells for a closer, less-irritating shave and fewer in-grown hairs.

GET IT: Pick up Jack Black Face Buff Energizing Scrub ($30, 6 oz) at Dermstore


Check out all the products and gear we’ve selected for Men's Journal readers here

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The post The 7 Best Soaps for Athletic Men appeared first on Men's Journal.

The Best Pillows for Every Kind of Sleeper


Bed-in-a-box mattresses are all the rage these days, but here are the cold, hard facts: If you don’t get the right pillow for the way you sleep, that thousand-dollar bed isn’t going to make much difference in how your body feels in the morning. Once you accept that your pillow is just as important as your mattress when it comes to sleep quality, you’re already on your way to a better night’s sleep. If you really want to get the best sleep of your life, you’re going to need the the best kind of pillow for the type of sleeper you are.

The good news is, there are only three sleep positions. So the science is pretty conclusive about what kind of pillow each sleep position prefers.

It’s all about spine alignment. Since pillows play an important role in maintaining proper spinal alignment and, therefore, posture when you’re upright, it’s important to understand how your sleep position determines which pillow is best for you.

Pillows for Back Sleepers

While most of us start off in this position, the overwhelming majority of us of us roll over at some point during the night. Only about 10 percent of people spend the majority of their sleep time on their backs. Still, sleeping on your back is the ideal sleeping position for spinal alignment, and is the recommended position for people that suffer from chronic neck pain or poor circulation.

If you sleep on your back, it’s important to have a firm pillow that supports your neck and head. A pillow with higher loft is ideal. The best kinds of pillows for back sleepers are:

Medium Memory Foam: These pillows contour to the curves of your neck and head while providing ample support and proper spinal alignment. Memory foam pillows tend to sleep hotter though—so if you love the conformability of memory foam but sleep hot, read on. Medium-firm Latex Foam: Latex foam pillows have similar contouring properties as memory foam, but are naturally more breathable. Shredded Foam: Shredded foam pillows usually come overstuffed, and can easily be adjusted by removing some of the foam to make them softer. The adaptability of shredded foam pillows is what makes them a popular choice for just about any type of sleeper.

Pillows for Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleepers are more common than back sleepers—but not by much. They make up about 16 percent of all sleepers. However, most chiropractors agree that sleeping on your stomach is one of the worst positions for spinal alignment. More than any other type of sleeper, stomach sleepers need to be especially mindful of the type of pillow they use to avoid excessive, prolonged pressure on the neck, jaw, and shoulders.

Since sleeping on your stomach forces your neck and upper body to curve unnaturally, stomach sleepers need to use a very soft and flat pillow to keep their head as close to the mattress as possible. The best pillows for stomach sleepers are:

Down or Down Alternative: Down and down alternative pillows (sometimes referred to as feather pillows) are especially soft, so they make a great choice for stomach sleepers. The fact that down pillows are easily flattened make them ideal for stomach sleepers. Low-Loft Latex Foam: Latex foam sleeps cooler and responds immediately to your every move. A low-loft latex foam pillow is a great option for maintaining proper spinal alignment while on your belly. Shredded Foam: Shredded foam pillows are a great choice for stomach sleepers as long as a lot of the stuffing is removed—at least half or more.

Pillows for Side Sleepers

Most of us are side sleepers, about 74 percent. Sleeping on your side isn’t necessarily bad for your neck and back, but you’ve got to have the right pillow for spinal alignment. Because this position leaves your head significantly higher than the mattress, you need a pillow that has enough loft to keep your neck up—but not so high that it your leaves your neck crooked in relation to your spine.

If you sleep on your side, you should choose a firm pillow that allows your neck and back to remain aligned with your spine straight. The best pillows for side sleepers are:

Firmer Memory Foam: Memory foam is a great choice for anyone that needs additional neck and shoulder support since its natural contouring properties keep the spine and neck in alignment. Choose a firmer memory foam pillow,  to keep your head from collapsing into your shoulder. And again, some find it too hot. High Loft Latex Foam: Latex foam is naturally more breathable and responsive than memory foam. Because latex is both supportive and contouring but responds more quickly to movement, it’s a great option for those prone to tossing and turning. Shredded Foam Pillows: Most shredded foam pillows are loft-adjustable by adding or removing material. To determine the right loft, make sure you’re able to lay on your side without your neck bending or your shoulder pressing too far into the mattress.

What’s the best pillow for every type of sleeper? Here are our picks.

BACK SLEEPERS: Coop Home Goods Loft-Shredded Certipur 66% OFF

Over 16k reviewers rate this pillow 4.3 stars. And right now it's $116 off! Filled with shredded elastic memory foam that's removable and adjustable, it's actually great for any position you sleep in. Covered in a bamboo-derived rayon case, it's guaranteded for five years and comes with a 100-night guarantee.

GET IT: Pick up the Coop Home Goods Loft-Shredded Certipur Pillow (starting at $60; was $176) at Amazon

BACK SLEEPERS: Cozy Classics Luxe Gel Fiber 31% OFF

Utilizing proprietary Supreme Comfort Gel Fiber technology, this pillow that feels equally as comfortable as down with a breathable gel fiber alternative. It is easy to wash and hypo-allergenic. The medium version is designed for back sleepers.

GET IT: Pick up the Cozy Classics Luxe Gel Fiber Pillow ($43; was $62) at Walmart

SIDE SLEEPERS: DreamNorth Gel Pillow

Nearly 12,000 reviewers rate this pillow 4.6 stars. It's filled with poly gel fiber, and covered with 100 percent cotton, so it's machine washable. Allergen and chemical free, it's great for individuals with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory difficulties.

GET IT: Pick up the DreamNorth Gel Pillow (starting at $33 for two) at Amazon

SIDE SLEEPERS: EPABO Contour Memory Foam Orthopedic

The EPABO provides premium fabric to keep you cool and comfortable throughout the night. The firm contour design perfectly supports and aligns your head, neck, shoulder and back. Better air circulation to keep you cool and dry, and the pillowcase feels soft and smooth while providing dust mite protection.

GET IT: Pick up the EPABO Contour Memory Foam Orthopedic Pillow (starting at $40) at Amazon

SIDE SLEEPERS: Sweetnight Adjustable Loft Shredded Gel Memory Foam

Ergonomic and high-density memory foam pillow prevents neck and back pain, since it enhances your posture and keeps every part of your upper body aligned. Plus, you can add or remove the shredded memory foam to your desired thickness. Certi-PURR certified.

GET IT: Pick up the Sweetnight Adjustable Loft Shredded Gel Memory Foam Pillow ($46) at Amazon

STOMACH SLEEPER: Ella Jayne Penthouse Collection Classic 74% OFF

100 percent cotton and stuffed with goose down, this pillow is the ultimate in softness that stomach sleepers crave. Soft, luxurious, and sustainable. And it's been marked WAY down—this King version used to be well over $400.

GET IT: Pick up the Ella Jayne Penthouse Collection Classic (starting at $97) at Walmart

STOMACH SLEEPERS: Ella Jayne Hotel Collection MicroOne Pillow 60% OFF

This medium weight pillow provides a superior level of protection against dust, mites, even bedbugs, in an attractive, streamlined design. Featuring a double needle stitch with a light grey satin cord, this pillow is a superb combination of protection and style. A great quality fill made with 100% hypoallergenic polyester down-alt fiber, this pillow provides comfort and support all through the night. 

GET IT: Pick up the Ella Jayne Hotel Collection MicroOne Pillow (starting at $34 for two) at Walmart

Check out all the products and gear we’ve selected for Men's Journal readers here

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The post The Best Pillows for Every Kind of Sleeper appeared first on Men's Journal.

Find A Protein Powder Just Right for You at Designer Protein


These days the sports nutrition market is glutted with protein powders, energy drinks, power bars, and the like. But it wasn’t always that way. The first mass-produced protein powder, Designer Whey, was only released in 1993. If there’s such thing as a “legacy brand” in the sports and active nutrition category, Designer Protein is it.

Designer Protein was the first company to brand commercially instant whey protein powder for the general consumer. It’s a forerunner in promoting the removal of artificial ingredients and a pioneer of gluten-free protein powders. The company has always been an advocate of kosher-certification. And recently, Designer Protein became the first to create a protein that combines the benefits of both egg yolk and egg white.

For more than 25 years Designer Protein has helped consumers achieve their health and fitness goals with products that make a positive difference in peoples’ lives. Its protein powders meet the needs of different diets and lifestyles, including keto, and it’s committed to finding ways to make nutrition on-the-go easy. Even the packaging is eco-friendly.

Today, Designer Protein offers a wide range of protein powders to satisfy every diet and nutritional need. They’ve got the flagship natural whey protein, a selection of plant-based proteins and superfoods, and killer blends of whey and plant proteins. All are designed to support the fitness, weight management, performance, and wellness goals of active men and women. There’s even one to help you lose weight. And most come in a variety of sizes and flavors to suit every taste and fitness regimen.

Right now, you can get a great deal if you stock up with Designer Protein. When you sign up for their email newsletter and become part of the Designer Protein community, you’ll save 25 percent on your first order. Even better, all orders over $50 qualify for free shipping.

With a protein powder that’s just right for you, and a great deal besides, now’s the time to get fit, and prep your body for summer.

Totally Egg

Totally Egg delivers the equivalent protein of three regular eggs but with 50 percent fewer calories, 93 percent less fat, and 98 percent less cholesterol. Only 110 – 120 calories per serving and just six clean ingredients, it's packed with BCAA’s and essential amino acids.

It's also a rich source of riboflavin, B12, and potassium. It contains 0 grams of sugar and 2 grams of net carbs, so it's excellent for Keto, dairy-free and lactose-free, and certified Paleo-friendly, gluten-free and kosher.

Available in vanilla or Dutch chocolate.

GET IT: Pick up Totally Egg ($20, 12.4 oz.) at Designer Protein

Designer Protein
Designer Keto

14 grams of keto adaptogenic protein, containing rBST free muscle-fueling whey and joint-supporting collagen protein. It also contains the muscle synthesis initiator, l-leucine.

It has only 2g of carbs and 7g of coconut fat and grass fed butter, and just 130 calories per serving. With only 1 gram of naturally occurring sugarmedium chain triglycerides, the special fats needed for ketone production, it's easily adaptable recipe to meet keto macro percentages.

Available in vanilla or chocolate, it has no artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, or preservatives.

GET IT: Pick up Designer Keto ($30, 12oz) at Designer Protein

Designer Protein
Lite Protein

With 45 percent fewer calories than regular Designer Whey, this is the protein powder for those who want to lose weight. It also includes Green Coffee Berry and Garcinia Cambogia extracts, ingredients associated with lower body weight when combined with calorie-controlled food intake and regular exercise.

It's fat-free, with 60 calories per serving and only 1g net carbs. There's no added sugar. It does have prebiotic fiber to help you feel full, plus B-Vitamins, Vitamin D, and Calcium to help support energy from food and support bone health. All that, and ou still get 10g of premium natural protein from GMO-free soy protein and whey protein isolate.

Available in Vanilla Cupcake or Chocolate Cookies and Cream.

GET IT: Pick up Lite Protein ($8, 9 oz) at Designer Protein

Designer Protein
Organic Pro 30

Here's your dose of plant-based nutrients to help fight free radicals, replenish electrolytes, and alleviate aches and pains due to exercise. It contains 30g of organic, non-GMO pea protein and organic sprouted rice protein, plus over 6,000mg of BCAAs, and 5,600mg of glutamine for protein synthesis.

With multi-strain probiotics for digestive ease, it features nine vitamins and minerals, is rich in vitamin C and Iron, and contains no artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, or preservatives. It's soy-free, egg-free, dairy-free, lactose-free, and cholesterol-free. Best of all, it's certified USDA organic, vegan, gluten-free, and kosher. 170 calories per serving.

Available in vanilla or chocolate.

GET IT: Pick up Organic Pro 30 ($29, 1.25 lbs) at Designer Protein

Designer Protein
Sustained Energy

Get 16g of natural protein from fast-absorbing GMO-free whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate, combined with slow-absorbing casein and pea protein isolate, for sustained and balanced energy, plus 23 vitamins and minerals for energy conversion and vitality.

With no caffeine or artificial energy stimulants, it provides a steady supply of essential amino acids for sustained and balanced energy. It also has prebiotic fiber to help keep hunger at bay and is an excellent source of B-vitamins to convert protein to energy. It's rich in calcium, antioxidants, and vitamins. Only 100 calories per serving

Available in tasty Vanilla Bean or Chocolate Velvet flavors.

GET IT: Pick Up Sustained Energy ($18, 1.5 lbs) at Designer Protein

Designer Protein
Designer Whey Single Serve Packs, Box of 12

Get your protein on the go with 12 single-serve packs filled with 20g of natural, GMO-free whey protein concentrate and GMO-free whey protein isolate. Plus all the essential amino acids, digestive enzymes, and peptides plus added glutamine, leucine, taurine and phenylalanine to support fitness and dietary goals.

It's rich in calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and electrolytes for post-workout recovery. And with no added sugar, it has only 110 calories per serving.

Available in French Vanilla flavor only, it's ideal for the office.

GET IT: Pick up Designer Whey Single Serve Case ($24, box of 12) at Designer Protein

Designer Protein
Designer Whey Advanced

When you want to really put on muscle, put this stuff in your shaker. It has a whopping 25g of grass fed, GMO-free whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate. That's 50 times more protein than whey isolate, plus 28 percent more BCAAs and 50 percent more L-Leucine, and 33 percent more electrolytes than regular Designer Whey.

In addition to 100 percent of your daily value of important B-vitamins to convert protein to useable energy, it's rich in calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and electrolytes for post-workout recovery. 140 calories per serving.

Comes in Vanilla Cookies and Cream or chocolate fudge flavors.

GET IT: Pick up Advanced Designer Whey ($40, 1.85 lbs) at Designer Protein

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Designer Protein

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Add CoQ10 to Your List of Essential Supplements


When you’re into health and fitness, you always hear people talking about the latest and greatest supplement “you’ve just got to try ______!” But the bottom line is, not every supplement is necessary for every guy. There are only a few supplements all of us need. And one of them is Coenzyme Q10.

CoQ10 is a naturally-occurring compound found in every cell of the body. It’s used to produce energy for cell growth and maintenance, and it helps generate energy in your cells. Some chronic diseases have been linked to low levels of CoQ10. It’s also been used in the treatment of neurological diseases and may be beneficial in cancer prevention, heart disease, high blood pressure, and migraine headache treatment.

Why Coenzyme Q10?

Trouble is, while your body produces CoQ10 naturally, its production tends to decrease as we age. So as we get older, supplementing CoQ10 is certainly advisable to keep your cells producing as much energy as they should. Further, if you’re taking a statin medication to reduce your cholesterol, chances are your doctor has already recommended a CoQ10 supplement.

But Coenzyme Q10 may have other benefits as well. Some studies have shown that people with cancers such as lymphoma, as well as lung, prostate, skin, and colon cancers—those most typically associated with aging—had lower CoQ10 levels in their blood. Studies also show that CoQ10 can: help lower blood pressure; have a significant effect in reducing migraine occurrences; be useful in treating muscular dystrophy, diabetes, fertility, and periodontal disease.

And, yes, it can speed athletic recovery by lowering oxidative stress in your cells.


So along with multi-vitamin and perhaps Omega-3, it’s time to add CoQ10 to that list of essential supplements, particularly for those of us past our 20s and 30s.

Still not convinced? More than 2,100 reviewers on Amazon use Qunol Ultra CoQ10 ($23). It gets a solid 4.5 star rating and is a great deal, especially if you buy it in bulk. But since CoQ10 is usually only fat-soluble, you should take it with food—or use products that combine it with oils to improve its absorption. Like Qunol. It’s absorbed three times better than regular CoQ10 because its soft-gels are water-soluble as well as fat-soluble.

GET IT: Pick up Qunol Ultra CoQ10 (starting at $9) at Amazon today. The more you buy, the cheaper it gets.

The post Add CoQ10 to Your List of Essential Supplements appeared first on Men's Journal.

How Fasting Can Rewire Your Metabolism and Help Prevent Dementia


Fasting may be in vogue, but there’s a new, compelling reason to give it a go: It helps alter the circadian rhythms of cells in the body that play a role in avoiding age-related disease, like dementia, according to researchers at the University of California, Irvine.

The Best Diets to Lose Weight, Ranked

In lab studies, daylong fasts can rewire metabolism, making it more efficient. This rewiring actually adjusts gene regulation—a process responsible for a lot of cell activity, including preventing disease. So, while, yes, fasting has been linked with better weight-loss results and body composition, there’s a much greater reason to get on board.

Consider a 24-hour fast monthly or another type of intermittent fasting. Here are the three main types, compared.

The post How Fasting Can Rewire Your Metabolism and Help Prevent Dementia appeared first on Men's Journal.

Crush Your Fitness Goals With Gainful Custom-Made Protein Powder


Your fitness goals are a personal, unique thing. Your protein powder should be, too. No matter what your fitness goals are, or what dietary restrictions you adhere to, there’s a protein powder that’s perfect for you. Now, you could spend hundreds of dollars trying to find that ideal protein powder, one that’s just right for your body and your lifestyle. Or, you can just go to Gainful, and get a custom-made protein powder that’s as unique as you are.

Because we’re all different, Gainful creates a product based around your goals, rather than forcing you to settle for a protein powder that’s as close as you’re gonna get to what you really want. Gainful creates exactly what you need, just for you.


Some guys want to put on bulk until they stretch their shirts with rippling cords of muscle. Other guys want to trim down, to burn fat in an efficient but healthy way so they can take off that shirt and feel good about the way they look. Others still want to get toned without looking like a “musclehead.” There are a ton of guys who want to achieve their fitness goals while staying vegan or gluten-free. Some of us are lactose intolerant.

How Does Gainful Know Exactly What I Need?

Gainful says “no problem.” Just fill out a quick survey about you, your needs, and your habits, and Gainful calculates the exact ratio of ingredients you need to reach your goals while staying true to your lifestyle. Soon, you’ll get a monthly supply of custom-made protein powder delivered right to your door. What could be easier?

And it’s all supported by a fantastic network of customer service professional who also happen to be dietary pros. They’re on call 24/7 to answer any questions or field any concerns you might have.

Moreover, Gainful is transparent. It tells you everything that goes into your personal protein blend, keeping it simple with clean, honest ingredients in ratios just right for you and you alone. Gainful shows you exactly what’s in your blend AND gives you the power to choose every ingredient if you happen to want something specific.


Here’s the best part. At just $1.50 per serving, Gainful custom-made protein powder about as affordable as anything you’ll find at one of the chain fitness or vitamin stores. Plus, you get the comfort of knowing you can reach out any time, any day and ask the questions that are important to you.

Get Gainful today, and get on the path to your personal fitness dream. It’s your dream; chase it.

The post Crush Your Fitness Goals With Gainful Custom-Made Protein Powder appeared first on Men's Journal.

Why Doing Fewer Reps in the Gym Can Yield the Same Strength Gains


Banging out those last reps in the name of strength-building may not be productive after all. Researchers at CUNY Lehman College in New York took a group of generally fit men and put them on a three-times-a-week strength protocol. They were instructed to do either a minimal, medium, or max number of reps of upper and lower body exercises.

After two months, participants showed virtually equal strength gains. The high-volume group did score better in one area, though: muscle size.

The Rep Range That Builds the Most Muscle

“For muscle growth, volume is a key driver,” says author and exercise scientist Brad Schoenfeld. “But high-volume training can quickly lead to overtraining—when the workload exceeds the body’s ability to recover.”

Find balance by alternating volume every month: Week one, go high-volume for muscle growth, then bring it down for three weeks.

The post Why Doing Fewer Reps in the Gym Can Yield the Same Strength Gains appeared first on Men's Journal.

5 Interval Workouts That’ll Build Up Your Endurance


Endurance is a critical part to the overall training equation, whether you’re the kind of person who loves to tackle a long run come the weekend or you’re more of a WOD fanatic.

“When we typically talk about endurance, a lot of people think of it as aerobic-level training that concerns marathoners or long-distance types,” Chris Hinshaw told Men’s Journal at the 2019 Reebok CrossFit Athlete summit. Hinshaw’s an endurance coach who has worked with 28 different CrossFit Games champions, ranging from Katrin Davidsdottir to Mat Fraser. While yes, endurance is a critical component for anyone hoping to conquer longer sweat sessions, it doesn’t discriminate based on sport. “Regardless of what workout you’re doing, your aerobic system becomes the dominant energy system after three minutes. That’s why endurance is important, no matter what you’re getting after.”

The Only 2 Workouts You Need to Improve Your VO2 Max

While science offers some wacky endurance hacks, like keeping your palms cool while training for upped exercise tolerance and reaching for grapes pre-workout for a 21 percent boost in endurance (thanks to resveratrol levels increasing muscle-twitch activation), Hinshaw says increasing endurance really just hinges on smart interval training.

“Someone hoping to increase their stamina needs to train the muscles to create fatigue, then actively clear the fatigue during their recovery.”

Running sprints? Jog during the off-interval instead of slowing down to a slogging walk. Working on that deadlift? Repeat the movement pattern with just the bar or PVC pipe in between sets to increase muscular endurance (as well as memory).

How to Calculate Your Heart Rate Zones

Here, Hinshaw offers up endurance workouts aimed to target different muscle groups the everyday athlete uses on the regular (read: all of ‘em). Quick to execute—make time to do them all twice weekly, and you may be impressed with your ability to go longer, faster, and harder.

Front Squat
Courtesy Image

Workout 1

Directions: Complete 5 rounds with no rest
What it Targets: Quads
Pro Tip: Make sure to keep your elbows up with all your fingers under the bar during your front squat, Hinshaw says. Aim for a full range of motion, getting your glutes as low to the ground as possible for each air squat.

1. Barbell Front Squat
Goal: Aim for 6 reps in 12 seconds
Suggested weight: 135lbs
How to do it:: Start standing behind a barbell with feet at shoulder-width distance. Clean barbell to shoulder rack, raising your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the ground. Toes should be slightly turned out. This is your starting position. Keeping an active core, squat as low as you can, maintaining tension through your legs, sinking your weight in your heels. Press back up to start for one rep.

The 30 Best Quads Exercises of All Time

2. Air Squat
Goal: Slow, continuous AMRAP for 48 seconds
How to do it:: Stand with feet hip-width apart, palms pressed together at chest. Squat as low as you can, pushing your hips back and keeping your chest high. Push through your heels to stand for one rep.

endurance workout 2
Courtesy Image

Workout 2

Directions: 5 rounds with no rest
What it Targets: Triceps and deltoids
Pro Tip: Make sure to keep your elbows tucked in close to your body during the pushups, and limit arching in your lower back during the floor press, Hinshaw says.

1. Pushup
Goal: Aim for 10+ reps in 12 seconds
How to do it:: Start in a high plank position. Bend your elbows, keeping them close to your torso. Lower your body until your chest is about one inch above the floor. Press yourself back up for one rep.

2. Floor Press w/ PVC Pipe

Goal: Slow, continuous AMRAP for 48 seconds
How to do it:: Roll over onto your back, and reach for a PVC pipe with an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder width. With your feet flat on the floor, brace your core and press the bar straight up over your torso. Lower done for one rep.

endurance workout 3
Courtesy Image

Workout 3

Directions: 5 rounds with no rest
What it Targets: Deltoids, triceps (primary focus), quads, and hips
Pro Tip: Keep your shoulders over your hips through each rep, and elbows up with all fingers under the bar. Push with legs first, then arms, and complete the elbow lockout on each rep.

1. Barbell Push Press
Goal: Aim for 10 reps in 12 Second
Recommended Weight: 95lbs
How to do it:: Stand with your feet at shoulder-width distance. Grab a barbell with an overhand grip and hold it at shoulder height. Keep your elbows up high and your upper arms parallel to the ground. Slightly bend your knees and drop down while keeping your torso upright and avoiding leaning forward. Explosively extend your knees and hips as you drive the barbell overhead and stand up tall. Slowly lower the barbell back to your shoulders for one rep.

Master the Barbell: The 4 Moves You Need

2. Behind Neck Strict Press w/ PVC
Goal: Slow, continuous AMRAP for 48 seconds
How to do it:: Swap the barbell for a PVC. Stand with your feet at shoulder-width distance with the PVC racked behind your head, grip slightly wider than shoulder width. Press the PVC straight up overhead until arms are fully extended, then lower back down for one rep.

endurance workout 4
Courtesy Image

Workout 4

Directions: 5 rounds with no rest
Targets: Hip flexors and abs
Hinshaw says: Make sure to adjust your hollow position to ensure your lower back is in contact with the ground throughout all reps and rounds. During the knees to chest, place your hands under your butt to assist in maintaining consistent movement during the recovery.

1. Tuck Up
Goal: Max effort (AMRAP) for 10 seconds
How to do it: Start on your back. Simultaneously contract your knees up toward your torso as you perform a situp, crunching forward and bringing arms straight toward your ankles. Lower back down to start for one rep.

5 Moves to Offset a Day’s Worth of Sitting

2. Hollow Hold
Goal: Hold for 10 seconds
How to do it:: Press your lower back into the ground, fire your core muscles, and lift your arms and legs off the floor. Don’t tense your neck muscles or tuck your chin too far into your chest. Draw your belly button in toward your spine, imagining you’re scooping your stomach in, and tilting your pelvis under.

2. Knee to Chest
Goal: Slow, continuous AMRAP for 40 seconds
How to do it:: Lie down with your hands by your glutes, palms facing down. Press down into the ground with your hands for stability, and slowly bring your legs from straight to tuck toward your torso, all while engaging your core. Return legs back out for one rep.

endurance workout 5
Courtesy Image

Workout 5

Goal: 5 rounds with no rest
What it Targets: Erectors, glutes, hamstrings
Pro Tip: Your goal here is to maintain back tension (so you’re feeling the tension in your mid-back) and maintaining the bar close throughout, Hinshaw says.

The 20 Best Glutes Exercises of All Time

1. Deadlift
Goal: 4 reps in 8 seconds
Weight: 185lbs
How to do it:: Start with your feet about shoulder-width apart, standing behind the barbell. Bend down by pushing your hips back and keeping your chest up. Grab the bar with an overhand grip. Take a deep breath in and keep your core tight as you pull the bar off the ground and push your hips underneath you, squeezing your glutes, to stand up tall. Lower back down for one rep.

2. Pause at Knee
Goal: Hold for 8 seconds
How to do it:: From standing with barbell, engage the core and lower down until barbell is at knee height. Hold.

3. Deadlift (4 reps)
Do: reps in 8 seconds
Weight: 185

4. PVC Good Morning
Do: Remainder of the minute
How to do it:: Swap the barbell for a PVC pipe. Hold PVC pipe in back rack position on traps.. Tighten your abs and bend your hips as far back as possible, lowering your torso until you feel your lower back is about to round. Contract your glutes and push your hips forward to return to the starting position for one rep.

The post 5 Interval Workouts That’ll Build Up Your Endurance appeared first on Men's Journal.

Get Fresh Contact Lenses Delivered to Your Door For Just $1 a Day


Trying to save money by wearing your daily contacts for a week at a time? That’s bad for your eyes. If you’re tired of paying through your eyeballs for contact lenses, we’ve found a solution. Hubble Contacts will give you your first box of contact lenses free when you sign up for a monthly subscription. At just $33 for 60 contact lenses, that’s only about a buck a day. And you get 15 sets—that’s 30 bonus lenses—free.


Why are contact lenses so expensive, anyway? Hubble says in the US and Canada, just four manufacturers control 95 percent of the contact lens market. So the big companies can set prices at will, without much fear of competition.

Hubble wants to disrupt the contact lens market by offering subscriptions to keep its production costs down, so they can offer a lower retail price to you. After a year-long worldwide factory search, Hubble chose St. Shine, an FDA-approved contact lens manufacturer with more than twenty years of experience, to produce its lenses. St. Shine produces billions of high-quality contact lenses for the worldwide market each year, from its facility in Taiwan. They use state-of-the-art injection molding to craft them from high-grade methafilcon-A hydrogel material with 55 percent water content, UV protection, and a thin edge. They then perform a battery of quality control tests and regular inspections to assure their integrity. St. Shine lenses are worn safely around the world, from New York to Tokyo. So you know you can trust them.

Sign-up is a snap. Just provide your prescription details on hubblecontacts.com, and Hubble will verify that information with your eye doctor. Once that’s confirmed, you pay just $1 to cover shipping and handling, and your first free box of contact lenses are on the way post-haste. Hubble will bill you $33 (plus $3 shipping) every 28 days after that. You can change the frequency of your subscription at any time you like, and cancel if you’re not satisfied.


Here’s another sweet perk: All Hubble lens packaging is 100 percent recyclable. So you don’t have to feel guilty about changing out your lenses every day. Hubble currently offers lenses in powers ranging from -0.50 to -12.00 and +0.5 to +6.00.

At barely a dollar a day, so you can finally afford to wear fresh lenses as much as you like. With Hubble, you no longer have to choose between your eyes and your wallet. And, you get a free box to boot. Looks like the choice is clear.

GET IT: Get a free box of contact lenses when you sign up for Hubble today

Check out all the products and gear we’ve selected for Men’s Journal readers here

See Also:

Don’t Wash Your Contact Lenses Daily? You Could Lose Your Vision

The post Get Fresh Contact Lenses Delivered to Your Door For Just $1 a Day appeared first on Men's Journal.

Over 20 Million People Use This System to Treat Their Acne


If adult acne is a problem for you, you’re not alone. While there is no cure yet, there are steps you can take to fight it. Proactiv has been helping people treat their acne for two decades. It’s helped more than 20 million people clear up their skin. With acne solutions starting at just $20 a month, isn’t it time you gave Proactiv a try?

Proactiv isn’t just a face wash, and it’s more than medicine. It’s a comprehensive, multi-step preventative anti-acne strategy that provides you with a complete skincare regimen. Together with acne-fighting medicine that attacks acne at every stage of the cycle, Proactiv stops acne breakouts in their tracks and prevents new ones from forming. And it really works.

How Does Proactiv Work?

Fact is, acne doesn’t occur overnight. It’s a slow process that occurs over the course of several weeks beneath the skin surface and way before the first pimple appears on your face or body. Proactiv goes to work early in the cycle to help prevent clogged pores and keep you from breaking out. Nothing can completely cure your acne, but with the daily use of Proactiv you can treat mild-to-moderate acne and prevent future breakouts.

Look at it this way: You brush all of your teeth, not just the ones that have cavities. Why not treat your entire face, instead of spot-checking only the pimples you see?

It’s a myth that teens are the only ones who experience acne. Acne is a chronic condition because it’s genetic and hormonal, rather than environmental. It can last anywhere from a few years in teens to 20 years or more in adults. Acne may come and go at different times in your life. But if you are acne-prone, you should always be concerned with managing it.

You can keep acne under control with daily cleansing, exfoliating, and hydration and by sticking to a consistent routine. It may take time to find the best combination of Proactiv medicines and skincare products. Also, since our bodies and skin change throughout our lives depending on many factors (hormones, lifestyles, habits, environments, etc.), what worked for you as a teenager may not do the job when you’re in your 30s. It’s all about finding potent medicines and putting them to work in the right combination in effective skincare formulations.

That’s exactly what Proactiv offers. Each of the lines in the Proactiv family uses the Combination Therapy approach to help you address your skincare needs.


Proactiv Solution 3-Step System

The original Proactiv Solution 3-Step System ($20) came out way back in the 90s, and its reputation for success is the foundation that the company was built upon. It delivers micronized benzoyl peroxide deep into your pores, to stop acne-causing bacteria in its tracks and prevent new breakouts from forming. It starts with a Renewing Cleanser twice a day, to wash off excess dirt and oil. Follow that up with a Revitalizing Toner, to sweep away any other impurities left behind and balance your skin’s pH levels. Finally, deliver micronized benzoyl peroxide directly to your problem areas with Proactiv Repairing Treatment, to heal and soothe acne-prone skin. Proactiv Solution has a complete line of products beyond the 3-Step System, including moisturizers, sunscreens, and spot treatments and body washes.


Proactiv MD

Get prescription power without the prescription. After 30 years as a prescription-only retinoid, Adapalene is the key to ProactivMD. Begin with the Deep Cleansing Face Wash with micro-beads to exfoliate your skin; Daily Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30 is a lotion with sunscreen to protect you from harmful UV rays (contrary to a popular myth, sunlight is not good for acne); finally, apply a thin layer of Adapalene Gel 0.1% to the affected areas. Be advised, this is not OTC benzoyl peroxide; it’s serious medicine, for use only by those 12 years and older. After a few weeks, your breakouts will lessen in frequency and severity, and you’ll notice your skin clearing up. If you’ve struggled with acne for years, this is the solution for you.



Combination Therapy combined with Smart Target technology takes encapsulated benzoyl peroxide and delivers it directly into the pore, while salicylic acid and other skin-brighteners help to soothe, nourish, and balance your skin. The first step in Proactiv+ is cleansing and preparing your skin with Skin Smoothing Exfoliator. Next, Pore Targeting Treatment delivers medicine like benzoyl peroxide deep into pores. Finally, Complexion Perfection Hydrator moisturizes your skin without clogging your pores.

All the Proactiv acne solutions are proven to work; the key is to find the right combination that works for you, and stick with it. Do that by joining the Proactiv Subscription Program. You’re automatically enrolled when you order Proactiv; approximately every 12 weeks after your first shipment, you’ll receive a new 90-day supply delivered to your doorstep at a price well below retail. You also have the option to pay for each 90-day supply in three installments or all at once, and adjust your subscription’s frequency or pause, cancel, or tweak your program at any time. You can also order more or different products to dial in your system to get a treatment that works for you.

No matter which Proactiv system you try, the bottom line is to take action and fight your acne now. The sooner you start, the sooner your acne is under control.

GET IT: Try Proactiv today (starting at $20/month) and get a free charcoal face brush.


Check out all the products and gear we’ve selected for Men’s Journal readers here.

See Also:

9 Superb Post-Workout Acne-Fighting Face Washes for Men

Skincare 101: Battling Body Acne Don’t stop your anti-acne skincare routine at your face. Use these sweat and bacteria-booting tips to beat zits on your back, chest, arms and legs.

The post Over 20 Million People Use This System to Treat Their Acne appeared first on Men's Journal.

The Truth About DNA Kits


At-home DNA test kits are so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget how insane the technology is. For around $100, you get a peek inside your genome—something that once required a roomful of PhDs and a supercomputer. But don’t be fooled: The big push to increase the numbers of customers isn’t entirely about revealing your ancestry, even whether you’re a descendant of Abraham Lincoln. It’s a way to get your DNA‚ then sell it to companies making everything from pharmaceuticals to face lotion. So here are a few things to know that even the fine print may not tell you.

6 Ways to Hack Your Diet

1. Drug companies pay top dollar for your DNA.

When you OK the DNA kit terms and conditions, you’re offered the choice to allow your DNA info to be used for scientific studies. Additionally, the lab holds on to the swab and may have the ability to reanalyze it.

“The genetic information is sold to researchers who use the data to develop drugs, treatments, and products,” says Bob Gellman, an expert in privacy, freedom of information, and health confidentiality and a former House of Representatives staffer. “That’s where the money is.” For instance, in 2018, U.K.-based pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline announced a four-year, $300 million investment in 23andMe. This may help explain why the kits are so affordable. The bigger the participant pool, the more valuable the data.

Crack Your Own DNA Code

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this. Kit company 23andMe spokesperson Liza Crenshaw explained that partnering companies aren’t simply given a pile of raw data to play with. Instead, they’re sent an aggregate. So: A certain percentage of men aged 30 to 35 express a particular gene. This leads to participant privacy.

Individuals’ names aren’t attached to the info, and the companies follow the same informed consent practices that all research institutions do. It also means that your spit can be used to help people; pharmaceutical and other research companies analyze sets of genetic data to help predict disease patterns and make more effective treatments.

2. It could also be used to choose potato chip flavors.

Consumer product companies are also keen to buy genetic information in bulk, Gellman says. They can do analyses that look for genetic taste markers which influence, for example, how much sour flavoring to use in a batch of gummies, or how much heat they can add to salsa to satisfy the most people. It’s even more valuable if there’s a questionnaire that goes out to participants. For example, if a brewery wants to make a new stout, they may want to find out the results of five genetic markers that predict a fondness for dark beers, and then couple that with a set of questions that asks people about their taste in suds. It’s basically one of the best focus groups of all time.

Some partner companies may use the genetics component as a marketing tool. In 2017, Procter & Gamble, the consumer goods behemoth, announced findings about skin aging using 23andMe data; it was in conjunction with the release of new Olay products.

3. After you do the kit, get ready for the upsell.

Other businesses use your genetic intel to sell you stuff, and they are flourishing. The company Rootine uses DNA tests and a questionnaire to create a custom vitamin regimen. DNA kit company Helix partners with several consumer outfits, including Vinome, which recommends wine based on the taste preferences revealed in your genes, and Dot One, which will knit you a tartan blanket, scarf, socks, and more based on the unique artistic pattern of your DNA strands.

DNA Kits
When you use a DNA kit, who owns the data? Legally, it’s not totally clear. Courtesy Image

4.  Your DNA is another form of medical information.

Your genome says a lot about you, like whether you have a genetic predisposition to certain diseases (mental illness, cancer, cardiac issues—the list goes on). But the kits aren’t subject to HIPAA, the medical-privacy regulations that protect your medical information. And it’s not easy to scrub the world of your DNA information once it’s out there, Gellman says.

And for people buying insurance on the open market, if laws don’t keep up with advancements in genetic testing, there could come a day when DNA info influences the way health insurance companies offer coverage to individuals. For instance, the data could reveal a marker that is associated with an increased risk for Alzheimer’s—a costly disease in the long term. So perhaps an insurance provider would charge that individual more. And it could change the way life insurance companies make policy decisions (the same way they upcharge for smokers).

What a DNA Test Taught Me About Diet and Exercise

Gelman also warns that potential employers might use the data to discriminate against job candidates. Congress isn’t necessarily helping. In fact, Republican lawmakers in the House introduced a bill which would have required that certain employees who participate in workplace wellness programs give their DNA test results to their employer or risk getting charged more for health insurance.

5. Hackers may want it.

DNA reveals potentially damaging information, and it has become a target for cybercrime. Hackers who gain access may offer to ransom it back to the owner, at the risk of exposing sensitive information, like medical issues or family secrets. Some breach attempts have been successful. In 2018, a group of cybercriminals, probably from Eastern Europe, targeted Indiana-based Hancock Health hospitals and got paid four Bitcoin—at the time worth about $50,000—not to disperse patient information. And in December 2018, the British government announced that its 100,000 Genomes Project was the target of a string of unsuccessful cyberattacks from “foreign actors” seeking to steal the complete, sequenced genomes of 85,000 participants.

Last year, hackers targeted the DNA test kit company MyHeritage; they got only as far as accessing 92 million email addresses. DNA kit makers spend big money on database security. A massive breach would be extremely costly, both in dollars and in consumer trust. (Case in point: the Equifax credit data breach.) But given the high value of DNA, cybercriminals will keep trying.


6. If you’ve already gotten analyzed, you can still opt out.

Even if people opted into participating in research when they originally signed up, it’s not too late to change their minds. Each kit company has its own procedure, so search in the website’s privacy tab to understand the steps. You may need to contact the lab holding the sample and ask them to destroy it. But that doesn’t mean the lab will destroy your sample; some federal regulation may require the labs to hold on to them for several years.

Inside the Personal Health Laboratory of Bulletproof Coffee’s Dave Asprey, the World’s Most Famous Biohacker

7. You can sell it.

This year, a number of DNA data marketplaces are set to launch, allowing individuals to upload their genetic information, which companies—particularly pharmaceutical and research institutions—can buy, says Alex Gorbachev, cofounder of one such marketplace called Zenome, based in Moscow. How much a person can net is to be determined.

Zenome estimates payouts from $1,000 to $2,000 a year. Dawn Barry, co-founder of U.S.-based exchange LunaDNA, says, “It’s tough to estimate, since it will depend on the number of participants, but users may be looking at payouts of around $21 each time their DNA is accessed.” To earn more, participants will be asked to complete questionnaires about their tastes and preferences, which helps refine the info gleaned from DNA. Before you sign up, be sure to understand who “owns” your data—you or them—as it differs among companies.

The post The Truth About DNA Kits appeared first on Men's Journal.

Speed Up Athletic Recovery With a Weighted Blanket


Ready to sleep better and recover faster? The time to act is now, because there are a bunch of weighted blankets on sale.

One of the hottest trends in sleep therapy right now, weighted blankets are far more than just a fad. Clinical studies have proven that through firm, deep pressure stimulation, weighted blankets result in deeper and more satisfying, more restful sleep. It’s simple, really. The weight of a heavy blanket provides a cocooning sensation, and the material inside the blanket produces a stroking, soothing tactile sensation when you move.

Hospitals have used weighted blankets as a natural stress reliever for decades. Studies prove that not only does it calm nerves, the weight sensation actually increases serotonin and melatonin levels and decreases cortisol levels in the brain—improving your mood and promoting restful sleep at the same time. Along with feeling better rested, you wake up feeling happier and less stressed.

Can A Weighted Blanket Speed Athletic Recovery?

In a word: Absolutely. Muscles that have been pushed to the max need time to rest. But they can’t do that if you’re stressed out, or tossing and turning because of discomfort. A weighted blanket means more restful sleep, and that translates to relaxed, healing muscles and tissue in the body. If your HIIT or CrossFit workouts are leaving you sore and drained the next day, that’s nothing a good recovery supplement and a weighted blanket can’t fix.

So it’s far more than just a fad; weighted blankets are a full-blown trend because—bottom line—they work. If you’re getting out of bed achy, sore, or grumpy, get yourself a weighted blanket today. Your body will recover faster, your mind will be sharper, and everyone around you will thank you.

The market is flush with weighed blankets these days; here are a few of our favorites—some of them are even on sale.

Weighting Comforts 24% OFF

Weighting Comforts makes all their blankets Twin-sized (42" x 74") so as not to waste the blanket's benefits on anything but the sleeper. They're also much easier to handle than very large and heavy weighted blankets. These blankets are durable and machine washable.

Right now, you can save $46 on all colored weighted blankets, such as blue chambray (shown), pewter, and charcoal. Pair it with a breathable Coolmax Cover, on sale for $75 (was $99).

GET IT: Pick up a weighted blanket (starting at $149; was $195) direct from Weighting Comforts

Weighting Comforts
Luna $30 OFF

Made of 100 percent organic 400 thread-count cotton encasing medical grade glass beads, the Luna is hypoallergenic. It uses a patented layered construction with air channels to keep air circulating and maintain a comfortable sleeping temperature. Over 1,100 reviews and a 4.5-star rating.

GET IT: Pick up the Luna Weighted Blanket (starting at $80; was $110) at Amazon

Auchen 3.0 – $59 OFF

The Auchen 3.0 gravity blanket is made of 100 percent cotton, and eco-friendly glass beads. This version is improved to prevent bead leakage, which can be a problem with these simple yet intricate blankets. Auchen’s unique 7-layer quilting system features more beads and less fiber fill, for better temperature control, providing soft and evenly-distributed weight to form to your shape while you sleep.

GET IT: Pick up the Auchen 3.0 Weighted Blanket ($90; was $149) at Walmart

Degrees of Comfort

Degrees of Comfort weighted blanket includes two duvet covers. One is a cozy, warm fleece to keep you toasty in the winter. The other cover is made of CoolMax Microfiber to ventilate heat away from your body. Almost 1,000 reviewers give it almost a perfect five-star rating.

GET IT: Pick up the Degrees of Comfort Weighted Blanket (starting at $55) at Amazon


If you're curious about trying a weighted blanket but aren't sure if you'll enjoy it enough to make a serious investment, this is a great place to start. The Tranquility is effective and affordable, although it should be spot-cleaned rather than machine-washed and it measures just 48x72 inches.

GET IT: Pick up the Tranquility Weighted Blanket ($50) at Walmart

See Also: 

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Check out all the products and gear we’ve selected for Men's Journal readers here


The post Speed Up Athletic Recovery With a Weighted Blanket appeared first on Men's Journal.

A Firefighter Broke His Foot in the London Marathon—and Still Finished in Under 4 Hours


Making it through a marathon is a test of endurance and grit for any runner, but for Steve Quayle, a firefighter from the Isle of Man, last weekend’s London Marathon was an especially difficult challenge. He stepped on a water bottle on the course at mile eight, injuring his foot, calf, and hip. But he powered through the next 18 miles and finished in under four hours (which, for reference, is averaging about 9:00-minute miles), according to CNN. He later discovered he’d actually broken his foot.

Jimmie Johnson Finished the Boston Marathon and Qualified for Next Year's Race, Too

“I expected there to be pain along the way and carried on, thinking I would run it off,” Quayle told CNN. “The pain got continually worse however, and by mile 16 I was really struggling and stopped at a physio tent for assistance.”

Despite the intense pain, Quayle kept at it. He was running to raise money for Hospice Isle of Man, and he’s also an ambassador for Positive Bones, a charity that works to purchase prosthetics for amputees. Remembering the people he was running for helped him push through to the finish line.

“Josie Bridges is the founder of Positive Bones and she’s lost a leg. She’s a huge inspiration for me,” Quayle told CNN. “At 22 miles a large part of me wanted to stop but I just thought, I feel like I’m on one leg here but Josie is actually one leg and she’d just power on; so I tried to power on.”

How to Run a Half-marathon in Under Two Hours

Crossing the finish line was obviously a huge relief.

“I was simply thinking, ‘Don’t cry in front of a TV camera—and where’s the nearest treatment tent?‘” he said. “I was also incredibly surprised that I’d managed to complete the marathon in 3:57:33.”

Once he arrived home, his sister rushed him to the hospital to get his foot examined. It was there Quayle learned the full extent of the injuries he’d sustained: a sprained hip, a torn calf muscle, and a broken bone in his foot. Nevertheless, he said his problems were small compared to what others are dealing with.

“The way I looked at it was, I’m here representing and raising funds for some wonderful causes who help people dealing with much tougher situations than myself for much longer than four hours,” he said. “The least I can do is put every last ounce of effort into it for them.”

Nike Unveils the New ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% Running Shoes

The post A Firefighter Broke His Foot in the London Marathon—and Still Finished in Under 4 Hours appeared first on Men's Journal.

Take the Game Outdoors in Under Armour RUSH Reactive Workout Apparel


Editor’s Note: Now through May 6th, take 25 percent off select women’s gear and 20 percent off outlet orders over $100. Plus, get 25 percent off bestselling spring gear, only at Under Amour.

What would you do with an extra 1 percent? Squeezing out that last bit of energy, that last ounce of of motivation could be the difference between losing that extra pound—or putting three more back on if you call it a day just a few minutes too soon. If you want to get the absolute most out of your workout, you need to try UA RUSH workout gear.

UA RUSH is used by some of the top athletes in the world, including Steph Curry and boxing champ Anthony Joshua. It’s made in collaboration with Celliant to manufacture quality athletic recovery gear. UA RUSH starts working when you do, taking the thermal energy your body creates and redirecting back into your tissue.

It’s a lot like an infrared sauna, or athletic recovery sleepwear—but it’s made to wear while you’re working out, so recovery starts that much sooner. The sooner you can begin recovery, the sooner your muscles begin to restore their energy to begin again tomorrow.

But UA RUSH is about more than just recovery. It’s about keeping your muscles active and working, regardless if it’s Leg Day, Arm Day, Run Day, or All-over Day. Wearing UA RUSH, your body reaps the benefit of thermal energy all over, not just the parts you happen to be exercising.

It’s especially awesome during sports like basketball, HIIT workouts such as CrossFit, and activities like rock climbing and rowing, where you’re using muscles that perhaps you don’t use as often as you should. We all get sore from those random workouts that take our body by surprise. But UA RUSH helps those muscles recover more quickly thanks to infrared energy.

And the benefits of thermal energy are going to be even more valuable in warmer times of year, when activities like sports, runs, and CrossFit can all take place outdoors. Working out and exercising outdoors is one of life’s great treasures, like putting on your favorite pair of shorts after a long, cold winter. It just feels great, perks up your mood, and sets a game, “anything goes” tone for the rest of your day—or week. And playing pick-up ball at the local park or schoolyard is far more satisfying than sweating under the fluorescent tubes in some stinky gym. There’s nothing more satisfying than pushing yourself until it’s just too dark to see.

Work out an exercise outdoors with your UA RUSH gear on, and you’ll get even more benefit from it. You’ll play harder, and recover faster.

UA RUSH is all about making the most out of every movement. When you’re working out, especially during high-intensity training, every motion, every stretch, every flex counts. With UA RUSH, every last ounce of energy you expel is poured back into your body. And that last ounce could mean the difference between losing those pounds, or squandering another opportunity.

Run Short Sleeve Shirt

Runners need a bit of room to breathe. That's why the UA Rush is such a perfect running shirt. It's got a bit of stretch and even fits slightly loose, so even though it's moving with you and reflecting your infrared energy back into your muscles and tissue, it doesn't squeeze or compress. Mesh panels provide breathability, anti-odor technology prevents odor-causing microbes, and a low-pro collar construction stays down out of your way. It's even got a dropped hem for enhanced backside coverage.

Get It: Pick up the UA RUSH Run Short Sleeve Shirt ($60) in either brown or black at Under Armour

Under Armour
Three-quarter Leggings

The ideal base layer to take you from the court to the gym to the street and back again. They have a 19-inch inseam that ends about mid-calf. Mesh panels add breathability, and anti-microbial technology fights odor. They're available in grey, which looks cool under black gym shorts. But they also come in black, which looks super-cool under black gym shorts. It's your choice. 

Get It: Pick up the UA RUSH Three-quarter Leggings ($55) at Under Armour

Under Armour
Short-sleeve hoodie

This hoodie's cool enough to wear when the game ends and it's time to hit the street. We like the short sleeves and loose fit that keep it from being too constrictive. Mesh insets on sleeves and side hem add breathability, and the raglan sleeve and low- pro collar keep things casual. Also available in grey, it's 82 percent polyester and 18 percent elastane, for a touch of stretch.

Get It: Pick up the UA RUSH Short-sleeve Hoodie ($60) at Under Armour

Check out the full UA Rush collection here.

Under Armour

The post Take the Game Outdoors in Under Armour RUSH Reactive Workout Apparel appeared first on Men's Journal.

The 7 Best Fitness Deals on Amazon This Week


If your daily gym sesh isn’t providing quite the results you were expecting, you’re just going to have to work a bit harder. One way to do that is to pick up some home gym equipment, which you can use after work, while binge-watching tv, or even at your desk, given the right device. What are the best fitness deals of the week? Here are seven devices that can keep you working out, even when you’re not at the gym.

From resistance tools to fitness trackers to our absolute favorite workout headphones, these seven fitness-oriented items are designed to keep you active and motivated. There’s even an inversion table with infrared light therapy integrated, to help you recover from strenuous workouts faster, so you can get back to your regular regimen sooner. The best part is, many of them are on sale.

Keep Moving, Keep Working

Summer will be here before you know it, and you’re going to want to make the most of it. If your fitness regimen isn’t getting you cut the way you were hoping, perhaps a bit of extra resistance or dumbbell training in the office can help. When life’s distractions keep you from completing your cycle every time you get to the gym, tune out the noise with Jabra Active Elite 65t earbuds. If you’re just going through the motions or completing a certain number of laps or whatever, a Fitbit Charge 2 can help you set realistic, results-achieving goals—and gauge your progress toward achieving them. Once you see how far you’ve come, you’ll be that much more motivated to go even further, to do that extra set, to burn another 500 calories on the treadmill.

If you’re not yet in summer shape, it’s time to stop doing the same thing over and over. Check out our best fitness deals of the week from Amazon, and take your fitness to the next level.

Jabra Elite Active 65t True Wireless Sports Earbuds $40 OFF

It's no secret we love these earbuds, and this is the lowest price on them we've seen since the holidays. Plus it's just in time for outdoor running and exercise season. Features a secure-fit, protected against sweat and dust, with an integrated motion sensor and up to 15 hours battery life—5 hours in the earbuds, and an extra 10 from the pocket-friendly charging case.

GET IT: Pick up Jabra Elite Active 65t Wireless Sport Earbuds ($150; was $190) at Amazon

Wonder Core Smart 60% OFF

Whether you are looking to strengthen for a sport or tone for sun's-out-abs-out season, this item will get the job done. The Wonder Core Max exercise system is designed to provide a laser focus on your upper, middle, and lower abs and oblique muscles for a well-rounded workout you'll feel all over. And it's no gimmick; Amazon reviewers rate it 4.1 out of five stars.

GET IT: Pick up the Wonder Core Smart ($60; was $150) at Amazon

Fitbit Charge 2 20% OFF

Make every beat count with Fitbit Charge 2, the heart rate and fitness wristband built for workouts and beyond. Continuous heart rate makes it easy to maximize workouts, better track calorie burn, and get a snapshot of your cardio fitness level, while all-day activity and auto sleep tracking let you see how your whole routine adds up.

This is the cheapest we've seen the Charge 2. And with a four-star rating after more than 17,500 reviews? We'll take it.

GET IT: Pick up the FitBit Charge 2 Fitness Tracker ($120; was $150) at Amazon

Gorilla Bow 10% OFF

Combine resistance bands and high intensity interval circuit training to tone your arms, abs, legs, and glutes while also getting cardio in. It incorporates movements you're used to—squats, bench press, curls, and rowing—with heavy duty resistance cords. Amazon reviewers rave about it. Includes one aluminum Gorilla Bow and four latex double wall resistance cables (10, 20, 32 & 45 lbs.).

GET IT: Pick up the Gorilla Bow ($180; was $200) at Amazon

Ironman IFT 4000 Infrared Therapy Inversion Table $49 OFF

Combine spine-soothing inversion therapy with the recovery benefits of infrared therapy. The backrest is made with a carbon fiber F.I.R. (Far Infrared Ray) heating element to help soothe your muscles as you're inverting. Folds away when not in use. 

GET IT: Pick up the Ironman IFT 4000 Infrared Therapy Inversion Table ($289; was $338) at Amazon

Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands

A set of five 12″ by 2″ heavy duty resistance loop bands made of 100 percent natural latex. Perfect for whether you're just starting out or a seasoned workout warrior. Use them anywhere for general exercise, stretching, and strength training programs. This set can be integrated seamlessly with any workout program including yoga, pilates, HIIT, and more. 

GET IT: Pick up Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands ($11) at Amazon

Yes4All Neoprene Coated Dumbbell (Pair)

Versatile and discreet, a set of coated dumbbells can keep you toned even when you don't have time for a complete workout. These are extremely well-reviewed on Amazon (4.5 stars). Available in 16 weights, most are on sale, and some are as much as 25 percent off right now. 

GET IT: Pick up Yes4All Dumbbells (from $10/pair) at Amazon


Check out all the products and gear we’ve selected for Men's Journal readers here

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The post The 7 Best Fitness Deals on Amazon This Week appeared first on Men's Journal.

Chris Evans on Getting in Shape to Play Captain America in ‘Avengers: Endgame’


Even a quick glance at some popular celebrity workouts will show you that, when it comes to bulking up for a role (or just maintaining a camera-ready physique), there’s more than one right way to do it. For James McAvoy, that meant following Swedish trainer Magnus Lygdback’s “Magnus Method.” Matthew McConaughey prefers to stay fit by running or paddleboarding around Lake Austin in Texas. If you’re The Rock, even your cheat meals are something of a workout. But Men’s Journal May cover star Chris Evans prefers to keep things simple: lifting weight, and plenty of it.

Zachary Levi on What It's Like to Suit Up to Play Shazam

Playing Captain America in Marvel’s blockbuster Avengers series is a big task—and as we found out while hanging with Evans at his home in Massachusetts, a role that he initially turned down. The offer came at a time when Evans was questioning whether or not he wanted to continue acting at all. Fortunately for Marvel fans, friends convinced him to accept the role. Then came the tough part: Training. At our cover shoot, Evans was coy about what exactly that training entailed.

“I went to the gym and I lifted heavy stuff,” he said.

James McAvoy Used This Killer Workout to Get in Shape for ‘Glass’

We’re sure his gym sessions were a lot tougher than he makes them sound—Evans did some serious bulking up and definitely earned that shield (no mysterious strength serum here). Get his take on working out in the video above, and don’t miss our full profile on the Marvel star in the May issue of Men’s Journal, on newsstands now.

The post Chris Evans on Getting in Shape to Play Captain America in ‘Avengers: Endgame’ appeared first on Men's Journal.

The Rise of America’s Boutique Gym: How You Can Train Like Pro Athletes and Celebrities


For many of us, a big-box gym or a group fitness class has enough to get the job done. But if you’re serious about athletic endeavors, you may consider seeing a specialty gym that offers a super-niche experience. And these four, located across the country, are among the best. They employ trainers at the top of their fields, and typically work with participants in a one-on-one or small-group setting. Join up if you’re a local or a frequent flier to that town, but if you’re just passing through, all of them offer drop-in or remote options. The only prerequisite: Be ready to get sweaty.

Performix House floor
Courtesy Image

1. Performix House

Where: New York

Why: Sweat Like a VIP

Get More Info

Membership here is capped at 400, and applicants are required to do an in-person interview. Some spots have gone to high-profile clientele (ahem, Naomi Campbell), but you don’t have to be famous to join. “If you’re invested in long-term health, you’re in,” says Matt Hesse, Performix House founder and chief executive. The gym is fully loaded, boasting prowlers, cable machines, medicine balls, squat racks, self-powered treadmills, gymnastic rings, heavy bags that come down from the ceiling—it’s basically a playground for fitness fanatics.

How to Find the Best Personal Trainer for You

For $240 a month, you can work privately with talent like Nike’s Joe Holder, and top trainers Andy Speer and Mike Bell. Top-tier members shell out $900 for “keys to the house,” which grants them all access to the space, all of the time, plus a personalized locker in a sleek locker room, and laundry service. Different membership tiers include a range of fitness boosters, such as cryotherapy, infrared sauna, Performix supplements, massage, and apparel. Nonmembers can drop in on group classes for $35. And later in 2019, the gym plans to launch an online platform for live and on-demand workouts.

The House gets it: $900 is a lot for a gym membership. But “our members are making performance—being better all around—a key part of their life,” Hesse says.

Insider Tip: Take advantage of the free slushy machine pumping out Performix brand pre-workout energy and post-workout recovery beverages.

Michael Johnson Performance Center
Courtesy of Michael Johnson Performance

2. Michael Johnson Performance Center 

Where: McKinney, Texas

Why: Train Like an Athlete

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The world champion sprinter founded this eponymous mecca of speed outside Dallas. It boasts top-of-the-line amenities: a 6,000-square-foot multipurpose indoor turf, a six-lane indoor track, a 23-meter outdoor swimming pool. But it’s the advanced technology that will make even a short trip worth your time. Their trainers have access to a three-dimensional motion capture system that uses 20 high-definition cameras to analyze form and ground force, along with embedded track and turf force plates to calculate energy transfer.

The Essential Marathon Training Plan for Men

“To train at MJP, you only need to be an athlete in the sense of training for a specific event, sport, or goal,” says Lance Walker, vice president. Think Boston Marathon qualifying time, more playing minutes in a competitive soccer league, or entering a U.S. Tennis Association Masters’ tournament. “You’re placed in a group with a custom-tailored plan for a specific frequency and duration, and we monitor you to ensure you’re reaching your objectives,” Walker says. Group programs start at $330 a week.

Insider Tip: Call ahead to schedule a package of six one-on-one training sessions ($948). An expert will make use of the facility’s top-notch tech, like force plates (to assess vertical jump potential and asymetrics) and its underwater treadmill.

Mountain Tactical Institute
Courtesy of Mountain Tactical Institute

3. Mountain Tactical Institute

Where: Jackson Hole, Wyoming  

Why: Work Out Like a Green Beret

Get More Info

This no-frills space belies a higher purpose: to develop and test strength and conditioning programs for mountain and tactical athletes (ski patrol, search-and-rescue, law enforcement, military, etc.). The tools are low-tech, like barbells, ropes, hand weights, and sandbags. Training cycles span six to eight weeks, with intense one-hour sessions. People from around the globe stop by when they’re in Wyoming, and you can, too. Email MTI your dates, and if there’s a cycle going on, you’re in. It’s free, but attendance is mandatory. Founder and president Rob Shaul may toss you out if you flake.

Your 8-Week “Conquer the Mountain” Plan

“Many of the people we work with could die doing their jobs, so our programming caters directly to what the work demands,” Shaul explains. That could mean developing base fitness—like endurance and hiking under load—for timed sports like rock climbing and trail running, or professional development for Green Beret or hostage-rescue team selections. “Our programming is intense, but it transfers directly to our athletes’ jobs,” Shaul says. Not heading to the West anytime soon? The MTI website has multiweek fitness plans online for backpackers, ultrarunners, and more.

Insider Tip: If you’re a novice, this might not be your spot. “We don’t judge,” says Shaul, “but you need to know your way around the weight room to do the gym-based work.”

Wild Card Boxing Club
Lucas Noonan

4. Wild Card Boxing Club  

Where: Los Angeles, California

Why: Box Like a Champ 

Get More Info

Learn to throw a punch like a pro from the guy who trained Manny Pacquiao, Oscar de la Hoya, and Mike Tyson. Freddie Roach, once a pro boxer himself—with a record of 41 wins and 13 losses—opened up shop in 1995 and has whipped world champions into shape since.

It’s unlikely you’ll go a few rounds with Roach himself, but you can work one-on-one with expert trainers including Roger “Speedy” Gonzalez for just $50 a month, plus the trainers’ rates, which can range up to $100 per hour. And those passing through Hollywood can use the club equipment (speed and heavy bags, cardio equipment) for $5 a day. The space is old-school basic—those looking for bougie boxing clubs with high-end amenities can keep moving—but there’s loads of memorabilia on the walls for inspiration.

The Best Fat-burning Boxing Workout to Get Strong and Lean

Insider Tip: Don’t be intimidated by the pros; all levels are welcome. If you’re a newbie in the ring, ask to train with Eric Brown, who coached World Champion Peter Quillen. He’s great at breaking down the fundamentals, like proper stance, footwork, combinations, and technique.

The post The Rise of America’s Boutique Gym: How You Can Train Like Pro Athletes and Celebrities appeared first on Men's Journal.

Hundreds of Reviewers Swear This Is The Most Delicious Juice Cleanse They’ve Ever Tried


Whether you’ve been sticking to your New Year’s resolution or haven’t managed to stay totally on top of it the past few months, here’s an easy, delicious way to zap your body and mind either back on course (or keep it there). We’re talking about a juice cleanse. And right now, you can get 25 percent off one of our favorites.

Let’s be clear: we’re definitely not talking about one of those lemon juice/apple cider/cayenne pepper cleanses that flush your body from the inside out and leave you feeling like you’ve been wrung out like yesterday’s washcloth. This is way easier than that. We’re talking about an all-natural, delicious juice cleanse that gets delivered right to your door, pre-made and pre-portioned. All you’ve got to do is commit—and even that part is far easier than it sounds.

Are You Ready to Cleanse?

JÙS by Julie has several awesome juice cleanses designed to fit into anyone’s schedule and satisfy most any dietary need or lifestyle. What makes JÙS by Julie so special? Instead of cold-pressing the juices (like many competitors do) each JÙS by Julie is blended, to ensure each serving has 100 percent of the fruits and veggies you need. That means plenty of antioxidants, fiber, and live enzymes, which play a vital role in absorbing toxins getting them out of your body. As well as providing the fuel we need to operate to our fullest potential.

No matter if you’re trying a cleanse for the first time, just need a quick perk-up, or need a full week of course-correcting detox after a long layoff from your regimen, JÙS by Julie has a juice cleanse that’s just right for you. You can even buy the juices a la carte—which we highly recommend, since they’re so darned good.

There are five cleanses in total: a one day, a two-day, a three-day, and a five-day. You get six smoothies for each day of cleansing. The assortment is the same, regardless of the cleanse you choose. The One-Day Cleanse ($50) is a quick, easy way to restart your body and get back on track. The Two-Day Cleanse ($69 with code 2DAYSHOT; was $95) provides a bit more detox. The 3-Day Cleanse ($99 with code 3DAYSHOT; was $140) includes a healthy afternoon dessert smoothie, so you’re satisfied all day. If you’re hale enough to try the 5-Day Cleanse ($225), you’re guaranteed to see at least a few of the positive effects of a juice cleanse, such as suddenly baggy pants.

jus by julie
JUS by Julie

How Does It Taste?

All cleanses include Sweet Spin, a kale-spinach juice that’s jam-packed with vitamins A and C and has pineapple, banana, and mango. Spicy Lemon and Spicy Pomegranate employ cayenne pepper for a little kick. Green Radiance puts a tropical spin on a traditional green drink, with apples, strawberries, mangoes and coconut oil to balance out the spinach. X-Treme Greens has a deeper flavor than Sweet Spin, with orange and pineapple plus protein from hemp seeds. Plan on working out during the cleanse? Chia Berry is great to keep in a gym bag. Plus, it’s delicious, with blended chia seeds, pomegranate, strawberry and lemon, plus agave for a bit of extra sweetness.

Each cleanse also comes with a Choco-nana, Watermelon Wizard, or a PB and JUS cleanse. Choco-nana has cocoa, banana, strawberry, pomegranate, and coconut milk. Watermelon Wizard contains watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, lemon juice, Maqui Berry powder, and rosemary, perfect for a hydrating kick! PB & Jus has a simple (but delicious) blend of peanut butter, strawberry and banana, plus rice milk, for a perfect, healthy spin on a classic PB&J.

Jus by julie
JUS by Julie

For even more options, JÙS by Julie offers a 3-Day Soup and JÙS Cleanse ($125). A three-day detox program, you’ll enjoy a smoothie in the morning, afternoon, and evening, plus a variety of three blended soups loaded with protein, vegetables, and vitamins to satiate you throughout the day. The 5-Day JÙS ‘Til Dinner Cleanse ($165) offers four juices to drink during the day, then you’re on your own for a healthy dinner at night. This is a perfect options for athletes and those who perform high-intensity workouts most every day.

Order a 2 Day Cleanse from JÙS by Julie and get 4 Shots plus free shipping for just $69 with code 2DAYSHOT, or get a 3 Day Cleanse with 6 shots plus free shipping for $99 with code 3DAYSHOT.

GET IT: Get back on track with a juice cleanse from JÙS by Julie today.


Check out all the products and gear we’ve selected for Men’s Journal readers here


See Also:

How to Detoxify Your Body and Mind

10 Myths of Juice Cleansing

The post Hundreds of Reviewers Swear This Is The Most Delicious Juice Cleanse They’ve Ever Tried appeared first on Men's Journal.

These Top-Rated Light Therapy Lamps Help Mimic Sunlight


Even though the days are getting longer, the benefits of regular light therapy can and should continue. Light therapy has been clinically proven to improve mood and sleep quality, and also relieve the symptoms of jet lag and work shift adjustment. It’s safe, natural, and effective. Even the Mayo Clinic recommends it. And having a personal, portable therapy light is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reap the benefits of this 21st century life remedy.

What are the best therapy lights? The choices are many. Therapy lights come in all shapes and sizes, so deciding which is the right one for you depends on any number of factors. If you work at a desk, a desktop device can provide a simple, unobtrusive way to get that bit of extra light to put a spring in your step. If you live in a far northern locale where the days are short already, a therapy light can be used to replicate the sun’s summer schedule and keep your internal body clock in check, even as the seasons turn and the days shorten.

Therapy lights come in particularly handy if you’re cooped up in an office all day, with little or no access to the outside world for hours at a time. Some are made specifically for bedroom nightstands, and designed to mimic sunlight. These are great for those who sleep in dark bedrooms with few windows to provide natural light. (If you’ve ever lived in a basement apartment in the city, you know exactly what we’re talking about.)

What Exactly Are Therapy Lights?

Therapy lights are consist of a bank of LED bulbs, often numbering in the hundreds or more. The bulbs are mounted to a flat surface and covered with a diffusing lens. Back in the day, therapy lights were huge, intrusive things that looked as sterile as the environments in which they were used—most often, sleep disorder clinics. Not anymore. As the phenomenon has become more mainstream and companies streamline their products to satisfy various users’ particular needs, light therapy has become a booming business.

Even better, as the technology refines itself, the design aspect has followed suit. Therapy lights these days are more compact and far more stylish than ever. Some are designed to look like normal desk lamps; others are shaped like the sun, have internal alarm clocks, and give off an orange-y glow. Still others are designed to blend into your home decor as an accent piece.

We’ve put together list of awesome therapy lights below. No matter which style catches your eye, why you need light therapy, or where you choose to receive it, there’s no denying the benefits. Place your device above your line of sight, where possible, to maximize the light reaching your eyes. You should be facing the lamp with eyes open, but there’s no need to look directly at the light. Over the first few days, assess the effect and, if necessary, lengthen or shorten the session time based on your response.

Theralite Aura

Therapeutic 10,000 LUX of comfortable glare-free white light with zero UV for optimal bright light therapy. Height and angle are both adjustable. It has four light settings with 168 LED lights for light therapy or task lighting. It's 23 percent off right now.

GET IT: Pick up the Theralite Aura ($77; was $100) at Amazon

Nature Bright Sun Touch Plus

This ion + light therapy lamp gets a four-star rating from users—and right now it's over 40 percent off. The 10,000 LUX glow emits a healing 17,000-Kelvin UV-free light and theion air outlet emits negative ions to bestow a calming effect in the immediate area. It's got a built-in timer as well, that saves energy when you forget to turn it off.

GET IT: Pick up the Nature Bright Sun Touch Plus ($40; was $70) at Walmart

Carex Day-Light Classic

Some claim this lamp provides the best combination of function and affordability in the entire Therapy Light space, and we certainly can't argue. It's unobtrusive and looks great on the desk, and includes a safe, glare-free screen as well as flicker-free bulbs and adjustable stand with flexible angle, so you can project light downward, as recommended by health experts.

GET IT: Pick up the Carex Day-Light Classic ($115) at Amazon

Philips goLITE BLU

Blue Light is clinically proven to increase energy levels, mood, and sleep quality, to help you stay sharp. This model claims to be as effective as a 10,000 LUX white light; just 20-30 minutes a day is all you need. It emits zero UV. Dozens of reviewers swear by its effectivesness in improving mood and energy. 

GET IT: Pick up the Philips goLITE BLU ($80) at Walmart

Verilux HappyLight Liberty

Here's a small, portable option that won't bust the budget. At 6x7 inches and weighing just 1.5 lbs., it emits 5,000 LUX with moderated UV ouput. And it works—over 1,600 reviewers, and it nets a 4.3-star rating. It comes with a one-year warranty.

GET IT: Pick up the Verilux HappyLight Liberty ($35 with coupon) at Amazon

Aurora LightPad Mini

Its ultra-sleek, ultra-thin design make the Aurora an excellent option. At just 25 inches diameter, it's portable and easy to travel with, great for home, office, or hotel room. It has a 7-year warranty, adjustable stand, and three levels of 10,000 LUX brightness.

GET IT: Pick up the Aurora Lightpad Mini ($180) at Walmart

Circadian Optics Lumine

Symmetrical, with straight lines and square angles. This versatile, modern design fits home or office. The top-to-bottom panel creates an unembellished aesthetic and emits a uniform, fully diffused light. Features three one-touch adjustable brightness settings and a 5,500K color temperature. Comes ewith a two-year warranty.

GET IT: Pick up the Circadian Optics Lumine ($55) at Amazon


Check out all the products and gear we’ve selected for Men's Journal readers here

See Also:

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The post These Top-Rated Light Therapy Lamps Help Mimic Sunlight appeared first on Men's Journal.

How These 8 ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Stars Trained to Become Marvel Heroes


The Endgame is finally here for Marvel heroes—and the Avengers are ready for battle. After a year of waiting following Avengers: Infinity War, the follow-up, Avengers: Endgame, is hitting theaters with Men’s Journal cover star Chris Evans taking the lead as Captain America alongside Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man.

‘Avengers 4’: Everything You Need to Know For ‘Avengers: Endgame’

In this rundown, we’ll go over how stars like Evans (Steve Rogers), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Sebastian Stan (The Winter Soldier), Paul Rudd (Ant-Man), Brie Larson (Captain Marvel), and Chris Pratt (Star-Lord) got in shape to face off against Thanos (Josh Brolin) and other villains.

Here are the workouts, the trainers, the diets, and the tips these stars used to get in shape over the years for the Marvel movies leading into Avengers: Endgame.

Chris Hemsworth

The Hero: Thor 

The Trainer: Personal trainer and childhood friend Luke Zocchi

The Quote: “I needed to make sure that I wasn’t burning him out because he was working long hours every day,” Zocchi told Men’s Journal. “Most of the work that we do to get Chris bulked up for Thor is done in the months before being in front of the cameras. He loves to kickbox, so that's incorporated into his training. Occasionally, I have to hold the pads for him, and I really need to brace for his kicks, because he will knock me right over.”

The Workouts: Zocchi did core variation workouts, kickboxing, as well as moves like bear crawls, planks and dynamic crunches. Hemsworth shared a lot of his workouts on social media, including kettlebell moves, dumbbell variations, boxing, push/pull workouts, barbell curls, and surfing, among many more. 

L: Michael Schwartz, Disney / Marvel
Paul Rudd

The Hero: Ant-Man

The Trainer(s): Richard Louis, New York-based trainer and owner of FitSpaceNYC, and nutritionist Carlon Colker, M.D.

The Quote: “I was one of those people who always wanted the results, but never wanted to put in the work,” Rudd told Men’s Journal for his cover story. “I never really stopped working out from the first one into the second one. Eating at certain times—my day is kind of centered around health and fitness, which is a somewhat new experience for me. I never took it to this extreme before. I was one of those people who wanted the results, but didn’t want to put in the work.”

The Workout: To work his chest, biceps, and abs, Rudd did a 3-part circuit workout, including 5 rounds with these moves: Smith Machine Incline Press x 15 reps,EZ-Bar Curl x 15 reps, Hanging Knee Raises x 25 reps. Read up on the entire workout here.

The Meal Plan: Breakfast: 3 eggs, oatmeal, coffee Snack: Protein shake, handful of almonds Lunch: Salad with 6oz protein and 4oz sweet potato or rice (incorporating the carb source every other day) Snack: Protein shakes, handful of walnuts Dinner: 8oz. of protein with as many vegetables as possible


L: Disney / Marvel, R: Simon Emmett
Chris Evans

The Hero: Captain America

The Trainer: Personal trainer Simon Waterson

The Workout: When he first played Captain America in The First Avenger, Evans hit the gym four to five days a week for three months, training for two hours a day, focusing on two muscle groups per session. Waterson also helped Evans get his body fat down to 8-percent while working on Civil War.


L: Disney / Marvel, R: Miller Mobley
Chris Pratt

The Hero: Star-Lord, of the Guardians of the Galaxy

The Trainer(s): Pratt used a calculated diet plan from nutritionist Phil Goglia and an intense training regimen designed by personal trainer Duffy Gaver 

The Quote(s): “Three or four hours a day of just consistent, ass-kicking hard work,” Pratt told Men’s Journal about dropping 60 pounds in six months when he was first cast as Star-Lord. "Chris' athleticism is amazing. He is incredibly disciplined and his work ethic is phenomenal," said trainer Duffy Gaver. "He isn’t the client you have to push; he's the type of client you have to pull down. If you were to walk into the gym when he was training, you would have thought for sure you’ve got a guy getting ready for the NFL Combine.”

The Workout: Gaver trained Pratt for five months, starting with four to six sessions a week. Pratt would even do extra workouts on his own if he felt up to it. One of the workouts included lat pulldowns, dumbbell rows, barbell curls, pushups, and concentrations curls. See Pratt’s full Guardians of the Galaxy workout here. Pratt also used sessions of P90X, running, swimming, boxing, and kickboxing.

L: Disney / Marvel, R: The Riker Brothers
Dave Bautista

The Hero: Drax, of the Guardians of the Galaxy

The Trainer: Jon Bennett from Mi40 Gym

The Quote: “Being in the Avengers got me to hire a personal trainer,” Bautista told Men’s Journal. “Because literally for the first time in my film career, I was really concerned about looking better. I wanted to not only look big, but I wanted to look toned—I wanted to look like a superhero, that big figure, small waist look. We focused on making my muscles look more rounded, my waist more tapered, my back wider, and my thighs more developed. We went back towards a real bodybuilding style, but not with heavy weights—we focused more on power training.”

The Workout: One of his programs included a 3-day body part split, including a Push Day of chest, side/front delts, triceps, and calves, a Legs Day of quads, hamstrings, hips, and abs, and a Pull Day of lats, upper back, side/rear delts, biceps, and calves. See the full Bautista workout plan here

The Diet: "Each day, I would eat one or two meals with carbohydrates," Bautista said. "They would have a lot of protein, and good fats—avocado, coconut oil, nuts, stuff like that. But my daily diet had a lot of protein. I don’t eat red meat or pork. It was mostly eggs and poultry. Gluten-free and dairy-free as well. My wife is a vegan, so it just works for us to eat clean and healthy all the time.

Disney / Marvel Studios
Brie Larson

The Hero: Captain Marvel

The Trainer: Jason Walsh, who has worked with numerous Hollywood stars over the years—like John Krasinski, Bradley Cooper, Emily Blunt, Jessica Biel, Matt Damon, and Anne Hathaway.

The Quote: “We got deep into heavy progression," Walsh told Men's Journal "Doing two-a-days, four days a week, sometimes five days a week unless Brie was feeling destroyed. She did the work—nutrition, recovery, sleep—everything required of her. The whole process took nine months of training, and we focused in on a number of key moves, including hip thrusts, which was a staple of our workouts.”

The Workout: “We’d go from mobility into activation work, which we considered a warmup, then into the primary strength exercises,” Walsh said. “That could be a squat aspect, bilateral exercises, unilateral moves, hip-hinge work, and a lot of hip thrusting and posterior chain work to fire up and support the spine. Then we'd do circuits of secondary exercises—basically everything other than those primary moves—and make sure her joints were supported and muscles were activated throughout the workout.”

Disney / Marvel
Sebastian Stan

The Hero: The Winter Soldier / The White Wolf

The Trainer: Don Saladino, who whipped Ryan Reynolds and David Harbour into shape for Deadpool 2 and Hellboy

The Quote: “Every day we kicked off with a heavy lift,” Saladino told Men's Journal. “There is this amazing muscle engagement that you can just feel when you pick up a big weight. I am not saying it needs to be strenuous to the body, where your system is freaking out. It just needs to feel heavy.” 

The Workout: Stan’s chest day workout includes two blocks of workouts, including one with these moves: flat dumbbell press ( sets of 5 reps; 1 set of 15 reps; 1 set of 20 reps), dumbbell squeeze press ( sets of 10 reps), and cable flys (4 sets of 10 reps). Check here for the full Winter Soldier workout plan

Disney / Marvel Studios
Chadwick Boseman

The Hero: Black Panther

The Trainer: Personal trainer, Addison Henderson

The Quote:  “We rarely stopped moving during our sessions,” Henderson told Men's Journal. “We trained like we were going into the fight of our lives. The guy has some of the best arms I have ever seen, and his body looks great with length. I wanted to make sure that he was as long and lean as possible, more like an NFL wide receiver than a lineman.”

The Workout: Boseman, who already had a background in martial arts, worked out up to an additional four hours a day with his personal trainer, and also had a muscle-building 2-day workout plan that hit his chest, arms, shoulders and triceps. See the full detailed workout here. 


Disney / Marvel Studios

The post How These 8 ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Stars Trained to Become Marvel Heroes appeared first on Men's Journal.

The Latest Protein Guidelines for Runners, According to Science


Serious runners—in this case, track and field athletes—put a major strain on their bodies on a day to day basis. They need a strategic nutrition plan to help their muscles recover, initiate training adaptation, and improving or maintaining muscle mass. For years, carbs were thought to be the most crucial to runners, leaving protein mostly overlooked. But new guidelines suggest the macro is essential for sprinters, long-distance runners, and the like; however, knowing how much to consume is tricky.

Luckily, a new study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism has made things a little clearer. The authors performed a systematic review of available research on protein intake and found that to increase muscle mass, runners should consume 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body mass each day.

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“Track and field athletes engage in vigorous training that places stress on physiological systems requiring nutritional support for optimal recovery,” said Dr. Oliver Witard, University of Stirling professor of Health Sciences and Sport and the lead author on the report. “We highlight the benefits of dietary protein intake for training adaptation, manipulating body composition, and optimising performance.”

The findings from this new study have helped the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) create an updated consensus statement on protein (it was last updated in 2007, and sports science has progressed quite a bit since then). For instance, in the past, in some countries, athletes had only been advised to eat about 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body mass.

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Although the research is geared toward professional athletes, the findings are helpful for any serious runner. If you’re running and aiming to increase lean muscle mass, shoot for 1.6 grams of protein daily per kilogram of body mass. If your goal is to lose weight and increase lean muscle mass, the study recommends upping your daily protein intake to anywhere from 1.6 to 2.4 grams per kilogram of body mass. Here are some ways to hit those macros in a day.

The Perfect High-Protein Meal Plan for Male Sprinters

Foods provide ∼30g of protein in highlighted meals during the day for a 175lb male:

8:00 a.m. Breakfast: 250g oatmeal and 200ml low-fat milk 9:30-11:00a.m. Strength training: Water and/or sports drink/bar/gel 11:00a.m. Recovery meal: 300g Greek yogurt with granola 12:30p.m. Lunch: Two-egg omelet with cheese, toast/salad 4:00p.m. Dinner: 120g chicken with rice and vegetables 5:00–7:30p.m. Event-specific training: Water and/or sports drink/bar/gel 7:30p.m. Recovery meal: 300g cottage cheese with apple and berries 10:00p.m. Evening meal: 100g tuna in a mixed pasta salad

The Perfect Meal Plan for Female Long-Distance Runners

Foods provide ∼20g of protein in highlighted meals during the day for a 120lb female:

8:00 Breakfast: 200g Greek yogurt and granola 9:30–11:00a.m. Strength training: Water and/or sports drink/bar/gel 11:00a.m. Recovery meal: 500ml smoothie (yogurt and berries) 12:30p.m. Lunch: Two fried eggs and toast/salad 4:00p.m. Dinner: 100g salmon with potatoes and vegetables 5:00–7:30p.m. Event-specific training: Water and/or sports drink/bar/gel 7:30 Recovery meal: 500ml smoothie with yogurt, fruit, and berries 10:00p.m. Evening meal: Ham and cheese sandwich and 200ml low-fat milk

The post The Latest Protein Guidelines for Runners, According to Science appeared first on Men's Journal.

Over 5,000 Reviewers Swear By This Top-Rated Inversion Table


Does inversion therapy work? If you have chronic lower back pain or feel joint pain after a high-impact workout, evidence suggests you can get relief from inversion therapy. Proponents claim it not only relieves back and joint pain but improves posture, increases flexibility, and stimulates abdominal organ function. Some go as far as to say regular sessions on an inversion table preserves their height and that the increased blood flow to the head stimulates their brain and scalp.

While we’re not saying an inversion table will make you taller and help grow a Momoa-esque mane of luxurious hair, the evidence is pretty clear that short-term sessions of inversion therapy can help alleviate back pain for most people. If you’re ready to give it a try, this inversion table gets an incredible 4.5 stars after over 5,600 reviews on Amazon. And it’s surprisingly reasonable.

inv table

Inversion therapy is when the spine is elongated upside down for short periods of time, using so-called “gravity boots” or by lying on an inversion table. By elongating and stretching the spine, traction forces reverse the gravity that has compressed it. The head is tilted downward to relieve pressure on the discs and nerve roots and increase the space between vertebrae, reducing the pressure on the discs. Additionally, inversion therapy stretches the muscles and ligaments around the spine and can temporarily relieve muscle spasms. And all you have to do is lie there.

Will an inversion table work for you? Let’s look at some of the other things inversion therapy can do.

Relieve Joint Pressure and Pain

Your joints can experience stress after a strenuous gym session—especially after a high-impact workout. An inversion table stretches your muscles and ligaments, and after a hard run or jumprope session that can relieve stress and pain. An inversion table may even correct minor misalignment caused by one-way activities like golf or kayaking, where you use a single-sided motion over and over.

Help Circulation and Stimulate Abdominal Organs

Blood only flows one direction for most of our waking lives; hanging upside-down can improve circulation simply by forcing our blood to move against gravity for short periods of time.

Many inversion proponents claim that hanging upside down on an inversion table decongests their abdominal organs. And there’s some evidence to suggest that stretching upside down flushes the lymphatic system, clearing out lactic acid and other waste.

Improve Posture and Maintain Height

Because of spinal compression from being upright all day, studies show that the average guy can shrink up to 3/4-inch from when he wakes up to when he goes to bed at night. Sleeping, of course, corrects this over the course of hours. But proponents of inversion tables claim that reversing the force of gravity by hanging upside down quickly negates this spinal compression.

Further, sitting at a desk all day can be murder on our posture. Stretching out your back on an inversion table can help correct bad posture habits derived from sitting in one place for hours at a time.


Before beginning inversion therapy, however, experts recommend consulting your doctor if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or glaucoma or other eye problems.

Ready To Try It?

If you’re ready to give inversion therapy ten minutes a day, check out this top-rated inversion table on Amazon [$120; amazon.com]. This is no exaggeration: thousands and thousands of reviewers swear by it. It has a large backrest pad and soft touch foam handlebars, a reversible and ergonomic ankle holding system, an innovative 6-pin angle selection system that lets you easily find and maintain your center of gravity, and an adjustable headrest pad so it fits users from 4’10” to 6’6″. It has a weight capacity of 300 lbs. Best of all, it folds up flat for easy stowage.

Ten minutes a day is all it takes. Remember to consult your doctor before beginning inversion therapy. But if you have chronic back, sciatic, or joint pain, this inversion table make give you the relief that’s been eluding you all these years.

Get It: Pick up the Innova ITX9600 Heavy Duty Inversion Table ($120) at Amazon


Check out all the products and gear we’ve selected for Men’s Journal readers here


See Also:

The 30 Best Back Exercises of All Time

What’s Really Causing Your Lower Back Pain

The post Over 5,000 Reviewers Swear By This Top-Rated Inversion Table appeared first on Men's Journal.

7 Best Fitness Deals of the Week on Amazon


As the old joke goes: If you look hard enough, you can find just about anything for sale at Amazon. But before you spend your hard-earned cash on earthworm jerky (high in protein!), take a deep breath and pick up something that’s going to pay dividends. Here are 7 of the best fitness deals of the week at Amazon.

From bike accessories to workout gear, there’s something for everyone here. While it’s true you can find anything at Amazon, the retail giant is exhaustive in its fitness and exercise selection—and generous with its deals and bargains.

Summer is right around the corner, so if you need a little extra motivation to get fit and get active, we’ve got you covered. For example, we know this is the year you want to try stand-up paddle boarding. But they’re awfully big and hard to transport, aren’t they? Not anymore. The latest models are inflatable, and we found this one that comes with a collapsible paddle and its own backpack and pump.

Some of these products are on sale; most are at least Prime-eligible, so you get free shipping. And all of them will help you feel better and look better.

Scroll on down for some of our favorite picks of fitness deals of the week at Amazon.

ELA Designs Suspension Trainer Kit 20% OFF

The single anchor design offers complete flexibility in your workout routine. Lightweight, compact, and super durable, it comes with eight shaped resistance bands. Use the included mesh bag to take it anywhere: Work, the park, wherever you want a quick and easy way to strengthen your arms, chest, shoulders, back, and legs. Come with a mount that easily attaches to a wall, vertical stud, or secure beam.

Get It: Pick up the ELA Designs Suspension Trainer Kit ($60; was $75) at Amazon


ON Creatine 2500mg Caps

Since 1986, Optimum Nutrition has been supporting the nutrition goals of elite athletes and goal-driven individuals around the world. Creatine is the most popular suplement among lifters and bodybuilders for the simple reason that it works. Gain muscle, enhance strength, and improve exercise performance when taken during your workout. It comes in three sizes, but this 300-count bottle is by far the best deal.

Get It: Pick up ON Creatine 2500 ($20 for 300 capsules) at Amazon

Aqua Marina 2019 Upgraded 10’4″ Fusion Inflatable SUP

Are you ready to SUP? This stand-up paddleboard is inflatable and comes with its own backpack, 3-piece paddle, and pump so it goes where you do. The new Fusion is the ideal all-arounder, offering great balance with good glide and maneuverability.

Get It: Pick up the Aqua Marina 10'4" Fusion Inflatable SUP ($360) at Amazon

BrightRoad LED Rechargeable Bike Light 26% OFF

A nearly perfect 4.8-star rating on almost 500 reviews caught our attention here. These all-weather front and back bike lights are made of heavy-duty aluminum. The 85-degree, 800-lumen headlight brightens even the darkest corners to 650 feet away. Micro USB chargeable, it boasts an 18 hours working time, strong and adjustable clip, and can be quickly detached for use as an emergency flashlight.

Get It: Pick up the BrightRoad LED Bike Light Kit ($40; was $54) at Amazon

Microtella Fitness Tracker

This tracker nets a solid four stars from several hundred reviewers at Amazon. It tracks and records your heart rate, steps, calories, distance, exercise duration, and sleep patterns. It has 14 distinct exercise modes, from running, hiking, and riding to treadmill, tennis, and dancing. Get notifications, use the remote camera trigger, control your media player, and more. That's a lot of function for a low price but here's the best bit: the band fits men, women, and kids. Compatible with iOS and Android.

Get it: Pick up the Microtella Fitness Tracker (from $34) at Amazon

Polygon Resistance Bands Set

This set of 11 resistance tubes with anti-snap heavy-duty protective nylon sleeves offers much heavier resistance and far morte tension than elastic bands. Great for toning your quads, glutes, buttocks, chest, abs, biceps, triceps, shoulders, legs and knees. In 5-lb incremenrts from red (20lbs) to black (40lbs). Even better, these can be used alone or stacked in any combination to a maximum equivalent of 150 lbs.

Get It: Pick up the Polygon Resistance Bands Set ($34) at Amazon

Speedo Jammer Swimsuit

If swimming is part of your fitness regimen, you'll be amazed at how much more swiftly you cut through the water with these trunks on. Low moisture absorption and quick drying, they're made with Speedo's trademarked Endurance+ fabric with four-way stretch technology that's 100 percent chlorine resistant. They could last 20 times longer than regular swim trunks.

Get It: Pick up the Speedo Jammer Swimsuit (from $19) at Amazon


Check out all the products and gear we’ve selected for Men's Journal readers here

See Also: 

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