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The Complete Guide To Running The London Landmarks Half Marathon

 

Nick Harris-Fry

Saturday, July 31, 2021 - 16:59

After 18 months with very little chance to run on closed roads in central London, there will be – fingers crossed – several events in the second half of 2021. Of all those races, there is one that stands out as sticking the most resolutely to the centre of the city, with the aim of passing or offering a view of as many famous London landmarks as possible. That race is the aptly named London Landmarks Half Marathon (LLHM).

The LLHM was launched in 2018 and we’ve run both editions that have taken place so far, so read on for everything we’ve learned about the race ahead of the 2021 event.

When is the London Landmarks Half Marathon 2021?

The 2021 race takes place on Sunday 1st August, with the first wave of runners heading off at 9.20am. The following six waves are then spaced out at irregular intervals to try to control the flow of runners, with the final wave starting at 10.41am.

How do I get to the start of the race?

Runners start by Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square. In 2021, it’s vital to look at the exact start information for your wave, because runners not only need to stick to their designated arrival time but are also given a specific route and station to use. This is to help make the event more COVID-secure and space people out as much as possible.

If you are in the Lightning or Chocolate start waves you should arrive via Piccadilly Circus station. Runners in the Cheetah, Mexican and Sunshine waves head to Embankment or Charing Cross, and those in the Rainbow or Diamond waves should arrive via Green Park.

From those stations, runners follow specific walking routes to their assembly areas. These routes will also provide access to the baggage bus for you to drop your bag, so it’s important to look at the race day guide and follow your advised walking route precisely.

Are there pacers at the race?

There will be 27 pacers on the course spread across the seven waves. The fastest pacer in wave 1 will be running at 1hr 30min pace and the slowest in wave seven will be running at 3hr 30min pace. You can find out more info on the pacers in your wave, including their names, on the LLHM website.

How do I enter the London Landmarks Half Marathon 2022?

There are only 14,000 spots in the LLHM each year so a ballot system is used to allocate the places. You can pre-register now to be notified when the 2022 ballot opens so you don’t miss out on the chance to throw your name into the hat.

What’s the course like?

Cramming 21.1km into the heart of London means a fair few twists and turns, especially since the route has been designed to pass as many landmarks as possible, so while the LLHM is reasonably fast and flat there are better races out there for PB hunters.

You certainly won’t get as much to look at in those races though. Runners in the LLHM 2021 start right by Nelson’s Column and, after a quick jaunt across Waterloo Bridge and back, continue east past St Paul’s Cathedral to take in the skyscrapers of the City of London. The route at this stage is very twisty and you’ll lose all sense of direction until you get to the Tower of London at the 16km mark, when you turn west and follow the banks of the Thames back to the finish line on Whitehall by Downing Street.

If you do opt to take the race at an easier pace than normal, you’ll benefit from a range of attractions the organisers have put on. There are dance acts, musicians, cheer zones, and stretches of the route that reference the ways the pandemic has changed our everyday lives and celebrate the emergency services and other key workers who have helped us through it. These include the Hero Highway, the Clapping Bridge and the Rainbow Street Party, which has a spectacular rainbow arch to run through.

Paralympian Ali Jawad Launches The Accessercise Fitness App

 

Nick Harris-Fry

Thursday, July 29, 2021 - 17:17

The Olympics and Paralympics are incredible events that can inspire people from all walks of life to get active and try new sports. But if you have a physical impairment, a lack of accessibility in fitness facilities is a barrier to acting upon that inspiration.

Paralympian powerlifter Ali Jawad is aiming to help on that front with his new app Accessercise (App Store and Google Play), which not has a video library of exercises that are suited to certain impairments, but also allows users to rate gyms on their accessibility so others can more easily find suitable venues.

We spoke to Jawad about Accessercise and the problems disabled people can face when it comes to accessing fitness facilities.

What made you create the app?

During lockdown, when you have more time to reflect on life in general, I questioned why I was the only disabled person in the gym when I was younger. I thought, has that situation changed in the last 15 years? And the answer is probably no.

I’ve been quite lucky in my career that I’ve accessed world class facilities because I’m a Paralympian. But I felt like disabled people that didn’t want to be Paralympians don’t get the access that I have. So I wanted to create something that would bridge the gap in terms of accessibility when it comes to exercise and fitness. It’s a way for disabled people to take control of their health and fitness.

What kind of barriers exist when it comes to accessibility?

My career started when I was 16, so I was fast-tracked to elite level quite quickly and I never really experienced any barriers myself, but when I speak to disabled people in the community, they mention the lack of access in the facilities. Is it accessible, does the machinery swing away, so they can get into it, what is the knowledge of the staff about their disability? A lot of able bodied people train disabled people like able bodied people, which is not right.

Then you’ve got things like having to actually get to a gym or sporting facility, because public transport is quite tough for people with impairments, so you have to drive or get a lift there.

How does the app work?

When you download the app we ask you what your impairment is. For example, I’m a double amputee, and that means I’d be given a library of exercises performed by somebody that’s a double amputee. These are short videos with a voiceover and subtitles as well.

The person using the app gets to build their own training programme. I’m not an expert on every impairment, but the person accessing it is an expert on their impairment. We give them the tools, and the education and the guidance, and they create their own workout. It empowers and educates them, so they take control.

In terms of other features in the app the game changer for me is the verified gyms. The user will rate local gyms or sports facilities in terms of accessibility. So hopefully in a couple of years we can gather that data and ask are sporting facilities good enough? Are they accessible enough? And we’ll actually have something to prove it, which I think is great.

Also the app has a social hub where people can share, like and comment on people’s journeys. That community element is really important in terms of motivation.

The app aims to help people’s confidence?

Sure. A lot of people don’t know what they’re capable of, unless you present the opportunity to them. I’m hoping that people with impairments can get the opportunity to reach their potential.

Are more impairments being added to the app?

When I set myself this challenge I knew that to get the content for every single impairment could take years. I’ve started with a few impairments and will then grow it from there. The idea is to add one impairment every couple of months. Eventually I want to not only have physical impairments, but also chronic illnesses and mental health conditions. I’m hoping it’s going to be the most accessible fitness app there’s ever been.

What else can be done to promote accessibility?

I think a lot of it is down to education. We need to think about disabled kids growing up and what environments they’re exposed to. We need to change the mindset of people feeling sorry for disabled people, and give them the opportunity to be equal so they can achieve their potential.

When it comes to gyms and facilities, they need to make sure they’re as accessible as possible, but also increase the knowledge of staff there to make disabled people more confident that they can actually attend the facilities. I’m hoping the gym function in the app where you can rate the accessibility of the gyms will give people more confidence about what facilities are accessible.

Download Accessercise on App Store and Google Play | Free, £11.99 a month, £29.99 a quarter, £64.99 a year

Huawei Freebuds 4 Bluetooth Headphones Review: Comfortable AirPods Alternatives

 

Nick Harris-Fry

Thursday, July 29, 2021 - 06:50

While they have several drawbacks compared with in-ear headphones, I’ve always enjoyed using open-fit buds like the Huawei Freebuds 4, purely because I find a lot of in-ear designs relatively uncomfortable to wear for long periods.

That is never a problem with the Freebuds 4, which nestle into the outer ear surprisingly securely. Throw in the IPX4 water resistance rating (not as high on most dedicated sports headphones, but a rating which has coped with plenty of my sweaty workouts and rainy runs) and the Freebuds 4 are an attractive alternative to sports buds with ear-hooks or in-ear tips.

The Freebuds also offer active noise cancellation, rarely found on open-fit headphones. This ANC uses Adaptive Ear Matching (AEM) technology to detect the shape of your ear and produce the best ANC for you.

Other parts of the spec sheet are less impressive, with battery life a weak spot. The Freebuds 4 last just four hours on a single charge and the case only adds another 18. Those numbers also drop to 2.5 and 11.5 hours, respectively, if you’re using the ANC.

The case is pleasingly round and pocketable though, and the design of the buds is also appealing, if strongly reminiscent of the original AirPods. The stems of the buds contain touch controls, and employ taps, squeezes and swipes to control playback and turn the ANC off and on. The taps and swipes work well, but I found the long squeeze to be an absolute pain to execute correctly, especially while running or working out but even when sitting at my computer.


Fortunately I didn’t have to do it often, since the squeeze turns the ANC off and on, and anyway I found the ANC to be almost entirely useless. I didn’t notice any difference when activating the ANC in any situation – whether I was running by a busy road, travelling on a train or trying to block out the sound of my neighbour’s lawn mower. Given the cost in battery life, I’d keep the ANC turned off.

In contrast to the weak ANC, the sound quality of the Freebuds 4 was surprisingly good. In-ear buds with tight seals are always going to have an advantage, particularly for bass, but the Freebuds 4 have an enjoyably clear sound profile and didn’t suffer from distortion or harshness when listening to music at high volumes. Even with the open design I was able to hear podcasts when running in busy environments.

They’re not going to be the first pick for sound quality, and you can get better from cheaper buds with a closed design, but if you do prefer the open-fit style they won’t let you down on sound.

I never had any problems with the fit when running, and in fact I found the Freebuds 4 were more secure than in-ear buds with some kind of wing to keep them in place, such as the Huawei Freebuds 4i. Even when sweating up a storm on runs during the recent heatwave the Freebuds 4 sat comfortably in place.

This was also the case on indoor cycles, but when doing strength workouts I did find that some exercises could sometimes dislodge the buds. If you’re planning on doing a lot of HIIT sessions including jumping moves, the lack of an ear hook or wing might see the Freebuds 4 come loose.

As with the original AirPods, how secure you find the fit of buds like this will differ from person to person. For me, they’re actually more secure than many in-ear buds when exercising, and I prefer headphones which don’t dig into my ear canal.

I enjoyed using the Freebuds 4, in almost exactly the same way I enjoyed using the original AirPods. The Freebuds offer a similar package to Apple’s headphones (if you discount the ineffective ANC on the Freebuds). If you find both pairs at the same price I’d probably lean towards the AirPods because they have slightly longer battery life at five hours in the buds plus 19 more in the case.

You will have to really prefer the open-fit design to consider the Freebuds 4, though, since Huawei itself as well as many other brands make superior sports headphones with in-ear or ear hook designs that cost the same or less. You can get better battery life and sound quality in particular – even budget headphones like the Tribit FlyBuds 3 match or outperform the Freebuds 4 on these fronts.

All that said, I really like the Freebuds 4 simply because of their pleasing design and comfortable fit, and the sound quality is more than good enough for me. If you are keen on open-fit headphones for running and don’t want to use AirPods, or find the Freebuds 4 cheaper, then they won’t disappoint.

What Is Male Bloating?

 

Nick Harris-Fry

Thursday, July 29, 2021 - 06:37

Almost all of us have experienced bloating at some point in our lives, but the causes of the condition tend to differ between men and women. Fortunately for men, the most common type of male bloating can often be fixed through lifestyle changes such as limiting certain foods and drinks in your diet.

To find out more about male bloating and how to prevent it, we spoke to James Kinross, a consultant colorectal surgeon at both King Edward VII’s Hospital and Imperial College London.

What is male bloating?

Bloating is when the stomach and intestines become enlarged with fluid or gas. This is often uncomfortable and it makes the abdomen feel like it’s stretched, or full. While women can experience bloating as the result of hormonal changes, bloating in men is usually down to something they’ve consumed.

Bloating is a natural part of our digestive process and is rarely cause for concern, but it can cause discomfort and make working or exercising difficult.

What causes it?

Some foods and drinks are especially likely to cause bloating. Causes can differ from person to person, but often the culprits are one or more of the following: beans and lentils, some types of green vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage, foods and drinks containing wheat (such as pasta and beer), fizzy drinks, dairy products or processed food.

The trillions of bacteria, viruses and yeasts that live within the bowel are known as the gut microbiome. It is increasingly thought that this plays an important part in the causes of bloating: as well as being responsible for metabolising the food we eat, our microbiome can regulate how the gut works.

The link between the gut and the brain is also important. This is because it is implicated in the causes of bloating, but it also influences how we experience the symptoms of bloating.

How can you prevent it from happening?

Prevention is not just about avoiding foods but also taking steps to actively improve the health of the gut. The good news is that there are certain changes you can make to stop bloating occurring as severely or as often.

Obviously your diet is crucial for a healthy gut: avoid eating junk food and eat at least five portions of vegetables a day – although it’s best to avoid fibres that are commonly associated with bloating, which are found in beans and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli.

You should also try reducing the amount of red and processed meat, alcohol and saturated fat you consume, and avoid foods high in salt such as crisps as well as the amount of carbonated drinks you consume.

Exercise is critically important – an active lifestyle improves the function of the bowel. You should avoid taking unnecessary medicines such as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID), and if you smoke you really need to stop. Ensure you have enough vitamin D – you can ask your doctor to measure this.

There is some evidence that a probiotic may help, although it is not possible to recommend a specific brand or type. You can try a natural probiotic in the form of fermented foods such as kefir.

If it has happened, what can you do to get rid of it?

There is no hard and fast way to get rid of the symptoms once you’re feeling bloated but drinking lots of water or herbal tea can help to ease discomfort. Moving around can also help dislodge gas from your system, so if you can, go for a brisk walk or jog to help alleviate symptoms.

While it helps to avoid the foods listed above that might trigger an episode, it’s best to remove them selectively and record this in a diary so you can identify a pattern.

Mindfulness and even hypnotherapy may be beneficial – they can help you manage stress and regulate the gut-brain axis.

How can you spot the warning signs of a more serious condition related to bloating?

Bloating can sometimes be an indicator of a medical condition. Most commonly it is associated with functional conditions of the gut like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). But it can also be a sign of food intolerances related to conditions such as coeliac disease, or inflammatory diseases of the gut such as Crohn’s disease. Rarely, certain cancers such as stomach and colonic cancer can cause bloating.

If you notice you’re bloating very often, or if it is especially painful, you should see a doctor. You should also seek help if you are experiencing symptoms such as weight loss, a persistent change in your bowel habits, or if you notice blood in your bowel movements.

I always tell my patients to listen to their bodies. If something doesn’t feel right, or you’ve noticed changes lasting for more than a couple of weeks, it’s best to get it checked out.

Can Simple Stretching Undo A Lifetime Of Damage Caused By Sitting?

 

Sam Rider

Wednesday, July 28, 2021 - 06:32

First question: are you sitting comfortably?

Roger Frampton certainly appears to be, legs crossed on the floor, as we discuss his new book, Stretch: Seven Daily Movements to Set Your Body Free. And that’s because he’s already spent the morning releasing and realigning his spine, hips and shoulders from the rigours of modern life.

Since qualifying as a movement coach in 2011, the 37-year-old has become a mobility missionary, spreading the good word of conscious movement, bodyweight exercises, gymnastics and yoga to his many thousands of followers across Instagram and YouTube. And his influence is growing: his 2016 TED Talk, Why Sitting Down Destroys You, has been viewed over four million times.

In 2018 Frampton published his first book, The Flexible Body, exploring this theme. Now, with Stretch, Frampton has drawn up a seven-step action plan to reverse the damage of our sedentary life and help us regain the fluid movement we took for granted as kids.

We joined him (on the floor, naturally) via video call to learn more about his new book, and asked him for some hip mobility drills to help us get back off the floor.

What are the seven daily movements covered in Stretch?

“These movements focus on the critical areas of the body, specifically the spine, hips and shoulders, as well as your balance, which is essential for overall mobility,” says Frampton. “We also cover common problem areas, like the IT band and hip flexors, which can lead to pain and injury.

“The book includes seven principal stretches, with variations on each, that will help improve everyday movement. Each exercise takes just a minute to perform and there are six levels you can build up to, depending on your flexibility and mobility.”

Is it all beginner-friendly?

“This book is for those just wanting to get started. I want it to resonate with people’s parents and grandparents, and especially for those who sit at a desk for eight hours a day.

“At the same time, it will help anyone looking to get stronger. It doesn’t matter if you’re 25 or 75. Everything in the book is scalable and starts with just seven minutes a day. As long as your body isn’t getting any tighter, you’re making huge progress.”

Can stretching make you stronger too?

“In gymnastics, which is an inspiration for much of my coaching, as you improve in your flexibility the strength movements become easier because you have more range of motion in your body. Whereas if you’re tight, you’re essentially fighting your own body.

“Because gymnasts are so flexible, they make strength moves look basic. For example, with a handstand, if you have flexible shoulders, a handstand should feel like no more effort than just standing. So by stretching regularly, using this book, people will find their flexibility, mobility and strength will all improve.”

In the book you say sitting is as bad for your health as smoking – so what should we do instead?

“There’s nothing wrong with sitting in a chair. The problem is if we’re always in the same position. The same is true with sports, like running, which involve repetitive movements. If that’s all you do it will eventually become problematic. Stretching is about variety and getting the body moving in different ways.”

Try these three tips from Frampton to avoid some of the problems that can come with too much sitting.

  1. Imagine you have a tail. To avoid crushing it, you have to sit on your legs, not your bottom. It will naturally help untuck your pelvis and raise your chest for a better posture.
  2. Uncross everything. Feet, arms, legs. Constant crossing, because it’s always on the same side, will twist your body into pain points. I know it’s comfortable but it’s a habit that you can break.
  3. Finally, and especially if you’re working from home, sit on the floor, sit against a wall, kneel, stand. Mix it up throughout the day so you don’t get locked into one repetitive position.

Three Essential Stretches For Hip Mobility

Now that we’ve cracked the curse of sitting, we asked Frampton for his go-to hip mobility drills from Stretch.

Remember, this set of stretches is just one of your seven essential daily movements, alongside four for the spine, one for the shoulders and one for balance, but it’s a good place to start if you want to keep your lower back and knees pain free.

“Ideally you should use these stretches after a workout, when you’re warm,” says Frampton. “If you’re doing them first thing in the morning when you’re cold, start light. Aim for around a four or five out of 10 for intensity and build it up over time.

“Aim for a minute on each side, building up to three minutes on each.”

1 Lazy wall stretch

All you need is a wall and a mat or firm-gripping surface to stop you sliding away mid-stretch.

Sit in a very slouched position with your back leaning against a wall and your legs out straight in front of you. Next, bend your right knee so the sole of your right foot is on the floor – you want the sole of the foot to be in contact with the floor at all times because you will use this as leverage. Next, pick up your left foot and place it on your right thigh. For more of a stretch, place the foot on the thigh; for less, lay your ankle on the thigh.

This is your base position. You can then make two adjustments to increase the stretch. Bring the sole of the right foot closer or sit up taller on the wall.

“For maximum stretch over time, work towards getting your lower back closer to the wall. As you progress, focus on lifting the chest to advance the stretch,” says Frampton.

2 Single-leg frog

This move targets the groin, but it can also be beneficial for the calves, hamstrings, hip flexors and quads. We recommend doing it on a mat with your heel and knee cushioned.

To begin, kneel on the floor next to a wall. Extend your right leg out to the side until your right foot is flat against the wall, toes pointing up and heel on the floor. Once comfortable, and really the key is comfort here, wiggle your left knee out as far away from the wall as you can while still remaining upright. You could also hold on to something in front of you, like a chair, and build up to placing your hands on your hips. Push your hips forwards to engage your glutes and increase the stretch.

“On the supporting leg, your heel and your knee should be in a straight line,” adds Frampton. “The toes can be tucked or untucked (pointing straight behind you). As you progress, the distance between the supporting knee and the opposite heel will increase.”

3 Elevated pigeon

This is one of Frampton’s favourite stretches, and he suggests using a sofa, low chair or table with a soft yoga block on top, and a mat or cushion under the knee.

Place your shin on top of the sofa, chair or low table so it is perpendicular to your body, and lower your back knee to the floor. If your raised knee doesn’t lie flat, use a couple of yoga blocks or cushions to support it. Over time it will be able to go lower. The shin of your back leg might rotate inwards because your hip is rotating out to one side. To combat this, squeeze the glute on your back leg. You may also get a bit of a quad and hip flexor stretch at the same time. Keep your body upright and try to relax into this position, then change over to the other side.

“As the heights [of the objects you might use] are so varied, the concept of what we are trying to achieve is most important,” says Frampton. “Essentially, the higher the surface I use, the more challenging the exercise becomes and the stronger the stretch is going to be.”

Stretch: Seven Daily Movements to Set Your Body Free by Roger Frampton is out now (£14.99, Pavilion Books)

Adidas Adizero Boston 10 Running Shoe Review: Meet The All-New Boston

 

Nick Harris-Fry

Tuesday, July 27, 2021 - 17:21

For a long time Adidas opted to keep the updates to the Boston fairly minimal. And for good reason, because it was a popular, fairly simple shoe that a lot of runners loved to wear for both training and racing.

However, in recent years the technology in running shoes has advanced at a breakneck pace, and the Boston fell behind carbon plate super-shoes for racing and daily trainers that incorporated the springy foams and plates from those super-shoes.

In response, Adidas has made sweeping changes to the Boston 10 that incorporate tech from its own carbon plate racer, the Adizero Adios Pro. The new Boston has a huge stack that rises to 39.5mm at the heel, close to the 40mm limit set by World Athletics, and it has both a carbon plate and Adidas’s EnergyRods.

The carbon plate is a small one just placed under the heel to promote stability, while the EnergyRods, in the midsole, are not quite the same as the ones used in the Adios Pro. Those are carbon-infused, while the Boston’s rods appear to be plastic. Whatever the material, the rods are meant to create a stiffer, more propulsive ride.

Adidas has used two different foams in the midsole of the Boston 10. The top layer is Lightstrike Pro, the lightweight, bouncy foam used in the Adios Pro. Underneath that is a layer of Lightstrike EVA, a more traditional foam which creates more stability and increases the durability of the Boston, which is designed to be more of an everyday trainer than a racer.

The outsole of the shoe is mostly covered by a layer of Continental rubber, which is durable and grips well on wet roads. There is some exposed foam in the midsole, while a chunk has been taken out to give you a glimpse of the EnergyRods and reduce the weight.

The Boston 10 is heftier than its predecessors, which usually weighed in around 240-250g in a UK 9. In contrast, the Boston 10 is 296g, and isn’t hard to see where that extra weight has come from given the sizeable stack of cushioning. The Boston 9’s stack rose to just 26mm at the heel, compared with 39.5mm on the 10.

I’ve been a big fan of the Boston and used it for a lot of training and racing before the super-shoe era dawned. After running 110km in the Boston 10, ranging from short and sharp track intervals right up to a 20-miler (32.2km), I can’t say that the changes made by Adidas are an unqualified success.

I was particularly unimpressed with the Boston 10 during my first couple of runs in it. The ride was pretty joyless and firmer than most daily trainers. However, the shoe did break in and from around the 50km mark I enjoyed using it a lot more. It just about had the speed to rattle through track work, and the cushioning protects the legs when you tackle long runs in it – I’ve done a half marathon and that 20-mile run in the shoe, and I felt pretty good the following day on both occasions.

Despite having a layer of Lightstrike Pro foam underfoot, the ride is not as soft and springy as you’ll get on the Adios Pro. It’s pretty firm, and surprisingly stable given the big stack of cushioning. The Boston 10 has all the ingredients of a modern shoe, but actually its ride is fairly traditional, though the large size does make it a little more cumbersome than previous Bostons, which felt more nimble on the foot.

It’s still fairly versatile, though I don’t think it would be a shoe I’d pick regularly for tempo runs or track work, whereas past Bostons did that job brilliantly and I would happily race in them too. The Boston 10 is at its best when cruising along at easy or steady paces, when I didn’t really feel the weight of the shoe – aside from during one run when it bucketed down and the thick upper seemed to absorb a lot of water. While I didn’t get much pop from the EnergyRods, and there’s no rocker in the midsole, it still has a fairly smooth ride and it is a good shoe to log a lot of your base training in.

For all the changes made to the Boston 10, it still has the same problem its predecessors had, which is that it’s not as impressive as several other daily trainers that have made better use of the available tech. The Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 has a nylon plate and Saucony’s impressive PWRRUN PB foam in the midsole, and produces a much faster, more enjoyable ride, while also being lighter than the Boston 10.

At £155 the Endorphin Speed 2 costs £25 more than the Boston 10, but there are other shoes that come in cheaper than the Adidas and offer more. The Hoka One One Mach 4 has a more comfortable, smoother ride that I enjoyed for both fast and slow running. Having also logged a 20-mile run in the Mach 4, there’s no doubt that I prefer it to the Boston 10 for those long runs, and it’s also lighter and faster for tempo runs or sessions.

Another great option is the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2, which really shows off what you can achieve with today’s foams. It has a high stack of soft FuelCell cushioning, yet weighs just over 200g in my UK 9, and is a great shoe to use for everything from speedwork to recovery runs.

The Adidas Adizero Boston 10 is not a bad shoe, and runners seeking a firmer daily trainer would do well to check it out. However, I’m not convinced the changes made have produced a much better shoe than past Bostons, and it still struggles to compete with the best all-round running shoes on the market.

Buy men’s from Adidas | Buy women’s from Adidas | £130

OnePlus Watch Review: Needs Work

 

Alan Martin

Monday, July 26, 2021 - 17:02

OnePlus has a history of building smartphones with top-end specs at prices the big boys can’t match. The company’s first smartwatch, however, is not such a success. It looks the part, is well priced and has an incredible battery life, but the functionality is basic, the app can’t send your run data to third-party apps like Strava, and even if it could, the GPS data is so flawed that you probably wouldn’t want it to.

Rating ⭐⭐ (2/5)


Things We Liked

  • Great looks
  • Long battery life
  • Reasonable price

Things We Didn’t Like

  • The GPS is dreadful
  • An uncomfortable strap
  • A limited app which won’t play nicely with others
  • Basic functionality

OnePlus Watch In-Depth

Design Of The OnePlus Watch


It’s hard not to be charmed by the OnePlus Watch’s appearance. It’s as good-looking as the best fitness smartwatches, with a large 1.39in (35mm) AMOLED touch display that really catches the eye.

When the screen comes to life with a flick of the wrist or press of one of the two side buttons, it’s a pleasure to look at. (An always-on display was added in a recent update, though it’s disabled by default.) Sharp text and icons stand out brilliantly against the black background.

Although beautiful to look at, it might sit less beautifully on smaller wrists because it’s only available in a 46mm size – smartwatches typically also offer 40mm and/or 44mm options.

I didn’t get on with the bundled fluoroelastomer strap either. This is one of those straps that needs to be tucked into itself before you can pop the stud through the hole to secure it, and I was never able to find the right fit. It either slipped around or was so tight that it left an imprint.


You can (and almost certainly would) buy a third-party 22mm watch strap to replace this, but it’s a real let-down that the strap is so poor when the rest of the hardware is so well designed.

Smart Features On The OnePlus Watch

OnePlus has gone its own way software-wise, running OnePlus Watch OS, rather than sticking with Google’s Wear OS. The latter has its problems (it’s bloated, it’s a battery hog and it can run slowly on lower-powered devices), but it is quite sophisticated with a mature app store.

OnePlus Watch OS is, at the time of writing, not terribly well thought out and feels quite basic. The main screen is a customisable watch face, then swiping left reveals three more: one that shows your heart rate, another that shows you your recent sleep and a final one with media controls.


More functionality is hidden away behind the two buttons. By default, the bottom one lets you select from a number of exercises, while the top one lets you look at your recent workouts, check the weather, set an alarm, use a torch, activate your phone camera remotely, check the compass or barometer, and check in on your blood oxygen levels and stress levels. You can even use your watch as a remote if you own one of the few OnePlus TVs out there.

Having all these in a single list both feels simultaneously overwhelming and revealing of how few essential functions are actually present – the company’s priorities seem strange. There’s no contactless payment included, but you can answer calls from a tiny speaker and mic in the watch, if you like.

Notifications are a mixed bag too. WhatsApp messages allow lots of characters, so you can read entire messages in one go, but Gmail emails are limited to subject lines, with no way of seeing the contents.

One final but, for many, crucial thing: the OnePlus Watch won’t work with iPhones, although that may change.

Fitness Tracking With The OnePlus Watch

The basics – steps and calories – are tracked as you go, and, as first seen on the Apple Watch, visualised via rings on the homescreen which fill as you move around. Tapping on the screen will give you exact figures. It will also automatically detect when you’ve been walking for a while and ask if you want to track it as a workout, which is nice.

At launch, the OnePlus Watch arrived with 13 workouts, but a June update bumped this number to well over 100. That sounds impressive, but do you need 13 different kinds of yoga? Different options for jazz, Latin, tango and tap dance? The ability to track dog walking, darts and flying a kite? It feels like the aim was just to hit triple figures.

Running With The OnePlus Watch

On paper the OnePlus Watch, with its built-in GPS and support for GLONASS, Galileo and Beidou (the Russian, EU and Chinese satellite systems, respectively), would be a boon for runners. In practice, I was very glad I had my Garmin Forerunner 245 on the other wrist.

Firstly, the OnePlus Watch took an age to locate a GPS signal. While my Forerunner 245 was ready to go within 20 seconds of stepping outside, the OnePlus Watch would sometimes take well over two minutes. Starting before it locked on was, as you might expect, a recipe for rubbish data, but the surprising thing is that it wasn’t much better even if I waited around for a locked GPS signal.

The OnePlus Watch was, without fail, more than a kilometre behind my reliably accurate Forerunner 245 watch over a 5km distance. Over five runs measuring between 5 and 5.02km on the Forerunner 245, OnePlus Health gave readings of 3.91km, 3.81km, 3.57km, 3.93km and 3.81km.

It’s a pity that the distance and therefore pace numbers are so far off, because the data is well laid out while you’re running and in the app afterwards. Other metrics include heart rate, heart rate zones, cadence and elevation.

Even if I’ve just been unlucky with the review unit (which is doubtful, given other reviewers have had similar experiences) there are other reasons not to trust your fitness tracking to this generation of OnePlus Watch.

For starters, while a recently added Marathon mode hints that coaching options may be on the way (if you select it, the watch offers to take a fitness reading to offer better advice in future), shorter runs don’t offer any of the training pointers that you can find on similar priced devices like the Garmin Forerunner 45. Secondly, the OnePlus Health app currently connects only to Google Fit, with no option to connect to anything else like Strava or MyFitnessPal.

It’s encouraging that OnePlus seems to be supporting the watch with regular updates, but I can’t shake the feeling that this would have benefited from a whole lot more time in development – especially when updates promising GPS fixes have so far not delivered any demonstrable improvement to the weak accuracy and slow lock-on times.

Sleep Tracking With The OnePlus Watch

The functionality here does little more than the bare minimum. It will track your time spent in both deep and light sleep, as well as moments it knows that you’re awake, and will tell you whether a stat is normal or insufficient. What it won’t tell you is how to improve these metrics in any meaningful way. For example, the app told me on a night where I managed 69% deep sleep that this was “insufficient” and I should aim for more than 80% of my sleep time being classified as “deep”. That’s great, but how? There’s no answer here.

It’s a bit harsh to pick on OnePlus for this given plenty of other wearable makers fall into this trap. But with the OnePlus Watch already feeling a touch underdone in other ways, the threadbare functionality here stands out all the more.

Battery Life On The OnePlus Watch

Battery life is one area where the OnePlus Watch gets an unambiguous thumbs up. OnePlus says it should last 14 days or up to 25 hours of GPS. Assuming you keep the always-on display off, and don’t turn on SpO2 sleep tracking, that seems pretty accurate to me, which somewhat vindicates OnePlus’s choice to use its own operating system rather than Google’s Wear OS.

When you need to charge it, the OnePlus Watch sits in its own charging cradle. OnePlus says it’ll get 50% of its battery back within 20 minutes – enough to get you through a week.

Should You Buy Something Else?

Reviewing the OnePlus Watch has been a frustrating experience. The beautiful hardware, long battery life and reasonable price are let down by almost everything else. This is a product that feels like it needed more time in development – which is pretty damning when the company has been working on fitness trackers since at least 2014, when it almost launched one.

Perhaps a second generation will build on those strong suits and release something really special, and it’s encouraging to see OnePlus pushing out updates fairly regularly to make the best of a bad lot with its first wearable.

Superior alternatives include the Huawei Watch GT 2e, which offers a more polished experience with the same phenomenal battery life, and although it retails for around the same price, it's often under the £100 mark. Alternatively, if you’re not put off by the more utilitarian look of a running watch, then Garmin’s Forerunner 45 is worth considering at around £130.

Could The Raleigh Stride Electric Cargo Bike Replace Your Car?

 

Jonathan Shannon

Monday, July 26, 2021 - 06:37

Raleigh have unveiled the Stride, the first consumer electric cargo bike from the well-known British brand, which is scheduled to go on sale this August. Two versions are available: the Stride 2, a two-wheeled model with a long wheel base, and the Stride 3 trike, a three-wheeled version with two wheels in front and one behind. In each case, a box sits in front of the rider. It follows a template set by others such as Dutch brands Babboe and Bakfiets, which offer similar designs.

The Raleigh Stride is targeted squarely at families, with benches built into the box and two child harnesses in the Stride 2 and four in the Stride 3. Accessories include a rain tent to keep your passengers dry and brackets so you can securely attach a Maxi Cosi car seat for babies.


Of course you can also use the box like a car boot and throw any shopping in it. The box on the Stride 2 can handle 80kg while the Stride 3’s is capable of holding 100kg. (If you don’t have kids and just want to transport stuff, Raleigh has also announced a new range of electric cargo bikes for business.)

The motor is a Bosch Performance CX Cargo Line, which applies extra torque at slower speeds and at lower pedal cadences to make it easier to get the bike moving. The removable battery has a range of 30 to 40 miles (48-64km).

We had the chance to test both models on a shortened track at Lee Valley VeloPark – with guidance by a rider from Pedal Me, a for hire e-cargo passenger and freight service in central London – and found they each felt a little different to riding a traditional two-wheeler. The Stride 2 feels the most similar to a normal bike – it’s just got a longer wheelbase, which makes it a bit like driving a barge, so you need to make smaller steering movements than you usually would. We found the key technique, at least to begin with, was to pedal and brake while going downhill – just to make sure the front wheel doesn’t wobble.


There’s no threat of wobble with the Stride 3 trike, but the rider does need to compensate for the counterintuitive movement of the bike when turning. While a traditional bike leans into a corner, the trike wants to lean out, so you need to compensate by leaning gently into the turn.

If that makes riding an e-cargo bike sound intimidating, believe us when we say it’s not. While Pedal Me offers courses for freight e-cargo riders, we were assured that’s only because those drivers had to manoeuvre multiple times their bodyweight. With a little practice, anyone can ride one safely.

If you ride a bike then the Stride 2 may be more to your liking because it’s more manoeuvrable, but you’ll need to rock it up and off a stand to park it. The Stride 3 has a larger box, however, and a thumb switch for a handbrake.


The Stride will cost £4,395 and the Stride 3 £4,695, although if you’re able to purchase it through a Cycle To Work scheme you can receive a discount of up to 39% and pay for it in small installments out of your wages.

Raleigh managing director Lee Kidger says the company hopes that not only will families in major cities see it as a better alternative to a car, but also that the Stride could replace the second family car outside of cities. That second car is often used for trips of between two and five miles, which the Stride is more than capable of doing.

This may be an alien concept in the UK, but e-cargo bikes have a number of advantages and – perhaps surprisingly – the first of these is cost. Although you can get a good-quality second-hand car for the price of the Stride, an e-cargo bike doesn’t require anything like the ongoing costs of (ever more expensive) fuel, tax, insurance and maintenance. Then of course there’s the environmental cost of cars, especially older models, contributing to the climate emergency.

An e-cargo bike also supports better health by naturally adding light activity into your day without leaving you too knackered to do anything else. And in our experience of a week’s hire of a Veloe Family e-bike over a half-term, kids absolutely love it.

The biggest impediment remains road safety, which will hopefully become less of a concern with the UK government’s commitment to active travel. While some people may be tempted to wait and see, there’s one major reason to act quickly when the Raleigh Stride is released: demand for all kinds of e-bikes is greatly outstripping supply. Hesitate and you could be waiting months if you change your mind.

Sign up for alerts on availability of the Raleigh Stride | Raleigh Stride 2 £4,395, Raleigh Stride 3 £4,695

The Best Women’s Gym Shorts

 

Gemma Yates

Tuesday, July 27, 2021 - 15:47

Call us optimistic, but as soon as temperatures start to rise, we’re thinking about switching our go-to leggings for a pair of breezy gym shorts. Whether you’re gagging to get back to group exercise classes or getting excited about al fresco workouts, if you like your sessions sweaty, shorts are non-negotiable.

But, much like shopping for jeans and swimwear, finding the perfect pair of workout shorts can be a minefield. How short is too short? Should you go two-in-one or cycling style? Do they pass the squat test? And, the dealbreaker, are they going to ride up mid-sesh and chafe your thighs? So many questions.

Fear not, we’ve done the legwork (sorry) for you and picked out the best women’s gym shorts to shop now for running, weight training, yoga and more.

Lululemon Align HR Shorts


If we had £1 for every time someone raved to us about Lululemon’s Align leggings, we’d be the proud owners of one seriously slick home gym by now. And the Align shorts are equally covetable: bum-lifting and buttery soft, they work equally well for yoga, low-impact workouts or long weekend walks. The hardest decision to make is which of the 10 colours and prints and three leg lengths to go for. The 6in version is the best seller, FYI.

Buy from Lululemon | £38

Sweaty Betty Power 6in Cycling Shorts


Unsurprisingly, given the popularity of the brand’s leggings of the same name, the Power shorts are Sweaty Betty’s top-rated style. Available in 6in or 9in leg lengths and multiple colour options – including the leopard print pictured – they’re made from the same compressive squat-proof fabric and are designed to deliver high performance whatever your workout. Not forgetting the all-important double pocket detail.

Buy from Sweaty Betty | £55

TALA Hosta Shorts


Affordable, sustainable (made with 92% recycled polyamide) and oh-so Instagrammable, TALA’s high-compression Hosta shorts work some serious body-contouring magic for a fit that’s as flattering as it is functional. From four-leaf clover green to luxe latte, the muted shades look as good during an intense leg-day workout as they do at a leisurely weekend brunch.

Buy from TALA | £30

Adidas Marathon 20 Shorts


As the name suggests, these comfy running shorts are designed to go the distance. They’re definitely on the short-shorts side, but that thigh-skimming hemline – along with water-absorbent AEROREADY fabric and inner mesh briefs – will keep you cool and dry as you move. Plus, we’re suckers for the retro ’70s runner vibe that Adidas does so well.

Buy from Adidas | £22 (some colourways reduced to £15.40)

Under Armour Women’s UA Qualifier Speedpocket Shorts


Nothing puts you off your stride on a treadmill like a bouncing phone and these smart shorts offer the perfect solution. The waistband features Under Armour’s signature Speedpocket, an expandable water-resistant pocket that acts as a built-in running belt.

Buy from Under Armour | £36 (currently reduced to £17.97)

Marks & Spencer Goodmove Printed Layered Running Shorts


Affordable, stylish and functional, Marks & Spencer’s Goodmove collection is giving H&M a run for its money as the go-to high street sportswear retailer. With this double-layer style, the sweat-wicking base layer prevents chafing while the loose-fit outer layer provides a little extra coverage – but it’s the khaki leopard print that seals the deal.

Buy from Marks & Spencer | £19.50

On Running Shorts


Designed so you won’t forever be adjusting them, these two-in-one shorts have a thick, comfy waistband (with essential back pocket), an ultra-lightweight outer layer and an inner skin-tight layer along with a clever silicone grip to stop any riding up.

Buy from On Running | £70

Nike AeroSwift Tight Running Shorts


Skimpy but super-comfortable, Nike’s AeroSwift shorts may be designed for running but the supportive yet stretchy fabric can handle lifting, spinning and high-impact sessions too. In statement ombre stripes or classic black, they’re made from up to 75% recycled polyester and go up to size 26.

Buy from Nike | £54.95

Girlfriend Collective High Rise Bike Shorts


Like your gym shorts to offer a little extra coverage? You’ve got it. Made using recycled plastic bottles and spandex with a compressive fit and smoothing effect, Girlfriend Collective’s best-selling bike shorts feel good, look good and do good. They’re also ride-up resistant. Slip them on for squats, HIIT sessions and spin classes.

Buy from The Sports Edit | £40

The Best Swimming Shorts

 

Nick Harris-Fry

Friday, July 23, 2021 - 07:06

Unless you have made a lifelong commitment to skimpy briefs or are aiming to shave milliseconds off your lap times in the pool by wearing jammers, a set of shorts is the natural choice for your swimming attire. They’re comfortable, they’re practical and you’ll never have to question whether yours are too revealing, unless you’ve picked some pretty strange swim shorts.

It’s also easy to marry style with substance, especially when the substance of swimming trunks doesn’t vary much between brands. Expect an elastic waistband with drawstrings, a mesh inner lining, and side pockets, again made from mesh so they’re less likely to trap air. So whichever pair catch your eye below, you can buy safe in the knowledge that you’re not missing some innovative feature that will transform your SWOLF score.

Nike Swim Vital


The straight and wavy horizontal lines on these shorts might attract slightly longer stares than is ideal – it’s actually hard to look away from the shimmering lower half in particular – but if that doesn’t bother you, then the Nike Vital shorts are a great all-round option.

Buy from Nike | £59.95

Speedo Sport Logo 16in Watershort


As you’d expect, Speedo’s range is filled with top-notch swimming shorts, but if you’re keen to move rather than merely lounge in your shorts, these are the pick of the bunch.

Buy from Speedo | £26

Zoggs Sanctuary Shorts


The flowers and flamingos pattern on these shorts makes them a great pick for beach holidays as well as trips to the local lido, and the Durafeel material used is rated to retain its colour and shape for 750 hours in the pool.

Buy from Zoggs | £30 (currently reduced to £15)

Nabaiji Short Swimming Shorts 100


Decathlon’s in-house swimming brand Nabaiji is always worth checking out when you’re on the hunt for a bargain. These swimming shorts come in at just under £15 and have a comfortable and durable design.

Buy from Decathlon | £14.99

The Best Chest Exercises For Women

 

Lucy Gornall

Monday, July 26, 2021 - 17:17

Chest workouts aren’t just for men, although if you ever look at who’s bench pressing in your gym’s weights room you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Working your chest is just as important for women because it helps to create balance throughout the body. You wouldn’t train just your legs and forget about your arms, so why neglect your chest?

Working out your chest muscles doesn’t have to be all clap press-ups and bench pressing heavy weights, either. These four simple but effective chest exercises will help women avoid injury, improve posture and make day-to-day life that bit easier. Every time you push open a door, for example, you are using your chest muscles. Strengthening these muscles will also help your performance in sports such as boxing and swimming.

Give these four moves a go, following the allotted reps. Once you’ve done a round of all the exercises, run through them another three times for a total of four circuits. You’ll need some floor space and a set of dumbbells, as well as a weight bench for one of the exercises.

1 Shoulder tap

Time 60sec Rest 30sec

This is great for the chest but hits the shoulders and core too. Start in a high plank position with your body in a straight line, your palms on the floor directly under your shoulders and toes tucked under. Take your left hand off the ground and tap your right shoulder. Place that hand back down and lift your right hand to tap your left shoulder. Keep alternating sides and aim for minimal movement in the hips throughout.

2 Dumbbell floor press

Reps 15 Rest 30sec

Lie on your back on the floor, with your knees bent and feet flat. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your knees. Hold the dumbbells just above your chest, then extend your arms to press them both up. Slowly lower to the start.

3 Dumbbell chest flye

Reps 12 Rest 30sec

Sit on a weight bench with the backrest set to 45° and your feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing, with arms straight up above your chest and a slight bend in your elbows. Keeping your arms straight, lower the weights out to the sides. Avoid arching your back as you do this. Pause and then, focusing on using your chest muscles, bring your arms back to the start position. Move slowly, taking your time with this exercise.

4 Press-up

Reps 20 Rest 30sec

A classic chest move that requires no equipment. Start in a high plank position, as you did with the shoulder tap, with your body in a straight line, your palms on the floor directly under your shoulders and toes tucked under. Lower by bending your elbows until your chest is just above the ground. Hold here for a second, then push yourself back up to the start. Press-ups can be hard to master – if this is too much for you, start by doing press-ups on your knees rather than your toes, and build up to doing full press-ups.

If You Buy Fitness Gear You Need To Know About Klarna

 

Coach Staff

Thursday, July 22, 2021 - 15:18

Does high credit card interest put you off buying that connected spin bike you have your eye on? Do you want to be able to try out different workout clothing at home without having to worry about your cash flow?

Many people spend a lot of money paying interest each year to make purchases possible. In 2020 alone, Brits paid £5.7 billion in credit card interest and fees. Klarna, a leading global banking, payments and shopping service, believes that this is an outdated system and has developed a better, smarter way to shop – one where you never pay more than the price of the product.

Klarna provides a simple and easy to use solution. Shoppers can choose to pay later in 30 days, meaning they can try on items at home and only pay for what they keep, with no interest and no fees. More people are turning to this method of buying now and paying later – it’s been estimated that it saved UK consumers £76 million in interest and fees in 2020.

You can also spread the cost of high ticket items over three equal instalments, the first third paid at the time of purchase, the second 30 days later and the final on day 60. This option is also interest and fee free.

This is all great news for fitness enthusiasts looking to get their hands on new home gym equipment while it’s still in stock. It can make big purchases possible that would otherwise require a huge lump payment or credit loans – which may have buyers worrying about racking up credit card interest.

But it’s not just about the larger items. Whether you’re after indoor or outdoor activewear, Klarna is available from many major leading sport brands including Adidas, Lululemon, Gymshark, Sweaty Betty, Nike and Decathlon. One of the biggest benefits of this is that it can give you a ‘try before you buy’ experience – effectively bringing the in-store experience to your home.

For example, a tricky purchase such as running shoes can be made much easier with the freedom to order a range of sizes of the shoe you want and return the ones which don’t fit right, without worrying about the money leaving your account. This is especially handy right now with many people choosing to shop online.

The Klarna app makes managing your purchases and repayments easy. You’ll get notifications when a payment is due and you can snooze any payment for an extra 10 days, for free. You can report and manage returns, and get 24/7 in-app chat for customer service. The app also allows you to create and discover wishlists – which means you can save items and get alerts when the price drops.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to get the latest, best and right equipment and clothing for your exercise regime.

Find out more about Klarna

Please spend responsibly, borrowing more than you can afford could seriously affect your financial status. Make sure you can afford to make your monthly repayments on time. 18+ T&C’s apply. Klarna Bank AB (publ) offers both regulated and unregulated products. Klarna’s Pay in 3 instalments and Pay in 30 days is not regulated by the FCA. For more information visit www.klarna.com.

The 20-Minute Resistance Band Workout For Women

 

Lucy Gornall

Thursday, July 22, 2021 - 06:19

If you’re looking for a simple workout that requires minimal space and very little equipment, then you’ve come to the right place. Using just resistance bands, this 20-minute workout will fire up muscles you may never have felt work before and trigger a bunch of feelgood endorphins. Plus, it can be done at home, in the gym or wherever you want!

Why Use A Resistance Band?

It might look like an innocent piece of equipment, but don’t be fooled. Resistance bands can really up the intensity of a workout and offer a great alternative to free weights such as dumbbells and barbells. As well as being lower-impact, resistance bands are transportable and can be used for so many different exercises.

Different bands will offer different levels of resistance, but keep the resistance manageable. Doing more reps and keeping your muscles under tension for longer will help strengthen your muscles.

For the exercises in this workout, you’ll need a mini band and a longer therapy resistance band, essentially an unlooped band that allows you to hold an end in each hand, or wrap the band around an anchor such as a lamppost or door handle.

Run through the exercises below, then go twice more, for a total of three rounds.

1 Banded pulse squat

Time 60sec Rest 15sec

This simple move really works your lower body. Wrap a mini band around your legs, just above the knees, with your feet just wider than hip-width apart. Keeping your back flat and your gaze forwards, bend your knees and push your hips back and down into a sitting position, aiming for your thighs to be parallel to the ground. Add a pulse by rising up slightly then dropping back down into the squat, then push through your heels and come back up to standing.

2 Squat lateral walk

Time 60sec Rest 15sec

Place a mini band around your thighs, with your feet hip-width apart, and lower into a squat. Keep your back flat and gaze forwards as you take a small step to the right with the right foot, then follow it with the left foot. Maintain resistance in the band throughout as you take three steps to the right and three to the left. You can also do this move with the band placed just above your ankles.

3 Banded deadlift

Time 60sec Rest 15sec

Hold the ends of your longer therapy band and stand in the middle of the band with your feet hip-width apart. The band needs to stay taut throughout the movement; you may need to wrap it around your hands a couple of times if it’s a particularly long band.

Keeping your back flat, chest up and arms straight down either side of your legs, hinge at your hips, push your hips back, soften your knees and lower your arms. When your hands reach your knees, push through your heels to rise back up to standing and squeeze your glutes at the top.

4 Banded biceps curl

Time 60sec Rest 15sec

Start in the same position as for the deadlift: feet in the middle of your therapy band, an end in each hand. Keeping your upper arms pinned to your body, bend at the elbows to bring your hands close to your shoulders. Pause at the top, then lower them back to the start. To add resistance, wrap the band around your hand again to shorten it.

5 Banded lateral raise

Time 60sec Rest 15sec

Place one foot in the middle of the band and the other just behind you on the floor, and hold one end of the band in each hand, keeping your arms down by your side. With your core braced and looking forwards, slowly lift both arms out to the sides. Keep a slight bend in your elbows throughout. Pause when your arms reach your eye level, then slowly lower back to the start.

6 Banded bicycle crunch

Time 60sec Rest 15sec

Expect your core to begin to burn very quickly performing this move, so don’t go too fast. Lie back on the floor and place a mini band around both feet. Your arms should be by your sides. Lift your neck and shoulders off the floor, engage your core, then lift both legs slightly off the floor. Bring your left knee in to your chest, then as you straighten that leg, bring your right knee to your chest. Ensure your lower back stays flat on the floor throughout.

Look After Your Legs With These Knee-Strengthening Exercises

 

Nick Harris-Fry

Thursday, July 29, 2021 - 07:16

The answer to the question who should be doing knee-strengthening exercises regularly is a simple one – everyone.

“The knee is the largest joint in the body and is involved in most activities of daily living, such as walking and getting up from sitting,” says Dr Folusha Oluwajana, a GP and level 3 personal trainer. “Knee pain is a common complaint in people of all ages and does not only affect people who are very active.

“Knee-strengthening exercises can reduce your risk of pain and injury, and also help relieve your symptoms if you are suffering from knee pain. Knee pain can be caused by acute injury or overuse in people who are active, but also can be linked to inactivity and weakness. In addition, as we get older we lose more muscle mass and strength, which can contribute to knee pain so older people should also consider knee-strengthening exercises to counteract this. Everyone should be doing knee-strengthening exercises!”

As for the exercises to do, Oluwajana has suggested several great options below. Just make sure you take a sensible approach if you’re coming to them as a beginner.

“Knee-strengthening exercises can usually be done easily and safely by most people as a preventive practice,” says Oluwajana. “Start slow, especially if you are new to strengthening exercise, to avoid causing injury. Build up the intensity over time by increasing how often you perform the exercises and adding resistance.”

If you’re already suffering from knee pain, then you can try using some exercises to address it, but it’s certainly wise to seek advice from a professional first.

“Sometimes rest and self-care using some knee-strengthening exercises can help improve the problem,” says Oluwajana. “However, recurring or chronic knee pain is often actually the last sign that you have a problem – the problem is likely to have begun well before your developed pain.

“Identifying the underlying problem and cause of your pain will allow you to target your rehab and exercises more effectively to directly treat the problem and also prevent recurrence. This is why it is a good idea to get the opinion of a professional, such as a physiotherapist or doctor, if you are suffering from knee pain.”

Knee-Strengthening Exercises: Quads

“Quad-strengthening exercises are essential for developing knee strength and stability,” says Oluwajana. “The quadriceps muscle is the large muscle at the front of your thigh, which inserts into the front of the knee joint and is responsible for extension, or straightening the knee."

Lying straight leg raise

Lie on your back, with your working leg extended and your non-working leg bent at the knee. Activate the quadriceps of your working leg by pushing the back of your knee down into the floor. Raise the leg without bending your knee, to about height of the knee of the non-working leg, and lower with control. Repeat on the opposite side.

Leg extension

Start sitting in a chair with both knees bent and your feet on the floor. Extend and straighten your right leg so that it forms a straight line parallel to the floor. Lower with control. Repeat on the opposite side. You can increase the difficulty by looping a resistance band around your ankle and attaching it to something behind you, or by using ankle weights.

Lateral step-down

Stand sideways on a step, with your right foot on the step and your left off the step. Bend your right knee to slowly lower. Lightly tap your left heel on the floor, then push through the right foot, straightening your knee to return to the start position. Do not push off your left foot when it meets the floor. Repeat on the opposite side. Start with a low step, and increase the height of the step as you get stronger.

Knee-Strengthening Exercises: Hamstrings

“The hamstring is the muscle at the back of the thigh that inserts into the back of the knee, and it also plays an important role in knee health and strength,” says Oluwajana. “It is responsible for flexion – bending the knee joint.”

Hamstring curl

Lie face down on the floor with a resistance band around your right ankle attached to something sturdy behind you. This can also be done standing, facing the anchor point. Bend your knee, bringing your ankle towards your bottom against the resistance of the band. Lower back to the start with control. Repeat on the other side.

Knee-Strengthening Exercises: Other Stabilising Muscles

“Knee strength is also dependent on the muscles and joints close to the knee, particularly the hip and glute muscles,” says Oluwajana. “Muscles here help provide stability to the knee, and knee pain can often be a sign of weak glutes.”

Lying hip abduction

Lie on your side, with your bottom leg bent and your top leg extended. Keeping the top leg straight, raise it, leading with your heel. Lower to the start position. Repeat on the other side.

Lunge with lateral resistance

This exercise strengthens the quads and the hip muscles – external rotators and glutes – as well improving your balance and neuromuscular co-ordination.

Stand in a split stance, with your right foot flat on the floor in front of you and your left foot behind you with the left heel raised. Place a resistance band on the outside of the right leg just above the knee attached to something sturdy to the left of you.

Perform a split squat by bending both knees and lowering your back knee, while simultaneously counteracting the pull of the resistance band and ensuring your front knee stays in line with your first or second toes and does not cave in. Repeat on the opposite side. You can add resistance by holding weights.

Dr Folusha Oluwajana is a GP and personal trainer who offers fitness consultations, personal training and exercise plans suitable for all abilities. For more info visit fitdocfolu.com

Rugby Sevens Star Dan Norton’s Olympic Training Regime

 

Nick Harris-Fry

Wednesday, July 21, 2021 - 07:05

Dan Norton is the most prolific try scorer in World Series Sevens history and he is heading to his second Olympics in Tokyo, where Team GB is aiming to go one better than the silver medal they won in Rio in 2016. We spoke to Norton, who is an ambassador for blood flow restriction (BFR) sportswear brand Hytro, about his preparation for the Games.

The Great Britain Rugby 7s team is based over three countries. There are 20 guys from England, Scotland and Wales, and we travel to our base at Loughborough University on a Monday and we are there until Thursday.

We would normally have a light day on a Monday. We just do some low-level skills work and get the drive out of our body. Then Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are our double days: rugby in the morning, then some kind of gym and/or skills work in the afternoon.

Within training sessions we will spend probably 70 to 80 minutes working as a team. Within that there’s individual blocks and time at the end of the session where we can work on individual skills, which may be a weakness or a strength.

There’s a lot of work to build team camaraderie and unity. Most teams have been together for years, because they are one nation, whereas we are three nations coming together to create a team in about four or five months.

Normally we have Friday off, then Saturday and Sunday would be focused on speed and weights. When we’re in camp there’s not a lot of time to do running, so the weekend is generally when we do our speed endurance or aerobic power work. Something like three-minute intervals, running as far as possible. Those are probably the hardest part of training for me personally. I hate having to run anything over 100 metres! I’m not made to do three to five minutes of sustained running at pace – I’m made for short, sharp sprints.

Our weight training changes throughout our preparation. We did high reps – six, eight, 10 reps – when trying to build strength and add muscle. Now we’re looking to amp up our strength and increase our power outputs so we’re doing heavy lifts, but only two, three or four reps, aiming to really exert force and power through the lifts.

We superset the lifts with a fast movement. This could be a bound, a jump, a throw, or a heavy push.

From watching the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan we know the humidity out there is pretty intense. You’re looking at 70 to 80% humidity, so the ball can be really greasy, your hands are sweating and it’s hard to grip the ball.

The heat itself is also a big factor. For these last two weeks, we’ve been simulating that within heat pods and heat chambers. Think of a Perspex greenhouse you’d find in a garden. We’ve been riding a Wattbike in those with a heater, doing 30- to 40-minute sessions to simulate the heat stress on the body and aiming for about 35°C and 78% humidity.

Normally you’re playing two or three games a day at a tournament. You need to be able to hit a high, recover for two hours and then do it again. Within that time you’re refuelling, trying to rehydrate, but it’s a mental battle as well. You come off a caffeine-fuelled game high, having run yourself into the ground, and it’s about finding a way to do that again. Those are the mental and physical tolls of the tournament.

We would never normally have a five-month training block going into a major tournament. Normally we have a full season, which is a year, where you roll through all the different training methods, and have peaks and troughs throughout the season – whereas now we’re looking to really peak for this one-off event.

Within camp our diet is quite standard. You’re trying to eat a nice colourful plate, and get the protein and carbs in. For me it’s probably just monitoring my portion size and understanding how I can refuel properly.

Dan Norton is an ambassador for Hytro. To find out more about blood flow restriction, visit hytro.com.

New Balance FuelCell RC Elite v2 Review: The Most Comfortable Carbon Plate Racing Shoe

 

Nick Harris-Fry

Wednesday, July 21, 2021 - 06:26

New Balance released two impressive carbon plate running shoes in 2020. The FuelCell TC was the first to arrive and was billed as a training shoe to pair with the FuelCell RC Elite, which launched soon afterwards.

At 33mm high, the RC Elite had a lower stack than carbon racers like the Nike Vaporfly NEXT% archetype, and a firmer ride with an aggressive outsole that made it a great option for shorter events. Meanwhile, the TC had a high stack of very soft foam and was heavier than a pure carbon racer.

The RC Elite v2 splits the difference between the shoes. It has a 39mm stack that puts it in line with maximal options like the Nike Alphafly, and that stack is made of very soft and squishy foam. New Balance customarily tweaks its FuelCell foam for different shoes, and with the RC Elite 2 it feels like it turned the softness up to 11.

That high, soft stack and the roomier fit around the toe box are reminiscent of the TC, as is the outsole, which has a rubber covering rather than the triangular Dynaride nubs on the RC Elite.

However, the RC Elite 2 is lighter than the TC, coming in at 225g for my UK 9, whereas the TC is 264g for a men’s 8. The original RC Elite was just 207g in my size, but the second version has put that extra weight to good use in the form of that increased stack of FuelCell foam, which provides the most comfortable ride of any carbon shoe I’ve tried.

It’s still fast though. I’ve used the RC Elite 2 for two track sessions, running reps of various distances at paces ranging from approximately 65 to 80 seconds per 400m. Even when running sharp 400m reps, the shoe feels pacy and nimble in a way that doesn’t seem possible when you look at how big it is.

However, the track runs I did in the shoe did throw up some problems. The first is the somewhat sloppy midfoot fit. I could feel my foot sliding around a little on the bends, especially at faster paces – not enough to be a genuine worry, but enough to be an annoyance.

The shoe is also incredibly disconnected from the ground, even for a high-stack carbon shoe. It’s so soft and squishy it’s sometimes hard even to gauge how fast you’re going. I like a soft shoe and this doesn’t really bother me, but if you like to feel the ground beneath your feet while running then this isn’t the shoe for you.

Another small problem I had was with the insole, which rode up the back of my heel during every run. Eventually I gave up moving it back to where it should be, so there was no insole under my toes. Again, it’s not something that really bothered me, but I know a lot of runners who would hate it and choose to replace the insole.

Still, the RC Elite 2 proved speedy enough for the track, and it also surprised me with how nice it was to plod through recovery runs in. You don’t really even feel the plate on these, so it just feels like a comfortable trainer. A very expensive trainer you probably wouldn’t want to wear out on easy runs, sure, but still, it’s enjoyable to use for them.

However, the shoe really performed at its best on long, steady efforts, where the combination of comfort and the spring from the foam-plate combo makes it a joy to run in. I have no doubt that this will be a terrific marathon racing shoe, providing the highest degree of comfort from a carbon shoe I’ve come across while still having plenty of pop from the plate. I still prefer the Nike Alphafly for running marathons, because it’s almost as comfortable as the RC Elite 2 but has more pop off the forefoot thanks to the firmer Air Zoom pods, but the RC Elite 2 is right up there.

I’m less confident about how well it will perform in shorter events. The one run I didn’t enjoy in the RC Elite 2 was a hard hour-long session, progressing the pace from around 4min/km to 3min 25sec/km. The first 40 minutes or so were great, but as I started to hit and try to hold the faster paces on tired legs, the shoe began to feel clumsy, especially as the route I was running had regular turns in it. While it has the speed for short reps on the track, I think the softness and depth of the foam might make it less well suited for sustained efforts at 5K and 10K pace, where a more responsive and agile carbon shoe like the Nike Vaporfly 2 or Asics Metaspeed Sky would be better.

As mentioned, the RC Elite 2 has a fairly roomy fit around the toes, unlike the original RC Elite which was tight. It was true to size for me, though given the slightly loose midfoot fit you might get away with sizing down if you have narrow feet.

The outsole, though not as impressive as the Dynaride nubs on the original shoe, still gripped well for me on wet roads. On the purple version I have, the RC Elite 2’s outsole is also a different colour on each shoe, which I am a huge fan of. See also the sparkles on the purple upper – a very welcome addition.

While there’s a lot to like about the RC Elite 2, it’s a shoe I find hard to recommend, because I think the Alphafly has the edge for marathon running, and the Vaporfly and Metaspeed Sky are more versatile since they perform better in shorter events. That said, the RC Elite 2 is not going to be a bad 5K shoe, and the comfort it offers will appeal to a lot of runners. It’s a shoe that, although it’s not designed for doing a lot of training in, I find myself wanting to run in again and again.

Buy men’s from Sports Shoes | Buy women’s from Sports Shoes | £209.99

The Best Gym Water Bottles

 

Nick Harris-Fry

Monday, July 19, 2021 - 15:06

We all know the importance of staying hydrated while working out, so having a water bottle handy at the gym is a no-brainer. And there are plenty to choose from, ranging from the functional to the aspirational.

If you’re purely focused on a convenient and cheap way to carry a drink into the gym with you, there are great options available for well under a tenner. If you’re looking for something a little more impressive – a bottle that can keep cold drinks cool and look sleek and stylish too, perhaps – then be prepared to spend a little more.

That said, even the best gym water bottles are hardly going to break the bank, so you can splash out on one you really like. If you’re going to use it frequently, then think of the cost per sip and you’ll soon realise it will be worth the investment.

The Best Gym Water Bottles

Reebok Foundation Bottle


A wide mouth makes this 500ml bottle easy to fill, and a large valve makes it equally easy to empty again by taking big gulps of much-needed water during your workouts.

Buy from Reebok | £6

Aptonia Sport Bottle


There are absolutely no frills here, but how many frills are really required with a water bottle? The sports cap can be a little hard to pull out, but not that hard, and the lid screws tightly shut to avoid leaks. If you’ve ever got a free bottle at an event or with a purchase, it’s more or less that standard, so if you were happy with that free bottle and lost it (or want a back-up) this is a cheap way to replace it.

Buy from Decathlon | £2.49

Nike HyperCharge Straw


The slider design on the top of this 710ml bottle means you can open and drink from it using only one hand, which will be a boon for anyone who likes to hydrate during a set of biceps curls rather than waiting for their rest. The detachable straw is easy to clean, and the bottle itself can be chucked in the dishwasher.

Buy from Nike | £35.95

Chilly’s Bottle


If you’re looking to invest in an insulated bottle to use for life outside the gym as well as in it, you’re sure to find a design you like in the extensive Chilly’s range. The bottles come in 260ml, 500ml, 750ml and 1,600ml sizes and more colours and patterns than you could ever hope to shake a stick at. The bottles keep liquids cold for 24 hours – more than enough to ensure a refreshing drink awaits you during or after a sweaty gym session – and they also keep hot drinks hot for 12 hours, if you’re the kind of gym-goer who likes a sip of tea between sets.

Higher State Soft Flask


The main advantage of a soft flask is that the bottle gets smaller the more you drink, and once empty it’s easy to stuff into a pocket or a corner of your gym bag – that’s a valuable trait if your gym bag doubles as your work bag and you have to cram a lot of stuff into it each day. Smaller soft flasks can also fit into a sports belt or pocket on your shorts during a workout, and when parched you can squeeze them hard to get a lot of liquid out very quickly. This Higher State flask holds 500ml of liquid and has a reliably leak-proof cap.

Buy from Sports Shoes | £5.99

The Best Inner Thigh Exercises

 

Lucy Gornall

Monday, July 19, 2021 - 06:58

You might not pay much attention to your inner thighs, but it’s important to exercise them for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is not because it’s desirable to develop a “thigh gap,” a misguided fitness goal for some women. The thigh gap is often down to genetics and really shouldn’t be paid any attention. Let’s all move on.

The inner thigh muscles, AKA your adductors, are stabilising muscles that help to align your hips and thighs, keeping them in line with the rest of your body.

The hip adductors consist of five muscles which, when strengthened, can help reduce the chance of knee injuries and improve your posture. This is because these muscles run down from your pelvis (hip bone) to your knee.

This short workout is designed to strengthen and support the inner thighs. The workout is made up of five moves and all that’s required is a resistance band and a dumbbell. However, you can perform it as a bodyweight workout if that better suits your fitness level, or if you don’t have any equipment.

Run through all the reps of each exercise, then repeat the entire sequence two more times, for a total of three rounds.

1 Side lunge

Reps 10 each side Rest 30sec

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in both hands. Step your left leg out to the side, wide, and bend your left knee and push your hips back to lower. Your right leg should stay straight throughout. Keep your back flat and gaze forwards. Push up through the left foot to rise, then repeat on the other side. Alternate sides with each rep.

2 Standing leg raise

Reps 15 each leg Rest 30sec

Stand side-on to a wall so it’s next to your right arm and wrap a mini loop resistance band just above your ankles. Place your right hand on the wall to support yourself, engage your core, look forwards and, keeping both legs straight, raise your left leg away from the wall as high as you can. Lower your leg but before your foot touches the floor, lift it back up again. This keeps your muscles under tension for longer. Do all the reps on one side, then switch.

3 Leg circles

Time 30sec each side Rest 15sec

Lie on your left side, propping up your head with your left hand, your right leg resting on top of your left. Lift your right leg and move it in a circular motion for 30 seconds, ensuring it doesn’t touch the left leg at any point. When the 30 seconds are up, swap over onto your right side, and work the circles with your left leg.

4 Curtsy lunge

Reps 10 each leg Rest 30sec

You can do this as a bodyweight exercise or add a dumbbell to challenge the inner thigh muscles a little bit more. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step your left leg back and across your right leg, and bend both knees to lower until your left knee touches the floor. Push up through your right heel to come back up to standing. Repeat on the other side, alternating sides with each rep.

5 Sumo squat

Reps 15 Rest 30sec

This is a little different from a regular squat because your feet are placed much farther apart. You can hold a dumbbell in both hands while doing this move to add a greater level of resistance. Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing out. Maintain a flat back and keep your gaze forwards as you bend both knees, push your hips back and drop into a squat. Try to push your knees outwards as you lower. Pause at the bottom of the squat, then push up through your heels to return to standing.

How Cricketer Jos Buttler Trains For Power In The Gym

 

Jonathan Shannon

Friday, July 16, 2021 - 06:36

Five-day test matches may give the casual observer the impression that cricket is more a marathon than a sprint, but it’s more accurate to call it a marathon of repeated sprints. “Even though cricket is a long game, the elements of it are fast and explosive,” says Jos Buttler, vice-captain of England’s one-day and T20 teams, speaking to Coach before he begins playing for the Manchester Originals – one of eight teams in the new limited-overs cricket format, The Hundred.

“The Hundred is going to be all-action,” says Buttler, who will be able to put his power hitting to good use once the competition begins on 21st July. We quizzed Buttler on how he trains in the gym and what he thinks amateurs should add to their training to improve their game. We also have an example workout from Buttler’s training programme, courtesy of England's national lead strength and conditioning coach Rob Ahmun.

Unfortunately, the workout does not include what Buttler described as his favourite exercise for developing batting power, we assume for reasons of health and safety, or at least gym etiquette: repeatedly smashing a cricket bat into a punch bag.

How important is the gym work you do to your performance?

It’s vital. As the game’s become more professional over the years, people have really taken an interest in the strength and conditioning element of the game. We need to be fit and strong and robust, so we can be on the park more often than not.

It’s an explosive sport, so lots of training is geared around that. A lot of those marginal gains that can improve you as a player can be made in the gym.

How has your gym training changed over the course of your career?

There’s more focus on those power elements and speed. There’s a piece of equipment called GymAware which you can connect to, say, the Olympic bar to track the speed of the bar. It’s very precise and a great training aid. As opposed to just trying to lift as heavy as you can, it’s trying to make sure that the bar is moving at the right speed to target the right kind of training.

Also, making sure you get enough rest. A lot of the time, you do a gym session and you want to just get it done as quickly as you can. But actually, it's important to have that rest between the sets to allow you to be working the right energy systems.

What’s the most effective thing an amateur cricketer could do in the gym?

I’d say those power activities, so squat jumps. For a wicketkeeper like me, working on the way you move laterally. Ice skater movements pushing off on a single leg to be powerful.

Also, work on your sprinting technique. I know a lot of the bowlers work hard on that. Being efficient and conserving energy allows them to perform better.

Strength And Power Gym Workout For Jos Buttler

This session, designed by Ahmun, is an example of the type of gym session Buttler will perform during The Hundred, maintaining his strength and power outputs during a competitive period.

“A fundamental relationship exists between strength and power,” says Ahmun, “which dictates that you cannot possess a high level of power without first being relatively strong. In other words, you need to get strong before you get powerful.

“When designing power training programmes, the nature of the sporting movements need to be clearly identified so that exercises are related to the sport demands. Ballistic, plyometric and weightlifting exercises can be used effectively as exercises within a power training programme to enhance maximal power.

“Jos’s programme is multidirectional and takes into account exercises to improve power when batting and also running between the wickets.”

Warm-Up

Ahmun recommends using yoga movements to warm the body up for the session and to maintain mobility.

Workout

1A Barbell jump squat Sets 3 Reps 5
1B Cable rotation Sets 3 Reps 5 each side
2A Barbell split squat Sets 3 Reps 4
2B Chin-up Sets 3 Reps 4
3A Medicine ball side wall throw Sets 3 Reps 5 each side
3B Broad jump (for distance) Sets 3 Reps 4

Cycling Supplements: What Amateurs Can Learn From The Pros

 

Nick Harris-Fry

Thursday, July 15, 2021 - 12:40

It should go without saying that as long as you eat a well-balanced diet, you don’t need supplements to support your training and racing, regardless of what exercise you like to do. However, there’s also no doubt that supplements can make your life a lot easier in many situations, and if you use the right ones at the right times they can help to boost your performance.

The quickest way to assess which are the most effective supplements is to find out what pros with access to the best support teams and the latest science are using. From there you can pick out what might work for you as an amateur keen on improving without necessarily going to quite the same extent as the pros.

To get the inside scoop on the supplements strategies of the pros we spoke to Professor James Morton, who is director of performance solutions at sports nutrition brand Science in Sport and was previously head nutritionist at Team Sky, as part of the launch for a new range called Beta Fuel.

How often do pro cyclists use supplements?

It depends on the team, and the culture and the philosophy of the team, but from my experience of the peloton and my knowledge of World Tour teams, cyclists use a variety of supplements almost daily. Supplements can be used before training, during training, after training, with main meals and before sleep.

What are the key supplements to use before and during long rides?

Most teams now would probably have some form of protein supplementation before or during the ride, usually in the form of a whey protein drink. They might have some protein at breakfast, or they might have it in a bottle on the bike.

At breakfast, they may also use some vitamin and mineral supplements, and some electrolytes for hydration, and maybe even some caffeine supplements before the ride starts.

During the ride itself, it depends on the duration and the intensity, but they might have protein within the first 60 to 90 minutes. If it is a higher-intensity ride there’s more emphasis on carbohydrates – usually between 30g to 90g per hour in the form of drinks, gels and solid foods. Caffeine normally is used around 30 to 45 minutes before you need its desired effect, so it could be 30 to 45 minutes before a hard interval session or a hard climb.

Why are they using protein early on in the ride?

The daily protein requirements are probably around 30g every three to four hours. A long ride could be six hours long. If you have your breakfast at 8am and start your training at 10am, then you might not be home until 4pm. You’ve effectively gone the whole day under-consuming protein. Then you start to degrade your own muscle protein stores. Consuming protein during exercise protects against that.

Does it matter what kind of carbs you use?

It all depends on the ride and the goal of the ride, but usually riders start with solid foods for the first two or three hours – things like homemade rice cakes, energy bars, bananas, small sandwiches or panini. They tend to be digested slightly more slowly.

Then as they reach the second half or final third of the ride when the intensity starts to pick up, riders will switch towards more gels. Sometimes the fuelling strategy might be entirely based on fluids, if we haven’t got time to physically unwrap food and want to have access to carbohydrate as quickly as possible, or if it’s a really hot race. That’s why we made the Beta Fuel drink, which is 80g of carbohydrate in a 500ml serving, equivalent to four rice cakes.

A lot of carbohydrate supplements give prominence to the ratio of maltodextrin to fructose. Why does that matter?

The traditional ratio is 2:1 of maltodextrin to fructose. That’s widely studied. But actually, if you change the ratio to 1:0.8 [as in Beta Fuel], it allows you to utilise more of the carbohydrate that you’ve ingested. So in other words, more of the carbohydrate is actually delivered to the muscles and used to produce energy. The phrase we use is “oxidation efficiency”.

What would the pros use after a long ride to aid recovery?

More often than not they’ll consume a recovery drink within minutes of finishing the ride. And then usually 45 to 60 minutes later they will have whole foods for recovery.

What would be the key supplements you’d suggest for amateurs?

I’d probably go back to basics and make sure that you have some form of protein supplementation available to help top off your daily protein requirements and aid recovery during your training schedule. That’s normally whey protein, but of course if you want to use plant proteins you can do so. Then on the carbohydrate side, it’s about having access to fluids, gels and energy bars.

Other Cycling Supplements

Carbohydrates and protein are the key supplements for pro and amateur riders alike, but there are several others to consider. We asked Morton to give the details on some other commonly used supplements.

Electrolytes

There are several electrolytes, but sodium is the most important one – it’s the predominant one that we lose in our sweat. So electrolyte supplementation before and after exercise is especially important, especially on a hot day when your sweat rate has increased.

Nootropics and caffeine

Nootropics is a term for compounds that can enhance cognitive function. Caffeine is essentially a nootropic, as are other ingredients like theanine and taurine. It’s a broad term for anything that can improve cognitive function. That means reaction times, your ability to make decisions, memory, focus, alertness and so on.

Sodium bicarbonate and beta-alanine

Beta-alanine and sodium bicarbonate are designed to act as buffers against the metabolic acidosis that you get in high-intensity exercise. They effectively allow you to ride at a certain power output for longer.

You would take sodium bicarbonate around 70 to 90 minutes before a hard training session, especially if it’s an interval session. Professionals would also take it before time trials or even during the race itself, around 60 to 90 minutes before a hard climb or a hard stretch of the race.

Beta-alanine is a supplement that you take daily to load within the muscle. Take around 3-6g a day for at least four weeks before your event or consistently during training.

Creatine

Creatine will help generate energy for high-intensity exercise and also improve recovery in between repeated sprints. It’s traditionally thought of as something used to build muscle for strength or power sports, but it has been proven to help any time that you want to produce force quickly and repetitively. For example,on a 45-minute climb with repeated attacks, creatine could potentially help improve power output.

You normally load creatine and there’s two ways to do that: 20g per day for five days, or 3g per day for 30 days.

We spoke to Professor James Morton as part of the launch of the new Beta Fuel range, which includes drinks, gels and chew bars with carbs in a 1:0.8 maltodextrin to fructose ratio

How To Recover After A Run

 

Nick Harris-Fry

Thursday, July 15, 2021 - 07:08

When you finish a hard run, you don’t really want to think about your next one. You want to put your feet up, relax and essentially act as if that was the last run you’ll ever do.

Unfortunately, when your next run does roll around and you still feel tired and achy from the last one, you’ll regret doing absolutely nothing to promote your recovery.

Don’t let that be you. Instead use this recovery advice from James Poole, who is an ultra-runner and qualified coach, and a member of The North Face Explorer team. You’ll thank us (and James) when you start your next run feeling fresh and firing on all cylinders.

What To Do Immediately After Your Run

The post-run stretch is probably the thing most neglected by runners after a long run. Static stretching – the reach-and-hold style of stretching that’s familiar to most of us – can be a great way to increase flexibility, improve your range of motion and bring relief to tired limbs. There’s mixed evidence as to whether static stretching prevents injury, but there’s no doubt that some easy exercises feel great after a hard run. Here are three of my favourite stretches to do after a run.

Gastrocnemius and soleus stretch

Place your hands on a wall as if you were trying to push it over. Take a step back with your left leg and push your weight through it, making sure the heel is firmly on the ground – there should be no weight on your right foot. Hold for 20 seconds and then shift your hips down and backwards, bending your left knee while keeping your heel rooted to the ground. The shift in the hips targets the soleus muscle in your calf just below the larger gastrocnemius. It can work quite hard during running – especially if you are a mid-forefoot striker – and gets tight, which can lead to achilles or plantar fascia issues. Repeat on the other leg.

Quad and abdomen stretch

Stand with your feet together. Take your left hand and pull your right foot behind you to bring your heel to your bum. Keep your knees together and once you are balanced, raise your right hand. Engage your core, pull your right foot further up with your left hand and reach further up with your right. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the other side. This stretches the quad muscle at the front of the leg but also encourages good posture and stretches the obliques, which run down the side of the torso.

Glute stretch

The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle and the engine for running. This stretch is great if you spend large chunks of your day sitting at a desk. Lie on your back with your arms by your sides. Lift one leg and bend the knee to 90°. Interlace your fingers behind your leg just below the knee joint. Without straining your neck, pull your hands towards your head and hold this stretch. If you are doing it properly you should feel a warming sensation in your glute. Repeat on the other side.

What To Do Within An Hour

A lot is made about the timing of post-run nutrition and the anabolic window of opportunity. However, as with many things in running, it's not an exact science and the most important thing is to consume a mix of carbohydrates to restore glycogen stores and protein to repair damaged muscles shortly after your run. Protein shakes are an easy way of getting essential macronutrients, but chicken pasta, a baked potato with tuna or a bagel with banana and peanut butter are equally beneficial. Hydration is also key, so make sure you drink water too.

What To Do That Day

It’s tempting to slump on the sofa after a long hard run, but dig out the foam roller, massage gun or even just a squash, golf or tennis ball and give those tight spots some TLC. Make sure to eat a decent meal too, especially if you only had a snack after your run. Aim for something with a balance of complex carbohydrates, good fats and protein – fish or chicken with a sweet potato and some green vegetables is ideal. Finally, try to get to bed at a decent time. Sleep enhances muscle recovery through protein synthesis and growth hormone release. If you want to maximise the training benefits, a good night’s sleep is essential.

What To Do The Following Day

If you are training for an autumn marathon, it's likely that your schedule will have you running several times a week. If you can schedule a rest day after your long run then do so, because it'll give your muscles a chance to recover and extra time to restock glycogen stores. However, for those type-A personalities who are itching to train again, a super-easy run, a spin on the bike or some yoga are all good ways to remain active and improve mobility. The important thing is to keep the effort light and not add additional, unintended training stress.

What Is A Recovery Pillow And Can They Improve Your Sleep?

 

Nick Harris-Fry

Wednesday, July 14, 2021 - 17:06

One of the best ways to improve your sporting performance is to make sure you get enough sleep. It’s a vital part of your recovery process and anything you can do to help improve it is worth trying.

The first (and free) things to try include going to sleep and waking up at regular times, avoiding electronic screens in the hours before turning in, and not consuming caffeine or alcohol too close to bedtime. Orthopaedic or recovery pillows are another tool that can help people sleep better, and they are becoming more popular with sportspeople looking to improve the quality of their rest and boost performance.

For more information about recovery pillows and how they work, we spoke to Victoria Reboredo, senior physiotherapist at (med)24, a 24-hour private medical clinic in London. We’ve also been giving one a try, and you can read our early impressions below.

What are recovery pillows?

It is an orthopaedic pillow. They offer full-body support, so they are larger than a regular pillow. They remind me slightly of pregnancy pillows; big pillows 160cm-ish long that you can hug, and they give support from the neck to the ankle level. Depending on the height of the person, of course.

How do they work?

There are various models, and it depends on whether you sleep on your side or your back. The most popular ones seem to be for people who sleep on their side, which is comfortable for most people unless you have shoulder problems.

You put your head and neck on top of it, then hold the pillow so the shoulder is also supported, and then the rest of the pillow is between your knees, so the hips and knees are relieved of pressure too. It’s a bit like a foetal position but not bending forwards so much, so it keeps the spine aligned. That’s why a lot of people find them comfortable. It supports the spine and keeps it aligned, and keeps your joints in the mid-range, so they’re not completely extended or bent but in a relaxed position.

They often have some kind of cover that cools the pillow, because at night the room can get hot and we should be sleeping at around 18°C.

What is the evidence like around the effectiveness of recovery pillows?

There is some evidence around typical orthopaedic pillows, but this is more about the ones for your neck or knees. There are systematic reviews around pillows, not specifically recovery pillows for sports, but pillows in general. These show that if they have a cooling surface and are made of materials that support the spine, and they slightly mould to the spine, they can help sleep. But for recovery pillows they still need to do the research, because it is a newer concept. There is also definite evidence about the benefits of good sleep on sports recovery.

Are there any risks to using a recovery pillow?

There is no risk from the pillow itself, but the user needs to think about their position and any underlying health conditions. For example if you have had shoulder surgery, and the pillow is designed for you to sleep on your side, I would definitely not use the pillow. Or if you have problems with your sinuses or sleep apnoea, I would not recommend sleeping on your back.

How often can you use them?

I think you can use it every night, as long as the position you sleep in won’t affect any underlying health conditions. If you have questions on that you can always ask a healthcare professional. I actually think it’s great to use something like this which won’t have any side effects, rather than medication. Anything that helps to improve your lifestyle without side effects is great.

What It’s Like To Use A Recovery Pillow


As soon as I unfolded the Kally Sports Recovery Pillow I knew it was going to be a problem. My wife, for her part, merely laughed at the sight of it. Simply put, it seemed like this chunky, 160cm-long tube had the potential to come between us both physically and metaphorically, especially once I gave it a name in a misguided attempt at humour, so the odds were against this ever becoming a staple of my nightly routine.

I did exile myself to the spare room for a night to give it a try, but this was an unsuccessful experience. Hugging the pillow creates a pretty comfortable position, but if you’re turning regularly while trying to get to sleep, it’s a faff to manoeuvre the large tube around. In the end I couldn’t drop off while clutching it and switched back to a standard pillow.

It seems like something you could get used to, and the TENCEL case on the pillow did mean it didn’t get too hot while clutching it, even on a fairly warm summer night. If I slept alone I’d give it a few more tries, but it’s something that’s difficult to introduce into a shared bed, simply because of the size.

Buy from Kally | £54.99

New Route Announced for the Royal Parks Half Marathon 2021

 

Camilla Artault

Wednesday, July 14, 2021 - 11:26

The Royal Parks Half Marathon has today announced a route change for the 2021 edition, which takes place on Sunday 10th October. The change of route, including the switch to a separate start and finish, has been made in order to ensure the race is as COVID-secure as possible. It follows the news that the 2021 Great North Run route will finish in Newcastle, rather than South Shields.

The new Royal Parks Half route sees runners start at the east end of The Mall, near the Admiralty Arch. Runners will now pass London landmarks such as Trafalgar Square, the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament in the first three miles, skirting Buckingham Palace and then joining the traditional route through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, towards the finish line on South Carriage Drive.

Persephone Deacon-Cole, project lead at The Royal Parks, explained the route changes: “First and foremost, the safety of the participants taking part in the race is paramount and the change in route will ensure that we can deliver a COVID-secure event adhering to government guidelines and social distancing measures as required.

“That being said, the exciting part for us is that the race will now start on one of the most iconic roads in the world – The Mall. It’s an incredible way to welcome 16,000 runners back to our in-person event, and they will have the chance to experience an unforgettable backdrop as they start the race in front of Buckingham Palace.”

The extremely popular 13.1-mile race run on closed roads is the only half marathon to take place in central London in autumn. This is the first time the route has been altered since 2015. Despite the route changes, the race still takes runners through four of London’s eight Royal Parks: Hyde Park, Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens.

The Royal Parks Half Marathon is always hugely oversubscribed, with all entries allocated by a ballot system. Although this year’s race has been sold out for months, if you want to take part in it you can still sign up to run for one of 500 charities. You’ll have to register soon though, because entries close on 20th August.

Tips For Starting To Cycle In London From Someone Who’s Been In Your Position

 

Sarah Berry

Monday, July 12, 2021 - 15:52

So you want to start cycling in London, but you’re not sure how to begin? Don’t worry, I’ve been there too. Even a year ago the idea of cycling in the capital felt like a total fantasy, but I underestimated what I was capable of. I got a lot of encouragement along the way, but the following discoveries and tips are the ones I found most helpful when I got started.

1. Rent Before You Buy

I spent a long time telling myself that I couldn’t give cycling in London a go before I had my own bike. I also spent a long time telling myself that buying my own bike would be a waste of money if I didn’t know how to use it. I was at an impasse. In the end, I bit the bullet and went out and bought my own bike before I had any idea what I was doing. Looking back, I think that was a mistake.

London has plenty of opportunities to try cycling before you invest in a bike of your own. Between Santander Bikes, Jump Bikes and even foldable electric Bromptons at King’s Cross Station, it’s possible to try a range of different bikes as you build your confidence. You may be a beginner but you’re just as entitled to use them as anyone else.

2. Start With Pleasure Rides

In my first couple of weeks of bike ownership, I made lots of plans. I started riding in the summer of 2020 when lockdown was easing and outdoor picnics were possible. Since I wasn’t using public transport, my bike felt like my ticket to a social life, but it didn’t work out that way. Often, I would end up cancelling at the last minute, too daunted by the difficulty of the ride ahead. If I did manage to get myself to where I was going, I’d be so on edge that I was terrible company.

The best rides in those first few weeks were always the ones I was doing for the rides’ sake – with nowhere to go and nowhere to be. You don’t have to have a destination or an occasion to take a ride – and often that can add too much pressure. Instead, just cycle for the sake of it.

3. Join A Cycle Buddy Scheme

One of the best ways of building confidence on a bike quickly is to take part in a cycle buddy scheme. These are free programmes where folks who have been cycling for ages go on a ride with someone who’s just getting started. Having someone with you who knows where the quiet roads are and how to fix a puncture can be a great way of taking some of the anxiety out of early rides. We’re lucky to have loads of groups like this in London – from JoyRiders Britain, which caters to women, to London Cycle Campaign, which will match you up with someone local to your neighbourhood.

4. Take Short Journeys To Build Your Confidence

I still remember the first time I took my bike out by myself. It was a Sunday morning, and I was in bed listening to my boyfriend singing in the shower and thinking how nice it would be if I could surprise him with fresh croissants from the local bakery when he got out. I was doing the maths: 15 minutes’ walk there, 15 minutes’ walk back – there was no way I’d have the time. And then I remembered my bike. Without even thinking about the fact that I’d never cycled before, I quickly got dressed and cycled the couple of minutes down the road to the bakery. I was back in bed by the time my boyfriend was out of the shower, laden with baked goods and incredibly proud of myself. Tiny solo journeys like these play a massive role in building confidence on a bike. They might be short-lived, but the sense of accomplishment isn’t.

5. Take A Quiet Route

Once I was ready to try longer journeys on my bike, I quickly fell in love with Citymapper’s quiet route function. While many cyclists will swear by Google Maps, Komoot or Strava for getting them to their destination as quickly as possible, I swear by Citymapper for getting me where I’m going as pleasantly as possible. Its quiet route will weave you through London’s back streets, parks and segregated cycle lanes. You’ll discover parts of the city, stop for coffee and snacks at a previously unknown cafe that will soon become your regular, and genuinely come to love your commute. Taking this option will never be the most efficient way of getting you to your destination, but what does ten minutes matter when you’re having this much fun?

6. Invest In A Quad Lock

Before I started using a bike to travel, a big question I had for friends when they turned up at my house and asked to store their bikes in my backyard was, “How the hell did you know how to get here?” Navigating London was tricky enough with both hands free to use a map app on my phone.

Then a friend introduced me to the Quad Lock, a little device that attaches to your handlebars and comes with a not-so-stylish phone case. You can attach your phone to your bike and use it the same way you use a GPS while driving. Thanks to mine I’ve never once got lost while cycling, which is saying something.

7. It’s OK To Be Nervous

Last but definitely not least, it’s totally fine and normal to feel nervous. Starting to ride a bike in London is overwhelming. I promise you this, though: that feeling won’t last very long. Before you know it, you’ll be pedalling across the city with the wind in your hair and freedom at your feet, and the only thing you’ll feel is joy. All you need to do is get started.

Eight Things I Learned Running The Coast of Britain I Wish I Had Known Before I Set Off

 

Elise Downing

Thursday, July 8, 2021 - 17:20

In August 2016, 10 months after setting off, I finished a 5,000-mile run around the coast of Britain. I was 24 at the time, and the first woman and youngest person to complete this self-supported. I think it was a bit of a surprise to everybody that I’d managed it – I wasn’t an experienced runner by any means. Along the way I learned a lot about both ultra-running and taking on big challenges.

1. You Don’t Need To Be The Best Runner To Go On A Running Adventure

At the time I decided to run around the coast of the UK, my running CV consisted of one very painful marathon where I was dressed as a Crayola crayon, spent the entire last eight miles in tears and was heckled by a child who shouted “crying crayon!” at me. But the good thing about a long-distance running adventure is that you don’t need to be an elite athlete, go at a set speed or even cover particularly big distances each day.

You just need to be able to keep putting one foot in front of the other, at any pace, and eventually all those miles link up in one long chain. Anybody can do that!

2. Your Adventure Doesn’t Have To Look Like Anybody Else’s

I spent a lot of time, especially at the beginning of my trip, worrying if I was doing it “right”. I was following other people online as they undertook huge challenges and compared mine to theirs endlessly. Why wasn’t I running as far as them? Why wasn’t I wild camping in as many remote places? Why wasn’t I eating as much dehydrated food?

But the only thing I’d ever said I was going to do was run around the country. How I did that was entirely up to me and it didn’t matter that it was different from how other people would have done it. Whatever you’re taking on, it’s your adventure and you have to do it in the right way for you.

3. It Doesn’t Matter If Other People Think You Can Do It Or Not

I don’t think any of my friends or family really believed that I could run 5,000 miles (unsurprising really, given the crying crayon incident) and they’re still all a bit surprised that I managed it – but that’s OK. Have a go at something even if it does seem totally out of character. It doesn’t matter what other people think. You do have to be prepared for your friends to take the mick out of you quite a lot, but it’s worth it when you get to prove them wrong.

4. It’s Really Useful If You Know How To Read A Map

I spent most of my run around the coast attempting to navigate using Google Maps, directions from strangers and various footpath signs. It would have been a lot easier if I’d learned how to read an OS map properly, not to mention safer. If you’re going adventuring on your own, basic map reading is an absolute essential. Not only will it mean you spend a lot less time getting lost than I did, it could literally save your life. There are some great navigation courses specifically for trail runners out there.

5. You Can Eat Whatever You Want When You’re Going Slowly Enough

Running a half marathon or a marathon, you’ll probably have a few gels, maybe some sports chews, a carbohydrate drink perhaps. But slow things down enough and it opens up a full buffet of options. I was suddenly able to eat a Cornish pasty and immediately start running again. And it’s actually really important – your body needs proper food when you’re asking it to run for days/weeks/months. Slow down and eat more if you’re going a long way.

6. People Genuinely Want To Help You

I planned to wild camp the entire way around the coast, mostly because I knew I couldn’t afford not to. In the end I stayed with more than 200 complete strangers, from friends of friends to people who’d read my blog to B&B owners during the off-season. I worried that I was imposing on these people but I slowly realised that, for the most part, people only offer to help you if they genuinely want to. It was such a privilege to be welcomed into so many people’s homes and one of the most special parts of the run.

7. You Need To Find Ways To Enjoy A Challenge

There are always going to be hard bits – for me, it was having wet feet for months on end that really got me down – but it’s important to make a real effort to enjoy it too. You’ve chosen to do this thing, whatever it is, it should be at least a bit fun!

I played the Be Glad Game, where whenever I was feeling down I came up with five things to be glad about. They could be anything, something tiny like looking forward to putting my dry socks on at the end of the day, but it really helped me to focus on the positives. I knew I was so lucky to be able to take a year out of my life to go running, and I wanted to appreciate that.

8. Lots Of People Could Do It – But They Don’t

I felt impostor syndrome all the time about the fact that I wasn’t the best runner, or the most experienced adventurer. If I could do this thing, then so could anybody else, so I thought I didn’t deserve any praise for it. But while I really do believe that anybody else could do what I did, the truth is that they haven’t. Just being brave enough to get to the start line of a big challenge is a massive achievement and one worth recognising!

Elise Downing is the author of Coasting: Running Around the Coast of Britain – Life, Love and (Very) Loose Plans, published by Summersdale Publishers on 8th July, £9.99


No, Jason Momoa Isn't on the Keto Diet. Here's How He Eats to Get Ripped

 

It might surprise you to learn self-proclaimed red meat lover Jason Momoa isn’t on the paleo or keto diet. What’s not a surprise is he’s a big freaking guy—especially if your first Momoa sighting was the actor as Khal Drogo, a Dothraki khalasar chieftain in Game of Thrones. If that’s the case, you’ve always had the impression of Momoa being a mammoth human. Standing at 6’4″, the actor’s got an imposing frame—and adding slabs of muscle doesn’t take a gargantuan effort. If you’re curious how the actor trains to become a superhero the likes of Aquaman and stay limber on the reg, check out Warrior Workouts: Jason Momoa’s Trainer Shares the Secret Sauce of Shaping a Superhero. That said, Momoa’s trainer and healer, Damian Viera, does have Momoa clean up his act to get that shrink-wrapped look for blockbusters like Aquaman.

Jason Momoa's Trainer Shares the Secret Sauce of Shaping a Superhero

 

Spoiler: There’s no singular Jason Momoa workout to become Aquaman. It’s also important to acknowledge Momoa probably woke up like that to a certain extent (you can’t cheat a hulking frame or propensity to easily build muscle). But that doesn’t preclude the apex badass from enduring the most beastly workouts to prepare for each warrior role he plays.

9 Ways to Increase Testosterone Naturally in 2021

 

What makes a man? This question has been a subject of great argument for many centuries. However, the thing that leaps to the mind first is, undeniably, testosterone. Testosterone is the most vital male sex hormone that is a critical factor in men’s adolescence. 

Western Wildfires Are Contributing to New York's Worst Air Quality in Years

 

Before the 2021 fire season in the western U.S. began, experts knew it was going to be bad. Now, people across the country are seeing just “how bad,” as smoke from the fires has spread all the way to the East Coast. Common wisdom says where there’s smoke, there’s fire. However, in this case, those enormous western wildfires are thousands of miles away.

Actor Farhan Akhtar on Throwing Down With Real Boxers for ‘Toofaan'

 

Farhan Akhtar is no stranger to portraying athletes onscreen, garnering praise for his portrayal of legendary sprinter Milkha Singh in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. That said, bringing the story of Toofaan to life—in which Akhtar plays a boxer— was a whole new kind of challenge, especially considering his coach was none other than Darrell Foster, trainer to world champion Sugar Ray Leonard.

HIIT the Beach With These Fat-Burning Workouts

 

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) means different things to different people. For some, it’s about sprinting on a track or pounding away on a rowing machine. For others, HIIT means battling through a CrossFit-style regimen of burpees, pullups, and box jumps. Still ,others think of HIIT as a grueling outdoor workout simulating the challenges found in an obstacle race. There’s no right or wrong answer, but come summer your HIIT sessions should take the form of beach workouts (if you live by the water).

Best Fat Burner Supplements of 2021

 

With the world slowly opening back up, many of us are looking to start shedding those pounds gained during the lockdown. 

Best Hair Growth Vitamin Supplements For Thinning Hair

 

Almost everyone you know may have faced a hair loss problem at some point in their lives. Several environmental and other factors can affect hair growth negatively. 

Conor McGregor's 'Magic' Recovery Weapon: TIDL Sport

 

Conor McGregor is a busy man. He’s a legendary MMA fighter, of course—his bout against Dustin Poirier is coming up at UFC 264 on July 10—but he’s also used his prestige to launch all kinds of business ventures (like his Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey) with his business partner and manager, Audie Attar. One of those companies, however, has become an essential part of his own training routine. TIDL Sport, a line of sports recovery products launched in January 2020, is now a key factor in keeping McGregor in top fighting shape.

Should You Take a Probiotic?

 

Just a few years ago, probiotics seemed like a strange and foreign concept. Now research on the microbiome has exploded — science tells us having a diversity of microorganisms in the gut enhances immunity, digestion, and other aspects of health — and these beneficial bacteria have become a hot commodity. Probiotic supplements are currently a $1.7 billion U.S. industry, according to Euromonitor International, and New Hope Networks projects they’ll increase to $2.5 billion by 2018. Companies are taking the trend to the bank, too, adding probiotics to their cold-brew coffees, kale chips, granola, and even frozen burritos.

The 3 Best Carb Blockers Pills On The Market In 2021

 

A carb blocker is a supplement that contains certain compounds to help block the digestion of carbohydrates.

Stress Can Turn Your Hair Gray—But There's a Way to Reverse It

 

There are many reasons why people gained a few extra gray hairs or went full silver fox in the last year or so. COVID-19 walloped our mental, emotional, and socio-economic well-being. And while it’s always been assumed stress contributes to grays, a first-of-its-kind study just quantitatively proved its causal relationship. You might be thinking there are no surprises there—obviously, psychological strain creates more grey hairs. But what the study also found was that when stress goes away, the gray hairs can go with it. That’s right, having gray hair may be reversible.

The Best Stretches to Do After a Run

 

If you run regularly, you’re no stranger to tight, sore muscles and the occasional injury. In addition to regular strength training coupled with proper nutrition and sleep, the right stretches after a run can help your muscles cool down and get ready for your next workout.

Red Wine and Cheese: Powerful Brain Foods You Can Get Behind

 

Ready your corkscrew and cheese knife. People who indulge in red wine and cheese daily are better able to think logically and problem-solve. According to a 10-year Iowa State University study, these are two skills that worsen as you age.

The 4 Best Multivitamin For Men: Support Health and Performance

 

If you’re struggling with getting in enough vitamins through your diet, a multivitamin supplement can be a great addition to your routine.

Is Coffee Shrinking Your Brain? Here's Where to Cut Yourself Off

 

It’s ritual: You stumble into the kitchen at dawn, pour yourself a hot cup of coffee, and let the caffeine smooth your rough edges. It jump-starts your mental alertness, so it sounds paradoxical that coffee could also…shrink your brain?

Mark Wahlberg Works Out With Marines at First Fitness Studio to Open on Military Base

 

If there’s one thing we know about Mark Wahlberg, it’s that he’s an absolute beast in the gym. Whether he’s bulking up for a movie or just passing the time in quarantine, he’s always finding new ways to challenge himself—even training alongside Marines. On June 11, Wahlberg helped open the brand-new F45 Training gym at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego. It’s the first-ever franchise gym on military base, and aside from helping cut the ribbon to open the new location (Wahlberg is an investor in the company), he also stuck around to work out with the Marines.

Best Teeth Whitening Kits: Top 3 Teeth Whitening Products of 2021

 

Are you on a quest for brighter, whiter teeth? If so, you’ve come to the right place. You can get teeth-whitening goods nearly everywhere, from the drugstore to big-box stores, so it can become difficult to know who you can trust and who should be avoided.

The 5 Best Post Workout Supplements For Recovery In 2021

 

You’ve stumbled upon this article because you’re on a search to find the best post workout supplement out there.

Best Muscle Building Supplements: Build Mass and Strength

 

Building that dream beach body is no easy feat. Muscle Mass Building takes time and a lot of training to achieve. However, if you do not see any changes after constant training, you may need the help of Muscle Building Supplements.


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