Tip of the Week 2012

Sleeping For Your Health
 Keep colds at bay and help your body repair itself; Go To Bed! Most adults don't get enough sleep and sleep deprivation is heightened when you're training because you need sleep's repairing effects even more. Aim for 8 hours. Most elite runners get 9 or 10.
The Comeback
 Don't let a recently recovered injury keep you running tentatively. If a doctor has given you the go-ahead, what's holding you back is probably mental. Avoid injury anxiety through relaxation and focus. Zero in on small details, such as your pace or form, to distract your mind from negative thoughts about the old injury. 
If you have a red sore spot on the top of your foot after a run, your shoelaces may be rubbing you the wrong way. Try this lacing technique to easy the pressure: when lacing up, skip the center holes. Don't cross over the center either; just keep the laces on each side to make an open O across the center of your foot. At the top, cross the laces and tie as usual.  
To enjoy running even more, take a vacation from it after you have completed a race that you spent weeks training for. For a psychological from training and to regenerate your adrenal system, take a week off. That's right, a whole week! Don't exercise at all for 2 or 3 days, then do light cross-training for the rest of the week.
Take it Easy
Recurrent injuries? Take it easier. If you always seem to get injured just when you're getting really fit, it means you haven't let yourself fully adapt to the new schedule. Back off by 10 to 20 per cent of your weekly mileage for at least a month. If you still develop injuries at this lower level, back off again. It'll be frustrating, but not as frustrating as getting hurt and not being able to run at all.

Do you sometimes get a pain in your upper abdomen when running that goes away once you stop? It's a side stitch, which is a cramp in the diaphragm that happens when blood supply is low. Slow down for 30 seconds. If the pain is on the right side, exhale each time your left foot hits the ground and vice versa. Also, practice slow, deep "belly breathing."

7 Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism

1. Keep Hydrated I'm sure the general population thinks dieticians sound like a broken record when it comes to the whole water thing, but it really is important. Drinking the recommended eight glasses of water a day will help your body function at peak performance levels.

2. Keep Calcium Levels Up Current obesity research shows that a dip in calcium levels can trigger the same hormone that causes the body to hold onto fat to be released. Choose low-fat dairy, cheese, yogurt,  salmon, tofu, and oatmeal.

3. Ditch the Drinks Happy hours and late night cocktails can do a number on your metabolism the next day. Research shows that the day after a night of drinking, there is a significant dip in your metabolic rate. Combine this with hangover cravings, and you've got a double disaster.

4. Eat Constantly Snacking does not have to be a bad thing. If your stomach is growling, it means that you need more fuel. Not providing your body with food is a surefire way to slow down its basic functions. Choose high-fiber, high-protein snacks like low-fat cheese, fiber crackers, fruits, veggies, or Greek yogurt. Starving your body will sabotage all of your dieting efforts.

5. De-stress Yourself Stress raises the amount of cortisol in your body. Cortisol is a hormone that tells the body to hold onto fat in case of a stressful situation (think more natural disaster-level stress, not a bad day at work-level). Experiment with yoga or meditation as ways to lower stress levels and clear your mind.

6. Decrease Diet Soda Although it's low in calories and seems like an easy swap for high calorie beverages, diet soda may actually have adverse effects on your metabolism. Water and seltzer are better options, but if you must drink diet soda, limit your consumption to two cans (not Big Gulps!) per week.

7. Don't Forget Your ZZZ's Getting a least seven to eight hours of sleep every night is crucial to a healthy metabolism. Anything less can adversely affect your body's ability to burn calories. Surprisingly, excess sleep may do the same thing. It's best to keep a consistent bedtime and wake up close to the same time every morning
5 Foods to Boost your Diet
Got the principles but needs some specifics? Try these popular choices:

Apples. They’re good for your heart and your waistline. In addition to disease-preventing antioxidants, apples contain pectin — a form of soluble fibre that helps keep you feeling fuller longer and prevents blood sugar spikes. In a recent study examining the heart healthy benefits of this fruit, participants lost weight despite the extra calories in their diet. The best way to enjoy this rosy fruit is fresh and whole — skins included — as nutrients can be lost in the processing to make applesauce or apple juice.

Pears. Is an apple a day too repetitive? Feel free to swap in this sweet fruit — it’s got more fibre per serving than an apple but many of the same nutritional benefits. Like apples, pears offer quercetin and other antioxidants that fight inflammation and cell damage. Enjoy them skin-on for the most benefits or try them in salads, baked goods and savoury dishes.

Oats. Whole grains in general are part of a healthy diet, but some experts have a soft spot for this familiar grain. It’s full of fibre that “sticks to your ribs”, making it an ideal breakfast food to stave off mid-morning snacking. Again, less processing is better. If you have time, cook up some steel cut oats or rolled oats — they have more fibre. If you opt for instant, go for plain and top with your own fruit or sweetener to dodge added sugars and salt.

Lentils. While other choices like black beans also get the nod for aiding weight loss, lentils are quicker to prepare because they don’t require pre-soaking. They offer plenty of fibre and protein, not to mention other benefits like folate, iron and magnesium. Pair them with rice for a complete protein, or add them to stews, soups, pilafs, stir fries and salads. Favour beans instead? They offer a digestive hormone called cholecystokinin that acts as a natural appetite suppressant.

Nuts. True, they’re high in fat — but it’s the healthy kind of fat our body needs. Combined with protein and even a little fibre, nuts also keep you feeling full and defeat cravings. Different types of nuts are favoured for different reasons. For instance, walnuts are best for their omega-3 fatty acids, while almonds have fewer calories. For snacking, plain, raw nuts are the best. Keep portion sizes in check and, if you can, eat them straight from the shell — cracking them open will slow you down.You can also use nuts for protein in many dishes and baked goods.

Prepare your  mind - and your body - to work while exhausted: Add speed at the end of your long run. Do your easy long-run pace for most of it, then with 8K to go, begin running 1 minute per kilometer slower than your marathon goal pace. Speed up every 2 kilometers to run the last couple of K's at goal pace or slightly faster.

The Best Juice for All Your Health Woes

1. The best juice for healthy skin: cucumber

2. The best juice for anti-aging: blueberries, strawberries, and kale

3. The best juice to boost your sex drive: celery

4. The best juice to boost your immune system: Broccoli

5. The best juice for stress relief: carrots
Recovery days are a key part of training and are all about rest. No yoga, no short walks, no pick-up soccer games with the kids( if you can avoid it). Although it can be hard to let up, a full day off gives you a bounce in performance. It also gives you a mental break from training. The day after your long run is the best day to take off, but any day you feel out of gas works.
To reduce muscle friction and run smoother, try dynamic flexibility training, a type of stretching that mimics the way your body actually moves while running. Here are two simple moves:

Leg Swings: With your left hand on a wall, stand on your right foot and swing your left leg backward and forward in an exaggerated kicking motion. Complete 10 swings and repeat with your right leg.

Arm Swings: Swing your right arm in a giant circle (as if swimming) to loosen up the upper body. Repeat with your left arm.
Strength is the key for the half-marathon and anything longer, so train with hill repetitions and by running a hilly route on some of your medium-distance runs. The only time you won't want to do a lot of hills is if the course is completely flat. That means you'll have to use the same muscles the whole time, so hill workouts should be limited to once a week at most.

Drop PR times with short speed work. To keep the spinal cord's fast-running cells from deteriorating, there's only one thing to do: Run fast. Without sprints - we're talking less than 800 meters - these cells deteriorate as you get older, slowing you down. Do one speed session a week of repeats between 100 and 300 meters in length. Use minimal recovery time, around 100 meters or whatever you can handle.

To improve running economy, try speed repeats between 3 and 6 minutes. These longer forms of speed-work are believed to boost running economy by reducing heart rate, breathing rate and core temperature, which makes running easier to sustain.
Lower your risk of heart disease by up to 60% by hydrating properly. Drink 5 or more eight ounce glasses of water a day for optimal results, more if you're working out strenuously or in hot humid weather.
Improve your cardiovascular functioning by climbing stairs. Because your foot spends more time in the push-off phase, you're training the primary muscles used for running at a greater intensity than flat-landing it. Added bonus: all the benefits of hill running but easier on the joints.
Drinking water at the correct time maximizes its effectiveness on the Human body: 
1 glass of water after waking up -  helps activate internal organs 
1 glass of water  30 minutes before a meal - helps digestion
1 glass of water before taking a bath - helps   lower blood pressure
1 glass of water before going to bed -   avoids stroke or heart attack

Save Your Skin 
Apply sunblock under a T-shirt during sunny runs. A T-shirt has an SPF of about 7 and won't prevent sunburn. Either spring for clothing that has built in sun protection, or treat your torso like the rest of your body by slathering on a high SPF an hour before a run.
Second Chance
Rehab not working? Here are 6 signs you should seek out another expert's opinion:
1) You're told that there's nothing can be done
2) You've developed a new pain
3) You notice no improvements after two to four weeks
4) Your injuries keep recurring
5) Your doctor doesn't ask about your overall health status
6) You haven't been given other ways to stay in shape
Hold your Water When the Heat's On
Replenish water and electrolytes to keep going the distance. To keep your body moving during runs of 100 minutes or longer, down a high electrolyte sports drink. There are many to choose from out on the market. Find the one that works best for you. Take in 8 ounces every 15 minutes starting at the 1-hour mark.
Fueling Up
Small, frequent meals help training performance. Make sure you're never too full and go easy on the digestive system by eating 4-5 small meals a day. Never skip breakfast before a lunch run because your muscle glycogen reserves will be too low. Going for a long time with out eating also slows your metabolism.
Keep hydrated: Before you race, learn what liquids your body needs. Hydration isn't something to mess with during any marathon or ultra event. Before the big day, use the sports drink that's available on the racecourse. Find out how frequently the course has aid stations and practice drinking at that rate. Also, try a variety of bars and gels on long runs to see which settles best in your stomach.

Recovering from a tough workout is all about replenishing your lost glycogen stores. Chocolate milk does the trick just as well as an extra-carb sports drink. For fewer calories, go for low-fat chocolate milk or make it yourself with fat-free milk and chocolate syrup.  
To stay cool on hot runs, hit the trails instead of pounding the pavement. Hard surfaces can retain a lot of heat, and weaving around in the shade beneath the trees will also help keep you cool. 
 Keep a steady leg turnover for a steady pace. As you fatigue, your turnover slows before stride length diminishes. Unfortunately, leg turnover has the most impact on speed.When you notice yourself slowing down, shorten your stride and quicken your turnover. 
5 Bad Eating Habits You Should Break 
1. Bad Habit to Break: Keeping Tempting Foods Around
It's hard to resist temptation when it's staring you in the face. When office workers were given candies in clear dishes to place on their desks, they helped themselves to candy 71 percent more often than a similar group that was given the same candy in opaque dishes so that the candy wasn't visible, according to research by Brian Wansink, Ph.D., director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab in Ithaca, New York. "We're all on the 'see-food' diet," he says, "so don't let yourself see what you don't want to eat." Do yourself a favor and keep tempting foods out of your sight. If you're going to keep snacks at home, stash them inside a cupboard; keep apples out on the counter.

2. Bad Habit to Break: Skipping Breakfast
You might think that skipping breakfast-a whole meal!-would help you cut calories, but the research says that eating breakfast can better help you lose weight. Breakfast eaters tend to weigh less and are more successful at losing weight-and keeping it off-than those who skip the meal. What's more, people who typically eat breakfast also get more fiber, calcium, vitamins A and C, riboflavin, zinc and iron-and less fat and dietary cholesterol. Perhaps it's because they often eat cereal, which is fortified with vitamins and minerals, and fruit, which is naturally nutrient-rich. Not hungry when you first get up? Don't worry. Eating breakfast doesn't have to be the first thing you do each day. Just make sure that when you do eat, your meal is something that will sustain you for a few hours-it should include some fiber and protein.

3. Bad Habit to Break: Distracted Eating
You're eating alone, so you reach for your smartphone and text, scan social-networking sites or play games. Or you read the paper, watch TV or use your computer. All of these distractions take your attention away from eating and make it harder for you to really experience and tune in to how satiated/full you are. That can lead you to eat more than you're really hungry for, either now or later. A recent study showed that playing solitaire (on the computer) dampened people's memories of lunch, which, in turn, may have caused them to eat 125 calories more when they snacked later.

4. Bad Habit to Break: Eating Straight Out of the Bag
If you're noshing directly out of the package-whether you're eating chips, crackers, cookies or ice cream-it's easy to eat several servings without realizing it. A key step when you're trying to lose weight is literally watching what you eat-being aware of what and how much you're eating. That's why keeping a food journal is so effective. Get a handle on runaway portions by measuring out a serving…if you want more, measure that too. Being conscious of what you're eating will help you meet your weight goals.

5. Bad Habit to Break: Eating on the Run
Eating in the car, snacking at your desk, drinking a high-calorie smoothie or latte while walking around-it's all too easy to take in excessive calories if you're eating on the go. To curb this type of distracted eating, sit down to eat.

To adapt to the pace that you're planning to run on race day, lengthen your work and rest intervals. Start with five reps of 3 minutes hard and 2 minutes easy and over several weeks work your way up to two reps of 20 minutes hard and 5 minutes easy. Keep in mind that if you rush into this workout before you're ready, you are more susceptible to injury!

Recent theory on stretching suggests dynamic stretching (quick, controlled, and slightly exaggerated movements) be used pre-event to wake up and activate the muscles, and static stretching (holding for 20-30 sec each) be used post-event to relax things. Experts believe the dynamic work wakes up the muscles and gets them ready for hard running while static stretches relax the muscles and puts them to sleep.

Run faster with less effort -  and correct your posture on and off the track or treadmill - by swapping your desk chair for a stability ball. A stability ball strengthens you abdomen, lower back, and hips, which helps with better form and fewer injuries. Start with an hour a day and gradually increase the time you spend on the ball. Your back will thank you!

Switch shoes to relieve lower- body stress. A certain shoe can put undue stress on one area, so alternate shoes you run in every other workout or so. If there's a particular style you like and favour, just be sure to switch out a new pair with a slightly worn pair.
 To boost your endurance and drastically increase your strength, run hilly routes. Hills are almost as effective as track interval training for boosting aerobic power and far more effective at building strength. A good hill should take you at least a minute to charge. Look for a course with gradual downhills to prevent injury. *********************************************************

Tired of being tired? You may be low in iron!

 Despite your best intentions to get in your workouts, if fatigue hits, it's hard to meet your resolutions. So if you are tired of being tired, you just might need to have your blood iron levels checked. Iron is a master player in the body, leading the way for several important physiological functions, including transporting oxygen to your red blood cells and producing ATP, adenosine triphosphate production (ATP), which is essential for cellular energy. Low levels of iron are associated with fatigue, decreased athletic performance, concentration, mood and even hair loss or shedding. 


The best way to improve endurance is to lengthen your long runs. Slow down your pace to about 0ne and a half to two minutes per mile slower than your goal pace, and you can increase your endurance by an additional mile or two per long run.    Do this every other weekend.

Try this easy way to determine your effort level without investing in a heart monitor: Notice how often you breathe in relation to how many steps you are taking. Three or four strides for every inhale - you're running at a warmup pace. Two strides per inhale and exhale - a good pace for long runs and races. When you're taking two strides when you breathe in and only one when you breathe out, you're at tempo pace.
Over-training is the leading cause of running injury and burnout. 
To stay on pace - not above - monitor your morning heart rate for a week to get a baseline. Take your pulse every morning, and take a half- mileage day whenever it's more than 5% above baseline. Take the day off if it's more than 10%.


Want to breathe deeper? Keep your torso tall. A straight upright posture promotes optimal lung capacity and stride length. If you start to slouch during a run, take a deep breath and you'll feel yourself naturally straighten up. As you exhale, simply maintain that up right positon.

The secret to all-day energy is to drink a steady supply of fluids. All metabolic reactions happen in water so it is important to stay hydrated all day long to keep functions at their peak. Studies show that being even a little dehydrated can hamper the brain’s ability to function. Remember, it is not sufficient to chug several glasses at once. You cannot bank you daily fluid supply. Rather you must consume the daily water intake gradually throughout the day. This way the body can absorb what it needs and you won’t just be peeing it all away.

·        75% of North Americans are chronically dehydrated.
·        In 37% of North Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is mistaken for hunger.
·        Even mild dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism  by as much as 3%
·        One glass of water shut down midnight hunger pangs for 99% in a U of Washington study.
·        Lack of water is the number one trigger of daytime fatigue.
·        Research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day will significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers
·        A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on a computer screen or a printed page.
·        Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79% and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.


Don't skip the cool-down on slow days. Even if you went out for a casual run, blood can still pool in your legs and cause cramps if you don't cool down.Alternate 30 to 60 seconds of slow jogging with the same amount of time walking for a total of 5 minutes; then walk the final 5 minutes.

Hit a training wall? Want to get faster? Qualify for Boston? Do speedwork to up the pace. Once a week, run some measured segments 20 to 30 seconds per mile faster than your goal pace. For 5K and 10K runners, start with 400 meter repeats. Half marathoners should do 800 meter repeats. Go for mile repeats if you're a marathoner. 


The Unbelievable 4-Minute Cardio Workout

How long does it take to get in a great cardio workout? Not as long as you might think. That is, unless you think the answer is four minutes.
Seriously. These 4-minute workouts are all based on the "Tabata protocol."
For background, the Tabata protocol is a training method that was originally used by the Japanese Olympic speed skating team, and named for the scientist -- Izumi Tabata -- who studied its amazing effect on a group of male college students. The study subjects were all fit P.E. majors, and most were members of various varsity sports teams.
You might think it sounds too simple -- and short -- to work: On a stationary bike, the university students did seven to eight 20-second, all-out sprints, each separated by just 10 seconds of rest. Total time: 4 minutes. (They also did an easy 10-minute warmup before each session.)
The results were fantastic: After doing the routine 5 days a week for 6 weeks, the college kids boosted their aerobic fitness by 14 percent. By comparison, another group -- who performed a steady but moderate pace on the bikes for 60 minutes -- increased their aerobic fitness by only about 10 percent.
The upshot: The high-intensity 4-minute workout was more effective than an hour of moderate cycling. Even better, the Tabata participants saw a 28-percent improvement in "anaerobic capacity" -- a measure of how long the men could exercise at their top effort. The second group saw no such improvements.

Even on slow days, warm up to stay comfortable. Adapt an increased workload by walking for 3 minutes and then slowly jogging. A proper warmup leaves you feeling strong and comfortable by mid-run and it reduces the risk of injury.


5 Reasons Your Workout Isn't Working

1. Your workout routine is making you eat too much.

Is your workout causing you to use the "I burned it, I earned it," excuse when it comes to your diet? Studies show that people tend to eat more calories when they take up exercise.

The solution: Make your workouts count by pairing them with a healthy diet that stays within the appropriate calorie range your body needs in order to lose or maintain your weight. Write down what you are eating to keep track of calories consumed, and then subtracting the calories you burned, for your true daily number.

2. Your workout completely wipes you out.

That 5:00am killer boot camp class seemed like a great way to get in shape, so why aren't the pounds dropping off? If your workout leaves you feeling completely drained, exhausted, sore, and just wanting to lie on the couch for the rest of the day, it could be doing more
harm than good. While your workouts should be challenging, pushing your body too hard can have the opposite affect on your body. Over training can cause everything from sugar cravings, a weakened immune system, and insomnia-all of can contribute to weight gain.

The solution: Follow a workout plan that is appropriate for your current fitness level-one that will still challenge your body without completely draining it. Not sure what's best for you? Try scheduling a session with a Personal Coach to review your goals and the best plan of action to reach them.

3. Your workout burns fewer calories than you think.
Feeling pretty righteous when the treadmill says you've torched 800 calories? Not so fast. An unusually high calorie burn reading is rare. Most machines overestimate readings by as much as 30 percent.

The solution: Try using a 'distance covered' read-out to more accurately gauge how many calories burned. For instance, if you want to burn 300 calories, jogging 3 miles, walking 4 miles, or cycling about 10 miles on a bike are known to burn this amount.

4. Your workout's not balanced.
Variety is not only the spice of life, but the key to getting a better, leaner, stronger body. There is not one single activity that can give you everything you need.
Doing only cardio workouts or the same strength workout over and over means you are sacrificing the opportunity to build lean muscle mass and challenge your body in new ways (translation: burn more calories doing something new), and you may plateau because of it.

The solution: Create a weekly program that rotates through different modalities of exercise (cardio, strength training, flexibility, core) in order to keep your mind, and body, engaged and changing. Fit in at least three strength sessions and three to five cardio sessions per week for best results.

5. Your workout is totally stale.
Why is it so important to switch things up? Doing the same workout routine over and over means your body doesn't have to work as hard to perform it after a few weeks. We 'learn' how to do any activity and movements. "The more 'learned' we are, the easier the activity is to our bodies, which means you will actually burn fewer calories than you did when the activity or your routine was new to you.

The solution: Whether its trying heavier weights or adding more resistance during cycling class, changing up the intensity and style of your workout can help kick up your calorie burn to start losing weight again. Even adding workouts like yoga and Pilates that don't typically burn a large amount of calories, if they are new to your body, will create some nice changes in your physique simply from being a new challenge to your movement and workout patterns.

For people trying to lose weight, here's the good news: Read more...

Bananas contain three natural sugars ... sucrose, fructose and glucose combined 
with fiber.