1. This month’s wellness news: an artful app, cold-weather training gear and the world’s largest geothermal pool:
There are plenty of wellness apps to choose from, but the fall launch of J Balvin’s Oye deserves special attention. The Colombian reggaeton star is known for his music, as well as openly discussing his own challenges with anxiety and depression. His app is an artful take on assessing and understanding moods, and it offers creative solutions on how to process them. After a user describes how they feel, their state of mind is interpreted as a unique colour-gradient image and prompts readings, exercises and mindfulness notifications. Registering anger, for example, leads you to an article about that feeling’s meaning, purpose and an explanation about when it’s effective and when it isn’t. Users also get sent a movement exercise that helps them process the emotion.
Taking its smart fitness Mirror to the next level, Lululemon recently launched Studio, a membership program that gives users access to classes from eight different fitness brands, including Pure Barre and boxing-focused Rumble. There is a library of 10,000 classes available for streaming on the device, which also connects to heart-rate monitors or smart watches so users can see data in real time.
More...from the Globe and Mail.
2. The Difference Between Zero-Sugar and Electrolyte Sports Drinks :
Before you grab a colorful, flavorful sports drink to sip after your next workout, read this.
Whether you’ve just finished a strenuous hike or have been working in the heat all day, you’re probably reaching for a sports drink to rehydrate. There are two prominent varieties of the drink: electrolyte sports drinks and sugar-free sports drinks. Here’s what electrolyte sports drinks and sugar-free sports drinks are made of, their differences, and which is best in a given situation.
What’s the Difference?
“When strictly comparing, you may just notice a difference in overall calories, carbohydrates, and sugar amounts,” says Roxana Ehsani, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, Board Certified Sports Dietitian. Electrolyte sports drinks contain electrolytes as well as simple carbohydrates that provide energy to the user. “These options are much higher in carbohydrates and calories than the zero sugar sports drinks,” Ehsani says.
Sugar-free sports drinks are made with artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose, and are generally lower in calories and carbohydrates than regular sports drinks. However, this doesn’t mean they’re completely void of electrolytes. “Zero-sugar sports drinks are often intended for individuals who need added sodium, such as in humid weather where sweating is increased, but may not need additional calories,” says Mary Wirtz, BCDC. These drinks also have added potassium.
More...from Outside Online.
3. New Balance Fuelcell Supercomp Elite v3 Review: Just How Super Is It?
What You Need To Know
Weighs 7.5 ounces (212 g) for a US M8.5
Stack height of 40 mm in the heel/36 mm in the forefoot (4 mm drop)
Full length Energy Arc carbon fiber plate provides stability and propulsion
Goes hand-in-hand with the SC Trainer for training
Available now for $250 in limited quantities in the NYC colorway; standard colorways available February 2023
ROBBE: Supercomp, or super competition, sounds like something I’d be interested in if it involved bass fishing or setting off fireworks. Crack some Banquet Beers and settle down for a long day of activities. Super competition when it comes to running sounds like a whole lot of work and effort that probably turns out not to be so super when I finish three laps behind the second-to-last-place runner in a 1600m race. Unless, of course, you’re wearing a shoe like the New Balance FuelCell Supercomp Elite v3.
More...from Believe in the Run.
4. The Asics MetaSpeed Edge+ Isn’t Just for Marathons:
It’s one of the fastest super shoes for racing 26.2, but we also love it for shorter distances.
The RW Takeaway: Designed for marathoners who speed up by increasing their cadence more significantly than their stride length, this super shoe excels for road runners of any gait style, racing any distance from the mile to a 50K.
New mesh upper isn’t soft or stretchy, but feels locked-in and breathable
Full-length carbon-fiber plate delivers a very stiff and super springy ride
In terms of energy return, the MetaSpeed line is top-tier—right behind Nike
Weight: 7.1 oz (M), 5.8 oz (W)
Drop: 8 mm
When designing its MetaSpeed line of super shoes, Asics focused on gait mechanics. After experimenting with various shapes and structures of plates and foam, the brand built two versions, each one geared to a specific running style. The Sky+ caters to those who take longer steps as they push the pace—Asics calls them Stride runners. Others speed up by taking more steps, or increasing their strides per minute. That’s me. If it’s you, too, you’re also a Cadence runner. Asics built the Edge+ for runners like us.
More...from Runner's World.
5. Why Masters Athletes Should Monitor Their HRV:
Heart rate variability generally declines as we age. But it’s not all doom and gloom for Masters athletes, who can use HRV as a valuable metric to train and recover efficiently.
It’s inevitable that as we age, we lose some of our athletic ability. Masters athletes, generally defined as athletes aged 35 and up, face numerous challenges including longer recovery periods, lower anaerobic capacity, and more cardiovascular abnormalities compared to their younger competitors. This makes fitness tracking imperative in preventing long-term health effects. In addition to other metrics, Masters should also monitor their heart rate variability (HRV) for greater insight into the effectiveness of their training and recovery.
Heart Rate Variability in Masters
Heart rate variability measures time variations between heart beats. It is a convenient way to measure the health of the body’s autonomic nervous system, which acts as the master control system of the body. It’s therefore an excellent metric to assess fitness and performance. Higher HRV generally equates to a higher level of physical fitness.
In the general population, HRV normally declines with age, and this decline is associated with a variety of challenges including reduced immune system performance and increased levels of inflammation. Amongst Masters athletes, however, HRV metrics prove more complex.
More...from Training Peaks.
6. Why it's important to cool down after exercise, according to the science:
Find out why it’s important to cool down after exercise, with the help of our experts
Whether you’re lifting weights at the gym or coming back from a 10k run, factoring in a cool down after exercise is crucial to help prevent injury, ease delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) (opens in new tab) and stretch your muscles.
Cooling down after exercise is just as important as warming up, helping the blood to keep flowing through the body and preventing unpleasant side effects, such as light headedness, that can come about when a sudden stop in exercise causes our blood pressure to drop.
While there are plenty of different ways you can cool down after exercise, stretching tends to be the most commonly used method. You can do this with no tools whatsoever, simply by holding each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, or, if you really want to level up your cool-down routine you can incorporate one of the best foam rollers (opens in new tab) or best massage guns
7. Calling all men: this is what we can do to help women feel safe exercising in the dark:
We have to break the cycle of misogyny that makes women feel at risk: This Girl Can’s guide sets out steps you can take
The clocks have gone back, the evenings are drawing in, the weather is changing. None of this makes it easier for people to exercise. For many, the winter nights can be a threat to mental wellbeing.
People like me (men) have historically dealt with these winter fears by ignoring them. Active men like me love telling anyone who will listen how good exercise is for physical and mental health. And when my wife hasn’t immediately rushed out the house to jog around the block in the dark and gloom, I’ve just repeated the message, but louder.
But it was on an autumn evening, while walking along the Wirral Way with my wife Sally, that I learned what the real barrier was to her going out and exercising in the winter. She listed to me all the things that would stop her, as a woman, using the former railway line we were strolling along to exercise after dark. Her fears, it turned out, were all to do with the behaviour of the half of the population that are men. Her barrier to exercise was people like me.
More...from The Guardian.
8. Should you ditch your power meter during training and races?
In 1986, a German medical engineering student by the name of Uli Schoberer created a very agricultural looking bicycle crank. I wonder if he realised then that his creation would completely reshape how we train as athletes today...
The rise of the power meter
Schoberer’s new company at the time, SRM, subsequently launched its first commercial power meter a handful of years later and was further popularised when American cyclist Greg Lemond apparently used one for his training to help prepare for the Tour de France.
I bought my first power meter, albeit with slightly less success than Greg, back in 2006. It was from a now defunct company that measured power within a bicycle’s bottom bracket, took what you produced with one leg and then doubled it to tell you how much you were putting out overall.
When you consider that the human body isn’t symmetrical, I had no clue that my power meter was probably a random bingo number calling machine... but it was a game-changer for me at the time.
More...from Precision Hydration.
9. You Still May Not Be Drinking Enough Water:
You've probably heard the long-standing wisdom that you should drink 64 ounces—that's eight, eight-ounce glasses—every day, no matter what. But the truth might be a little more complicated.
Since hydration needs can vary tremendously based on your body type or your physical activity level, just to name a few, many nutritionists believe it is better advice to drink half of your bodyweight—in pounds—in ounces of water. Though it sounds complicated, we promise the math is easy!
An Individualized Approach
Let's break down a simple example. Say you weigh 200 pounds. Simply divide that number by half, and you'll see that you should be drinking 100 ounces of water a day—significantly more than the recommended 64-ounce amount.
10. There’s Good Reason for Sports to Be Separated by Sex:
If the practice stopped, top-level women’s sport as we know it might cease to exist.
My wife and I are lifelong runners. It’s the sport we fell in love with, and ended up excelling at—during our wedding, every speaker from the preacher to the best man mentioned some variation of “Can you imagine how fast their future kids are going to be?” My wife, Hillary, is by far the more accomplished athlete. I made the NCAA championship; she was an All-American. I had dreams of qualifying for the Olympic trials; she actually did it. By many measures, she’s simply better. But not by all of them.
We both got our start in middle school. When Hillary was in seventh grade, she ran a 5:42 mile. At the same age, my best was virtually identical at 5:40. If we had lined up for a race, there would have been a close dash to the finish line. Fast-forward to ninth grade, and we were both ranked among the top freshman runners in Texas. But a clear difference had emerged: Her time had steadily decreased to 5:13, while mine had shot all the way down to 4:22. At the end of our collegiate running careers, the massive gulf remained: She ran 4:43 and I ran 4:01. I didn’t train more, care more, or possess more grit. She surpasses me on all of those things. I just had an inherent advantage: my biology.
More...from The Atlantic
11. Breaking Down the Nike Air Zoom AlphaFly Next% 2:
It was a little after 6 a.m. on an unusually chaotic Sunday morning in downtown Chicago. I quickly laced up my running sneakers inside my hotel room as I made my way to Grant Park located on the east side of the city’s business district. In the hotel lobby, it was filled with dozens of other runners, but I pushed past them and headed outside for what I told myself was just another long run. I scurried to the park and as I got closer, thousands of runners were lined up in front of the guarded entryways. As I finally made it past the security checkpoint, the sun began to rise on this brisk morning. I entered my final checkpoint into the park and that’s when reality began to set in. Despite me constantly telling myself that this was another routine run, I knew there was an immense task ahead of me: the Chicago Marathon.
About four months before, Nike—one of the sponsors of the Chicago Marathon—invited me to take part in this year’s race. I’ve run a marathon before, but this time I’m taking on the 26.2 mile journey in one of the tools preferred by the sport’s top athletes: the Nike Air Zoom AlphaFly Next% 2.
12. How to Salvage a Workout After a Bad Night of Sleep:
The key to enjoying exercise after a fitful slumber is to start early and keep it simple.
After a bad night’s sleep, nothing feels right. The mind is fuzzy and the muscles are sapped. Often the last thing you want to do is work up a sweat. You might find yourself wondering what kind of workout you should do, and if it’s better to put it off until you’re not quite so groggy.
A recent paper from researchers in Australia suggests that exercisers functioning on little sleep can get the most out of a workout by doing it earlier in the day and focusing on strength and endurance, rather than complex skills. The meta-analysis, published in the November issue of Sports Medicine, is the latest in a string of studies examining the link between sleep and athletic performance.
More...from the New York Times.
13. What Is Athletic Talent?
Elite running coaches weigh in on what it means to be talented and how they predict who will run fastest.
There are two types of talent in distance running. One is your baseline: in the complete absence of training, if someone dragged you off the couch and took you to the track, how fast could you run a mile? The other is your trainability: given six weeks, six months, or six years of steady training, how much faster could you get?
That’s the picture I took away from reading David Epstein’s book The Sports Gene back in 2013, and I think it’s a useful dichotomy. But in reality, that’s not exactly what I mean when I say to a friend: “Boy, so-and-so is a really talented runner.” For one thing, I rarely have any way of judging how fast someone would be untrained, or how quickly they improve with training. And for another thing, that definition leaves out all sorts of other factors that might influence my assessment: mental toughness, racing smarts, durability, the look of their stride, and so on.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.
14. How to carb load before your next race:
In the days leading up to a race, I'll add extra potatoes, rice and pasta to my meals. My non-sporting friends assume this form of feasting is a result of my previous student lifestyle where it's vital to make the most of every feeding opportunity at all-you-can-eat buffets, but fellow endurance athletes will recognise the tell-tale signs of carbohydrate-loading.
Carb-loading is a well-known tactic used by endurance athletes. In our recent Fueling Survey, 62% of respondents told us that they carb-load before their events.
You probably know you should do it and, for the most part, why. But do you know how to carb-load effectively ahead of an endurance event?
In our survey, 18% of those who carb-load told us that they start doing so at least one week in advance of their event.
Starting that early really isn’t necessary, but it does perhaps emphasise that the methodology behind carb-loading can be something of a grey area.
More...from Precision Hydration.
15. Garmin's top running watch just got beaten by Coros Apex 2:
The Coros Apex 2 and Coros Apex 2 Pro have landed, boasting specs to rival some of the top trail-running watches around right now. Coros has always been something of an underdog compared to giants of the category, such as Garmin, and although we haven’t yet had the opportunity to review the watches in full, it’s likely at least one of them will end up on our best running watch list if their specs sheets are anything to go by.
Boasting multi-band satellite connectivity for pinpoint accuracy, Coros Apex 2 and 2 Pro are tailor-made for trail and tri events. A rugged raised bezel, with sapphire glass and titanium-alloy case, the digital “knob” on the side of each watch is, like the feature on the original Apex and the new Apple Watch Ultra, designed to be operated with gloves on while moving.
Both are 5ATM water resistant (suitable for surface activities like swimming and surfing, but not for diving) and also offer downloadable topographical maps. Many of the features are taken from its top-flight Vertix line down to a slightly lower price point, costing $499 in the US, £319 in the UK, and AU$859 in Australia for the Pro and $399, £399 and AU$699 for the Apex 2. Although our official verdict is yet to come in, the Coros Apex 2 and Apex 2 Pro present as solid entries in the sub-$500 trail running watch category.